Today we have some valuable firsthand recommendations from Georgina Cruz, a freelance writer who has concluded over 213 cruises to all seven continents including four World Cruises. Her experience has helped many of our travelers choose unforgettable vacations around the world.
Cruise passengers sailing out of Port Canaveral or Tampa this summer on Disney, Royal Caribbean or other lines may wish to consider a pre-cruise stay in Orlando – particularly those traveling with families. Our family has always done it and it has been, well, magical.
The advantages are many, especially for those travelers who are flying in as by arriving a couple of days earlier there is no concern about flights being delayed or cancelled the day of sailing. And a pre-cruise stay makes two vacations out of one! Orlando, sometimes called “The City Beautiful,” has all manner of attractions for all ages, and particularly families who flock to its world-class theme parks, water parks and cultural venues. Not to mention that the city is convenient to both Port Canaveral (less than an hour away) and the Port of Tampa (an hour and a half away).
Through the years, our family has stayed pre-cruise at many resorts at Walt Disney World and other Orlando locations as well as international destinations. Your Cruise Specialists Cruise Consultant can make it all easy for you by booking your cruise, pre-cruise hotel, flights, transfers and other details. Our Cruise Consultant, Bridgett Quinn, has made pre-cruise arrangements for us not just in Orlando, but also in other destinations, and she is in the process of booking a package including hotels, transfers and flights for our daughter and two grandsons to Auckland, New Zealand – we have invited them to join us on a segment of the 2019 World Cruise of Holland America’s Amsterdam.
Here are some of our favorites for pre- and post-cruise hotels and resorts in Orlando that offer accommodations in several price ranges with rooms for all members of the family or groups of friends to spread out.
Top Pre and Post-Cruise Experiences
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is a hotel inspired by the animated movies of Disney-Pixar with themes and panoramas that recall such films as “Cars,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Lion King.” In addition to rooms, the hotel has family suites that accommodate up to six persons and include a queen-size bed, double sofa-bed and a table-bed for two, as well as living area, two bathrooms and kitchenette. Amenities include a restaurant with five food stations and the largest swimming pool of Disney resorts complete with an underwater sound system. Lodging here offers Extra Magic Hours in Disney parks (extra time in the parks before they open to the general public and after they close to the general public).
The Embassy Suites Orlando Airport by Hilton – This hotel is very practical for families or groups of friends as its accommodations are all suites with bedroom (king-size bed or two queen-size), living area with double sofa-bed, and kitchenette with mini-refrigerator and microwave. Hotel facilities and amenities include outdoor swimming pool and spa, fitness room, restaurant, complimentary breakfast buffet each morning and complimentary evening reception. Another plus is a free airport shuttle. A package is offered that includes airport shuttle to the hotel, shuttle to your cruise ship and shuttle back to Orlando airport after the cruise.
Disney’s Old Key West is a resort with a tropical Key West theme, lovely gardens and waterways and a golf course. Accommodations are in villas including studios, one- and two-bedroom suites. The studio units have kitchenettes and the others have complete kitchens, washer and dryer. On-site recreation includes a pool with slide, children’s pool with dolphin sculptures, sauna and hot tub, restaurant and free transportation to Disney Parks as well as free launch transportation to Disney Springs, a complex of restaurants, shops and entertainment. Lodging here offers Extra Magic Hours in Disney parks.
The Walt Disney World Swan And Dolphin is a resort from which you can walk to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (or take a free launch to each of those parks, and there is free bus transportation to other Disney parks and attractions). It offers family rooms and a variety of suites. Amenities include 18 restaurants and lounges, Westin Heavenly Beds, Mandara Spa, five swimming pools, two health clubs, tennis courts, nearby golf, and Extra Magic Hours in Disney Parks.
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a resort ideal for families and groups of friends. It is situated on Disney’s complimentary monorail line that takes directly to the Magic Kingdom and, with a transfer, to Epcot theme park. The resort – inspired by the Victorian Era – is on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, next to the restaurants, shops and recreation of Disney’s Grand Floridian. The villas offer accommodations for five to up to 12 guests in various configurations: studios for up to five, and grand villas with multiple bedrooms and baths for up to 12 family members or friends. The latter (we stayed at one on one pre-cruise trip) even have an entertainment room with a family theater. Whimsical touches include a bronze fountain themed to “Mary Poppins” with playful penguins in the lobby. Steps away, at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, musicians entertain in the hotel’s lobby, and fun dining experiences include an optional buffet breakfast themed to Mary Poppins and Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner, very popular with kids, including our daughter as she was growing up, and the young at heart. Lodging here offers Extra Magic Hours in Disney parks.
To book your Orlando vacation or for more information on these recommendations, contact Cruise Specialists at 888-993-1318.