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I have not stayed there, but the Renaissance should be a great place to stay. It's maybe 2 years old, and is attached to the huge International Mall, where you will find plenty of dining options. That seems like a very good price for this property, but $75 at the Grand Hyatt thru PL would still be better. Keep trying and thanks for keeping us posted.
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[B]rebeccajo68 - [/B]Several folks have reported that Double Tree is fine. I wouldn't think anything is wrong with Double Tree, HOWEVER, I'd take the Renaissance over Double Tree in a flash, like white on rice. For the same price, and since you will have a rental, DO IT!! As Signman says, that's a very nice place, rather new too. Beautiful building as well, and it's hooked up to the upscale mall.There are several nice places to eat at the rear of the mall (on the same side as the hotel), including the Cheesecake Factory.

Ken
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[quote name='rebeccajo68']I decided to try another hotel because I had a bad feeling about Doubletree. I got the same $139 rate at Renaissance which I think (tell me Ken) I'll like better than Doubletree. I'm still trying priceline....but even today I got turned down after going all the way to $100. I'm renting a car and the car rental place will take me and pick me up at the port so I guess paying $139 without having to pay for a shuttle is ok.[/QUOTE]


Whats the problem with the DoubleTree??
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Thanks for the upbeat thoughts guys. I think it looks beautiful on the website.
Nothing wrong with DoubleTree Belly....I just thought if I was going to pay that kind of money I'd rather be in a newer hotel. It is very close to the car rental places too and connected to a MALL!! <G>
Wish I had luck with priceline but I think I'll be happy even spending that extra money. It will definately start my week off with a bang!!!! <G>
Bec
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Oddly enough, I could pull up the new Embassy Suites on Travelocity and the Hilton home page...but not the Embassy Suites home page....go figure.

Anyway, the standard rooms are $269.00. But they have not listed what "catagory" it is going to be for using points. As soon as they start taking reservations based on points...we are there.

Our cruise is not until October, so we are good on time.
Can't wait. I really wanted to stay in this area and we didn't have enough Marriott points. But we will definately have enough Hilton points.

I did email Embassy to ask them about when we would reserve with points and the catagory this hotel would be. I will let you know the answer when it comes.

Thanks again for all the help.
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Hey Ken - Just wanted to say thanks for all of the help on this thread. We read through most of it and booked the Chase Suites for the night before our cruise. 2 king beds for 4 large adults and shuttle service from airport to hotel, hotel to pier, and pier to airport after cruise. We're sold. We are going to try the Bahama Breeze but if it is too crowded we need a backup plan. Someone mentioned there is a seafood restaurant in area. Do you know what the name of it is? You probably mentioned it at least once but I can't remember. Thanks again!!!
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[quote name='rebeccajo68']I decided to try another hotel because I had a bad feeling about Doubletree. I got the same $139 rate at Renaissance which I think (tell me Ken) I'll like better than Doubletree. I'm still trying priceline....but even today I got turned down after going all the way to $100. I'm renting a car and the car rental place will take me and pick me up at the port so I guess paying $139 without having to pay for a shuttle is ok.[/quote]

Did you get the $139 Renaissance rate thru Priceline? We are looking for a room for 5/31/06 and the cheapest rate on the renaissance website is $279. If I go thru Priceline, I really don't get to choose my hotel until I am already locked in, is this correct?
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just got my hotel though priceline. Got the airport Marriott for 80.00/night. The best deal on web was 149.00. 3 star or higher close to the port. Thought everyone may want to know?
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No, didn't get it through Priceline (although I've tried for weeks). I called them direct and asked for Government rate (I work for the state). That is what they offered me. I wanted to get one of those $80 priceline deals but I never won (even after several people taught me how to bid). <G>
But I'm happy with the Renaissance. Sounds like it will be a wonderful experience.
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[B]Bearfoot Cruisers - [/B]If you can't get into Bahama Breeze (you probably will be able to), you have a few choices. There's a casual seafood place called Crabby Bill's, located at the Radisson which is just a block W of the main intersection out by the main highway just up the street from the Chase. And, just about a block to the E. if Landry's Seafood, also casual, but a little more expensive than Crabby Bill's. There's another place to the W. of Crabby Bill's next to the municipal beach (not a real classy beach, by the way) called Castaways. That's a really nice place, and I've heard it's expensive (I've never been in there). At the S. end of Rocky Point Drive, there is a placed called the Rusty Pelican, another expensive place. If you are budget minded, I'd recommend Bahama Breeze, Crabby Bill's (most likely the cheapest of the three) or Landry's over Castaways or Rusty Pelican. If you are into a little walking, you could walk to all of these places from Chase. I'm talking about 1/4 mile or so. HOWEVER - If it looks like rain, or a thunderstorm is anywhere around there, don't go walk out there. There can be very dangerous lightning, even reaching out from the storm a good distance. There have been folks struck while jogging and walking out there in that area. Y'all have fun!:cool:

