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A Key West Cruise Gives You A Sample Of Key West Things To Do
A Key West cruise is extremely popular with the cruise line industry for one major reason.
Their passengers love a port o' call stopover at the fun, tropical destination of Key West.
A Key West port of call means being transported to a place that most people only dream about.
Here you have the spectacular Key West Florida weather which is pleasurable year round.
In fact, during your port o' call you'll have enough time to enjoy the Florida weather, the fresh fragrant air, and take a leisurely stroll. A stroll that in well under an hour. will take you from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean!
In the historic Key West old town, you're surrounded by stunningly beautiful water in a place that's loaded with numerous Key West events and attractions.
You're also in a place that's filled with fun, and friendly people. Key Westers enjoy a laid back lifestyle that has been heavily seasoned with a liberal pinch of flair.
Cruise Ship Coming Into Key West Port
While here, you'll quickly discover that Key West FL has developed a flavor all it's own, and it's a taste that's hard to beat. It's certainly one you can never get enough of.
A Key West cruise also means you have the convenience and safety of being in the United States. Even though you're on American soil, the whole time you're in Key West you'll feel that you've been transported to an exotic paradise. You'll also find it hard to shake the inexplicable feeling that you've "suddenly gone Caribbean."
So really - what's not to like?
Key West Cruise Line
Docking and Pier Information
But there's more good news for those planning a cruise vacation that includes Key West as part of their port o' call itinerary.
Key West Florida is very small, which means the limited few hours you'll have to enjoy on this tiny island will be spent wisely. The majority of Key West attractions are also conveniently located in the Key West Old Town Historic District.
The beautiful Mallory Square Key West hub is a major go to place for fun Florida Keys things to do, and fortunately is near where your cruise ship will dock. You'll either be within a few minutes strolling distance of popular Mallory Square,
or just a short Key West trolley or tour train ride away.
If you have someone meeting you when your cruise ship docks, they can also check the Key West cruise ship docking schedule by clicking on the following link. This monthly cruise ship docking calendar
shows what ships are docking and where.
The legend is very simple. There are 3 Key West cruise ship piers, so M stands for Mallory Square Pier, B stands for Pier B, and OM stands for Outer Mole or the Navy Mole.
Cruise Ship Docked At Mallory Square Pier
Mallory Square Pier is aptly named after the hub spot in Old Town Key West and is the closest to this popular and very active hub.
Just a little distance further from Mallory Square is Pier B. This is located at the Westin, and is also very close to the major Key West activities you'll want to check out while you're on shore.
Cruise Ship Docked At Navy Mole With Sunset Island In Background
The third docking point is the Navy Mole, also called the Outer Mole. This location is the furthest from the Old Town Historic District and is part of the Truman Annex.
The Mole is also the closest point to Fort Zachary Taylor
which is a definite must see Key West attraction if and when you have the time.
Fort Zachary Taylor Parade Grounds And Cruise Ship At Navy Mole
However due to Homeland Security issues, if your Key West cruise ship docks at the Navy Mole, you'll not be able to walk out from this disembarkation point. Instead, the City of Key West provides free shuttle, trolley and tour train rides to Mallory Square so you can get started on your visit.
Cruise Ship Shore Leave
and Key West Events
No matter where your Key West cruise ship docks, starting off at beautiful Mallory Square is your best choice. It's a good focal point to help you get orientated with the area.
This is also where the Key West trolleys and tour trains usually depart from. If you're planning on taking an informative narrated Key West tour, this is the place to be.
Mallory Square Kiosks Attract Cruise Line Passengers
Typically your Key West cruise ship will have given you the option of choosing a trolley or train tour as part of your paid shore package.
Depending on where you docked, 1 of 2 things will happen. You'll either be met at your pier by someone from the Key West tour company, or you're ticket will indicate that you need to walk to Mallory Square and meet your Key West tour guide there.
The exception to this rule is if you've landed at the Navy Mole, then you'll automatically be taken by public transportation to Mallory Square. To determine how your tour has been coordinated, check your ticket so you'll know where to meet your excursion leader.
