Park and Cruise — Is it really worth it?

parking lot

While taking a cruise out of your home port is always a great idea…. it’s not always that easy.

Recently, I caught a cruise out of Miami, Florida so we will use that as our case study.  Living in Jacksonville, Florida it was about a five hour road trip down to Miami.  We left Jacksonville around 7:00 pm and arrived at the La Quinta hotel Airport East at exactly midnight (**TIP** Miami traffic can be a real pain in the butt, travel at night through Miami if you feel comfortable).
As with everything, park and cruising has its advantages and disadvantages.
Perks of Park and Cruise:
  • Get there a day early
  • Eat breakfast at the hotel
  • Not rushed
  • Avoid port parkings fees
  • Shuttle service to the ship
  • Get to sleep in
Disadvantages of Park and Cruise:
  •  Leaving your car in an unsecured lot
  • Having to take a cab back to your hotel (varies per location)
  • Usually an open lot, while most ports offer parking garages
Cost Comparison:
Parking at the Port of Miami: $20 per day x 3 day = $60.00
Hotel with Free Parking (up to 7 nights) 89.00 + tax = $100.83 + $15 cab and tip back to hotel* = $115.83
As you can see after taking out the parking and cab, the hotel cost me roughly $55. Checking decent hotels in Miami and that close to the port, it wasn’t a bad idea. What it all boils down to is if they extra $55 is worth an night stay prior to your cruise.  I am a very last minute person and I will pay the extra $ to not be rushed.
I hope this was helpful to you in deciding which route to take when going on a cruise that’s not in your own backyard.
* most park and cruise hotel packages make you get your own transportation back to hotel. Prices and participation may vary and all that other legal stuff!
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