Key West Review

Key West Cruise Port
Key West Cruise Port

The popular cruise port of Key West, Florida has something to offer everyone.  This small island is the home of Truman’s Little White House, the Ernest Hemingway Home, Duval St, the Southernmost Point in the continental United States, and Sloppy Joes, the place where Jimmy Buffet got his start in Key West.  There are usually between 1-3 cruise ships stopping in Key West on any given day.

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Key West is extremely flat so it makes it easy to walk around and the explore the island.  From the cruise port to the Southernmost Point is roughly 2 miles if you walk down Duval St.  One of the best ways to see and learn about Key West is with the Old Town and City View Trolley.  These trolleys will make stops at the different historical landmarks where you can get off and explore.  If you choose to get off, another trolley will be by within 20 minutes and you can hop on that one to continue the tour.

For a more private and personal tour, there are Pedicab rides for 2 that will help you get away from the crowds.  The cost of these pedicabs was $10 a person (in September 2012) for a one-way trip from the cruise port to the Southernmost point.  You can also rent electric cars and scooters to get around the island.   Many of the companies will pick you up at the cruise port.

Most of the beaches in Key West are man-made.  The closest beach to the port is the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.  The beach is very rocky and not a great place to snorkel.  If you want to snorkel, taking a catamaran excursion to snorkel at the reefs would be your best bet.  There is another beach near the Southernmost Point that offers many different types of water sports.  Other beaches include Smathers and South Beach.  However, none of them are rated very highly in reviews.

The most popular attractions in Key West are the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, Harry S. Truman Little White House, the Southernmost Point in the continental USA, Ernest Hemingway Home, Mallory Square, the Audubon House and Tropical Gardens and Duval Street.

If you would like to have your picture taken at the Southernmost Point marker, you should go early in the day to avoid a wait.  It is an extremely popular attraction and a photo opportunity that many want to bring home.  When you are in line, offer to take the picture of the group in front of you.  If everyone does this, everyone in the group can be in the picture.  Many couples will really appreciate you offering to do that for them.  If you want a picture of the marker will no one else in the picture, then go early in the morning or it will be next to impossible.  This is especially true during the busy afternoon.

For those that love water sports, you can jet ski around Key West, go parasailing, take a catamaran sailing and snorkeling, and even go on a safari speedboat tour.

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There is also an aquarium, the Key West Lighthouse, the St Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, a shipwreck museum,  and many other historical landmarks.

For those that are looking to eat or party, there is a Key West Pub Crawl and the Taste of Key West.  The taste of Key West lets you taste food from the Conch Republic.  You will have the opportunity to taste Key West pink shrimp, conch fritters, chicken satay with fresh mango salso, and Key Lime Pie, the official pie of Florida.

Key West also has all the main shopping stores that are found in other cruise ports such as Diamonds International, Cariloha, Tanzanite etc.

On days when there are several ships in the Key West, one cruise ship may have to dock at the Naval Base.  Since there is no commercialization allowed on the base, the cruise line will provide a free shuttle to and from the main cruise port.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].

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