Here's a dilemma: You debark your cruise in Ft. Lauderdale, but your flight isn't until the early evening. You'd like to spend the day touring the city or relaxing on the beach, but you don't want to lug your 50-pound suitcases with you everywhere you go. What's a cruiser to do?
If your flight is on Southwest, you've now got an easy answer. Bags to Go, a self-proclaimed leader in advanced airport luggage check-in services, now has agents at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale. Disembarking cruise guests can turn over their luggage to the Bags to Go personnel stationed just past Customs. They'll receive their boarding passes on the spot, and their bags will be checked through to their final destination.
The cost is $20 per person for up to two checked bags and is available for Southwest flights departing Ft. Lauderdale after 11:45 a.m. but no later than 12 hours after debarkation. You can sign up for this service online in advance of travel, upon arrival at the Ft. Lauderdale airport pre-cruise, or post-cruise right at the port terminal.
The service sounds like a great solution to an age-old cruise problem, but it's currently limited to one airline and one port. If you'd like to see this option expanded, you might want to lobby your favorite airline and/or port. It's worth it for a few more hours of carefree vacation time.
--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor