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Hotel suggestions for Tampa


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Hey Ken,

Just a thought. I can't see what the problem would be with luggage on the trolley. At the time people would be going to the cruise port it is not like the trolley would be packed anyways.

Besides...in Tampa you can take luggage/boxes/Miami Cadillacs on the bus system. Run by the same people.

Next time we are at Channelside I will ask one of the Trolley drivers anyways.

Jeff

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I got the Residence Inn ( by Marriott) downtown on Priceline. Could you tell me if the trolley goes to it and does it go to the International Mall. We are going to Tampa 2 days pre-cruise. We are trying to decide if we should get a car or not. We are also going to head to Busch Gardens. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

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Jessemon - That's a good point. I was thinking along those lines. It's not like the car is so packed that the luggage would be in the way, and it only takes a minute to load it. I was just worried about some sort of quirky rule or risk management issue that someone might come up with.

 

It would be nice if we could get some more moderately priced hotels in the downtown area, like on the Channelside corner of town. The Hilton Garden Inn up in Ybor City is nice too, and it's only a couple of blocks from the street car line. Other than that and the Hampton Inn, there's nothing else reasonable until you get over to the Courtyard or Residence Inn on Tampa St or Ashley Drive. In my opinion, the best places for cruisers is the Hampton Inn Ybor or the Marriott Waterside Hotel. The Marriott is beyond the price range most folks want (including me, if I was coming in from out of town).

 

Everyotheryear - The Residence Inn you mention is downtown next to the Courtyard that we discussed over the last page. If you stay there, you will need a taxi or a car. You would have to walk for many blocks to find a place to eat at night down there. Busch Gardens is way up in N. Tampa, towards the NE corner of town. A taxi up there wouldn't be cheap, and it would be a pain to take a city bus up there due to connections, etc. The bus terminal is a few blocks E of the Residence Inn on Morgan or Marion St just S. of I-275. The street car stops in the S end of the downtown core at Channelside Drive and S. Franklin St. at the Tampa Convention Center. It runs from there, past the Channelside District and the cruise terminals, and on up to Ybor City. It doesn't go anywhere near the International Mall, which is out next to the airport on the far W side of town. A car might be a good idea.

 

Ken

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Ken-Thank you for the info. Having never been to your city, it is a little hard to figure out how it is all set layed out. I am thinking a car is the way to go. Could you tell me if there is a car rental drop off at the terminal? If we could pick up a car at the airport and drop it off at the port that would be perfect. Thanks for all your input. I did spend the time to read the whole thread a while back, but it is a lot to remember. I guess I should of taken notes. Maybe you should work for the board of tourism for Tampa.

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Ken-Thank you for the info. Having never been to your city, it is a little hard to figure out how it is all set layed out. I am thinking a car is the way to go. Could you tell me if there is a car rental drop off at the terminal? If we could pick up a car at the airport and drop it off at the port that would be perfect. Thanks for all your input. I did spend the time to read the whole thread a while back, but it is a lot to remember. I guess I should of taken notes. Maybe you should work for the board of tourism for Tampa.

Unfortunately to date there are no car rental agencies that have a drop off at the port. But, a while back in this thread a poster from out of town mentioned they had found 2 agencies that would either pick you up at the port coming in. Or drop you off at the port when you return your car going out. I can't remember which ones they were though.

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OK, this is not turning into a fun adventure. Prices really high downtown and I was hoping to spend time there but guess I will stay out by the airport. Do not drive, what a shame will not get a chance to get to see the Rampa area Guess you can't have it all. How far by transit to the downtown core?

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Our family plans to spend the night before the cruise in an area hotel without a rental car.

What is the best, cheapest way to return to the airport after a cruise for a family of 4?

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It's about 8 miles (+ or -) from the airport to the cruise terminal. Taxi ride is $20 - $25. The best way to get from the terminal to the airport is either taxi, or a shuttle van. There will probably be a desk at the cruise terminal for one of the shuttle van outfits, Bay Shuttle (I think). We don't have anything like monorail or train type transit in this area. Just taxi's, city buses, and limo/van services. They have been talking for quite a while about light rail service from the airport to downtown, but all they (the local gov't) do is talk.

