Florida Guide > Other Florida
The Key West Express and Paradise Porters Part 1
Having visited Key West some years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it we thought a return trip would be nice, but the thought of the drive was a bit off putting. It' s a long way, some 8-9 hours not including stops and the journey until you leave the main land is pretty unexciting. It wouldn' t have put us off going completely but we thought we might have done it at the end of an Orlando trip and flown home via Miami. . . . . that was before someone told us about The Key West Express!
The Key West Express is a large catamaran which sails daily from Fort Myers Beach at 8. 30 am arriving in Key West between 12. 30 and 1pm. The return journey from Key West is at 6. 00 pm arriving back at Fort Myers Beach around 9. 30pm.
Having done a bit of research on the Internet and asked around a few people we knew, we decided to go ahead and book. The price is around $150 per person for the return trip but booking online will save you approx $20 providing you book at least four days in advance. One way trips are also available. Parking at the ferry terminal can also be booked in advance which I would strongly recommend and costs about $8. 00 a day.
You are asked to check in at least an hour in advance, which, if you are traveling from The Orlando area means a very early start or an overnight stay in Fort Myers the night before.
We opted for the latter, spending a full day in Orlando and traveling down to Fort Myers in the early evening meant we didn' t feel we had missed out on a days holiday just traveling to the ferry. We left Orlando about 7pm and arrived in Fort Myers by 9. 30pm after a pleasant and leisurely journey which did not involve the interstate. We checked into our cheap and cheerful motel (I think it was The Hampton Inn) and after a quick bite to eat had a relatively early night ready for the next day' s big adventure.
The concierge told us that the journey to the ferry terminal would take us about 30 mins so we decided to forgo breakfast and just grab a coffee on the way to the ferry.
The journey was straightforward and the parking was easy to find, we were directed into our parking spot by a man from Leeds of all places, who was very jolly, despite the early hour.
Every passenger is allowed 2 cabin sized pieces of baggage with extra bags and larger pieces of luggage at the discretion of the crew. There were some interesting interpretations of cabin sized baggage! Before boarding you have to show your ticket and government issued ID, If you don' t want to take your passport, a drivers license is fine.
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