My wife and I did it on out own in January. The hotels we great on working with us. They picked us up at the airport and got us to the port no problem. We went very basic, just the airport Ramada, but get to the ship about noon you can board at that time and it's almost like having extra day of cruising
Was the Ramada Airport clean, we stayed there in Feb of 2001, and it was a pig sty. I can stand old and worn, but this was dirt. Supposedly they were going to redo it last summer. Was wondering if they did.
Just stayed at the Amerisuites, and it worked our great. Decent rooms- nice friendly people, good buffet cont. breakfast- free transfers--- even drove us to the 15th Street Fishery for dinner the night before our cruise, so we didn't need to get a cab.
When I posted before I was just mentioning what hotel I knew they used. We always book our own. We stay at Marriott Marina, Embassy Suites, and Amerisuites all by the pier. It depends on if we are going just to sleep or to venture out. If you are just looking for a clean no frills place for the night I would go with Amerisuites. They offer shuttle services, airport and pier, nice rooms and continental breakfast. If you want to go places etc. then Marriott Marina is great, it is right on the waterway. You can get a water taxi right there and go all over with a day pass. Also has good view from the balcony of the ships docking at the pier(if you get a room in front) and the boats going under the bridge. The Embassy Suites is near the others and has a full hot buffet breakfast included. They also offer shuttle service. I have never tried it but alot of cruise-addicts use hotwire to get these hotels at a really great rate. Way less than we have spent.
The cruise lines charge to much for their program. It's not hard to do it on your own, and you'll save a bunch, get better choices, and probably end up more pleased with the results. Ft. Lauderdale is easy.