Key West, USA

Introduction to Key West, USA

The southernmost city in continental USA, this is the biggest of the Florida Keys – a chain of islands stretching out into the western Caribbean.

The southernmost city in the continental USA, this is the biggest of the Florida Keys – a chain of islands stretching out into the western Caribbean.

Compact and relaxed, it is a lovely city that is worth exploring. For such a small town, there is a surprising number of museums, including the home of one of Key West's most famous residents, Ernest Hemingway, where he wrote novels in the 1930s. Another is the Little White House, where President Harry S. Truman spent winters during his term in office.

The Aquarium has been open since the 1930s and provides an excellent opportunity to experience the indigenous marine life of the Florida Keys. The Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is worth seeing, as is the quirky Key West Cemetery. Here the tombs are stacked on top of one another, since the rocky ground made it impossible for early settlers to dig graves. It's something of a tradition to have irreverent and funny epitaphs: one of the most famous is "I told you I was sick!"

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AQUARIUM & BUTTERFLY CONSERVATORY (TOUR C)

  • Witness hundreds of free-flying butterflies and exotic colourful birds
  • Encounter marine life at the Key West Aquarium
Price£30.00 - £40.00
DurationApproximately 2 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Your trip to Key West will not be complete without a walk through this tropical paradise! Voted number one attraction in Key West for the past two years by The People’s Choice Awards it really is a must see attraction.

Following a short drive you will arrive at the Butterfly Conservatory. To set the stage before you enter the world of the most beautiful creatures in nature, spend time in the learning centre where you can view a 15-minute award-wining film that describes the anatomy, physiology and life cycle of the butterfly.

Once you have learnt about these creatures it is time to join them in a glass enclosed, climate controlled conservatory. Relax and enjoy a magical, one-of-a-kind experience as you walk among the beautiful creatures and stroll against a backdrop of lush flowers, trees, orchids and cascading waterfalls. A camera here is a must!

After approximately one hour, you will travel to Mallory Square and the Key West Aquarium. Located in the corner of Mallory Square and by way of contrast to the modern conservatory, the Aquarium is Key West’s oldest attraction dating back to February 18th 1935. It is home to hundreds of different species of local sea life and includes a touch tank where children of all ages are encouraged to enjoy a hands-on experience with the local Florida Keys sea life.

The Aquarium is also home to a wide variety of fish including grouper, moray eels, barracuda, tropical fish, tarpon, sharks, parrotfish and much, much more. During your tour you will even be able to touch a live shark!

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR L1703 MARDI GRAS CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately one and a half hours of walking and standing, with cobblestones to negotiate at Mallory Square; therefore it is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility.


CIGARS & RUM (TOUR F)

  • Step back in time to the Rodriquez family cigar factory for hands-on rolling
  • Sample rums from Key West’s First Legal Rum Distillery
Activity Tour
Price£25.00 - £30.00
DurationApproximately 2½ hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking

Although not the first thing you consider when thinking of Key West, cigars and rum are not as uncommon as you may think. Take a look behind the scenes of a family cigar factory and a rum distillery to find out secrets this city is hiding!

After leaving the ship, take the short walk to the Rodriquez Cigar Factory, which is the oldest operating cigar factory in the entire Florida Keys. Located on historic Fitzpatrick Street, the family still employs cigar rolling techniques that date back to the 1830s. The Rodriquez family got their start in Key West back in 1971 when their grandfather, Angel Rodriquez, immigrated to the United States after the Cuban government nationalised the family’s private plantation in Cuba. The family settled in Key West and has remained committed to producing a high quality tobacco product enriched with the Cuban heritage. While at the factory they will share with you the history of their craft, sample some of their cigars and even let you join them in the fun as you get hands-on rolling your very own cigar!

Continuing on, a short walk of two blocks, will take you to Simonton Street to Key’s West’s First Legal Rum Distillery. Despite its “rum-soaked” history, Key West has never had its own legal rum distillery…until now! Located in the old 1903 Coca Cola Bottling plant, you will join the owner, “chef distiller”, and kite boarding world record holder Paul Meta as he takes you on a private tour through his distillery, sharing with you not only the ins and outs of the Rum distilling process, but the unique role that rum has played in the history of Key West as well. Like a true art form, witness first-hand the thought and skill that goes into making a batch of the only homemade legal rum you can find in the Florida Keys. At the end of the tour, join Paul in sampling some of the different rums that they make at the distillery, including their signature drink, the Legal Vanilla Rum and Coke.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR L1703 MARDI GRAS CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This is a walking tour with no transport included; therefore you must be able to walk and stand for the full duration. The total walking distance between the port and cigar factory and cigar factory to distillery is approximately 10 minutes over pathed, even terrain.


