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Fort Lauderdale Cruise Trip Advice (hotel, shuttle, dining)

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  • Sep 18th, 2018 7:57 pm
[OP]
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Fort Lauderdale Cruise Trip Advice (hotel, shuttle, dining)

Hi All,

I just booked a 5 night Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean Independance of the Seas departing December 10. I will be arriving around 7:45pm on December 9th.
We will be travelling with our 3 year old son and 7 month old daughter but definitely do not want to bring our car seats. I understand the port and FLL are very close to each other and taking a cab to and from is recommended but most don't carry car seats. Can anyone recommend a hotel that is 3 star or more that has shuttle service preferably free and its not the van types, but more like the bus type shuttle. No set budget but I prefer something under $200.

I don't really want to rent a car just for our first day so I'd like a hotel where shops and dining will be within walking distance from the hotel.

I'm open to taking Uber or Lyft as well but not sure how many drivers will have an infant and a regular car seat.

Also, I see people suggesting buying your water/wine before boarding. On my other 2 cruises, plenty of water was available, not bottled but pitcher. Should we be avoiding that water?? I thought cruise ships have excellent filtering systems?

On disembarkation day, my flight is at 6pm so I believe thats plenty of time after. What can be recommended for us to do during that time? Should we go straight to the airport? Are there any short day excursions? Where can we go for the little ones to take a nap?

Looking forward to your advice.
14 replies
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Jun 29, 2007
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Didi_beee wrote:
Sep 14th, 2018 12:21 am
Hi All,

I just booked a 5 night Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean Independance of the Seas departing December 10. I will be arriving around 7:45pm on December 9th.
We will be travelling with our 3 year old son and 7 month old daughter but definitely do not want to bring our car seats. I understand the port and FLL are very close to each other and taking a cab to and from is recommended but most don't carry car seats. Can anyone recommend a hotel that is 3 star or more that has shuttle service preferably free and its not the van types, but more like the bus type shuttle. No set budget but I prefer something under $200.

I don't really want to rent a car just for our first day so I'd like a hotel where shops and dining will be within walking distance from the hotel.

I'm open to taking Uber or Lyft as well but not sure how many drivers will have an infant and a regular car seat.

Also, I see people suggesting buying your water/wine before boarding. On my other 2 cruises, plenty of water was available, not bottled but pitcher. Should we be avoiding that water?? I thought cruise ships have excellent filtering systems?

On disembarkation day, my flight is at 6pm so I believe thats plenty of time after. What can be recommended for us to do during that time? Should we go straight to the airport? Are there any short day excursions? Where can we go for the little ones to take a nap?

Looking forward to your advice.
I did the exact same cruise in early Dec as well about 5 yrs ago. Did the sister ship Allure 2 yrs ago. I think we stayed at a Marriott and rented a car. Enjoy the cruise.
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Feb 7, 2017
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Re - WATER & WINE

IIRC Royal Caribbean allows 2 x 750 ml Bottles of Wine per Cabin, and it can be drank free of corkerage in your cabin. If you take it to the MDR or a Specialty Restaurant you will pay corkerage. We find the best bang for our buck to be either an EXCELLENT expensive bottle of red or white, or a bottle of French Champagne... that’s because they represent the best savings BYOB vs buying onboard.

Bottled Water is something many people consume on board, both for the convenience, and the fact that it is “standardized” ... in that your tummy already knows it.*. Bottled water is more than likely what you’ll want off the ship as well. Some Cruiselines are ok with guests bringing cases of bottle water, pop, and juice aboard. Check the current rules for RCL (know it still works on Celebrity). Just slap a baggage tkt on it, and it will get delivered to your cabin with your luggage.

* Ship Water is primarily desalinized sea water... it’s ok. Some people say it tastes different. And others say there still must be some salt in it, cause it makes them bloat (Feet & hands). Which makes them uncomfortable. We prefer to limit our intake, and drink bottled water (we usually buy a Booze Pkg that includes unlimited booze, bottled water, pop, juice, fancy coffees etc). As well there have been some cases where OLDER ships have had issues keeping their water plants & lines well maintained (in which case they have to blow out the lines with chlorine on a regular basis).

