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One day before cruise from Fort Lauderdale, any attraction recommendation

One day before cruise from Fort Lauderdale, any attraction recommendation

Dec 12th, 2016, 05:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 4
One day before cruise from Fort Lauderdale, any attraction recommendation

We are arriving at FLL around 9am and will be boarding the cruise ship before 4pm. This leaves us (two senior, two adults and one 3 yr old) a day and half to kill. Too many options is not essentially a good thing now, where should we go then? Never been to Miami nor Fort Lauderdale. Should we rent a car and drive all the way to Key West?

Any recommendations? Thanks a lot.
MrNobody is offline  
Dec 12th, 2016, 08:12 PM
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No, do not drive to Key West and back!

If you have a car, you could drive to Miami Beach, and there are several interesting museums and tours, but we usually just hang out at our hotel's pool or the beach for awhile, relaxing so we are rested and ready to enjoy the ship right away. There are nice playgrounds on the beach for the little one.

You can often board the ship by around noon. IME, it is nice to board as early as possible, get settled and relax on the ship. By time you get up, have breakfast or perhaps a quick swim, and get a taxi to the ship, the morning will be gone.
Sassafrass is offline  
Dec 13th, 2016, 05:19 AM
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If you board the ship by noon, you can have a leisurely lunch and begin unpacking before the muster drill.

Vic's travels: http://my.flightmemory.com/vogilvie
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Dec 13th, 2016, 06:20 AM
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I said it wrong in my OP, we actually arrived a day in advance. Arriving FLL at 9am and will board the ship next day, (starting 1pm until 4pm).
MrNobody is offline  
Dec 13th, 2016, 06:39 AM
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I think the most difficult part is to determine where to catch within that 1.5 day coz just like you said the options are just too many in the Miami region especially for 1st timers.

My gut feeling is to book a hotel somewhere in Miami close to where we would spend most of the time, and then drive back next morning.

Key West seems like a long drive (3-4 hours?), Maybe Everglade only and then hit Miami downtown?

The two seniors could not walk for too long, so guess hiking and stuff is out of the questions.
MrNobody is offline  
Dec 13th, 2016, 07:12 AM
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I think your post is clear. You arrive around 9:00 on day one. By time you get your luggage and get to hotel, if you stay in Ft Lauderdale, it will be around 10:00. You have the rest of that day for sightseeing.

The next day you board the ship. What time does the ship actually depart? Have you been given a boarding time of between 1:00 to 4:00?

So, you are thinking, on the first day, to drive someplace to spend the night, then drive back the next morning before boarding the ship. You could do that. Allow plenty of time to get back to the port, ditch the car and time to board. It could take an hour from Miami, 1/2 hour to return the car and an hour or more to board, so if you want to be on board by 1:30, head towards the port by 11:00 at the absolute latest if you are driving from Miami, earlier if you are further away.

IMHO, it just would not be worth the drive to the keys to drive down one day and back the next. However, that depends on your stamina and interests, where you are flying from and how tired the seniors will be when you arrive. Since you have not been to Miami, I would just visit Miami.

For me, a flight arriving at 9:00 means I boarded around 7:00, which means I got to the airport before 6:00, which means I left home before 5:00, which means I got up by around 4:00 A.M. By time we would arrive and get luggage and get to hotel at 10:00, I am not in any mood to get into a car and drive another 3 hours. When we have our Granddaughter with us, after an early flight, she wants to be free and play at a playground or in a pool, not sit for another 3 hours in a car.
Sassafrass is offline  
Dec 13th, 2016, 12:38 PM
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We are thinking Everglades plus some must-see in Miami. Maybe stop somewhere in between overnight and drive back next morning. Can you recommend an area where I should book my hotel? And what are the must-sees in Miami?

Thanks a lot.
MrNobody is offline  
Dec 14th, 2016, 07:55 AM
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That 1 1/2 days is not really 1 1/2 days for "tourist purposes". It's really just the 1 day (your arrival day) and for all practical purposes it's just the remaining "daylight hours" available once you leave the airport. You are looking at perhaps only 2 "activities"

Another thing to consider, check-in time for most hotels is 3PM. While you can drop off your bags, in most cases you won't be able to go to your room unless you made prior arrangements for a "early check-in" and that usually entails booking and paying for the room for the previous night.

So, if you are willing to rent a car for the day and you feel you'll have the energy for a day of "activities" I'd pack my bags in the trunk and head to the Miami area to see "the sights" (which ever ones appeal to you - google "Things to do in Miami" for hints).

