MIAMI HOTELS FOR CRUISERS
Miami is the mac-daddy of all cruise ports, operating year-round and serving as home base (not just home port!) for several cruise lines and ships. But more than that, Miami is a year-round recreational playground, an ideal spot to spend a day or two before or after your cruise.
We've selected a range of hotels suitable for differing needs. Do you want to stay longer and explore the area? Do you just want to fly in, spend the night and go directly to your ship? Are you driving to the city and need a place to park while you cruise? Is this a honeymoon or romantic getaway or are you long past that and traveling with the family? We've got suggestions for all of these and more.
What Cruise Lines Are There: Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Crystal, NCL, Oceania, Royal Caribbean
Transportation: The port of Miami is not very far from the airport; some airport hotels offer free shuttle service with pickup from Miami International and drop-off at the port on sail date. Hotels in Miami Beach, Biscayne Bay and Coconut Grove do not offer shuttle service, requiring a cab or a rental car. If you plan to spend more than one night before or after the cruise, a rental can be a great value. They are very inexpensive in Miami compared to other cities and there are drop-off locations near the port with shuttle service to the ships.
CLOSEST TO THE PORT:
*Upscale: InterContinental at Miami Center
Want to see your ship? And all the others lined up at the Port of Miami? Get a port-view room at this hotel and you'll be in ship-viewing heaven.
The Good: Beautiful rooms, upscale ambiance. The location is fabulous, walking distance to Bayside Marketplace and just a few minutes away from the port by cab. The views over the cruise port and causeway to Miami Beach are the best in the city.
The Bad: It's expensive and there is no shuttle service between the airport and the hotel or the hotel and the port.
*Moderate: Holiday Inn Port of Miami
This is a clean and comfortable moderately-priced hotel with easy port access and within walking distance of Bayside Marketplace.
The Good: Family friendly, kids under 17 stay free in the room with their parents, kids under 12 eat free when their parents are dining, free wi-fi in public areas.
The Bad: No shuttle service, very little in the way of views.
*Top of the Line: Loews South Beach
This beautiful beachfront resort comprises two buildings on several acres. The historic tower has smaller rooms, the newer one more contemporary rooms and decor. It's an ideal spot for families for either before or after a cruise. Senior-friendly, too.
The Good: Its resort-like feel and atmosphere has you starting your relaxing vacation before you board the ship. Everything from fine dining to cafe food is available; so is babysitting by prior arrangement for the folks who want to explore South Beach's nightlife. There's a complimentary kid's club for daytime activities and a brand new spa.
The Bad: You'll find it hard to leave. It's also expensive and a fair distance (plan on half an hour with traffic) from the port.
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The Park Central
Less expensive than Lowes but in a trendier area, the Park Central embodies the Deco design of the South Beach experience. The bright lobby is filled with palms and has a grand piano; there's sidewalk dining and the hotel is steps from the vibrant nightlife of Ocean Drive.
The Good: The hotel is historic and charming without being pretentious. The beach (and a great park) is across the street, the trendy people-watching spots are just outside its doors. There's a fab rooftop terrace, and... as was the style in “the olden days,” the pool is at the front, near the street.
The Bad: Rooms are smallish with no view. Parking is an issue if you have a rental or have driven in, although there is a valet who will park your car offsite for you.
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