10 Best Family Hotels in Cruise Ports
You’ve picked out the best cruise for your family. You know, the one with the onboard cupcake shop and the ice skating rink. But what about your pre- and post-cruise hotel stay? If you’re seeking accommodations that will live up to the amazing sailing you have planned, we’ve got you covered. Below are our picks for top family-friendly hotels in popular U.S. cruise ports. Some of these hotels offer money-saving cruise packages that include perks like free parking for the duration of your cruise or transportation to the cruise terminal. Others are conveniently located adjacent to cruise ports. And a few are simply the best local hotels for families, period.
The Radisson Resort at the Port is as close as you can get to the Port Canaveral cruise terminal — and the property offers a free shuttle to the port to boot. Other noteworthy amenities include on-site family dining, a kids’ pool and three-hour express laundry service. The laundry service is key, as cruise ship laundry facilities tend to be quite expensive. The Radisson offers special cruise ship packages for families hitting the high seas, which include accommodations, breakfast and free parking throughout the duration of your cruise at competitive rates.
2. Los Angeles
Offering free transportation to the Los Angeles cruise ports, plus an onsite kids’ club, the Westin Long Beach is our pick for families cruising out of the L.A. area. (Note: Cruises departing from Los Angeles leave from either San Pedro or Long Beach, two terminals that are near each other and located about 20 miles south of the Los Angeles airport). For a bit of fun before your cruise, head to the beaches bordering the Westin, walk to the Aquarium of the Pacific (it’s that close) or swim in the hotel’s outdoor heated pool. On-site babysitting services are available.
3. Fort Lauderdale
Situated about a mile and a half from the Port Everglades cruise port, Days Inn Bahia Cabana is a top choice for cruisers sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. This property has particularly family-friendly room options, with one-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes and large penthouses (perfect for big groups) available. Book a pre- or post-cruise package at this Days Inn and receive discounts on rates as well as transfers to the cruise port.
4. 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 hotel can simply walk to the cruise terminal (or hop in a cab and arrive in minutes). Drury Inn & Suites 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 their cruise has already begun before they even set foot on the ship!
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 10 minutes’ walk from the Edgewater. The Edgewater is Seattle’s only waterfront hotel, offering pretty views of the ocean to whet your appetite for that upcoming sailing.
Charleston’s cruise terminal is located about a three-minute drive from Charleston Place, an upscale hotel chosen as a Family Vacation Critic Favorite. We love Charleston Place for so many reasons. The hotel is located smack in Charleston’s elegant historic district, there’s on-site babysitting, families can cool off in a rooftop saltwater pool, and Oprah Winfrey has slept here (we just had to name drop!).
7. San Diego
An affordable resort that’s remarkably accommodating to families, the Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside has it all: kid-themed rooms with bunk beds and video games, free meals for kids ages 12 and under, and fun activities like ping pong and shuffleboard. And when it comes time to board your ship, the Holiday Inn will get you there for free in mere minutes (the cruise port is about three miles away from the hotel).
8. New York
The Big Apple boasts four cruise ports: the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal; Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey; the Manhattan Cruise Terminal at West 48th and West 52nd streets; and the Chelsea Recreational Piers, where smaller vessels dock. All ports can be easily reached by New York’s extensive public transportation system. But when visiting New York, many families prefer to seek accommodations in the thick of some of the city’s popular attractions — Central Park, Times Square, FAO Schwarz — 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 the city. 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.
Families are the focus at the Hampton Inn & Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor, which features big rooms with kitchenettes, free breakfast and a fabulous location. The Inn is just blocks away from top attractions like Harborplace Mall and the Maryland Science Center. Get a free ride to the Baltimore cruise port at South Locust Point, located about three miles from the city, when you book the “Cruise ‘n’ Snooze” package at this Hampton Inn.
Boston’s Fairmount Battery Wharf was chosen as a Family Vacation Critic Favorite and is one of few waterfront hotels in the historic city. Enjoy lovely views of the ocean from your guest room, in addition to what will undoubtedly be the best ride you’ll ever have from the airport to your hotel. Fairmont Battery Warf offers its own private water taxi from Boston Logan International. The hotel is also in a prime location near attractions like the New England Aquarium and HarborWalk, and it’s just a few miles from the Boston cruise port.
Written by Caroline Costello
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