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Port Review: Miami, Florida

Joanna Hall

Whether Miami is your departure or arrival port, or perhaps just featuring on your itinerary, it is a city with many personalities, with plenty to offer cruise travellers who love food, shopping, golf, beaches and tourist attractions.


The traditional cruising hub of North America, Miami is also one of the world’s premier vacation spots. It’s colourful, buzzing and and has plenty of ethnic culture, a city on the beach with something for everyone, from the trendy nightlife of South Beach and the candy coloured Art Deco district, to the bustle and colour of Calle Ocho and Little Havana. For most cruise passengers it’s largely a jumping on or off point for their trip, and whether you spend a few hours or a few days, there is plenty to see and do, and keep you amused. 

The Facts

Location: On the southeastern Atlantic coast of the USA in Florida.

Language: English.

Currency: US Dollar.

Docking/Anchoring: Docking at the Port of Miami, which has seven cruise terminals. 

Transport: There are taxis outside of the pier, or most cruise lines offer shuttle services to the Miami International Airport. If you want to rent a car, shuttles are provided to off-port offices. There are also local buses and the Coral Way Route trolley.

Don’t Miss

South Beach is a beautiful Art Deco district on the beach, packed with beautifully restored buildings, shops, boutiques, clubs, cafes and more. It runs from 6th to 23rd Streets between Ocean and Lenox Avenues, and a self-guided walk tour is possible if you grab a map from the Art Deco District Welcome Centre on Ocean Drive.

There are many beaches to choose from along the kilometres-long stretch of strip, but a few spring to mind for different reasons. Lummus Park Beach, also known as South Beach, is the best for people watching, while one of quietest stretches for swimming is the 85th Street Beach along Collins Avenue.  

Coconut Grove is another Greater Miami district and one of its oldest, and home of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, an early twentieth-century Renaissance style building built for the wealthy Chicago industrialist of tractor fame, James Deering.

Little Havana is the Cuban enclave of the city, with Calle Ocho (8th Street) the main drag. It’s the place to come for authentic coffee, and if you love cigars, you can watch them being made at the El Credito Cigar Factory.

Best Photo Op

Although Miami is essentially flat there plenty of ways to capture the best of the city, including the skyline. If you’re there for sunset, the ornamental breakwater sitting in the bay at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is unique, also South Beach at sunrise, when the building colours come alive. The Miami Skyline from Biscayne Bay is also one to aim for if you are late in port or staying overnight.


Miami has many malls, but Dadeland Mall is still recognised as South Florida’s top shopping destination, with more than 175 brand-name stores and dining options. If you are not venturing far from the cruise terminal, however, Bayside Marketplace is the nearest option, about 15 minutes away on foot on the waterfront, with a number of shops and dining options. North Miami Beach’s Bal Harbour is ideal for upmarket shopping, and where you’ll find high end designers including Prada and Louis Vuitton, and department stores including Saks 5th Avenue. 

Food and Drink

Miami has it all when it comes to cuisine, and a style all of its own thanks to a diversity in its population. You’ll find restaurants of all types, blending the flavours of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the US, called floribean. And if you are just looking for a US-style big burger, it has those too. Something unique for many visitors, however, is authentic Cuban cuisine particularly in Little Havana.  

Pick Of The Excursions

If you are new to Miami, a city tour will take in most of the sights including South Beach, Coconut Grove and more, and will help you get your bearings. Some may include a harbour cruise.  

The Everglades is a vast and unique area packed with lush vegetation and teeming with wildlife - including alligators. The interior of the Florida tropical wetlands is essential for many visitors, not only for an exhilarating ride on an airboat; part of the tour is usually an alligator wildlife show.

A helicopter tour is a great way to capture the expanse of the city, and its beaches and islands. Just don’t forget to take your camera!


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  1. Posted by on 30th Oct 2018 Verified Customer

    Prefer Fort Lauderdale 4 Star Review

    Having cruised from both we prefer Fort's much quieter and a nice beach city, although big compared to anything in Queensland!

  2. Posted by on 30th Oct 2018 Verified Customer

    Love Miami 5 Star Review

    We went on a multigenerational holiday to the US including a Caribbean cruise from Miami. The cruise was okay (NCL) but we really enjoyed Miami afterwards....we had a great hotel, there was lots for everyone to do, although the olds found it a bit humid! Would love to go back with hubby alone and do some proper shopping and hit the nightclubs LOL

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