Key West travel expert Natalie Hudson believes that Old Farmer’s Almanac’s choice of Key West as the America’s #1 winter city could help boost cruise ship tourism, which dropped as much as 30% over the winter of 2011/2012.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s 2013 edition names Key West, Florida its #1 place to spend the winter in the U.S., thanks to its tropical climate and total lack of snow and ice. Local Key West attractions expert Natalie Hudson hopes the Almanac’s nod will encourage more cruise aficionados to choose itineraries that include Key West.
“According to the City of Key West Port Operations Office, in the winter of 2011/2012, port calls were down by as much as 30% over the previous winter,” says Hudson. “Passenger counts were down by as much as 25%. We’re encouraged by a strong increase in passenger counts this summer. We hope that the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s endorsement will help continue this upward trend in winter passenger counts.”
“And why wouldn’t you want to come to Key West in the winter? When it’s 30 degrees below zero in Minnesota, we’re enjoying the tropical breezes,” says Hudson.
The Farmer’s Almanac pointed out in its endorsement, “The average afternoon winter temperature is in the 70s and at night only goes to a low of 60. The period of December through April receives abundant sunshine (70 percent in December, rising to 83 percent by April).”
Key West welcomed over a quarter of a million cruise ship passengers between November 1, 2011 and March 1, 2012, and another 125,000 or so arrived by air during that time. This influx of visitors helps employ as many as 15,000 people in Key West, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Cruise ship passengers are attracted by Key West’s climate, of course, and our famous night life on Duval Street,” says Hudson. “At Tours Key West, we’re finding that parasailing, snorkeling trips, jet ski island tours, and glass bottom boat tours are the most popular tourist attractions during the winter. Electric car rentals and scooter rentals are still popular in the winter as well.”
If you’re planning to join the hundreds of thousands of cruise ship passengers who will visit Key West this winter, Hudson advises you to book your shore excursions early. “You can imagine what it’s like to try to rent an electric car or book a glass bottom boat tour at the same time as the 4,000 other people who got off the cruise ship with you,” says Hudson. “The most popular trips, and the most popular departure times can sell out fast. Every winter we have to tell people that we can’t get them the parasailing trip or snorkeling excursion they had their heart set on because it was sold out. If you want to avoid disappointment during your Key West port call, book your excursions before you even get on the cruise ship. And if you book with a local Key West company like ToursKeyWest.com, you’ll generally pay less than you would if you booked through the cruise line.”
For more information about Key West attractions, hotels, and transportation for cruise ship visitors, visit ToursKeyWest.com or call 866-667-4386.