The Park N Cruise Guide to Port Canaveral Parking
Warning: This guide will make your life easier.
As one of the first Port Canaveral parking facilities for Orlando’s beautiful and bustling port, we are experts on everything you might want to know about port parking, shuttle services, cruise terminals, and more! So, to celebrate Spring Break and the cruise season we are bringing our readers an ultimate guide to the ins and outs of Port Canaveral parking: how it works, why you should park off-site, how much you can save, and information about our own off-site Cape Canaveral parking.
Our port handles one to five cruise ships every day that it is open, so it’s likely many cruise fanatics all over the world will visit us at some point. We’re excited to welcome thousands of cruisers every week as they go to and from Port Canaveral. This guide should help you whether you’re a familiar face, new to cruising, or just starting to plan your vacation. Get ready to dive into parking and why it’s one of the best ways to save money while on vacation!
Official Port Canaveral Parking
There are more than a few options for Port Canaveral parking, including well-established facilities you may have stayed at before. However, it makes sense to also tell you about the official parking facility that is run by the port itself.
On-site cruise parking is located right at each of the cruise terminals. The parking at the port includes uncovered parking in parking lots as well as covered parking garages. There are garages and lots at each of the cruise line terminals, although sometimes the terminals share garages and lots, like with Cruise Terminal 5 and 6. There is no advertised difference in cost between outdoor parking and indoor parking, but cruisers should keep in mind distance and availability if planning to park at the port.
The distance between the port terminals and their parking options are short enough that they can be labeled as convenient, there are no shuttles or taxis from the car to the ship. So, if you have problems walking or are cruising on a busy day, you may have a bit to walk from your car. Be sure to wear your good, comfortable shoes for the port lines AND the trek across the parking lot!
Now you may ask, “Ginny, why would I park far away when I could set myself right at the ship?” Well, the parking at the port may seem easy, but it does have some downsides.
The number one reason? The PRICE. Port Canaveral’s “convenient” parking comes at a parking rate of $17.00 per day, including the day or arrival and the day of departure. For those of you going on a seven-night cruise, that’s going to be $136.00 for your parking, not including tax or other fees. The payment can be paid at the end of the cruise or the beginning. We’ve seen the policy change seasonally, so you may want to call and ask them. Normally, this is paid by a credit card charge.
The parking rates are also “subject to change” without notice, according to the website. Since you can’t make a reservation and prepay, same day parking may end up being a different price than the rate they put online. Whether that’s good or bad? It’s up to chance. This is another reason why many choose to park off-site. At places like Park N Cruise, your Port Canaveral parking is guaranteed at the low price that you book it at, and there aren’t hidden fees. Plus, you get the same parking that you expect – while at the port, it’s first come, first served.
In addition to their regular parking, Port Canaveral also offers something called “preferred parking.” This is something that is offered occasionally at different ports including ours. Preferred parking at Port Canaveral is offered at Terminal 8, the Disney terminal, and allows you to park directly adjacent to the cruise ship. You also check in ahead of time.
This preferred parking service is an additional $20 on top of the parking cost. There are some people who swear by it, and then there are others who don’t see the point. If the price doesn’t outweigh the benefit for you, it might be something to try at least once. Unfortunately, it won’t do you much good if you aren’t sailing from Cruise Terminal 8, though.
However, the port isn’t all bad. It’s secure while also being the closest option to the ship. It’s just not great for people vacationing on a budget or hoping to save for a souvenir or shore excursion. If the price tag doesn’t seem your style, you are like the thousands of others choosing off-site Port Canaveral cruise parking! Does this seem like you? Then keep reading for even more reasons to enjoy the convenience and security of Park N Cruise Port Canaveral parking!
Why Do So Many Choose Off-Site Parking?