 

Ken

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Hi,

 

I checked out the Shuttle service from Tampa Bay to the airport at www.tampabayshuttle.com. It averages out to about $10 - $11 per person. If there are more than 2 people it appears it would be cheaper to take a taxi.

 

Thank you for your hotel recommendations, very helpful. I booked the Holiday Inn Express at $104 per night for 2 adults and 2 kids age 16 for August 27th. This inc. complimentary p/u from the airport and breakfast the next morning. Shuttle to the port is available at the hotel for $5 pp.

 

Thanks:)

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Cracker Ken: What hotels would you recommend for a POST cruise stay in Tampa? So far, the Hampton Inn Ybor City is the least expensive ($119). If we have a 7:00 AM flight, we obviously have to get up extra early. How far is it to the airport from that area? Is there another good (safe) area closer to the airport that you would recommend? We will have 2 other couples with us so a place that has shopping/dining would be nice. We sail on the Miracle on 9/17/06. Any info from you or other wonderful CruiseCritic members is appreciated!

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Sorry for jumping in on this post, but I would like to invite Mrs. H. to the Miracle Roll Call for 9-17-06. Several people have checked in on the roll call and several of us will be cave tubing together in Belize.

 

My husband and I will also be on this cruise. We are looking for pre and post hotel, but I have been lazy about getting something booked. I guess since I haven't been to Tampa I don't know the lay out of the city. Any suggestions will be helpfull.

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Hi Ken:

 

Have you talked to anyone who has stayed at the new Embassey Suites - Convention center yet? We are trying to decide between the new Embassey or the Marriott Waterfront that folks have raved about.

 

Oh, this will be a precruise stay for a couple of days prior to our Miracle October 8th sailing.

 

Thanks!

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Ken: Please ignore the previous post. We were able to book the Embassy Suites - Convention Center for 2 days for free with our points. We did not have the points to do so at Marriott...so that pretty much made up our minds for us!!

 

We are so looking forward to having a couple of days before the cruise to "play" in the Channelside area.

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ewanko - It's a mile, maybe less, depending on which terminal. In any instance, it's close, but much to far to walk.

 

Ken

 

thanks ken

changed plans, taking a rental car instead, Hertz at Marriott Waterside, is it far? how much for a cab.

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Unfortunately to date there are no car rental agencies that have a drop off at the port. But, a while back in this thread a poster from out of town mentioned they had found 2 agencies that would either pick you up at the port coming in. Or drop you off at the port when you return your car going out. I can't remember which ones they were though.

 

seems that there is a Hertz at Marriott Waterside, this is what i am getting for p/u place when i booked my rental, and it is very close to the port.

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LHP - You did good. Nice brand new hotel. I haven't heard any reports from people who have stayed there. Be sure to check back in and give us a report after you stay there. It's right by the street car station, so getting a ride to Channelside or Ybor is easy and cheap.

 

ewanko - Somebody mentioned a long while back that Hertz was some how hooked up with the Marriott Waterside. As Jessemon says, the rental car companies don't have any presence down near or at the cruise terminals. I don't think any of them even offer a shuttle to their rental locations. The thing with Hertz at Marriott is a good find. The Marriott Waterside is very close to the cruise terminals. You can stand out front, look to the East and see the Carnival ships at dock. I'd estimate 1/2 mile, tops. From the airport to the cruise terminals is about 8 miles, or $20-$25 cab fare. Take a look at the Tampa album on my Yahoo photo page (link below), and you can see pictures of the area.

 

Ken

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Thanks Ken

So it should be an easy walk from Port to Marriott coz i dont think the cab will take us for a short ride like that? I chk your photos, they're really big help to a lot of posters. Do you think if we go early early to the Port, knowing that we cannot embark that early, any place we can leave our luggage, while we stroll along channelside before embarking.

