We are a family of 3 which includes my wife and I and our 15 year old daughter. We chose to cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas on a 7 Night Western Carribean itinerary, so we could vacation with friends who were already booked. As a total group, on the cruise, we totated 5 adults and 5 teenagers from 12 - 17. We have cruised twice before but with two different cruise lines and two different destinations, so everything on this cruise was going to be new to us.
We decided to start our vacation by arriving early in the day preceding the cruise so we could enjoy a day exploring Orlando. We flew Southwest Airlines and opted for the early bird check-in option. Unless money was tight we will probably use early bird check-in again as it simplifies things and got us a better boarding assignment to ensure we were near the front of the plane and sitting together. As an additional note Southwest boards families with children under six between the A and B groups. We found that as these families wanted to sit together and the A group had randomly occupied the first half of the plane, the families seemed to congregate in the back half of the plane as a result.
We arrived in Orlando with an embarrassing amount of luggage for a family of 3 and rented a car from National directly at the airport. If I had been more experienced I would have been able to skip the counter and just pick a car and finish the checkout at the garage exit. Very quick and easy car rental experience overall. We arrived well before noon at the “Holiday Inn Express & Suites Orlando - International Drive” and they were able to check us in immediately so we could drop off our luggage and start exploring. The hotel was clean, well maintained, and well situated to explore the more popular attractions in Orlando.
Spacious cabin with lots or storage and a great deck.
We spent the day exploring and shopping in the Orlando area prior to our cruise. Even without visiting one of the major parks we could have easily spent multiple days exploring without getting bored. We especially enjoyed Andretti's Indoor Cart Racing on International drive.