this is a tad off subject....but we are going on our first cruise on 12/4 on the Valor...and we aren't sure what time to arrive at the port. I've read all kinds of different reviews...but I am still unsure. Any advice?
The best time to arrive at any port, especially if you are flying in, is the day before. It gives you a cushion for any problems with weather, mechanical problems with aircraft or problems with you missing connections or getting to the airport. This is VERY important in the winter if you are flying in from a northern city.
It also allows you to enjoy the port and get to the ship in a much less hurried manner. Believe me it makes a world of difference to wake up at 8:00 AM and have a leisurely breakfast, get your things together at your own pace and get to the ship around 11:30 and start your vacation relaxed, rather than rushed.
If you are coming in the day of the cruise I wouldn't take a flight that doesn't arrive any later than 1:00 PM. I would also make sure there is another flight option that arrives shortly thereafter. This is for Fort Lauderdale only. The port is very close to the airport.
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We are actually driving down from Vermont. We will be staying around Tampa the day prior and planning on driving the 5 hours the day of the cruise, so just trying to think ahead of about what time is a good time to arrive at port.
Flying from Massachusetts to Ft. Lauderdale- we fly in the day before, get a hotel and basically just chill out. We like to stay on 17th Street- its close to the airport and the pier- very convenient. We lounge by the pool, walk to the grocery store pick up any last minutes that we might have forgotten. We go out to dinner at the Biminy BoatYard, and usually stroll the waterway. We like to watch the drawbridge open and close, and watch the yachts and cruisers.
my$.02 - we love the Embassy Suites. It is a very nice hotel. Has a very nice pool area,with a waterfall, the atrium is very pretty, its very neat and clean. Happy hour with munchies and a full buffet breakfast are included. They have shuttle service from airport to hotel-hotel to pier. IF you take the pier shuttle book it when you register as it fills up fast.
The Marriott Marina is another very nice hotel, lovely grounds, really nice big open pool area with a bar that sits on the waterway. Lots of boats docked at the hotel at near the bar.
Both hotels are within walking distance of the grocery stores and some nice restaurants.
Well considering I used to live, in fact grew up in the Ft.Lauderdale/MIami area, so I usually hook up with friends and we hit downtown Ft.Lauderdale, Las Olas Blvd. to be exact, great area, nice clubs/bars/lounges to and at and people watch!
Is the Embassy Suites in walking distance to Bayside Market? We are on the Navigator in Aug and booked 2 nights pre cruise at the Holiday Inn. There would still be time to change if we decided at this point I think. The Embassy Suites sounds pretty good to me.
Elaine88 - I honestly do not know where the Bayside Market is. The Embassy Suites is about 10 minutes from the airport, and you can see the cruise ship pier from the back of the hotel. There is a Publix Supermarket across the street, their is a small strip mall next door, the Art Institute is just up the street.
We spent two days before a cruise from Miami in Ft Lauderdale. Why in FT Lauderdale when the cruise left from Miami? Because we got a great hotel on the 17th St Causeway ( including kitchen) for 39 dollars on Hotwire.
We explored downtown Ft Lauderdale - both the brand new section with the high rise condos, downtown and the older shopping area. We also walked about some of the neighborhoods - viewing the houses on the canals.
We also took the bus to the beaches, as well as a very nice park -where we saw some good size tortoises. We then went to the largest mall in Fort Lauderdale, where I discussed the condo collapse with a local real estate agent, and viewed the items at the Neiman Marcus there.
And Saturday and Sunday I got up really early and hiked to the bridge of the 17th St Causeway to join other cruisers who were watching the ships arrive and berth in Ft Lauderdale. Like watching a very slow ballet, as the ships inched into their berths - one after another!
And this December we are going on another cruise out of Miami. Except this time we got a great deal for a hotel in downtown Miami, and we plan to spend two days before the cruise exploring Miami and Miami beach. Will let you know what we discover about that area
Dining in Fort Lauderdale on the beach: The Oasis for a funky lunch spot dining in your own personal swing glider, Bubba Gumps Shrimp Company (run, Forest, run), Max's. Fronting the Galleria Mall on Sunrise Blvd., the Capital Grille is a little pricier but is a delicious lunch and dinner eatery. Also, if you drive south on US 1 (Federal Hwy.), there is a wonderful ice cream parlor by the name of Jaxson's which also serves food. They make all their own ice cream and toppings...an old fashioned ice cream parlor where you can order their famous "kitchen sink". In the front of the store, you can buy lots of candy from the past, candy buttons on strips of paper, Sugar Daddy, Bit O Honey, licorice, those nips in wax, big red wax lips and fangs (we bought a whole bunch for our last cruise and wore them for our group picture on formal night and gave the rest away)...a fun place.