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Old 07-20-2014, 12:46 PM   #196
debg
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Getting Gas at MIA

For those of you who rented a car, spent some time at WDW, then returned the car to MIA and shuttled to the port, are there safe places near the airport to gas up or did you buy the 'return it empty/they fill the tank' option on the rental? I was confirming my rental and it hit me that I have no idea of the area around MIA and if getting gas/returning the car full would be easy or a stress-inducer. We've never had them fill the tank, but I always know the area around the airport. I've got zero knowledge re MIA. Our tank won't be near empty, but I really don't want to drive around trying to find gas.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-20-2014, 07:56 PM   #197
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FYI - We used Safe Cruise Parking lot in downtown Miami, off 7th St., I believe, for our Carnival cruise in January. We had no problems. They let you park your car, and you keep your keys! Shuttle had a trailer attached, so all the luggage fit in the trailer and about 12 of us were in the van. We had dropped all of our luggage off at the port in the am, so we just had carry-on stuff. On the return we just called the number, and they picked us up in about 10 minutes along with other people. There are guys at the port also who ask what shuttle you are waiting for outside, and they will direct you to the correct spot to wait.

When we parked our car and got on the shuttle to the port, there was a group of 6 people who had booked and paid with Premier Parking and when they had gotten to that lot, it was closed, locked and they never got their money back. They tried to call Premier all during the cruise and there was never an answer. Luckily they found Safe Cruise Parking and were able to park there. So, avoid Premier Parking.
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Old 08-02-2014, 01:39 AM   #198
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I so wish that we had used Safe Cruise Parking. Premier Parking has a great website with videos. It looks legit. But we found out it was a different story when we got there. So glad you avoided it!
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:49 PM   #199
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondietink View Post
FYI - We used Safe Cruise Parking lot in downtown Miami, off 7th St., I believe, for our Carnival cruise in January. We had no problems. They let you park your car, and you keep your keys! Shuttle had a trailer attached, so all the luggage fit in the trailer and about 12 of us were in the van. We had dropped all of our luggage off at the port in the am, so we just had carry-on stuff. On the return we just called the number, and they picked us up in about 10 minutes along with other people. There are guys at the port also who ask what shuttle you are waiting for outside, and they will direct you to the correct spot to wait.

When we parked our car and got on the shuttle to the port, there was a group of 6 people who had booked and paid with Premier Parking and when they had gotten to that lot, it was closed, locked and they never got their money back. They tried to call Premier all during the cruise and there was never an answer. Luckily they found Safe Cruise Parking and were able to park there. So, avoid Premier Parking.
Thanks for the info as we'll be crusiing on carnival for the 1st time in Nov.!
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:12 AM   #200
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I never posted my story from last December, our quick 3n post Xmas cruise on the Magic... So, what do you do when you are about 30 miles away from your hotel in MIA, the night before when you realize you forgot your passports in NJ?

Yeah, that's what happened to us. We did a Xmas in the parks followed by the 3n cruise. We had a first timer family member coming with us to the parks but not the cruise, so all the planning ahead in the last month prior was inky related to the parks. The cruise was just an after thought for us to relax from the madness of Xmas in the parks.

So after dropping off our relative in MCO on 12/26, we headed south to MIA. Around 8pm and 30 miles away from the Conrad Miami (had an excellent points plus cash rate), we stopped for dinner. Ordered food and right as the server brought out our food, I looked up to DW and asked her if we got the passports. Only got an OMG stare, so I just got up and went to call DCL. After getting transferred to two supervisors, I taked to someone who gave some options. A) get scanned copies sent via email, b) be in line at the MIA passport office first thing in the morning, and/or c) walk to the port with the copies and pray they would let us travel. Although all of us are US citizens, DW and I were not born here so our birth certificates would not do any good. She did say that the passport office was a still a 50/50 chance since many times they take forever and we may not get them done on time. Also, she knew that some folks had been allowed to travel with copies of the passports but again it was a 50/50 shot. Best was to try to get the copies, try to get new passports and if by 2pm we didn't get them, just to go to the port and hope. I knew exactly were the passports were, so I was going to get my DSis or DBil to get them.

