Saturday, September 22, 2012

Post cruise in South Beach part 2

We decided we werent going to do much during our stay in south beach. We walked across to the beach and decided to just walk down a ways and then make our way back to the street. It was the end of November but there were quite a few people swimming and enjoying the beach. There were netted areas recommended for swimming due to large amount of man of war jellyfish. They had washed up on the beach everywhere.

On Ocean Drive when you are walking over to the beach there is Lummus Park which is a great area! There is tons of work out equipment and a bath for biking, skating, or running. It is a nice touch and there were tons of people making use of the facilities. There is also an area for washing off sand and restrooms every so often. 

After a bit we headed back up to the street and did some souvenir shopping. There and quite a few restaurants, bars, shops along with businesses. We grabbed a quick lunch and headed back out. We decided to go to Wet Willies for some drinks ( they have more of the slushie style drinks i mentioned in my Key West post). We decided to sit on the balcony of the second floor which overlooks Ocean Drive. South Beach is absolutely gorgeous at night and was so fun to just walk around.

The next day we had an early evening flight so we checked out in the morning. Ocean Reef was kind enough to keep our bags for the day in their office so that we could take in our last couple hours of vaca. We did more walking around today, decided to head opposite of the beach and look around at what else South Beach had to offer.

We had our airport shuttle come pick us up at the hotel and then we were on our way back home. We had a wonderful time in South Beach and would definitely consider staying at the Ocean Reef again.

Have you stayed in South Beach? What kind of things to you enjoy there?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Carnival Destiny Post Cruise: South Beach

You want to know the best thing about debarking the Destiny? We didn't have to go home!!! Yet. We decided to stay an extra day in South Beach before going home thanks to super expensive thanksgiving travel prices!!!

After debarking, we got in line for a taxi at the port. Lucky us we got a driver who wanted to try to rip off a tourist, not nice! I told our driver the name of our hotel, Ocean Reef, and showed his the paper with the full address. He  drove to SOBE, got onto Collins Ave (our street), drove around, then got on Ocean Drive and attempted to drop us off in front of a random hotel. Oh no no buddy. I told him the name of our hotel again and showed him the address. Apparently all he heard was Ocean and decided anywhere on Ocean Dr was sufficient. He then drove around to our hotel, turns out he had passed it earlier, and stopped in the middle of the street and had us get out. Certainly not going to let this hiccup ruin the end of vacation, we paid and went across to our hotel.

Though we stayed on the Destiny until last call we still go to the hotel before 11 am. They had told us earlier that if we were unable to check in early that they would be able to hold our bags for us. The entire booking process was great, they answered any questions promptly.  Low and behold we were able to check in early AND they were kind enough to upgrade us to a suite! Lovely, lovely place.

The hotel is located perfected on Collins Ave between 11th & 12th St. Walk across to Oceans Dr and you are at the beach and right in the hustle and bustle of South Beach :) Check in was fast and we were ready to check out room 305!

The room was nice & spacious. Queen size bed & queen size sleeper sofa as well as a kitchenette. The bathroom was a little on the small side but still nice. We were only there for one night so it didn't make a world of difference. I know what you are thinking... I thought this was a suite?  Well the suite has an extra 175 sq ft and the room divider separates the bed from the main area somewhat. A free upgrade is a free upgrade and we very much appreciated it.

Room Service

Room Service. MY FAVORITE!!! Just kidding, one of my favorite things about cruising. The room service is 24 hrs and is FREE FREE FREE (it is customary to tip a couple dollars each time). We had a friend who took a cruise a couple months before our first and we were comparing stories etc. Boy was he MAD when he found out that it was free! He had no idea so he never ordered it! Glad we could fill him in for next time.

Room Service is available 24 hrs, you just call the # and order they have a great menu. There is soda and alcohol available for an extra charge just like everywhere else on board. For breakfast there is a door hanger you put out in the mornings before 4 am I believe and you can have coffee, cereal, etc (lots of choices) delivered at whatever time you wish in the AM. Absolutely delicious.

Carnival Destiny: Overall Thoughts

We had a great trip. The food and staff were great as expected. The itinerary was a perfect getaway for a holiday weekend. Was it hard being away for a holiday? No, not really. It was nice to relax. They offer a turkey dinner of sorts on the first night but it wasn't exactly the same so I had chicken. But if I wanted home cooked I would have stayed home ;) We took part in more planned events this cruise as well. We went to see the comedians (very funny!) and enjoyed the love & marriage game. There were some disappointments like the scavenger hunt but alas not every thing is perfect and we just went on to enjoy the next activity.

Our favorite thing we like to do on our cruises is visit the Disco nightly. They play all different types of music and there is a lot of seating to people watch once people have had a little too much to drink. It is 18+ but there is a wide range of ages.

We really enjoyed our cruise on the Destiny.  She is a nice ship and is soon going to be completely refurbished. That's right, starting next year, the Destiny will become the Carnival Sunshine with a home port of New Orleans, LA! I am not sure why they choose this route with the Destiny, I like the name and the ship didn't look worn down. It gets a bad rap from reviews I had read prior to our trip but those kind of people are ones who just can not enjoy a vacation. We arent ones to notice the little things so the minor wear and tear on the ship didn't bother us. Would I sail the Destiny again? Absolutely. Unfortunately,  we already have a fall 2012 cruise planned so we will not be able to before she becomes the "Sunshine". 

The Destiny is a great ship because of the 3 different itineraries she offers! Interested in those? Perfect! The Victory will be repositioned to Miami in February 2013 and start to take over those itineraries. Make sure to check out earlier posts on the Victory!

Have any questions? Like to spend your time in a particular area on the ship? Comment and fill us in!