None of it is harmful per se... but all in, its just one more reason in my mind to not drink a lot of ship water (you are going to encounter some of it anyhow... in tea, coffee, cooking etc). I’ve never found the avoidance an inconvenience anyhow (pretty much the opposite... bottled water being so much the norm on & off the ship)

Re - HOTELS

Off the top of my head cannot think who has shuttle buses vs vans... truth is we don’t use shuttles much in FL. Preferring to use taxis which get us places much faster than waiting around for other Pax. HIGHLY RECOMMEND

Our usual Hotels are either along A1A ... as 17th Street, or Seabreeze / Ft Lauderdale Beach Blvd. All very convenient to the port etc

Those across the street from the beach on Ft Lauderdale Beach are the priciest of the bunch ... those along 17th Street are not cheap, but they are less that oceanfront. Truth is Ft L is an expensive city when it comes to Hotels. As Loyalty Members over the years we have snagged deals at Hilton, Marriott & IHG properties... if you are not a member JOIN BEFORE YOU BOOK... best prices are for Members.

17th Street is where the strip mall shops are you might want to hit BEFORE your cruise... Grocery Store, Liquor Store, Dollar Store, Drugstore. The street also has an assortment of family friendly chain restaurants etc

Re - ARRIVAL / DEPARTURE

Good to see someone planning to arrive day before, and for a later departure day of.

Disembarkation Day we usually ASK FOR a late slot... and they are happy to accommodate, as so many folks want off early cause they have a tight timeframe to make a flight home. You still have to be out of your cabin early, and get to Breakfast before last call... but then we often just sit on deck relaxing, until our number is called. Leaving later means the crowds & craziness has already gone thru the terminal... and we often just breeze thru with little or no waiting.

We find disembarkation day tiring... which is why we don’t usualky fly out that day. It’s a great day to laze around a hotel pool, and catch a nap.

With an early evening flight, and kiddies that may not be an easy option... but I would certainly see if there are any Ft L Hotels that offer day rates.
(There’s a website that caters to finding them easily... i’ll See if I can find it)
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Didi_beee wrote:
Sep 14th, 2018 12:21 am
Hi All,

I just booked a 5 night Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean Independance of the Seas departing December 10. I will be arriving around 7:45pm on December 9th.
We will be travelling with our 3 year old son and 7 month old daughter but definitely do not want to bring our car seats. I understand the port and FLL are very close to each other and taking a cab to and from is recommended but most don't carry car seats. Can anyone recommend a hotel that is 3 star or more that has shuttle service preferably free and its not the van types, but more like the bus type shuttle. No set budget but I prefer something under $200.

I don't really want to rent a car just for our first day so I'd like a hotel where shops and dining will be within walking distance from the hotel.

I'm open to taking Uber or Lyft as well but not sure how many drivers will have an infant and a regular car seat.

Also, I see people suggesting buying your water/wine before boarding. On my other 2 cruises, plenty of water was available, not bottled but pitcher. Should we be avoiding that water?? I thought cruise ships have excellent filtering systems?

On disembarkation day, my flight is at 6pm so I believe thats plenty of time after. What can be recommended for us to do during that time? Should we go straight to the airport? Are there any short day excursions? Where can we go for the little ones to take a nap?

Looking forward to your advice.
I'm on the Harmony the week before you and I booked at Hotel Morrison the night before which gives free shuttle van rides to/from the airport. I plan to take Uber to the cruise port. I'm staying an extra night so I booked the Hyatt which also has free shuttle van rides to/from the airport.
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Jul 25, 2008
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PointsHubby wrote:
Sep 14th, 2018 4:15 am
Re - WATER & WINE

IIRC Royal Caribbean allows 2 x 750 ml Bottles of Wine per Cabin, and it can be drank free of corkerage in your cabin. If you take it to the MDR or a Specialty Restaurant you will pay corkerage. We find the best bang for our buck to be either an EXCELLENT expensive bottle of red or white, or a bottle of French Champagne... that’s because they represent the best savings BYOB vs buying onboard.

Bottled Water is something many people consume on board, both for the convenience, and the fact that it is “standardized” ... in that your tummy already knows it.*. Bottled water is more than likely what you’ll want off the ship as well. Some Cruiselines are ok with guests bringing cases of bottle water, pop, and juice aboard. Check the current rules for RCL (know it still works on Celebrity). Just slap a baggage tkt on it, and it will get delivered to your cabin with your luggage.

