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Beware of the all-inclusive price tag and seek out less expensive airline tickets to your favorite cruise port.
USA TODAY

Cruising is more popular than ever, and the appeal is obvious: an all-inclusive vacation on a floating resort hotel with great ocean views.

According to the latest figures from trade publication Cruise Industry News, the three busiest cruise ports in the world are in Florida and the absolute busiest, Miami, welcomed 4.8 million passengers in 2016. Rounding out the top 10 are Cozumel, Shanghai, Barcelona, Civitavecchia (Italy), Nassau, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands of Spain — but let’s take a closer look at the top-ranked U.S. ports and the best ways to get to them.

No.1: Port Miami. Fly to Miami International (MIA), about 3 miles away.

No. 2: Port Canaveral. Fly to Orlando International (MCO), about 45 miles away.

No. 3: Port Everglades. Fly to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL), about 6 miles away.

No. 12: Port of Galveston. Fly to one of two Houston airports: William P. Hobby (HOU), about 40 miles away, or George Bush Intercontinental (IAH), about 72 miles away.

No. 21: Port of New Orleans. Fly to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International (MSY), about 16 miles away.

Once you choose a cruise, start planning travel to the port:

• Give yourself plenty of time. If the ship departs at 9 a.m., don’t plan to fly in at 7 a.m., even if the port is only a couple of miles from the airport. Flights get delayed all the time (storms, mechanical issues) and if you’re not there when the ship leaves port you’ll be out of luck and, given that cruises are non-refundable, a lot of money. Consider arriving the day before the cruise departs, or even a few days before and make the port city part of a longer vacation….