40th (Ruby) Wedding Anniversary Cruise

Miami via Port Everglades - Florida - USA

DAY23 - 27th Feb 2018 Landed Port Everglades, Florida, USA for Miami trip

It was our 40th Wedding Anniversary treat, what you might call our Ruby cruise! We have been to Florida before in August 1997 but never Miami. We did visit Fort Lauderdale but considered Miami at the time to be just too hectic. To see more CLICK HERE . So we did the Snapshot of Miami tour which passed by Fort Lauderdale having left from Port Everglades using the "fast" lane into downtown Miami.We firstly went to Ocean drive with its Art Deco architecture and went inside our first ever Walgreens Pharmacy. After a quick walk on Miami beach we visited Star Island , Coconut Grove, Coral Gables , Little Havana and ended up having lunch at the waterside alongside the Miami HRC, guess what Keef bought? Our trip was supposed to last 5.5 hours but only lasted about 4.5 hours with 1.5 hours in the shopping area, bit of a swizz and we didn't even see Millionaires Row - Esterfan, Beckhams etc etc.... probably Ed Sheeran by now *smile* This is the synopsis of our tour. "Your scenic drive will head south across the Biscayne Bay and onto Miami Beach, home of the Art Deco District and fashionable Miami Beach. Passing by the famous Versace Mansion, you’ll continue on to Millionaire’s Row, renowned for its opulent homes and high-end boutiques, as well as some of the world’s most highly rated beaches. You’ll then cross over the impressive MacArthur Causeway and pass nearby Star Island, home to many famous celebrities. Returning to the mainland, your drive continues through downtown Miami towards Little Havana, with its vibrant Cuban culture. The contrast is striking as you continue on to the charming Coconut Grove, one of the most beautiful residential areas of the city. Finally, you’ll pass by Coral Gables, an area rich in diverse architectural styles and lavish landscaping. Catch a glimpse of the impressive yachts and mansions, and view the towering skyscrapers of Miami's financial district as you drive along Brickell Avenue. To round off your tour a short stop will be made at Bayside Marketplace. Here, you can enjoy some free time for shopping or perhaps purchase a refreshment before the return drive to Port Everglades." If you would like to read the detailed BLOG of the trip including the Captain's log please CLICK HERE


Miami was interesting, could have done with a more committed guide however!


Your Guide to Port Everglades

Lying in the south eastern part of Florida, Port Everglades is just a short journey from downtown Fort Lauderdale and its maze of waterways, bars, restaurants and trendy boutiques. The port is also your gateway to Everglades National Park and its unique eco-system and array of wildlife.

The city of Fort Lauderdale is situated in Broward County on southern Florida’s Atlantic coast, an area known as the Cold Coast. The city did not even exist one hundred years ago but today it is one of the most popular resorts in the state. Now known as the ‘Venice of the USA’ because of the great number of waterways, Fort Lauderdale has much more to offer than just miles of sandy beaches. Passengers will land at nearby Port Everglades, the second busiest cruise ship port in the world after Miami.

Seminole Indians moved into the area - under protest - around the New River and what is now Fort Lauderdale in the early 19th century. A few settlers were also living here when the Second Seminole War broke out in 1835 as a result of the massacre of a large army detail. A year later an Indian war party murdered a woman and her three children near the New River. As a direct result of these massacres, Major William Lauderdale, with a force of Tennessee Volunteers and army regulars, was sent to build a stockade on the river in March 1838. The fort (and the eventual town) was named after the major.

In 1891, there were sufficient settlers to justify the opening of a post office and two years later Frank Stranahan arrived to run the New River ferry. Stranahan is regarded as the first permanent white settler in Fort Lauderdale and his house is now open to the public. A further boost to the region came in 1895 when the Florida East Coast Railway reached the small settlement.