I was thinking on taking a flight back and then get back in the morning, but there weren't any flights left. Was going to ask my dad to fly down in the morning also... Looked into FedEx and UPS but all offices were already closed, But then she said something about Delta Dash. They offer same day curier service. So thanked her and started to call and find out more about it. But delta didn't have any non stole flights and they required one hour layover minimum and they didn't open until 6am - first flight out was at 6:50 and due to the one hour flight, I could not get it until 4pm. No good. Called fedex and ups and though they did offer same day shipping service, they could not picked up until after 8am, and could not get down until 4pm.

Finally, checked with United. Called them and they said sure! Their EWR office was opened 24hrs. First flight was at 6:50 so by 10 I could have them in my hand. So called my BIL. He went home, picked up the passports and drove to Newark. They put them in a curier box and they were to ship out in the 6:50 flight.

We made it to the Conrad but could not sleep all night. The plane was to depart Puerto Rico around 2:30am to EWR. It did leave on time so finally I went to sleep. But woke up early to make sure the plane would also leave on time to MIA. It didn't. Kept on getting delayed. But eventually left an hour later. So another three hours waiting...

We checked out and went to the cargo pickup area - special office a little hard to find. They told us it could take about an hour from plane arrival... So we waited and waited and waited. In the end around 11:45, they called my name and gave me the box. Ripped it open and got my passports.

Back to the van, parked, checked in and an hour later we were enjoying lunch in Cabanas...

Yeah, I learned my lesson...
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:44 PM   #201
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That made me a nervous wreck just reading it! So glad to know that it worked out!
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:33 PM   #202
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Ok fellow DISers I need some help! We have booked a cruise in January 2015 with another couple that leaves out of Miami (opted for the 4 day vs the 3). We will be flying into Orlando the night before due to cost and times of flights and renting a car. We currently have a room reserved on DVC points the night before, but can change that. Our options are..

1) Rent a car at MCO (keep the car the whole time), stay at AKL, drive to port the next morning, park the car (I'm thinking Safe Cruise Parking), ride the shuttle to/from port, drive back to MCO (I have priced out this options and as of right now, it would be about $230 for the car and parking)

2) Rent a one way car at MCO, stay at AKL, drive to port the next morning, return the car, ride the shuttle (what companies have shuttles?) or get a taxi (how much would this be for 4?), and do the reverse when we get back

3) Rent a one way car at MCO, drive to port, return the car, do a sleep n cruise (where I have no idea) with shuttle to and from port, rent another one way return to MCO

I'm looking for the cheapest, easiest, safest option for 4 adults. I could muddle my way though Port Canaveral, but Miami is a whole new ballgame for me. Thanks!
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:55 PM   #203
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Well .... I think the cheapest way would be for you to rent at MCO, then return the car the next day to whatever company you rent from at the Miami airport. I think most of the rental companies at the airport have a shuttle to the port, but don't quote me on that. But if they don't have a shuttle, then just grab a cab and go to the port. I think it is about $20.00 for a cab.

However, if I were you and didn't want to go through the hassle of renting another car after you get off the cruise, I would fly into MCO, ditch the DVC rental and instead drive to Miami and stay at the LaQuinta Airport. They have reasonable rates, free parking for the duration of your cruise, and free shuttle to the port only. To get back to the hotel after your cruise take a taxi from the port to the hotel, pick up your car and drive back to WDW.

There are other hotels in downtown Miami that offer a cruise and park package, but they are expensive and usually charge for the shuttle to the port both ways.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:07 PM   #204
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New Question regarding Port of Miami and travel to/from Fort Lauderdale Airport

Hi everyone,

I'm trying to get some additional information for my cruise next Spring. We depart for the cruise on 3/29 out of the Port of Miami

Here's our tentative plan...
Arrive a few days early (via MCO) and do the parks, renting a car.
Leave Orlando on 3/28 and drive to Miami in rental car
Upon arrival in Miami area, drop off rental car at the Miami airport and take a cab back to our airport hotel
Overnight at local airport hotel
Take hotel's shuttle to Port on 3/29
Cruise 3/29-4/3/15
Arrive back at the Port of Miami at about 7:30 a.m. on 4/3/14
Obtain transportation from Port of Miami to Fort Lauderdale airport
Head home via FLL

Questions:
How long does it take to get from the Port of Miami to FLL on a Friday morning?
Logistically speaking...do you carry all your bags off the boat yourself and then proceed to the vendor who is shuttling you to the FLL airport?
Any recommendations on vendors to use to get 5 people from the Port of Miami to FLL (I've read about SAS, any others)?
What is a "safe" time to make flights home departing from FLL (considering the time to actually get off the boat, get luggage, and then commute to FLL from the Port of Miami)?

This seems confusing and I'm sorry for that. I have all these things I need to have sorted out before I book our airfare. I just want to allow myself enough time to get on a plane back home (going FLL to BWI) but I don't want a lot of time at the airport waiting and waiting, so I want to minimize the idle time for the kiddos. I know they'll be anxious to get home after a week at the parks and then a cruise.

Any insight and/or advise is greatly appreciated!!!!

All the best and happy planning!!
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:04 PM   #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shea&Van View Post
Questions:
How long does it take to get from the Port of Miami to FLL on a Friday morning?
Logistically speaking...do you carry all your bags off the boat yourself and then proceed to the vendor who is shuttling you to the FLL airport?
Any recommendations on vendors to use to get 5 people from the Port of Miami to FLL (I've read about SAS, any others)?
What is a "safe" time to make flights home departing from FLL (considering the time to actually get off the boat, get luggage, and then commute to FLL from the Port of Miami)?

This seems confusing and I'm sorry for that. I have all these things I need to have sorted out before I book our airfare. I just want to allow myself enough time to get on a plane back home (going FLL to BWI) but I don't want a lot of time at the airport waiting and waiting, so I want to minimize the idle time for the kiddos. I know they'll be anxious to get home after a week at the parks and then a cruise.

Any insight and/or advise is greatly appreciated!!!!

All the best and happy planning!!
We'll be doing similar for the first time in December. We're using SAS transportation and have a 12:30 flight from FLL the day we return. I don't think I'd have been comfortable with much earlier than that. You won't have to carry your bags off the ship yourself, you can still set them out as usual the night before, and then pick them up at the port where you just have to carry them outside to meet SAS.

One thing I checked was how many ships were in Miami the day we return, and our ship is the only one, so I think that works in our favor regarding timing. Looks like there are 4 the day you get back: http://ports.cruisett.com/schedule/U...da/April_2015/. I still think this basic plan will work fine.

Eager to hear if anyone with actual experience can add any info! If nothing else, I can report back here and let you know how it works for us.
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:31 PM   #206
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As PP stated, it would be good to get a resevation for a flight after 12 pm. There are always issues that could delay debarkation, such as weather getting into port, Immigration check, Coast Guard Inspection, etc.

The only company who I know does the transfer to FLL is SAS. I know there are others, but don't know their names.

Check over on the Cruise Critic message boards and look under the North American Homeports and ask your question. People are very informative.
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:24 PM   #207
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Thanks for the feedback!!! If anybody else has info to share, please do so.

Will plan to fly after Noon!