With thousands going in and out of bustling cruise hot-spots like Port Canaveral every week, we see a majority park at off-site cruise parking places. No matter which cruise port you visit, you’ll see that parking is expensive – ripping you off anywhere from $15 to $25 for a tiny piece of ground to pop your car on. It’s like going to Disney World, except you’re paying for 9 or 10 days instead of one. Ugh!
Off-site parking is way, way cheaper. Nice parking services like Park N Cruise are near half of the port cost. And it isn’t just the price that drawing tourists to other parking options! Check out five other great benefits to leaving your car with us and not the Port.
1. Close to the Ships
Port Canaveral parking facilities like Park N Cruise may not be a stone’s throw from the ship, but that doesn’t mean that parking off-site will take you an extra hour to get to the port! Most parking lots are only 5 or 6 minutes away by shuttle. When you park and save money, you’re also going to be right next to your cruise terminal anyway.
Since the cruise terminals are all a couple of minutes away from each other, it won’t matter if you’re sailing Royal Caribbean or Carnival – the shuttle will get you there in absolutely no time. You’ll never have to worry about missing your boarding time or accidentally going to the wrong terminal.
Park N Cruise is located just across the bridge from the port on Merritt Island. You can see the ships across the river, waiting for your arrival. That’s how close we are!
2. Easier Journey to Your Cruise
As someone who has lived in Florida my whole life, I can tell you that there is one thing that really kind of sucks about vacations (and the South in general). And that, my friends, is pulling your luggage (and potentially a couple screaming kids) across what feels like a mile of hot asphalt in the Florida sun. Doesn’t sound like anyone’s idea of a good time, right?
Unfortunately, if you park at Port Canaveral cruise terminal parking, that’s going to be exactly how you begin and end your wonderful cruise. There are NO shuttles, vans, or buses – even if you’re stuck parking at the very back of the lot during the busy weekend.
That’s why our off-site cruise parking is so, so nice. No matter where you’re going or how busy it is, you will never have to drag your party through the heat of the day, terrible rain, or the cold winter wind. Our free shuttles take you right to the ship in a cool, air conditioned ride. Now THAT sounds like a much better way to start your relaxing cruise vacation.
3. Safe and Secure
When it comes to their vehicle, most people’s number one priority is making sure that it’s going to be safe while they are away. I’m guessing you’re the same way!
Luckily, off-site parking is extremely secure. Our parking spots are protected by a combination of security measures, and nearly every parking facility in every port in America has some kind of security – even if it’s just a fence.
Park N Cruise Port Canaveral parking has 24/7 security in the form of 8-foot tall fencing with barbed wire and video surveillance around the clock. At night, even though there is no one on site, we still have video cameras and flood lighting to fully light up the parking. This keeps everyone’s vehicles locked up tight and safe no matter what time it is.
At the port, the difference comes in how much there is to keep track of. The port is open, and even though there is security at the port, most people feel safer when the security is entirely focused on the cars. Unfortunately, the port is HUGE and only a small portion of the security is focused on the car parking areas.
4. Avoiding Confusing, Busy Roads
Do you like driving in unfamiliar places with crazy traffic? If you say, “yes” to this, then you’re not part of the majority of travelers – and honestly, you sound too adventurous for us. Most people would like the easiest, quickest path to their destination without having to worry about missed turns, signs passing by too fast, or bumper to bumper city traffic.
That is one reason why I LOVE off-site cruise parking for Port Canaveral and every other port I’ve sailed from. No port is easy to navigate; often, the GPS won’t send you to where you’re actually meant to be, and you’ll spend twenty minutes trying to find the right parking in the right terminal. Unless you visit Port Canaveral often, you might find the roadways to be a tiny bit overwhelming. Don’t start your vacation with a stress-induced frown!
Off-site parking takes care of you so that the anxiety of finding the path to your terminal is as simple as getting on a shuttle. Leave the navigation of tricky roads and traffic to someone who does it every day. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the view of Port Canaveral’s tropical paradise before you sail into the sunset.
