3 New, Hip Miami Hotels for Cruise Passengers

The Miami Beach Edition, Thompson Miami Beach and Yve Hotel Miami are ideal for discerning cruise passengers before and after sailingBy: Jimmy ImPortMiami sees four million cruise passengers a year, with 15 cruise lines sailing away to tropical destinations. Considering Miami’s top hotels, buzzing restaurants and myriad attractions, cruise passengers spend several days exploring the city pre- and post-sail.

To help your clients plan the perfect Miami visit, we rounded up three of Miami’s newest properties, all very unique in the hotel landscape.

The Miami Beach Edition
Take three household names, give them a prime location on South Beach and prepare for the most game-changing hotel the destination has seen in 20 years: The Miami Beach Edition.

Hotelier Ian Schrager, who put Miami on the map with the highbrow crowd more than 20 years ago with the opening of Delano Hotel, returns with an over-the-top, outside-the-box, whimsical hotel that defies all expectations of a Miami luxury property.

For one, it’s the first hotel on the beach where you can see the sea from the lobby. It’s also the first hotel with a separate, exclusive wing featuring one and two-level, ocean-view bungalows. In the basement, there’s ice skating and a bowling alley. And two outdoor pools are linked to a sprawling lawn, separate on-site beach area with beach bags and, of course, a snazzy outdoor bar.

Additionally, the spa is a highlight with steam rooms, a sauna and a massive fitness center. The hotel is glitz and glam in all the right places, particularly for money-is-no-object, Instagram-bragging travelers. Standard rooms with no view and no balcony average $600. Internationally-acclaimed Yabu Pushelberg design firm was careful with the interiors, preserving architectural details from the historic building while staying true to Schrager’s vision.

Schrager also partnered with world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten to handle all food and beverage. Clients will enjoy getting all dolled up for the signature restaurant Matador Room, a scene-stealer thanks to the unique, oval-shaped dining room. Here, Vongerichten offers his modern take on Latin cuisine inspired by Spanish, Caribbean and South American flavors.

Rooms at The Miami Beach Edition start at $429.


Thompson Miami Beach
Thompson Hotel has been banging out cool properties across the country, and Thompson Miami Beach — opened November 2014 — is the company’s most ambitious. While Thompson typically panders to the hip, jet-set variety, Thompson Miami Beach is groovy for all types of travelers.

Young and old alike will appreciate the well-preserved art deco design for its unique, retro-modern allure. Most of the hotel is outdoors — from the rooftop spa to the Crown Room vista deck to the exclusive sunbeds on the beach — which ensures your clients will get loads of that famous Florida sun.

The 380 guestrooms are understated, artsy and comfortably spacious, but most visitors sprawl out at the hotel’s two outdoor (and heated) pools, where sunbeds on a tiered deck ensure that everyone gets a view of all the action. There’s also an open-air spa, which features six cabanas.

Another next-level on-property feature is the historic 1930s house. It’s an actual, vintage home that was moved across the street to the hotel and transformed into a swanky lounge for the perfect, craft-cocktail nightcap.

Foodies have raged in all the right ways at signature restaurant Seapgrape, helmed by Miami-born, celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein. The Florida brasserie has garnered massive attention from locals, who approve of Bernstein’s creative and refined spin on the locavore-friendly menu featuring local produce, fish and other ingredients.

Rooms at Thompson Miami Beach start at $359.


Yve Hotel Miami
Open since December 2014 in downtown Miami, Yve Hotel Miami (formerly B2 Hotel) is a terrific boutique hotel for travelers not looking to splurge. It’s also a preferred hotel for cruise passengers, considering its convenient location next to Port Miami.

This 243-room property truly stands out by plugging into Miami’s local culture as much as possible. It taps into the city’s strong Latin influence by placing a Cuban coffee cart in the lobby and offers a taste of Miami’s thriving art scene through a partnership with a local gallery, Art Bastion, to curate hotel installations. Guests especially enjoy Miami-raised restaurateur’s Jeffrey Chodorow’s Biscayne Tavern, which serves craft beers and elevated comfort food.

Chic, nautical-themed guest rooms (in seven categories) come equipped with bay and city views, high-end Nest toiletries and seriously cushy beds. But guests might spend little time actually at the hotel as some of Miami’s best attractions are literally steps away.

