Like every other port city in Florida, the state at the center of the cruise industry universe, Miami is flooded with cruise vacationers every year. Indeed, the port of Miami – simply called “Port Miami” (or as one word, “PortMiami”) – bills itself as the “Cruise Capital of the World.” Although not the busiest port in the United States, a title that belongs to Los Angeles, Miami is the busiest cruise port in the United States and indeed the entire world. Tens of thousands of passengers per day and millions of passengers per year pass through Port Miami, and as they wait for their cruise to depart, they’ll probably want to see and do a few things around Miami. It is with these people in mind that we write this article. What can you see and do before leaving on your cruise from Miami?
Like the other ports in Florida that we have written about (Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, and Jacksonville), there are some obvious things to do in Miami simply by virtue of it being located in a sunny state like Florida. The weather is essentially nice all year round, so regardless of when your cruise is, you’ll likely enjoy nice weather. (You are able to take a cruise from Miami at any point in the year precisely because the weather is almost always nice. This is not the case in, say, Boston, where cruises are only offered six months out of the year.) For this reason, you don’t really need any sightseeing agenda during your spare time in Miami. It is nice to simply enjoy the sun as you walk around or lay on the beach.
Some time at the beach is always an option when you are departing on a cruise from Florida, but in Miami it is almost a necessity, as one of the most famous beaches in the United States, Miami Beach, is right near the port. (For the record, “Miami Beach” is technically the name of the resort city on which the beach is located. The beach itself, with the large resort hotels glimmering behind it, lines a good portion of the east side of the city of Miami Beach.) Unfortunately, you can’t simply walk to the beach from the port, which is on an island connected to the city by a single bridge. (The layout of this section of the city is somewhat complicated. Port Miami and Miami Beach are essentially separate islands that are right off the coast along which the main city of Miami is located. Everything is close together, but since water separates each part from the other, it’s not as easy to get around as you might imagine.) If you want the full Miami Beach experience, you could do what many passengers departing from Miami do: stay in Miami Beach the night before your cruise, and then take a cab to the port in the morning of your departure. Ideally, this will allow you to hang out on the beach, and then after a day in the sun, you can go out and enjoy Miami Beach’s famous nightlife. The next morning you can make your way to the port and begin your cruise. It’s like taking a vacation before your vacation.
So, if you are leaving on a cruise form Miami, we recommend some leisurely time in the sun (as opposed to a sightseeing agenda) and perhaps a night out in Miami Beach if you have a night to spare. Of course, Miami is a major city, and thus there are plenty of other things to do. The Miami Heat, three-time NBA Champions and the team with the best player in the world, Lebron James, play in American Airlines Arena, so you might want to go to a game if they happen to be playing when you are in town. (As it happens, the Arena is right by the port. It’s basically the closest building to the port that isn’t on the port island itself.) The Perez Art Museum is a popular and well-regarded museum that is only a mile or so from the port, so that’s a place to check out if you are an art enthusiast or if you happen to be in Miami on one of the rare days when the weather is bad. If you only have a few hours to kill before your cruise and you don’t want to venture too far from your ship’s departure point, you could visit Bayfront Park, which is right across from the port and offers good views of the harbor. There are also some shops and restaurants here, which could help you fill your time as you anxiously await your cruise.
Miami isn’t really a city packed with sights, at least not compared to other major American cities. It’s a place where people go to relax on the beach and go out at night, and we recommend you do the same before your cruise. However, if this isn’t your style or you don’t have enough time, there are of course other things to do, as there always are in a major city. So, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding something to do as you await your departure from Miami.