Florida is the cruise capital of the world, with the world’s top three passenger cruise ports – Port of Miami, Port Everglades and Port Canaveral – all part of the state’s amazing tourism hub.
Furthermore, Florida is also home to smaller cruise terminals in Jacksonville and Tampa, bringing the state’s cruise ports to a total of five – each one offering different cruise experiences as well as excursion opportunities for passengers to enjoy. But why is Florida so ideal for cruising and why should you schedule your next cruise vacation to begin in the Sunshine State?
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1. Year-Round Cruising
Whether you want a spring break getaway, a summer sailing, an autumn adventure or a wonderful winter cruise, Florida is open for cruise business year-round. Unlike other cruise markets that may drastically reduce or even lose their sailing options at certain times of year, Florida ports offer dozens of sailings all 52 weeks of the year.
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With a temperate tropical climate to enjoy, Florida’s ports are always open, and even in the event of a hurricane, the ports are easily able to adjust their operations to accommodate cruise passengers eager for that perfect sailaway.
2. Amazing Itineraries to Choose From
Florida is uniquely positioned to access a range of different cruise destinations. Caribbean sailings – eastern, western and southern – are always available from Florida, but there are many other places cruise ships can visit from Florida’s embarkation ports. Mexico, Cuba, Bermuda, the Bahamas, South America and the Panama Canal are all part of itineraries from Florida ports, and cruise passengers can even opt for the ultimate in world cruise itineraries, transatlantic voyages or repositioning cruises. From quick 2-night getaways to voyages lasting 30 nights or longer, they’re all available from Florida.
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3. Choice of Cruise Lines
Many cruise passengers have favorite lines they prefer to sail with, and just about every cruise line is amply represented in Florida. From popular mainstream lines such as Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line to more elite lines such as Celebrity Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and MSC Cruises, they all sail from Florida. Seabourn Cruises and Cunard Cruise Line also sail from Florida, and it is no surprise that the home to Disney World is home to Disney Cruise Line as well.
4. Easy Access From Any Origin Point
You don’t have to live in Florida to enjoy cruising from Florida. The state is easily accessible from a wide variety of transportation hubs, not only from all major airlines to Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa and other busy airports, but also from train lines, bus schedules and major interstates. This allows passengers to travel to Florida in whatever way they prefer and still arrive in plenty of time to get aboard their cruise ship before the bon voyage party.
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5. Diversity on Land
Before passengers board their ship in Florida, or if they are enjoying a port of call in the Sunshine State, there is great diversity to explore. Florida has a culture all its own, with vibrant influences from the Caribbean, a strong dose of southern hospitality and the diverse additions of cultures from around the world from people who have chosen to live in this unique state. Florida’s rich history includes unique native peoples, Spanish colonization and more, all of which add up to amazing food, music, art and culture to be enjoyed in the state.
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6. Amazing Theme Park Excursions
Florida is well known for its theme parks, which are great not only for day trips from ports of call, but also perfect for pre- or post-cruise extensions to add even more to a cruise.
Disney World is the crown jewel of Florida’s theme parks, but the state is also home to other amazing parks including Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Islands of Adventure, Busch Gardens and Legoland. Even more unique parks are also part of the state’s theme park menagerie, including the Holy Land Experience and Gatorland.
7. Something for Every Sports Fan
Sports fans of all types will find their niche before cruising out of Florida. Not only is the state home to all five major professional sports – football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer – but Florida also hosts world class auto racing with NASCAR at Daytona, renowned sport fishing opportunities along its coasts, championship surfing and stunning golf courses.
Other sports found in Florida include arena football, rugby, tennis, dog racing, horse racing and kite boarding. At all times of year, from professional to college seasons, there is always a game in Florida.
8. Wonderful Wildlife
Florida has an amazing climate and range of habitats that support and nurture abundant wildlife, from hundreds of bird species to endangered amphibians, reptiles, fish and mammals, including the state’s signature alligators and manatees.
Butterflies, Florida panthers, gopher tortoises, sharks, sea turtles and plenty of other wildlife are all part of Florida’s natural world, which can be spotted either through tours through wildlife refuges, preserves and trails or in the state’s amazing zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and butterfly houses.
9. A Race for Space
Florida is one of very few places in the world where guests can get up close and personal with public and private space programs. The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the world’s premier space facility, museum and monument to the great ages of space exploration, from the initial Mercury and Gemini launches to the stunning Apollo program to the decades-long space shuttle program.
Today, visitors can relive those amazing programs as well as look to the future and upcoming Mars missions and other innovations from NASA, SpaceEx and other space contractors. Even without visiting the space center, cruise passengers might be fortunate enough to spot a rocket launch right from the deck of their Florida-based cruise ship.
10. The Best of Beaches
Cruise passengers who want to get a head start on enjoying beaches during their cruise can’t do better than setting sail from Florida. With more than 650 miles of beaches to enjoy around the peninsula, it is possible to see both a sunrise and sunset over Florida beaches – in the same day!
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Bars, restaurants, resorts and hotels are all poised along the state’s beaches, and the sand and surf offer so much for visitors to enjoy – collecting shells, swimming, surfing, building sand castles, fishing, sunbathing and more are all possible on the beach in Florida, every day of the year and near to every cruise port the state offers.
With so much to discover and enjoy about the Sunshine State, why not set out for Florida the next time you’re ready to set sail? You may also like some of our port guide tips which are constantly growing with tips and information.