* Ship Water is primarily desalinized sea water... it’s ok. Some people say it tastes different. And others say there still must be some salt in it, cause it makes them bloat (Feet & hands). Which makes them uncomfortable. We prefer to limit our intake, and drink bottled water (we usually buy a Booze Pkg that includes unlimited booze, bottled water, pop, juice, fancy coffees etc). As well there have been some cases where OLDER ships have had issues keeping their water plants & lines well maintained (in which case they have to blow out the lines with chlorine on a regular basis).

None of it is harmful per se... but all in, its just one more reason in my mind to not drink a lot of ship water (you are going to encounter some of it anyhow... in tea, coffee, cooking etc). I’ve never found the avoidance an inconvenience anyhow (pretty much the opposite... bottled water being so much the norm on & off the ship)

Re - HOTELS

Off the top of my head cannot think who has shuttle buses vs vans... truth is we don’t use shuttles much in FL. Preferring to use taxis which get us places much faster than waiting around for other Pax. HIGHLY RECOMMEND

Our usual Hotels are either along A1A ... as 17th Street, or Seabreeze / Ft Lauderdale Beach Blvd. All very convenient to the port etc

Those across the street from the beach on Ft Lauderdale Beach are the priciest of the bunch ... those along 17th Street are not cheap, but they are less that oceanfront. Truth is Ft L is an expensive city when it comes to Hotels. As Loyalty Members over the years we have snagged deals at Hilton, Marriott & IHG properties... if you are not a member JOIN BEFORE YOU BOOK... best prices are for Members.

17th Street is where the strip mall shops are you might want to hit BEFORE your cruise... Grocery Store, Liquor Store, Dollar Store, Drugstore. The street also has an assortment of family friendly chain restaurants etc

Re - ARRIVAL / DEPARTURE

Good to see someone planning to arrive day before, and for a later departure day of.

Disembarkation Day we usually ASK FOR a late slot... and they are happy to accommodate, as so many folks want off early cause they have a tight timeframe to make a flight home. You still have to be out of your cabin early, and get to Breakfast before last call... but then we often just sit on deck relaxing, until our number is called. Leaving later means the crowds & craziness has already gone thru the terminal... and we often just breeze thru with little or no waiting.

We find disembarkation day tiring... which is why we don’t usualky fly out that day. It’s a great day to laze around a hotel pool, and catch a nap.

With an early evening flight, and kiddies that may not be an easy option... but I would certainly see if there are any Ft L Hotels that offer day rates.
(There’s a website that caters to finding them easily... i’ll See if I can find it)
Thank you for the excellent tips PointsHubby. Please let me know when you find that site that shows hotels with day rates.

On my previous 2 cruises on Disney and Royal Caribbean, I just drank the ship water and didn't think much about it. Since my young one will be 7 months of age, I'm just taking extra precautions for her and debating if she is okay to drink the ship water. Instead of bringing cases of water, can we bring like a couple of 3-4L jugs? I don't have room to carry an empty luggage to check in the water, is a duffle bag with the cruise luggage tags okay?

I would love to take a cab too but do cabs at the airport have car seats? I was at Deer Lake Airport 2 weeks ago (very tiny compared to FLL) and by their taxi wait area, there were spare car seats behind the counter. I'm assuming this was for passengers with kids.

Also, I booked the cruise with Costco Travel. They asked me if I wanted to prepay the gratuities. Should I prepay first to avoid the credit card exchange fee?
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Didi_beee wrote:
Sep 14th, 2018 11:33 pm
Thank you for the excellent tips PointsHubby. Please let me know when you find that site that shows hotels with day rates.

On my previous 2 cruises on Disney and Royal Caribbean, I just drank the ship water and didn't think much about it. Since my young one will be 7 months of age, I'm just taking extra precautions for her and debating if she is okay to drink the ship water. Instead of bringing cases of water, can we bring like a couple of 3-4L jugs? I don't have room to carry an empty luggage to check in the water, is a duffle bag with the cruise luggage tags okay?

I would love to take a cab too but do cabs at the airport have car seats? I was at Deer Lake Airport 2 weeks ago (very tiny compared to FLL) and by their taxi wait area, there were spare car seats behind the counter. I'm assuming this was for passengers with kids.

Also, I booked the cruise with Costco Travel. They asked me if I wanted to prepay the gratuities. Should I prepay first to avoid the credit card exchange fee?
Water doesn’t have to be packed if it is a shrink wrapped case (again double check that RCL still allows it to be brought aboard). Just throw a sticky baggage tag on it, and hand it off to the Porters with your regular bags @ the terminal.

You’ll drink it all on the cruise anyhow.