GLASS-BOTTOM BOAT VOYAGE (TOUR A)

  • Observe a wide variety of fish and sea creatures without getting wet!
Boat Tour
Price£40.00 - £50.00
DurationApproximately 2½ hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Explore dramatic underwater vistas generally reserved for scuba divers from a glass bottom boat.

After a short walk, board your glass-bottom boat and set sail for approximately two hours, viewing the underwater world of Key West. In addition you will see North America’s only living coral reef, one of the most biologically diverse marine eco-systems in the world. Majestic Elkhorn and impressive brain coral, sturdy in appearance yet fragile and vulnerable, stand sentry for the more than 300 species of fish that complete the colourful and intriguing seascape. Along the journey, your experienced captain and crew will provide a unique and informative eco-tour and point out some of the most interesting marine life that inhabit the waters of this incredible island. Special glass windows to the reef provide continuous viewing for all passengers.

Once back on dry land a short walk will take you back to your awaiting ship.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR L1703 MARDI GRAS CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? The walk between your ship and glass bottom boat embarkation point is approximately 15 minutes (half a mile) with a ramp to negotiate in order to board and disembark the vessel (hand rail available). Manual wheelchairs only can be accommodated onboard the boat. There is a seated sun deck and air-conditioned, enclosed viewing area as well as toilets and a snack bar to purchase refreshments and snacks at your own expense onboard.


HELICOPTER OVER KEY WEST (TOUR B)

  • Admire the stunning island of Key West and its marine life
Price£165.00 - £175.00
DurationApproximately 1 hour (20 minute flight)
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

Take to the air to see the dramatic hues of blue and green clear waters as you soar over Key West. There is an abundance of marine life, along with sunken boats and man-made reefs, which serve as home for a variety of species of fish available for your viewing from this vantage point.

Following a taxi ride to the heliport you will receive a short briefing before boarding your helicopter. Once in the sky you will begin by circling over the island of Key West with views of Smather’s Beach, the Southernmost Point, Fort Zachary Taylor, Sunset Key, Wisteria island, Mallory Square, and world famous Duval Street. Next, fly out over the world famous Backcountry with incredible views of the Snipe and Mud Keys. Stingrays, sea turtles and sharks are common sightings on this tour so be sure to bring your camera!

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR L1703 MARDI GRAS CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a limited amount of walking, however you must be able to get on and off the helicopter unaided which, consists of two large steps. Each flight will carry three passengers; one in the front and two in the rear, each with a window view – seating positions will be decided by the pilot. The pilot will speak to you through individual, two way headsets. Maximum weight of each passenger is 21 stone (300lbs). Please contact the tours desk once onboard to record your weight which will then be checked before boarding the flight.


HEMINGWAY HOME (TOUR E)

  • Enjoy a fact filled tour that shows, and tells all there is to know about this sub-tropical island paradise
  • Discover Hemingway House and beautiful gardens
Price£30.00 - £40.00
DurationApproximately 3 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Join this tour and be taken back to the days before civilisation, when fierce Indians left their enemy’s bones to bleach in a tropical wilderness naming the island Bone Key. Explore what is now a lush, tropical island, and discover the charm and grace of one of America’s unique architectural pleasures.

Once onboard your trolley bus you will pass by over one hundred points of interest in the space of one hour! Get to know characters like John James Audubon, Ernest Hemingway and Harry S Truman and, like them, become captivated by the magic that is Key West. You will meander your way through the old town with its blend of tropical plants and flowers followed by a passing of the Historic Seaport, Southernmost Point, cigar makers “shot-gun” houses, wreckers’ mansions, unique churches and learn about the multi-cultural heritage evident in Key West. You will be given the chance to find out about Key West’s unique role in the Civil War, about Henry Flagler’s dream – and how it came true.

From bold Spanish explorers and brave Wreckers to the great cigar barons and sponge magnates, you will be transported from the golden age of settlement through the exciting days of the railroad, the depression, World War two on past the Kennedy days into the present.

