A cruise-and-stay holiday adds a luxury hotel stay before or after your cruise, giving you more time to spend in your favourite destinations.
Florida is the cruise capital of the world, with more than seven hundred sailings out of Miami each year. It’s the gateway to the Bahamas and the wider Caribbean, and many voyages continue to Brazil and Argentina – or head through the Panama Canal towards the west coast to Costa Rica, Mexico and Los Angeles.
You could see a vast array of countries and cultures on a cruise from Florida, but there’s plenty to see on a luxury stay here, too – from the wildlife of the Everglades, to the rich food and incredible beaches of Miami. So, what city stays are on offer if you’re thinking about a luxury cruise-and-stay in sunny Florida?
More than ten million people visit Fort Lauderdale every year, many of whom travel here on private vessels, heading for the yachting capital of the world. Fort Lauderdale is Florida’s biggest beach resort, and there’s plenty of sightseeing experiences to enjoy during your extended stay.
You could spend a day relaxing around the area’s beautiful beaches, stretched out in the sun or shopping along the seafront; or see native flamingos and alligators on a visit to the local wildlife sanctuary. How about waking up in your hotel room and getting ready for a high-speed airboat ride through the famous Everglades? Or taking a ride out for the ultimate American shopping trip in the stores of Sawgrass Mills? You could browse galleries and shops around the stylish Riverwalk district, or take a seat in a cafe along the palm-lined waterfront.
World famous as the home of NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre, Port Canaveral is also a hugely popular destination for nature lovers. The seas here are the natural habitat of turtles, dolphins and manatees, with plenty of opportunities to go wildlife watching if you prefer Florida’s natural world to its resorts.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge surrounds the famous space centre here; home to endangered species like alligators and snapping turtles. You could take a tour of the space centre during your time here, with a range of talks and exhibits to show you the heart of the US space program. Or, if you’re set on surf and golden sands, beautiful Cocoa Beach could rapidly become your new favourite part of the world.
The huge city of Miami is well-known as a melting pot of cultures – especially the Latina culture here, centred around the Little Havana district. The City and Boat Tour is perhaps the best way to see the city if you’re spending time here. This tour can show you the private islands of Biscayne Bay along with all the famous sights along South Beach, Downtown and Coconut Grove – and well as the famous art-deco architecture adorning the city.
Your hotel stay could give you more time for experiences you might not have time for during your cruise – like an extended shopping trip in the city’s wealth of boutiques and shopping centres, or the flora and fauna of Zoo Miami and the tropical gardens of Jungle Island. You could even take a food tour of the city’s restaurants to try the local cuisine – a hybrid of Caribbean and Latin American flavours, cooked and prepared in classic European style.
Jacksonville’s beautiful downtown area rests along the waterfront of St John’s River, marked out by a palm-lined boulevard and graceful bridges. This is the perfect place for art lovers on a cruise and stay holiday – with a huge choice of museums, galleries and art centres clustered around the city.
The Jacksonville Landing is home to shops and restaurants that line the waterfront; the city’s spiritual home of celebration, entertainment and retail therapy, with a vivid nightlife to enjoy if you’re here on an extended stay. Browse the stalls of the city’s art market by the riverside, where you’ll find local signature dishes and handmade arts and crafts; or head for the quiet, beautiful beaches that surround the area.
Orlando is synonymous with the family holiday, and many visitors heading to Florida on a cruise choose to incorporate an Orlando stay into their break. This is the home of Walt Disney World, complete with four theme parks and some hugely popular waterparks. You’ll also find Universal Studios here – home to The Simpsons, the Transformers, Hogwarts and Jurassic Park – the perfect destination for movie lovers of all ages.
It’s not all theme parks, though – the city of Orlando proper offers a great choice of ornate gardens, fine art museums and tropical resorts to see during a cruise-and-stay holiday. You could even take an eco-friendly tour of the local conservation area, home to native species of alligators, bears and tropical plants and birds in nine different natural habitats.
Adding a hotel stay to your next cruise could turn your holiday into an unforgettable adventure, with the best of both on land and sea. If you’d like to know more about our cruise-and-stay options, just call our Cruise Concierge team on the number above – or leave your enquiry in the comments below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Images courtesy of Ratul Maiti, Dawn Ashley, Andrew Price, Craig O’Neal, Om and HouseOf_Deigoo (Photopin/Flickr).