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I have been looking out your pictures and reading several of your post, now I have too much information and I am confussed.

 

I have cruised out of three other ports, but not Tampa. All the other cruise ports are not really close to much. For example Ft. Lauderdale doesn't really have close hotels or shopping next to port, but from your pictures it looks like there is close shopping and hotels near the port of Tampa. Can you explain the layout of the terminals to me, we will be on the Carnival's Miricale? We will be like many people and fly into the area and I really don't want to rent a car, but if the Channeside has trolly this may be our transportation. We will be staying in the area for a day pre and post.

 

I am very excited about the prospect of having hotels and shopping near the port. Can you tell me what hotels are closest to the terminal that Carnival uses and what kind of shopping is in the channelside shops.

 

Thanks so much for all your information that you have already given, it is so hard for someone that has never been to your city to get the layout of how everything is set up.

 

Terri

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We just got back from cruise and stayed in Marriott Westshore. Nice hotel, Charleys Steakhouse down street excellent but pricey (and don't walk if you have on heels), hotel right down street from great mall, fun pool with ping pong, and rooms are small but met our needs. Overall, very nice hotel for 119.00 per night. We drove to port so did not ask about shuttle. Those of you that drive to port, the valet parking is worth the extra $10.00.

 

Hope this helps someone.

 

Mustang Mom

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We stayed at the Double Tree on Westshore. $84.00 bucks for the night and you can leave your car parked there for free. They take you and pick you up at the port. $84.00 rate was a Gov. rate and they didn't even ask to see your ID. Real busy there when we stayed but it wasn't a problem for us. I would stay there again. Kids LOVED the warm COOKIES!!

 

I am booked at the DoubleTree for my pre-cruise stay next month.

 

I have just read some pretty bad reviews about this hotel (on Expedia and Travelocity) from earlier this year (March and April I believe) and now I am concerned. The reviews said the rooms were filthy, as was the hotel in general - including dirty silverware and plates in the resturant.

 

Granted those were the only reviews about the hotel on either site - so I am not rushing to judgement. But there are 4 other families that are also staying there based on my recommendation (which was based on the DoubleTree name, posts here, and the fact that they have airport and pier shuttles), so I would like some other opinions just to confirm that I am not making a mistake.

 

Thanks

 

Ed

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I am booked at the DoubleTree for my pre-cruise stay next month.

 

I have just read some pretty bad reviews about this hotel (on Expedia and Travelocity) from earlier this year (March and April I believe) and now I am concerned. The reviews said the rooms were filthy, as was the hotel in general - including dirty silverware and plates in the resturant.

 

Granted those were the only reviews about the hotel on either site - so I am not rushing to judgement. But there are 4 other families that are also staying there based on my recommendation (which was based on the DoubleTree name, posts here, and the fact that they have airport and pier shuttles), so I would like some other opinions just to confirm that I am not making a mistake.

 

Thanks

 

Ed

 

 

 

We stayed there in April. I was great. Great prices and shuttles, plus could park your car there for the week free. I would stay there again in a heart beat.

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I have been looking out your pictures and reading several of your post, now I have too much information and I am confussed.

 

I have cruised out of three other ports, but not Tampa. All the other cruise ports are not really close to much. For example Ft. Lauderdale doesn't really have close hotels or shopping next to port, but from your pictures it looks like there is close shopping and hotels near the port of Tampa. Can you explain the layout of the terminals to me, we will be on the Carnival's Miricale? We will be like many people and fly into the area and I really don't want to rent a car, but if the Channeside has trolly this may be our transportation. We will be staying in the area for a day pre and post.

 

I am very excited about the prospect of having hotels and shopping near the port. Can you tell me what hotels are closest to the terminal that Carnival uses and what kind of shopping is in the channelside shops.

 

Thanks so much for all your information that you have already given, it is so hard for someone that has never been to your city to get the layout of how everything is set up.

