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Port of Palm Beach (Photo:Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)
2.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Shayne Rodriguez Thompson
Cruise Critic Contributor

Port of Palm Beach

As most mega cruise ships that homeport in Florida embark from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, the Port of Palm Beach remains in the shadows of its fellow ports to the south. The Palm Beach area, however, is a dazzling destination in its own right, with plenty to do before boarding a cruise or upon your return.

The port's history dates to 1915, including a car ferry service to Havana, Cuba, after World War II. Although true-blue, multiday cruises with luxurious amenities sailed from Palm Beach to the Bahamas in the '70s and '80s, its passenger services have since dwindled to casino cruises and budget day trips. Multiday cruises returned to Palm Beach in 2009, when Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line's Grand Celebration made it a homeport, and for several years it remained the sole option for cruising out of Palm Beach. In 2018, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line expanded its fleet to include Grand Classica, which now also homeports in Palm Beach. Both ships sail the same two-night Bahamas itinerary.

The second-largest county in Florida, Palm Beach consists of several notable cities including Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington, Jupiter and West Palm Beach (the largest of the group). Known as a sophisticated playground for wealthy vacationers, Palm Beach has no shortage of lavish golf courses, high-end shopping areas and eclectic restaurants. The area contains 47 miles of Atlantic coastline, as well as the Intracoastal Waterway, which makes it ideal for sport fishing, scuba diving, parasailing and other water sports, as well as a number of family-friendly beaches.

No matter how long you're in town, exclusivity is part of Palm Beach's appeal. You'll be glad you aren't sharing the port with thousands of cruisers disembarking from other ships.

About Palm Beach


Pro

The Port of Palm Beach is small and easy to navigate

Con

Facilities are somewhat archaic and industrial, offering few amenities

Bottom Line

The Port of Palm Beach offers cruisers little beyond the essentials, unless they venture into town


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Good to Know

"Dolphin" appears on many restaurant menus in the area, and it can be worrisome to some visitors. As a heads up, they are not talking about Flipper: It's a nickname for mahi mahi, a white flaky fish that is absolutely delicious.

The ritzy feel of West Palm Beach can give tourists a false sense of security. The city is mostly safe, but not immune to pickpocketing, so keep your belongings close.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

U.S. dollars are used and, while credit cards are accepted almost everywhere (including parking meters), ATMs are also readily available.

Language

English is primarily spoken in the Palm Beach area, but visitors will likely encounter some Spanish-speaking natives during their visit.

Shopping

Colorful, floppy hats help block the strong sun of the region and add an element of fashion to beach attire; they can be found at most gift shops. Close to the port is Sea Shell City for T-shirts, shells and other souvenirs. Visitors also can spend a day shopping in West Palm Beach, where they'll find many more options, including some more unique finds and higher-end items. If you're in the area on a Saturday during the fall, winter and early spring months, check out the West Palm Beach Green Market. In addition to local produce, vendors offer crafts, art, souvenirs and more. During the market, there are live musical performances, free activities for kids and mimosa specials.


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