Workers began to drain the Everglades from 1905 onwards, and in 1911 Fort Lauderdale was incorporated, even though the town had only 175 residents. A building boom after World War I led to the influx of many newcomers along the Gold Coast. However, the bad publicity created by a severe hurricane in 1926, with the loss of 15 lives in Fort Lauderdale and many more in the neighbouring cities, meant that the Depression arrived early in southern Florida.

By the 1950s, Fort Lauderdale was a yachting centre and the beach was a magnet for college students enjoying a short spring holiday before their examinations. The 1960 film Where the Boys Are, starring Connie Francis and George Hamilton, described the pleasures of a break at Fort Lauderdale and led to student numbers increasing dramatically to well over 300,000. Eventually the local authorities could no longer tolerate the mass invasion, with its associated high spirits, drunkenness, drugs and petty crime, and introduced measures - successfully - to encourage the students to go elsewhere.

Fort Lauderdale today is a dynamic and developing city. Vast amounts of money have been spent to improve the beachfront and make the downtown area more attractive. Tourists still flock to the city, especially in the winter season when temperatures and humidity are more bearable. The beach remains the major attraction for many, but the Everglades are nearby and the city itself has many places of interest and is one of the most important shopping centres in the state.

EXPLORING

Fort Lauderdale may be mainly a very young city but there is much to see on the coast and beach, along the many waterways and canals, and in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Please be aware that the state of Florida has a 6% sales tax, which is added to the cost of many purchases and restaurant bills.

The Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

The coast and beach area has a number of places worth visiting. The Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, with direct access to the beach. Nature lovers can follow two short trails to see perhaps raccoons, squirrels, egrets and herons, to name but a few. For more active exercise, canoes can be rented for a paddle along the freshwater lagoon.

Bonnet House

Further south is the outstanding Bonnet House, a 1920-built property in a 35-acre setting, which originally had direct access to the beach but is now surrounded by modern Fort Lauderdale. The sub-tropical gardens have lush vegetation, swans on the ponds, an orchid house and even resident monkeys. The house contains paintings by the former owners Frederick and Evelyn Bartlett. You will not be disappointed by a visit and opening hours for house tours are 9.00am-4.00pm Tuesday to Sunday; the last house tour takes place at 3.30pm. Closed Mondays. The gift shop - artwork, reproduction paintings, collectibles, antiques, jewellery and so on - is open during tour hours.

International Swimming Hall of Fame

Also in the same area is the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a museum containing memorabilia from 100 nations and information on over 600 world- famous stars. See, for example, the gold medals won in the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games by the swimmer Johnny Weissmuller, who later played the role of Tarzan in films in the 1930s and 1940s. Who can forget those immortal words, “Me Tarzan, you Jane”? Also on display is the starting block used by Mark Spitz in winning five of his seven Olympic gold medals in 1972. This museum is just south of Las Olas Boulevard on A1 A, the coastal road. Opening hours are 9.00am-5.00pm Monday to Friday, and Saturday and Sunday 9.00am-2.00pm.

Stranahan House

On SE 6th Avenue at Las Olas Boulevard this house dates from 1901 when it was used as a trading post for the early settlers and the Seminole Indians. Five years later it became the Stranahan family’s personal residence and remained so until 1971.

Frank Stranahan ran the ferry across New River and unfortunately drowned in the same river. The house now looks as it would have done in about 1913 and guided tours are given at 1,00pm, 2.00pm and 3.00pm daily. The house can only be visited via a guided tours. The tours are approximately 45 minutes to an hour long.

Museum of Art

Fort Lauderdale has an outstanding Museum of Art at the corner of E Las Olas Boulevard and Andrews Avenue in the heart of the city. The museum concentrates mainly on modem art and has a large collection of works by the American impressionist William Glackens (1870-1938). Another section is devoted to the avant-garde CoBrA movement - the name is derived from the members’ home cities of Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. This movement lasted just three years in the late 1940s, and their semi-abstract paintings are characterised by brilliant colours, violent brushwork and distorted human figures. The museum is open from 11.00am- 6.00pm Tuesday to Saturday, with extended hours on Thursdays until 8.00pm. Sundays open from Noon- 5.00pm. Closed on Mondays.

