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Florida’s 10 Best Hotels to Stay Pre-Cruise

Don’t miss the boat!

Cruises are slowly coming back and we’re already salivating over 24-hour buffets, seeing over-the-top theater, and relaxing with a book while watching nothing but waves in the distance. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We know that the key component of a cruise is the pre-cruise hotel. Because after all, if we don’t stay the day before in a hotel, then Murphy’s Law says our flight will hit some sort of a snag the day of the cruise and we’ll miss our boarding. And then we won’t be cruising at all.

Newbie cruisers, this may be the Best. Advice. Ever: Get a hotel the night before you cruise.

Now that we got that out of the way, here are the best pre-cruise hotels if your cruise is departing out of Florida.

1 OF 10

For Royal Caribbean Cruises

WHERE: Port Canaveral, Orlando

Stay at Radisson Resort at the Port

Not only is this just a half-mile from the port (walkable if you didn’t have to drag along a ballgown, bikini, and a million outfits for your sailing), they offer a shuttle to the cruise that takes fewer than five minutes. It’s within walking distance to restaurants, and the beach is just 10 minutes away. Stay here before hopping on the brand new Odyssey of the Seas, so you can be one of the first to board. This is especially important for this ship, as it has so many coveted activities that tend to fill up quickly, including iFly, the Sky Pad Virtual Reality Trampoline, and the specialty restaurants (run, don’t walk to Wonderland, which is a play on Alice and Wonderland and is exquisite).

2 OF 10

For MSC Cruises

WHERE: Port Canaveral, Orlando

Stay at Best Western Cocoa Beach Hotel & Suites

You’re sailing MSC because you wanted an affordable cruise. So chances are, you’re looking for an affordable hotel. Not only is this Best Western totally affordable (it is a Best Western, after all), but it’s oceanfront and offers a free hot breakfast. What more could you want? Oh, and it’s also just two miles from the port, has two stunning pools, and is super close to a supermarket. This is a brand new port for MSC, which finally started sailing the MSC Divina from Port Canaveral. Welcome, MSC!

3 OF 10

For MSC Cruises

WHERE: Port Miami, Miami

Stay at Comfort Suites Miami Airport

Why stay here? Because they’re practically giving the rooms away for free. And by “rooms,” we mean “suites.” They offer free rides to and from the airport, free internet, free hot breakfast, free parking, and a free shuttle to the port. The hotel costs less than $100 per night on most nights. We suggest pairing this hotel with MSC’s 8-night Caribbean and Bahamas cruise, which starts at just $299 per person. You simply can’t beat it.

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PHOTO: David Roark/Disney
4 OF 10

For Disney Cruises

WHERE: Port Canaveral, Orlando

Stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

We recommend arriving two days before your cruise to really get the true experience. This hotel is an hour away from the port, and you have to be on board the Disney cruises by 4 p.m. So get here a couple of days early, spend an entire day at Disney World and then book at Disney transfer to the port ($70 r/t) the day of your cruise. The earliest transfer gets you there at noon, so you can have time to hang out at the Animal Kingdom’s pool, eat with the characters, and then be on your way to your next Disney adventure.

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PHOTO: Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina
5 OF 10

For Celebrity Cruises

WHERE: Port Canaveral, Orlando

Stay at Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina

You like to keep it classy, and this pre-cruise hotel is a vacation. The pool looks like a resort, with palm trees surrounding the tables and cabanas; there’s a large poolside bar; you don’t need to leave the Hilton to dine on everything your heart desires. You might leave with a slight obsession with the Celebrity Silhouette, where the food is simply extra.

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PHOTO: Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Lauderdale 17th Street
6 OF 10

For Princess Cruises

WHERE: Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale

Stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton

They offer a free breakfast, free happy hour, and a pool–and this hotel is just six blocks from your cruise: Stand on your balcony and you may even be able to see it. Did we mention that there’s also a free shuttle that takes you to the local restaurants, bars, shops, and anywhere else you need to be? It feels like you’re starting your cruise early.

7 OF 10

For Carnival Cruises

WHERE: Port Canaveral, Orlando

Stay at The Resort on Cocoa Beach

You’re taking a Carnival cruise because you don’t want a care in the world. Perhaps you’re even taking Carnival’s Mardi Gras ship because you simply want to dance and drink and party while you travel. So you need to launch your vacay here, where there’s a tiki bar, a happy hour, a walk to the beach, and a massive pool and hot tub area.

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PHOTO: Homewood Suites by Hilton Cape Canaveral-Cocoa Beach
8 OF 10

For Norwegian Cruises

WHERE: Port Canaveral, Orlando

Stay at Homewood Suites by Hilton Cape Canaveral-Cocoa Beach

You’re cruising Norwegian, so you’re probably a fun, laid-back, go-with-the-flow traveler. We think you’re going to love Homewood Suites. It’s just a half-mile from the port, it’s typically less than $200 per night and there’s a free breakfast. There’s a pool and a fire-pit, along with full kitchens in each room. Need a washing machine? It’s $2.

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PHOTO: Pelican Grand Beach Resort
9 OF 10

For Holland America Cruises

WHERE: Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale

Stay at Pelican Grand Beach Resort

You’re hopping aboard the Eurodam for a Panama Canal experience and you want to rest the night before your big sail. We recommend the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, which is a vacation itself (you may want to stay here a few days rather than simply the night prior to departure). The hotel is directly on the beach, the service is exquisite, and there’s no need for you to ever leave the hotel–except, of course, to catch your ship.

10 OF 10

For Viking Cruises

WHERE: Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale

Stay at B Ocean Resort

We assume you’re here because you booked the new Viking Orion cruise ship out of Fort Lauderdale. You chose Viking because you love culture, cooking demos, informative talks, and outings. That’s why you’ll love B Ocean Resort, which has hosted Marilyn Monroe, Robert DeNiro, and Joe DiMaggio over the years. It has a private beach, fabulous food, and—get this–mermaid shows!

1 Comments
Avatar for Deb15July
Deb15July January 4, 2022

Something's off with #5.  Ft. Lauderdale is nowhere near Port Canaveral!