You have responsibly saved, carefully planned, and finally ready to embark on your family cruise vacation. Of course, you want to enjoy every moment! That is why I am a fanatic about allowing time and budget for a pre-cruise stay close to your embarkation port.
If you live more than a couple of hours away from the port, don’t use this first day to pack, fly, and rush to the ship. When first researching your cruise, find one that departs from a city you've always wanted to visit. Ideally, plan to arrive one or two nights early. Get excited about exploring a new city and experiencing a new culture. Or take this extra time to unwind from your travel and know that you have an exciting and relaxing cruise vacation ahead. On the day your cruise leaves, you can leisurely decide what time you want to meet the ship. For a typical cruise itinerary that leaves at 4:00 or 5:00 PM, you are usually able to board around noon.
Not Convinced? 4 Best Reasons Why You Should Plan A Pre-Cruise Stay
"One of the best ways to relax on vacation is to not think about anything on vacation."
Everyone can get anxious, stressed, and rushed. But this is vacation...and you are going on a CRUISE! It's your time to slow down and rejuvenate from the busy work, school, and responsibilities you've left behind. Splurge a little and take some extra time to relax without timetables or tight schedules. You have a beautiful ship waiting for you to board.
A Few Suggestions Where To Stay For Pre-Cruise Stays
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: For convenience and to make the most of your time, stay at the Inner Harbor area. Just a short taxi ride away from the Cruise Maryland Terminal, there are a number of luxurious hotels with larger suites for families and you'll be within walking distance from unique shopping. delicious local restaurants and terrific activities.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA: This is an easy city to cruise from since the Port Everglades Cruise Port is located practically next to Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. However, don't miss out on an extended stay here! With numerous beachfront hotels, historic shopping areas, and exceptional fresh seafood, it's perfect for a pre or post cruise stay. We've even stayed in Boca Raton, which is 40 minutes away, but a little quieter and the resorts offer a bit more room for families to spread out.
MIAMI, FLORIDA: Miami has so much to offer, it's obviously it's own vacation destination. But if you are looking to experience Miami's food, nightlife and gorgeous beaches while still staying close to PortMiami, find a hotel in the Miami Beach area. The port is only a 10 to 15 minute taxi or shuttle ride away. You can easily get to South Beach, Miami Seaquarium, shopping at Lincoln Road Mall and more.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: The Port of San Francisco is a close taxi or shuttle ride from many hotels in the various districts of San Francisco. The Fisherman's Wharf area definitely has the most tourist attractions with Pier 39, memorable restaurants, cable car stops and more. However, I've found that it's just as easy to stay in adjacent Union Square. This area has beautiful upscale hotels (often less costly than touristy Fisherman's Wharf) and world-renowned dining. It's close to the historic Chinatown area and a very safe area for families to explore even late at night.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: I am still researching Seattle since my first cruise from here is coming up next summer. From what I've seen, I'm very excited to stay close to Pike Place Market, the Waterfront and see the Space Needle. There are a number of hotels that are within walking distance to these attractions while only being a short ride to the Port of Seattle. I can't wait to review them!
If you need any specific hotel or dining suggestions around your port area, reach out through my contact link and I'm happy to help. Or feel free to leave a comment below if you have a hint or tip for a pre-cruise stay that has worked well for you. I'd love to hear!
My Virtual Vacations Blog
About the Author
Thanks for cruising by! Along with creating this website and blog, I work in an office full-time and as a mom to two energetic teenage boys. With our family's busy work and school schedule, we look forward to traveling during holidays. Although it seems that our family can never agree on anything, we do when it comes to vacations. We typically travel on cruises or stay at luxury hotels. We enjoy upscale dining, beautiful decor, excellent service, and spacious accommodations. However, with a family including two teenage boys, we still need family friendly and comfortable.
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