Fort Lauderdale pre and post cruise

Suzanne Barney on 24 November 2017
I was taking a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale and needed to book accommodation either side of the cruise to fit in with the flights. I decided that on the way out I would choose a hotel with free transfers and save a bit of money as the hotel would be a base. Then on the way back I would go for something in a better location.

Fort Lauderdale airport was a breeze! I was so happy I chose this airport. We were the only international flight in so there were no queues and we went straight to the security area. From aircraft to bus in 1 hour 30 minutes - outstanding! To get the free shuttle bus we made a quick call to the hotel and then within 20 minutes the bus was there.

Pre-Cruise

We were staying at the Quality Inn and Suites airport which provided shuttles to and from the airport but also to the cruise ships. It is located near to the airport. The hotel exterior was quite basic, but the rooms were nice and large. We immediately got a shuttle to the Sawgrass Shopping mall which cost us about $20pp. This is one of the largest malls in the USA and it was the day after Black Friday. It sits between Fort Lauderdale and Miami and is a huge tourist attraction - a bit manic still but plenty of bargains to be had. The intent was to do our Christmas shopping but also to buy a leather jacket (a belated birthday present). You need a plan at this mall as it is huge, but all shops are represented. I got my jacket and a few Christmas presents but it was hard going!

Post Cruise

We stayed at the Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina. Fort Lauderdale is a lovely place and the weather was in the 70s so very pleasant when we got off the ship. This was a much nicer location on one of the many waterways that links Fort Lauderdale.

We spent the day on the boat taxi. You buy a ticket for the day and it is really nice as you get a guided tour of the waterways with the guide pointing out the multimillion dollar properties and who owned them. This killed a few hours whilst we waited for our room to be ready. Our room had a lovely view over the waterways from the balcony. The beach area is nice with bars and shops across the road. We ate in Café Ibiza with great food and friendly staff and the entertainment was superb. We had a classical flamenco guitarist from Argentina who was also a bit of a comedy act.

I would most definitely go back to Fort Lauderdale for a holiday. The people were nice and it had a nice vibe.