If you just want to bring a few loose bigger bottles / jug... then ya just for keeping track i’d Shove them into a tote / duffel you can fold up & pack in your luggage empty after the cruise.

Not a big fan of cruise shuttles for so many reasons... but we used the Embassy Suites Airport Shuttle in Miami and it was a mini bus... there’s an Embassy Suites in Ft L on 17th Street... they may have the same type of shuttle. Worth checking.

Prepaying Grats is one less thing to worry about, and an added expense while aboard. We just see it as part of the cost to sail. We always tack it onto our cruisefare when we book (on some lines that’s now compulsory... as people were stiffing the crew by getting daily grats removed at the Pursers Desk)

Cannot recall the name of the exact website I used in the past in a different city (airport layover) ... but if you type - fort lauderdale hotels day rates - into Google several websites come up.
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Jan 31, 2007
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Ft Lauderdale is a very efficient port. Taxis and shuttles don’t really need to be pre-booked.

We’ve found that staying at a hotel near a water taxi stop is a good choice with kids. First because it’s a water taxi and that’s not something you do everyday. Second it travels quite slow so you don’t worry about car seats. Third it’s actually pretty entertaining to see the houses on millionaires row. Las Olas Blvd always has something good to eat, so we usually get off there.

I realize that when we have young kids we want to protect them always. So it’s hard to imagine traveling with them without car seats, even when the law allows for livery vehicles to not have them. We did it a few times for taxis (no car seats) on various trips. Luckily no worse for wear. Luggage, strollers and kids are enough to contend with. I can’t imagine a pot of large britax seats being added to this mix. Everyone has to make their own risk decisions though.

Finally, I would mention that I HATE late departure flights after a cruise. Reason? I have all this luggage that may not be allowed to be checked in (usually 4 hrs before flight) so I just end up sitting around doing nothing. And FLL airport sucks. Nothing to do landside or airside. Remember, the boat usually arrives at 6am and debarkation is usually completed in 2 hrs. A 6pm flight could mean 8+ hrs of nothing. Try to get a hotel but this is difficult due to check in times being 3pm, check before booking as I imagine FLL airports may be used to this and offer a solution. Which is why I either look for a noon flight or leave the following day. Good luck.
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Temujin1 wrote:
Sep 15th, 2018 11:35 am
Ft Lauderdale is a very efficient port. Taxis and shuttles don’t really need to be pre-booked.

We’ve found that staying at a hotel near a water taxi stop is a good choice with kids. First because it’s a water taxi and that’s not something you do everyday. Second it travels quite slow so you don’t worry about car seats. Third it’s actually pretty entertaining to see the houses on millionaires row. Las Olas Blvd always has something good to eat, so we usually get off there.

I realize that when we have young kids we want to protect them always. So it’s hard to imagine traveling with them without car seats, even when the law allows for livery vehicles to not have them. We did it a few times for taxis (no car seats) on various trips. Luckily no worse for wear. Luggage, strollers and kids are enough to contend with. I can’t imagine a pot of large britax seats being added to this mix. Everyone has to make their own risk decisions though.

Finally, I would mention that I HATE late departure flights after a cruise. Reason? I have all this luggage that may not be allowed to be checked in (usually 4 hrs before flight) so I just end up sitting around doing nothing. And FLL airport sucks. Nothing to do landside or airside. Remember, the boat usually arrives at 6am and debarkation is usually completed in 2 hrs. A 6pm flight could mean 8+ hrs of nothing. Try to get a hotel but this is difficult due to check in times being 3pm, check before booking as I imagine FLL airports may be used to this and offer a solution. Which is why I either look for a noon flight or leave the following day. Good luck.
Thank you for the great tips. I understand taxis and shuttles are easy to come by at Fort Lauderdale. However, I will be towing a toddler and an infant so our method of transportation is limited due to the requirements of car seats. Do they allow children in these types of shuttles?Most of the shuttles look like this right? Image
Last edited by Didi_beee on Sep 18th, 2018 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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I stayed at the SpringHill Suites Dania Beach. It is walkable to the K-mart across the street (put the little one in a stroller) and other stores, as well as restaurants. I have done it with my two kids too. They also have free shuttles to and from the airport. And inside the hotel, they offer shuttles to the port for about $10 per adult. Kids under 5 are free. You just have to sign up when you arrive at the hotel if you're interested.
I arrived earlier and they put me on the lowest floor. At first i didn't understand why but with 2 kids, it's easier to move luggage (rather than wait for an elevator) and quick access to the free continental breakfast and really nice outdoor swimming pool.
Surprisingly, it was VERY quiet in my area of the hotel.
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jandb wrote:
Sep 18th, 2018 9:08 am
I stayed at the SpringHill Suites Dania Beach. It is walkable to the K-mart across the street (put the little one in a stroller) and other stores, as well as restaurants. I have done it with my two kids too. They also have free shuttles to and from the airport. And inside the hotel, they offer shuttles to the port for about $10 per adult. Kids under 5 are free. You just have to sign up when you arrive at the hotel if you're interested.
I arrived earlier and they put me on the lowest floor. At first i didn't understand why but with 2 kids, it's easier to move luggage (rather than wait for an elevator) and quick access to the free continental breakfast and really nice outdoor swimming pool.
Surprisingly, it was VERY quiet in my area of the hotel.
Thank you! I will check the rates now!
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From what i recall, most hotel shuttles look like the van from Hotel Morrison. You'll just hold the baby in your arms while your 3 year old can be buckled in. Some shuttles are like buses. So yes, the babies/kids can go in. I've never had anyone say anything to us when we went sat on these shuttles.

