The Best Pre- and Post-Cruise Hotels Around the World

by  Donna Heiderstadt | May 17, 2019
Four Seasons Budapest Gresham Palace
Four Seasons Budapest Gresham Palace / Photo courtesy of the property

It’s a smart idea to fly in a day or two ahead of your cruise to sidestep any flight delays or cancellations. Plus, many embarkation ports are truly worth exploring in their own right. To make getting to your ship as easy as possible when it’s time to board, we’ve scoped out cruise-passenger-friendly hotel options in eight popular ocean and river ports that make it super convenient to check out and quickly get aboard your ship. 

1. Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver

Cruisers planning to sail to Alaska from Vancouver will love the convenience of the Fairmont Waterfront.This luxury property is conveniently located right across the street from the Vancouver cruise terminal. Some rooms offer views of the port (open your curtains on embarkation day to see your ship before your board) and book a pre-cruise package to enjoy breakfast and baggage porterage directly to the ship. But even without all that, it’s a breeze to transfer on your own — if you want to leave, that is. The rooms are spacious and light-filled and its location couldn’t be better for enjoying the city’s sights. The free shuttle to Capilano Suspension Bridge stops right outside, and the nearby SeaBus terminal goes to Lonsdale Quay station, where you can connect to a bus to Grouse Mountain. It’s just a five- to ten-minute walk to restaurants and bars in lively Gastown. The hotel also offers complimentary bikes for pedaling along the scenic Stanley Park Seawall, and also features a rooftop pool. Rates range from $250 to $390 per night, depending on the season. 

2. Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina

Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades may just be the world’s easiest cruise port. Not only is it adjacent to the airport (so flying in the morning of your cruise is always an option), but there are also several affordable hotels within a mile. For the latter, you’ll find comfortable and spacious rooms at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. While the hotel’s hallways and some public spaces are showing their age, the palm tree-lined pool is a terrific spot to relax in the sun or grab lunch or dinner at G Bar & Grill. You can also hop the free shuttle to Fort Lauderdale Beach or easily explore the nearby Las Olas Boulevard and Riverwalk shopping and dining area since there’s a water taxi stop right on the property. Tip: Consider paying a few dollars extra for a pool or intracoastal view category room, since many standard rooms face face the street and can get noisy. Standard rates range from $100 to $300 per night, depending on the season. 

3. Kimpton Ink48, New York 

If you like to travel light and don’t mind a one-block walk west to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, Kimpton Ink48 is a great hotel for a one- or two-night pre-cruise stay in Manhattan before setting sail for Bermuda, New England or the Bahamas. Its location on 48th Street and 11th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, offers easy access to restaurants and bars along Ninth Avenue, the new Hudson Yards, the High Line, the Theater District, and walking and biking paths along the Hudson River. Wine lovers will also appreciate Kimpton’s nightly wine hours, where you can sip complimentary glasses and mingle with local artists. The décor in the recently renovated rooms and suites is loft-like and contemporary, and every room has views of either the Manhattan skyline or the Hudson River. The building was once a print house (hence the name) and the rooftop Press Lounge is the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset and toast your voyage overlooking ships in their berths. Rates range from $200 to $400 per night, depending on the season.

4. InterContinental Miami 

Located downtown on Biscayne Bay less than a mile from port, the InterContinental Miami offers pre- and post-cruise packages that include daily breakfast, $20 credit for transportation to or from the port, and complimentary welcome cocktails at Bluewater, the poolside bar and restaurant. Aside from those perks, the hotel’s 653 rooms are spacious and soothing in contemporary gray and ivory tones. The property's central location is also convenient for walking to nearby restaurants or hopping into an Uber to explore the vibrant Wynwood Art District (which is home to galleries, restaurants, and breweries) or South Beach. Rates range from $160 to $430 per night, depending on the season.

5. Hotel Miramar Barcelona 

Modern design in the middle of lush green gardens with views of the ocean? You can enjoy all of that when you stay at the Hotel Miramar Barcelona. Located on the edge of Montjuic Park overlooking the port, this is the perfect spot to spend a night or two before cruising off to other sunny spots in the Mediterranean. With its mix of 1920s glamour (the main building is a palace built for the World Exposition in 1929) and contemporary chic, Hotel Miramar has 75 rooms and suites, all complete with terraces that offer garden, city, or sea views. There’s also a stunning outdoor pool, which makes for an ideal spot recover from jet-lag. Plus, there’s a heated indoor pool for cooler days, as well as a spa, Mediterranean restaurant, and two bars. If you're looking to explore the city, you're in luck; several hop-on, hop-off buses stop nearby the property, and, on embarkation day, it’s an easy 5-minute taxi ride down to the port. Rates range from $150 to $250 per night, depending on the season. 

6. AC Hotel Venezia, Venice

One of Venice’s newest hotels is also among the most convenient for cruisers planning to arrive a day or two early and enjoy the sights of La Serenissima before bon-voyage time. That’s because the 79-room AC Hotel Venezia, a Marriott property, is located right near Piazzale Roma and within walking distance of the Venice People Mover (a public transit system) to the Marittima cruise terminals as well as Santa Lucia station (where you can board a vaporetto (a waterbus) to Piazza San Marco and other locales). Yes, Piazzale Roma is a bustling spot (you can also catch buses to the airport here), but many of the rooms in this property face either an interior courtyard, pedestrian alleyway, or a quiet side canal. The smallest are 194 square feet, but water-view rooms are slightly larger and look out onto the canal. Rates range from $110 to $270 per night, depending on the season. 

7. Kimpton De Witt, Amsterdam

If your river cruise begins or ends in Amsterdam, the Kimpton De Witt is an ideal spot for a multi-day extension. It’s about a 15-minute walk from the docks (if you have easily maneuverable wheeled luggage) and close enough to Central Station to allow for easy access to other cities if you plan to continue your travels by rail (but located on a side street away from the hustle-and-bustle). Opened in 2017 as Kimpton’s first European hotel, the De Witt is airy and contemporary with eclectic touches of whimsy — and, of course, it features Kimpton’s complimentary wine hour, held in the inviting lobby each evening. Each of the 274 rooms are decorated in crisp white and blue (the blue-tiled bathrooms are a visual delight) with reproductions of notable Dutch artwork, and Wyers Bar & Restaurant serves American comfort food with a Dutch twist. Rates range from $250 to $310, depending on the season. 

8. Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest

Budapest is a grand city and one of its grandest hotels, the Four Seasons Gresham Palace is an amazing place to kick off a romantic river cruise on the Danube. It’s truly palatial, with a restored circa-1906 Art Nouveau lobby to discover a new artistic detail each time you wander through. The 179 rooms and suites featuring elegant cream, taupe, and mauve décor. If you can, book a Danube River View Room for stellar vistas of the water and the Chain Bridge (you can walk across it to visit the scenic Buda side of this city divided by its legendary river), which is especially magical at night. You won’t want to leave all this grandeur behind, but when it’s time to embark, it’s easy to make your way to your river ship, most of which dock right in the center of Budapest. Rates range from $310 to $410 per night, depending on the season. 

For more information on these properties, check out our slideshow

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