Do you like to cruise? Are you thinking about taking your first cruise or cruising again after the year off we all shared?
We love to cruise, and we have been on over 60 cruises out of dozens of ports worldwide. Many of these ports are in an industrial area with not much to see. Others are in beautiful locations, but the time between anchors aweigh and land is out of sight can be measured in minutes. But for some, the sail away is long and scenic. And one of the best of those is out of Miami, Florida.
The sail away out of Miami, Florida begins, of course, at the port of Miami. You will want to get up on deck well before sailing for a couple of reasons. First, the view from the dock is breathtaking. Biscayne Bay, the skyline of Miami, and the Macarthur Causeway are all picture-worthy.
Second, the sail up the channel until you finally pass by Miami Beach takes about thirty minutes and passes beautiful scenery and architecture. So, you need to find and reserve the best spot. Forget the pool deck. Get up high, or go out on the lowest open deck. If you have a balcony on the port side of the ship, stay there.
As with most cruises, sail away begins late in the afternoon. How late depends on the destinations and how crowded the port is. The Miami port hosts about a half-dozen cruise ships, and they can't all leave at the same time. I don't know if they draw straws or how they determine the order. But, if you sail away late enough in the right season, you can also get some breathtaking skies as the sun sets over Miami.
There are several shots you will want to get before the ship even begins to move. You would think it would take a while to get one of these massive ships going, but things will pass by pretty quickly once it starts.
First, there is the skyline of Miami back to the left. Get some wide shots as well as closer in details of the buildings, bridges, marinas, and yachts. Speaking of which, the channel is very busy, so be on the lookout for beautiful sailboats and yachts passing you by. Also, a small tour operator of floatplanes is directly across from you, so watch out for those guys taking off and landing.
Once you get going, the traffic on the causeway is fun to watch, especially during the week. Those poor guys are stuck in rush hour traffic trying to get out to the beach, and you are, well... not. You will pass several large harbors and marinas as the ship moves down the channel. About two-thirds of the way down, the Fisher Island ferry boat terminal is just below with colorful boats and a line of cars waiting to board.
Be ready. As soon as you clear the ferry, it's time to look up and catch the many colorful and unique condo towers that march their way toward Miami Beach and the Sea. There is at least one beautiful development to the south, but they are mainly on the north side of the channel. And that is a good thing.
As you pass the last few condo towers, the world opens up, and Miami Beach curves out ahead of you as far you can see. If you are lucky, the sun will be getting low behind and to your left, casting nice colors on the sky.
And then, just a few minutes later, Miami, Florida is behind you, and you are out to sea once again.
"Let the waves carry you where the light can not."
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