Long beaches and glamour
MSC Cruises shore excursions can be a clever option to see Miami. It’s a city of wildly diverse districts, jigsawed into a vast urban corridor from two technically separate cities: mainland Miami and the huge sand bar known as Miami Beach.
If you’re sticking to the most popular areas in Miami Beach and downtown, though, you can zip around easily by bus and on foot. During an MSC cruise in the Caribbean most people spend their time in South Beach, a fairly small area at the southern end of the sand bar, where you’ll find many of Florida’s leading art galleries, trendsetting restaurants, and much of its boisterous club scene.
Heading north, Central Miami Beach was where 1950s screen stars had fun in the sun and helped cement Miami’s international reputation as a glamorous holiday spot. Surprisingly few tourists venture beyond Miami Beach, and so miss out on some of the most enticing parts of the city.
Tucked away in the Miami-Dade Cultural Center are the city’s excellent history and art museums, while Bayside Marketplace is the staging post for boat tours of Miami’s most exclusive offshore keys. To the north sits the city’s buzziest neighbourhood, the strip of land along and around Biscayne Boulevard, known as the Biscayne Corridor; it includes the dazzling Performing Arts Center, the art galleries and showrooms of Wynwood and the Design District, and even the grubby but thrilling immigrant neighbourhood known as Little Haiti.
The first of Miami’s Cubans settled southwest of downtown, just across the Miami River, in Little Havana. This is still one of the most intriguing parts of the city, rich with Latin American looks and sounds, though it’s less solidly Cuban than it used to be.