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allison04 Nov 5th, 2010 09:20 AM

boat from Ft. Myers to Key West
Key West Express seems to be the biggest operation that does this--but are there others? And are they all that expensive? We're trying to decide whether the $145 per person is worth it for a short trip (we'd stay one night in the middle of a week-long stay in Ft. Myers in January). Are there other companies anyone can recommend that aren't quite as pricey?

We think we'd like wandering around Key West for a day to experience the "other" stuff that Ft. Myers doesn't have. Also, would any decent hotels in Key West be under $120 or so in mid-January? Thanks for any suggestions you have!

tchoiniere Nov 5th, 2010 09:41 AM

I believe its the only one. I have done it as a day trip for around $100 and really enjoyed it. My parents have taken it again and had a less pleasant experience (rough seas) and have decided to drive since. It could go either way. january is the beginning of high season so hotel rates are probably up.

SusanCS Nov 5th, 2010 09:49 AM

I don't think the Key West Express runs in January, so you probably need to check that out first. As for taking a day to experience the "other" stuff that Ft. Myers doesn't have, I think it'd take more like a week! Key West is a pretty unique one-of-a-kind place.

As for prices, January is definitely high season, so you're less likely to find good rates then.

Peter_krynicki Nov 5th, 2010 09:50 AM

There are two "knocks" on this boat...

1. People report getting seasick if there is any kind of swell which surprises me since it is a very large boat. And
2. They will cancel the trip to Key West or *back* if the weather is bad.

IMO as much as I like Key West I wouldn't go there for one day which generally boils down to a later morning and early afternoon. You walk a little, have lunch, walk a little, maybe buy a T, and leave, coming away with a not-so-hot opinion of the place. This would be sad.


garyt22 Nov 5th, 2010 01:52 PM

Some airlines run round trip specials for about the same price at times during the year...

NeoPatrick Nov 5th, 2010 06:40 PM

garyt22 -- that's a very interesting post. Can you name a single airline from Ft. Myers that offers a competitive price to Key West? That's total news to me.

NeoPatrick Nov 6th, 2010 05:37 AM

Ah, I did find some Cape Air flights that go for as low as $208 round trip, if that's what you meant.

garyt22 Nov 6th, 2010 05:40 AM

I didnt remember the specifics, but we have done the flight from both Ft Myers and Miami to Key West...

NeoPatrick Nov 6th, 2010 09:50 AM

Well your post made me do some looking. In the "old days" we had flights from Naples to Key West, but those disappeared long ago. It makes no sense for anyone to drive to Miami from Ft. Myers or Naples area to take a flight to Key West, but I was a bit surprised to see Cape Air prices getting down close to $200. That's still over $400 for a couple to fly a route that can be driven in 5 to 6 hours, and most would agree you need a car in Key West if you're staying for more than a day, but at least it's less than the $300 plus I was finding when I checked last winter for Ft. Myers to Key West flights. And $208 is still $416 for a couple compared to $290 for the boat for a couple -- and the boat will get you into the heart of Key West, not out at the airport where you still need transportation to the "heart" of it all.

JeanH Nov 7th, 2010 05:00 AM

I don't agree at all about needing a car in Key West. In 15+ trips, we've had a car a couple of times and it sat in one spot the entire time we were there.

You will only need/want a car if you're going to explore the keys outside of Key West...

garyt22 Nov 7th, 2010 06:10 AM

Patrick... the cab ride to old town was much less than the parking hassle... also, the boat ride across the Gulf is so unpredictable and weather dependent that you have to cross your fingers (and everything else) that the day you plan for doesn't get cancelled... as I recall, at the time, our flights were about $150 R/T each, compared to the boat at about $100.... but we also had a locked-in deposit on the Gardens Hotel that made the boat a risky chance... when all is said and done, each traveler needs to make their own decision based on their circumstances... thanks for the update on Cape Air...

AAFrequentFlyer Nov 7th, 2010 06:43 AM

I would do the boat but also have alternative plans if weather becomes an issue. Many of our friends just buy one way tickets on the morning of departure. You will at least be guaranteed the outward trip. Then buy the return ticket on that day if the boat is returning or rent a car if it's not but you need to be back on that particular day. The total cost is little more for 2 one way tickets but at least you won't be stuck in Key West if the weather is nasty and January can bring some strong winds and currents.

I've seen some specials as low as $89 R/T but perhaps it was a Florida resident special only.

siwst852 Nov 8th, 2010 06:38 AM

The only time I took the boat and spent the night in Key West they didn't travel the next 2 days because of bad weather. We ended up flying home, spending a fortune on a hotel and they wouldn't even reimburse us for the 1/2 of the return ticket. It be a nice day trip but I wouldn't do it again overnight. This was the beginning of January a few years ago.

AAFrequentFlyer Nov 8th, 2010 06:54 AM


why didn't you just rent a car? It's only about 5-6 hour drive and MUCH cheaper than flying.....

starrs Nov 8th, 2010 08:42 AM

A friend who moved to the Naples area and goes to Key West monthly tried it ONCE. He hated it - a very rough trip. Now he just drives it.

siwst852 Nov 9th, 2010 09:25 AM

AAA well to tell the truth over 7 hours in a car for a 2 night stay and then back is not my ideal vacation. Plus it is a boring drive and it can back up in the keys and take wayyyyyyyyyyy longer than that, in season driving anywhere takes 2x as long.

AAFrequentFlyer Nov 9th, 2010 09:44 AM

so spending a fortune on an extended stay at a hotel was a better option? and then spend a small fortune on flying?

I was just asking a simple question....

NeoPatrick Nov 9th, 2010 10:55 AM

siwst852, if I may be a go-between here, I think AAFF's comment was since you said you got "stuck" in Key West for two days when the boat didn't return and you're complaining about the high cost of doing so -- he was suggesting you could have just rented a car and driven home that day (as you had planned to return home that day anyway, right?) when the boat didn't return as planned.

siwst852 Nov 10th, 2010 03:53 AM

I am sorry AA if I misinterpreted. Renting a car in season is not feasible last minute also many places like Key West will not let you drop at a different location.

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