Getting Down There

Miami Travel Blog

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Our first look at Port Everglades

Finally, the cruise vacation of 2009 is finally here!  We have been planning this get away for months.  This year my husband and I have chosen a Western Caribbean (Ports - Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico) on one of the largest cruise ships afloat - Royal Caribbean International's Independence of the Seas. 

We chose to travel the day before embarkation.  This year we celebrated Valentine's Day in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  When reserving a flight, the best deal available at that time was to fly into Miami International Airport via American Airlines.  A beautiful flight into Florida allowed for some great photo shots of the coast while preparing for landing.

The Eastern Florida Coast
  Since we had plenty of time to drive to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood area, we rented a car and drove north on A1A through Miami Beach and the area along the coast.  Being from a small town in the Midwest, we were amazed at all the high rise buildings of Miami! 

Our first stop was the Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami.  This shopping/entertainment/dining complex is right on the waterfront near the Port of Miami and American Airlines Arena.  It just so happened a boat show was going on bringing lots of people to the area.  Many of the eating places were very busy, and we decided to eat on the patio of the Hard Rock Cafe.

We don't have anything like this at home!
  Well, due to renovations, the patio was closed.  We opted for the restaurant anyhow.  Besides Hard Rock, Bubba Gump Shrimp, Hooter's, and Chili's are some other well known restuarants in Bayside along with several local sidewalk restaurants and cafes. 

After lunch, it was off to discover the shops of Bayside.  Again, there were lots of people enjoying the warm, sunny day.  Bayside offers traditional stores and open air sidewalk shops.  We saw many people looking, but not many buying - assuming the economy has something to do with this.  One nice thing, there weren't empty shops.  The occupancy seemed near 100%.  In the middle, there is an outdoor stage offering local entertainment.  One could also take sightseeing boat trips out into the bay.

Bayside, Miami, FL
  A park is located adjacent, and on that day there were pony rides and other activities for the children. 

The highlight of the Bayside area seemed to be all the sailboats, yachts, and fishing boats on display.  All shapes and sizes were available to check out and ask questions.  Bayside parking consists of a parking garage ($10 flat rate for special event), onstreet parking (also, special event parking fees), and other parking garages available further away from the area.  We were lucky to be one of the last ones to get parking in the garage.  The operators closed it just after we parked. 

We spent 2-3 hours in Bayside before moving on.  the access route to Miami Beach took us along the north side of the Port of Miami.  We were able to see the cruise ships preparing for departure that evening.

Sidewalk Dining
  RCCLs Liberty of the Seas was docked and loading passengers and supplies for the next voyage.  We were amazed at the shear size of this mega ship and realized it was the same size as the Independence - our ship.  WOW!  There were also Carnaval and Norweigian ships in dock.  The route out to the beaches is very busy. 

Streets are more narrow and crowded in Miami Beach.  There is public access to the beach just a couple blocks away from the main route A1A.  Parking seemed to be limited on this Saturday.  Maybe that is the situation all the time or just for the boat show (shuttles were offered), I just don't know.  Lots of shops, places to eat, and places to stay are available.  Each resort offered beach service (lounges, drinks, and showers).

Heading north on A1A to Lauderdale
  I'm not sure how many miles long the buildings go on, but it was consistant all the way to Fort Lauderdale.  This was not the quickest route, but more of a sightseeing trip. 

Once in the Lauderdale/Hollywood area, we found our hotel for the night - Comfort Inn South Airport/Cruise Port.  It was easy to find, but the entrance wasn't well marked.  It is conveniently located just off I-95.  The hotel wasn't anything spectacular, but provided a comfortable, quiet night's stay.  We chose this location partly because of the free shuttles to the airport and cruise port, but also for the price - $140 per night (one of the lowest I found on the internet).  The shuttle to the cruise port (Port Everglades) was to meet at 11:30 am the next morning.  For the evening, we chose to hang around the hotel pool and relax! 

msSleep says:
congratz :D
well done
and very interesting, i enjoy reading it :)
Posted on: Feb 25, 2009
Lord_Mike says:
Congrats on your feature today, very interesting!!!
Posted on: Feb 25, 2009
Koralifix says:
Congrats on being featured! Good job :)
Posted on: Feb 25, 2009
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Our first look at Port Everglades
Our first look at Port Everglades
The Eastern Florida Coast
The Eastern Florida Coast
We dont have anything like this a…
We don't have anything like this …
Bayside, Miami, FL
Bayside, Miami, FL
Sidewalk Dining
Sidewalk Dining
Heading north on A1A to Lauderdale
Heading north on A1A to Lauderdale
More Coastline
More Coastline
Our first look at downtown Miami
Our first look at downtown Miami
Or this!
Or this!
Im not sure what the picture is a…
I'm not sure what the picture is …
Bayside Shopping
Bayside Shopping
Boat Show at Bayside
Boat Show at Bayside
Sister ship docked in Miami - Libe…
Sister ship docked in Miami - Lib…
Norwegian Ship at the Port of Miami
Norwegian Ship at the Port of Miami
A Tug
A Tug
Palm trees grow everywhere
Palm trees grow everywhere
Heading into Miami Beach
Heading into Miami Beach
Boat Show!
Boat Show!
Miami Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Typical Hard Rock
If you are a Hard Rock fan, this cafe/restaurant is for you. Located in Bayside, Miami, FL, this location is undergoing an outdoor renovation. We we… read entire review
Miami
photo by: ellieperla