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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone!

Since we're all SO¬†desperate ūü§™¬†for a review, I'm going to give a little input on my stay at Hilton Marina this past weekend. ¬†Photos are attached! ¬†We've had a snowy winter here in NJ, I feel like every week or so we're putting gas in the snowblower for big storms,¬†and shoveling and cleaning the car off of at least a few inches of snow. ¬†One Monday a few weeks ago I slipped down icy steps and thankfully wasn't badly injured, but as I was mid-flight I made sure to listen for cracks, pops, or bones breaking. ¬†Thankfully there was none but I did twist an ankle. ¬†Once I stood up and realized I was intact I had a mini-fit and walked into my office and immediately went on Hotwire and booked a hotel to Florida. ¬†True story!ūüėÜ

 

I knew I wanted to stay at the Marina because that's where I was supposed to stay for my December 2020 cruise.  Hotwire had a deal on their app for $99 a night, and I jumped on it, keeping my fingers crossed for an upgrade offer to a balcony room once I arrived.  I have a big credit from United so I figured I might as well use some of it because I bought mine and Mom's airfare on it prior to the cruise being cancelled.  The flight was cheap for EWR to Florida, at $137.  

 

On Thursday the 4th I worked until 2:30, then got in the car for the 20 minute drive to the off airport place that I park, Newark Airport Long Term Parking.  If anyone flying out of EWR needs a good place to park, I highly recommend them and have been using them for many years.  They recently moved to a new location, now they are on Frelinghuysen Avenue, which is the Peddie Street exit off of Rt. 78 East.  

 

There was a shuttle waiting right near where I parked so I jumped on that and was on my way to EWR, where I arrived in about 5-7 minutes.  Since I was only going for a few days I only packed a carryon so I went right to security since I had checked in on the United app the day before and got my boarding pass.  The security lines were shockingly short.  It's so strange to see EWR so quiet, but I was not complaining.  I was through security in a matter of a few minutes and hung out at the gate for about 40 minutes until they called us to board. It was a gusty outside so my friend Lorazampam was called on to do the trick, because high winds really do a number on my nerves ever since a I landed in very heavy winds many years ago.  My friend worked well, and I didn't think it was too bad to be honest...the pilot said the winds would dissipate very quickly after takeoff, and he was right.  It was smooth sailing from there on out.  We took off on time and landed at FLL around 7:30.  I got an Uber and waited about 15 minutes for him and then took the short ride to the hotel.  The ride was $14.03 plus tip.

 

As soon as I walked up to the front door to head inside at Hilton a van full of spring breakers jumped out of their van and got inside ahead of me.  It's been a couple decades since I was in college, but I was praying for a quiet room and peaceful sleep.  Once the kids got checked in I was next.  I made sure I was my usual friendly self (you get more flies with honey......) and let the front desk know that I was NOT a spring breaker and my MO for the next few days was to enjoy the pool and read a good book.  She laughed and immediately asked if I would be interested in any upgrades if they had any available (SCORE!).  I immediately said yes, and she offered me a balcony in the tower on the 7th floor for an extra $30 a night, and also scanned my Hilton Honors membership too.

 

I was in room 703, was right over the yachts parked next to the G-Bar and had a great view.  The room was recently renovated, had a nice roomy walk in shower, barn doors for the bathroom, the bed was super comfy, and the TV was great.  As far as the rest of the weekend went, it was very low key and absolutely nothing exciting, as I just wanted to hang out at the pool and read, maybe listen to tunes, while getting some warm sunshine.    

 

The hotel was requiring masks in the common areas inside (lobby, hallways), and every room had a sealed sticker that shows that no one entered the room once it was cleaned because the seal wasn't broken.  They said they disinfected the remotes, all commonly touched things like light switches, etc.  I have been bringing Lysol wipes with me on vacations for probably 15 years, so I can wipe down my accommodations on my own, and I did the same this time. 

 

On Friday morning I woke up and headed up to Einstein bagels for breakfast. It was busy. They definitely didn't have enough staff and I probably waited about 15 minutes after ordering for my bagel with egg and cheese.  I decided I would go elsewhere on Saturday morning. I walked back to the Hilton (maybe 10 minute walk) and got ready to head to the pool.  I loaded up my tote and made my way down, by now it was about 9:45.  The pool area was busy, there were not a lot of loungers to choose from but I did get one at the far end of the pool and stayed out there allllll daaaaaay until about 4:15.  The weather was warm, the pool area was jumpin', the G-Bar was open and I got a burger and a few cocktails throughout the day.  Since I had my burger later in the afternoon I wasn't even hungry for dinner but that evening.  I wandered around the shopping areas up 17th St. and relaxed on the balcony.  