Riverwalk

If in this part of the city, do have a look at the Riverwalk, an area of waterfront parks, restaurants,

bars, shops, cinemas and Las Olas Riverfront. River cruises start here and several Water Bus stops are along the river, including Stop 14 Carrie B and Stop 18 in front of Cafe Metro for Las Olas Riverfront.

Another reminder of the city’s past is the Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum on the site of the original settlement at 219 SW 2nd Avenue in the downtown area. Three historic buildings date from the early 20th century; New River Inn (1905), which now houses a museum of history and a gift shop, Philemon Bryan House (1905) and King-Cromartie House (1907), now a museum of pioneer lifestyles. There is also a replica of Broward County’s first schoolhouse of 1899. This historic district can be reached from Las Olas Riverfront by walking across the railway line near Cascades Restaurant. Opening hours are 10.00am-5.00pm Tuesday to Saturday and Noon-5.00pm on Sunday.

Museum of Discovery and Science

Directly west from the historic district Is the Museum of Discovery and Science on SW 2nd Street. Permanent exhibitions include Living in the Everglades and Florida Ecoscapes, as well as several hands-on activities to unravel the mysteries of space and much more. The five-storey IMAX 3D Theatre gives a virtual- reality experience when viewing films. The store has clothes, games, jewellery, posters, toys, science kits and gifts. Opening hours are 10.00am-5.00pm Monday to Saturday and Noon-6.00pm Sunday.

Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum

This museum on SW 1 st Avenue (Packard Avenue) south of the river is a ‘must visit’ for enthusiasts of American vintage cars, as 22 pre-war Packard automobiles are on display. There are roadsters with compartments for golf clubs - the Packard was the Rolls-Royce of the 1940s - a doctor’s coupe and even a 1930 fire engine. Memorabilia includes everything from road signs to parking meters and prewar chauffeur badges. Guided tours are held from 10.00am-3.00pm Monday to Friday.

BEYOND THE EVERGLADES

Time Out in Miami

Florida’s second largest city (population 365,000), after Jacksonville, is situated on Biscayne Bay at the mouth of the Miami River and just a short distance from the Everglades. Sometimes called the ‘capital of Latin America’, as two-thirds of the population are of Hispanic origin, Miami is widely regarded as one of the country’s most exhilarating cities. The city became famous in the 1980s television series Miami Vice but is now more renowned for its beaches, world-class shopping, restaurants and legendary nightlife than as the former crime capital of the United States.

Miami can be reached from Fort Lauderdale by Tri-Rail, an hourly commuter service on weekdays and less freguently at weekends. The journey lasts a mere 42 minutes to the Metrorail Transfer. Metrorail, an elevated rail system serves downtown Miami and extends west to Hialeah and south to Kendall. The Metromover, an elevated monorail, also serves downtown Miami. Metrobus has an extensive network of routes and full details of these, Metrorail and Metromover can be found at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Suite 2700, 701 Brickell Avenue (Tel. 539 3000). There are also visitor centres at 1920 Meridian Avenue on Miami Beach, Aventura Mail and Bayside Marketplace.

The city’s leading attractions are widely scattered, although few visitors are likely to be disappointed by spending time on Miami Beach and in particular in the South Beach area. The visitor centre at the

northern end of South Beach is a useful first stop, and, if interested, do ask about hiring bicycles.

Across from this centre is the moving Holocaust Memorial. Nearby is the Bass Museum, with a permanent collection of European art, as well as temporary exhibitions.

Perhaps the most unexpected ‘must-see’ is the Art Deco Historic District, with over 800 restored buildings in a similar architectural style and painted in pastel colours. Watersports and sunbathing are popular pastimes on South Beach and a gentle stroll along the famous Ocean Drive is almost compulsory, as this is the ultimate see-and-be-seen place.

