Over two years ago we started taking our five adult children on a cruise vacation. Because of their schedules and our budget, this was split into three cruises and the last one was scheduled for Thanksgiving week this year with our youngest son, YS , and his fiancee, SF.
She’s a schoolteacher so the dates were limited. This meant we paid more for our flights to Florida and back but it also meant I got to take a couple of days less vacation time. Trade-offs!
Traveling to Fort Lauderdale
We all four were booked to travel to Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise on Southwest. My husband and I were up early that morning and after getting ready we took a Lyft to the airport. Fortunately this driver had a Lincoln so there was plenty of room for our big suitcases (during my work travels I’ve been getting a lot of smaller cars even though they’re supposed to accommodate four people and I would assume corresponding luggage).
There wasn’t any traffic this early Saturday morning and we checked our luggage with the skycaps outside to avoid the longer lines inside. The TSA precheck line wasn’t busy yet and once we settled in at the gate I got my breakfast at The Counter.
Since changing to a keto diet my order is a breakfast sandwich with no bread!
YS and SF arrived about an hour later and it wasn’t long before boarding started. Even though I had checked in a couple of minutes after it opened online, I was assigned C9 boarding position. Fortunately, I had bought early bird for Steve so he was in A and was able to keep a seat open for me. The kids got late Bs and found two of the last seats together when they boarded. There were lots of families traveling for the holiday week so every seat was taken.
Our first flight was to Orlando and took about 4 1/2 hours. The wifi wasn’t working which meant to TV or movies but fortunately we had loaded up things to do on our iPads and had books.
I gave everyone a drink coupon and enjoyed one along with the light lunches we packed.
I love the grapefruit vodka on this airline and order it unmixed otherwise the flight attendants pour the entire bottle in the little cup and it’s too strong for me!
Steve had packed a sandwich and chips and I brought salami, cheese and olive tray.
Our tight connection in Orlando became longer due to the incoming flight being late. We ended up arriving in Fort Lauderdale about 30 minutes later than scheduled. The plane was full of cruisers!
Fort Lauderdale Hotel and Dinner
I had used hotel points to book two rooms at the Marriott Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Plantation. It offers a free airport shuttle. Once bags started arriving, I called the hotel and the shuttle arrived about 30 minutes later.
Once at the hotel, we split up as YS and SF had made dinner plans with friends living in the area. Steve and I walked over to a restaurant, Smokey Bones, I went to last time I had a pre-cruise stay at this hotel. When we learned they had a 25 minute wait we decided to go back to the Five Guys we passed. We both got burgers (and fries for Steve). I must have been too tired at this point because… no pictures.
My burger in the lettuce wrap was delicious and we also enjoyed the free peanuts. After Steve visited a candy shop for chocolates in the shopping center we walked back to the hotel and after a hour of relaxing called it a night. Tomorrow we board the Nieuw Amsterdam!
Don’t miss my previous post on this trip: