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  #1  
Old December 6th, 2010, 06:10 AM
alert alert is offline
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Default things to do at Port Canaveral (9am-9pm cruise ship docked)

I will be on the Enchantment of the Seas and it will dock at Port Canaveral on Dec 20 Monday. We are a family of 2 adults and 2 boys 17 and 15.

We are not that into the space center, what else can we do?

Thx
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  #2  
Old December 6th, 2010, 05:33 PM
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I suspect the lack of replies is partly due to this being a somewhat frequently asked question but you might start by looking at these two threads

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...1303554&page=2

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...393&highlight=


Recognize however that it is expected to freeze here tonight (altho last Friday it was 80). If you hit a cold snap and you plan to air-boat or kayak or beach I hope you brought a warm coat. Even hitting a park will find one handy . . .
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  #3  
Old December 7th, 2010, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by alert View Post
I will be on the Enchantment of the Seas and it will dock at Port Canaveral on Dec 20 Monday. We are a family of 2 adults and 2 boys 17 and 15.

We are not that into the space center, what else can we do?

Thx
We stopped there last October from the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore (don't ask - we're back to Royal Caribbean). We rented a car - under $50 for the day, and SO worthwhile to have the freedom to go where we wanted. I don't remember which car rental we used (it was either Budget, Thrifty or Dollar), and were picked up by a shuttle at the terminal. We made a Walmart run for some sundries, went to see Cocoa Beach where Captain Nelson found Jeannie (not really much to see except a beach with a dilapidated pier!), stopped at Historic Cocoa Village, where we would have LOVED to spend more time - interesting looking shops and restaurants, and then on to the eco tour excursion we booked online:
http://www.islandboatlines.com/naturetours.html

We ended up being the only 2 on the tour, passing by a similar pontoon of a ship's excursion packed to the gills. The excellent guide took us through canals and lagoons where we saw many manatee, dolphins, egrets, pelicans, etc. We were glad we remembered our binoculars.

The car, ecotour, lunch out, etc., for the 2 of us was less expensive then just the ship excursion, and we had so much more time and freedom to do what we wanted.

It was very funny on the way back to see the throngs back from the $10 shuttle bus loaded with Walmart bags (we can't live without our Wally World!) We laughed though when we saw how much food was in the bags...what, you can't find something to eat on a cruiseship?

Whatever you do, make sure to layer clothing and have raingear available.
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  #4  
Old December 7th, 2010, 12:09 PM
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I second the suggestion to rent a car. Cocoa Beach is pretty low key. Not sure how warm it will be - I know it is cold now. Leaving on the Monarch on Friday so I hope it warms up. I have 17 year old twin sons - some suggestions:
Go to Ron Jon's (huge surf store). You can rent boogie boards or skim boards there. Cocoa Beach Pier is very close. Swim, boogie board, beach it watch the surfers. There is a small dinosaur museum across the street from Ron Jon's. There is a minature golf course in Port Canaveral. Haven't been since the boys were little not sure of condition, etc.
In Port Canaveral - turn east at McDonald's heading to the ocean. Drive to the last road turn right. Go to Cherie Down's park. There are usually kiteboarders there that are fun to watch. We also go there to boogie board and skim board (harder to do). There is a shower and restrooms.
In Port Canaveral - turn west at Radisson. Head toward Manatee Park. Manatee Park is nice. I've never seen a Manatee there but go to Banana River Park. Park in the gravel area and walk towards the white condos. There are usually several manatee there and occassionally a dolphin. There is a Subway close by, McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy's if you want to grab something quick and take to the beach. Publix and Winn Dixie grocery stores in Cocoa Beach. Most teen boys would be bored at Cocoa Village but I don't know what your boys like.
We have done airboat rides which are fun. Lone Cabbage is in the area. Have not been with them so can't comment. Fin Expeditions also gets good reviews on Trip Advisor. There are lots of restaurants, a small mall with movie theater and Walmart over on Merritt Island. If the weather's not great you may have more fun on the ship.
Orlando is a quick easy hour away if anything there is doable for you.
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  #5  
Old December 9th, 2010, 12:13 AM
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We are driving up from Fort Lauderdale to meet friends one afternoon at their ship in Port Canaveral. We are staying in Cocoa Beach the night before. Can anyone recommend a nice place to have dinner, and then a nice place to have lunch and drinks with our friends (adults)? They've been to the space center so we'll just want to socialize near the coast for the afternoon, maybe visit a nice shopping area by the coast, if that exists.
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  #6  
Old December 11th, 2010, 09:35 PM
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My ship will be docked 9am-9pm on monday dec 20, will the theme park be very crowded on dec 20?

