Our TA talked us into taking a late flight out of FT Lauderdale 6:00p.m. just to be on the safe side. Now I'm thinking this was a real mistake! What are we supposed to do all day, especially with all our luggage? I really don't feel like sitting in the airport all day. Anyone have any ideas?
I have this same situation, and haven't decided what to do this time.
However, here is what we did on a previous cruise:
We were on the shuttle bus from the ship back to the airport in Miami. The bus driver offered to wait for us while we checked in our luggage at the airport valet service. We tipped the valet ( forget how much now ). The driver waited for us as the other passengers got off the bus.
The driver even agreed to drop us off at a very nice outdoor mall area by the bay. We went on a cruise tour around Miami, had lunch, shopped- and the time flew by. We then took a taxi to the airport after having spent a really nice day that we didn't plan on.
So, this time I am hoping to go to the FLL airport directly from the ship- check in our luggage with a valet ( in these post 9/11 days I wonder if we will still be able to do this, though ). Between now and then ( early February )- I am going to look into tours and maps of the shopping districts of FL. We might even go to a nice beachfront hotel, have lunch and linger on the beach. Even if we aren't as lucky to meet another bus driver, it's easy enough to find taxis.
You also may want to explore some websites for Fort Lauderdale to see what might interest you. As long as you can store your luggage at the airport, you have a free bonus day before heading home.
I'd go with Chuck's advice.. rent a car. Drop luggage and check in that airport, and then enjoy your day. The Beach, Los Olas Blvd, the flea market, Saw Grass Mills Outlet Mall. Lots of choices, depending on what you enjoy.
I have looked into some things to do in Fort Lauderdale while we have a free post cruise day. We decided to rent a car and visit the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables ( it's on the National Historic Landmarks list ). I believe the website addy is www.venetianpool.com.
You can even swim there and grab a bite to eat poolside. The place looks gorgeous with it's lagoons and waterfalls. I think some old Johnny Weismuller/ Tarzan scenes were filmed there.
After that, we will drive back up to FL and spend time at the Riverwalk, before heading back to the airport.
I went to the FL Chamber of Commerce site and found some other ideas:
- Jungle Queen Riverboat rides ( 954-462-5596)
- Everglades Day Safari - 800-472-3069
( but that starts early -7:45 and ends at 5:30 )
- Sawgrass Recreation Park/Airboat Tours ( 954-389-0202 )
- Loxahatchee Everglades Tours ( 561-901-0661 )
-Butterfly World ( 954-977-4400 )
We returned from a cruise in October and were pleasantly surprised to find curbside check-in back at the airports ---- it should only take you a few minutes, just have your tickets handy when you get there. Good luck !!
Have had this on several instances in Fort Lauderdale, and Me is correct, we have not been allowed to check luggage early in the day, till about 3 hours before the flight. If you rent a car, you can keep it in the car, or check into a day room at one of the hotels.
I would advise EVERYONE to avoid the Jungle Queen. It is a ripoff beyond belief. It's hokey, the entertainment is awful and the food is inedible. Once you're on, you can't get off anywhere and must stay on for the entire miserable ride.
The Venetian Pool is beautiful, but hard to find in Coral Gables and a little small. It isn't open year round (most public pools in Miami-Dade County aren't). Usually they are only open to swim in the summer months. The Venetian is full year round but closed and of course, the food concession is closed then too.
We're in the same situation - our flight home doesn't leave til 6 pm. We thought about renting a car, but were leary of leaving our luggage in a vehicle that thieves might know is a rental. We checked the day rates at a couple of hotels, and it's quite expensive, just to have a place to put your luggage, and maybe use the pool.
I think we've decided to take a ship's tour to the Everglades on an airboat! Our luggage will stay on the bus and it looks like an interesting thing to do. I'd love to shop a bit, and maybe we can fit a bit of that in at the end, we'll see.
Hope you have a great cruise and a great day in Fort Lauderdale!
Our return flight from our latest cruise (Golden Princess out of NYC) changed from 3:30 to 5:30. We decided to go directly to the airport after the cruise and got lucky. The airline was able to get us on a 1:00 flight. They didn't charge extra, and that flight was 2/3's empty.
Abby (and everybody else with late flights from either Fort Lauderdale or San Juan),
Princess offers several tours in Fort Lauderdale (and also in San Juan) for passengers with late flights, so check your "Adventures Ashore" booklet when you get your information package (which should come about a week or two after you submit your final payment). The tours leave the pier and end at the airport, and they have arrangements for your luggage (it probably goes on the motorcoach and stays there until the end of the tour). You can't book these tours in advance, but you can book them at the Shore Excursion desk aboard ship.
If you have Princess a transfer voucher from the pier to the airport, just present it at the Shore Excursion desk when you book the tour. The shore excursion staff will credit the price of the transfer against the price of any of these tours.