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bizzybee 02-18-2009 08:43 AM

We will be flying into Ft Lauderdale in April and have two and a half days before our cruise departs from Miami, Celebrity Century-Western Caribbean.

Other than a week in Disney we have never been to Florida and are thinking of renting a car once we arrive. Since our cruise is a beach vacation (Jamaica, Grand Cayman), I do not want to spend the time in Florida sunning on the beach, but am interested in seeing them. We would also like to see Vizcaya Museum and are considering an airboat tour.

Is there enough to see in Ft Lauderdale to consider spending the day there?

We are trying to be economical with the lodging and are thinking of staying at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami Downtown.

I would love to hear your suggestions or experiences.

penny3333 02-18-2009 11:42 AM

Hi Bizzybee, guess I'm kinda prejudice since I'm from Ft. Lauderdale, but I think it's a pretty interesting town. Villa Viscaya is beautiful and well worth the effort to go to, but you could still stay in Lauderdale and drive down. Ft. Lauderdale has the famed Elbow Room, which most people are very surprised when they see it for the first time, it's a dump Just kidding, but it is a little hole in the wall. I like spending the day taking the water taxi up and down the intracoastal. They call Ft. Lauderdale the US Venice. The water taxi can take you from 17th Street Causeway all the way up to Atlantic Boulevard (I think that's the one). It takes you by some beautiful homes. Las Olas is one of the stops where they have renovated (retro) downtown. There are a bunch of little "kitchy" type stores, sidewalk cafes, and bistros. There's Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, and Bahia Mar. I love strolling through Bahia Mar and scoping out all the yachts. The Jungle Queen is a lot of fun. It's a riverboat that takes you to a Seminole village where they alligator wrestle, make goods, and give you a nice bar-b-que dinner. There are some great restaurants in Lauderdale, too. Charlie's Crab (at the very northern stop of the water taxi), and Pier 66 (at the very southern stop of the water taxi) are 2 of my favorites. The Sea Watch is also fantastic, it's right on the beach. The Sea Watch has an early bird special from 3-5 (or something like that it might be 4-5) where you can get a 3 course meal for $30/pp - they have killer key lime pie. There's also the Galleria Mall (if you like shopping).

Of course, Miami has south beach, Crandon Park with the zoo and the planetarium on the same road. I prefer Lauderdale, but I'm biased There have been a lot of people very pleased with the Holiday Inn Bayside in Miami.

bizzybee 02-20-2009 07:37 AM

Penny-You sold me on Ft. Lauderdale.

We are thinking of making it our base for two nights, renting a car upon arrival, exploring Lauderdale the first day, exploring Miami day 2 and returning the rental car in Miami day 3, the morning of our cruise. Our ship leaves 5pm.

Now to find place to stay. We do not plan on spending time at the hotel, but would like a clean, well kept room for under $200 per night. I've seen some recommendations on this site for Sleep Inn, Embassy Suites and Amerisuites. Are there any others I should check for pricing? Who has the best location for exploring and parking?

penny3333 02-20-2009 09:16 AM

We stayed at the Sea Club last year. It's right on A1A. They had a nice restaurant/bar area that you can look at the ocean while eating or having an afternoon cocktail. The hotel is old, but the rooms are very clean. They charged us $96/night. We've also stayed at Pier66 and the Renaissance. They were much more expensive, but they are more of the modern day hotel. The Sheraton Yankee Clipper is very nice, too. The Renaissance charged is $169/night, Pier66 was $189/night, Yankee Clipper was $189/night. Anything on 17th Street Causeway will be near the port. Anything on A1A will be near the beach. We've also stayed at the Tropi-Rock which is about 2 blocks down from the Sea Club. It's an old motel, but clean. They charged $89/night, but didn't have a restaurant. I actually liked the Sea Club better, the rooms were larger. Just a few suggestions.

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