thx
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  #7  
Old December 11th, 2010, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alert View Post
My ship will be docked 9am-9pm on monday dec 20, will the theme park be very crowded on dec 20?
Hi,

The theme park(s) are typically crowded over the Christmas holidays, but not sure exactly how to guess the degree of that in advance. The two weeks around the holidays are pretty busy for the parks.

Quote:
We are driving up from Fort Lauderdale to meet friends one afternoon at their ship in Port Canaveral. We are staying in Cocoa Beach the night before. Can anyone recommend a nice place to have dinner, and then a nice place to have lunch and drinks with our friends (adults)?
Depends on what you like to do. The Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral area has some diverse restaurants and bars. Everything from fun and safe dive bars, to "wannabee" club atmosphere places. If you tell us what you (and your friends) might like you will get more advice.

There are no real big shopping destinations, however. The closest sizable mall is in Melbourne 45 minutes....and in 50 minutes or so you could be at the larger Florida Mall in Orlando. There is a small mall on Merritt Island (15 minutes), but it's not particularly noteworthy....JC Penney, Macy's and Sears...and the usual mall shops. Two good bookstores, though: Books-a-Million and across the street a Barnes and Noble. I do know a place in the port near the marina I keep my boat in that makes seashell toilet seats...lol...seriously.

The offerings in and around Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral are pretty unpretentious. People still mostly live in those communities, and although there is some seasonal "Snow Bird" usage during the peak winter season, it is still not a touristy infrastructure. That's one of the attractions for us. Family owned bars and restaurants are common. Decent variety of live music, including a very good little blues bar on the beach, and nice jazz place that serves good German food. Numerous seafood places. A small comedy club. Several places to dance.

Let us know what you are looking for.

Johncn

Last edited by Johncn; December 11th, 2010 at 11:03 PM.
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  #8  
Old December 13th, 2010, 08:01 AM
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here's something nnew - just in the paper today Segway Rentals

EZ Ridin Rentals

•Location: 229 W. Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach
{that's near the Ron Jon store so you can take the free shuttle}

•Hours: Monday-Sunday; 9 a.m. to sunset

•Phone: 784-3939.

•Website: www.ezridinrentals.comcastbiz.net/

•Cost: The starting rate is $60 for the first hour, with various discounts and specials available
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Old December 13th, 2010, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Capt_BJ View Post
here's something nnew - just in the paper today Segway Rentals

EZ Ridin Rentals

•Location: 229 W. Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach
{that's near the Ron Jon store so you can take the free shuttle}

•Hours: Monday-Sunday; 9 a.m. to sunset

•Phone: 784-3939.

•Website: www.ezridinrentals.comcastbiz.net/

•Cost: The starting rate is $60 for the first hour, with various discounts and specials available
Please give me more info on the free shuttle, where do you get on and where does it go to. Thanks so much
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  #10  
Old December 13th, 2010, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Johncn View Post
Hi,

The theme park(s) are typically crowded over the Christmas holidays, but not sure exactly how to guess the degree of that in advance. The two weeks around the holidays are pretty busy for the parks.



Depends on what you like to do. The Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral area has some diverse restaurants and bars. Everything from fun and safe dive bars, to "wannabee" club atmosphere places. If you tell us what you (and your friends) might like you will get more advice.

There are no real big shopping destinations, however. The closest sizable mall is in Melbourne 45 minutes....and in 50 minutes or so you could be at the larger Florida Mall in Orlando. There is a small mall on Merritt Island (15 minutes), but it's not particularly noteworthy....JC Penney, Macy's and Sears...and the usual mall shops. Two good bookstores, though: Books-a-Million and across the street a Barnes and Noble. I do know a place in the port near the marina I keep my boat in that makes seashell toilet seats...lol...seriously.

The offerings in and around Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral are pretty unpretentious. People still mostly live in those communities, and although there is some seasonal "Snow Bird" usage during the peak winter season, it is still not a touristy infrastructure. That's one of the attractions for us. Family owned bars and restaurants are common. Decent variety of live music, including a very good little blues bar on the beach, and nice jazz place that serves good German food. Numerous seafood places. A small comedy club. Several places to dance.

Let us know what you are looking for.

Johncn
Thanks, Johncn, for getting back to me. I was cruising on the Navigator when you posted back. We are staying at the Doubletree at the beach in Cocoa, and we are meeting friends from England while they are in port for the next day. We aren't planning to go to a mall, unless of course it is cold or rainy. The last time we got together with these friends we were in Orlando and we spent 2 days at the Mall at Millenia because it was rainy. I was thinking more of a charming old downtown shopping area like Vero Beach seaside or Palm Beach or Naples have, without driving more than 30 minutes from the port, someplace nice to go for a stroll and look in the shops and sit down for a long lunch and drinks. Does something like that exist in the area? If it is under 65 degrees or if it is windy, I may not be able to walk around anyway as I am unable to tolerate cold. As far as dinner, we like a little atmosphere, upscale or downscale (though we'd prefer to dress casually on this trip)...not really interested in dancing, clubbing, or loud music. We tend to eat fish (not shellfish), poultry, or vegetarian. Tell me more about the German Jazz place, any place that is known for fresh fish, or any of your favorite dinner places. Of course we'll have a car. Thanks again.
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Last edited by royalcruz; December 13th, 2010 at 09:10 PM.
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  #11  
Old December 14th, 2010, 12:10 AM
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is there anything to do walking distance from the cruise ship?
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Old December 14th, 2010, 11:23 AM
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not really, the port is just that, the port and the ships tie up on the north side while the limited shopping and dining is on the south side .... you'd need to walk down a busy road and cross a draw bridge. I would not recommend it.

The soth side of the port has marinas and a few resturaunts - Milikans, Rusty's, Fishlips and Grills ... a few others. There are also several charter fishing operations along here.
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Last edited by Capt_BJ; December 14th, 2010 at 11:26 AM.
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  #13  
Old December 14th, 2010, 11:28 AM
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Please give me more info on the free shuttle, where do you get on and where does it go to. Thanks so much
I have no first hand knowledge as I live here but I understand there is a free shuttle that runs from the cruise terminal to a parking lot between Ron Jon and the beach. RJ is about a block inland of the beach on A1A.

I've seen the bus unloading . . .
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Old December 14th, 2010, 05:44 PM
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Does anyone know if this FREE SHUTTLE" exists to Cocoa Beach? We will be there on a RC cruise in April, 2011.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 05:59 PM
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Does anyone know if this FREE SHUTTLE" exists to Cocoa Beach? We will be there on a RC cruise in April, 2011.
Does RC show this as an excursion? Another post has said they charge for this . . .

I do not know, I just saw a bus with a sign in the window and a thought I remembered hearing here there was a free one . . .
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Old December 15th, 2010, 01:04 AM
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not really, the port is just that, the port and the ships tie up on the north side while the limited shopping and dining is on the south side .... you'd need to walk down a busy road and cross a draw bridge. I would not recommend it.

