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Key West Nears Limits Reducing Number Of Cruise Ship Visits

Key West voters side with new limits on cruise ship tourism

PublishedMar 16, 2022 5:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

A new plan has been presented in the long-running battle to limit cruise ship calls at Floridas popular tourist destination of Key West. Nearly two years after residents voted to dramatically reduce cruise ship calls at the port, the City Council has struck a compromise that will reduce the number of calls while still permitting all cruise ships to visit the port.

At a meeting last week, the Key West City Council read out its compromise measure which will be presented and finalized at the next meeting scheduled for April 5. At issue was the November 2020 referendum in which residents voted to limit the size of cruise ships based on passenger capacity, restrict the number of people coming ashore each day from cruise ships, and favor cruise ships with the best environmental records. While the residents voted overwhelmingly in support of the three restrictions, Floridas legislature and governor overrode the limitations in a retroactive law passed last summer.

Key West has three piers, two of which are controlled by the city and a third that is leased in perpetuity to a private operator. Since the beginning of the action, opponents and lawyers have argued that the City Council had no legal authority to restrict operations at the private pier and could face lawsuits if it attempted to impose the restrictions.

Which Days Are Cruise Ships In Port

I would like to avoid the cruise ship crowd if possible. Can anyone tell me which days the cruise ships are in port at Key West?


While in Key West pick up the Citizen, inside the front page is a list of ships and number of passengers, the port, and arrival and departure times. I think they list 3 or 4 days a head of time.

After the 20th of June most of the diverted cruise ships will be back on their regular schedule, so it will quiet down. While the local newspaper lists the cruise ships in port, it’s not always correct. Today they have the Destiny in and it’s the Disney. Tomorrow they list one ship and there are two. The city calendar is more accurate. Just stay off lower Duval in the morning, and also the Hemingway House which get really crowded. Hope you enjoy your Key West trip!


State Scrutinizes Key Wests Cruise Ship Rules

Florida law prohibits restrictions of maritime commerce

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water and into the depths of social media Key Wests great cruise ship debate returns.

In the latest development, state seaport officials have requested a meeting with Key West officials to discuss the citys intent with regard to its March 2022 resolution directing cruise ships away from Mallory Dock and Outer Mole Pier while retaining cruise ship traffic at the privately owned Pier B. The state officials also want to discuss the citys understanding of the new state law that prohibits restrictions of maritime commerce that was passed in response to Key Wests voter-approved referendums seeking to ban large ships from the island city.

I suspect that theyre going to ask us how we got from this to this, Steve McAlearney, Key Wests director of port and marine services, told the Keys Weekly. It will likely be mostly our legal staff talking to the state officials.

Lauren Rand, manager of the states Seaport Office, and attorney Giselle Justo were scheduled to meet the afternoon of Aug. 24 with Key Wests City Manager Patti McLauchlin, City Attorney Shawn Smith, McAlearney and the citys Nondiscrimination Coordinator Carolyn Sheldon.

The citys resolution further states, the city of Key West seeks only to direct cruise ship operations away from public property to the Pier B dock and not to prohibit cruise ship operations or to restrict maritime commerce.

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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.

Key West Tours Shore Excursions Hotels

1st Cruise Ship Since Irma Docks In Key West

City Tours and Shore Excursions

Next are listed the most popular Carnival Cruise Lines tours in Key West, with USD prices per adult:

  • catamaran and snorkeling tour
  • Butterfly Conservatory
  • Trolley and Train tours

Port Key West cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port’s schedule lists all ships with cruises going to or leaving from Key West, Florida. To see the full itineraries and their lowest rates just follow the corresponding ship-link.


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Key West Cruise Ship Activities Advice

Before you even go on your cruise, it is always a good idea to book your Key West Activities with a reputable Key West company and not on the cruise ships. Especially if you plan on going Key West fishing, sight seeing tours, Private boating charters or booking a veteran Key West fishing guide. And, you will save money and get the best services available.

See the Key West fishing report.

Key West Activities Via Cruise Ship

There are an entire slew of Key West activities that you may be able to do to enhance your visit. But, that all depends on what time your cruise ship docks and departs.

Most Popular Key West Activities Cruise Ship Visitors

  • Backcountry Fishing Charters The most popular fishing trip offered in Key West. And, since most of the cruise ships are in port long enough for a 4 hour Key West fishing backcountry fishing charter, this is a great option.
  • Snorkeling And Fishing Adventure Charters Snorkeling and fishing all in one charter here in Key West. And, you get the most out of you day and your money.
  • Sandbar Excursion A growing interest in hanging out on the water makes this a popular trip. And, it is private so you can get away from the big crowds of the cruise ship.

