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Our FLL-MIA-FLL experience with two kids & Dollar rental


newcruiser08820
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Ok… original plan was renting the car in FLL for a week, drive to Miami, park at the port, drive back after cruise. Price would be $ 248 for week rental + $ 120 park in the port = $ 368.

All this changed when we got to the Dollar counter at FLL. The nice guy said there is no reason to keep the car for a week if we can just rent for one day before the cruise and for one day after cruise. My reason for the original plan was that we don’t have to deal with transfers, waiting for the shuttle buses. I was willing to pay extra for convenience while traveling with two kids (6 & 13) and one suites case and 3 carry ones. Well… my husband wanted to change this plan and go with what counter guy at Dollar suggested. So here what we did.

Before cruise FLL to MIA

Picked up at car at FLL for a day $ 61. Drove to Miami (about 40 min with no traffic) then another 45 min to Shark Valley (Everglades) for tram tours. Unfortunately, tour was in the late afternoon and we only saw 1 alligator. Seems they come out of the water during winter months because water colder and air warmer. Back to the MIA area to Marriot Residence Inn. Very nice. We had 2 bedroom suite. Very comfy and great breakfast. Wish we stayed longer. We also made a reservation for the car after cruise while in the hotel (so week in advance). Next morning dropped off car in MIA airport and picked up shuttle to the cruise port. No wait at all. Shuttle only about 10 min. At cruise port around 10 am

After cruise (flew home the same day) MIA to FLL

Shuttle picked us up (waited around 15 min). Picked up the car around 10am. Cost $ 51 for a day. Drove to FLL about 30 min right to Everglades again. This time to Everglades Holiday park for airboat tour. This went better as we saw 3 alligators swimming in the water. A little show after the boat ride. About 2.5 hours here. Then drove another 30 min FLL airport. Dropped the car. Plane left without delay at 5.30 to EWR.

So original plan $ 368

Actually rental $ 112

No problem with Dollar shuttle busses, waiting time.

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Ok… original plan was renting the car in FLL for a week, drive to Miami, park at the port, drive back after cruise. Price would be $ 248 for week rental + $ 120 park in the port = $ 368.

All this changed when we got to the Dollar counter at FLL. The nice guy said there is no reason to keep the car for a week if we can just rent for one day before the cruise and for one day after cruise. My reason for the original plan was that we don’t have to deal with transfers, waiting for the shuttle buses. I was willing to pay extra for convenience while traveling with two kids (6 & 13) and one suites case and 3 carry ones. Well… my husband wanted to change this plan and go with what counter guy at Dollar suggested. So here what we did.

Before cruise FLL to MIA

Picked up at car at FLL for a day $ 61. Drove to Miami (about 40 min with no traffic) then another 45 min to Shark Valley (Everglades) for tram tours. Unfortunately, tour was in the late afternoon and we only saw 1 alligator. Seems they come out of the water during winter months because water colder and air warmer. Back to the MIA area to Marriot Residence Inn. Very nice. We had 2 bedroom suite. Very comfy and great breakfast. Wish we stayed longer. We also made a reservation for the car after cruise while in the hotel (so week in advance). Next morning dropped off car in MIA airport and picked up shuttle to the cruise port. No wait at all. Shuttle only about 10 min. At cruise port around 10 am

After cruise (flew home the same day) MIA to FLL

Shuttle picked us up (waited around 15 min). Picked up the car around 10am. Cost $ 51 for a day. Drove to FLL about 30 min right to Everglades again. This time to Everglades Holiday park for airboat tour. This went better as we saw 3 alligators swimming in the water. A little show after the boat ride. About 2.5 hours here. Then drove another 30 min FLL airport. Dropped the car. Plane left without delay at 5.30 to EWR.

So original plan $ 368

Actually rental $ 112

No problem with Dollar shuttle busses, waiting time.

 

Good info to know. I am considering the same plan, but was unsure of where to drop off car in Miami. To be clear, Dollar Rental, provided shuttles to and from Miami airport?

 

Thank much

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One more question, please. By chance did you drive thru the port and drop off your luggage before returning car?