 

Saturday turned out to be much better than they predicted, and I was out at the pool again at 9:15. ¬†(When I was wandering around the evening before I grabbed some breakfast bars from the Dollar Tree and those held me over until lunch). ¬†It was quieter overall, but still busy, and I stayed out until about 3:00 that day. ¬†Rain was coming, and I wanted to enjoy more time on that balcony before thunderstorms arrived. ¬†I walked around the walkway which is right on the Intracoastal, the rooms there get a nice breeze. ¬†There was a cruise ship in Port at the dock closest to the hotel, the Rotterdam.¬†¬†There was also another one much further down, I think it was a Princess ship but not sure. Was a sight for sore eyes!! ¬†¬†The rain came maybe around 3:30/4:00 and I ordered a pizza from Doughboys and got it about 4:45. The driver called me when he was 5 minutes away so I could meet him downstairs. Pizza was pretty good, but¬†I will try another place in the area next time....hey, I'm from Jersey, it's in my blood to be extremely picky about my pizza. ¬†ūüôɬ† I watched TV and pre-ordered my Uber for my ride back to the airport in the¬†morning. ¬†

 

I awoke at 5:30am, ugh...no... I want more Florida warm sunshine!  I was showered, and downstairs by about 6:25, checked out and my Uber was there shortly thereafter.  My ride was $8.98 plus tip.  I got through security at FLL just as easy as EWR, and my flight took off on time and we arrived about a half hour early.  

 

Overall impression:  I'll start with the flight.  United was very clean and they had a crew coming in after each flight to disinfect tray tables, etc.  I saw them waiting to get on board after we landed, so I know that they do exist.  The flight was full, which I was very happy to see that people are traveling again and the full flight didn't bother me in the least.  Hotel:  Loved it, will 100% stay there again.  The pool area was great.  Location was great as it's an easy walk up to the stores, restaurants, etc.  Staff was friendly and helpful, room was clean, a few spring breakers here or there but they were all well behaved for the most part.  G-Bar (poolside bar) food and drinks were good..I had the burger one day and got a big salad for lunch the following day...they did have staff roaming the pool deck on Saturday taking drink and food orders that they would deliver to you.  The little coffee shop/mini mart place in the lobby was busy on the few times I passed by.  They had a coffee menu, and grab and go items like drinks and yogurts, snacks, etc. They did not have housekeeping service unless you requested it.  I don't make a mess so it didn't bother me, and on Friday night I took my little trash I did have and dumped it in the trashcan in the lobby.  I'm looking forward to my next stay there, whenever that will be I don't know, but I enjoyed the tropical vibe out at the pool and location of this hotel.

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Edited by JerseyGirlJen
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1 hour ago, JerseyGirlJen said:

There was a cruise ship in Port at the dock closest to the hotel, the Rotterdam. 

 

The Nieuw Statendam; the Rotterdam has been sold to Fred. Olsen Cruise Line.

 

Great report and I appreciate so very much you posting it!

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30 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

The Nieuw Statendam; the Rotterdam has been sold to Fred. Olsen Cruise Line.

 

Great report and I appreciate so very much you posting it!

Thanks for clearing that up, I saw that name too but didn't try to even to decipher it...it was a nice looking ship

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1 hour ago, JohninDC said:

Thanks!¬† We usually stay at the ES but will likely try the Marina on our next trip.¬†ūüėé

You'll enjoy it. ¬†They do have an Asian restaurant called Nankin (sp?), not sure if that was open, and they also have the Waterway Restaurant, but that was closed. ¬†By the way, nice quote....I am a bagpiper and it's funny that I often compare learning to play the pipes is like golf...a good walk spoiled, LOL!!. ¬†Thanks for the laugh¬†ūü§£

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2 hours ago, JerseyGirlJen said:

Thanks for clearing that up, I saw that name too but didn't try to even to decipher it...it was a nice looking ship

 

Posts such as yours are so greatly appreciated.  So many of us are living vicariously through what other CC members post as well as the memories of our own journeys.  Thank you.  

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I think I'm a little more stressed about our cruise than I thought because your beautiful pictures almost brought me to tears.  We are booked into this hotel for next February also in a balcony marina view room.   The room looks lovely and I'm so glad I booked it for 2 nights instead of the usual 1.

 

Thanks for posting. 

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20 hours ago, Sprocket said:

I think I'm a little more stressed about our cruise than I thought because your beautiful pictures almost brought me to tears.  We are booked into this hotel for next February also in a balcony marina view room.   The room looks lovely and I'm so glad I booked it for 2 nights instead of the usual 1.

 

Thanks for posting. 

You might want to call Hilton to confirm that "marina view" is this view.  I think that "Marina view" is in the smaller 2 story villa buildings, not the tower where I stayed, but I'm not positive.  I think the technical term for the room I had is "tower water view".  However, I did hear that the villa rooms were also part of the recent renovation.  

 

I'm happy you enjoyed the photos. ¬†It's so disappointing regarding the whole situation and I really hope that they can get up and running soon. ¬†I, like many others, have resorted to reading cruise reviews that were posted years ago just to feel those cruise vibes again. ¬†I hope your Hilton stay is fantastic and that you'll have happy sailings next year¬†ūüėä

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3 hours ago, JerseyGirlJen said:

You might want to call Hilton to confirm that "marina view" is this view.  I think that "Marina view" is in the smaller 2 story villa buildings, not the tower where I stayed, but I'm not positive.  I think the technical term for the room I had is "tower water view".  However, I did hear that the villa rooms were also part of the recent renovation.  

 

I'm happy you enjoyed the photos. ¬†It's so disappointing regarding the whole situation and I really hope that they can get up and running soon. ¬†I, like many others, have resorted to reading cruise reviews that were posted years ago just to feel those cruise vibes again. ¬†I hope your Hilton stay is fantastic and that you'll have happy sailings next year¬†ūüėä

 

Thanks for letting me know, IIRC people did not care for the villa buildings.  I'll call them and see what they say about the location.  We are really looking forward to this cruise, I literally have not ventured more than 15 miles from my front door since last August.  Its time.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/7/2021 at 8:22 PM, Sprocket said:

The room looks lovely and I'm so glad I booked it for 2 nights instead of the usual 1

 

I realize that there are many reasons why many cruisers do not do so.  But, booking a stay in South Florida for 2 or more days before and/or after one's cruise extends the pleasure of the cruise experience.  Before a cruise:  such a stay whets the appetite.  After the cruise:  it's a time for reflection with a slow, pleasant return to reality.  

Edited by rkacruiser
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5 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I realize that there are many reasons why many cruisers do not do so.  But, booking a stay in South Florida for 2 or more days before and/or after one's cruise extends the pleasure of the cruise experience.  Before a cruise:  such a stay whets the appetite.  After the cruise:  it's a time for reflection with a slow, pleasant return to reality.  

I recently retired and never had the luxury of taking cruises longer than 12 days.  Really looking forward to cruising without work always being in the back of my mind.  

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13 hours ago, Sprocket said:

I recently retired and never had the luxury of taking cruises longer than 12 days.  Really looking forward to cruising without work always being in the back of my mind.  

 

ūüėĬ† ¬†Retirement is great!¬†

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  • 2 weeks later...

That's a great review, thanks for sharing it.  Great hotel location

 

If you walk west / away from the water, there are several OK restaurants within a 10 minute walk. Quarterdeck, Doughboys, several chains like McDonald's etc

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great review!  

 

So many of us  are lucky enough to call this home!

 

We've had excellent  weather this winter and spring.

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On 4/6/2021 at 12:15 PM, BlueHerons said:

Great review!  

 

So many of us  are lucky enough to call this home!

 

We've had excellent  weather this winter and spring.

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. ¬†I'm happy to hear you enjoyed the great weather the last few months! ¬†Things are actually good here now too, and dare I say it, but we are actually experiencing SPRINGūüĆł in NJ, which hasn't happened in a long time....It usually stays cool and rainy and then, BOOM, we're hit with 90 and humid on Memorial Day.

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The biggest problem with this hotel when cruising returns is the pool size and lack of chairs. It was that way 30 years ago and a Marriot. G-Bar was called Goosby's then (Fine Grub and Grog). And it was the reason we went to Pier 66. Nothing has changed in that respect and if your idea of a vacation is getting up before 7 to throw some towels on lounge chairs, then go for it. Otherwise, be prepared to throw a towel down on the patio.

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2 hours ago, mariner said:

we went to Pier 66.

 

When Pier 66 was under the Philips Oil and Hyatt banners, Pier 66 was clearly, in my opinion, the better property of the two.  Pier 66 changed management and then ownership.  I don't plan to return. 

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Due to COVID, work on Pier 66 suspended. I doubt any of us will be able to return next year and I suspect when it does reopen, the prices will be on the high end.

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