Joe.. my favorite hotel for Ft. Lauderdale is the Marriott Marina. Very well located, nice hotel... and you can see the ships in port when we you wake up if you request a pier view room.
There is also Embassy Suites close by. You can normally get one of these two via Priceline for pretty good prices.
I booked Embassy Suites (FLL) on 17th street on Hotwire last week for $63 per night. Dates of stay: 11/21-11/23. Internet rate for those same nights through the hotel were $189+ per night, and Travelocity was advertising $170 per night.
www.biddingfun.com gave valuable bidding information for Hotwire, and this was my first experience with Hotwire. (Bid for "downtown" Fort Lauderdale, 3.5 stars, look for capital S)
Embassy Suites provides a shuttle to/from FLL airport as well as Port Everglades. 12 stories tall with indoor tropical atrium.
I have never stayed there, but have read as much as I could about it on various message boards. My husband and I are looking forward to our precruise stay just before our first HAL cruise!!
We stayed at Embassy Suites last Christmas and it was fine. We had a large bedroom with 2 double beds and a separate living room with a pull out sofa. There is a coffee maker in the room and a fridge.
They serve a free breakfast in the morning and have a shuttle from airport and to the ship. After you pick up your bags at the airport just go to the bank of phones where each hotel is listed, call Embassy Suites and they will tell you where they will meet you outside the terminal.
Make sure you book your time for the shuttle to the ship when you arrive for check-in at the hotel.
There are lots of restaurants in the area for dinner. We went to Kelly's Fish House and had a good dinner. There's a shopping plaza across the street where you can pick up any list items you may need.
Just returned last week from my cruise on the Zuiderdam. Embassy Suites is in a good location - close to airport & port. However, I prefer the Marina Marriott. It also provides van shuttle to port the next day (no airport pick up, but it's relatively cheap), has a better breakfast (ask for the AAA rate w/ breakfast), and is on the waterway with a water bus stop at its location. This is valuable if you want to go to the shops and restaurants along a scenic water route (a bargain at $5.00 all day).
I have had good luck booking on Priceline. Staying at the Embassy Suites in 3 weeks. Got the suite for $44 per night. Have never paid more than $48 per night. This is our third time staying at the Embassy Suites via Priceline,.
I check off three star - downtown location.
Give it a try. You will save a lot of money booking on Priceline.
I am going on Zuiderdam on 11/15. I am flying in a day early from Akron and leaving a day later. The airfare is $162 round trip per person on Airtran and I am staying at a holiday inn express at 3355 N Federal Highway for $56 each night. They pick me up and drop me off free from airport and charge me $10 per person for drop off and pick up to ship. I am a priority club member with hotel chain (free) to join a 1-800-211-9874 and book thru their web site or at this number. I have done this twice in past on Grand Princess. It is great to arrive at ship rested and get home the same way. This is also a safer way to get to ship in November.