Also, with regards to the water on the ship, it is fine for me and my family to drink. We noticed a slightly different taste to it (like it was distilled) but flavourless. It didn't bother us. If you are particular with how your water tastes (even when you're at home), then I'd bring some water bottles. Springhill Suites offer free water bottles if you need a few for your family.
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Livery vehicles (vans, taxis, etc for hire) in Florida do NOT require car seats. Car rentals always require car seats. If you decide to take a shuttle you will have to bring your own or arrange it with the company directly. As to whether or not they allow you to bring it, best you contact whatever company you’re looking to use. These shuttles will likely not have the tether anchor system so you should familiarize yourself with how to install using seatbelts.


.
Didi_beee wrote:
Sep 18th, 2018 8:58 am
Thank you for the great tips. I understand taxis and shuttles are easy to come by at Fort Lauderdale. However, I will be towing a toddler and an infant so our method of transportation is limited due to the requirements of car seats. Do they allow children in these types of shuttles?Most of the shuttles look like this right? Image
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Mar 13, 2018
746 posts
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Didi_beee wrote:
Sep 14th, 2018 12:21 am
Hi All,

I just booked a 5 night Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean Independance of the Seas departing December 10. I will be arriving around 7:45pm on December 9th.
We will be travelling with our 3 year old son and 7 month old daughter but definitely do not want to bring our car seats. I understand the port and FLL are very close to each other and taking a cab to and from is recommended but most don't carry car seats. Can anyone recommend a hotel that is 3 star or more that has shuttle service preferably free and its not the van types, but more like the bus type shuttle. No set budget but I prefer something under $200.

I don't really want to rent a car just for our first day so I'd like a hotel where shops and dining will be within walking distance from the hotel.

I'm open to taking Uber or Lyft as well but not sure how many drivers will have an infant and a regular car seat.

Also, I see people suggesting buying your water/wine before boarding. On my other 2 cruises, plenty of water was available, not bottled but pitcher. Should we be avoiding that water?? I thought cruise ships have excellent filtering systems?

On disembarkation day, my flight is at 6pm so I believe thats plenty of time after. What can be recommended for us to do during that time? Should we go straight to the airport? Are there any short day excursions? Where can we go for the little ones to take a nap?

Looking forward to your advice.
Renting a car is much easier and cheaper. Not much is walking distance unless you stay in pricier areas downtown and you need to wait for shuttles

Much easier/faster/cheaper to rent a car from FLL and return at Port. I just did this at fll, rented a crossover for $20 plus taxes a day, walked straight into aisle and got my car and drove off. Went to hotel, went out for dinner, grabbed a few things. Next day drive to have a nice breakfast, then returned car at Port location and off to port on shuttle within 5mins from dropoff
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Temujin1 wrote:
Sep 18th, 2018 2:06 pm
Livery vehicles (vans, taxis, etc for hire) in Florida do NOT require car seats.
Car rentals always require car seats.

If you decide to take a shuttle and use a car seat ... you will have to bring your own or arrange it with the company directly. As to whether or not they allow you to bring it, best you contact whatever company you’re looking to use. These shuttles will likely not have the tether anchor system so you should familiarize yourself with how to install using seatbelts.
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Fixed for clarity

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