 

Terri

 

I am sure Ken can do a much better job, but just a stab at some information that I have learned:

 

The Channelside Drive area has really developed over the years. When we first sailed out of there, it was a port...period. Now they have the Marriott Waterside, Embassy Suites - Convention Center (which just opened) and a couple of hotels in the Ybor District (which the trolley goes to as well) ~Hampton Inn comes to mind. The Channelside area has developed restaurants and shopping. Hubby was down there on business a couple of months ago and ate at Barnacles (I think). And of course, there is the aquarium. And of course the trolley will take you to the Ybor District (which my husband has described as kinda of a New Orleans French Quarter type area).

 

We were blessed to have enough points to stay at the Embassy Suites - Convention Center for 2 days before we cruise out on October 8th.

 

Bascially, we will be paying for a taxi ride from and back to the airport...about $20 - 25 each way.

 

Happy Cruising!

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Sorry for the delays folks. I'll try to catch up today.

 

ewanko - You may be able to check your luggage before embarkation begins, or before you go inside to get in line. If you were to get there earlier, say around 10:30-11:00, you could check your luggage with the porters, then walk around and check out Channelside for a while before getting in line. You could even do the Channelside area, take your time, and go inside to check-in after the first rush subsides. I don't know of anywhere else that could hold your luggage, unless you check it at the bell station at the hotel and come back to get it later. I wouldn't be bashful about hiring a cab to go down to the port. They do it all the time. If the street car schedule is convenient, you could go back and forth to the Channelside/port area on the street car a lot cheaper than a cab. You may even be able to use the street car to get to the port when you are ready to do embarkation. The street cars are never too full that your luggage could be an issue.

 

Terri102066 - The closest hotel to the Channelside area would be either the Embassy Suites-Convention Center or the Marriott Waterside. Next, and somewhat cheaper, would be the Hampton Inn-Ybor City. The street car terminal is right between the Embassy Suites-Conv Center and the Marriott Waterside. The street cars run from there through the Channelside District by all of the cruise terminals, and on up to and through Ybor City. The street car runs right by the Hampton Inn in Ybor City too (the main station is next door).

 

Here's something y'all can try to get a good idea of the area:

 

Click here: http://maps.google.com/maps

 

Search on this: Channelside Drive at Franklin Street, Tampa, Florida

 

When the map pops up, you will see the bottom of the downtown Tampa area. Click on "Satellite" in the upper right hand corner of the screen and it will give you a nice picture of the area. You can zoom in and out, move up, down, left and right, by clicking on the screen controls on the left side of the screen. There will be a bright rectangle shape object down by the channel running left and right. That's the Ice Palace, also known as the St Pete Time Forum (Home of the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey team). Along the channel, and to the left of the Ice Palace, near a small bridge, is the Marriott Waterside Hotel. The street car terminal is in front of the hotel. The Embassy Suites is just N. of the street car terminal. The picture is older, and the Embassy Suites isn't there yet. A shadow covers most of the street car station. If you look to the right down the channel, you will see a cruise ship at dock. That's the Channelside Complex and Terminal 2. Just around the curve to the N is the Florida Aquarium and Terminal 3. Just little further N in the channel (running N and S, Ybor Channel) is Terminal 6. The ship that's sitting at a diagonal to the right of the cruise ship is a retired US Navy ship on display. This should give you a good idea of the layout.

 

FlashbackAlternatives - I don't recall any negative posts on the Double Tree Westshore, from anyone posting on this thread. If there is, I don't remember. Double Tree doesn't have a reputation of having trashy hotels.

The reviews on some of those web sites have to be taken with a grain of salt, just like many cruise reviews. You will see some folks rave about the hotel and praise it, then someone will pop up and trash it, same with a number of folks on the same cruise. Satisfied people rarely go to those websites and put their comments in writing.

 

LHP - Thanks. You actually did quite well with your descriptions.

 

Jessemon - Yo! You still out there? Hope all is well on your side of town.

 

Ken

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