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Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

Pennsylvania USA
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Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

I've planned a trip to Fort Lauderdale plus 2 night cruise on the Bahamas Celebration for my parents who will be visiting from Malaysia next month, and would greatly appreciate your thoughts on whether this would work. They will be on their own, and I planned this as a no-drive trip as I didn't want them stressed out driving on the 'wrong' side of the road ;) - Malaysia, as with much of the rest of the world has left side driving. I am also planning this as a low-budget trip, and any advice on the costs would be great too.

I myself have visited FLL twice previously but my experience in Florida is limited to my three months primitive camping in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

(I am aware of the complaints regarding the Bahamas Celebration Cruise, so I am booking direct with their website to avoid the timeshares. My parents have a limited time in FLL and the other cruise line sailing dates did not work with my parents' dates, so I decided to take the risk with this cruise and will forewarn my parents to have low expectations.)

21 May (Tue): JFK - FLL 11.30a-2.48p ($100 pp). Free shuttle to Bridge at Cordova Hotel ($80/nt). Explore the Intracoastal Waterways via Water Taxi ($20 pp) with dinner at one of the stops.

22 May (Wed): Checkout from hotel at 10 am.

$15 Cab to Fort Lauderdale Amtrak train station 4.6 miles, 15 minutes

$10 Train to Mangonia Park 11.00a-12.20p

$10 Cab to Port of Palm Beach 3 miles, 10 minutes

$200 pp 1 pm embarkation on the Bahamas Celebration cruise ship.

23 May (Thu): 8a-5p Grand Bahama Island. Snorkeling, shopping, glass bottom boat or cave tour with Buffet lunch ($70 pp).

24 May (Fri): 9 am Back at Port of Palm Beach. Disembark cruise ship. Return to hotel via cab-train-cab (same way, $35). 1 night at hotel ($80/nt). Visit the beach, use Sun Trolley

25 May (Sat): Checkout 10 am. 11a-3p Everglades Tour and Airboat Ride ($65 pp). Pick up at hotel, drop off at airport. FLL - PITT 6.30p-9.05p ($200 pp)

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Fort Lauderdale...
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1. Re: Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

The rates listed for some of your flights seam a bit low to me, have you added in checked bag fee's? Your room rates also seam on the low side to me. Will your parents have a cell phone ? I wonder how they will contact cab companies etc.

PA
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2. Re: Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

Thanks for your comments! I haven't included the cost of checked bags as they might be just doing the carry on thing. But yes that's a good point. The hotel Bridge Cordova is quoting $83 including taxes at the moment but it could go up. About the phone... That's a toughie. I would prefer if they had a phone. There are a few occasions they will need to use a phone - at the airport they would need to call for their free shuttle to the hotel, from the hotel they would need to call for a cab to get them to the train station, at the mangonia station they might need to call for a cab to port of palm beach and same for the return trip after the cruise. Hopefully they could get by using pay phones?

Pennsylvania USA
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3. Re: Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

Thanks for your comments! I haven't included the cost of checked bags as they might be just doing the carry on thing. But yes that's a good point. The hotel Bridge Cordova is quoting $83 including taxes at the moment but it could go up. About the phone... That's a toughie. I would prefer if they had a phone. There are a few occasions they will need to use a phone - at the airport they would need to call for their free shuttle to the hotel, from the hotel they would need to call for a cab to get them to the train station, at the mangonia station they might need to call for a cab to port of palm beach and same for the return trip after the cruise. Hopefully they could get by using pay phones?

Edited: 30 April 2013, 00:12
Fort Lauderdale...
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4. Re: Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

pay phones to me are a thing of the past, the hotel should have a courtesy phone at the airport, the hotel should be able to call a cab for them, the part that I wonder about is the train station calls...

Bolton, United...
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5. Re: Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

I hope the OP realises that the Bridge is a fairly basic place. It is used by cruise ship crews, itinerant workers and of course tourists. I would doubt very much that it has a courtesy phone at the airport, also from reading the reviews it would appear to have limited office hours, most smaller establishments do.

PA
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6. Re: Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

Thanks objet and suewick, good points that didnt occur to me till you brought it up! The family-run Bridge seems safe, central and well reviewed so I think my parents would be ok staying there, but I am now concerned they will be stuck places if they don't have a phone (at the train stations like objet mentioned). My dad will have his iphone5 - I'll look into local prepaid SIM cards that might work for him. Any other suggestions hugely appreciated!

Bolton, United...
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7. Re: Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

I'm afraid my suggestions would be don't stay at the Bridge and don't do the Celebration Cruise but as you've already decided, I hope your parents have a great time. I suppose the Bridge is only for one night either side of the "cruise", so perhaps it will work for them. If they are looking for a reasonably prices restaurant close by I would suggest Southport Raw Bar, it's one of my favourites.

http://www.southportrawbar.com/

Pennsylvania USA
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8. Re: Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

Thanks Suewick, I'll definitely send them to the Southport Raw Bar. I've got my fingers crossed that the Celebration Cruise and the Bridge won't be a total disaster. So far the cruise seems to be off to an okay start - I made the booking via phone, directly with the cruise company at bahamascelebration.com and the sales associate Tammy was helpful. She said the Tri-Rail up to Mangonia park then a cab to the Port of Palm Beach would be the way to go, and I would not need to call for a cab in either direction as there are cabs lined up outside the train station and also at the port. She said she uses that Tri-Rail to get to work herself. Thanks again Suewick, I do appreciate your advice and suggestions, both here and elsewhere on the FLL forums!

Fort Lauderdale...
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9. Re: Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

I am afraid I agree with Sue- it sounds more like an episode of a Amazing Race to me than a nice trip. Not sure what level cabin you booked on the ( ugh) Celebration, but some elderly couples have posted on the Forums that they were assigned to cabins with an upper and lower bunk only and when they asked for two lowers because neither could climb up were told they would have to upgrade on the spot for $300+ additional.. I hope that does not happen to your folks. Personally I'd rather just stay in Ft. Lauderdale all the days in a little nicer accommodation ( Bridge is a shabby old apartment building in my opinion- are your parents used to hostel style accommodations?) than do anything on Celebration. The Bahamas will be very expensive when they get off ship and they will likely be hustled and pestered there. On our last two cruises ( on Royal Caribbean) we chose not to get off at all in Nassau and that night our table mates all told us they wished they had not either.

Fort Lauderdale...
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10. Re: Detailed No-Drive 5 day Itinerary Planned - Feedback/Advice?

I not convinced there will be cabs waiting at the train stations, is there a way to confirm that before your folks travel ?