Fort Lauderdale, FL

One of the Best Cruise Ports in the World is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

DarrylBrooks

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As we finally wake from this long, cold winter of the Covid-19 Pandemic, people are looking to travel again. As soon as more travel restrictions are lifted, we will resume our three-decade tradition of cruising. We have over 60 cruises under our belts and know a bit about how to go about it. And our favorite city to cruise out of, by far, is Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Many cruisers choose their next cruise based on ship, company, destinations and/or price. But the port you sail out of can affect the experience, all other things being equal. There are ports that veteran cruisers tend to avoid, and some, like Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that become favorite embarkation locations. It's not only one of the busiest cruise ports globally; it's also one of the easiest and most scenic.

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These days, all travel is stressful, so you need to find ways to take some of the worries out of your vacation. Choosing the correct cruise port can be one of them. One consideration is how to get from the airport to the cruise terminal. In many cities, this takes a lot of time due to distance, or, depending on the day and time, can be a traffic nightmare.

Port Everglades, where the cruise terminal is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is an easy three-mile taxi ride from the airport. It should cost about $10-$15. The route is also on the city's outskirts, so even in rush hour, the drive is painless. Note that Port Everglades is one of several ports that may require a photo ID to get in, so keep your passports handy.

Another factor in embarkation points is how well the terminal itself is managed. This is a combined factor of the cruise line, the port authority, TSA, and local contractors. At Port Everglades, you are dropped off right outside the terminal and met by baggage handlers. Security is well-staffed so that the wait will be minimal.

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As with any security checkpoint, the wait will depend on how many people are trying to get in at once, but with cruise terminals in general, it is impossible to guess when is the best time to arrive. Too early and you have a long wait to board, and too late is a dicey proposition. Any time in between may be light or heavy, depending on many unpredictable variables. Once past security, the cruise staff inside at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is very efficient, and even though it may look crowded, the lines move quickly and efficiently. The same efficiency will be encountered on your return from the cruise.

Veteran cruisers will stay a day or two before and/or after a cruise for many reasons. You've already bought airfare, so seeing the local sites only adds a small percentage to the total cost of the trip. If you are flying a great distance, this may also take some of the stress out of travel days. Finally, airlines have figured out the cruise schedules. You can expect to pay top dollar on premium days and times for cruises.

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But adjusting your schedule a bit may save enough on airfare to help cover the cost of the hotel. Unfortunately, the areas around many cruise ports aren't someplace you want to stay or are horribly expensive. Fort Lauderdale is not one of those places. Many reasonably priced hotels are near the airport and cruise port, and many of them are on the beach. But we prefer a hotel on the Intracoastal waterway. The views are fantastic, with hundreds of boats cruising by all day, and it's only a short walk to the beach.

If you decide to stay, the best and cheapest way to see the city is to buy a ticket on the local water taxi. A ticket gets you unlimited access to the taxis all day, and the water taxis have dozens of stops all over the city. The drivers are also excellent and friendly tour guides. Most of the best restaurants are on the Intracoastal, so the water taxi gets you transportation and a guided tour all in one.

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Once you are on the ship, head to the top for views of the city and the harbor. Remember, you are on top of a 15-story building, and the views in all directions are charming. As you sail away, get on the port (left) side of the ship to watch the residents in the condos on the channel wave goodbye. Considering as many as twelve ships a day leave Fort Lauderdale, Florida, every day, this is pretty amazing. Hopefully, they can wave goodbye to a bunch of new ships soon.

There are many considerations more important than the port for choosing a cruise vacation. But if you are riding the fence deciding between two holidays and one of them leaves from Fort Lauderdale, you should definitely take a closer look at that one. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Port Everglades will make your next cruise a breeze.

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I am a writer with over 16 years of experience and hundreds of articles. I write about photography, productivity, life skills, money management and much more.

Alpharetta, GA
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