Have a happy day friends!!
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:32 PM   #208
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Time for a little weekend bumping.
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Old 08-24-2014, 01:25 AM   #209
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For anyone interested, we used Premier Parking of Miami last week when we sailed on the Wonder. It was a nightmare. I would HIGHLY encourage anyone asking to NOT book with them. They have a great website with a video. They seem really legit. But what we found when we arrived was a different location, a valet crew that was rude and spoke little English, and a very long wait for shuttles. Thank goodness we had already dropped our luggage at the port. As we saw in the video, we were expecting to arrive at the lot, park our car and lock it, and get on a shuttle. Instead, we had to wait on a side street for 25 minutes while they tried to cram more cars in the lot. Then a very rude man demanded that we "get out now" and took our keys. When I tried to ask him about a shuttle he looked at me and said "goodbye" then walked away. There was absolutely no one in charge on site. I stumbled across a really long line while heading to the bathroom and realized that it was the line for the shuttle. My hubby and I quickly got in line and proceeded to wait for TWO HOURS. We had arrived at the parking lot before 11am. I thought we were golden because our PAT wasn't until 12:30pm. Not was I wrong. We didn't physically step onto a shuttle until around 1:15pm. During our lovely wait in the Miami heat, we watched vehicle after vehicle be parked in the lot. That gave me a little reassurance. Then we watched our vehicle take a right turn and head down the street with some guy behind the wheel. In all the hours we stood there, it never returned. We knew someone had taken our vehicle for a joyride, but were helpless to do anything about it. When we finally arrived at the port we had to wait for them to go every other ship first, unloading luggage at each stop. Eventually when we noticed our ship about three terminals down, we just got off the shuttle and walked down the street. We eventually arrived at the terminal sunburned and frustrated around 2pm. Even with walking, we were still already onboard when we saw the shuttle finally get to our terminal. It was smooth sailing from there. We literally we walked straight through security, and check in was a breeze. And one plus, our room was ready and waiting for us. We were just happy to finally be onboard.

Fast forward to embarkation day. We looked and looked for their shuttle but never found it. We finally just paid a taxi to take us back to the parking garage. ($22.50, if you are wondering.) When we arrived "goodbye" man met us in the lot and asked for our valet ticket. He took it and walked away without a word. Around 15 minutes later he came back and told us that our vehicle wasn't on the lot and that it would be back shortly. That was what I had dreaded hearing during the whole cruise. Around 30 minutes later some guy drove up with it and got out. The valet took the keys from him and gave them to my husband. Relieved to finally have our vehicle, we immediately started checking for belongings that we had left in the vehicle, mostly our concealed carry weapons. Because my dh is an officer and we had a long drive, he wanted us both to carry. (Don't worry, we are both trained and licensed.) Knowing that we couldn't carry at the port or onboard, we had no choice but to leave our weapons locked in our vehicle. That wouldn't have been an issue had we kept the keys. However leaving them made me really nervous. My heart stopped for a minute when my husband said "Honey, your gun is gone. It was stolen. Call the police." I didn't worry so much about the lost property but more what could it could have been used for in the wrong hands. After frantically searching the vehicle we finally found it somewhere different than where it was left, proving that someone had gone through our things. We had carefully hidden them. Talk about a relief. It was a little unnerving but we were just thankful to have our vehicle and belongings, so we just left without making a big deal of it. Long story short, if you value your belongings or your time, please don't book your parking with this company. I so wish that we had just paid extra to park at the port. I felt so sorry for an older gentleman in line with us. He had dropped his wife off at the port before parking because she was in a wheel chair. She kept calling him upset for the whole two hours. We tried in vain to get a taxi, thinking that the three of us would just share it back to the port. Also several people working at the port told us horror stories about the company. Apparently we were some of the lucky ones. Lesson learned. Never again.
Oh my goodness. How scary. The whole ordeal sounds awful on both ends of your cruise. I hope the cruise itself was awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth D View Post
Update on our trip.

We stayed the night before at the La Quinta Airport (Le Jeune Road). It took a bit for the shuttle to pick us up, they run every 1/2 hour and we had just missed one. However when we finally got on the driver was extremely friendly and honest. DF left his wallet on the shuttle and we didn't notice. The driver found it before his next round, and when he saw us in the parking lot walking to the local restaurant, stopped us and returned it, everything intact. We dropped off a nice little reward to him for that!

