Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort
Have some extra time to explore Orlando before or after your Caribbean cruise on Freedom of the Seas? Here are six top-rated things you can do around town to make the most of your time in the Sunshine State.
Got 2-3 Hours?
Florida’s famed landmark, the Kennedy Space Center, is a quick 15-minute drive away. See the Space Shuttle Atlantis (it has traveled more than 125 million miles through space!), and stand underneath the original 363-foot-tall Saturn V rocket that took 27 astronauts to and from the moon in 1969 as part of the Apollo program. You’ll also get to see moon rocks and other relics up close. Pro tip: if you’re visiting after your cruise, Royal Caribbean even offers a special VIP tour that drops you off at Orlando International Airport.
Beach It Up
Start working on that “vacation glow” before your cruise even begins. Cocoa Beach — just 12 miles from Royal Caribbean’s pier in Port Canaveral — is teeming with activities. Known as the “Surf Capital” of the East Coast, this is the place to take a surfing lesson, watch some world-champion surfers, or browse surf shops like Ron Jon Surf Shop or Cocoa Beach Surf Company. Fun fact: Cocoa Beach was made famous by the ‘60s TV sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.
Sip on Suds
You’ve got a few hours before you can embark on your cruise – why not take it easy with a cold one? Florida Beer Company — the largest craft brewery in the state – is highly ranked among visitors and locals alike. Visit the taproom, which features huge windows displaying the beer-making process, sample their fresh-brewed craft beer, like the Ybor Gold Amber, a classic German-style lager.
Got 4-5 Hours?
The warm waters off Cocoa Beach are the ideal spot to try your hand at deep-sea fishing. Snag a King Fish, Barracuda, Mahi Mahi or many other varieties on a half-day charter. Even if you’re not a fisherman, you can enjoy the sea breeze and warm sun. Keep your eyes peeled, you might spot other wildlife, like dolphins or pelicans.
Take a Safari
Lions, tigers, gators and manatees? Oh my. You’ll find them all in one spot at Gatorland. The sprawling 110-acre safari is just a few minutes from your ship. Featuring thousands of alligators, crocodiles, and a new Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, this theme park is sure to keep the little ones entertained before your flight home. For a rare thrill, head to the White Gator Swamp, where you’ll find four of the world’s largest albino alligators. These giant ivory-colored reptiles are each 10 to 12 feet in length and weigh a whopping 800-plus pounds.
Got a Full Day? (or More!)
Vacation Like You Mean It
If you have a little more time to play, Universal Orlando Resort and its two amazing theme parks –Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure – are only about an hour away from the port. Spend a day with Shrek, soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, get your adrenaline pumping on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, or explore the newest addition to Universal Orlando – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. From interacting with a shrunken head on the Knight Bus to navigating through the vaults of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, there is nowhere else in the world where you can experience magic like this. Learn more about extending your vacation with a trip to Universal Orlando.