We are visiting Miami Beach for a few days before boarding the Norwegian Epic; it is fun playing tourist here

My sister-in-law Dee and I arrived in Miami Beach, Fla., at 5 p.m. yesterday. Because most people were off work, the taxi ride from Miami airport to the Doubletree Surfcomber ($32) was very fast. As fast as I ever remember. We got off the plane at 5 p.m. and were checking in at 6 p.m. It was raining steadily at the time.

We are here in Miami for a few days before boarding the new Norwegian Epic cruise ship for its Miami inaugural cruise. And we decided to do what a lot of other passengers do, arrive a few days early and see the local sights.

We are fortunate in that the Doubletree Surfcomber on Collins Avenue, near the convention center, is in a perfect location for enjoying South Beach. It is just a few doors from the chi-chi hotels, the Delano and the National, and the Ritz-Carlton is at the corner, so we are in good company. This block is also fairly quiet, unlike the neighborhoods further south on Collins Avenue.

Best of all, we are just a short walk from all the shops and restaurants on Lincoln Road, the pedestrian walkway that is the heart of Miami Beach. So, first thing we did last night was walk over there for dinner. We were thinking Italian, so we stopped at an outdoor table at Rosinella and each enjoyed a great chopped salad, eggplant parmesan appetizer and a glass of wine as we watching the Miami Beach nightlife heating up. The cost of our meal was $31 each, including tip, which we thought quite reasonable.

We turned in early, slept well in very comfy beds, and headed out this morning for what I thought was going to be a quick walk in search of breakfast. Turned out the expedition lasted until 3 p.m.! It was supposed to rain, but was sunny all day. We walked the entire length of Lincoln Road, hitting just about every store on both sides. We had a late breakfast as the Van Dyke (eggs Florentine and eggs Portobello, no less) and then kept right on going.

Finally, at about 2 p.m. we headed back to our hotel but first stopped at the Walgreen’s at the corner of Collins and Lincoln to stock up on such necessities as wine and diet Coke. This is the largest Walgreen’s I have ever seen and is only a block from the beach. It is open 24 hours a day.

After that, we were a bit hungry so stopped at few doors down from Walgreen’s at the Pizza Bar. This was another great “find.” They sells huge slices of gourmet pizza for $4-$5 a slice. The slice was so big that Dee and I shared it. Along with two fountain sodas, our entire tab was $8. And the pizza was delicious!

So that’s it for now. Our hotel is right on the beach so we are heading out there now for a couple of hours of sun and people-watching. Then back over to Lincoln Road for dinner. We are thinking Tapas or Thai tonight.

Here is the information about the places mentioned in this article:

Doubletree Surfcomber Hotel

1717 Collins Ave.

(305) 532-7715

Rosinella Italian Restaurant

525 Lincoln Road

www.rosinella.net

(305) 672-8777

Van Dyke Cafe

846 Lincoln Road

(Corner of Jefferson and Lincoln)

(305) 534-3600

Walgreen’s South Beach

100 Lincoln Road

(Corner of Collins and Lincoln)

Pizza Bar

1627 Collins Ave.

(305) 672-6880

They will deliver!

About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for AllThingsCruise.com. She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.

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