When taking a cruise departing from the Port of Miami it can often be much less expensive to fly into the Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL). While this trick works for many people I was hesitant to try it with my son who is a wheelchair user not knowing how reliable the accessible transportation options would be. I was assured by many people that we wouldn’t have any problems and it turned out they were absolutely right. We flew into FLL and made our way successfully to the Port of Miami the next morning without a hitch.
The Plan of Attack
Coming from Denver there is almost no way to fly into the Miami area in time to board a cruise with a little time safety buffer so we opted to fly in the afternoon before. We flew our second favorite airline, Southwest. Southwest has always been a good option for us because wheelchair users typically have access to the front row seats which negates the need for an aisle chair transfer.
Upon arrival at FLL we called the hotel, Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale Airport North Cruise Port, which operates a free shuttle service that has an accessible vehicle. Within 15 minutes our shuttle had picked us up and we were on the way to the hotel. Unfortunately our driver took off so fast that he did not buckle the chair in, which is a major safety hazard but my husband and older son were able to hang on to him and it was a short, mostly slow drive. In hindsight, I should have had him pull over and engage the safety locks. My fault for not being more assertive but, quite frankly, I was a little shocked and kept thinking, well, he must know something I don’t. Besides that incident we were happy with the hotel and the rooms accessibility and if you want more details you can read my review on Trip Advisor. The hotel does advise that you make sure and let them know that you need the accessible shuttle in advance as not all of theirs are.
The next morning I called to confirm the Transportation I had reserved from Yellow Cab would be arriving and was accessible. Thankfully some little voice in my head told me to check. Our reservation was in the system but not noted as accessible despite being booked that way two weeks prior. The customer service agent was able to fix it in her system though and right at 11:00 am on the dot our accessible taxi arrived and delivered us to the Port of Miami by 11:45 am. If using Yellow Cab make sure to make a prior reservation and call the morning of to check on it.
Despite the $80 taxi ride for our family of four and the overnight stay, we still saved significantly on the travel to our cruise and had the peace of mind of plenty of time to buffer flight delays. We were able to be one of he first to board the Celebrity Constellation at 12:30 and were in our rooms, changed into our suits and back to the pool to start happily start our vacation within an hour after that proving accessibly traveling to the Port of Miami via FLL really is a breeze.