With an arrival at FLL "around 9am" figure it will take at least 1 hour for you to deplane, claim any checked luggage and pick up your rental car. It's about a 45 minute drive from FLL to Miami (give or take some time depending on where in the Miami area you go) so that means the earliest you'll be arriving at your first point of interest will be "around 11am" - probably later as you have 2 seniors and a 3YO in tow. Anyway, perhaps you spend 2 hours visiting that "activity" then it's time for a lunch break - figure on 45 to 60 minutes for that unless you like to "eat on the run". So now it's "around 2pm" and time for your 2nd activity. You spend 2 hours doing that and it's now around 4pm. Time to start thinking about heading to your hotel.

Here you have two choices: 1) spend the night at a hotel near your last "activity" and head back to FLL area the following morning or 2) drive to FLL and spend the night near the cruise ship port. Option 1 seems best to me.

Of course, you could eliminate some of the excess driving, if you skip Miami and stay in the FLL area where there are plenty of things to see/do (again do a google search and choose activities that interest your family.

Sleep in the following morning, have a nice breakfast and then leave for the ship.
RoamsAround is offline  
Dec 14th, 2016, 11:35 AM
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There is a great nature center /wetlands reserve called "Green Cay" where you'll be able to get up close with the same birds and critters as in the National Park..actually bettter IMO. It's less than an hour north of Ft. Lauderdale. the boardwalks are open daily sunrise to sunset.

mlgb is offline  
Dec 15th, 2016, 12:05 AM
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You really don't have a day and a half and don't venture too far ... stay at a hotel that is beach front and spend an afternoon at the beach. On the so call half day, you got up, have breakfast, it's almost time to get to the ship. You can board as early as noon. You might want to pick a hotel with free shuttle service to the the cruise port.

We love the FLL Hollywood beach boardwalk area and had stayed there almost every year for at least the last 10. It is a bit further away from the port but we just love it there. We typically stayed a few days there pre-cruise or post-cruise. There are plenty of choices for restaurants along the boardwalk and nearby area. There are bike rental (trike for the little one) among other things.

If you feel like walking, you can follow the boardwalk along the beach and walk all the way to Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park where you can actually see the cruise port where all the cruise ships docked. It is a very long walk though.

If you are into the whole "flea market" thing, you can check out the Sunrise Swap Shop. It really isn't a flea market per say but I have not seen anything quite like it elsewhere. They have a farmers market with fresh produce, an interesting collection of cars (they call it a car museum), over 2000 vendors/stalls and it is also a drive-in movie theater at night.


The last time I was there was 3 or 4 years ago and they have a little of everything for everyone. Can easily spend half a day there.

We also like the Sawgrass Mills Mall for shopping. IMHO, a very good place to shop around the FLL area.
Eschew is offline  
Dec 15th, 2016, 05:51 PM
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A nice activity to visit the Everglades is the Shark Valley Tour. Suitable for all ages.
BarbAnn is offline  
Dec 16th, 2016, 05:02 AM
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I live on the beach in Fort Lauderdale and will probably see you leaving Port Everglades from my front windows.

I agree about NOT driving to Key West. Hang around town.
Dukey1 is offline  
Dec 21st, 2016, 04:20 PM
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The distance to Key West is deceptive, it can be as much as double the estimated time.

We stayed at the Cadillac Marriott Courtyard on Miami Beach before a cruise last year. Great location, hotel has some nice art deco touches, two pools, open air bar and right on the beach. Quick taxi to the port.

We were there at the end of the season so have to say the service could have been better. We used points which made it more tolerable.

The South Beach area is fun, there is a HOn/HOff bus, bit pricey for a large group.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Dec 21st, 2016, 04:25 PM
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Oops, just read you're leaving from Ft. L. port. We've done that as well, stayed at the Courtyard just over the road from the. beach, we had views of the cruise ships coming in. Ft. Lauderdale has the great beach and an excellent art museum, upscale malls, etc. Just behind the M. Courtyard is an excellent casual restaurant, Coconuts. As with Miami, reasonable taxi fare to the port. Hotel will arrange a van to take you all. I would not bother renting a car.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Dec 26th, 2016, 06:46 AM
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As Cathinjoe mentioned, the distance to Key West is deceptive. Friends vacationed in Key West and had a return trip home from FLL. They figured a 5 hr ride even though google maps said 3+. After 8 hours on the road (due to rush hour traffic & an accident), they arrived in FLL only to be denied boarding because they were at the gate under 30 minutes before takeoff. They had to find a hotel and catch a flight the next morning.
GBelle is offline  

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