 

Thanks much, again :}

 

I would not suggest this. Figure 15 or so minutes to drive from POM to MIA, plus time to top off the tank and turn the car in, then wiat for the bus (could be quick, could be a while), then another 15 or som inute bus ride to POM -- your family could be waiting for you for an hour or more.

 

Easier, IMHO, to drive everyone to MIA, drop the car, and then everyone rides the shuttle bus to POM together. We have done this with National (Alamo and Thrifty also offer shuttles to POM).

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Good info to know. I am considering the same plan, but was unsure of where to drop off car in Miami. To be clear, Dollar Rental, provided shuttles to and from Miami airport?

 

Thank much

yes, in MIA after we dropped off the car, shuttle was already there. We were early so it was just us in the shuttle. There was small issue, I forgot to mention. They not suppose to charge " different airport drop off fee" which is $ 10. So we had to go to the service desk to have this reversed. They did right away. Shuttle ride about 10 min to the port.

After cruise, shuttle stops right outside the terminal. Waited about 15 min. First shuttle came full. There were 5 ships in the port. Our was second to last to arrive. Meaning second stop for pick up. Second shuttle , in about 5 min, was empty. Another less then 10 ride to the MIA airport. The line to pick up the car was a little longer then I wish ( about 30-40 min). So we left cabin around 8.30 and pick up the car at 10 am. Dropped off in FLL . This time they did not charge us drop off fee. So we went right to the terminal.

 

Just to be clear. BEFORE CRUISE

Shuttle from MIA airport to Miami cruise port after we dropped off the car ( which we rented in FLL)

AFTER the CRUISE . Shuttle from Miami cruise port to MIA airport ONLY because we were renting the car again ( to get back to FLL) Bus driver asked for confirmation.

Edited by newcruiser08820
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I have always gotten great customer service at that Thrifty/Dollar location too. A reason to use them if the price is right for your particular dates.

When I was researching for my origina plan, Dollar was the cheapens. I rebooked few times as price went down. Cheapest was few days before cruise.

Also if booking throug AAA it's a little bit cheaper then direct.

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Was it difficult/inconvenient to drive to MIA then take the auto rental shuttle to the Port of Miami? Seems out of the way, plus waiting in line, etc... but you didn't seem to mind.

 

Was the shuttle between the MIA auto rental area to the Port of Miami FREE? We were told it was free even if using a different company like Enterprise -- who told us that we can use the National/Alamo free shuttle to Port of Miami.... that it is an agreement they have or something.

 

Thanks!

 

We also thought about renting a car for the whole time and paying to park at the port... going from Ft. Lauderdale Airport to Lauderdale Beach (3 days) then to the Port of Miami, then to Ft. Lauderdale Airport when the ship returns. Our flight does not leave until 6:30pm so lots of time to find something to do the day the ship returns.

 

It would be convenient to just have the rental care in the Port Garage ready for us. But it's definitely cheaper to just rent a car before and after the cruise.

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Thanks for sharing. I will be doing something similar as well. Currently booked with Hertz but they don't want to answer phones as I have questions about shuttles to POM. So thinking about changing.

 

Want to check out the Everglades as well, but could only do half a day. So you would you recommended doing the airboat over the tram ride at Shark Valley?

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Was it difficult/inconvenient to drive to MIA then take the auto rental shuttle to the Port of Miami? Seems out of the way, plus waiting in line, etc... but you didn't seem to mind.

 

Was the shuttle between the MIA auto rental area to the Port of Miami FREE? We were told it was free even if using a different company like Enterprise -- who told us that we can use the National/Alamo free shuttle to Port of Miami.... that it is an agreement they have or something.

 

Thanks!

 

We also thought about renting a car for the whole time and paying to park at the port... going from Ft. Lauderdale Airport to Lauderdale Beach (3 days) then to the Port of Miami, then to Ft. Lauderdale Airport when the ship returns. Our flight does not leave until 6:30pm so lots of time to find something to do the day the ship returns.

 

It would be convenient to just have the rental care in the Port Garage ready for us. But it's definitely cheaper to just rent a car before and after the cruise.

