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Hotels Recommendations for the best places to stay pre/post cruise.

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Old April 22nd, 2008, 04:28 PM
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Default Downtown or SouthBeach?

Hi There,

Can somebody please explain to me the pros & cons of staying downtown versus SouthBeach precruise.

My boyfriend and I are cruising out of Miami in May 2008. Both of us have never been. We will arrive one full day early so want to be somewhere where we can make the most of our Miami visit and not stay locked up in our hotel.

1) When referring to Downtown, is it the same thing as Bayside?
2) What are approximate cab fares from each to the hotel from the airport and from the hotel to the pier?
3) What could we do at each location during the day?
4) What about differences in the night life?
5) Safety Issues?

I realize these are alot of questions, but I really want to make an informed decision

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

Terra (Canada)
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old April 23rd, 2008, 06:01 PM
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South Beach is not downtown Miami. The two locations are vastly different in what is offered. South Beach has a beach.. many entertainment options.. great places to eat all within several blocks.

Bayside is a hotel and a mall. no beach but much closer to the pier.

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Old April 25th, 2008, 11:10 AM
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The area called “Bayside” actually refers to the Bayside Marketplace which is considered the downtown area of Miami in the tourism industry. I do not know of a hotel named “Bayside” itself. Bayside Marketplace has a marina, many shops, restaurants, and nightlife venues, as well as some charter tour boats. The Hard Rock Café is there. It is very close to the pier which is why this area is a favorite amongst cruise-goers. Many cruisers opt for either the Holiday Inn or the Intercontinental Hotel. There are others, but these are the two favorites. They enjoy awaking in the morning to see their ship right out their hotel window. Although the pier is pretty much a stone’s throw from the Bayside area, it is not pedestrian friendly, and you’ll need to take a cab there. I’m told it’s about $10. If you’re looking to spend the day at your hotel laying on the beach, then Bayside/downtown is not the area. That would be South Beach or Miami Beach. However, you can always take a cab over to The Beach and spend the day there.

South Beach is about 10 minutes from Bayside/downtown. South Beach, as you probably guessed, is on the beach. It tends to be hopping all night long, and some of the hotels with rooms that face the street can be very noisy. There is a lot of traffic congestion, but it’s pedestrian friendly, so if you don’t have a car, don’t sweat it! A car is just another obstacle and something more to pay for (parking!) and worry about what to do with it. South Beach is a great place to “people watch” and you never know just who you’re going to catch a glimpse of. There is a lot to see and do there, and lots of places to eat. During the Miami Boat Show back in February, we took a cab from Miami Beach back to the Bayside Marketplace where we left our car because we did NOT want the hassle of parking over on The Beach. The cab went right by the Port of Miami, and the fare was $15. So, that should be an idea as what a cab fare from South Beach to the Port would be.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 11:53 AM
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I’m sorry, Terra, I didn’t finish answering your questions before posting my response earlier.

Things to do during the day...depends on what you’re into. Both venues have shopping. Downtown Miami has some great bargains in the small shops in the heart of downtown along Flagler Street which make outlet malls look expensive! Shopping in South Beach is trendy and expensive. If a day at the beach is your fancy, you’ll enjoy South Beach more. From Bayside Marketplace, you can take a boat tour of the homes of the rich and famous and other Miami sights, or a jaunt down to see Key Biscayne and the famous Stiltsville where home has stood on stilts for decades out in the middle of the bay. If you’d like to sip margarita poolside, be sure your hotel has a pool if booking a downtown hotel. You can sample the “day things” from anywhere - cabs are plentiful and things are fairly close, i.e. South Beach to downtown - just a 10 minute car ride.

Nightlife...hands down, South Beach definitely has a more intense and hopping nightlife - sometime too much! Bayside has a live band at the Marketplace out next to the seawall in the marina every night. It can go as late at 11:00 p.m. or sometimes after midnight. There is also a Latin dance club there where folks salsa late into the night, but generally, the area closes up around midnight. Personally, I would not be wandering the streets of downtown/Bayside at night. I find Bayside Marketplace is quite safe, but keep in mind that when I go there, that’s where I go - and I don’t leave. We take our boat over and tie it up to the seawall, or hover in the water behind the band. For me, I prefer Bayside simply because I can take my boat over there.

As for safety issues, well, like any other big city, there is crime everywhere and Miami is not immune. Use common sense and you should be OK, but freak things can happen anywhere at any time. In South Beach, I’ve never felt threatened, but then again, I stick to the mainstream where the crowds are and don’t venture into dark alley ways (another reason not to drive a car - you won’t be forced to park on a dark side street somewhere).

Another place that is quite nice and also about a 10 to 15 minute ride from downtown is “The Grove” - Coconut Grove - a little more quiet than South Beach, but nicer than downtown. The Grove is more upscale and features “CocoWalk” which is a neighborhood of unique shops and great restaurants.
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Old May 1st, 2008, 08:19 AM
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Thanks for the information you posted. Justed booked a cruise out of miami for next april and we usually stay at Bayside Holiday Inn pre-cruise but we are planning on arriving 2 days before our cruise and thought about staying in the south beach area. Your post was very helpful.

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