Breaking News: Legislature Says Key West Cant Limit Cruise Ships
Ports cant impede maritime commerce
Key West restaurant owner Bill Lay, who opposed Key Wests cruise ship limits because of the threat to jobs, told Keys Weekly, This entire situation was avoidable. All people had to do is sit down and talk, thats how things get done. The attitude of think like me or die, will never work. We ALL want the same thing: A healthy, clean, safe and prosperous community. We ALL love this island and each other, because we ALL matter. We just have to learn to talk things out. Once again this entire situation was avoidable, from the highest level of government to the busboy who relocated his family because opportunitys door was closed in their face. I personally hate the fact that this is outside of our community, it needed to remain here.
Shop Art And Souvenirs
There are many art galleries at your disposal, whether you intend to buy or just be inspired. Streets like Duval, showcase plenty of mind-bogglingly beautiful art. Every month there are art events that showcase new artists. So be on the lookout for something new and otherworldly beautiful.
Get all your Key West souvenirs online, so you dont have to worry when in port.
Local Currency & Tipping Customs
Key Wests official currency is the U.S. dollar , and ATMs are widely available. Credit cards like VISA and MasterCard are accepted most places as well. Tipping in Key West is similar to other U.S. destinations. Leave a 15-20% tip at restaurants and bars. Dont forget to tip your barista for your morning cafe con leche, too. Carry a little bit of cash for your tour guide or bellhop.
Don’t Miss: Cruise Ships Mobile Al
Shopping Near The Key West Cruise Port
While on cruises to Key West, Florida, youll find no shortage of souvenir shacks, roadside t-shirt vendors, and Florida-related memorabilia celebrating and embracing Key Wests quirkiness. Head to Duval Street for the majority of shops, independently-owned boutiques, and galleries in the city. Or shop at Mallory Square for interesting goods like sandal and surf shops or markets for seashells and sea sponges.
How Will This Affect Royal Caribbean Cruises
The newly certified laws will prohibit any Royal Caribbean ship from being able to visit Key West, since the capacity of even the smallest Royal Caribbean International ship exceeds the prohibition set forth by the prohibition on a ship with a capacity of more than 1,300 passengers.
The bigger question is what legal hurdles will these new laws face, as even the Safer, Cleaner Ships organization recognizes private businesses in Key West may challenge these laws.
A few Royal Caribbean ships were small enough to dock in Key West, such as Brilliance of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas.
There has been no official word on what might happen to these itineraries, and if visits to Key West will be replaced by another port visit or a sea day.
In 2019, Key West had its busiest year with 417 cruise ship visits that brought 965,000 passengers.
Also Check: What Cruise Lines Depart From Norfolk Va
What’s To Do Within Walking Distance And Sightseeing
Amongst many inviting aspects of Key West, cruise passengers like to know that many top attractions are close by and easy to reach on your own. The Old Town is a grid of quaint architecture which you can leisurely explore on foot. And most attractions and landmarks are within walking distance. The Old Town Trolley Tours, the Conch Tour Train and the City View Trolleys offer great sightseeing.
Scooter Rentals in Key West
To get around Key West, you can rent a bike, a scooter, or an electrical car. Public buses have stops close to all main attractions. Car rental is not advisable unless you wish to travel to other Keys nearby parking in Key West is expensive and very limited.
Fishing Tours in Key West
Cruise Fans Not Happy With New Laws
Cruise fans that enjoyed being able to visit Key West on a cruise without the long drive from Miami shared their displeasure with the new laws on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards.
karl_nj lamented that he may never visit Key West as a result of the laws, “I had always wanted to visit Key West, but never got around to it. I figured visiting via cruise ship would have been my best bet i don’t really envision myself flying to Florida, renting a car, and driving all the way down to Key West. Oh well, plenty of other places to visit and spend money.”
FManke was surprised any city would want to turn away business given the current economic climate, “With what’s going on these days and the uncertain future, I can’t see anybody turning away business.”
Don’t Miss: What Cruise Ships Sail Out Of Mobile Alabama
Will Cruise Ships Return To Key West
A state legislators attempt to nullify a Key West referendum on cruise ships moved a step closer to passage on March 10.
A majority of Key West voters elected in November to reduce Key Wests pre-pandemic cruise ship industry by about 92%, compared to pre-pandemic port visits.
With ballots as their voices, those voters about 62% of them told city lawmakers to change the citys charter so it would prohibit cruise ships that carry more than 1,300 total people, not just passengers, from docking in Key West. The charter change would also mean no more than 1,500 people can come ashore in Key West on a given day and gives docking priority to ships with the best environmental records.
Then the Florida legislature convened on March 2 and Sen. Jim Boyd, a Republican from Bradenton, filed Senate Bill 426, which would nullify the Key West charter changes by taking away port cities authority to turn away certain ships, based on size, passenger count or other characteristics.
