We arrive in port Saturday @ 7:30 am (Celebrity from Nassau). I have booked a Sunday am return. Can come back Saturday at 11:25 or 2:50 (with an $80 penalty). I really don't want to wait around all day to disembark and wait at the airport for 2:50 flight.
Should I stay the extra day, or can I make the 11:25 flight?
Its totally up to you. If you want a day to wind down after your cruise get a nice room in Ft. Lauderdale and fly out on Sunday.
If you just want to get home an 11:25am flight is doable, its close but it can be done, just make sure you inform the purser's desk that you have an early flight so that they will give you early disembarkation tags.
I have never had a hard time getting a cab at Port Everglades (6 times) and an 11:20 flight can be done. Make sure that you fill out your travel arrangement form. You will receive it about the middle of the cruise. It won't hurt to let the Customer Service desk also know. This will help in getting an earlier debarkation.
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Anthony - a great hotel for you and the kids would be the Embassy Suites, nice clean big rooms, great outdoor pool, full buffet breakfast is included as is shuttle service. Haven't used Priceline our TA buy blocks of rooms at the Embassy as she does a large cruise business out of Ft.Lauderdale so i can't advise.
Try the Marriott Marina. It's right across the street from the ships and has a very nice pool area with Tiki Bar.
The other suggestion is to go to the Marriott website and apply for a Marriott Rewards Mastercard or Visa. You get an automatic 15,000 points and a free room. We're using the free room at the Marriott Renaissance on 17th Street (just a block from the Marriott Marina) on March 10 before our March 11 cruise. And like you, we had misgivings about making an 11 a.m.flight after the cruise, so we paid the penalty to change, and got the Marriott Marina for free since we had enough points for a free room.
Id get the room and avoid the madhouse at the airport! When we flew home after a New Years cruise, the airport was a mess! Several ships returned the same day, and the airport was just not up to handling all those people. The lines to check in were out the door, workers were yelling at people to create a gap in the lines to let others get through. I think it took us over an hour to checkin! Just trying to get around was a nightmare with having luggage to roll. To top it all off, we had our almost 1 yr old with us and he wanted nothing to do with standing in lines and crowds! I vowed never to sail from there again! Maybe its gotten better, or maybe it was just the time of year, but I dont want to go back to find out!
Our ship docked at Port Everglades at 8:30 a.m. and we were at the Ft. Lauderdale airport by 10:30!!! I asked if we could get on the 11:40 a.m. flight, but they said 'no'. We had to wait until our 1:50 p.m. flight.
Maybe we were just lucky getting to the airport that early. I still don't know if I would book that flight earlier though. Just in case.