We are leaving on the Valor on May 29th, last year we flew in the day before our cruise, because we were worried about late fights and missing our cruise. We want to do this again, but I wanted to find out if anyone has done the research and what they found to be the cheapest. Should we fly into FTL or Miami? Is it cheaper if you fly into FTL to rent a car and take the shuttle from the MIA airport? (we have 7 of us traveling together) Or is it cheaper to fly into FTL get the shuttle from FTL to the port. Or is it cheaper to fly into MIA and take a taxi to the port or the shuttle from Carnival. I will do the research just thought maybe someone else had already done it, and would be willing to share. We are flying out of STL.
Also has anyone ever booked through the touring companies in these ports rather than Carnival. Have you saved alot of money doing this?? I kno when we have gotten off the ship before there were people standing there with signs wanting to take us on tours. Just thought maybe we could save some $ doing this since we are taking our kids this year. Zip line and snorkling are our biggest things we want to do. Any recommendations??
You'll have to check yourself to see which airfare is cheaper for when you want to go. Airfares are ever changing and its impossible for anyone to tell you which is cheaper.
However, the cost of travel (in both directions) from FTL to Miami is much more expensive than from the Miami airport to the port (about $25 per cab) We stayed at a hotel near Miami airport which offered a free shuttle to the hotel from the airport (which saved one taxi fare) then we took a taxi to the port ($25)
Keep all that in mind when you are comparing prices.
Be careful with the tour companies right off the ship. Especially in Cozumel. The bigger hotels will be inside the port area and try to sell you an "all inclusive" beach day or something. You are better off getting out of the port area to where the taxis are and negotiate with the taxi/guides outside for better prices (yes you can save a lot of money)
what ports are you going to? Belize/Cozumel/Grand Cayman?
Yes,we are going to all of those plus Rotan. Thanks for the info on the costs! I wanted to fly SW so we don't have bag fees (cause Lord Knows I can't get a weeks worth of stuff into one bag LOL) but they only fly into FTL. It looks like its only about $60 to rent a car from FTL airport to Miami Airport, then can get a free shuttle from the airport to hotel in Miami. So maybe we will do that. Then we would have to get the shuttle from the port back to FTL airport. aaahhhhh so many decisions!!!!!
I don't know if you're comfortable with public transportation, but there is also a train that goes from FTL to MIA. Of course, that means carrying your luggage on the train - but it was a nice, and inexpensive ride.
As stated, just do your research. Cruise line transfers are usually competitive if it's one or two people, but for 7, you may be better off taking a cab to the port. However, with as many people as you have, you will probably need 2 cabs, so that's $50 one way ($25 per CAB, not per person). This is from the Miami Airport to the Port of Miami.
In doing research for my most recent cruise, I saw that I could save $200 by flying into Fort Lauderdale, then taking a shuttle to Miami, but didn't end up doing that cruise.
I think you are on the right track, however, to fly in the day before, especially if you have to connect flights.
As far as shore excursions, I've always booked ahead of time. If you don't want to do Carnival, then you can try shoretrips.com.
2007 - Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas)
2009 - Enchantment of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2010 - Freedom of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2013 - Golden Princess (Alaska, roundtrip from Seattle)
We are also flying into FTL the day before our cruise in December, in order to use miles. We are staying near the FTL airport at a hotel that has a free shuttle. We are then using SAS TRANSPORT SERVICES (954-600-0240) (http://ridesas.com/index.html) to get from the hotel in FTL to the port in Miami. They will also pick us up after the cruise & take us back to the FTL airport. They charge $15 per person, each way, plus a tip, so for 2 of us it's $30 round trip versus $60 for Carnival's transfers.
I have flown into FLL for a cruise out of Miami a few times. The first time, I flew in the day before (because the day of the cruise the flight was too expensive). I rented a Car at FLL, and I was able to drop the car at MIA with no drop charge.
The second time I flew into FLL the day of the cruise, and flew home the day after. I Purchased a Carnival Transfer at the airport, then I rented a Car at the Miami airport, and dropped it at FLL the next day.
I find it much more fun and less stressful to fly before and after.
My next cruise is in January on the Dream. There will be 7 of us. We will fly the day before and after. My Father-in-law accumulated 400,000 Wyndham reward points while he was working for 2 years as a consulting Engineer in China (that is enough for 30 days in one of their best hotels), so the hotels will be no charge. I searched a few companies and the cost of Transportation for all 7 is about the same as a 24 hour mini van rental, so we will rent our own mini van each way.