Travel Day & Arriving in Fort Lauderdale
So today was finally the day we were off to Miami to pick up one of the biggest cruise ships to sail round the Western Caribbean. Excited… just a tad.
As we had stayed overnight at Heathrow we didn’t have a really early start, nobody likes a 3am start especially me! Anyway fast forward a couple of hours, we arrived at a busy Terminal 3 to check in where we decided to have a complete crazy moment and upgrade to premium economy, I’m still convinced Sam just didn’t want to queue round terminal 3 in the economy line but I wasn’t complaining. I will do a separate little review on this so I wont bore you all with the details of my flight over to Miami in the semi-posh section on the plane. The flight was great but long due to being on one of the oldest planes of the fleet, if she hasn’t gone to the plane graveyard yet watch out for Champagne Belle she adds flight time to your journey!
On arrival at Miami we had what was possibly one of the longest walks ever to the security it just went on and on. Once through the dreaded security we were met by our lovely driver for our transfer to Fort Lauderdale and outside the weather was hot hot. As our cruise was from Fort Lauderdale it made sense for us to stay here pre cruise and then venture down to South Beach post cruise. The transfer was around an hour due to arriving in rush hour but our driver was really pleasant and loved a good chat.
We were staying at the Doubletree by Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Check in to the hotel was quick and easy and we got given a room on the 21st floor. I will do a separate review about the hotel but it was a lovely resort and the room was huge but the best part for me was the view from our room ocean one way and Fort Lauderdale the opposite way.
By the time we got settled into our room time was passing and jet lag was starting to kick in, the bed was well and truly calling my name. I probably hadn’t done as much research into Fort Lauderdale as I should of as I had no idea where to go for dinner. We had a little wonder down the street but nothing really took our fancy and I was now getting to the stage were I was happy to skip dinner and head to bed. But after a little google search I found the faithful Cheesecake Factory was nearby at Las Olas Boulevard. We jumped in a taxi from the hotel which was erm interesting I am surprised the car was even road legal it seemed like it was going to fall apart. $15 later we reached The Cheesecake Factory and we were seated within 10 minutes yes 10 minutes at The Cheesecake Factory what was going on! Anyway food was great the bread will always be the best part for me but the skinny pasta was also quite good. Even though I was jet lagged and full to the brim I got some cookie dough cheesecake to take away that I could eat at a stupid time in the morning when jet lag woke me up.
As I felt we were a bit ripped off with our taxi we decided to give Uber a shot. I was so nervous I had never used Uber before and just felt a bit on edge about the whole thing but after requesting an Uber driver through the app he arrived in like 5 minutes and actually the car was in immaculate condition so far so good. Things then went a bit downhill after that as the Uber guy got us lost yes lost he had no idea where he was or was going as a matter of fact and didn’t speak very good English ahhh panic! Luckily for us we could use our phones and jumped on to Google Maps and then direct the Uber driver back to our hotel I almost wanted to say shall I drive but there we go we eventually got back to the hotel in one piece and was only $6 so I can’t moan too much but how could the first Uber experience go so wrong.
I was now an official walking zombie, watered, fed and definitely ready for bed! After being awake for nearly 24 hours we decided to head to bed and call it a day/night whatever time my brain thought it was at that point.
Fort Lauderdale | Day 1
If you have read my blogs before you will know I suffer really bad with jet lag and surprise surprise I was wide awake at 4am. I then spent two hours trying to force myself back to sleep with no such luck. When the sun finally came up we got ready and headed out onto the promenade, we walked around 2 blocks when I came across Beauty and the Feast. This was a restaurant I had found online on faithful TripAdvisor before I left so we decided to stop for breakfast and try it out.
Beauty and the Feast was part of the Atlantic Hotel, we had to wait around 10 minutes for a table outside on the terrace however, it was the perfect spot for people watching that I agreed to wait. Breakfast was huge and amazing, Sam had the eggs benedict and I had the american breakfast. It was really nice here they had music playing on the terrace and as I said it was a great people watching spot, there was plenty of people heading over to the beach for the day. After we finished breakfast we sat on the terrace and carried on watching the world go by along with deciding what to do next. It turns out Fort Lauderdale didn’t have huge amounts to offer in my opinion, everyone will probably correct me now. But coming from a seaside town back home it almost reminded me of home, just not quite as hot or sunny as home.