The soth side of the port has marinas and a few resturaunts - Milikans, Rusty's, Fishlips and Grills ... a few others. There are also several charter fishing operations along here.

anything special about those restaurants? anything i should try?
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Old December 15th, 2010, 07:52 PM
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Talking RE: Things to do at Port Canaveral

When my family and I docked in Port Canaveral we took the Dollar Shuttle over to Cocoa Beach. They drop you off at a strip mall two blocks from Ron Jon Surf Shop. I think it was called the White Rose. At that plaza, we all rented Segways and took an hour ride along the river...trying to catch a glimpse of the manatees. We parked our segways and had a great lunch on the water. It was such an amazing, unique experience...my two sons really enjoyed it. It takes about 15 minutes of training and then we were off. The shuttle driver gave us a coupon that saved us $15 per person. You can't miss the place, the employees there are buzzing around the parking lot on segways. In addition, you are close to the Pier, Ron Jon Surf Shop and of course the beautiful beaches there.
Have fun!! Safe Cruising!!
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  #18  
Old December 15th, 2010, 09:12 PM
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[quote=royalcruz;27166715]Thanks, Johncn, for getting back to me. I was cruising on the Navigator when you posted back....I was thinking more of a charming old downtown shopping area like Vero Beach seaside or Palm Beach or Naples have, without driving more than 30 minutes from the port, someplace nice to go for a stroll and look in the shops and sit down for a long lunch and drinks. [quote]

Royal,

Downtown Cocoa Beach has some nice restaurants, a few shops, but not really like the others you mentioned. Cocoa Village may be more what you are looking for in terms of older buildings and restored with shops, but if it's just lunch and drinks on the beach Cocoa Beach may be fine. It's about 20-25 minutes from the port.

Quote:
As far as dinner, we like a little atmosphere, upscale or downscale (though we'd prefer to dress casually on this trip)...not really interested in dancing, clubbing, or loud music. We tend to eat fish (not shellfish), poultry, or vegetarian. Tell me more about the German Jazz place, any place that is known for fresh fish, or any of your favorite dinner places. Of course we'll have a car. Thanks again.
For seafood, there are numerous options. Some are at the Port itself in the area they have developed called The Cove:

Grill's Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar (aka Grill's)
http://www.grillsseafood.com/

505 Glen Cheek Drive
Cape Canaveral, FL 32920
(321) 868-2226

Probably the overall favorite in the Port. Lots of regulars. Great mahi sandwiches, and good food in general. Live bands most nights, and thatch bar outside. Aircon inside. Can watch the cruise ships and the "Ramp Follies" as small boats are launched at the public ramp there. Frequently it's an amusing spectacle to watch as people jockey for position, or forget to engage the parking brake. So popular that in this down economy they have just opened a new location down in Melbourne, Florida.

Fish Lips
http://www.fishlipswaterfront.com/

Bigger than it looks. Good food, and decent prices. On the docks, and can see ships pass by....just in between Rusty's and Grill's. Aircon dining inside, and deck / party bar upstairs. Live music and even the occasional comedy act. I like the stuffed grouper. We go here, and Grill's more than anywhere else in the Port. Gets a singles feel on weekend nights. Fun place, and variety of atmosphere.

Used to be associated with the gambling ship that left from this dock (Suncruz Casino ship), but they went out of business. New owner of ship using different dock starting in February.


Rusty's Seafood & Oyster Bar
http://www.rustysseafood.com/
http://www.rustysseafood.com/port-canaveral-web-cam.php

628 Glen Cheek Drive

Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920

321-783-2033


Nice atmosphere...right on the water. Can watch cruise ships depart from dining room and decks. Cocoa Beach Parasailing leaves from this dock. Used to be owned by same person who had original Bernard's Surf (see below), and was less expensive than most a few years ago. Expanded their deck and live music, raised prices (but still not bad), and new management. Used to go there more than I do now, but I still take the family every once in a while. They have a happy hour. It gets a dinner crowd and then a party crowd when live music is playing.

