Cruising Through Miami

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With one of the world’s busiest cruise ports located right in the heart of its downtown area, Miami, FL, is a popular pre- and post-cruise destination for vacationers hitting the high seas. And while there are enough accommodations, restaurants and attractions around to fill a traveler’s itinerary for days, many cruise passengers don’t always have that much time to explore. That’s why Recommend recently spent some time perusing the city’s downtown to find great options for those short visits.

Where to Stay For those who only have a day or two to spare in the city, suggest a stay at DoubleTree Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay, located just one mile away from the Port of Miami.

Towering 42 floors above the bay, this property features 960 guestrooms, including 56 1- and 2-bedroom fully equipped condo units that are ideal for families and groups. All accommodations come with plush bedding, marble bathrooms, high-speed Internet access and complimentary tea and coffee.

For dinner, guests can check out one of various restaurants on site, including Los Gauchitos Steakhouse and Primos Italian restaurant. During Recommend’s visit, we tried out Tony Chan’s Waterclub, offering delicious gourmet Chinese dishes and impressive bay views. House specialties include Peking duck, Yupan quail, lamb and vegetarian dishes, as well as seafood specialties such as Chilean sea bass and Maine lobster.

Rates at DoubleTree Hilton Grand start at $139 per night. For more information, visit hilton.com.

A Night on the Town Located within walking distance of the Doubletree is the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Showcasing a wide selection of plays, concerts and dance performances year-round, this performing arts center is a must-visit. Upcoming shows include “Cirque Eloize-iD” (opening July 26)—a modern Canada-based circus featuring acrobats, break dancers and contortionists; the Miami City Ballet (opening Oct. 21) and ” Shrek, the Musical” (opening Dec. 6).

After the show, urge travelers to take a short cab ride over to Mary Brickell Village, where they can enjoy cocktails and music at Blue Martini Lounge and Balans restaurant, or grab a couple of beers at Burger and Beer Joint or Fado Irish Pub.

Afternoon Delights For vacationers who have an afternoon to spare before heading out on their cruise or back home, suggest they stroll the popular Bayside Marketplace with stores like Gap, Express, Bath & Bodyworks and Victoria’s Secret, as well as restaurants such as Hard Rock Cafe and Chili’s. Taking a scenic boat tour of the city—including Miami Beach and the celebrity homes on Palm, Star and Hibiscus islands—is also a must-do here. Popular tours leaving out of Bayside include Island Queen Cruises and the Thriller Speedboat. Boat tour fares vary by company but start at around $23 pp.

For more information on pre- and post-cruise stays in Miami, visit the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau at miamiandbeaches.com.