Let’s start at the beginning, planning your cruise.
Today there are as many different types of cruises as there are cruisers. If you’ve never cruised before, the choices can be a little overwhelming. One popular online cruise booking service currently lists 18,748 sailings to choose from! Nearly 1,000 of those sailings (997 to be exact) are from Port Canaveral alone.
Tip #1: Use What You Can’t Change To Narrow Your Cruise Choices
If you know you are going to be cruising as a family, a couple, a group, or a single, that can be a great first step in finding cruises that would be a great fit. Though most cruise lines have wide appeal, they usually have particular specialties.
If you are going to be vacationing with your family, especially teens, tweens and younger, Disney Cruise Line has to be on your short list of companies to check out. They offer Disney themed cruises with special events like character meet and greets and Disney movie nights on deck under the stars. Mom and Dad can get some special time too while the kids are attending one of the many onboard children’s programs supervised by Disney castmembers.
If you are traveling with a group you might want to check out Carnival. Carnival cruises tend to be more affordable and offer a diverse set of experiences so everyone in the group can find something of interest.
Couples and singles should consider Royal Caribbean or Norwegian Cruise Lines. Both of these lines offer more formal cruising options that may be appealing.
You might also know that your vacation time is at a certain time of year or only for a certain number of days. Cruising out of Port Canaveral is a good choice any time of the year. Other destinations, like Alaska or the Mediterranean, are typically better during the summer. If you only have a short time to get away you can focus on cruises as short as 3 days. This brings us to our next tip…
Tip #2: Don’t Rush Your Cruise
Vacation is supposed to be a time to take a break and recharge from the daily grind. Too many people get a week off work and try to cram in a 7 day cruise. Flying in the morning your ship departs adds a lot of stress. Trust us, they won’t hold the boat for you. Arriving the day before the cruise can give you some time to start unwinding and relax a bit.
For Port Canaveral, the nearest airports you can fly to are about a 45 minute drive from the cruise port. We strongly recommend scheduling all travel arrangements so you arrive at the cruise port area the day before the cruise departs. Fly in to Orlando anytime during the day and hire a transportation company like Ace Luxury to take you to a hotel near the port where you can spend the night. If you realize you’ve forgotten anything, you can still take advantage of normal pricing at a convenience store. One of our services includes a free convenience stop. That’s something you can’t do with a shuttle or bus. The next morning you can take advantage of a complimentary breakfast offered by many hotels and hop on the hotel shuttle for the 5-10 minute ride to the cruise port. Day 2 of your vacation starts your cruise adventure!
The same idea applies to the day your cruise returns. Most cruises return to port very early in the morning, but who wants to have to rush to get off the boat and then rush to get to the airport (remember it’s at least 45 minutes away)? There are thousands of other people with the same plan. If you go with a later flight and a private transportation company, you can take advantage of what we like to consider a double vacation. Take your time getting off the boat and take advantage of one of our recommended excursions before having to get to the airport.
Tip #3: Prearrange Private Cruise Transportation
This is your vacation. Don’t be stuck with someone else’s schedule. Using a private company for transportation to your cruise is a no-brainer no matter how you look at it. It’s less stressful. It’s personal. It’s probably more affordable than you might think (and even cheaper than some alternatives). Professional companies, like Ace Luxury, take care of everything for you before your trip so you don’t have to worry about fumbling around for your wallet to tip the driver or losing your luggage before the trip even begins.
Let’s look at the stress level first since this is supposed to be a fun vacation.
Private cruise transportation compared to a cruise shuttle:
- Available on your schedule, when your flight arrives.
- Belongings are kept with you the entire time and not mixed with strangers on the same shuttle.
- If your plans change, call your transportation company and update your reservation. Ace Luxury allows unlimited reservation changes.
Private cruise transportation compared to driving yourself and parking at Port Canaveral:
- Someone to help you load your luggage in the car
- A professional driver who knows exactly where he or she is going
- You can relax on the ride and enjoy time with your companions
- Don’t have to worry about finding a parking space
- Don’t have to worry about something happening to your car while you are on your cruise
Private cruise transportation compared to renting a car:
- All the benefits of using a private cruise transportation service compared to driving yourself, plus
- Get picked up right at baggage claim, your hotel, or wherever else you like
- No waiting at the rental car counter
- No trying to figure out if you need extra insurance or a full tank of fuel up front
Consider the personal aspects of using a private cruise transportation service too.
Private cruise transportation compared to a cruise shuttle:
- Go directly to where you want to go with only stops you want to make
- Comfortable sedans, vans, or specialty vehicles chosen for your unique needs
Private cruise transportation compared to driving yourself or renting a car and parking at Port Canaveral:
- Okay, maybe using your own car is more personal than having someone drive you, but that also means you have all the personal stress too.
And let’s not forget about the fact you could actually save money with all of those benefits.
A typical cruise shuttle will be about $70 per person, plus tip. Private transportation will cost about the same or less if you have four or more people in your group, and some companies, like Ace Luxury, include the tip in the fee. As your group gets larger, you save even more using a transportation company for your cruise because you pay for the vehicle, not each person.
If you use your own car or rent a car you have to consider the expense of gas at $2-$3 per gallon, wear and tear or rental fees, and parking. Parking at Port Canaveral for the duration of a cruise can cost more than $100 by itself, and you are still parking at your own risk. What if something happens to the car while you are enjoying your cruise? That can really be a downer when you arrive back in port.
To Sum Up
We hope this has been helpful for new cruisers and seasoned travelers alike. Choosing the right cruise, arriving relaxed, and arranging for private cruise transportation will help ensure your cruising vacation is all you dream it to be.