Miami is a sultry, steamy, busy, beach city on Florida’s
central east coast. Its also home to 2.6 million residents from more than
120 countries, with Spanish emerging as a top language. Miami is also
the Cruise Ship Capital of the World,
serving almost 5 million passengers annually.
PortMiami is global headquarters for five leading cruise lines and 18 cruise ship brands - Carnival Cruise Lines which also owns Cunard, Holland America, Costa and Seaborne; Norwegian which is parent company of Oceania Cruises, Princess and Regent Seven Seas Cruises; and Royal Caribbean who also operates Celebrity and Azamara, plus MSC- Mediterranean Shipping Company. Over 40 ships call Miami their home port, its the perfect embarkation point for passage to the Bahamas, Eastern and Western Caribbean and Mexico. Port Miami can accommodate 8 major cruise ships daily – so you can imagine the bustling turnover on a typical Saturday in season.
Passengers opting to stay the night before or after their cruise from Miami have so many hotels in Miami to choose from. Miami has over 50,000 hotel beds, with 8,000 more being constructed, ranging from chic to cheap – though the price rarely indicates so. In fact Miami is the leader nationally in hotel occupancy, room rates (average daily room rates are over $250), and revenue.
Staying in Miami, decide whether you want a hotel near Miami Beach and South Beach, or in downtown Miami overlooking Biscayne Bay. We have stayed at both, South Beach is cool -the sand is hot and so is the nightlife along Ocean Drive, Collins and Washington Avenues. Meanwhile downtown Miami just across the causeway has an urban sophisticated vibe, beautiful views of the dramatic lights at night and of sparkling Biscayne Bay from upper floors in Miami’s best hotels with rooftop swimming pools and bars provide the best view of pricey yachts and cruise ships parading out to sea. Between Downtown and Miami's beaches is Dodge Island where most cruise ships dock at the PortMiami.
Our favorite downtown Miami hotel is The Viceroy Miami. Its ultra chic, especially the 15th Floor which features the largest roof pools in Miami, a series of pools that lead to a spectacular view of Biscayne Bay. Pool guys serve drinks and snacks from the café and a DJ often plays poolside on weekends and holidays. Viceroy also has a 50th Floor Bar with amazing views and a nightclub. Our suite at the Viceroy was posh, palatial even, with a huge water view bathroom all decked on gorgeous marble. We had floor to ceiling windows by our king bed, plus a balcony overlooking downtown.
We had stayed at the Viceroy Snowmass on a ski trip to Aspen, so we knew the level of service at this 5 star hotel would be top shelf. Viceroy Miami’s pool attendants were ever ready to fetch drinks, pool towels, set up our chairs, and you can seek shade as the sun moves around the tall surrounding buildings. Viceroy’s restaurant is convenient for dinner, near the pool, 15th and Vine, with extraordinary views especially from the outside patio tables. Chic artwork fills Viceroy's halls and common areas, and from the lobby you are just 20-minutes and a $30 cab to the airport, cruise ship terminal or South Beach and Miami Beach. You can walk to the Capital Grill and plenty of other hot spots and shopping in Brickell.
Other Miami hotels include Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriot, Wyndham, Intercontinental, EPIC Kimpton Hotel, Holiday Inn, Sheraton, and Embassy. On South Beach and Miami Beach the top hotels are W South Beach, South Seas, Loews, Fontainbleu, Delano, Clevelander, Shore Club, Nautilus, Aloft, Faena, 1 Hotel, AC Hotel, and Mondrian - all hip and happening by the sand and the strand of shops, bars and trendy restaurants.
See more about Cruising:
Royal Caribbean Cruising
Carnival Cruise Review
Azamara Cruise Review
MSC Cruise Review
Cruise Tips for Families
Fort Lauderdale as a Cruise Port
Review of Cruise Ship Spa and Salon Treatments with prices