Myriad ships dock at Port Everglades to embark cruise guests -- just a stone's throw from downtown Fort Lauderdale and its beaches. *
Sun and Fun Await
Port Everglades Cruisers
By Lizz Dinnigan
Port Everglades is a dynamic South Florida cruise port that's conveniently adjacent to Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (www.broward.org/airport). The port offers prolific itinerary options as more than 40 ships from 14 lines berth at the port annually.
A huge chunk of South Florida's five million residents are avid cruisers and sail from Port Everglades on a regular basis. In addition, many travelers headed for a Caribbean cruise take flights into the nearby airport from across the U.S. and even overseas.
South Florida Locale
Port Everglades is not actually within the Everglades wetland ecosystem, as its name implies. But it's very close.
Actually, the port lies within the city boundaries of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Dania Beach on the southeastern coast of Florida in Broward County.
But cruisers who wish to enjoy "tall grasses" Everglades airboat rides need only head west in the same county for several eco-options.
In addition, Port Everglades is close to the beaches of Greater Fort Lauderdale. It's also just 23 miles north of Miami.
In 2005, Port Everglades experienced 5,900 ship calls and 3.8 million passengers, with 7 million expected by 2020.
With such high cruise traffic, the port is adding a 12th fully dedicated cruise terminal to be completed no later than 2008.
At left, a Royal Caribbean ship is shown towering above swaying palm trees at a Port Everglades cruise terminal.*
More terminal facilities are on the drawing board. Terminal 27 is set to be reconfigured with a longer berth position added.
In the future, it's possible there might be an elevated, programmable people-mover that would transport cruisers from the airport to the port, and vice versa. It's on the drawing board, but no launch date is yet available.
The port's 12 existing terminals have air-conditioned waiting areas with snack bars and restrooms, expansive baggage claim areas, covered walkways, elevator/escalator access and, in most cases, a hydraulic-powered covered passenger loading bridge.
Cruising from Port Everglades
Costa Cruises is one of many cruise lines sailing regularly from Port Everglades.*
Cruise lines with overnight voyages that either embark or disembark at Port Everglades this year or in early 2008 include:
- Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Legend and Carnival Liberty
- Celebrity Cruises: Constellation, Millennium, Infinity and Summit
- Costa Cruises: Costa Magica, Costa Mediterranea and Costa Fortuna (starting in November 2007)
- Cunard Line: Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2
- Discovery Cruise Line: Discovery Sun
- Holland America Line: Amsterdam, Prinsendam, Maasdam, Volendam, Westerdam, Zuiderdam and Noordam
- Imperial Majesty Cruises: Regal Empress
- MSC Cruises USA: MSC Lirica and MSC Opera
- Princess Cruises: Coral Princess, Caribbean Princess, Sea Princess, Star Princess, Sun Princess, Emerald Princess (starting in October 2007) and Royal Princess (starting in December 2007)
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Navigator and Seven Seas Voyager
- Royal Caribbean International: Enchantment of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas (starting in November 2007)
- SeaEscape Cruises: Island Adventure
- Seabourn Cruise Line: Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Pride
- Silversea Cruises: Silver Shadow
To access the port, cruisers should take I-595, which connects to U.S. 1, I-95, State Road 7 (441), I-75, the Florida Turnpike and Sawgrass Expressway. For the best directions, visit (www.broward.org/port/maps.htm).
There are two secure, well-lit parking facilities: one for the three Northport terminals (1, 2 and 4) and one for the nine Midport terminals (18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 29).
Northport Garage has 2,500 spaces, Midport Garage has 2,000 and there are another 120 spaces at Terminal 29.
There are efficient pick-up and drop-off ramps.
The Seabourn Pride, at left, sails from Port Everglades at sunset.*
Short-term parking fees are $2 for up to one hour and $5 for one to five hours.
Daily rates for long-term visitor parking are $12; $15 for oversize vehicles. Spaces are on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not accepted.
In at least one of the garages, neither credit cards nor checks are accepted -- so be sure to have enough cash to pay for the parking when returning from your cruise.
Shuttle service brings travelers to distant terminals (18 and 29). There is also vehicle-to-ship porter service for baggage.
Taxis from the airport to the port cost about $10.
Seeing the Sights
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has a brochure -- usually available at cruise terminals -- that explains the attractions that cruisers might take a cab to see. Sample cab fares are also given.
Generally, for a taxi from the port to downtown Fort Lauderdale, expect to pay about $18, depending on your destination.
Stroll over to the 22-block Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District (www.goriverwalk.com), a partially enclosed, meandering shopping, dining and entertainment complex that winds long the New River.
Among the riverside attractions? The museum in Old Fort Lauderdale Village, the oldest area of the city, is shown above; it features superb photos of the destination from the past as well as artifacts and other historic fare.*
Nearby is Las Olas Boulevard (www.lasolasboulevard.com), with its upscale shopping and sidewalk cafes.
If you'd rather soak up some rays, sample cab fares to area beaches might range from $11 to $16 for a 25-minute ride. Once there, beach bums can soak up the sun along Fort Lauderdale’s beach promenade with its white wave wall and brick paved path. Beachplace across the street has eclectic dining and shopping.
For More Information
Cruise Port Telephone: 954-523-3404
Cruise Port Web: www.broward.org/port
Local Tourist Information: www.sunny.org
Queen Mary 2 sails into Port Everglades.*
Lizz Dinnigan is a freelance writer and copy editor for SouthernTravelNews.com™ and SouthernCruising.com™. She is the former associate editor - cruise for Travel Agent Magazine, a major national weekly trade publication.
*Photos are owned, copyrighted and used courtesy of Port Everglades or Susan J. Young. All rights reserved. Do not copy nor link to these photos. Thank you.