Question: Ann Johnson asks: We are going to Ft. Lauderdale to stay one night pre-cruise. We arrive at 4:30 pm. We want to stay one night at a hotel. We want to rent a car the evening we arrive so we can go to Butterfly World the next morning before the cruise. Then return the car and go to the cruise port. How is the best way to accomplish this?
Answer: Laurie Peterson, AAA TravelViews community manager and South Florida native/frequent visitor, answers: The Ft. Lauderdale Airport and Port Everglades are close enough to each other that it would make sense to rent a car at the airport for your one-day transportation needs, then return it to the airport and either take a cab to the port (around $15) or get back to the airport terminal via car rental shuttle to catch your cruise line's port shuttle to the port. Other drop-off locations usually involve an extra fee and you'll still have to get to the port.
Having a car (check out the deals at Hertz) will give you more options on your hotel location . . I'm seeing a wide range of options on that date at AAA.com. You'll have a chance to check out a little of Fort Lauderdale that evening if you like. Stay on the beach and take a leisurely stroll on the sand. If you stay near the airport, take a ride north on U.S. 1 then over the 17th Street Causeway to AIA. Go west on Las Olas Boulevard for the retail experience and end up at the Riverwalk complex for a mix of dining and entertainment.
You'll enjoy Butterfly World, a AAA GEM attraction. My children and I were facsinated by the up-close encounters with so many species – birds as well as butterflies- when we visited recently. Don't forget to Show Your Card & Save, the AAA member discount will be appreciated. Keep in mind that Butterfly World is located in Coconut Creek, about 21 miles north of the Ft. Lauderdale airport, so get an early start and allow enough time to return the car and get to the port. Enjoy your cruise.