Porter Village in Key West
If you've chosen to explore the haunts and treasures of Key West on your own, it's still advisable to start at Mallory Square. This is close to your dock, it's easily recognizable, and is the best way for you to figure out which Key West activities you should do first.
It's also a good idea to check out the Key West events and attractions in advance of your arrival so you can make the most of the limited time you have.
This link to monthly Florida Keys activities will give you helpful trip planning information on a variety of things to do in Key West
as well as throughout the Florida Keys.
Trusted Tours, an affiliate of mine, who does pay me a small referral fee is well known for providing great tours at discounted pricing.
They also don't have 'set dates' where you HAVE to go, you just buy your tickets in advance so you know you have them and then go when you want. So it saves you time and it makes sense to get to take advantage of great Key West discounts
on museums, tours and other Key West activities you may be considering.
Cash Or Online Tickets ONLY Stop Lineups Like This At Hemingway House
By getting your tickets in advance, you not only save money, you are better able to pre-plan your activities while ashore so you can see and do the things you'd like to do.
Time is one thing that's priceless during shore leave.
This is why it's advisable to get your tickets online in advance. Plus some Key West attractions DON'T accept credit cards. This means you'll have to carry more cash with you, or have purchased your tickets at a discount online.
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Fun Key West Attractions!
From Mallory Square you can head off to take in the incredible sites, sounds, and delicious fragrances that subtly waft through the air. All the major Key West attractions you could possibly want to explore are just minutes away by foot.
If you can't make up your mind what to do, head off down Duval Street
and let your sense of adventure direct you. This link will also let you print off a free downloadable Duval Crawl map, so you have an idea of what Key West activities you can see and do along the way.
If you head out via Duval Street and then return via Whitehead Street, you'll be able to see quite a bit of the Old Town historic area. This will give you a good sense of Key West architecture, a taste of Key West history, and a chance to explore some rather unusual, and funky shops along the way.
Key West FL also has a fantastic arsenal of museums. Particularly noteworthy is the
Ernest Hemingway house,
with it's lush, spectacular gardens.
This particular tourist attraction is likely the furthest you'd go when you have only a short amount of time to spend on shore leave. The Ernest Hemingway House is situated further down Duval St, and then 1 block over to the west off Olivia and Whitehead.
Truman's Little White House And Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
If you have the time, two other Key West museums that should be considered are the
Truman Little White House
Mel Fisher's Maritime Museum.
Key West Restaurants and Bars
There are some great Key West
in the area you'll want to check out, whether for a snack or a full meal. You may even want to go native and grab a conch fritter at an open air café, or sample some of the Floribbean food the area is famous for.
If you want to throw caution and calories to the wind, you may even decide to tempt your taste buds. Order yourself a slice of the area's famously delicious, sweet-tart key lime pie.
Tribute To Ernest Hemingway Inside Sloppy Joe's Key West Bar
Of course a Key West cruise wouldn't be complete without at least checking out one of the famous Key West bars.
Whether you poke your head inside to get a sense of it's history, or you sit down and enjoy a cool one, Sloppy Joes Key West bar
, the Bull and Whistle Stop, or any of the other establishments along the way are worth investigating.
There are so many Key West things to do and see, that you'll quickly discover you have no shortage of choices - just time.
So if this is your first Key West cruise, you may want to seriously consider a narrated Key West trolley or train tour. This will help you make the most of your shore leave. It's also an effective, informative and relaxing way for you to see the important sites scattered throughout the Old Town historic section of Key West.
After your Key West tour, you can spend your remaining time visiting one or perhaps two of the spots you passed along the way. You may even opt to simply relax at one of the many wonderful open air cafes where you can enjoy a favorite beverage and meal.
Aerial of a Cruise Ship Docked at Mallory Square Pier in Key West
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection
When you head back to your cruise ship, you'll undoubtedly feel that your Key West cruise was one of the more memorable parts of your cruise line vacation. After all, this is the place where people come to let their hair down, kick up their heels and leave their inhibitions behind.
While here, you'll likely experience a sense of adventure you've never felt before. After all, you're on Island Time and everything seems possible when you're in the land of sun, fun and tropical magic.
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