Port Canaveral Shuttle Transport options

Port Canaveral Shuttle Transport options

Some cruise passengers prefer commercial shuttle transportation rather than renting cars. They can sit back and let others take care of driving! Fortunately, there are many options to choose from and this page list them all! We also offer cost comparisons and pros/cons to help you make a decision.

TIP – Orlando Airport does not offer baggage storage services but you can contact HoldMyLuggage.com – a small company based in Orlando. Two bags -= $35 and so on. Orlando Baggage Storage is another offering similar services and somewhat cheaper.

There are several transportation options and I will compare them here:

  1. Cruise Line Buses – Operated by the cruise lines and their partners
  2. Shared Shuttle Van Services – Operated by 3rd-party commercial companies
  3. Private Shuttle Van Services – Operated by 3rd-party commercial companies
  4. Private Limousine/sedan/taxi Services – Operated by 3rd-party commercial companies
  5. Uber  or Lyft – UberSelect pickup is on level 1 at the Express Pickup Tunnel next to the rental car counters. Lyft and Lyft Plus, UberX and UberXL pickup is curbside on level 2 Arrivals near baggage claim.
  6. Value-add Service Companies – Acting as agents for local transportation operators, these companies can book any type of transport for you needs. They do not own the vehicles or employ drivers.
  7. Hotel Shuttle Services– Fly, Snooze & Cruise Packages operated by hotels and their partners. The port hotels outsource to 3rd-party shuttle services such as Cocoa Beach Shuttle, 888-transportation, etc. I discuss hotel shuttles in a different section – Hotel Information here.
  8. Rental Cars– I discuss rental car options in a different section – Rental Car Information here.

Port Canaveral cruisers arrive from different areas:

  • Orlando – all options are available
  • Sanford – Cruise line buses not available. Use shuttles, limousines or rental cars
  • Melbourne – Cruise Line buses not available. Use shuttles, limousines or rental cars
  • Orlando Airport hotels – Shuttles and taxis available
  • Disney World and other Theme Parks – Disney Cruise Line buses (Disney) and shuttles/taxis available

 

1. Orlando Airport – Ground Transportation

The process is very simple with many signs and manned info stations to assist  you.

MCO-Transport-Signs
MCO-Transport-Signs

 

MCO-Transport Signs
MCO-Transport Signs

Domestic arrivals – make your way down to the baggage claim area. International arrivals  – look for cruise line representatives after customs:

If you booked a rental car, take the escalator or elevator down one more level and look for the transportation signage boards to find the rental desk.

If you booked a cruise line bus, look for representatives from your cruise line who roam the area with colorful shirt (red, yellow, blue, etc) and clipboards. They will direct you to the cruise line desks one floor down in the same area as the rental car desks.

If you did not book a cruise line bus or rental car, take the escalator or elevator down one more level (same area as the rental car desks) and look for the transportation signage boards. The parking spaces outside are numbered and you can see which spaces are assigned to taxis and out-of-town shuttles including hotel shuttles. Step outside the building and look for the applicable space to find your choice of transport.

Cruise Line Buses

After you checked in at the desks (generally open around 9:30am) and received your boarding number and time, you will find the cruise line buses lined up outside the doors. You can wait inside or outside in the designated waiting areas. Bus transfers generally start at 10am and waiting time is 20-30 minutes between runs but they prefer to depart only when FULL. Transfers take about 60 minutes and last transfer departs around 2:30pm.

The benefits of cruise line buses are:

~ You get to meet fellow cruisers – enlarging your on-board social circle before arrival!
~ Disney bus looks like fun and kids love it!
~ It is the “safest” transfer – no hassles or worries about drivers not showing up, getting lost in rental cars, etc.
~ Affordable if only 1 or 2 in your party – but shared shuttles cost about the same!
~ Small bathroom on board.

The negatives of cruise line buses are:

~ Large crowds (55 per bus) arriving at the same time at the port
~ Waiting times and slower transfers
~ Expensive when more than 2 passengers in your family
~ Do not forget the 10% tip for the driver if courteous.

Information for each cruise line:

1. Carnival Cruises – $36 per person each way. Last supported flight into Orlando at 1:30pm and first from Orlando at 12:50pm.

Carnival Bus to Port Canaveral
Carnival Bus to Port Canaveral

2. Disney Cruises – $35 per person each way, children under 3 is free. Last supported flight into Orlando at 1:45pm and first from Orlando at 11:30pm. With special tags on your luggage you can skip luggage claim at Orlando (after customs for international flights) and proceed to the Disney check-in desk. Your luggage will be delivered to your stateroom.

