Miami is a sultry, steamy, busy, beach city on Florida’s central east coast. Its also home to 2.6 million residents from 120 countries, with Spanish emerging as a top language. Miami is also the Cruise Ship Capital of the World, serving almost 5 million passengers annually.
Port Miami is global headquarters for five leading cruise lines and 18 cruise ship brands – Carnival Cruise Lines which also owns Cunard, Holland America, Costa and Seaborne; Norwegian which is parent company of Oceania Cruises, Princess and Regent Seven Seas Cruises; and Royal Caribbean who also operates Celebrity and Azamara, plus MSC- Mediterranean Shipping Company. Over 40 ships call Miami their home port, its the perfect embarkation point for passage to the Bahamas, Eastern and Western Caribbean and Mexico. Port Miami can accommodate 8 major cruise ships daily – so you can imagine the bustling turnover on a typical Saturday in season.
Passengers opting to stay the night before or after their cruise from Miami have many luxury hotels in Miami to choose from, with over 50,000 hotel beds, on Miami Beach and South Beach, or in downtown Miami overlooking Biscayne Bay. We have stayed at both, South Beach is cool – the sand is hot and so is the nightlife along Ocean Drive, Collins and Washington Avenues. Meanwhile downtown Miami across the causeway has an urban sophistication, and dramatic lights at night from upper floors in Miami’s best hotels with rooftop swimming pools and cool bars with the best view of pricey yachts and cruise ships parading out to sea. Between Downtown and Miami’s beaches is Dodge Island where the cruise ships dock at the Port Miami.
Our favorite downtown Miami luxury hotel is The Viceroy Miami. Its chic, especially the 15th Floor roof pool- the largest in Miami, with a spectacular view of Biscayne Bay. Pool guys serve drinks and snacks from the café and a DJ plays poolside. Viceroy has a 50th Floor Bar with amazing views and a nightclub. Our suite at the Viceroy was posh, palatial even, with a huge water view bathroom all decked in gorgeous marble, floor to ceiling windows by our king bed, plus a balcony overlooking downtown.
Viceroy’s restaurant near the pool, 15th and Vine, has extraordinary views from the outdoor patio tables. You are a $30 cab to the airport, cruise ship terminal or South Beach and Miami Beach, an you can walk to the Capital Grill and shopping in Brickell.
Other Miami luxury hotels include Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriot, Wyndham, Intercontinental, EPIC Kimpton Hotel, Holiday Inn, Sheraton, and Embassy. On South Beach and Miami Beach the top hotels are W South Beach, South Seas, Loews, Fontainbleu, Delano, Clevelander, Shore Club, Nautilus, Aloft, Faena, 1 Hotel, AC Hotel, and Mondrian – all hip and happening by the sand and the strand of shops, bars and trendy restaurants.