The Traveling Steve's

Pre-Cruise Week in Daytona Beach Shores

Steve (DOS) and I started out the first full week of January with a four night stay at the Hyatt Place Daytona Beach Shores. It was a very quiet week there, which is often the case of resorts in general, with the week before and after a major holiday. We had an oceanfront room on the 9th floor, with beautiful views of the ocean from our balcony.

Daytona Beach Shores is a small community just south of Daytona Beach, which we’ve stayed at many times for a quick mid-week get away as its only an hour from our home in the Orlando area. As Daytona Beach is on the east coast of Florida, we viewed the beautiful morning 7am sunrises, vs the sunsets we see when we are staying on the west coast of Florida, such as Sarasota.

As the sun sets in the west, you could view the sunset from the hotel, although you had to face away from the ocean towards the inter-coastal waterway, on the opposite side (non-beach side) of the hotel.

What really was more noticeable this visit in early January, was the dramatic flow and height of the tides. In the morning the ocean waves crashed all the way up to the beach seawall, while later in the day during low tide, the beach became quite wide once again.

As the first couple days of our stay the weather was a bit “cool” (temperature is relative, but here in Florida high 50s/low 60s F it felt cool!), so the beach was not very crowded, actually virtually empty during most of our four night stay there.

The weather warmed up to the low 70s by Wednesday, and we were back to shorts and T-shirts weather, and you would get an occasional car driving slowly by on the beach, people bicycling, walking or even a couple people surfing. This was really a good week to go to Daytona as soon it will be the busy Bike Week and Daytona 500 which will both be roaring with crowds. We did our twice daily half hour walks on the beach each day; one in the morning, and one in the evening which was so enjoyable and peaceful.

We especially enjoyed watching the birds along the beach, as well as flying in formation. The birds this trip seemed to be in training I told DOS, as in learning to fly as they gathered (literally hundreds of small birds with some larger ones watching over them) on the beach, closely grouped together.

Then after a period of time, the birds would fly off in a set pattern, following each other with almost precision-like take off sequences, a few at a time until they all had flutter away; quite amazing!

We made a trip a couple days to the nearby Tangier Outlet Mall for some shirts from the Columbia Outlet. The outdoor outlet mall was still decorated for Christmas and we took a few photos and did some laps around the mall, following the suggested walking path.

DOS had a Columbia gift card that was about to expire, and better yet on the first Tuesday of the month, Columbia offers seniors (as defined as 50 and older) a 20% discount off the entire purchase! We bought a couple polo-type shirts with UV protection for the upcoming cruise, (it’s doing a partial Panama Canal transit thru the new lochs so it will be HOT).

We later went back to Columbia another day as I saw a piece of luggage I considered getting on the first visit. The luggage was a full size suitcase, but it weighs only 5 pounds empty, including four rolling wheels and a handle. I was skeptical at first as it was so lightweight, but at $120 and a 10 year warranty went ahead and got it. We’ve both been thru so many sets of luggage, and even our Tumi luggage doesn’t hold up over time, and is a bit bulky and heavy. I will try it out this Columbia bag on the upcoming cruise on Saturday, and also in February when we have flights, a cross country train trip, and the “Love Boat” cruise as well, and see how it holds up, if at all.

At Tangier Outlets, we also went to the Blaze Pizza restaurant both times for lunch. It was basically a create your own pizza which you specify what you want as you go down the service line, and they then cook it for you and bring it to your table. The pizza was delicious, and best of all, thin crust! DOS ordered a veggie pizza while I got a meat lovers pizza. Both Yummy!

For dinner each night we went to one of our usual places in Daytona Shores, (Red Lobster, Porto Fino Italian Restaurant, and a nearby restaurant called Millie’s, which we went to for the first time. All three restaurants are within distance of the hotel and were very good.

Millie’s Restaurant however, was a nice surprise and offered farm to table type food and great service. Millie’s was a small, family style restaurant, and tucked away at the corner of a strip mall, which we had overlooked on our previous visits. The food was fresh and outstanding, and the pork chop DOS had, and the chicken parmesan I had was huge and size and incredible in taste! Mille’s we will definitely be back on our next visit to Daytona Beach Shores!

On Thursday, we had to get our COVID tests as it was two days before our next cruise. We are going on a ten night cruise on the Emerald Princess out of Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, and Princess requires proof of vaccination, as well as a negative COVID test no more that two days prior to sailing. I must say we were both more than a little nervous over getting the test this time, even though we are both fully-vaccinated and have had our booster Moderna shot as well. With this new Micron variant going around which is highly contagious, and even vaccinated people have gotten COVID from it, we were worried we could be asymptomatic and test positive. Fortunately our test at the drive thru of Walgreens was quick and we had our results within the hour. Both of us were negative! Hooray that means we can go on the cruise Saturday!

I told DOS beforehand, if we test negative, we were going to Hyde Park Steakhouse that night to celebrate, which we did. Hyde Park is our favorite steakhouse in the Daytona Beach area, and a short drive to the Hilton Hotel in Daytona Beach proper where it’s located.

As always we had a wonderful meal at Hyde Park Steakhouse, with a couple shared appetizers, salad, and shared Cowboy ribeye. The service was excellent and leisurely-paced at our request, and we really were able to celebrate getting negative COVID tests and being able to go on our Saturday cruise!

Today (Friday) we checked out of the Hyatt Place Daytona Beach Shores, and drove down to Ft. Lauderdale, which was about a four drive down interstate 95. We checked into the Hyatt Place Ft. Lauderdale, which is near to both the Port Everglades Cruise port as well as the airport. We always stay in the port city at least a day prior to the cruise, and longer than that if we are flying to the port city such as next month when our “Love Boat” cruise leaves out of Los Angeles.

Now it’s 10:30pm and I’m signing off for the night. We’re all set for our cruise tomorrow, and plan on heading over to the port after breakfast, around 10:30am. Looking forward to sailing on our first cruise in this New Year of 2022! And as usual, we try, but never pack light!

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