After a bit of googling we decided to walk up to The Galleria Fort Lauderdale which was the local mall in the area. We don’t normally rush to the closest mall on our first day of holiday but Sam left his sunglasses in the car at the airport and his tie on the floor at home so this caused a bit of a problem. He wasn’t so bothered about the tie but going on a cruise with no sunglasses was an issue. I did offer my purple mirrored ray-bans but he was having none of it. Anyway the walk to The Galleria took around 30 minutes I was tempted to use Uber but after last night I was quite happy to walk the breakfast off. The mall was definitely nothing to jump up and down about. In my opinion it was the worst mall I have ever been to in America but we got some sunglasses and a tie so it was a pretty successful trip for us.
After the mall experience we were going to get an Uber back to the hotel however the wait was around 15 minutes so we decided to start walking back which I later regretted after wearing new shoes oh the pain. After getting back to the room the huge slab of cheesecake in the fridge was definitely going to be demolished, hello there cookie dough cheesecake!
After all the walking and my feet literally screaming at me we decided to spend the afternoon round the pool at the hotel. When we reached the rooftop pool I was surprised to see the majority of the pool area was in the shade. Good old high rise hotels, have great views but block the sunlight round the pool. I couldn’t walk anymore so to the bar it was. The strawberry daiquiris were incredible and made me get over the fact the pool was completely in the shade now and my feet were killing.
After a few cocktails and giving my feet a rest we went back to the room to get ready for the evening. It seemed the the place for restaurants in Fort Lauderdale was Las Olas Boulevard so our plan was to go back there tonight. Fort Lauderdale seemed so busy tonight even requesting a Uber had a 25 minute wait which seemed crazy. Instead we used our legs again and started to walk down into the action and to the start of Las Olas Boulevard. When we reached the start we managed to jump in a cab down to the main restaurant area, however, traffic was ridiculous and the bars were overspilling where all these people were during the day was beyond me. The taxi also cost us $10 which i thought was a total rip off for the distance we went and he spent the whole time trying to sell us his CDs which were no doubt blank but there we go moan over.
Dinner tonight was a Gran Forgo Pronto which was a small little bar/restaurant. They had a live singer and this was another place I had come across before I left on TripAdvisor. We sat out on the terrace as it was a lovely evening however we were sat near the live singer so when he was singing it was pretty hard to have a conversation without shouting at each other. Dinner was lovely and the pizza’s were huge, the service was also really quick here. Even though the singer was great we did leave not long after finishing our dinner as it was just far too loud, that makes me sound so old, I promise I am not this grumpy normally!
After dinner we spent a while browsing through the shops on Las Olas Boulevard walking towards the beach. We were going to stop for a few drinks along the way but the bars were rammed with people and I definitely didn’t want to fight my way to the bar to get a drink, here I go again, I promise I was having a good time on holiday! Anyway we ended up heading back to our hotel via Uber which was $7 all the way back to our hotel, told you the taxi was a rip off. We went up to the bar and had a few more daiquiris when I received an email from Royal Caribbean telling me that there was norovirus on the ship and a deep clean would be essential before we could board meaning boarding would be delayed by 2 hours ahhhh another daiquiri was ordered.
After a few more daiquiris and the lovely jet lag creeping in it was time to head to bed. Tomorrow was cruise day and the nerves and excitement was definitely kicking in.
Fort Lauderdale | Day 2
I was wide awake at 6am which was an improvement from yesterday and today was cruise day woohoo. I managed to get a late check out from hotel which was lucky as we had an email from the cruise saying we couldn’t check in until 1pm now due to the deep sanitisation process after so many passengers were taken ill with norovirus. It was nice to know they take things like that seriously but incredibly annoying that it delayed us getting onto the ship. We went for breakfast at the H2O cafe which was along the promenade.
On the walk down the promenade the Fort Lauderdale half marathon (I think) was going on, the runners were all fantastic and I loved the fact everyone was cheering everyone on. At the H2O Cafe we decided to sit on the promenade rather than inside and watch the runners running past while I stuffed my face with the biggest pancakes going. Even if they weren’t the healthiest thing in the world the pancakes were immense.
After breakfast we then went for another walk along the promenade back up to the hotel this time along the beach watching the last of the runners head towards the finish line and walking through the waves on the beach. Back at the hotel we packed all our cases up ready to head to the port.
As we had a free hour we went down to the pool and enjoyed another cocktail before leaving the hotel. Nerves were starting to really kick in about getting on the cruise ahh. Check out from the hotel was simple and then the bell boys got us a car to take us to Port Everglades. We didn’t realise that Uber are actually allowed in the port so we did end up paying around $40 inc tip to get to the port but it was a lovely big car, the driver was really friendly and he got us to the port using the back roads due to all the traffic diversions but next time I will probably just use Uber. Approaching the pier at Port Everglades my tummy was filled with excitement and nerves, Allure of the Seas we were on our way!