We flew into Miami on Easter Sunday and stayed at the Hampton Inn Miami/Brickel-Downtown (50 SW 12th St). We've stayed there before and truly enjoy this hotel that has been open for about a year. The rooms are spacious, the comp breakfast is appetizing and the hotel is an easy 10 minutes to the Port of Miami by taxi($25)or shuttle ($8 pp). There are many good restaurants with a wide range of prices and types within easy walking distance.
We checked most of our luggage (intended for the following weeks Trans Atlantic cruise) with the hotel and grabbed the shuttle to the port with a shoulder bag and wheeled carry on, each.
We arrived at the port about noon and were quickly whisked through the empty waiting lanes. A friendly greeter directed us to an even friendlier check in clerk who completed her work quickly and efficiently. She directed us to a side room to obtain a wheel chair for my wife. There were already 3 ladies waiting for assistance and no Royal Caribbean employees. I seated my wife and went to find assistance. I found someone in a small back office who relayed my request by cell phone for 1 chair for my wife and 3 chairs for the ladies.
About 10 minutes later a single wheel chair arrived for my wife and the ladies were told 3 chairs would be there in another 15 minutes. Just then, the RCI employee who was supposed to take the chair requests arrived as was upset that I had gone to some one else. She countermanded the instructions and said we would have to wait till she ordered chair for my wife. I told her that I would complain aboard the ship but she said that would do me no good because she worked for RCI on land.
My wife decided to try to make it on foot. My wife gave out about 300 yd to the gangway (with another 300 yd to the ship). Fortunately, we met a wheel chair assistant coming off the ship, who took us directly to our junior suite.
Our Junior Suite on deck 10 was very spacious with a queen bed and a sitting area with a love seat and easy chair. Our large balcony had two chairs and a cocktail table. The bathroom included a bath tub with shower.
A short walk to the elevators and up one level to deck 11 brought us to the Windjammer Buffet. The food was plentiful and they were fully prepared for my wife's special dietary needs. While I prepared a plate for myself, the head waiter and head chef prepared a Kosher for Passover lunch for my wife. Throughout the cruise the buffet food and service was excellent.
We were assigned to the early sitting in the "Moonlight" Main dining room on deck 3 (which is identical to its sister dining room on deck 4). Our Head Waiter (Hayden), Waiter (Robert) and Asst. Waiter (Bernard) were attentive to every detail and our needs for the entire cruise. We followed their advice each night and were not disappointed.
We attended the "Welcome Aboard" show in the theater the first night and the "Farewell Show" on the last night. To be honest, the song and dance routines were very amatuerish. We've come to expect a higher level of entertainment (on Norwegian cruise lines) and we were disappointed with RCI.
Our "quickie" cruise included 3 ports: Nassau, Bahamas; Coco Cay, Bahamas (RCIs private isle); and Key West, FL.
We've been to Nassau so many times that we didn't leave the ship. We stayed on board for the Spa Special: $200 for 50 minute couple massage (usually $280).
We enjoyed Coco Cay and attended the "Crown & Anchor" Hotel Director's party for Platinum and above. Tropical drinks were served on covered but gazebo at water side. The tender service between ship and shore was fast and frequent.
In Key West we rode the "City Tour" (Gray) Hop On Hop Off Trolley which is $10 cheaper than it's competitor "Red Trolley". We've done it before but enjoyed it again. The Key West dock is a one block walk to all the various activities: trolley tours, moped rentals, electric car rentals, and usual tourist shops.
Upon return to Miami, disembarking was easy as pie. The guest service desk arranged a wheel chair for my wife which arrived 15 minutes before our scheduled time for coordinated disembarking and baggage delivery to the pier on airport style carousels.
We had a wonderful 4 day cruise, except for the wheel chair Miami boarding nightmare. It moved us up from Platinum to Emerald and will enable us to be Diamond when we complete our Trans Atlantic next week.