Away from Miami Beach, here are a few details of just three very contrasting attractions, each of which is well worth a visit. Miami Seaguarium, an important marine park on Virginia Key, is deservedly one of the most acclaimed in the world. Shows featuring dolphins, killer whales and sea lions have thrilled visitors for 50 years. It would be easily possible to spend many enjoyable hours here.

Coconut Grove is the location for one of the city’s most visited gardens and house: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The 70-room villa, completed in 1916 in neoclassical style, is filled with rich treasures, including paintings, sculptures and antique furniture.

Not much more than a stone’s throw from Villa Vizcaya is the Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium. The admission price includes entrance to all museum galleries (plenty of hands-on activities), regular planetarium shows and the wildlife centre at the rear, where injured and recuperating birds feature.

GETTING AROUND

Taxis

Taxis are available on the quayside and the journey from Port Everglades to downtown Fort Lauderdale should take about 15 minutes. They can often be found outside hotels, but it is not the norm to hail one in the street. Telephone 505-2800 or 565-5400 for a Yellow Cab.

Buses

Broward County Transit (BCT) runs services throughout the county. Timetables and details of routes are available from the bus terminal and government center in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and also from many stores. The No. 11 route from the bus terminal along Las Olas Boulevard to the beach is likely to be of particular interest to visitors. City Cruiser, a free community bus service, operates a service from Las Olas Riverfront to Beach Place.

Water Bus

A scheduled service operates between Oakland Park Boulevard and SE 17th Street along the Intracoastal Waterway, and westwards along New River into downtown Fort Lauderdale as far as River House. Tickets can be purchased on board and stops of particular interest to visitors are: 7 Bahia Mar (International Swimming Hall of Fame), 14 Carrie B (Stranahan House), 18 Cafe Metro (Las Olas Riverfront) and 20 River House (Museum of Discovery and Science). This is a most enjoyable way to see the city.

FAST FACTS

• Florida, admitted to the Union as the 27th state in 1845, is slightly larger than Nepal and Bangladesh.

• Florida’s state capital is Tallahassee and Port Everglades is 23 miles north of Miami and only 60 miles northwest of the Bahamas.

• An unofficial wind gust of 92 mph was recorded at Port Everglades when Hurricane Katrina passed over on 25 August 2005.

• As many as 15 cruise ships have departed from Port Everglades on a single day.

• Fort Lauderdale had a population of 151,939 in 2000 (US Census), of whom 15% were aged 65 years and over.

• Chris Evert, winner of the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Championship in 1974,1976 and 1981, was born in December 1954 at Fort Lauderdale.

• The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show claims to be the world’s largest.

SHOPPING

Florida is famed for the opportunity to shop, shop and shop, and Fort Lauderdale is no exception. Visitors are spoilt for choice. Shops are generally open 9.00am-5.00pm Monday to Saturday and Noon-5.00pm Sunday, although department stores and malls keep longer hours.

Beach Place, just north of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and between the beach and the Intracoastal Waterway, has the usual mixture of shops and eatingplaces. Galleria Mall, to the south, has over 120 shops, including Saks Fifth Avenue. In downtown Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Boulevard and the Riverfront are certainly worth a visit. Swap Shop, on W Sunrise Boulevard, is anything but a normal flea market and food court complex, as free one- hour circus shows are held daily.

Florida’s second-biggest tourist attraction after Disney World is Sawgrass Mills Mall on the western outskirts of Greater Fort Lauderdale. Some 25 million visits are made annually to the more than 300 retailers, cinemas and the many eateries, which include the Hard Rock Cafe and the excellent Wolfgang Puck Cafe. The mall also has an indoor role-playing theme park (Wanadoo City) to amuse children.