Ken
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Hi Ken!! It's getting very close to the 29th, that's when I flying into Tampa. I always go a day early for a peace of mind and also to check out a city (if I never been there before). I was reading your local paper on-line when I came across a review for a Brasa Grill Brazilian Buffet & Steakhouse. It's kind of close to my hotel (I have a car). The paper gave it a nice review.
Also, how's traffic going to the port on Sunday from the airport?? I managed a late checkout (12:30 p.m.). I want to stop a buy a large bottle of water and two six packs of soft drinks, take the car rental back to the airport and then head to the ship. I prefer boarding around 2 p.m. (fewer people checking in, also the rooms are often ready and it's a little easier going around the ship). Or do I need to check out at 11:00 a.m.?
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Diva, I don't know what the review of Brasa Grill said, but places of this type are opening in many areas. The most well known of this type restaurant are Fogo de Chao and Texas de Brazil. Personally I would want to go to a place that is singularly unique to Tampa. There are 2 places that are head and shoulders above all others. Berns Steakhouse on South Howard Ave [url]www.bernssteakhouse.com[/url] and Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City [url]www.columbiarestaurant.com[/url]
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[quote name='rebeccajo68']No, didn't get it through Priceline (although I've tried for weeks). I called them direct and asked for Government rate (I work for the state). That is what they offered me. I wanted to get one of those $80 priceline deals but I never won (even after several people taught me how to bid). <G>
But I'm happy with the Renaissance. Sounds like it will be a wonderful experience.[/quote]

Thanks for your response. I have never tried priceline before and I am a little scared to try it. My husband and I are going on a cruise with our 3 children ages 16, 12, and 10 so our hotel room has to be large enough for the 5 of us. If we book a room and get locked in to something that won't accomodate the 5 of us, I would hate to have already paid on priceline. Don't won't to pay $250 for a room either ofcourse. You got a great price at $139 per night. I would love to get a rate like that going directly thru the hotel. I called and the best rate i could get was $279, definitely no deal. She also said that because of fire hazard I could not request a roll away over the phone but implied that I could ask for one when I got there. I simply could not cram all of us in two beds. My 16 year old son is bigger than his dad! If I could get the 139 rate i would take the chance. I think the fact that our our trip is may 31st does not help. This is price vacation season. If I decide to use Double tree as a backup, which doubletree location is the location that recommended? Is the one on Rocky point drive or the one near the airport? They may end up being cheaper. Unfortunately we don't work for the government or have a corporate discount. Thanks for any input.
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Just heard back from the Embassy Suites about the one that is scheduled to open at the Tampa Port. They will start service the middle of June, but you have to call the hotel directly until August 1st to make the reservations.

Hilton (who owns ES) has not determined what their Catagory will be as far as points are concerned. They are not taking any "reward reservations" at this time.

We don't need a room until October, but hopefully by then, our reward points will be welcome. The rooms are showing on the Hilton webpage (but not the ES web page - go figure) as starting at $269.00 a night.
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LHP, do you or your spouse have any status with Hilton? If you have Diamond status, they'll almost certainly be able to get you in once the hotel is taking reward reservations. My husband's a Diamond so I anticipate our having no problems getting a room at this property for next March.

The other Embassy Suites in Tampa is currently a Category 3 (25,000 points per night) but will be increasing to Category 4 (30,000 points per night) in June. I would guess the new Embassy Suites will be at a similar point level, but that's only a guess.
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The Doubletree at Rocky Point is a suite configuration which would be suitable for a family of 5.

The other option is to bid for 2 rooms on Priceline. Just don't exceed a price that makes sense for you vs. the conventional cost of one room. Scroll back a few posts for my step by step bidding strategy. I think you have a good shot of success for 5/31.
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[quote name='signman']The Doubletree at Rocky Point is a suite configuration which would be suitable for a family of 5.

The other option is to bid for 2 rooms on Priceline. Just don't exceed a price that makes sense for you vs. the conventional cost of one room. Scroll back a few posts for my step by step bidding strategy. I think you have a good shot of success for 5/31.[/quote]

A suite would seem to work for us I think. Do you know anything about the Springhill by Marriott that is around there. I have seen those around and they look nice from the outside. The rate posted on their site is $159 per night. I will accommodate all of us and includes breakfast. Sounds really worth it. Any thoughts on it?
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We just returned from our Miracle cruise on Sunday and I thought I'd share our pre-cruise hotel experience with everyone.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown/Ybor City. We paid $159.00/night for a standard room that included a decent expanded continental breakfast. This hotel is fairly new so is in good shape. Our room was clean and decent size although, I would have like a suite since there were 4 of us but none were available. There's a nice pool area but it's small. We didn't use it. The Hampton is located right on the trolley line so it's easy to get around. We bought all day passes for $4.00/adult and $2.00/kids (I think). We had our 15 and 17 y/o kids with us and they were still considered kids.

We took the trolley to Channelside for dinner that night and then back to Ybor city just to walk around after dinner. Ybor City is a bit on the wild side but my kids loved walking around a looking. Of course they we're too young for the clubs.

The Hampton is located right on the outskirts of the club area so it's not too crazy right by the hotel but we did hear partiers going back to their rooms once during the night. I suppose this might be fairly common since I assume that a lot of people going to the clubs would be staying at the Hampton. Other than that one time tho, we didn't hear any noise. I'd stay there again a recommend it to anyone who wants to stay near where the action is.

