Although Florida is a popular travel destination, Key West has always been a little something extra special for many travelers. Whatever it is, be it the laid back attitude, the party atmosphere, the LGBTQ+ friendliness, the amazing sunsets, etc., the southernmost point in the continental U.S. gets over 2 million visitors every year, between those who fly and drive in, along with day visitors who come via cruise ships.
Several months ago, we wrote that Key West was going to have some amendments on the ballot that had to do with allowing cruise ships to stop in Key West (take a look at the statistics they gathered – they’re pretty fascinating!). Welp, it just got harder to go to Key West because the Key West cruise ship ballots were approved.
All three of the issues were approved by more than 60% of the vote. This means ships calling at Key West will be limited to no more than 1,300 passengers, and the number of cruise passengers coming ashore each day will be limited to 1,500. Plus, in a nod to Key West’s fragile environment, ships with “better” environmental and public health records will have priority.
These changes will prevent even the smallest of the major cruise lines’ ships from calling at Key West.
Last year nearly one million people visited Key West on a cruise ship. Although that’s almost half its total number of tourists, cruise passengers only account for about 7% of total tourism spending.
The tourism community of Key West plans to, of course, fight the referendum. In fact, port operator Pier B Development had already started federal legal proceedings against the city and the Committee for Safer, Cleaner Ships, who originally introduced the bill. But meanwhile, the changes will be added to the city’s charter imminently.
Meanwhile, it looks like once cruises can start again, there might be some itinerary changes on the horizon.
Feature Photo: Needpix.com
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary