What's the best things to do when thousands of people off load from several cruise ships? Crowds are NOT our thing. Thanks to all.
Good day to get out on the water. Pick a small excursion and get off the island.
I have been to KW many times with 2-3 ships in town. It did not hinder our day at all. Most of the cruise people tend to be shopping and seeing the big sites. They were never overwhelming to us at all, since they usually stay "on the main drag". Maybe consider doing something off the beaten trail that day or do a smaller water excursion where they take a limited amount of people if you're so concerned. This could be a chance to rent bikes and ride down all the quiet roads and explore places the cruise people never go to. Maybe go to Higgs beach or Ft. Zach. You really should not be highly concerned and let this ruin your trip.
This is a positive to staying off Duval. When we visited, there were 3 cruise ships every day. We got an early start, explored, got sick of the crowds, went back to our hotel, then to the beach or pool. We were at Sheraton Suites, across from Smathers Beach.
I know this is not for everyone, and for good reason, staying in Old Town is preferred for most, but it definitely got us away from the crowds for a bit.
By the time we headed back over, the ships were either leaving or left.
Note-we had a rental car and also used the hotel shuttle some nights.
We have visited KW more than several times when cruise ships are in -- very easy to avoid.
Best advice is to get out on the water, especially recommend the ferry to Ft Jeff
Key West is always crowded (to us) so usually we only notice the ships because there seem to be a few more strollers in town. Like others have said, we stay off Duval and go about our day. Sometimes we pull up a barstool at Bistro 245 (used to be Westin, now Margaritaville) and have a few mimosas or beers and watch the ship dock and the masses flow into KW. We also visit CRSC or Schooner's Wharf. Or my favorite is to be out on a charter and the only time I see the ships is as we speed away from KW. To me, the ships aren't as noticeable unless you are trying to go to Sloppy's or shop in the area by the cruise ship dock. 100 yards away at Bistro 245 you get a birds eye view of the craziness without being in it.
Make believe they aren't there - I don't count or pay attention to them.