The cab ride from the airport to the hotel was not a flat rate and cost us about $25.00. The Hampton had a free shuttle to the port which we took. They also told us that if their shuttle gets backed up, they will call a cab and cover the charges. Their shuttle is just a mini van and only one, I think so i can see how it might get backed up at times. We were told to just let them know at the front desk when we were ready to go. there was one family going ahead of us so we had to wait about 20 minutes but we were really early for the ship so waiting was OK.
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[quote name='airlink diva']Hi Ken!! It's getting very close to the 29th, that's when I flying into Tampa. I always go a day early for a peace of mind and also to check out a city (if I never been there before). I was reading your local paper on-line when I came across a review for a Brasa Grill Brazilian Buffet & Steakhouse. It's kind of close to my hotel (I have a car). The paper gave it a nice review.
Also, how's traffic going to the port on Sunday from the airport?? I managed a late checkout (12:30 p.m.). I want to stop a buy a large bottle of water and two six packs of soft drinks, take the car rental back to the airport and then head to the ship. I prefer boarding around 2 p.m. (fewer people checking in, also the rooms are often ready and it's a little easier going around the ship). Or do I need to check out at 11:00 a.m.?[/quote]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=red]Airlink diva,[/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=#ff0000]I have a very good friend that gives "Brasa" 2 thumbs up. He is a very big meat eater. This is his kind of place. We live close to the area it is located. It is not much to look at. It is in a 4 or 5 store plaza on W. Waters Ave. east of Hanley Rd. It is easy to see because "Pinch-a-Penny" pool store is there. It is on the north side of the street.[/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=#ff0000]I have been planning to go there but have not had a chance yet. If I go before your cruise I will let you know the outcome. [/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=#ff0000]What hotel are you going to be at? Ii will give you all directions on how to get there if that helps.[/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=#ff0000]Jeff[/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=#ff0000]PS: Traffic should be no problem.[/COLOR][/FONT]
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[quote name='jessemon'][FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=red]Airlink diva,[/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=#ff0000]I have a very good friend that gives "Brasa" 2 thumbs up. He is a very big meat eater. This is his kind of place. We live close to the area it is located. It is not much to look at. It is in a 4 or 5 store plaza on W. Waters Ave. east of Hanley Rd. It is easy to see because "Pinch-a-Penny" pool store is there. It is on the north side of the street.[/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=#ff0000]I have been planning to go there but have not had a chance yet. If I go before your cruise I will let you know the outcome. [/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=#ff0000]What hotel are you going to be at? Ii will give you all directions on how to get there if that helps.[/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=#ff0000]Jeff[/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=#ff0000]PS: Traffic should be no problem.[/COLOR][/FONT][/quote]
Thanks for the reply about Brasa! I'm staying at the Holiday Inn at Rocky Point. Great reviews from everyone about this hotel. I appreciate your offer for directions from the airport. I'm the type of person that have a good sense of direction (very helpful when traveling). Can you tell me how close is the hotel to a Target or Wal-Mart? Somewhere for those last items. While on the Tampa website, I came across several places that I want to visit. Nothing is set in stone yet. I'm excited because I never been to Tampa before.
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[quote name='signman']Diva, I don't know what the review of Brasa Grill said, but places of this type are opening in many areas. The most well known of this type restaurant are Fogo de Chao and Texas de Brazil. Personally I would want to go to a place that is singularly unique to Tampa. There are 2 places that are head and shoulders above all others. Berns Steakhouse on South Howard Ave [URL="http://www.bernssteakhouse.com"]www.bernssteakhouse.com[/URL] and Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City [URL="http://www.columbiarestaurant.com"]www.columbiarestaurant.com[/URL][/quote]
I checked out both restaurants websites. I got very hungry reading Columbia Restaurant's menu!!
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If you have a car and don't mind staying on the East side of Tampa near Brandon, there is a nice Hilton Garden Inn that can be booked conventionally for around $100. We got it through Priceline for $40 though - (TPA East/Fairgrounds Zone 2 ½ *). It is located in an office park just off I-75 a couple of miles south of I-4. Quiet area, clean, nice grounds, heated outdoor pool and friendly staff. Would definitely stay here again. They do have a restaurant on-site, but there are numerous restaurants within a couple of miles in Brandon. Drive to the port is less than 10 minutes.
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[quote name='Carter29072']Thanks for your response. I have never tried priceline before and I am a little scared to try it. My husband and I are going on a cruise with our 3 children ages 16, 12, and 10 so our hotel room has to be large enough for the 5 of us. Unfortunately we don't work for the government or have a corporate discount. Thanks for any input.[/QUOTE]

have you tried or considered Chase Suites? They have two bedroom suites with a pull out sofa. They even have one bedroom suites with a pull-out and I think you can get two double beds. Depending on how you are traveling they have both a park and sail and a fly and sail packages that include either free parking and port transportation or transporation from the airport to the hotel to the port to the airport.

We enjoyed our stay there.
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