Key West is a favorite port of call for many cruise travelers sailing from South Florida. Like the Florida Keys lifestyle, stopping in Key West is easy; we can simply walk off the ship and into a great place for food, drink, shopping and fun. But what if your cruise from Florida does not stop at Key West? All is not lost and adding a Key West visit before or after sailing is easier than you might think
At a little over 3 hours drive time from Miami, flying in and renting a car for the trip is surely something to consider. My thought: If we have 7 days for a cruise, why not make that a 4- or 5-day sailing with a drive to Key West and a night or two in a hotel there to make a very nice package.
The timing is right. More cruise lines than ever are offering 3-, 4- and 5-night sailings from Florida ports. As that competition continues to heat up, pricing is low and not on just the oldest ships in each line’s fleet. Ruby Princess, for example, does short sailings from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades, not all that further away. Plus, the drive from either Fort Lauderdale or Miami to the Florida Keys is one of the most picturesque in the state.
In Key West, we find a variety of places to stay from top-end hotels to homey bed and breakfasts. The 5000+ rooms available in Key West often feature ocean views too.
Cruise travelers commonly walk off their ship and into town for shopping or lunch and make a quick day of it. That’s a mistake, as we saw on a whirlwind tour of Key West, first stopping by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuaryfor an overview of the area. On the Key West Old Town Trolley Tour, we went through the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum then on to theKey West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.