Booking a cruise is just one part of planning a fun filled family vacation. Getting to and from the cruise port and planning your time wisely while your in port is just as important is you want a stress free holiday.
Approximately 10 million passengers set sail on a cruise last year from Southern Florida, either PortMiami or Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
- Fort Lauderdale airport is located just across the highway, only 2 miles from Port Everglades.
- it's about a 15 min. drive from Miami airport to Port Miami
- There is only 30 miles separating these two major cruise ports and airport hubs.
To get the best deals on flights, families will often fly into one city and sail out of another. It's easy and affordable to catch a ride from Uber or Lyft. Depending your your family's size, needs and preferences it can be just as affordable to hire a private driver.
Hopefully you've booked your cruise with us here at Vacationkids and took advantage of some of our exclusive deals and perks. No doubt your agent has already helped your family book flights, arrange what you need. We offer this information to enhance your vacation experience. Our fees are already included in the cost of your cruise. If you didn't book with Vacationkids, it's important to realize the cruise line just made extra profits by making you work to arrange your own reservations. Hopefully you'll find this article helpful and answer some of the questions you're searching for. If you still need help, reach out to us. There may still be time for us to service your reservation and make your life much easier and fun.
When planning your time in port, it's very important to remember "ships and airplanes wait for no one"! Here at Vacationkids, we HIGHLY recommend families arrive in their port city at least one day prior to departure. This means booking a hotel for at least one night so that you're family won't be stressed and rushed heading to the port by 11am the next day for embarkation (cruise check in).
Most cruise ships will return back into port early in the morning. Guests normally disembark (get off the ship) by 9am. Cruise ships can be delayed returning to port so it is recommended that return flights home should be scheduled after 12 noon. Depending on specific airline schedules and affordability, it may make sense for families to stay in a local hotel one night post cruise too.
This means your family may need some fun ideas for things to do while you're in town either coming or going from your cruise vacation. Don't worry, we'll begin here with some fun ideas and places to go in Fort Lauderdale. In the second part of this article, we'll work our way down the coast for some fun in the sun Miami style.
Best Family Friendly Activities in Fort Lauderdale
Las Olas beach is the heart and soul of Fort Lauderdale. Here families can find a beautiful white sandy beach right in the heart of downtown, just minutes from the airport and cruise terminal. Las Olas boulevard hugs the coast and offers funky little shops, restaurants and galleries. Take Uber or public transport because parking is not fun here.
If you have older kids and have planned a stay in town, we might suggest heading about 45 min. north for a visit to Deerfield Beach and Ski Rixen which is a cable run water ski park that tweens and teens will love.
Enjoy a Water Taxi Ride
Fort Lauderdale has earned the nickname of the "Venice of America" due to its interconnected waterways. Truly the best way to enjoy Fort Lauderdale is by Water taxi. Your family can enjoy a scenic tour of some of the magnificent mansions and yachts owned by the rich and famous. Hop on & off at any of the 15 stops. Take in all the shops, restaurants and beaches all day between Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood.
Discover the Everglades
Florida Everglades offers 10,000 islands full of amazing scenery and is home to a variety of creatures including manatees, roseate spoonbills, white pelicans and many dolphins. The best way to travel through this "river of grass" is by airboat which offers a safe, up-close visit with alligators in their natural habitat.
Eat at Grandpa's Bakery
This local mecca for comfort food was made world famous by the television show "Diners ,Drive-ins and Dives" it's not fancy, most certainly kid friendly - oh and did we mention the complimentary plate of homemade, freshly baked pastries offered at every meal. A meal here alone is worth a trip to Fort Lauderdale (Dania Beach technically). The argument still remains in our family as to whether the warm cinnamon rolls or cheese danish is the best.
Visit Butterfly World
Imagine surrounding yourself with 20,000 winged creatures. Butterfly World is the largest butterfly park in the world. These 10 acres are home to 50 different species of butterflies as they fly freely and feed on exotic plants and flowers. There are other animals on display, including lorikeets and hummingbirds. At the Butterfly Farm and Lab Encounter, watch caterpillars grow and hatch. One of the most popular areas is the 30-foot tall Tropical Rainforest Aviary, with waterfalls and observation decks. At the Lorikeet Encounter, purchase a cup of juice and wait for the bright green birds to perch on your arm to sip their favorite food. Admire hummingbirds in the Jewels of the Sky enclosure, and live bugs in a Bug Zoo exhibit.
Hotel Day Pass
Have a long wait for your flight home? Need a place to hang out but don't need to sleep over? Some hotels offer day passes. You don't get a room but you do have a place to store your luggage, access to the pool, lounge chairs & towels, beach access and changing facilities. Food, drinks and spa services are available for purchase. This sure beats sitting around in the airport terminal!
In PART 2 of this guide, We'll offer tips and suggestions for families sailing from Miami. Again, remember, it's only 30 miles between these two amazing cities so it's easy to enjoy any of these attractions while you're in town for your cruise.