5. Limited Port Parking
Just like college campuses and inner cities, Port Canaveral has a tourist base that is too big for its parking availability. If you look at the capacity of the ships going in and out of Port Canaveral every week versus the number of parking spaces at each terminal… well, all those people have to park somewhere. And it isn’t going to be at the parking garages that only hold 1,200 cars!
No, the port actually counts on some people to find parking elsewhere. While the Port Canaveral parking at the ship doesn’t fill up, it would if there were no other parking facilities in the area! By parking at somewhere like Park N Cruise, you guarantee your spot while also saving money. What a great deal!
Getting to Your Ship
While many people are familiar with the cruise ship and port process, we often get questions about how we get people to the ship itself and what kind of transportation we have. Don’t worry, we’ve been doing this a long time, and we can help solve some of your confusion!
Like we said earlier, getting to the ship is a much easier and nicer process when you’re using off-site parking. With off-site parking, complimentary transportation is almost always provided by whomever you’re parking with. Very, very rarely do you ever need to worry about getting a taxi or paying extra for a shuttle service. There is only one parking lot currently in Port Canaveral that has your party pay per person using the shuttle.
Usually, parking lots use 10 or 15-passenger shuttle buses to take parties to and from the ship. While some parking lots use vans, it is more likely that you’ll be riding in a bigger bus. These shuttle buses are usually very nice – at Park N Cruise, we make sure that each bus is taken care of, and bus drivers personally ensure that they start the day with a good ride for their passengers!
These shuttles are air-conditioned with soft seats and wide windows (so you can enjoy the tropical view on your way to the port!). Perfect for transporting small and large parties with their luggage, you’ll enjoy the short ride to the cruise terminal. At Park N Cruise, we have shuttles running every 15 minutes to and from the port, and the fleet has designated terminals for each shuttle. For parties with children, you do not need to bring a car seat for your child – the shuttles are safe for children to sit in a parent’s lap or to be held.
When You Should Show Up
Some of you may have designated boarding times and some may not, but you’re probably all wondering when the best time is to show up for your parking! Luckily, it’s an easy answer.
If you have a specific time that you’re supposed to check in at the cruise ship, we always recommend arriving at our facility about an hour or 45 minutes beforehand. This gives you plenty of time to unload you luggage, get onto the shuttle, get your party and luggage checked at the ship, and then go through all of the lines to get onto the actual ship.
If you don’t have a specific time to check in with your cruise line, it’s nice to have some flexibility with your timing. You should still arrive with about 45 minute to spare, but you can arrive later in the day so that you miss most of the crowd. Any time after the clock hits noon will mean that there are shorter lines at your parking facility and fewer people rushing to get on the ship at the port. Most people, as you can guess, try to get on earlier in the day. Just make sure to arrive before the parking facility closes!
Why You Should Reserve Your Parking
A new trend has begun in off-site cruise parking facilities. Years ago, reservations were common but weren’t really a requirement unless you were the kind of person who always had plans and reservations six months in advance. Many people would show up, pay, and park. It was that simple.
However, with the growth of Port Canaveral and more ships coming to sail from Port Canaveral every week, there have been some changes to the ways that parking facilities function. There are two great reasons why we always, always, always recommend booking in advance!
1. Get Those Discounts!
If we can save money (and tell you how you can do the same), we will. This piece of advice is no exception – nine times out of ten, you’ll be saving money by reserving. Park N Cruise is one of the parking facilities that has joined the reservation discount trend. Yes, that’s right – it’s a great up-front discount just for planning ahead!
To encourage advanced bookings (so we can know how many people to expect every day), Park N Cruise and other facilities across the U.S. have started offering discounts to people booking in advance and having a set “walk-in” price for people pulling in and parking the day of their cruise. When you make a reservation, you can also put other discounts on top of the reservation discount to save $2.00 or $3.00 a day for your parking – and that’s on top of what you’re saving by not parking at the port!