Milliken's Reef
http://millikensreef.com/

683 Dave Nisbet Drive
Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920 (321) 783-0100

Newest, and priciest of the Port Canaveral restaurants. Snazzy property. Right on the water at the turning area for cruise ships, and next to authentic local seafood market where the shrimp boats tie up. Rumor form some fishermen I know has it they don't get their seafood locally, but....it a rumor. No clue if that is true. Milliken's tries harder to attract the nightclub crowd on weekends for club music DJs and so on. Nice enough place. Piano player inside (sometimes), and live bands outside in a nice open party bar and table area. I've only been there...twice? It's OK, but the others in the area are more down market....like me, I guess.

And some good ones in Cocoa Beach:

Bernard's Surf (Called The Surf now under new management)
http://www.thesurfbarandgrill.com/

2 S Atlantic Avenue
Cocoa Beach
(321) 783-2401

This is a long-time "upscale" place for Cocoa Beach....good food in the main dining room, with fish and steaks, flaming bananas foster made at the table..two OTHER less formal rooms attached with different names, but same kitchen. ;-) ) Awful website. It's a nice joint.

Florida's Seafood Bar & Grill
http://www.floridas-seafood.com/

480 West Cocoa Beach Cswy (Rt. 520)
Cocoa Beach, Florida
321-784-0892

Next door to the Sunset, shrimp many different ways, and local fish specials. I personally like the food better here than the sunset, but there is no view.

Sunset Waterfront Bar & Grill
http://sunsetwaterfrontcafeandbar.com/

500 West Cocoa Beach Cswy
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
(321) 783-8485

Moderate, decent place with a good sunset view over the lagoon...but not too dressy. Their web site kinda sucks.

The Sandbar
http://www.sandbarsportsgrill.net/
http://www.sandbarsportsgrill.net/party_cam.htm

4301 Ocean Beach Boulevard
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931-5511
(321) 799-2577

Kind of a beach party bar atmoshphere...funky, sometimes locals, sometimes surfers, sometimes college kids. Lots of food and drink specials...Reverend Billy Wirtz plays piano with a trio on Mondays. I can't help myself, I like this place, and when we lived in Cocoa Beach, I was a regular.

I have to go, but there are other's. The jazz place is near Bernard's Surf, and is called Heidi's Jazz Club. GREAT female vocalist on Tuesday's (Sybil Gage?), and nice atmosphere. German food. Funky collection of local regulars. I like this place a lot. I'll post their info in another thread if you want it.

Johncn
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Old December 16th, 2010, 12:45 AM
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Thanks, John. Wow! Lots of choices. It looks like the theme at the beach is relaxed seafood sports bars, so we will have to partake. http://www.heidisjazzclub.com/ I found the website for Heidi's. Is the restaurant completely separate from the jazz club or will we have music with dinner?
I know this may be a long shot, but....Do you know if there a place near the beach that has dozens of international draft beers, or anyplace that specializes in craft/belgian ales?
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Old December 16th, 2010, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royalcruz View Post
http://www.heidisjazzclub.com/ I found the website for Heidi's. Is the restaurant completely separate from the jazz club or will we have music with dinner?
It's an intimate place with jazz and dinner (or drinks) together.

Quote:
I know this may be a long shot, but....Do you know if there a place near the beach that has dozens of international draft beers, or anyplace that specializes in craft/belgian ales?
I am not the person to ask. More of a Rolling Rock and MGD guy than a beer specialist ;-) However, there is a great Irish pub in the plaza by Publix, and another in Cocoa Beach. There are many European part time residents, and some specialty places likely have what you are after. I just don't know where they are.

Oh, and Cocoa Beach Brew Pub, which has some various locally crafted beers. I don't think they have barley wine and that sort of thing...probably catering more to mainstream American beer taste pallets.... but I could be wrong. Someone told me that one of their stouts approached 8.5% alcohol by volume. Who knows what they have?

http://www.cocoabeachbrewingcompany.com/

Hope this helps, and have a great trip.

Regards,

Johncn

Last edited by Johncn; December 16th, 2010 at 01:40 AM.
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