Roscoe, I can understand your fear of snowstorms when flying into NYC. They had been having big time snow up there and we discovered back in 2002 how much more relaxed we were by flying to the boarding city at least a day before.
We boarded just fine in NYC but after dinner that night, I got sick "big time"! The ship's doctor made a "house call". I know he thought I had the "Norwalk virus" but he diagnosed it as something complete different. I was under "house arrest" for the next 48 hours and then they fumigated our cabin! We found out later that several passengers had come down with the same thing and were "confined to quarters".
Anyway, I cannot report on conditions outside the ship from NYC to Ft. Lauderdale except for what I could see from the porthole (smile).
My daughter did do an excursion in Ft. Lauderdale and enjoyed it: going on an "air boat" through swamps to see an Indian Village and she got to pet a "Florida panther"; we call them pumas or mountain lions here in Texas; so, she was a happy camper.
Our next stop was Curacao (we had been there the previous January while on the QE2 from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles). Unfortunately, it was pouring rain the whole day so we just got off the ship and bought trinkets at the vendors' tent right at the docks.
Others did brave the rain to walk into town and go on some excursions.
Going through the Panama Canal was fabulous! Again, we had done it the previous January but it is still a spectacular experience. After we got home, our Public Television Station had a 2 hour program on the building of the Canal and I wish we had had the opportunity of seeing it before this last trip: would have really appreciated the adventure much more.
We did go on the Panama Canal Railway excursion (again). We recommend this; a bit pricey, I think $145.00 per person in the regular car and $165.00 in the dome car. We tried for the dome car both times but were told that all seats in the dome car were sold out a year in advance?
Acapulco was "same old, same old". Last year we went to see the "cliff divers" as my daughter had not seen them before. Again, this time we just took the tender to the dock and "messed around": buying "stuff" and talking with the very agressive taxi drivers at the dock; lots of fun talking with the "locals" if you enjoy that type of thing.
In January 2004, the ship stopped at Cabo San Lucas but not this time, unfortunately. Not sure why as it was an enjoyable stop (the crew thought so, also).
Next stop: Los Angeles. We opted for the shortest excursion, about 4-5 hours. The tour hit the highlights: Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood & Vine, Grauman's Chinese Theater (where I had my picture taken with Elvis, for a tip, of course).
Then, between Los Angeles and Hawaii, my daughter ended up with a bad "cold" and didn't feel like doing much of anything onboard.
Arriving in Hawaii: beautiful! As we were flying back home that afternoon, Cunard paid for a mini-tour and we got to see some of the island.
Honolulu has the most beautiful airport!
Arrived home at 5:00 AM the next day after a miserable 7 hour flight scrunched up in those economy-class seats!
Hope this has been informative to you?
LOVE THE QE2!