When you’re arriving in Key West by cruise ship, you know you’ll only have a few hours to spend in Florida’s southernmost point. Therefore you want to make the most out of it. There’s lots of stuff going on vibrant Key West, but the absolute coolest cruise excursion in Key West you can find, is the helicopter tour!
A couple of months back, my dad and I were doing a cruise on Holland America’s Oosterdam. During our visit to Key West, I treated him to a helicopter tour above the island! Air Adventures Key West is the only company that provides helicopter tours over Key West. If you book directly through them, you can choose from a selection of unique airborne experiences, from a short 5-minute discovery tour (69USD) to a full 30-minute Ultimate Island Tour (209USD)
When booking the tour as a shore excursion it’ll be roughly 129USD, a bit more expensive than the 99USD as advertised on the website of Air Adventures Key West, but you don’t have to go through the hassle of arranging everything yourself. They will pick you up right at the dock and drive you to Key West International Airport. After a short briefing, you’re good to go soaring over Key West!
You’ll start the tour by flying along Smathers beach, before making your way to Fort Zachary Taylor. From there, you’ll circle over your cruise ship for a while which gives you the opportunity to wave at friends and family onboard who didn’t come along. You get a great view the residential resort island Sunset Key and the uninhabited Wisteria Island. We even spotted some wildlife, like rays and sharks! A short flight over the backcountry and Duval Street takes you back to the airport.
I can’t stress how much I loved this helicopter tour! Our female pilot was very friendly and knew a lot about the island. She shared lots of fun facts about Key West and the surrounding islands.
At 129 USD for a 15-minute ride it’s on the expensive side of the cruise excursion list, but for a helicopter tour in one of Florida’s most famous keys, it’s reasonably priced. Besides, the total duration of the tour – transfer from the ship, waiting time, helicopter flight and getting back to the ship – takes about 2 hours so the rest of the time you can spend exploring Key West on foot.