Disney Bus to Port Canaveral
Disney Bus to Port Canaveral

 

Disney Magical Express
Disney Magical Express – To the WDW Resorts, NOT Port Canaveral!

Upon arrival you will be allowed to enter the terminal when the bus gets to the Port. Remember, your boarding number that you get when you check in at the terminal is tied to the Port Arrival Time (PAT) you selected during booking. You will receive the same boarding number, regardless of what time you actually check in. Earlier PAT = lower boarding number.

Ship boarding begins around 11:30am.

If you are going to the Magic Kingdom after your cruise, you set your bags outside your cabin and gather them in the terminal before customs. After customs you hand the bags to the driver of your bus going to the Resorts. The bus will drop you at your resort hotel (it may stop at several along the way) where you hand your bags to the bell service. You check-in at the resort and can be at the Kingdom entrance between 11am and 11:30am! Not bad!

If you depart from a Magic Kingdom hotel:

  • About 75 days out, go online to tell Disney Cruise Lines which Resort you will be staying and the transfer needed.
  • About 60 days out you will receive a blue booklet from Disney with your luggage tags. Take a good look at those and do not confuse the different tags! There will be tags for Magical Express to the Resorts from Orlando Airport. And there will be tags for Disney Cruise Lines from the Resort to the Ship.
  • When you arrive at Orlando Airport, your luggage is handled by the Magical Express bus system using the first set of tags. The Magical Express bus takes you to your resort.
  • The night before your cruise, you will receive a letter in the room (around 7pm) telling you when to have your luggage ready (usually a porter picks it around 8am from your room) and the time/place of your DCL bus pickup (usually the lobby between 11am and 11:30am) where staff will be on hand to assist you. You cannot request a time!  TIP – Make sure you use the correct DCL tags and you’ve kept everything you NEED out of those bags, and keep your carry-on bags well away from the checked bags if you are not in the room at pickup time. Swimsuits, medications, passports, sunscreen…the things you need for that first day, should all be in your carry-on.
  • When the bus arrives your ID will be checked. After you boarded the bus, expect 2 or 3 more stops at nearby resorts then a 1.5 hour drive to Port Canaveral. You can expect to arrive between 12:30pm and 1:30pm. Your luggage will appear in your cabin later the afternoon (around 4pm)
  • On the ship you will get new tags in your cabin the night before disembarking. Then porters meet you at the bottom of the escalators and assist you (they have carts) through customs and to the DCL bus. The buses going to Resorts depart no earlier than at 9am. Airport buses may depart earlier when full.

If you want to arrive earlier it is best to book private transportation or rent a vehicle.

TIP – Disney can handle your luggage ($25 for 6 bags) even when using private transportation. Just contact Disney Embarkation Services to make arrangements.

4. Disney’s Minnie Van Service – Starting September 2018! We will update this information then.

5. Royal Caribbean Cruises – $37.50 per person each way, children under 2 is free. Last supported flight into Orlando at 1:30pm and first from Orlando at 12:50pm.

Royal Caribbean Bus to Port Canaveral
Royal Caribbean Bus to Port Canaveral

6. Norwegian Cruises – $29 per person each way. Last supported flight into Orlando at 12:30pm and first from Orlando at 12:30pm.

Norwegian Bus at Port Canaveral
Norwegian Bus at Port Canaveral

Shuttle, Sedan or Limousine Services from Orlando International Airport

You can join the crowds in buses to the cruise terminal or arrive in style in a private limousine; and save money if you plan carefully!

The out-of-town service pickup areas are next to the cruise line buses and easy to find if you follow the signs. UberSelect is allowed to pick up curbside at the Express Pickup Tunnel near the Thrifty car rental counter. UberX and UberXL will meet you curbside on level 2 (Arrivals).

Cocoa Beach Shuttle at MCO
Cocoa Beach Shuttle at MCO

On average, expect to pay:

  • from $15 per person for a shared shuttle with fixed (limited) departure times
  • from $120 for a luxury sedan (up to 3 people) or private shuttle vans (up to 12 people)
  • from $150 to $350 for a stretch limousine (6 to 8 people). Note: rates are all over the place for limousines. It helps to shop around!
  • from $60 for UberX and $85 for UberXL according to reports. You get Uber estimates here.
  • from $50 for a one-way car rental (rates do change often)

Please know a 20% tip is expected for shuttle and limo services; do not forget to budget accordingly

Shared shuttles depart from parking areas A15 or B15 when the vans are full. Always ask about wait-times before booking so you do not wait a long time. “Generally” loading begins at 9am or later with hourly departures until the last transfer at 1:30pm.

