We were not able to get frequent flyer seats into FLL. However, we are able to get into West Palm Beach (PBI). Is this a suitable alternative? Is there a shuttle or do we need to take a cab to get to Port Everglades? How long and how much for the various options? Should I investigate Miami instead? If so, why?
Miami would be closer than WPB, by around 30-45 miles I think. It would be cheaper and easier to go from Miami to FLL Port, but if you can't get the tix's to MIA you can always take the Tri-Rail (train) System whichs runs the WPB to MIA line, with several stops along the way. It would take around 45-60 min. from WPB to FLL airport ,then you could take a taxi to port from there. It is very cheap(around $4.00 pp each way). Go to tri-rail.com for all schedule info,rates, etc.
Yes, the rental car is a good way to go, given the bags and all. Plus, PBI is a FAR more pleasant airport than MIA, easier to get around and get going. It's probably about 25 miles farther away from FLL than MIA is, but with a car it really doesn't make any difference.
The only caveat is that there's a huge construction project underway on I-95 in the Boynton Beach/Ocean Ridge area, from about Linton Boulevard to the north several miles. It can really create bottlenecks. Drove from Ocean Ridge to FLL yesterday to fly home and traffic was OK at midday, but can be hairy during drive times.
TriRail works, but with cruise-level bags, it can be a schlep.