Boyds bill also expressly nullifies any local referendum or ballot initiative to change a citys port operations. The bill applies to four of Floridas 15 ports that are owned by cities and not counties Key West, Pensacola, Panama City and St. Petersburg.
The Florida senate transportation committee on Wednesday morning passed Senate Bill 426 with a 5-2 vote. Senator Keith Perry was absent for the vote.
Who supports SB 426?
Both were quoted by FloridaPolitics.com on March 3 as supporting it.
Cruising Is Coming Back Will Key West Be On The Itinerary
Michelle, Ella Joyce and I cant wait to go cruising again and all signs show that the time to set sail is drawing near.
Cruise ships can soon safely launch with COVID-19 mitigation protocols in place to protect passengers health.
But will Key West be on the itinerary for us, or the millions of other families itching to take to the seas? That all depends on whether Gov. Ron DeSantis signs Senate Bill 1194.
Yesterday, we reported the leaders of Safer, Cleaner Ships signed a letter calling on DeSantis to veto the bill. Mainstream media coverage of the issue has firmly been one-sided, often taking the claims of Safer, Cleaner Ships at face value, without much consideration for opposing views.
Those voices include John Wells, the owner of Caribe Nautical, or Michael Halpern, the owner of the historic Southernmost House Hotel, both of whom spoke eloquently about why legislative action was necessary the last Session to prevent end-runs around elected port authorities, whether they are special districts or municipal governments, from becoming the norm in how Floridas ports are run.
While Safer, Cleaner Ships presents impassioned arguments for a veto of SB 1194.
However, the facts dont back them up.
Safer, Cleaner Ships says the referendums they pushed in Key West would not ban cruise ships from coming to the Keys.
The U.S. Coast Guard notes cruise ships have never discharged into Key West waters.
You May Like: How Much Is Parking At Miami Cruise Port
Trumans Little White House
Another home that requires some attention would be the Little White House. This home was originally a naval stations command headquarters during World War 1 and World War 2. Harry Truman, the 33rd US president, called this house, home for several winters.
Truman visited Florida 11 times and used to reside in this little white house. The home is currently owned by the state of Florida but managed by non-profit institutions as a museum with rich historical artifacts.
Cruise Ships / Marine Services
There have been some exciting changes to the Citys approach to managing our waterfront. The concept of these changes called for the consolidation of City waterfront responsibilities. This includes the deep-water port activities of Cruise Ships and of Navy vessel activity coordination.
The objective of the Plan is to make our City waterfront operate more efficiently, as well as effectively. As the Citys mission statement states, we are ” to maximize services to our customers in the most cost effective way.” Not only does the consolidation make for a more efficient and effective operation, it also provides for better accountability and a more consistent approach in the interpretations of policy and procedures affecting the waterfront environment.
Recommended Reading: What Cruise Lines Depart From Norfolk Va
Cellular Phone & Data Services
Customers of the four major U.S. wireless carriers can expect the following levels of service in Key West:
Cell service: Verizon’s CDMA service provides digital coverage to the greater Key West area. Data services: Verizon offers 4G LTE coverage in the greater Key West area.See details on Verizon’s cell and data services coverage in Key West.
Cell service: AT& T’s GSM service covers all of the greater Key West area.Data services: AT& T offers extensive 4G and 4G LTE service in the greater Key West area.See details on AT& T’s cell and data services coverage in Key West.
Cell service: Sprint’s CDMA service provides digital coverage to the greater Key West area. Data services: Sprint offers extensive 3G service in the greater Key West area.See details on Sprint’s cell and data services coverage in Key West.
Cell service: T-Mobile’s GSM service is available in all of the greater Key West area.Data services: T-Mobile offers extensive 3G/4G service in the greater Key West area, with some spotty coverage.See details on T-Mobile’s cell and data services coverage in Key West.
Large Cruise Ships Are Set To Return To Key West
Florida lifts its ban on large cruise ships in Key West.
Large cruise ships have won their battle with idyllic Key West.
Key West residents approved a ban on cruise ships carrying more than 1,500 passengers in November, a time when the industry was effectively shut down by the pandemic. But with cruise lines sailing from the U.S. again, Florida’s governor has overturned the law and is prohibiting the state’s cities from attempting to limit ship traffic in the future.
That decision paves the way for major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean to return to the Florida Keys as cruises restart sailings from U.S. ports. Under the law Key West voters approved last year, Royal Caribbean’s entire fleet which includes several of the world’s largest cruise ships would have been banned.
A similar battle against cruise ship traffic is being waged in Venice, where the cruises are also winning. About a month ago, the Associated Press reported that Venice residents were surprised by the sight of a large ship in a Venetian canal for the first time in more than a year, despite the passage of a law banning big vessels from the heart of one of Italy’s most charming cities.
