We have learned that whenever flying out of DFW on American Airlines for a cruise, it is wise to depart a day or two ahead of time. In 2016, 60% of our flights on AA were either delayed or cancelled altogether. Their track record in 2017 is no better. Our 10:25am flight (2307) was delayed nearly two hours this morning. To make matters worse, an hour of that time was spent on the plane (a vintage 767-300) with NO air conditioning. A crowded, hot plane with screaming kids, what could possibly go wrong? When we did finally take off, our movie was some animated kids movie. Seriously?
Service was typical American Airlines domestic. Abrupt and impersonal. About 30 minutes into the flight, the cabin was so cold you could almost see your breath. Everyone was freezing. Of course, there was no apology for getting us to Miami two hours late. Nerves were pretty frayed by the time we landed. One lady cussed out the man sitting next to me and threatened to have her husband "kick his ass." Not really sure why the comment was made but, suffice it to say, she was a real piece of work. Once we disembarked the flight, we had the extreme pleasure of standing in baggage claim for 45 minutes waiting for our luggage.
I go through this excruciating explanation to emphasize the importance of departing a day or two ahead of your scheduled cruise embarkation, especially if traveling by air. If our ship had been scheduled to depart today at 5pm, we would have missed the boat, literally. As it turns out, we did have to cancel our walking tour with Miami Culinary Tours (www.miamiculinarytours.com). I emailed Grace, our contact with MCT, from the tarmac in Miami to let her know we were not going to make the tour. Without hesitation, she re-booked us for another tour next week (after we disembark Carnival Vista). Impressive service!
After we finally got our luggage, we walked outside and called an Uber, which took less than a minute to arrive. Our driver pulled up in a new Toyota Camry and, after loading our luggage, we were on our way to South Beach. Traffic was much better than we expected for a Friday at 4:40pm. We pulled up to The Shelborne around 5:10pm. The Uber ride from MIA to South Beach was $25. We have always had a good experience with Uber in Miami and plan to use Uber to get to the ship from the hotel tomorrow.
After we tipped our driver, we headed to the Reception desk to check-in, which was efficient. The hotel appears to be very busy today with lots of guests checking in. Nevertheless, it did not take long for us to obtain our room keys and soon we were entering our Ocean View King Room w/Balcony on the 15th floor. Of course, we will post a more detailed review of Shelborne South Beach in our Hotels and Resorts section soon. The best feature of this room? The view!
After dropping off our luggage in the room, we thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of the hotel's Happy Hour at Sarsaparilla Bar. Rickee and I both ordered the Cocktail of the Day, the "Effin' Sweet," made with vodka and some fruit juices. A Happy Hour snack menu had us ordering Sea Salt French Fries, Pork Belly Steamed Buns (dim sum) and some chicken wings.
After enjoying our "dinner", we decided to take a walk down Collins Ave. The street is lined with art deco hotels and shops.
We did not visit the beach today, but Shelborne does offer guests beach loungers and towels and the beach is just steps from the hotel. After a invigorating 45-minute walk up and down Collins, we returned to the hotel.
Tomorrow, we will embark Carnival Vista for our eight-day Caribbean cruise.