Key Blogs

Christmas at Sea – Miami for a day

South Beach in holiday lights

Red-eye flight and a full day’s work behind me, I picked up my traveling companions Kurt and Jim at MIA and we made our way to South Beach. While we all have been to the 2-mile Art Feco district of Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, none of us did it for Christmas. The lights and decorations were amazing, adding a different vibe from the usual shirtless guys with surfboards and alle Lambos and Ferraris. Another plus is that Ocean Drive is now partly car free or one-way driving only which means far less promenading in hot wheels than was the case before.

Avalon Hotel with age appropriate Oldsmobile

Our short stay culminated at a legendary Cuban eatery called Puerto Sagua where we ate tostones, Cuban chicken with rice and beans.

Cuban-American iconic bakery Versailles in Little Havana

A good nights rest behind us, we enjoyed a discovery of Little Havana, picking up with a great bakery breakfast at Versailles. It was a special treat of Cuban pastries and sandwiches to give us energy for an action packed day.

Croquettes, stuffed potato, tortillas and empanadas

Libations consumed, we drove across Miami to the James Deering winter residence called Viscaya. This sprawling estate was built over a century ago by the founder and executive of International Harvester to retire from the Mid-West cold spells and snow. Stunning Italian inspired gardens and guest rooms in Louis XIV style completely transform the coral rock built exterior into a stately home.

Vizcaya estate
Italian inspired gardens
Indoor fountain

This visit was the second time I got to experience this fabulous estate. The first time was over 20 years ago when AAA hosted a private dinner event there for its annual conference sponsored by Disney. This meant a full contingent of princesses in costumes and show numbers during dinner. This time, I got to actually see the rooms and grounds. Both visits together give me a complete picture of what life may have been like for the Deerings and friends.

Aboard Azamara Onward ready to sail away

Now fully settled aboard, we are about to sail away into a beautiful 7 degree Caribbean night in search for adventure. Stay tuned for more holiday blogs as we ring out 2022.

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