The United States' southernmost island of Key West is conveniently located between two bodies of water, the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the West. Key West is oftentimes the first (and sometimes final) stop on a variety of cruise ship itineraries that head to the Caribbean islands. Key West is an excellent first or last stop on any cruise ship vacation since it offers guests a tropical island paradise mixed with unique historical architecture but is still part of the United States. The two main cruise ship docks in Key West are located right in the heart of the Old Town / Downtown area of Key West, which makes it easy to reach departure points for various excursions (such as snorkeling and scuba diving) and also makes it easy to walk to many of the most well-known Key West restaurants, bars and museums. A cruise ship stop in Key West is an excellent way to sample what this most unique of American tropical islands has to offer.
Finding a Cruise to Key West
Finding a cruise vacation that makes a stop in Key West should be relatively easy. There is at least one cruise ship that departs from the coast of Florida daily that makes a stop in Key West. Most of the major cruise lines offer Caribbean vacations (starting at 3-day-long vacations and stretching up to 14 days and even longer). Many Caribbean cruise vacations stop in Key West on the second day of traveling or on the last day before arriving back at the main port. The best places from which to depart on these cruise vacations are Miami or Fort Lauderdale, though several other ports along the Eastern coast of the United States also offer Key West cruise vacations.
What to do while in Key West
Your options for activities and tours to go on during your stay in Key West are endless! In fact, will quickly realize that the time you have to spend in Key West is not nearly enough to do everything you want to do. That is why planning ahead is recommended to make sure you optimize your time and do as many things as possible while in Key West. The historic downtown Key West area has excellent oceanfront bars and restaurants, amazing museums, and great shopping. Leave some time to experience this part of Key West, but definitely make plans to go on at least one or two excursions. Key West is known for having excellent water sports, starting with the Key West snorkeling excursions out to the coral reef gardens. Other great excursions for cruise ship passengers include the thrilling 2-hour jet ski island tour that takes you all around the island and informs you on some of its history and geography. There is also the parasailing tours that allow you to see Key West and its outlying islands from a birds-eye vantage point of some 600 feet in the air. And there's also the informative historical conch and trolley tours that take you to all the most interesting spots throughout the Old Town area.