We will cruising with RCCL in December and will fly in the day before and stay over the day after the cruise, and I would appreciate suggestions on where to stay. Also, should we book the room directly with the hotel or use Priceline?
I stayed at the Marriott Biscayne Bay the day prior to my Christmas sailing last year. I booked a standard room and upon checking in asked if there were any rooms available that faced the port. Nice room, great view. The taxi to the pier the next morning was about $6.00 for two. Also, even though their website states they have airport shuttle service, they don't.
Just got back from our cruise on the Explorer - stayed in the Holiday Inn South Beach. Got through Priceline for $45. It was a very nice hotel in a nice location. They were doing some road construction in the area but because we did not drive we did not care!! The beach was great and we walked to the Lincoln Road Mall for dinner and people watching which were also great. Took 10-15 minutes to get to the ship in the morning!! A number of places to buy last minute items like soda, alcohol and bottled water right there. I hope this helps!! Happy planning!!
We stayed at the Essex House at the corner of Collins and Tenth Avenue in South Beach. If you enjoy an "active" party area, South Beach is great. The hotels in South Beach seemed to act like Bed and Breakfasts. We looked at a couple before we decided to stay at the Essex House, which was clean (not fancy), but did have a great wide open front porch with wicker furniture, a small pool and free continental breakfast. It is also only a block to the ocean (100 yards to the sand). I don't think that there is a great advantage to staying on Ocean where I believe the prices to be significantly higher although I didnt price too many of them. I took some pictures of the Essex House. Look for Explorer of the Seas - Keith and Keith2 in the picture galleries. Have a great cruise.