How a Cruise Can Make a Miami Vacation Even Better

It’s easy to explore the Bahamas, Caribbean or Mexico by adding a cruise to your Miami vacation. With most major cruise lines sailing from the Port of Miami, you’ll find plenty of options for every type of traveler.

I’ve been to Miami about 20 times, and I’ve often combined my visit with a cruise. After all, the Port of Miami is one of the busiest cruise ship ports in the world, and many lines offer itineraries — ranging from three to 14 nights — that begin there.

This gives me the chance to craft a perfect vacation itinerary: I enjoy Miami in small doses, and I love to soak up sun in the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico. With the easy hotel/cruise combination, I can do both in one trip. Even better, because there are so many options, I can embark on a completely unique cruise each time. Here are some of my favorites.

A Girlfriends’ Getaway at Sea

I could barely contain my excitement when two friends and I booked a three-night cruise to the Bahamas from Miami on a Carnival “Fun Ship.” It was just what we needed — especially Maureen and Susan, who are both busy moms. They each convinced a tag team of relatives to watch their kids while we enjoyed four days in the sun. Our getaway began with an overnight in South Beach, and the revelry continued onboard. We posed for silly photo ops on the gangway, sipped frozen cocktails by the pool and danced until long past midnight.

When we arrived in Nassau the next morning, dark sunglasses shaded our bleary eyes as we hit the duty-free shops. Later, we walked around the Atlantis Resort, where the super-cool aquarium made my friends wish their daughters were there. We spent the last two nights onboard enjoying food and drink, dancing off the excess calories and proving we were still young at heart.

Fun for the Whole Family 

I don’t have kids, but I know a family-friendly ship when I see one. And Royal Caribbean’s newest ships — which have onboard features like a carousel, ice rink, climbing wall and DreamWorks Experiences — definitely fit the bill.

Sailing on Allure of the Seas was a blast — even my kid-averse, then-boyfriend thought so. We were happy to discover that the massive ship, with its seven “neighborhoods,” was able to accommodate tons of children and the couples who like to avoid them. We spent some time strolling The Boardwalk to sample Boardwalk Dogs’ yummy offerings, and watching tweens and teens surf the FlowRider or soar nine stories above us on the zip line. But more often, we retreated to the subdued ambience of the bar-and-restaurant-lined Central Park and the glass-bottomed, cantilevered whirlpools in the adults-only Solarium.

Quick Tip:

If you can, book your cruise during “Wave Season” (January to March), when cruise lines run sales on unsold inventory for the remainder of the year and into the following year.

Cuisine and Culture for Two

I’ve always liked Celebrity Cruises for trips with a significant other. The company’s five Solstice-class ships feature sophisticated, contemporary design and an adult-friendly ambience. (Children are welcome, but there are no water slides, climbing walls or other scream-inducing features.) The cruises are great options for twosomes looking for enjoyable dining and lively-but-not-overly-loud nightlife.

While onboard Celebrity Equinox, my friend, John, and I spent our sea days reading in the serene Solarium pool area; our sail-away hour perched at the aft Sunset Bar with glasses of chilled Sauvignon Blanc; and our nights sampling terrific food in the many restaurants. We both agreed that the French-inspired, wine-paired Five Senses tasting menu at Murano was worth the added cost.

The cruise options from Miami are so vast that I’m already contemplating when to book my next trip. It’s a vacation combination that never gets old.

Quick Tip:

After you decide on a cruise line, sign up for email alerts so you’ll know about last-minute sales and promotions, which can include free onboard extras such as beverage or dining packages.

Explore More:
Add a cruise to your Miami vacation with the Marriott Vacation Club Destinations® Exchange Program.

Donna H. is a travel writer living in New York.