Monday, November 28, 2011

Sea Day #3 and disembarkation:
Wahhhhhhh!! How did this happen?? How did the cruise go by so quickly??

I find the last full cruise day to be the saddest. By then there is no ignoring that it’s coming to an end and then, to make things even worse, I have to re-pack. Ugh. I hate repacking. So depressing. Nevertheless I was proud of us because we got started on it just after breakfast. G was at the kids club and it had to be done. It always takes longer for me to pack up than I think it’s going to. Then there are all those things I realize I haven’t done yet and try to get to. Like, I still hadn’t had one of the made to order crepes in the café, explored a few areas of the ship or taken pix of some things I wanted to remember.

After getting packed up we had a bite to eat and then another LONG nap. Ahhh, a person could really get used to this nap thing! Why is it that toddlers resist them?? Anyway, we switched to a different dining location for dinner and had a bit more success. The food was still pretty crappy but the service was better and it was all served warm. Yippee.

That night they had a pretty good show. It was a Bollywood thing with some Cirque style stuff thrown in. It was by far the most entertaining show of the cruise, nice costuming, etc. G went too but, not with us, with the kids club. She said she wanted “to go with her friends.” Ugh. I can already see what middle school is going to be like. After that G went to the pajama party for about 30 mins and that was it. Cruise over. I repeat, wahhhhh!!!!!

The following morning when we woke up we were already pulling into Port of Miami (POM). First disembarkation was supposed to be 9am, we had tix for 9:35. Not bad. We got off the ship pretty close to that time and then spent HOURS trying to get our shuttle, get our rental car and get to our hotel. What a mess POM was. There were 4 ships in port, two NCL, two Carnival and they were all disembarking one set of cruisers as well as starting to board the ships to go out that evening. The term cluste&uck comes to mind. Sorry but that’s what it was.

At one point, the port authority guys were no longer letting the passengers coming off the ships cross the street to the middle area where the shuttle pick ups take place because the sidewalks were too full of people and baggage and there was no more room to stand!!! People were jumping into the middle of the street to stop cabs that were dropping people off hoping to catch one. This is strictly not allowed by POM security. One guard started screaming at a cab driver and banging on the side of his car. One of the porters loading bags for the new cruisers on the carts was hit by one of the taxis. Thank goodness he wasn’t too injured but OMG what an unbelievable mess.

We finally got our rental car and headed to the hotel. After some confusion and about an hour or so of driving up and down the Atlantic coast, we arrived. Yeah. I booked us at the Newport Beachside which is in a north Miami Beach area called Sunny Isles. I’d been watching the Groupons hoping something would come up in the Miami/FLL area for awhile and it finally did. The deal included an ocean front room, a massage for each of us, breakfast daily and 2 nights of chocolate covered strawberries and champagne! The price seemed pretty fair for the area and it included parking which is big because parking in the area runs between $18-25 per night! It seems that all of Miami Beach is expensive.

When we arrived we found the hotel lobby and public areas are nice and the location is good but the room itself is kind of shabby. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a dump and it did suit is purpose but I don’t think I’d be recommending it to anyone. We ended up having dinner at a Mexican place across the street from the hotel that we could walk to: a complete mistake. The food was typical, although not so great, mexican and cost us $50… for chips, beans and tortillas??? Really???

Again, laugh it off. It’s better than being at work :-)

This is the Kids' Cafe area of the buffet. We ate breakfast here almost every morning of the trip. The area to the left is the kids buffet. G loved the fact that she was able to get her own food. They even had scaled down pitchers so the kids could get their own drinks. It was really cute.
Enjoying the view of the beautiful ocean from the balcony on the last day.
We followed this ship most of the last day. Isn't that sunset unbelievable?

Since I booked the hotel from a Groupon I wasn't EXACTLY sure where it was. As it turned out, it was in Sunny Isles which is the more north part of Miami. It actually turned out to be a really nice base camp and, although I do not think I would book the hotel again, I would definitey stay in that area.

The beach was really pretty but it had this seaweed all over it. I didn't care too much since we weren't planning any beach days in Miami. But as it turned out, each morning they had a tractor type machine they used to clean all the seaweed up so it was completely clean during most of the day. Each evening the tide would bring in more... that's a lot of seaweed!!!
G loved this playground area the hotel had on the beach.

Tomorrow: First full day in Miami!

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