If you’ve invested in a cruise vacation, it’s crazy to add stress to your life by scrambling to arrive in your departure port on the day of sailing. Cancellations happen. As do delays, misconnects, airport congestion, and traffic. You don’t need to start off your vacation with the stress caused by rushing through airports and watching the clock. Instead, arrive a day early, take advantage of a hotel offering value-added pricing and amenities, and start your vacation in a relaxed state of mind. I was traveling cross-country for a cruise and I wouldn’t have dreamed of trying to do it all in one day. SpringHill Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port provided the pricing, convenience, and amenities I was looking for in a pre-cruise hotel.
SpringHill Suites offers a complimentary shuttle between the airport and the hotel. It runs upon request, so give the hotel a call when you arrive and they’ll let you know when you can expect it to be there. My wait was about five minutes after I had gathered my checked bags. If you arrive outside of shuttle hours or can’t wait for it to come, the four-mile cab ride will run you about $25, and an Uber slightly less.
Arrival and check in was quick and easy. SpringHill is part of the Marriott brand (now SPG), and routine guest standards are delivered cheerfully. Our room was booked for three friends, all arriving at different times which can often create confusion. When I arrived, the reservations were all in order, I had a key ready for me, and I could get settled before the next person arrived. I was expecting confusion, but it was all in order.
A suite is a great choice for a family or a group of friends traveling together. We were three friends heading out on a cruise, and the suite offered two queen beds and a comfortable pull out couch. The room was simply furnished, and although there wasn’t over-the-top luxury, there were plenty of practical touches that made for a comfortable stay. The suite was spacious enough for three women with lots of stuff, and it also had a small kitchenette area with mini-refrigerator, microwave, and coffee station, and a vanity area separate from the toilet and shower (the latter incredibly important with three people getting ready in the morning). Wi-fi is complimentary, a necessity for working on the road.
The decor is simple and fairly standard to what you see in the Marriott brand. If you want luxury in Fort Lauderdale, stay at the Bonaventure Resort, but for cruise convenience, this is to place to be.
If you’ve allowed yourself extra time at the hotel, you can grab a relaxing swim in the outdoor pool, soak in the whirlpool, or get a work out in the gym. I did none of those things. Instead, I headed out for a Cuban dinner and some sangria before turning in for the night. The front desk has a great map of restaurants in the area, several an easy walk away, all within a very short drive or inexpensive taxi or Uber.
The next morning I did take advantage of the complimentary breakfast buffet. I was pleasantly surprised at the elaborate assortment of hot and cold dishes, including eggs, cereal, pastries, and lots more. Breakfast represents a substantial value-added, especially when a hotel breakfast can easily set you back $10-15 (or more) per person. Breakfast was a busy time, with lots of people enjoying the meal as well as departing the hotel, but it was easy to find a table, even during peak dining time. People seemed not to linger at their tables, it was more of a quick turn, so seating wasn’t a problem. The hotel attracts a lot of families and groups, so breakfast was a fairly noisy event. Eating outdoors, poolside, was much quieter.
Additional amenities for cruise passengers include fly-drive and cruise-drive packages and a reasonably priced ($8 person) shuttle to the cruise port. Check the shuttle schedule for your day of departure and schedule your seat when you make your reservation or when you check in. We opted to grab an Uber to the cruise port which cost $10 including tip.
When it was time to check in for my Holland America cruise, I was rested and wasn’t stressed out. I got to the ship, got settled, then explored the ship. Arriving a day early made all of that possible, while still leaving me an extra day in case everything really went sideways, and it was all smooth sailing from there.
SpringHill Suites was exactly what I was looking for – a convenient and reasonably priced place to stay before heading out on a cruise. It delivered that in spades. While I may not choose to stay there for a week, for a pre-departure cruise you can’t go wrong.
SpringHill Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Port is located at 151 Southwest 18th Court, Dania Beach, Florida. Rates vary widely, based on cruise schedules and season. We paid $150 night during high season, and I’ve seen rates as low as $89. You get a lot of value for the price. Check rates during both high and low season on Priceline or Hotelopia.
Exterior photo courtesy of the hotel, others from the author.