Yes, it was a " lot of action" but totally no problem. Everything went smoothly. Shuttle free. Hardly any wait if any. It was cheaper to fly to FLL for family of four. We always fly day before so we had opportunity to do something else before cruise. Also 5.30 pm flight was much cheAper then 1. 30 pm flight. So plenty fine in between. So with the car we had options what to do. I would probably go with that plan to begin with but I did not know about free shuttles provided by rentals until I reach the counter.

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Thanks for sharing. I will be doing something similar as well. Currently booked with Hertz but they don't want to answer phones as I have questions about shuttles to POM. So thinking about changing.

 

Want to check out the Everglades as well, but could only do half a day. So you would you recommended doing the airboat over the tram ride at Shark Valley?

Depends on the season. I thought it would be cool see alligators laying outside while riding the tram. But per guide, they come out when water gets cooler. So far water still in 80s. So sometimes between December and March. Kids loved airboat. Tram was boring for them.

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If this helps any, that is exactly how we do all our trips. All the big rental companies have free shuttle from MIA airport to Miami cruiseport. All of the shuttles are lined up on the upper level and the only time we had to wait was waiting inside the shuttle for 10 minutes to wait for more people. No more showed up so we left. I would imagine you might have to wait for a second shuttle if you showed up at THE busiest time, but the wait shouldn't be longer than 15 minutes. None of the shuttles asked for proof of rental. I would guess you could jump in any of them whether you rent a car or not. We rent from Dollar so got on the Dollar shuttle. Just know that Dollar was bought out so you can take the Dollar/Thrifty or their parent company, Hertz, shuttle with no worries.

 

There is plenty of room for your bags on the shuttle. There is no hassle to take them. There IS a lot of extra effort to drop them off at the port then go back to the airport to take the shuttle. If you absolutely don't want to take your bags on the shuttle, consider dropping your car off and taking your luggage down to the baggage claim area at the Miami airport and checking in at the Carnival desk. You can get your S&S and complete your check in, plus leave your luggage at the airport. Then head up to the rental shuttles.

 

Rental cars are so convenient now, especially if you get their membership cards, I consider this to be an excellent, flexible, and inexpensive way to get from FLL to MIA especially if you have a few people in your party. It's nice to be able to stop a few places (like to pick up a few 12 packs of Cherry Pepsi) and go shopping or whatever that a shuttle service doesn't do.

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Currently booked with Hertz but they don't want to answer phones as I have questions about shuttles to POM. So thinking about changing.

 

Ask here and see if someone can help you. If your question is about available times, we have been there as early as 9:45 and there were shuttles up there waiting. They start running pretty early to pick people up from the ship. The earliest we have seen them at the cruiseport was 8am, because that was the earliest we ever left the ship. The latest we have taken a shuttle back to the airport was 2:30pm and there were plenty still dropping people off at the ship.

 

We normally take Dollar, but last trip was Enterprise. None have every asked for proof of rental, so no special paperwork was necessary to take the shuttle.

 

I will add that calling the local rental office has always been a problem. They don't like to answer the phone!

 

EDIT TO ADD: I called Hertz and they do NOT offer a shuttle from the airport. You CAN drop the car off at the 2nd Street location and they have free shuttle to the PORT. They said to call the 800 number to switch your reservation.

Edited by Davey Wavey
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Ask here and see if someone can help you. If your question is about available times, we have been there as early as 9:45 and there were shuttles up there waiting. They start running pretty early to pick people up from the ship. The earliest we have seen them at the cruiseport was 8am, because that was the earliest we ever left the ship. The latest we have taken a shuttle back to the airport was 2:30pm and there were plenty still dropping people off at the ship.

 

We normally take Dollar, but last trip was Enterprise. None have every asked for proof of rental, so no special paperwork was necessary to take the shuttle.

 

I will add that calling the local rental office has always been a problem. They don't like to answer the phone!

 

EDIT TO ADD: I called Hertz and they do NOT offer a shuttle from the airport. You CAN drop the car off at the 2nd Street location and they have free shuttle to the PORT. They said to call the 800 number to switch your reservation.

 

I was actually surprised that driver asked for rental confirmation. Maybe because it was 5 ships at the port and they did not want to pick up people who just wanted a ride to the airport without rental.

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