The cruising capital of the world, Miami is not just a major turnaround port, but also a fascinating and never-to-be-forgotten destination in its own right, with a plethora of food options, water sports, museums, and other tourist attractions.
All of this, and much else of what makes Miami a world city today, can be traced back to Henry Flagler, an American industrialist who was instrumental in the development of the Florida East Coast Railroad.
By extending this south, from West Palm beach, he helped to create a buzz and excitement, and in turn, economic development, planting the seed for modern-day Miami.
PortMiami is the largest passenger port there is, with seven terminals catering to countless ships and cruise lines. The port’s latest statistics report, 2017-2018, shows 1,185 cruise ships docked, with over five million passengers passing through; the port expects to surpass six million in 2018-2019.
PortMiami is home a number of cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Hapag Lloyd Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International, among others.
There are comprehensive facilities at the port, with car rental services and taxis present at all terminals.
NEED TO KNOW
Public transport is pretty comprehensive in Miami, with the Metrorail system providing connections to major points in the city.
An extensive bus system is also available, while there are also numerous taxis keen for business.
The port is in an ideal location, on the downtown waterfront. Shopaholics are spoilt for choice, with a number of malls, plus countless side streets full of outlets.
While English is of course the main language, plenty of people speak Spanish – indeed, Miami has been called the capital of affluent Latin America.
WHAT WE LOVE
Miami Beach: A huge draw for visitors, there’s much more than just sand and sun, although that of course is one of the main attractions. The world famous South Beach is also here, with great bars and clubs, as well as its art deco architecture.
Spanish Monastery: This has an interesting back story. Originally built in Segovia, Spain, in 1141, the Monastery Cloister, in North Miami Beach, is reportedly one of the oldest buildings in the western hemisphere. In 1925, newspaperman William Randolph Hearst brought it, dismantled the building, and transported it to the USA, where it was later reassembled.
Biscayne National Park: This park – the largest marine park in the USA’s National Park System – is just south of central Miami, but is well worth the visit. Now over 100 years old, it is popular with divers (approximately 95 per cent of the park is water) for snorkelling, and is home to over 500 species of reef fish. Provides a nice contrast to the bright lights of downtown Miami.
Museums: History buffs also have plenty to get their teeth into. Just two examples include HistoryMiami, in downtown, which has more than 13,000 artefacts in its collection, and the Coral Gables Museum, which was renovated in 2011, and focuses on permanent and traveling art and design exhibits, lectures and concerts.
- A vibrant nightlife will appeal to party lovers
- Sun, sand and sea in abundance
- Every January there is an art deco weekend on Ocean Drive