Best Buys

T-shirts, Beachwear,Clothing,Cosmetics,Local history books,Sports equipment

ACTIVITIES

Beaches

Greater Fort Lauderdale is renowned for its 23 miles of golden sand beaches and Fort Lauderdale Beach, part of Florida’s first designated Blue Wave Beach, stretches for 3+ miles. Entrance is free and this beach can be reached by a 15-minute taxi ride from the cruise ship terminal at Port Everglades. Most facilities - showers, toilets, shops, restaurants and bars - are in the southern part from Las Olas Boulevard to Holiday Drive. Beach chairs and umbrellas can be hired. The northern section is quieter, although kayaks and catamarans can be hired. Lifeguards are normally on duty but do ensure this is so if intending to swim or snorkel.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

This is a very popular area for scuba diving as there are literally dozens of coral encrusted shipwrecks and artificial reefs. For details of reputable dive shops, please ask at the Visitors Bureau.

Golf

Rolling Hills Golf, 3501 West Rolling Hills Circle,

Davie, Greater Fort Lauderdale (Tel. 475-3010).

Clubs can be hired at this 18-hole, par 72 course (6,905 yds from the back tees and 5,630 yds from the front tees); cart hire is included in the green fee. Advance booking is required.

EATING OUT

Miami is rightly famed for its cosmopolitan dining and some of America’s best restaurants are in the city. Ethnic cuisines are almost too many to mention, although several emphasize the culinary delights of the Caribbean (especially Cuba), and Latin America. South Beach has a wide choice of restaurants to suit most tastes and all pockets. Miami is also the city where ‘shop ‘til you drop’ could become a reality. There is everything from large shopping malls, such as the Ventura Mall on Biscayne Boulevard, to the exclusive designer shops of Bal Harbour on Miami Beach.

Fort Lauderdale has innumerable cafes, restaurants, coffee shops and fast-food outlets. Intimate waterside bistros, gourmet restaurants, steakhouses, expensive seafood restaurants, and a choice of ethnic restaurants are just some of the options.

It is possible to eat quite cheaply or the skies the limit if dining at a top class restaurant. Many ethnic cuisines, such as Cuban and Mexican, are often good value for money, whereas European restaurants (Italian and French) are usually more expensive than, for example, a typical Chinese restaurant. However, some of the most expensive restaurants may have a fixed-price menu. This is also junk food paradise.

A walk along Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale Beach, the Riverwalk and around the downtown area will soon reveal all kinds of eateries. The malls have food courts, with a choice of cafes and often good- class restaurants.

American food is still well represented in the diners by steaks, fried chicken and burgers, although many now also offer a wider menu than previously. Helpings can be mountainous. The city has plenty of excellent seafood and fish restaurants - shellfish, Florida lobster and oysters are particularly sought- after by the locals.

American beers and Mexican brands, such as Corona, can be found throughout Florida. Most restaurants will have a selection of wines from Florida, California, Chile and the Argentine. Sitting in the sun watching the world go by with a cocktail is always a popular pastime. Soft drinks, including the ubiquitous Coca-Cola, are everywhere.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Post Office

The nearest post office is on SE 17th Street.

Other post offices are at Alridge, 400 NW 7th Avenue and Colee, 1404 E Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Post offices are normally open 9.00am-4.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am- Noon Saturday.

Money Matters

Most banks are open 9.00am-4.00pm Monday to Friday, although times may vary slightly from bank to bank; some will open on Saturday morning. Banks are located on SE 17th Street and in downtown Fort Lauderdale, including the Washington Mutual at 200 E Las Olas Boulevard and the Wachovia Bank on E Broward Boulevard. ATMs can be found in banks, convenience stores and shopping malls.

Denominations

The unit of currency is the US dollar ($), divided into 100 cents.

Notes: $1,5,10, 20, 50 and 100.

Coins: 1c (penny), 5c (nickel), 10c (dime) and 25c (quarter).

Notes can be confusing, as all are mostly green in colour and the same size. Major credit cards are widely accepted in Florida. Travellers cheques in US dollars are often easier to change at banks than foreign currency.

Emergency Contacts

All-purpose emergency telephone number: 911

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