Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Location:

The port is 10 minutes by taxi from downtown. 5 min by taxi to the beaches.

A taxi is about the only way to get to/away from the cruise terminal.

The port itself is located in a large industrial area.

Sightseeing:

Reinvented as a family-friendly resort town, Fort Lauderdale’s golden sand beaches and Venice-like waterways are the backdrop to this South Florida city’s charm of relaxed sophistication.

Known as the luxury yachting capital of the world, mega yachts line the Intercoastal Canal and winding waterways, where astonishing wealth can be glimpsed by the casual explorer.

Its glittery neighbour, Miami, with its hot Latino beat, has nothing on this waterfront showcase. Greater Fort Lauderdale extends 37km (23 miles) from Palm Beach in the north, to Miami in the south, one continuous strip of beautiful beaches and over 480km (300 miles) of inland waterways.

Tours/Excursions/Transportation:

Water taxis are a great way to get around, whether shopping or finding the best restaurant (all day passes just US$10).

Activities are centered around the beach, Riverwalk and Las Olas Boulevard are either walking or cruising distances apart. The city is safe and family-friendly.

Local buses and trains serve greater Fort Lauderdale and South Florida. To explore up or down the state’s beautiful coastline and beaches, or take a day trip or longer to the Florida Keys, a hire car is needed.

Nearby Places:

Fort Lauderdale’s 5km (3-mile) strip of pristine sandy beach blends with the urban streetscape of highway AIA known as Beach Boulevard, where open air cafes and bistros overlook waving palms and the sparkling Atlantic. Combine this with kilometres (miles) of lagoons and a city built around winding waterways connected by bridges and water taxis, and you’ll understand its appeal to water lovers. Since the spring break crowd was banned in the 90s, the promenade is a magnet for runners, walkers and cyclists, and the beach is one of Fort Lauderdale’s foremost attractions. Energize with kite surfing, waterskiing, scuba diving offshore wrecks, parasailing, and sailboat, jet ski, ocean kayak or power boat rentals and cruises. Fish off the piers at neighbouring Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Deerfield and Pompano beaches.

Shopping and Food:

Fort Lauderdale’s downtown chic shopping street is the broad avenue of Las Olas, lined with fashion boutiques, art galleries, memorable restaurants and sidewalk cafes as it runs its elegant course parallel to the river. Here window-shoppers chat in a dozen languages while others rest their feet and watch the passing parade from the shady cafes.

For more frenetic shopping action head off about 10 miles (16km) west to Sunrise Boulevard and you can plunge into the Swap Shop Circus where more than 12-million shoppers a year sift through the goods at 800 open-air canopied vendor stalls selling brand name items at bargain prices. The circus also actually features circus shows, and boasts the world’s largest 13-screen drive-in movie theatre.

Right nearby is Florida’s largest retail and entertainment center, Sawgrass Mills, with almost two miles (three km) of mall housing more than 400 stores and kiosks. The Oasis food court here holds more than 30 popular eateries.

Antique-collectors enjoy the treasure-trove of the Dania Beach Historic Antique Shopping District, home to dozens of antique shops and the Antique Center Mall.

Currency:

The official U.S. currency is the United States dollar (symbol: $). ATM’s everywhere.

Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used and accepted, even for transactions worth only a few dollars. In fact, in some cases, it may be the only way to make a transaction. Note to overseas visitors: Prices of goods and services always seem lower than they really are, as taxes and gratuities are seldom included.

Most states have a sales tax, ranging from 2.9% to nearly 10% of the retail price; 4-6% is typical. Sales tax is almost never included in posted prices (except for gasoline, and in most states, alcoholic beverages consumed on-premises), but instead will be calculated and added to the total when you pay.

Tipping in America is widely used and expected. While Americans themselves often debate correct levels and exactly who deserves to be tipped, generally accepted standard rates are:

  • Full-service restaurants: 15-20% (Often this is the only income of the wait(ress). Tips are either left in cash or you can add it to the credit card slip) Note: Few restaurants add an automatic service charge, in which case it is up to you how much you tip extra. Check your bill!
  • Taxi drivers, hairdressers, other personal services: 10-15%
  • Bartenders: $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15% of total
  • Bellhops: $1-2 per bag ($3-5 minimum regardless)
  • Hotel doorman: $1 per bag (if they assist), $1 for calling a cab
  • Shuttle bus drivers: $2-5 (optional)
  • Private car & limousine drivers: 15-20%
  • Housekeeping in hotels: $1-2 per day for long stays or $5 minimum for very short stays (optional)
  • Food delivery (pizza, etc.): $2-5, possibly more for very large order

Communication:

Terminal 18 is the largest cruise terminal in Port Everglades and offers free WiFi.

Broward County hosts several free wireless Internet “hotspots”: the section of Las Olas Boulevard between Andrews Ave and 10th Ave., all of the county’s libraries and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Emergency 911

Opening Hours and Holidays:

In major metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, many drugstores and supermarkets are routinely open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, while department stores, shopping centers and most other large retailers are typically open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and often with shorter hours on Sundays – generally 11 a.m. or noon to 5 or 6 p.m. On holidays, the tendency is to remain open (with the exception of the most important holidays like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day where stores are generally closed)

  • New Years Day (January 1) – most businesses closed; hangovers from parties the previous night, football parties. Primarily a secular holiday, and the major celebration occurs the previous night.
  • Martin Luther King Day (third Monday in January) – many government offices and banks closed; diversity-awareness programs.
  • St. Valentine’s Day (February 14) – no significant closures; romantic evenings out.
  • Presidents Day (third Monday in February) – (also Washington’s Birthday) – many government offices and banks closed; few observances, many stores have sales.
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) – no significant closures; Irish-themed parades during the day, and parties in the evening. Travelers may want to be wary of the drunken revelry and associated drunk driving crackdowns.
  • Easter (a Sunday in March or April) – few significant closures; Christian religious observances.
  • Passover (timing somewhat similar to Easter; lasts a week) – Jewish religious observances.
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May) – most non-retail/tourism businesses closed; some patriotic observances; extensive travel to beaches and parks; traditional beginning of summer tourism season.
  • Independence Day / Fourth of July (July 4) – most businesses closed; patriotic parades, fireworks after dark.
  • Labor Day (first Monday in September) – most businesses closed; extensive travel to beaches and parks; traditional ending of summer tourism season.
  • Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – Jewish religious autumn holidays.
  • Columbus Day (second Monday in October) – many government offices and banks closed; few observances.
  • Halloween (October 31) – no significant closures – trick-or-treating and costume parties in the evening.
  • Veterans Day (November 11) – many government offices and banks closed; some patriotic observances.
  • Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November, unofficially the Friday and weekend after) – most non-retail businesses closed; family gatherings, on Friday major Christmas shopping begins.
  • Christmas (December 25) – most businesses and restaurants closed the evening before and all day; exchanging gifts, Christian religious observances. If you need food from a restaurant, your best bet will be hotels and Chinese or Indian restaurants. People from non-Christian religions often go to the movies and eat at Chinese restaurants on Christmas.
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Place Categories: Cruise Ports

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