Why You Might Consider Renting a Car Each Way Rather Than Pay to Park

Every week of the year thousands of people load-up their personally owned vehicles to cruise ports, pay to park, and then drive home a week or so later. Today, I will offer an alternative idea: rent a car each way.

Just to clarify, I am NOT saying rent a car, drive to the port, pay to park that car at the port for the duration of the cruise, and then drive it home. I am saying rent a car, drive to office of the rental company that is nearest the port, turn the car in, have them take to your to the port, and reverse that process when you get back from the cruise.

Reasons I would suggest doing this:

  1. The cost of two one-way rentals MIGHT be comparable to paying to park for the length of the cruise.
  2. Not putting hundreds (or thousands!) of wear-and-tear on YOUR car.
  3. If you’re in your car and you break-down along the way (or are in a wreck) now you have to deal with trying to get a rental wherever you are standing AND your car is now sitting in a repair shop lord knows where.  Whereas, if you are in a rental and something like that happens, you call them up, they bring you another car, and the broken rental is no longer your problem.
  4. Let’s say you have enough people to where you have to drive two cars. In that case, rent a van rather than paying to park two cars at the port.
  5. Getting in and out of the garage at the port can be a nightmare. I was on a cruise at Port Canaveral a few months ago and people reported it taking over an hour to get out of the garage at the end of the cruise. If you are renting a car, you take their shuttle to the rental office and you do not have to deal with the garage traffic.
  6. Lastly, if the Kraken strikes and something crazy happens you might not end-up back at the port where you started. For example, if you have a medical emergency and need to be evacuated, you can just make your way home rather than going back to the port of origin to get your car. Or what if the cruise unexpectedly ends somewhere else? For example, the August 25, 2019 sailing of the Norwegian Breakaway started in Miami and was supposed to end in Miami a week later on Sunday, September 1, but Hurricane Dorian caused the cruise to end three days late AND in New Orleans. Therefore, people who had parked their cars in Miami found themselves nearly 900 miles from their cars with a hurricane in between. Now if they had rented they could have called the rental company and said “Change of plans. I now need a car in New Orleans.”

In the end, it is a decision you will have to make for yourself as there are a lot of factors including distance and cost. This is just food for thought.

Until next time, may you avoid the Kraken and have Fair Winds and Following Seas.

Eric Cable, Charlotte

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