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Hello All, We were able to book a roundtrip flight from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale for $150/pp. We are the first flight of the day being we would land at 8am (probably before to be honest). I found a place in Ft. Lauderdale called Park N Go that if you pre-pay its $5.99/day versus $13/day. There is even a free shuttle to take you to the port. My question is... Should I keep our flights on Southwest airlines or should we drive down the morning of? I'm worried about traffic on the turnpike and 95. Any suggestions? TIA.
Just wanted to give a shout out to this site!!! I read for days and got a lot of great advice on our cruise. It's the first one for me in many moons, and the first for my wife and one of our daughters. We went for my oldest DD grad cruise, another family of 4 and a set of grand parents for a total of 10 in our party. After the cruise was booked, I had to call RC in person for show resizes and dinner resizes because the website wasn't right. So, we drove down from NC, split the drive around Daytona Beach, which was about 3 hrs from the port. Our board times were 1PM, but we went for an earlier show time, due to the knowledge read on here. Word of advice when driving to the port....stay alert!! Once you get to where the PORT roadsigns are in Ft Lauderdale, there are a lot of bridges, ramps and lane changes...so just stay alert. Also, have Sail papers and passports ready as you enter the port...guards check them. Once we found the pier, baggage drop off was easy...congested but just pay attention to the staff directing traffic and they can have you in/out in a jiffy. We dropped off and parked in the adjacent lot, about 100 or so yards from the entrance building. We got in line, followed lots of signs, followed the directions, and made our way through it all...Those guys go a great job of pushing LOTS of people through what looks like an eye of a needle in a short amount of time. FYI, no one looked at our boarding time to tell us we were about 2 1/2 hrs early!!!!! From the time we got in line outside the port building, to the time we made it through 3 ID checks, and started our way on the gangway, was about 40 min!!!! We were impressed!!! And we all had a small carryon bag... We got on board, and were instantly amazed at the size and scope of the ship!!! Great atmosphere and everyone was so helpful. Our keys were on our doors in about 3 min, and we could use the paper sail card for drinks until we got our plastic sail cards...Luggage was delivered within a few hours to "Zones" on the isle...so we found out luggage and took it to our room to unpack. Easy peasy.....Then the fun began....after a good lunch at the Wingjammer Cafe, it was deck 15 for sail away party, which was beautiful out of the port...We didn't do dinner reservations first night b/c we would be busy with sail away activities.... All our dinners were in the American Icon main dining room at 5:30...we had a wonderful wait staff!!!! The food was great and plentiful. A good wine list for those on the drink package too...most wines were under the $13 price. The 5:30 time worked great for us, and overnight, they asked if we had a show and what time it was..Most shows were at 9:30, so they let us take our time and most suppers were 2-2 1/2 hrs...very relaxed and fun. We saw the Aqua show, Blue Planet, the juggler show, Ice game, and the newly wed game...all were good with the Aqua and jugglers being the best for me. Everyone I needed something from was just as helpful as could be. We never could figure out how to IM each other without the ship internet package though...I asked several tech people and no such luck. But we made it through... As far as excursions go, the best day was Labadee!!!!!! Some snorkeled, some zip lined, and I just floated on the water mat!! That's was the best part and worth every penny. We ended up at Adventure Beach I believe...over by the floating bar...at the last trolly strop on the route...We just sunned, drank and relaxed....I could have spent about 2 days there and forgone San Juan to tell the truth!! Disembarking today was as easy as day one...you get bag tags w/ numbers on them, directions on where and what time to meet on the ship the morning of, and they call your number to leave the ship. You go down the plank to a big warehouse to find your luggage (look for the number placards that are on your baggage tags...grab your luggage, zip through customs (looked at passports, asked us if we had fun, but didn't look custom info on the APP), and down we went to the parking lot...All of 45 min max from the time we showed up to the time we were in our cars!!!! Paid the parking fee and off we were back to the real world... Some things I would like to se RC do better is: update to where you can IM on the ship without the internet package. Incorporate some port info on the APP...like it would have been great to have a map of Labadee before we got off the island..my daughter was on crutches (due to an injury the week prior to sailing) and we didn't know how far it was and all to get her to the snorkeling excursion, and then back to our area on the beach..They have maps once you get off the pier, but that's about 200 or so yards away...Info like that ahead of time would have been helpful..Locations of bars, restrooms and such on the app would have been helpful. But thats a minor thing to a great vacation.. Sorry this is long, but once I started writing it's hard to stop sharing what a great trip we had. And like I said, this site...and Youtube, had a lot of helpful info and I want to contribute something.. If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to ask and I'll try to give as much detail as possible.... Kevin