After approximately one hour you will be dropped off at the Hemingway House where you will be met and have a guided tour of the house and gardens. The Hemingway House was built in the 1870’s and was inhabited by Ernest Hemingway during the 1930’s whilst he wrote several of his novels including For Whom the Bells Toll and To Have and Have Not.  You will hear wonderful stories of his personal life, his friends and his fishing escapades as well as information about his inspirations for his writing.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR L1703 MARDI GRAS CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately one hour of walking whilst at Hemingway’s home and museum, this will include one flight of stairs. Wheelchairs can be accommodated on the trolley however you must be able to get on and off unaided. Hemingway House is wheelchair accessible on the first floor only, guests who are not able to negotiate the stairs can watch a video that shows what is on the second floor. A conch train may be used instead of a trolley bus to operate this tour.


KEY WEST - INFORMATION

Key West is located 150 miles south of Miami, Florida, at the end of the Florida Overseas Highway and is approximately 90 miles north of Havana, Cuba. Called ‘Cayo Hueso’ (Island of Bones) by Spanish explorers who found human bones there when they first visited, it became an important US port after the early 1820’s. Prior to the Civil War of the 1860’s as a result of the shipwreck salvaging industry, Key West was considered the richest city in the US on a per capita basis.

With only approximately six square miles of land, most of Key West tourist attractions are within the historic area west of White Street.

The currency of Key West is the US Dollar.

Key West is located 150 miles south of Miami, Florida, at the end of the Florida Overseas Highway and is approximately 90 miles north of Havana, Cuba. Called ‘Cayo Hueso’ (Island of Bones) by Spanish explorers who found human bones there when they first visited, it became an important US port after the early 1820’s. Prior to the Civil War of the 1860’s as a result of the shipwreck salvaging industry, Key West was considered the richest city in the US on a per capita basis.

With only approximately six square miles of land, most of Key West tourist attractions are within the historic area west of White Street.

The currency of Key West is the US Dollar.


PRESIDENT TRUMAN’S LITTLE WHITE HOUSE (TOUR D)

  • Step back in time and learn more about Key West’s history
  • Discover the history that surrounds the stunning Truman House
Price£30.00 - £40.00
DurationApproximately 3 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Join one of the most popular tours in Key West. Travelling by trolley to President Truman’s Little White House makes this a favourite with any visitor! Relax as you are taken back in time on a journey to the early days of Key West with stories of pirates, wreckers, salvagers, cigar manufacturing, sponging and many other stories.

Begin your day with a fully narrated tour of beautiful Key West aboard your trolley. You will be introduced to the people who helped form Key West’s history, the private individuals such as Eduardo Gato and Governor Duval, to public figures including Presidents Truman and Kennedy. You will pass by the historic homes, the unique harbour, the Southernmost Point and many other key locations.

On arrival in Mallory Square, you will be met by your escort and take a walk to President Truman’s Little White House. The Harry S. Truman Little White House, in Key West, was built in 1890 as the first officer’s quarters on the naval station. The wooden duplex was built on the waterfront of the harbour of Key West and in the beginning of the 20th century was converted into a single family dwelling to house the base commandant.

The house has been host to many distinguished guests. Thomas Edison resided in the house during World War I, while working on depth charge research for the U.S Navy. In 1946, Harry Truman began visiting the island for rest and relaxation and returned for 175 days during his presidency. President Dwight Eisenhower used the home while recuperating from a heart attack in 1956. In 1961 the Little White House played host to President John F Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan during the Bay of Pigs incident. The house remained a living quarters for the commanding officers of the base until Truman Naval Station was closed in 1974. In 1996 President Jimmy Carter and his family visited the home while on holiday and celebrated New Year’s Eve here with family and friends. In April 2000 the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Great Britain, Germany, the U.S and France along with their wives had a private dinner at the Little White House. On April 2nd-6th 2001 U.S Secretary of State Colin Powell opened peace talks in the house between the representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan. In January 2005 President Bill Clinton and his wife enjoyed a tropical respite in the Little White House.

After approximately 90 minutes you will make your way back to your awaiting ship.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR L1703 MARDI GRAS CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking including approximately 250 metres in order to reach Truman House and one hour spent walking inside. Wheelchairs can be accommodated on the trolley but you must be able to get on and off unaided. Truman House is fully wheelchair accessible on the first floor only, no lifts are available to reach the second floor, however a video can be shown to anyone not able to negotiate the staircase. A conch train may be used instead of a trolley bus to operate this tour.


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