Juanita & Nando
Honeymoon Destination: Florida
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We chose Florida because we knew that we could take advantage of various honeymoon destinations because of their close proximity to one another. This prompted an amazing two-plus week honeymoon, traveling to four different cities within Florida to spice things up. It was like having four mini honeymoons all in one. Our trip began on July 30 and ended on August 16.
In the weeks leading up to the honeymoon, we discussed the importance of trying new and exciting things during our trip. Therefore, we started our honeymoon by taking a train from New York to Daytona Beach. We both agree that the train ride to and from our honeymoon far exceeded our expectations. We reserved a sleeper car which was just perfect for the two of us. It included three meals a day and complimentary coffee and juice throughout the trip. It took us about 22 hours to make it to Daytona Beach, but it was just so much fun. The service was wonderful, the food was amazing, and our enthusiasm was on high blast.
In Daytona Beach, we stayed at The Shores Resort, a beautiful oceanfront hotel. At check-in, we told the staff we were on our honeymoon and they upgraded us to a bigger room with our own private balcony facing the pool and beach. We chose this hotel because of the reviews and high ratings on Expedia. Pictures of their oceanfront bond-fires and poolside cabanas captivated us. Fortunately, everything in the reviews and pictures lived up to their name.
Every day after breakfast, we’d make our way to the pool for swimming and sun bathing. Afterwards, we would hit the town. We recall how much fun we had at the Daytona Bandshell the first night of our honeymoon. A Latin band played merengue, salsa, and oldies. We danced the whole night under the stars along the beach. It was the perfect way to kick-off our honeymoon. We also took a tour of NASCAR through the Daytona 500 Experience. The tour included admission to a heart-pounding 3-D IMAX movie, museum, and speedway. We aren’t NASCAR fans, but it was a lot of fun. During a day trip to Ponce de Leon Inlet, we ate at the Lighthouse Restaurant. It featured a huge tree growing in the middle of the restaurant with squirrels running all along its limbs. Needless to say, the restaurant was unusual and the meal was delicious. However, this is where we had the best drink of our lives. We still talk about it to this day.
In Fort Lauderdale, we stayed at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel. We chose this hotel because of the reviews and high ratings on Expedia. Pictures of the infinity pool and the Ship Wreck Bar peaked our interest in this hotel. We had planned to stay for two nights and spend our final night at an Indian Reservation. Unfortunately, transportation to the Indian Reservation was very hard to find and super expensive. The hotel was very accommodating in allowing us to add an extra day, although they were already booked to capacity. They truly saved us the hassle of trying to secure another hotel. Another nice bonus was that we were told that we had a $75 hotel credit for booking with Expedia, which we certainly did not let go to waste. During our stay, we sipped on drinks by the pool & beach and ate lunch in the Baja Beach Bar by the pool. Our favorite activities included the Fort Lauderdale beach, which was our favorite of them all. We spent one entire day on the beach sunbathing and swimming. The water was so warm and it had plenty of waves to keep us entertained. We also took a boat ride on the Jungle Queen, which cruised down the channels of Fort Lauderdale’s rich and famous and ended on a tropical island to witness alligator wrestling. It was nerve-racking, but simultaneously exciting. Finally, the nightlife in Fort Lauderdale was amazing. The strip along Ocean Boulevard featured restaurants with enticing menus, late night happy hour, and live entertainment and DJ’s.
In Key West, we stayed at Heron House, a hotel resembling a tropical paradise. We chose this hotel because of the reviews and high ratings. It included continental breakfast in the mornings and wine & cheese happy hour in the evenings. It was the perfect hide-away, tucked behind a gated entryway that abounded with trees, lush plants, tropical fish, and a small waterfall. Our favorite activities included taking long romantic walks along the historic seaport, dinner and dancing aboard the Sunset Watersports Dinner Cruise, and of course getting tipsy at Sloppy Joe’s on Duval Street. Key West was absolutely lovely. The town was overrun with couples on mopeds, roosters cock-a-doing, and breathtaking sunsets. It was charming, beautiful, and quaint; a true lover’s paradise.
In South Beach, we stayed at the historic art deco Beacon Hotel. We chose this hotel because of the reviews and high ratings on Expedia. It included a light continental breakfast in the mornings as well as complimentary coffee and hot chocolate during our stay. It was centrally located at the beginning of all of the Ocean Drive madness. The strip was riddled with restaurants, bars, and clubs. Our first day in South Beach, we ate at an amazing Italian restaurant and gorged on food and drink. It was our most memorable meal because we were celebrating my 34th birthday. We ate plates of lobster, pasta, dessert, and more. Nando got a texas-sized margarita with two twelve ounce coronas dipped upside down in the margarita. This three-in-one drink was out of this world. We ate so much and were so stuffed that it literally hurt to breath. We had no choice but to return to our hotel room and turn in early. The following night we went on a trolley tour of the city where we saw the famous lagoon and tree from Tarzan and a boat cruise to see the mansions of famous actors and musicians. We also listened to live entertainment at the Biscayne Marketplace and danced the night away. Our last night in South Beach, we went clubbing at Mangos Tropical Café. It was the perfect conclusion to our dream honeymoon.
The following day, we boarded the train in Miami to begin our way back to NYC. Despite the fact that our honeymoon was over, we were happy that we still had two days of travel left. We had all the comforts of a hotel while we traveled home.
The approximate cost of our honeymoon was $7,200. Hotel and transportation ran around $4,300 and the rest was spent on dining, shopping, and entertainment. Since a honeymoon only comes around once in a lifetime, we wanted to make the most out of this trip. We had decided that any money we received from the wedding would go towards making this honeymoon a dream come true.
Traveler’s Joy assisted with this vision in numerous ways. First, it was instrumental in helping us plan the honeymoon. It forced us to sit down and review hotels and restaurants, and also to research entertainment and tourism for each of the different cities we would be visiting. That paved the way for being able to request on our Traveler’s Joy account, everything we knew we would want to do. We were very specific, from planning on where/what we wanted to eat to which clubs we wanted to hit. Although we made plenty of adjustments to our agenda throughout the honeymoon (we were very ambitious), having an agenda of what to do and see was super helpful.
Traveler’s Joy also helped us fulfill our dream honeymoon because planning out our honeymoon with such precision allowed our guests to see the high cost of the honeymoon. We are certain that this influenced how much they decided to give us in wedding gifts. It also allowed our guests to feel as though they were part of the honeymoon, paying for particular experiences, pleasures, and fun. Many of our guests told us how much they loved our honeymoon registry! Finally, Traveler’s Joy helped us capture our experiences forever. We still go onto our account and look at our registry to help relive our honeymoon. We are in the process of chronicling and scrapbooking our honeymoon. A printout of our Traveler’s Joy registry will make a wonderful addition to that project.
Despite the hefty price tag for the honeymoon, we wouldn’t change a thing. These are the memories we’ll keep within our hearts forever. We would definitely recommend this four-city trip to other honeymooners. It had the right balance of peace and relaxation with adventuresome tourism. We are so thankful to our guests and Traveler’s Joy for making this trip possible. Words will never be enough to describe our immense gratitude.
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