The Port of Miami, nicknamed "Cruise Capital of the World" is the busiest and largest cruise port in the world, having handled the record-braking number of 5.3 million passengers in 2017 and a home to 12 cruise lines. There are eight passenger terminals in Miami, all with modern facilities to provide swift embarkation and disembarkation. The cruise port is located in Biscayne Bay, 2 miles East of Downtown Miami. Miami International Airport is 9 miles away and there is a flat taxi rate of 27 US dollars per ride, not per passenger. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is 30 miles away, about 40 min by car. There are public bus stops located at the port itself, right in front of the terminal, however the preferred transportation method seems to be predominantly taxis. There is parking available at all terminals, as well as free WiFi. There are free shuttles that would take you from the parking areas to your terminal. There are food trucks at all terminals when there are ships docked, and there are also cafes at Terminal E and at the port's administration building. There is duty-free shopping at most terminals. It is not really possible to walk to the nearest sight of interest, that would be the Bayside market place and it's 25 min by walking and 5 min by car.
The local currency is the American dollar (USD). All major credit cards are accepted everywhere. There are ATMs everywhere as well and exchanging money is very easy, however the rates at home in UK seem to be better than in the States, so do some research prior to travelling. Although the prices of goods and services may seem low, bear in mind that tax is normally added at the till and it’s 8.875% in New York. It is not added to grocery shopping and to clothing items below 110USD.
Opening hours and bank holidays. Miami is visited by 14 million tourists each year, so the opening hours are very generous. Most independent shops are open all week. The shopping malls are open 10 am to 9 pm, and they are open from midday until 6pm on Sundays. Banks and post offices would be open 9 am until 5 pm weekdays and would work until midday Saturday as well. There are a few bank holidays in Miami, and the banks and post offices will be closed, however most shopping malls and other outlets will work as normal.
Tipping culture is huge in Miami. As a general rule, you should tip any service staff. Many of them are paid low hourly rates and rely heavily on tips. Between 15 and 20% of the bill at a restaurant is considered normal, but beware that some establishments include it in your bill, especially for larger groups. Hotel staff should also be tipped about a dollar per bag for the bellboy and about 2 USD per day for the housekeeper. Taxi drivers and spa saloon staff expects between 10% and 20% of the bill, if the service has been exceptional, feel free to leave more. Bartenders expect about a dollar per drink, more if the place is more upscale, and tour guides anything from 15 to 20%, depending on the length and the size of the group.
The local time in Miami is GMT-4 hours and the dialling code is +1 305.
Things To Do
A stop in Miami wouldn't be justified if you don't spend some time in South Beach. Nicknamed SoBe, it's an area east of Miami city between Biscane Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It was the first section of Miami Beach to be developed in 1910s, and it's famous for attracting the rich, famous and youthful. The area is quirky, trendy and it's buzzing with colorful Art Deco buildings, indie shopping, world-class boutiques, fine white sand beach, fashion photoshoots, tanned and toned locals and pale tourists at daytime. At night time it turns to a sophisticated spot for gourmet celebrity-chefs beachside dining and explosive nighlife. South Beach have a lot to offer and can easily take up all the time you have in Miami. Here are the famous shopping streets Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road, the Haulover Park, the World Erotic Art Museum and the Wolfsonian FIU Museum, Library and a Research center.
If you would like to escape the hustle and bustle of Miami, head off to Fairchild Tropical Garden. It's an 83-acres tropical garden with rare palms, cycads, flowering trees and tropical fruits. It's a home to the largest palm collection in the United States and it's famous for its' Richard H Simons Rainforest, the Rare Plant House and Conservatory and the Wings of the Tropics exhibition of butterflies.
One of Miami's pridest possessions is the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Formerly the Miami Science Museum, it showcases and brings together an aquarium, planetarium and science museum in an open, eco friendly complex of four buildings. It offers a hands-on approach to science and discovery to the residents of Miami and visitors alike in a fresh, innovative and inspired setting.
Representing the significant influence that Cuban immigrants have on the urban culture of Miami, Little Havana is an open-air, street museum of Cuban way of life. Here you can stroll around Calle Ocho Walk of Fame - honouring Cuban celebrities, such as Gloria Estefan and Eva Mendes, dance pachanga on Viernes Culturales - the street party and gallery walk, with art exhibits, live music and authentic Cuban food and drinks, get an exploding souvenire at Casa de Los Trucos - Miami's oldest costume shop, or familiarise yourself with the failed operation of restoring the American interests on Cuban soil by Cuban-American exhiles, trained by CIA at the Bay of Pigs Museum. Combine the unique and colorful art of Agustin Gainza - a much-loved Cuban artist - with some light bites, Gainza's famous mojito and live music at Agustin Gainza Arts and Tavern, widely known as Taberna del Pintor. The artist himself resides in Miami and can often be seen in his adjacent studio, painting. Little Havana is also the place for the best Cuban restaurants in Miami and where some of the best bars are.
There are a few more interesting museums to see in Miami, such as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Perez Art Museum Miami, The Bass, HistoryMiami, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, Lowe Art Museum,and Miami Children's Museum. Wynwood Walls outdoor museum showcases some of the work of the best-known street artists. The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse presents seasonal exhibitions from Martin Z. Margulies' personal collection as well as educational programms and special exhibitions. The Art Deco Museum by Miami Design Preservation League allows the tourists and locals to better understand the architectural heritage and community culture of Miami beach, presented in a fun and glamorous way. The De La Cruz Collection is a private collection, open to the public free of charge, that presents contemporary work since the 1980s by Latin, American and European artists.
Although a bright, lively, quirky and busy city, Miami also has a lot ot green spaces to offer to the traveller. The most famous one, is the Everglades - the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. Take an airboat or a canoe tour through the Wilderness Waterway, go on the Mahogany Hammock trail, hike through the Big Cypress National Preserve, go snorkelling and bird-watching at Biscayne Bay. Other less time-consuming options to spend time in nature would be the Bayfront Park, the Bill Biggs Cape Florida State Park, Virginia Key Beach North Point Park, Soundscape park (more popular with live concerts than nature itself), Pinecrest Gardens and Kampong.
There are a couple of other sites that reveal the unique history and community of Miami - the Holocaust memorial is dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust - at the time when it was founded, 1990s, between 20 and 25,000 Holocaust survivors lived in South Florida. The Freedom Tower, built in 1925 as a home for Miami News, was designated as a National Hisgtoric Landmark for its role in hosting the reception center for Cuban refugees, fleeing the regime of Fidel Castro between 1962 and 1974.
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