Why go to Miami?
Miami offers tons of dining, nightlife, art and activities for pre- or post-cruise stays
The port itself is not located near downtown areas and taxi drivers can be pushy for cash fares
A huge variety of cruise ships sail from Miami, and the city easily accommodates extended stays
Miami Cruise Port Facilities?
Bayside Marketplace -- like Boston's Fanueil Hall and Baltimore's Harborplace, this shopping mall/dining center, which lies on the waterfront is a 15-minute walk along Caribbean Way from the port, offers plenty of diversion for a short Miami pit-stop. The center features services such as ATM's, coat/package check, taxis, valet parking and wheelchair rental. Tour boats and fishing charters can be arranged here, too.
Adjacent to the south, the Mildred and Claude Pepper Bayfront Park includes a memorial to the Challenger astronauts. The 32-acre park includes a small sand beach, a tropical rock garden and waterfall, a cascading fountain and a light tower. Other monuments honor World War II veterans, Christopher Columbus and other dignitaries.
Good to Know?
Theft from motor vehicles is fairly common, as in most large cities. Don't leave valuables within view in rental cars. Also, if you're renting a car to drive around Miami, avoid arguing with other drivers and road rage. As with any city, don't walk around by yourself late at night. Finally, beautiful people abound in Miami, and particularly Miami Beach. Skip the muffin and take the stairs before your visit.
On Foot: Miami is such a sprawling city that aside from port-related activities and the Bayside shopping center you'll either need to rent a car or rely on taxis to explore.
Taxis: Line up at the dock.
Renting a Car: At this point in time there are no car rental companies with offices at the pier proper. Nearly all will pick up and drop off at the port. Logistically it makes a great deal of sense to use an operator with facilities close to the port to avoid the traffic, crowds and hassle connected with going to the airport for car rentals. The major players, the location of the renting office, and their numbers to call for pick up and/or reservations are: Alamo (Airport, 305-633-6076); Avis (99 Southeast 2nd Street, 305-379-1317); Budget (Airport, 305-871-2722); Dollar (Airport, 305-894-5021); Enterprise (400 SE 2nd Ave.,305- 379-3003); Hertz (354 Southeast 1st Street, 786-425-2515); National (2301 NW 33rd Ave., 305-638-1026); Thrifty (1520 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-604-9827).
Hertz has regular shuttle service from Port of Miami terminals to their rental office, every half-hour, Wednesday through Monday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Keep in mind that off-airport car rentals are often cheaper than at the airport.