Shared Shuttle Rates (two adults one-way) Departure Times
Cortrans $40.00 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm
Goportcanaveral $33.98 10am to 1pm depending on bookings
AA Access $50.00 11am to noon depending on bookings
GlobeTrotter Transit $40.00 7am, 10am, 1pm
First Choice Shuttle $50.00 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm
888-Transportation $50.00 Hourly – Booking dependent
Cocoa Beach Shuttle $58.00 Hourly – Booking dependent
Atlantic Transportation $60.00 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm
Busy Traveler Shuttle $40.00 Booking dependent between 10am and 1pm
Shuttletoportcanaveral  $28  Booking dependent. Offered by AA Access Transport
Florida Sunshine Shuttle $50.00 10:30am to 11am, 11:30am to noon
Busy Traveler Shuttle $40.00 Booking dependent between 10am and 1pm
Cruise Control Transport  $40.00  9:25am, 11:45am, 1:30pm

Which Shuttle companies to use?

Here is a list of companies we see often on the road between Orlando and Port Canaveral. If you have a large party (say 10 or more people), I suggest you contact Mears, Stylus and AA Access because they have experience with large group transfers.

Space Port Transportation – Based in Cape Canaveral this small shuttle company is a good choice for transfers and trips that originate at the cruise terminals.

Space Port Transportation
Space Port Transportation

Uber / Lyft – Getting more popular and the feedback continues to be positive. Both can pick and drop at the airports and Port.

Cocoa Beach Shuttle – based near Port Canaveral. The “go to” shuttle for many cruisers. Also offer scheduled shared shuttles. Preferred by many Canaveral hotels for port and airport transfers.

Cocoa Beach Shuttle at MCO
Cocoa Beach Shuttle

Happy Hour Shuttle – based near Port Canaveral. Small local company slowly building a solid reputation.

Happy Hour Shuttle
Happy Hour Shuttle

888-Transportation – Offers shuttle buses and metered-based taxis. Based in Cape Canaveral with an exclusive agreement with Port Canaveral, allowing hail services. They have taxis waiting at the cruise terminals. Call ahead to ask about shared shuttles from the airport ($25 per person) or private shuttles (not metered taxis) for about $100 (up to 5 persons) to the Port or nearby hotels.

888-Transportation Shuttle
888-Transportation Shuttle (private or shared)
888-Transportation - Private Shuttle or Shared
888-Transportation – Private Shuttle or Shared. Metered or fixed rate!

Smart-two.com Shuttle – Small up-and-coming company with great service and reviews.

Cape Canaveral Transportation – A reliable Canaveral-area company eager to share their local knowledge with cruise passengers. Consistently good reviews online.

Cape Canaveral Transportation - Cars
Cape Canaveral Transportation – Cars

Happy Limousine – Recommended by some Disney travel agencies.

Happy Limousine Bus
Happy Limousine Bus (click to enlarge)

Orlando Chauffeured Services – Based in Orlando, Good reviews on the internet.

Mears Shuttle – With a desk at Orlando Airport ensuring personal service. Operates the Disney and Carnival transfer buses.

Mears Shuttle Van
Mears Shuttle Van (click to enlarge)

Groundlink – A nation-wide value-add service trusted by many travelers. Also has exclusive agreements with some cruise lines. Often more expensive but you can trust the service.

Cortrans Shuttle – Consistently one of the cheaper shuttles with good reviews. Also offer scheduled shared shuttles. Based in Orlando.

Cortrans Shuttle Bus
Cortrans Shuttle Bus (click to enlarge)

AA Access Transport – One of the most popular shuttles with shared scheduled services and vans of all sizes. They also offer $14 per person shuttle to the Port from MCO and nearby hotels (see link above). Based in Orlando.

AA Access Shuttle Bus
AA Access Shuttle Bus (click to enlarge)

Goportcanaveral – A local travel agency with really low cost transfer and hotel packages. Some of their rates are the lowest available (if you are OK with some of the negatives of packaged travel). Based near Port Canaveral.

Goportcanaveral Shuttle Bus
Goportcanaveral Shuttle Bus

FL Tours – Recommended by several Disney Travel Agencies. Based in Orlando

First Choice – Their shared shuttles are very popular because they offer rides from the Theme Park Hotels, Airport hotels and Airport to the Port

First Choice Shuttle
First Choice Shuttle

Atlantic Transportation Group – Shared shuttles from the Airport and Airport Hotels to the Port.

Atlantic Transportation Shuttle
Atlantic Transportation Shuttle (click to enlarge)

Florida Sunshine Shuttle – Shared shuttle vans from the Airport. Online reviews are not that great and we include them here just to show a picture of one of their vans.

Florida Sunshine Shuttle
Florida Sunshine Shuttle (click to enlarge)

Laura’s Shuttle – A small operation out of Orlando. We include them here for those looking for real cheap transport! Reviews are mixed.

Laura's Shuttle
Laura’s Shuttle (click to enlarge)

 

TIPS:

If you do not want to rent, scheduled shared van shuttles are the cheapest between the airport and the port, but do consider the wait times. Often the shared shuttles will wait until full before departing. You may have to wait inside the van for 30 minutes or so. DO NOT GET UPSET WHEN THIS HAPPENS!

On a shared shuttle of any kind (airport van, hotel van or rental car van), watch your luggage closely! You shared shuttle will probably make multiple stops at different cruise terminals to drop/pick passengers.

If convenience is more important than costs, I recommend a private shuttle/car instead of a rental car if you cruise on the same day of your flight into Orlando. The lines at the rental car companies in Cape Canaveral can be long during peak hours on cruise days. Things get much better if you avoid the peak hours (11am to 12:30pm) and drop the car after 1pm.

If your flight departs early (say before 1pm) I always recommend private transportation when returning to Orlando Airport after a cruise. There is no waiting in shuttle lines when your party is tired, and you are dropped at the departure gate. If you fly later, then you do not have to rush and renting a one-way car is very convenient because you can store your luggage in the car while exploring a bit.

At Orlando Airport, if you are afraid your private shuttle will be late or not show up at all, consider using Mears Transportation. You may pay slightly more, but they have a transfer desk at the airport between the car rental and cruise ship desks. This means you have a “live person” to complain to and the benefits of a large company working for you, instead of trying to reach unfriendly people by phone.

What if you have a small group with lots of luggage? Will there be space in a private van?

Absolutely!  They pull small trailers that can handle all you may have. See some of the photos above!

Cost Comparison: one-way from Orlando Airport for a family of 4

  • Cruise Line Bus – average $36 * 4 = $144 + $14 tip = $158
  • Shared Shuttle Van – average $20 * 4 = $80 + $16 tip = $96
  • Private Shuttle Van – average $120 + $24 tip = $144
  • Stretch Limousine – Prices vary greatly due to the limo sizes and includes/standards – Expect to pay between $150 and $350 plus 20% tip
  • Rental Car – large enough for your luggage = $75-$100 but varies greatly

2. Melbourne Airport Transportation

Melbourne Airport is a very quiet alternative to busy Orlando with a scenic drive to the cruise terminals!

After you picked your luggage, you will find a transportation desk at the exit. They can arrange hotels and transfers.

Melbourne Airport Express is based at the airport and will have shuttles outside but you should compare rates with other companies listed above!

Melbourne Airport Express
Melbourne Airport Express

The airport website lists many alternative transportation options. And here is a video showing the airport arrival area as well as the drive to the Port Canaveral cruise terminals.

3. Sanford Airport Transportation

Sanford Airport is important because of Allegiant Air – a low-cost airline with incredibly low fares. Give it a try next time you cruise!

After baggage claim, exit the main building and cross the road (semi-covered) to the ground transportation building. You will find the rental cars to your left and shuttle services on the right.

For transportation to Port Canaveral, check in at the desk of Orlando Carriers who can arrange anything you need from shuttle vans to limousines. I suggest you book ahead of time and I certainly will compare rates by contacting other companies as listed above.

Also look at Cocoa Beach Shuttle who offer affordable shared and private shuttles.

Sanford Airport Transport
Sanford Airport Transportation

Transfers from Airport Hotels and Theme Park Hotels

A few shuttle companies offer shared services from hotels at Disney, Universal and Orlando Airport.

First Choice

Atlantic Transportation Group – Mostly Airport and Airport Hotels

Cortrans Shuttle – Airport and Airport Hotel shuttles