Venice is continuing to fight, teaming up with celebrities like Mick Jagger, Tilda Swinton, Wes Anderson, and Francis Ford Coppola to protect the city of canals. “Venice is suffering, and we, citizens of the world, cannot remain deaf to her cries,” an open letter signed by supporters reads, according to the AP.
Recommended Reading: What Cruise Lines Leave From Mobile Alabama
Things To Do And See In Key West
One of the nicest and inviting aspects of Key West is that whatever the cruise traveler would like to do or see it is always very easy to get to anywhere on your own. However, there are many thinsg to do which you can only enjoy with a shore excursion, a sightseeing service or a local tour guide. Here are the top things to do in Key West:
- Sail on a catamaran and snorkel
- Go on Kayak Nature Tour
- Explore Key West on a Bike Tour
- Experience watersports like parasail, paddleboarding, jet ski or snuba
- Hop-On and Hop-Off the Old Town Trolley
- Enjoy the ocean life on a glass bottom boat
- Discover Key West on the Conch Train
- Explore the highlights of Key West on a tour or on your own
- Visit Hemingway’s home and Sloppy Joe’s
- Take a Pub Crawl Tour
- Watch a dolphin show
- Visit the Aquarium and the Butterfly Gardens
- See Key West on an helicopter tour
- Tour President Truman’s Little White House
- Take a Rum and Cigar tour
- Spend some time on a beach
- Go on a harbour cruise around Key West
- Savor a genuine Key lime pie
Conch Tour Train in Key West
Could Key West Compromise On Cruise Ships
City lawmakers changed the course of Key Wests cruise ship conversation on Oct. 5, introducing words like, compromise, mediation, stakeholders, discussion and input from all sides ideas that had been raised by some business owners 19 months ago.
Commissioner Greg Davila suggested a meeting of all stakeholders, including Safer Cleaner Ships, which led the voter-approved 95% reduction in cruise ship traffic, and the owners of Pier B, the privately owned cruise dock that has given the city 25% of its cruise ship revenue for nearly 30 years. City Attorney Shawn Smith has repeatedly warned about a costly lawsuit from Pier B if the city infringes on its business and revenue.
If we can get Safer Cleaner Ships in the same room as Pier B, thatd be good, Commissioner Greg Davila said. I dont think discussion is ever a bad thing.
Commissioner Sam Kaufman said, I think we should invite all parties to formal mediation, while Commissioner Billy Wardlow said what has been on several peoples minds for months, I know we can do something at Mallory Pier and the Outer Mole, but Pier B being private property is different. I wouldnt want someone telling me what I can do with my property.
We want to satisfy the will of the people, but we have other people including the state who could take action against us, Commissioner Clayton Lopez said. I am always in favor of getting as much information and input as we can.
Additional legal concerns
Also Check: What Cruise Lines Go Out Of Mobile Al
When Do The Cruise Ships Come In
When do most of the ships come in? We were wanting to do an excursion on a Saturday but are afraid there will be too many people on the island for that. What do you think?
No cruise ships are scheduled on Saturdays until October. Now, on the cruise ship note, I have never thought I island is busy because a cruise ship is docked. I think people generally get off the ships and go to the touristy shops and because their time on the island is short they’re not flocking to the bars, restaurants, etc… there’s plenty of time for that in a few hours when they get back on the ship.
Here is the link to the current schedules. They are subject to change. I do not think one ship makes a huge difference in town, although it does impact excursions that specialize in cruise shippers like the large Catamaran or Jet Ski Tours. This summer has been very busy on weekends, so you might want to look at smaller operators like Danger or Java Cat Charters for an off shore excursion.
We have never had a cruise ship overwhelm any activities we were doing. The more the merrier. We had the Fury get held up once because Customs held up the cruise ship people for some stupid reason. They had just come from Miami, so I suspect very few illegals jumped on in the Florida Straits. Otherwise, don’t let cruise ships change your plans
Pier B And Mallory Square
If your cruise ship is the only one in port – which happens quite frequently – this will be most probably where she will dock. This is a perfect location just, literally, a couple of minutes walk away from the Old Town – one of the top attractions of Key West where many highlights are located.
There is also the possibility that your cruise ship will dock at another pier close by, also right at the heart of the Old Town, in Mallory Square – this is a famous spot where crowds gather to watch the sunset and it can get very busy when returning onboard at the end of the day.
Outer Mole Pier in Key West
Read Also: How To Use Lelo Sona Cruise
Where Do The Cruise Ship Dock
There are three places that the cruise ships dock. They dock at Mallory Square, Pier B by the Westin Hotel, and the Navy Pier at the Outer Mole. There is a free shuttle into town from the Outer Mole, as it is a secure area, and you are not allowed to walk.
Last time I cruised to Key West with Carnival – the ship docked at the Navy base.
-:- Message from Tripadvisor staff -:-
This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you’ll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.
To review the Tripadvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link:
We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.