Yve Hotel Miami is easy walking distance to Adrienne Arsht Center for concerts, opera and Broadway shows; American Airlines Arena for sporting events; and Bayfront Park for leisurely strolls or work outs (Yve can provides a jogging route, and yoga mats are available upon request). The new, buzzing Perez Arts Museum is a 20-minute walk, and Wynwood Art District (chockfull of restaurants and galleries) is a short Uber ride away. Miami Beach is about a 10-minute drive.

Rooms at Yve Hotel Miami start at $130.


MSC Cruises: Tunis attack hasn’t badly hurt business

Photo by Dave Jones; MSC Splendida in Tunis Port

NEW YORK — The attack on the Bardo National Museum in Tunisia that killed 17 cruise passengers on excursion has not had a major impact on bookings at MSC Cruises, said MSC Cruises USA chief Rick Sasso.

“We had very few cancellations,” he said.

The MSC Splendida and the Costa Fascinosa had passengers on excursions to the Bardo on March 17 when gunmen opened fire at the site, killing 12 MSC and five Costa passengers.

Both companies have since dropped calls in Tunis. Sasso said the line was able to “augment” its itineraries with other calls. (The Splendida is now operating in northern Europe.) He said a few of the cancellations MSC received were from passengers who wanted to visit Tunis.

“That was a great port of call,” he said. “Tunisia was very safe, very cultural.”

MSC continues to base representatives in Tunis to work with passengers or families there; some injured passengers are still in the city, Sasso said.

He said that MSC had also reached out to passengers indirectly impacted by the attacks — for example, people on a coach that were not at the museum when the attack occurred.

“We’ve reached out to them and offered support,” he said. “We’re helping them if they need help to deal with the psychological trauma.”

In a conference call with analysts earlier this month, Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said that incidents like this “affects the psychology of travel.”Carnival Corp. owns Costa Cruises.

“We will just have to monitor and see what the long-term effects are,” he said.

Donald said that the Tunis calls were 2% of the company’s total calls.

Get away from it all? Cruise passengers want MORE…….

Get away from it all? Cruise passengers want MORE intrusion from the outside world with free wifi the innovation they’d most like to see on ships (…it can cost £20 an hour)

  • Poll of 1,000 passengers found demand for internet access was top
  • But logging on can prove costly…and the signal can struggle at sea
  • Experts say younger travellers like to share holidays on social media 

With their on-board entertainment and air of relaxed seclusion, cruise liners seem the ideal place to get away from it all.

But it appears that what holidaymakers really want is more intrusion from the outside world.

Almost nine in ten passengers said free wifi and email access is the innovation they would most like to see on cruise ships, a poll found.

Get connected: nine in ten passengers said free wifi and email access is the innovation they would most like to see on cruise ships

Get connected: nine in ten passengers said free wifi and email access is the innovation they would most like to see on cruise ships

With many now including smartphones and tablets in their luggage, travellers increasingly expect to be able to browse the internet even when far from land. And while many liners try to accommodate their demands with wifi hotspots, logging on can prove costly at up to £20 an hour.

There are also problems with repeated signal interruptions and slow service. ‘This is a particularly prevalent issue for younger families,’ said Sukie Rapal of Cruise.co.uk, which carried out the poll of 1,000 passengers.

‘Teenagers use their devices to stay in touch with friends on social media, access mobile applications and play games – meaning cruisers are susceptible to receiving a very unexpected cost at the end of their trip.’

The demand for better internet access is partly down to the falling average age of passengers, which the survey found has dropped from 60 to 55 years in the last decade.

‘With a 195 per cent rise in the number of searches for cruises on mobile devices this Christmas, it’s apparent that cruisers have become more tech savvy,’ she added.

‘Cruisers need to do their research to find the most reasonable rates for wifi use, because if they fail to do so, it could end up costing them more than the holiday itself.’

Get away from it all? No thanks: Many travellers increasingly expect to be able to browse the internet even when far from land

Get away from it all? No thanks: Many travellers increasingly expect to be able to browse the internet even when far from land

The poll also showed that world class entertainment came high up on cruisers’ wishlists, while around a fifth said their biggest demand was flat screen televisions in their cabins.

The least desired innovation was robot barmen, which have already been installed on a Royal Caribbean ship. Just one per cent said they were interested in seeing these on board.

The most popular ocean destination for this year is the Far East, while Europe’s Danube is the preferred river trip.