Port Of Key Westkey West Fl

The Port of Key West, Floridas most southern port, consists of three docking facilities: Mallory Square, the Navys Outer Mole Pier, and the privately-owned Pier B. These facilities constitute one of the busiest cruise ports of call in the nation and one of the states strongest and most sustained ferry- port operations. The port hosts cruise ships from Miami, Port Everglades, Canaveral, Tampa and Jacksonville as well as ferries from Fort Myers and Marco Island. Due to the COVID pandemic the port only hosted 161,197-cruise passengers.

The Port of Key West is a major economic engine for the city and local businesses, resulting in an economic impact annually of $85 million . The port provides 1,250 direct and indirect jobs to the 25,000 citizens of Key West, while contributing 6 percent of the citys total general tax revenue. Key West is one of the most popular ports in the Caribbean and passengers are introduced to the unique charm of Key West without contributing vehicular traffic to the overburdened US-1 corridor.

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What Youneed To Know

  • Port Name & LocationShip will DOCK at this port.
  • The local language is English.
  • Currency & ShoppingJewelry, Key Lime pie, hammocks and clothing. View our Port Shopping Guide.
    • Best Way to Get AroundOrganized Shore Excursion for catamaran, sail & snorkel, food tasting, sightseeing, Hemingway’s home, pub crawl and more! Taxis, bicycle, trolley, and scooters available.
    • Famous ForKnown as the Southernmost Point in the continental U.S., Key West is most notable for its laid back attitude and beautiful sunsets. Don’t miss Duval Street, fresh seafood, margaritas and water excursions.
    • Fun Fact #1Ernest Hemingway is rumoured to have purchased his home across from the light house so he’d be able to find it easily on his way back from the bars on Duval Street.
    • Fun Fact: FoodiesThe first key lime pie ever is on record for having been made in Key West, so be sure to try a slice before you leave it’s the official dessert of the island city.

About Key Wests Cruise Ship Ports

In Key West, protests continue over cruise ships

There are three docks that the cruise ships will dock at, and they are listed below. And, depending on which dock your ship moors at, as well as what your last port of call was, it could take you anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to disembark the ship and get to the downtown area to start enjoying Key West Activities and Key West Attractions. So, this is something that should be considered when making Key West activity reservations.

As of 2022, cruise ships of all sizes will continue to visit Key West. However, only one cruise ship at a time will be in port. The privately run Pier B will host virtually all cruise ships visiting the island. The two city-controlled docks will only host smaller ships with up to a 1300 person capacity. And, only if no ships are at Pier B.

The Outer Mole Pier

Truman Waterfront is US Navy property. So, access to this area is restricted and requires all cruise passengers to go through a security checkpoint. But, to make things go smoother, you should make sure to have your ID and cruise card at the ready. And, since this is the closest dock to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, you can walk right over to the best beach on the island. Or, Historic Tours of America provides free transportation service to and from the cruise ship this is the only way to get back to the Outer Mole.

Pier B

Mallory Square Pier

Key West cruise ship port at Mallory Square in Downtown Key West

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Allure of the Seas – Arriving 2022

Adventure of the SeasRoyal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas offers four and five-night Western Caribbean cruises seasonally including Cozumel, Puerto Costa Maya, and the Yucatan as ports of call.

Liberty of the SeasRoyal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas offers seven-night Western Caribbean cruises year round including Isla Roatan, Honduras Belize City Belize Cozumel, Mexico Falmouth, Jamaica Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Montego Bay, Jamaica and Costa Maya, Mexico as ports of call.

History Of Port Of Key West

In 1969 the Port of Key West received its first regularly scheduled cruise ship it was the SUNWARD. She called on Key West once a month. The Sunward moored at either the Navys Mole or Pier B facility. Records indicate that between 1969 and 1984 the Port of Key West received 266 port calls. In the 1999 fiscal year 415 cruise ships called on the Port of Key West allowing 597,009 passengers to experience Key Wests charm, many making return trips to complete their Key West experience.It wasnt until 1984 that the City Commission, at the recommendation of City staff, made improvements to the City-owned Mallory Dock, making it a full cruise ship docking facility.

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Key West Cruise Ship Schedule



  • Carnival Dream 01 Aug 2022 10:00
  • Carnival Conquest 02 Aug 2022 07:30
  • Carnival Sunrise 05 Aug 2022 07:30
  • Celebrity Infinity 07 Aug 2022 08:00
  • Celebrity Equinox 08 Aug 2022 08:00
  • Scarlet Lady 11 Aug 2022 08:00
  • Celebrity Infinity 14 Aug 2022 08:00
  • Carnival Dream 15 Aug 2022 10:00
  • Carnival Conquest 16 Aug 2022 07:30
  • Norwegian Sky 17 Aug 2022 07:00
  • Celebrity Infinity 21 Aug 2022 08:00
  • Carnival Glory 23 Aug 2022 08:00
  • Scarlet Lady 25 Aug 2022 08:00
  • Celebrity Infinity 28 Aug 2022 08:00
  • Carnival Dream 29 Aug 2022 10:00
  • Carnival Conquest 30 Aug 2022 07:30

