Debarkation from the Carnival Ecstasy went well. We stayed in our room as long as we could and then decided to head off the ship. We had reservations at the Holiday Inn Miami Beach-Ocean Front in Miami. We booked 2 rooms off of reward points. Check in was 3pm. I tried and tried to find an Everglades tour for us to do to take up some time. Carnival offered one, but they transported you to the airport. We did not want or need to go to the airport. I tried to contact the company directly to see if we could make arrangements to be taken to our hotel or perhaps see if there was taxi availability after the tour…. I got no response :(
Every Everglades tour operator that DID respond to me, told us they could not pick up at the port. I did find one company that offered to send a shuttle to pick us up (that we had to pay for) … but they were based out of Fort Lauderdale and we had no need to go back there as we were staying in Miami. Sooo… we just got off the ship. While in the customs line I thought… “What the heck?” and I called the hotel. I got ahold of Sherman and let me tell you… Sherman knows his customer service! He said he might not be able to get us into both rooms early, but to come on, he would take good care of us and he would see what he could do. We left the terminal and got a taxi … (Mark’s suitcase handle promptly broke. It was really quite funny. He pushed the little button and pulled up to make the handle come up and the whole darn thing came right out in his hand. Metal tubes and all. He found zero humor in this moment as embarkation and debarkation are the worst times for him. Trenton and I resorted to snickering together when no one else was looking. I offered to find a store and buy him a new suitcase which he flatly refused… so he was the dude pushing his suitcase with no handle the rest of the trip!) he he he
The cab ride to the hotel was right at $30. There were 4 of us in a taxi van and we had 7 pieces of luggage. The concierge at the hotel kept telling us they could call a shuttle for our return to the port the next day, but it would be around $40. I said “Eehh, we’ll take our chances with another taxi, but thanks.”
So up to the counter we went and Sherman says “Welcome, I just spoke with you on the phone!” We were able to get checked into 1 room right away and he promised to call us as soon as the other room was ready. We had booked 2 regular rooms. Turns out we ended up with two adjoining rooms with an ocean view. Even better! Sherman gave us 4 free drink coupons and made sure we had directions out to the pool and beach. I needed to print out our next luggage tags and boarding pass and Sherman said their business center was under construction right now, but to come back when there wasn’t a huge check in line and he would be happy to print out whatever I needed. We dropped off all our luggage and settled in.
At home we are big “Yelp” users. So we decided to pull up Yelp and look for a good place to eat lunch. Turns out there was a Cuban restaurant not too far from our hotel that had good reviews. We didn’t have much of a breakfast so we were getting quite hungry. There was a taxi in front of the hotel. Apparently the restaurant was closer than we thought. Ride was only $5.
Doesn’t look like much from outside, but we went on in. We weren’t greeted at the door so we just found a table and sat down. Every Latin, Cuban restaurant we have been in from Miami to San Juan has been this way. Finally a waitress brought us some menu’s. It was 11:30 and we were happy to hear they were still serving breakfast. I ordered an omelet and Mark and Mom both ordered the steak and eggs. When they first sat it down in front of me I thought "What in the hell is that thing?" I took 1 bite just to say I attempted it. For the record... I have NEVER had an omelet that tasted that good. EVER. All our food was amazing! By the time we finished eating and paid, the place was packed. Standing room only.
Mom and I needed to stop at a Walgreen’s for a few restock items and we noticed one between the restaurant and the hotel so we just started walking. We ended up walking back to the hotel. It was probably about a mile, but the weather was nice.
We are showing our age here, but Mark and I were stoked to be staying on A1A Beachfront Avenue!
Lol. It was from a song in the early 90’s by none other the Vanilla Ice.
"Yo so I continued to A1A Beachfront Ave
Girls were hot wearing less than bikinis
Rock man lovers driving Lamborghinis"
Ice Ice Baby....Are you singing with me?
You can thank me later for that getting stuck in your head all day.
Mom and Trenton certainly did not get it :)
Even after we tried to explain.
If you don't get it either, I'm sorry.
You should YouTube it :)
This cruise was a little different for us. Trenton has a best friend from Kindergarten that no longer lives in Texas. His family decided to join us for our next leg of the trip. They had flown into Miami a couple of days before and met us at our hotel after breakfast/lunch. We headed out to the beach and let the boys play in the ocean. You must have a hotel key to get onto the boardwalk and out to the beach. Once we were on the beach we paid $30 for 4 chairs and an umbrella. I thought it was a little pricey since we barely stayed an hour, but oh well…. It’s vacation. I made sure and grilled everyone I encountered from taxi driver, to hotel personnel and finally just random people I happened to pass about possible sharks and was assured there had not been a shark attack within 100 miles of Miami. The ocean was wonderful.
We played in the ocean, the kids were seriously impressed with my ability to keep my sunglasses on with the waves coming over our heads. Found a talent I didn't even know I had! We went back to the hotel and swam in the pool. It was great. During this time our second room was ready and we were happy to realize our rooms not only were side by side, but connecting. I fully expected booking the rooms just using points that we might even be on different floors. We were very pleasantly surprised. After a well needed shower and rest we ventured downstairs to the hotel restaurant. Other than the wait staff... we were the only ones there. We looked at the menu and it was unanimous we wanted to go somewhere else. There was nothing wrong with the menu, but for the price and their options, we just weren't craving it. We excused ourselves and plopped down in the hotel lobby and pulled up Yelp again. We found a little taco shop that we thought wasn't too far. Turns out we were wrong on the distance again and were thankful we took a taxi instead of trying to walk.
Taquiza is the name and that my friends is it. There is no inside. You step off the sidewalk and order at the little counter... and you sit on concrete. If you are lucky you can snag a little wooden table on wheels, otherwise you are on your own. The fact that this place did not have tables was not mentioned in the raving reviews about their food. After I took a bite of my taco... I forgot about the tables too. Mark and I ordered 1 of each taco they had.
Al pastor: Pork, achote, guajilla, sour orange, pineaple
Carnitas: Pork, orange, cinnamon
Pollo: Chicken, tecate, spring onion, cilantro
* I hope I spelled some of that stuff right. It honestly doesn't sound good to me... even now, but it was delicious! We need one of these in Fort Worth!
We ate and enjoyed, the people watching was A-mazing. It started to get dark so we grabbed a taxi and headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow was going to be a BIG day.... Boarding the Carnival Breeze!!