On the southeastern tip of USA, nestled between Miami Beach and downtown Miami is the Port of Miami, or as it’s better known to avid cruisers, the “Cruise Capital of the World.”
Due to its convenient location near Miami International Airport as well as being close to the Caribbean, this launching pad welcomes nearly 5 million cruise passengers a year—more than all other ports in the world see.
Besides its great location, Miami has the food, culture, history and attractions to keep you busily entertained before you sail off on your cruise.
1. Grab a bite of food and lively culture in Little Havana.
Miami is a melting pot, and one of its neighbourhoods that brings spice and flare—to its food and streets—is Little Havana. This Cuban community, only 10 miles from port, has a cigar factory, a vibrant arts district and Maximo Gomez Park, where the locals can show you how to play a real game of Dominoes. Plus, it’s a haven of authentic Cuban foods.
Whether for breakfast or lunch, a meal at Versailles Restaurant is a must. Afterward, grab a cone of the original Abuela Maria ice cream at Azucar Ice Cream Company while immersing yourself in the invigorating sights and sounds of Little Havana.
2. Take a stroll through the Art Deco District.
If time and your legs allow, take a tour of this interesting and colourful district. Official guided walking tours leave the Art Deco Welcome Centre every day at 10:30 a.m., or you can take yourself and see the more than 800 historic buildings built between the 1920s and 1940s with various architectural styles. Be sure to have your camera ready!
3. Spend the morning bird watching.
Many retirees and vacationers fly south to Miami for the winter—and so do the birds. With its mild climate and diverse habitats, Florida attracts hundreds of bird species.
If you want to connect with nature and see some of your favourite feathered friends, like yellow-billed cuckoos, limpkins, blue herons and more, then take a mini driving tour and stop at some of the 500 birding locations found along the Florida Birding Trail.
4. Get your shop on at Bayside Marketplace.
Need to shop for last minute, forgotten items? Want to just sit and enjoy a drink before climbing aboard the ship? You can do both at Bayside Marketplace. It’s your one-stop shop to get a new swimsuit, floral shirt for your Caribbean cruise or a couple of Miami souvenirs to take back home.
With a waterfront setting, dozens of stores and eateries and lively musical performances every day, Bayside Marketplace is the perfect teaser to how much fun you’ll have on your cruise.
5. Have some breakfast before embarking on your journey.
For travellers who just flew in on a red eye flight and are starving, enjoy a tasty breakfast at News Café. This quaint sidewalk café, bar, newsstand and bookstore has been pleasing tourists in the Art Deco District for nearly 30 years. And their breakfast menu has it all.
From steak and eggs to omelets, quiches, bagels, Danishes, fruit, French toast and even cereal, there’s something for every member of your family to fill up on.
If you’re looking for a nice place to stay near Miami National Airport, then check out the Crowne Plaza Hotel that’s only two miles away.