You’ve booked a cruise for your next family vacation. But have you booked a cruise port hotel? If you want to stress less before you board the ship and set sail, you might consider booking a hotel room for the night before your family’s cruise departs, and maybe even a room for the day you return.
These are our picks for the top family-friendly hotels in popular U.S. cruise ports. Between cruise packages, free breakfasts and shuttles that take you from the airport to the hotel to the terminal, these cruise port hotels have everything you need before and after your family’s sailing.
Written by Hilarey Wojtowicz
Epic Hotel - Miami
Miami's cruise port is just across the water from the Epic Hotel, making your stay short, sweet and close to your cruise ship. Enjoy the 14,000-square-foot pool deck before heading to one of the city's family-friendly attractions, such as Zoo Miami and the Seaquarium. Look into one of the family-friendly packages that the hotel offers, some of which include breakfast, making this Port of Miami hotel ideal for families.
Country Inn & Suites Cape Canaveral - Melbourne, Florida
Located less than one mile from Port Canaveral, this cruise hotel, Country Inn & Suites Cape Canaveral, offers families a free hot breakfast, two pools, a Jacuzzi, game room and fitness center. Start relaxing the right way with one night in this cruise port hotel before you even go on vacation. Rooms and suites are decorated with different themes for kids, and offer separate rooms with bunk beds. DVD players, cribs, kitchenettes and laundry services are also available. Plus, a hotel shuttle will transport you and your family to the Port Canaveral cruise port.
Hotel Maya - Los Angeles
Just a short cab ride from the airport and walking distance to the Carnival Cruise terminal in Los Angeles, the Hotel Maya also offers families an outdoor pool, fitness center, laundry services and colorful, modern accommodations. Suites come with a living area, kitchenette and private balcony, too. The Hotel Maya is a great cruise port hotel for families looking for a one-night stay before boarding the ship. Grab dinner in nearby Long Beach City, or take the shuttle bus to one of the many Los Angeles attractions, like the California Science Center.
Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Hotel - Fort Lauderdale
Relax on the beach, take an exciting (and educational!) water taxi ride or just enjoy the outdoor heated pool at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Hotel before embarking on your cruise. Port Everglades in Lauderdale is so close that you can see it from the higher up floors of the hotel. Enjoy a guestroom, junior suite or a one-bedroom suite at comfortable prices. Although this Fort Lauderdale cruise port hotel isn't flashy, it is one of the closest hotels to Port Everglades, which will save you and your family time and energy before a relaxing cruise.
Drury Inn & Suites - New Orleans
The New Orleans cruise port is just steps from the city's downtown area and the popular Riverwalk shopping center, so families staying at almost any centrally-located New Orleans cruise port hotel can simply walk to the cruise terminal (or hop in a cab and arrive in minutes). Drury Inn & Suites New Orleans is about eight blocks from the New Orleans cruise terminal -- which is walkable for families with older kids and less luggage.
But we didn't select this property because of its location alone. The hotel boasts a long list of complimentary family-friendly perks for its guests, from a free buffet breakfast to free soda and popcorn in the lobby to free appetizers during the "5:30 Kickback." With all this free food on offer, your family might feel as though their cruise has already begun before they set foot on the ship!
Edgewater Hotel - Seattle
Seattle's luxurious Edgewater Hotel is a stone's throw away from the Pier 66 Bell Street Cruise Terminal -- we're talking a three-minute walk to your ship. Seattle does have a second terminal, the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, which is a bit farther, but it's still less than a 10-minute walk from the Edgewater. The Edgewater is Seattle's only waterfront cruise port hotel, offering pretty views of the ocean to wet your appetite for that upcoming sailing.
Belmond Charleston Place - Charleston
Charleston's cruise terminal is located about a three-minute drive from Belmond Charleston Place, an upscale cruise port hotel chosen as a Family Vacation Critic Favorite. We love Belmond Charleston Place for so many reasons. The hotel is located smack in the middle of Charleston's elegant historic district, with onsite babysitting and a rooftop saltwater pool. Oh, and not to mention that celebs like Oprah Winfrey and Julia Roberts have stayed here!
Embassy Suites San Diego Bay - Downtown, San Diego
A stone's throw from the San Diego cruise port and 10 minutes from great local attractions like SeaWorld,LEGOLAND and the San Diego Zoo, the Embassy Suites San Diego Bay - Downtown is a perfect family hotel near the San Diego cruise port to start your vacation. Fuel up with a complimentary breakfast before exploring the city and enjoy spacious two-bedroom suites, complete with a microwave, refrigerator and coffeemaker. The cruise hotel offers a shuttle that will take you where you need to go.
Dolphin Motel - San Diego
Situated about five minutes from the San Diego Airport and 10 minutes to the San Diego cruise terminal, this cruise port hotel is ideal for families looking for a short stay. The Dolphin Motel is not fancy and does not have a pool but the free continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi and free parking make it budget friendly for families seeking a hotel near the San Diego cruise port. An early check-in policy at this cruise port hotel also makes it convenient and flexible for families who may be on a time constraint.
Hotel Elysee - New York City
All New York area cruise ports -- 52nd streets; the Chelsea Recreational Piers, where smaller vessels dock; and Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey -- can be easily reached by New York's extensive public transportation system. But when visiting New York City, many families prefer to seek accommodations in the thick of some of the city's popular attractions -- Central Park, Times Square,American Girl Place -- regardless of where their ship departs. With that in mind, we've chosen the intimate, centrally-located Hotel Elysee as our top pick for families sailing out of New York or New Jersey. A charming boutique hotel with complimentary breakfast, rooms with kitchenettes and a superb staff that welcomes kids with open arms (and a joke or two), Hotel Elysee offers more than just a fantastic location as a cruise port hotel.
Hampton Inn & Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor - Baltimore
Boston's historic waterfront area is the perfect place to find a cruise hotel. The Battery Wharf Hotel, Boston Waterfront was chosen as a Family Vacation Critic Favorite and offers lovely views of the ocean from your guestroom, in addition to what will undoubtedly be the best ride you'll ever have from the airport to your hotel. Fairmont Battery Wharf offers its own private water taxi from Boston Logan International. The Boston cruise port hotel is also in a prime location near attractions like the New England Aquarium and HarborWalk.
The Tremont House - Galveston, Texas
Just five minutes from the Port of Galveston, The Tremont House is the perfect cruise port hotel for a family looking to sail the Gulf of Mexico. Whether it's for one night before a cruise or for the weekend that you return, this historic cruise hotel is located in the heart of Galveston and is near a variety of museums and outdoor activities. Children 17 and under always stay for free here and the hotel offers a full buffet breakfast and shuttle to local attractions. Relax with an in-room movie or check out one of the two pools the night before you set sail.
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