This hotel was not fancy, and VERY close to the airport. Bring earplugs if you're sensitive to the voice. However the free breakfast was plentiful, the rooms were clean, and all the employees were very friendly. Their shuttle to the port was also well organized. If you don't need 5 stars, definitely a decent place for the night before.

We rented a car from Hertz for our 3 days after the cruise. They were a nightmare!

First off - if you're catching any kind of shuttle after your cruise, this area is a ZOO! There is no organization like at other places. All the various shuttle and rental car companies cram into the one end, block each other in, and almost all are white vans that makes it very difficult for anyone to distinguish their company from.

Hertz took about an hour to get a van to the port, despite tons of people calling. Then, it was a jam for the van. There was probably 30+ people waiting for the shuttle, but only about 10 plus luggage would fit. Folks were rude and all impatient with each other.

We had 5 in our group, and the car was in my name, so our group decided that only I would take the shuttle, rent the car, and come back to pick everyone else up. This was the right way to go.

The shuttle took us to the downtown Hertz location - lots of traffic due to construction so it took a while. The location is attached to a downtown parking garage. Get into the office, and there's only 2 folks working. Seriously? WTF No wonder nobody answers the phones there. They took forever on each person. Once you finally get your keys, you have to take an elevator to the 5th floor to pick up your car.

Getting back to the port was actually easy, and i think i beat the shuttle back. Lots of folks still waiting.
When you say, "if you're catching any kind of a shuttle" do you also mean private transfer companies? I found Larry's Limo service on cruisecritic and they already got back to me with a quote. It's Saturday night so I wasn't expecting an answer until at least Monday. I'm hoping it's not a zoo for private transfers also. I may just pay the extra to fly home from MIA and take the DCL bus. All that disorganized chaos is so frustrating after a nice relaxing cruise.

Anyway, I'm looking for next April and because it's Easter break, hotel rates are crazy. For example, my TA says that DCL is using the Marriott Stanton South Beach & the Conrad Downtown. For our dates the Marriott is $450 + tax and the Conrad is $300 + tax. Both are the AAA rate. I can't imagine ANY hotel being worth $500/nt and in the past we stayed at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Ft. Lauderdale which is actually north of the airport.
http://www.pelicanbeach.com/ It's quiet & relaxing but also $300/nt and further from the port.

I can get the Intercontinental for $175 on Hotwire or the Epic for $243. Both are close to the port and a very short taxi ride but being in the city isn't nearly as fun as being on the beach. Then again, we could always get an afternoon flight down, and just relax the night before we sail.

I don't know. There's so many options and things to worry about, it's all making my head spin. Sailing from PC is soooo easy!!

Dh & I got terribly lost in Miami once in the early 90s, driving through the Everglades and due to a road closure for some Cuban festival with no more detour signs & ended up in such a bad neighborhood that had bars on every window, door and even around people's window-mounted air conditioner. Non of the billboards were in English. I don't even know how we finally made it out, seeing a sign for I-95 and it was dark by the time we got out. This was long before GPS so we had to put the interior light on to read the map. This was shortly after 2 German tourists were killed and back when rental car license plates listed "lease" instead of the county as with private vehicles which made them (and us) targets. OMG. I realize crime happens in all big cities but still was awful. Since that experience, I have no desire to rent a car and be driving anywhere near Miami.
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Old 08-24-2014, 01:17 PM   #210
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Maybe I'm still sleep-deprived but I'm actually considering just flying down same day directly into Miami. It's a little more on USAirways but evens out when we don't have to pay for a hotel stay and then we can easily use DCL transfers. There's a 6am flight that gets us in MIA at 8:56am. Even if we have delays, we have several hours of cushion.

The other cons of doing this, besides the obvious, is then we can't use SWA points and we'll all be cranky tired by dinner time.

If anyone has done this, do you know if one should tag luggage pre-flight with the DCL tags and then we don't have to get them from baggage claim, as with ME at MCO?
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