Gearing up for my first cruise with my new wife. We originally were planning to fly from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale the morning of our cruise, but my wife was able to get off of work so we'll be leaving the night before to be safe. I had a few questions though:
Do all hotels have free transfers from the airport to the hotel?
Do those hotels have free transfers to Port Everglades?
Does anyone recommend some reasonably priced hotels that offer transfers?
What is your favorite way to transfer from the airport to the port?
Thank you again in advance for all the help! This forum has been some tremendous help planning my first cruise.
It is safe to say that most hotels DO NOT offer transfers to the port. Many have airport pick-up, most of them really.
However there are several hotels which do have shuttle service to the port. Now, I like the Embassy Suites but it is not one of the cheaper hotels. But they have a great shuttle service (either for a fee or if you book a special deal where the room includes the shuttle).
There is a Sleep Inn with a shuttle to the port. I do not know if it is included or if they charge for it.
Frankly, most hotels are so close to the port that just grabbing a taxi will work and not at all be expensive.
we were in fort lauderdale last month and we stayed at the hyatt place, very nice hotel. We got the room from priceline, name your own price. they have an airport shuttle. We cruised out of Miami so I dont know anything about the shuttle to the port.
Dave is correct about the taxi service. The only thing I would add is that if you do a Priceline or a Hotels.com booking, you will see them mention a port shuttle if they offer one. Just be careful about spending extra on a hotel because it offers a shuttle when a taxi ride may only be $20 with tip (depends of course on how far away the hotel is) Also make sure you know if it is "offered or available" (that means they typically charge for it) versus "provided or free"
I normally call the hotel before I book to verify and then to find out if I have to reserve shuttle space ahead of time.
Now, having said all that about shuttles... a taxi may still be preferred since you don't have to wait for a taxi, you can go anytime you want and sometimes the shuttles are mini buses and you have to wait for everyone going on that round to get to the bus and board etc etc... you don't have that hassle with a taxi. I would book a hotel close to the port and then ask for a taxi at a given time and pay the $20... Unless there are more of you than could fit in a van taxi.
We stayed at the Sleep Inn in Dania (about 5 miles from the port). They have (had two years ago) shuttles both from the airport and to the pier. Free breakfast in the morning. They share a parking lot with Walgreens and are across the street from a shopping center with a dollar store, a grocery store and a couple of restaurants. It was very affordable and very clean and the staff were wonderful.
You have to balance the price of the room (with a shuttle included) versus a taxi ride. In my experience, a taxi is usually much less stressful than dealing with shuttles. If you do some online research, you can usually find the price of a taxi ride from a hotel without shuttle service (the hotels sometimes have it posted on their site).
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Anything on 17th Street Causeway is going to be very near the port. Anything on A1A will be a ways from the port. Anything anywhere else can be 5-10+ miles from the port. We have stayed at Pier66 and the Renaissance which is right across from the port. It is so much fun to walk out and see your ship waiting for you. If you're an early riser, like I am, you can watch the ships coming into the port. We normally drive, so it's not a big deal where we stay. We're staying at the Sea Club again this December. They're about 3 miles from the port, they have a restaurant/bar that faces the ocean, they're on A1A. Normally, the cab fare would be about $20 to get to the port. However, the day I flew in for my February cruise, there were 8 ships in port. It cost me $85 to get to the hotel because of the traffic. I knew the back way, but the driver didn't (well..he probably did but wanted a nice fare). The hotel is really old, but well kept. I've also stayed at the TropiRock which is off of A1A, but again about 5 miles from the port. Embassy Suites is on 17th Street Causeway and the Grand should be through with construction by now. Hope this helps a little.
Thank you for all the responses and help. I believe we are planning to stay at the Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale 17th Street Convention Center. Mostly because I have enough credit card points to get a free room. Has anyone stayed at this location or familiar with it?
The hotel website says the hotel transfer from the airport is free but as of this year it will be $6/person to the port. Do you think this would be a good deal for my wife and I or would it be just as cheap to get a taxi or walk?