Everyone loves saving money, so why not be proactive while you’re budgeting? Get your parking reserved ahead of time and don’t worry about it for the rest of your cruise planning period. Speaking of which…
2. A Guaranteed Spot for You
Reserving in advance – whether it’s a hotel, shore excursion, rental car, or parking spot – is an ideal item to check off of your to-do list when you’re going on vacation. In the case of reserving a parking spot, it’s great to check that box on your list because it means that you can be certain that when the day of your cruise comes, there will be no confusion or uncertainty about where you’re going and where you’re leaving your car.
That’s right. You can’t easily predict which days are going to be busy, so you don’t want to arrive at the port on the day of your cruise just to find out that people are squeezing into the last parking spots at off-site parking facilities – and now you’re only option is to rush to the port itself and pay $17 per day. We’ve even seen people who have missed their cruise boarding because they were running around, trying to find a place to park.
With a reservation, you’ll never go through anything that crazy! Your parking spot will be guaranteed from the day that it’s made, and you’ll arrive to smiling faces who are expecting your arrival (and give you a concerned call if you’re running late). When you can book up to a year in advance, why wouldn’t you?
Bonus: Seasonal Rates
Did you know that the prices of different lots will fluctuate throughout the year?
Seasonal rates are one of those things to keep in mind when looking for loopholes to save money. Just like saving money by booking your actual cruise during a certain time of year, you can book your parking when the rates are low, during the down-season. Then, you’ll feel great when you arrive for your cruise in the peak vacation season and don’t have to pay the peak parking prices! There are so, so many reasons to plan out your cruise and the services you need for it, and parking is no exception.
When Should You Not Reserve?
You should definitely reserve 99% of the time. So, what about that other 1%?
Don’t worry, it’s not some crazy loophole or strange thing that you need to worry about. It’s actually because of Park N Cruise’s extra benefits. We love giving bonuses and benefits and discounts to anyone we can. It makes you smile on your vacation, and that’s why we do what we do. So, there are two times when you don’t need to make a reservation for us: when you’re using our loyalty program or you’re a travel agent.
The Loyalty Program
Our loyalty program is a fantastic way that Park N Cruise rewards people when they’ve come back to us again and again. Many years ago we started giving people loyalty cards, much like sandwich shops and cafes – ours is park four times, get the fifth time free. Frequent cruisers can save tons of money by parking with us over and over, and every fifth time parking with us is free. They don’t run out either, so you can still build up those card punches even if you park once a year!
So, when you cash in on that loyalty card, you don’t need to reserve. We always have spaces specifically set aside for loyalty customers, so you’ll never need to worry about not having a space. Just show up, turn in your loyalty card, and get parked. It’s as simple as that!
The same goes for travel agents. We offer a special rate for travel agents parking with us as well, and there isn’t any way to set that up online or in our system. Instead, travel agents should give us a call to get the special discount and let us know when their planning to cruise. No reservation is necessary, and travel agents pay when they arrive. It’s a great deal and helps travel agents have a better idea of our services when recommending our parking facility to their clients. If you’re a travel agent, don’t make the mistake of paying extra for your cruise parking. Reach out to us and get your travel agent discount!
Oversized Parking Availability
Most people don’t need to worry about oversized parking options and availability when travelling to go on a cruise. However, we’ve seen plenty of parties bring a variety of larger vehicles when they cruise – RVs, campers, trucks with trailers, and even some eighteen-wheeled semi-trucks. To accommodate big vehicles, you need big spaces, and you probably won’t be paying the same standard parking rate that a little Prius does, right? In that case – what are your options when you’re looking for oversized parking?
Oversized Parking Away from the Port
The biggest problem with having vehicles that are larger than average is trying to maneuver them in the parking lot so that they don’t block other cars from entering and leaving and don’t take up more space than they need. That’s why very few places actually allow large trucks and RVs to park with the regular vehicles during cruises. This is especially true if it is the busy season or it’s a small parking facility.
However, some places are big enough to accommodate large vehicles occasionally. In the case of places like Park N Cruise or Lots of Honor, there is a separate, secured parking area where a limited number of large vehicles can be parked. With the limited availability, it’s good to book this as far out in advance as possible. Most places won’t take day-of reservations for RVs and trailers because oversized parking takes extra time to prepare.
However, we know the big question that you’re asking: how much is this going to run me?
The standard pricing for large vehicles at off-site parking facilities should run about twice the rate of a standard car parking spot, not including tax. For Park N Cruise, it is just like booking two cars instead of one. Other parking facilities have some variation of that practice, usually.
You may wonder if there are any RV parking facilities in the area that just cater to oversized vehicles. As much as we wish there were, the options for oversized parking are pretty limited in Cape Canaveral. The only other option is…
Oversized Terminal Parking
If you’re having a hard time finding good RV or trailer parking for your cruise vacation, don’t worry. There is another option that you can look into and decide whether it is good for stowing your family’s RV or camper during your cruise. The Port Canaveral cruise terminal itself has oversized parking available, though it is at a premium rate.
Like I said, oversized parking is offered at each terminal, whether you’re sailing Carnival, Norwegian, or one of our other main cruise lines. Just as it is more expensive at the off-site locations, it is more expensive to park and RV, camper, or trailer at the terminals. Right now, it is $29 per calendar day, a little less than two spots for regular vehicles, but still more expensive than buying two spots at an off-site facility.
There is not much listed on Port Canaveral’s website about RV parking. They mostly say that they have it and that it’s at each terminal. You even have to dig through the site to discover the exact pricing for the large vehicle parking. There is no information about where the RV parking is at the terminal, where you go, or if there are any additional fees. However, you can call the port to find out more about the parking, even though you still won’t be able to make a reservation for it.
Discounts for Your Port Canaveral Parking
When you park at an off-site facility for your parking, you can save up to $6 or $7 per day depending on the season and special promotions! This can easily save you well over $50, especially when you’re going on one of the longer cruises. Imagine going on one of those 10 or 11 day Norwegian Cruise Line Caribbean cruises!
But what if I told you that there was a way to save even more money?
While the port terminal doesn’t have any discounts available for those wanting to park at the ship, this is not the case for places like Park N Cruise. No matter what port you visit, many off-site parking facilities have an additional 10% or 15% you can save just by qualifying for a discount code.
At Park N Cruise, we have MANY ways to save 5% on your parking. We’re happy to offer 5% discount codes for public service workers, handicapped individuals, AARP members, and AAA users. While 5% may not sound like a lot, every little bit helps, and it can definitely add up. These discounts are usually about 5% off no matter where you’re parking, so be sure to check whenever you’re going sailing!
In addition, we offer a few things for parties with veterans and active military. This is a 10% discount code, which saves you about a dollar per day! Park N Cruise is proud to be able to help current and previous members of our military and give them a discount on their parking when they visit us.
In addition, we also offer free parking to WWII veterans and their families. We have many WWII veterans that we are happy to call regulars, and we always encourage you and your party to reach out to us to see if we’re the right choice for you! If you’d like to take advantage of our free parking, just give us a call to set it up.
If anyone in your parking qualifies for the discount code, you can use it for the WHOLE party. That’s true even if you have multiple vehicles! This means that even a 5% discount can save you a ton of money when you’re booking two or three cars. In order to use a discount code, just type it in during checkout or let us know when booking over the phone.
We hope that this guide gave you a better idea of how our beautiful Port Canaveral parking works, whether you’re interested in on-site or off-site cruise parking. Did we answer all your questions? If not, give us a call and let us know how we can help you! We’re always ready to answer any questions you have, let you know how much your parking would be, or set you up with a reservation.
If you think we should add anything to this (or have questions about what we did cover), shoot us a comment down below! Otherwise, happy savings and happy SAILING!