Allow at least a full day for the journey there, and another full day for the journey back. It is a long way, although the roads are very good. Some parts of your journey will be on toll roads, but they are not expensive, and you will not take as long to get there, than if you try the back roads.
We as a family did this a few years ago - our advise is to allow PLENTY of time to drive down - it can be VERY VERY confusing owing to the road systems in Miami.
We allowed 6 hours for the trip but found we only just reached the Miami airport car drop off point(still had to be transported to the ship)and needless to say only just made it before the ship sailed.Not for the faint hearted.
Hi there,My name is james and have been to Florida several times.The journy down from the Kissimmee area will take around 5 hrs depenfding on traffic.One way of getting there would be to go down the Florida turnpike.(toll road) This takes you vertualy into Miami.Follow signes for the port or Biscayne. Parking is around $10 per day and is 200 yrds from Carnivals check in desk.Another way is to go down the night before and stay overnight on biscayn blv (5 mins) from port.Over the road from most hotels (around the £52.00 per room)is the bay of biscayne marina which has loads of shops and eateries(cheap)and usualy have live music and events (again free)This can make sense as the drive down can be tiresum.Hope this helps James.ANy more questions jamescleghorn @yahoo.co.
Been there Feb07 of this year and done 2 back on back cruises with Carnival Line. It will take you all of 6hrs with a pit stop and a little time for getting lost and Taxi time to the "Port", the car hire companies are "off airport" and with the road works around them it will take a little finding. Try to hire a car [no drop off fees are allowed in the state of Miami] that offers a shuttle service to the "Port" of Miami, failing that, you ask when dropping off the hire car for them to call you a cab, approx $15+tip [metered ride]. If you intend to keep the car parked up at the port you will have to contact Carnival who have facilities at the "Port". Carnival Line even though the ship ratings are low, generaly 3.5 star, are fantastic value for money and the State room Menue is great, on board food a little on the warm side, but that seems to be the way of things on American Ships, that being said, I was on Royal Caribean the other week [July] and the dining room food was hot, but that was 5 Star.
Gurantee you will have a great time, ps keep away from the Body/Hair Salon unless you have lots of dosh, price may start at one thing, but it ends up, way over the top!
Remember nothing in life is free.
Yes ,we have done this many times,only sailing with RCCL, We normally , drive down the moterway, forget the name but you can get free local maps to see its number,book a hotel the night before in Miami, then drop the retial car thats nearest to the port, get the courtsy bus to the ship.
We have been cruising with Carnival since 1992 - our youngest was 3, eldest 10. You have made a great choice. The childrens team of Camp Carnival are brilliant. Like you we have many times flown into Orlando and then driven down to Miami. The journey takes a while and with children you may want to stop a few times so leave early and allow plenty of time. If possible, go the day before and stay overnight in Miami. If you go to a Tourist Information Office in Orlando they will be able to help you to find a hotel in Miami for the night. Because you only want the one night at short notice you can often get big discounts. The Florida Trunpike makes the whole journey quite easy although when you turn onto it and the GPS system says "Drive 189 miles" it does sound daunting. If you don't have a GPS in your hire car please don't panic. Naturally Miami is very well signposted, as is the port when you get closer. As you get very close to the port you do have to travel through an area that shows signs of poverty. It's not really what you expect of the USA but lets face it we have some downtrodden areas in the UK too. I only mention it because the first time we went my husband thought we must have made a bad turn and was very worried, but if you carry on following the signs you come to the port area. I know that in recent years they have made lots of imrpovements to the area so you may find that the area I've described isn't there anymore. All of the ship information will say that you can start boarding about 1pm but we have always arrived earlier and have never had any problems at all. I guarantee you will have a wonderful time. Have Fun! Gin.
Dont take kids on cruises it spoils it for other.
We have stayed in orlando then went to miami for ship give youself plenty of time we could not find our way to car hire to get rid of car its a nightmare in miami so go to airport and follow airort bus which takes ppeaople to hire car thenyou willbe fine have a great tri.
James in the first post is correct, use the turnpike toll road all the way to Miami, then folow the port signs. It's a good 4to 5 hour journey.
I have been on 3 Carnival cruises, from Tampa and Port Canaveral, which are handy if you are staying in Orlando.
That said, checking in wise, make sure you complete the Carnival 'passport' on line with all of your information, that will help a smooth check in. At the port a porter takes your luggage - at Tampa they expect a dollar or two tip per bag, at port canaveral you are not expected to tip as they are on a payroll, but I tipped as well! They let you on the ship around 13.00 hrs onwards, but your cabin may not be ready, so go and check first, failing that you just have to bum around with you hand luggage.
The Carnival cruise experience is very good and as you would expect, they have it down to a fine art. The food is very good and the entertainment is TOPS. Not sure on your ship, but we went on one of the new mega ships from tampa and it was amazing! There are mostly American's on board and they are a nice bunch of people to get along with, compared to some Brits I know!
One minor niggle: On the last morning as you disembark the ship ALL international guests have to go to see the American customs people and go through getting your passport stamped again! They do not fingerprint or take a picture of you though. On our last 3 trips we had to report to the customs people at 06:00!! Yep, If you don't they will knock on your cabin door or tannoy you. They have to 'process' non Americans first before they let anyone off the ship, as they tell you several times. So set your alarm clock!
Have a fun time.
My advice would be to think carefully, espescialy with children, It is along drive, almost 300 miles, and the road signing is notoriously poor.