During the Christmas break last year, we had a four nights west Caribbean cruise vacation with Celebrity Reflection. After cruise trip, we had another 4 days’ break at Miami and Key West. Its a wonderful, sunny and warm Christmas vacation, although it’s not a traditional white Christmas most people dream of.
If you never had a Caribbean cruise experience before, I recommend you take the west Caribbean route because it includes a stop at Cozumel, Mexico. Usually cruise line has a shore excursion from Cozumel to the Mayan Ruins, which is one of seven wonders in the world.
As for the cruise vacation itself, there are several tips I would like to share with those first time cruise vacationer:
- If you fly in from the other cities for the cruise vacation from the port Fort Lauderdale, you actually save money by flying into Miami airport instead of Fort Lauderdale airport. Remember hotels near Miami airport usually have airport shuttles bus service.
- The most convenient and cheapest way from Miami to the port Fort Lauderdale is Uber or Lyft. The cost is around $30-$35 depending on what time you take during the day.
- Cruise line allow you to take pack of bottle water onto the ship. If you don’t want to do so, and also you don’t want to spend money on beverage package, you better bring your own water bottle with you, so you can fill your bottle at buffer restaurant for your night.
- Except those speciality restaurants, you can eat at any restaurant you like, no matter you book an inside cabin or Oceanview stateroom.
- Book your shore excursions once you are on board. You can book them with your unused onboard credit. Also, make sure you spend all your onboard credit before your last day.
After cruise vacation, a better way to beat your post-cruise blue is to “kiss sun” in Miami and Key West for another few days. Cruise line usually arrive at port in early morning around 7am, but you cannot check in your hotel until 3pm or 4pm. So, the best way to spend your first post-cruise day is to rent a car at Miami airport (cheaper compared with renting at Fort Lauderdale airport) and then head to Key West. When you drive through Key West famous highway A1A, you will experience the most scenic ocean view. If you book a hotel outside of downtown Key West, you can take hotel’s shuttle bus to downtown Key West for dinner. Key West is worth to see during the daytime and nighttime as well. Also, no trip to Key West is completed without trying fresh seafoods at Key West restaurants.
Miami is our last stop during Christmas break. Miami is famous for its vibrant downtown and south beach. If you only have two days there, You can spend one day touring the city and another day staying at south beach. We first drove to the little Havana and had a typical Cuba breakfast with a strong coffee there. After that, we headed to the downtown. We parked our car at a garage near Government Centre and then take the free Metromover to loop around the city. For tourists, Metromover is the best way to have a bird view of the city. It’s also the easiest way to get to the famous destinations including American Airlines Arena and Bayside Market Place etc.
The best tourism attraction in Miami is its famous south beach. South beach usually draws huge crowd at weekends , which causes a big headache for the parking. The secret, we found by luck when we were there, is the parking place called Miami Beach Parking Garage. The address is :640 17th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA. This is the cheapest parking lot in South Beach. Only $1 per hour. Meters in south beach are usually $3 per hour. Once you park your car there, you can enjoy strolling along the sandy beach and then walking back along the well known street Ocean Dr.
Last, but not the least, we had a wonderful Christmas vacation last year. Hope we will have more opportunities to come back to the sunny Fl. again. Kissing the sun everybody!.