  • Carnival Sunrise 02 Sep 2022 07:30
  • Celebrity Infinity 04 Sep 2022 08:00
  • Scarlet Lady 08 Sep 2022 08:00
  • Celebrity Infinity 11 Sep 2022 08:00
  • Carnival Dream 12 Sep 2022 10:00
  • Carnival Sensation 14 Sep 2022 09:00
  • Celebrity Infinity 18 Sep 2022 08:00
  • Scarlet Lady 22 Sep 2022 08:00
  • Celebrity Infinity 25 Sep 2022 08:00
  • Carnival Dream 26 Sep 2022 10:00
  • Carnival Glory 27 Sep 2022 08:00
  • Carnival Sunrise 30 Sep 2022 07:30

As Huge Cruise Ships Return Key West Locals Decry Environmental Damage State Preemptionthe Royal Caribbean Serenade Of The Seas Arriving In Key West Dec 6

Daily Programs from a Caribbean Cruise on Holland Americas Nieuw Amsterdam

Florida Medical Association, other medical societies bring attention to physician suicide

Travelers debarking from cruise ships in Key West this Saturday will be treated to many enchanting sights, from serene, teal waters and sandy beaches along the islands edge to numerous restaurants and entertainment hot spots for which it is renowned.

Theyll also no doubt notice that not everyone there is happy with their arrival or, more specifically, how they came to port.

As they did in , members of the Key West Committee for Safer, Cleaner Ship, a group opposing so-called mega-cruise vessels in Key West waters, have organized a rally Saturday to protest the arrival of three incoming ships.

Allthreeships are significantly larger than those Key West residents voted in 2020 to restrict from visiting the city. The largest of the vessels, the Edge-class Celebrity Apex, is more than 1,000 feet long and carries some 4,200 passengers and crew well over the 1,500-person ships voters demanded.

According to the ship-tracking website CruiseMapper, one of those three ships and two others of similar size are scheduled to arrive the following weekend and the weekend after.

The rally will be held at 10:30 a.m. at Mallory Square, a short distance from the Port of Key West.

A vote undone

Others fellow Republicans like Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez of Doral and Rep. Jim Mooney, who represents Key West, opposed it, citing concerns over environmental impacts.

The cruise economy

Power struggle

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City Of Key West Meeting To Discuss Cruise Ship Regulation Ordinance Update: Both Ordinance & Resolution Pulled

The next chapter in the Key West cruise ship saga continues this evening when the City of Key West commissioners assemble in City Hall for the February 15th City Commission meeting. There are two matters concerning cruise ships on tonights agenda. The first, an ordinance which would place regulations on ships docking in the city. The second, a Monday morning agenda add-on, a proposed resolution that would prohibit docking at city owned and leased property.

ORDINANCE Agenda Item #18 Cruise Ship Regulations

The Cruise Ship Regulations ordinance includes language dealing with pollution of air and water, penalties related to the failure to cleanup water pollution, and requiring environmental certification. The ordinance would also establish a Coral Reef Restoration Fund along with creating a mechanism for the funding the restoration fund. Language within the ordinance also deals with cruise passenger healthcare services, and the repeal of other inconsistent provisions.

Specifically, the Ordinance would:

One opponent of the ordinance, Bill Walsh, who represents the interests of Pier B to express their disappointment with the ordinance saying this proposal reflects the Citys lack of vision as to how to manage the impact of passenger cruise ships on the city. The only goal seems to be appearing to regulate cruise vessels.

As a result of the ordinance, the Safer Cleaner Ships offered the City the following compromise in the form of a resolution.

Key West Welcomes Back First Carnival Ship In 2 Years

Carnival Conquest arrived in Key West, Florida this morning, marking the first time a Carnival Cruise Line ship has called on the port since the cruise industry shutdown.

Its another milestone for Key West and for Florida as a whole, as cruise lines and ports continue to reopen and find a new normal as the pandemic winds down.

But not everyone is happy about cruise ships docking in Key West. The majority of local voters on the Florida Keys southernmost island voted to restrict the number of daily cruise ship visitors, ban vessels carrying more than 1,300 passengers, and prioritize docking for cruise lines with the best health and environmental records during an election in November 2020.

However, the Florida government overturned the restrictions, with state senator Jim Boyd saying that allowing port cities to pass their own rules on maritime commerce could result in abrupt changes in the supply lines bringing goods into and out of this state, thus disrupting Floridas economy and threatening the publics health, safety, and welfare.

Following the cruise industry shutdown, cruise ships first returned to Key West this past November, when small ships Serenity and Quest arrived into town with a combined 911 revenue guests.

Despite the protests, the Key West port has a busy season ahead, with the schedule showing upcoming calls for mostly Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity, and Virgin ships.

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