With thousands of passengers planning to travel into Orlando International Airport to catch a sun-filled cruise out of Port Canaveral, there’s no secret you as the traveler want two things: a great vacation and as less stress as possible. You’ve planned practically everything to a tee; cruise line check, airline check and if you decide to snooze before your cruise, hotel check. All that’s left is, “How am I supposed to get from Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral?”
You start sifting through trusted sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, only to come across posts like… “DON’T EVER USE THEM! THEY ARE THE WORST TRANSPORTATION COMPANY IN THE UNIVERSE!” You instantly go into panic mode and wonder what you should do. Well don’t worry too much. To make it as simple as possible, you have two options: rent a car or find a reputable company to drive you.
That may sound simple but there is a lot to mull over. Here are the no-nonsense factors to help you determine the best option for you.
Renting a Car
With slogans like “we’ll pick you up” and “go like a pro”, renting a car has become a solid option for travelers between the Orlando International Airport and Port Canaveral. Here are the top 3 reasons why.
First, all the major rental car companies are reputable and want to provide you with great service. They are responsive when issues arise and are available 365 days a year; J.D. Power and Associates currently ranks Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National and Alamo in the top three.
Second, these “big name” rental car companies are on-site at the Orlando International Airport. Plus, they’ll throw in a free shuttle ride to Port Canaveral, which is about 4 miles away, after you have dropped off your rental car at their location in Cape Canaveral.
Finally, since it is only about 50 miles from the Orlando International Airport to a rental office in Cape Canaveral, you’ll only pay about 2-3 gallons in gas and a few dollars in tolls. Before you hop in your rental car though, there are a couple of caveats to consider.
First is the wait time, both at the Orlando International Airport and Port Canaveral cruise terminals; it’s not uncommon to experience long lines at the rental counters. However, it’s not so bad waiting at the Orlando International Airport, especially since you’re inside with air conditioning, but waiting at the cruise terminals for your rental company’s free shuttle back to the rental office is a beast. Though they have multiple shuttles coming every 1/2 hour to pick people up from the cruise terminals, there are a lot of people to pick up. That being the case, it’s typical to wait 30+ minutes to be picked up from the cruise terminal, and in the summer, which is most of the year in Florida, it’s hot! Once you’re at the rental office, plan to have patience as the rental agents do their best to handle the crowd.
The second downside is often price and charge cards requirements. After purchasing insurance coverages, upgrade fees, additional driver fees, underage driver fees, plus gas and toll options, GPS, car seats etc. the price can jump. And if you’re unsure of what the fees and rules are on deposits for debit cards and credit cards, make sure to get informed.
After considering the three upsides and two downsides, you can now make a simple and informed choice whether renting a car is the best option for you.
Choosing a Vehicle for Hire
Your second option is finding a shuttle, taxi or limo service that you feel good about. There are at least two upsides to this option.
First, you don’t have to drive. After the flight and especially after your cruise, you’re probably exhausted and just want to relax. There are no lines to wait in, just hop on and go. That’s a great feeling when you’re on vacation!
The second upside is price. Once you book your shuttle or limo, you know what you’re paying. Everything is baked in the total price and since it’s a direct, 46 mile transfer from MCO to Port Canaveral, the prices are very competitive when compared with car rental companies, and at times, less expensive.
Choosing a vehicle for hire also has it’s downsides. First, the online reservation process is often confusing and from the start you begin to feel the “needle in the haystack” effect with so many companies vying for your business.
Second, for ones “on the go”, booking online seems lengthy and at times you’re asked to email for pricing, which further delays the process. And though charges are not “hidden”, there are often additional fees to consider such as toll fees, baggage fees, car seat fees, etc. before making a final decision on which transportation company to use. Also, make sure to inquire how the transportation company handles flight delays and what are their terms and conditions regarding cancellations.
Another downside is reliability and credibility. After reading through hundreds of online reviews, it’s easy to see a trend. It’s not uncommon to hear of travelers being left stranded, credit cards charged double, with companies refusing to provide refunds, not to mention travelers having to deal with unprofessional drivers, dirty vehicles and other negative experiences.
Now to be fair, there are a handful of companies who work hard to deliver consistent & professional service and we give kudos to those. The bottom line is, you have to follow the timeless adage, “Buyer Beware”.
To help you find a reputable and credible shuttle company, here are top tips to ask yourself:
- Is the website and online process simple and straight to the point?
- When you call, are the phone representatives courteous, professional, knowledgeable about their field and willing to help you even if it doesn’t mean using their service?
- What is the overall view of the company from reputable online review sites? Look for companies with strong reviews.
- Is the “cheapest” company really right for me? The companies that offers the “cheapest” rates usually come with a big, red warning sign and the high priced companies don’t always mean the highest level of service. Instead, look for the companies that are priced in the middle and follow the three steps above.
A great vacation of a thousand miles begins with one click and we hope this click to our site helps you on your journey.
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Cruises Departing From Port Canaveral in 2015
Carnival Cruise Lines
Disney Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas
Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas
Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas