I would try a 3* in the Downtown FLL at around $70 and see if you get the Marriott. You could end up with the Embassy Suites. I think the hotels and Priceline have become wise. The days of getting Amerisuites for $25 seem to be long gone.
You can also take a look at biddingfortravel.com to get an idea on some strategies and more information.
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Kuki, We tried using the info in your article for November and we had to go up to $85 and then down to a 3* and got the Bahia Mar Beach Resort for our post-cruise. Couldn't get anything for pre-cruise at that price. Maybe because its Thanksgiving weekend. No Marriott or Hyatt for us. It's only 1 night. We decided to play safe and used our Govt rate for precruise and got the Hyatt for $107. Embassy, also our favorite, was full for both dates.
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean
We got the Hyatt Regency during spring break for our post cruise. We booked through Priceline; I forgot how much we paid for one night, but it was way cheaper than the rack rate. The downside about booking the Hyatt Regency is that they don't have shuttle service from the airport to the hotel, and vice versa, but its close proximity to the PeopleMover, which takes you to the Bayside Marketplace for free, was a big plus.
We are going the beginning of January, pre-cruise. We actually love their breakfast!! I would settle for anything similar...If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Just remember that I am on a budget.. Thanks to all of you who have been nice enough to post and help, I really do appreciate it!!!!