Pre-Cruise Hotel Guide in Miami & Fort Lauderdale

Travel Advisor Amy LaGrow-Rogers with her husband in front of a beach at sunset.
Curated By

Amy LaGrow-Rogers

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  • Florida

  • Luxury Travel

  • Miami

  • Cruises

  • Food & Wine

  • Adventure Travel

  • Active Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Group Travel

  • Coastal

  • Relaxation

  • Fresh Seafood

a sandy beach covered in footsteps with palm trees and a cruise ship in the distance
Curator’s statement

Most Caribbean cruises originate from Miami or Fort Lauderdale which are great places to start your trip! With flights being so volatile these days, most people choose to come in at least 1 day prior to the cruise. Your vacation should start from the moment you hit the ground in Florida! One of the most common questions I get is, "Where should we stay before our cruise?" There are so many hotels, people have a hard time figuring out where it's best to stay. Let me help you narrow it down to some of my favorite ones!

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Miami & Fort Lauderdale

InterContinental Miami, an IHG Hotel

Artful, luxury hotel in Miami with contemporary comfort along the downtown waterfront, with the city’s business centers and famous beaches both within easy reach.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Welcome amenities.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Four Seasons Miami

In Brickell, away from the South Beach scene, this family favorite has an oasis-like pool and city views.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Fontainebleu Miami Beach

Situated on the oceanfront Collins Avenue in the heart of Millionaire's Row, this iconic Miami Beach hotel is a popular destination in and of itself.

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Things to do in Miami & Fort Lauderdale

beach with palm trees and large hotels in the distance

In Miami, take a walk along the Miami Riverwalk or mosey on down to Bayfront Park which sits right on Biscayne Bay. Whether you want to relax or exercise, this beautiful park has it all, even a waterfall! With 50+ shops and 25+ eateries, Bayside Marketplace is also a great place to do some shopping or grab a bite to eat. This Marketplace is accessible by bus, rail, train or a quick Uber/Lyft ride. Parking is available if you have a rental car.

In Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale, catch the morning sunrise with a walk down the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, then swing into the Cafe Club for breakfast! Try your luck at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, maybe you'll hit the jackpot! There are many waterfront restaurants to grab lunch or dinner with a view.

Places to eat & drink in Miami & Fort Lauderdale

street in a beach town with multicolored lights emanating from neon signs at night


  • Marabu - Wonderful ambiance to enjoy some delicious Cuban food cooked with charcoal or have a cocktail from their "Havana inspired bar". They accept reservations so you can make sure you'll have a table ahead of time!

  • La Ventana - This is an authentic Columbian Restaurant in Miami Beach. It's a small place with limited seating but if you call ahead, they will possibly save a seat for you! This is a meal you don't want to miss!

  • Yardbird Table & Bar - If you are looking for American classics, this is your place! They have a huge selection from Chicken & Waffles to Lobster Mac & Cheese to Short Rib. And don't forget dessert! Make your reservations ahead of time!

Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood

  • JWB Prime - Located conveniently inside the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, this Steakhouse is a top rated restaurant in the area. They are known for their steaks and chops, but also have a large selection of Seafood. Stop by for Happy Hour or make a reservation ahead to enjoy dinner.

  • GG's Waterfront Bar & Grill - Situated right on the Intracoastal, this is a great place to sit and watch the boats go by while enjoying a wonderful meal. They do accept reservations so you can save your spot ahead of time. I suggest you put in a request to sit outside on the deck for the best view! In addition to their regular menus, they serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am-3:30pm.

  • Billy's Stone Crab Hollywood - I definitely recommend you make reservations as this place is always packed! Their tiered seating allows for ultimate views of the Intracoastal and all of the boats passing by. If you are a seafood lover, this is your place! Although they are known for stone crab, I highly recommend their King crab dinner!

Need to Know

Port of Miami and Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) are only 27 miles (30 minutes) apart. Whether you are sailing from either port, make sure to check flights into both Miami Airport (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) as you can quickly and easily get to either area from either airport. This could result in better flight times or cheaper airfare at one of the airports.

For more travel tips, check out my guide, Cruise Packing Guide: What to Bring & What Not to Bring.

Travel Advisor Amy LaGrow-Rogers with her husband in front of a beach at sunset.

Travel Advisor

Amy LaGrow-Rogers

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This is part of our ongoing series on travel to Florida.