This cruise on the Carnival Paradise was for my Mom's birthday/Family Reunion. She had never cruised before and has not been on a real vacation in a very long time. We booked 3 inside cabins on the Main Deck. My family and my bother & Girlfriend were traveling from NY. My mother and 11yr old nephew are from Florida.
Pre-Cruise: The NY group flew out the day before (SAT) to FLL. We stayed at the Embassy Suites by the FLL. Pier. The hotel picked us up at the airport. The hotel is very nice. Beautiful grounds and pool. The room was big...sleeps 6. Free cocktail hour and buffet breakfast. If you are going out on a cruise from FLL. They will drop you off at the pier for n/c. Unfortunately it rained all day. My kids were determined to go swimming. We let them go in for a short while. They were going to get wet anyway. We ate dinner at the Outback Steakhouse across the street from the hotel. We made arrangements with a car service to bring us to the Port of Miami ($65). We had made arrangements with Cruise Connections to pickup my Mother & Nephew in Clearwater and bring them directly to the ship ($85 r/t).
Embarkation We arrived at the pier about 11:30. We were delayed a little while to fill out the Bahamas Immigration papers. I don't understand why Carnival didn't send this info out with our docs to save time. Things went fairly smooth and we were on the ship by 12:30.