- Photo Tours
- Carnival Breeze – Exotic Eastern Caribbean
- Carnival Freedom – Western Caribbean
- Carnival Miracle – Mexican Riviera
- Carnival Paradise – Cuba
- Carnival Pride – Bahamas from Baltimore
- Coral Princess – Ultimate Alaska with Cruise Experts Travel
- Cuba Cruise Louis Cristal – Cuba
- MSC Divina – Eastern Caribbean
- Norwegian Breakaway – Christening
- Norwegian Epic – Eastern Caribbean
- Norwegian Pearl – Alaska RT Seattle
- Quantum of the Seas – Preview Cruise
- Zuiderdam – Alaska Inside Passage
- Hurtigruten FRAM – Antarctica
- Hurtigruten Midnatsol – North Cape
- Passing Cloud – BC’s Gulf Islands
- Passing Cloud – Haida Gwaii
- S.S. Legacy – Columbia & Snake Rivers
- Safari Endeavour – Alaska’s Glacier Country
- Safari Voyager – Mexico’s Sea of Cortes
- Schooner Zodiac – Brew Cruise 2013
- Schooner Zodiac – Wine Cruise
- Silver Discoverer – Australia to Indonesia
- Silver Explorer – Arctic Svalbard
- Silver Explorer – British Isles
- Silver Galapagos – Galapagos Islands
- Wind Spirit – Stockholm to Oslo
- Wind Star – Rome to Nice
- EUROPA 2 – Greece & Turkey
- Queen Mary 2 – Eastbound Transatlantic 2012
- Queen Mary 2 – Westbound Transatlantic 2015
- Seabourn Sojourn – Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn
- Silver Shadow – Exotic Alaska
- Silver Shadow – Southeast Asia & Myanmar
- Silver Spirit – Athens to Barcelona
- Silver Spirit- Eastbound Transatlantic
- Silver Wind – Mediterranean
- Silver Wind – Middle East
- Silver Wind – South Africa
- AmaLotus – Cambodia & Vietnam
- AmaLyra- Danube Christmas Markets
- American Empress on the Columbia
- Avalon Expression – Amsterdam to Nuremberg
- Emerald Waterways Emerald Star – Danube Delights
- G Adventures – India’s Ganges
- S.S. Maria Theresa – Christening
- Tauck ms Inspire – Maiden Voyage
- Tauck Swiss Jewel – Blue Danube
- Viking Baldur – Danube Christmas
- Viking Baldur – Rhine Christmas
- Viking Forseti – Chateaux, Rivers & Wine
- Viking Freya – Danube Christmas
- Viking Longships Christening 2012
- Viking Longships Christening 2013
- Viking Longships Christening 2014
- Viking Longships Christening 2015
- Viking Vidar – Grand European Tour
- Upcoming Cruises
- About FTDC
The Ritz, Cabanas and a storm named Isaac
Anyone who knows me understands that I always get up early. Six and seven in the morning are fairly standard wakeup times for me, no matter where I am. But here at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, that isn’t the case. The fact is this: their ultra-comfortable bed continues to call me to sleep, even when I know I should be getting up!
So – grudgingly – I pulled myself out of bed at the rather late hour of quarter to nine, intent on exploring Fort Lauderdale.
I didn’t get far.
The reason: I discovered the Ritz-Carlton’s private cabanas. And then I figured the city tour could wait!
Located on a secluded level just below the pool on the 7th floor, these resort-style cabanas are the perfect getaway from the everyday – or, as I discovered, everything. When you book one, it is available for your personal use (for you and a guest) throughout the day.
Dual loungers and chairs accompany a canvas tent designed to keep the sun out or in, depending on your preference. A coffee-table boasts an assortment of magazines and reading material, and a chest located at the rear of the cabana opens up to reveal a flat-panel television, iPod docking station and a mini-fridge stocked with chilled still and sparkling bottled water.
But this isn’t just a comfortable place to sit in a prime location; these Cabanas offer a true VIP experience. As if the experience of staying at the Ritz wasn’t enough on its own!
Throughout the day, a dedicated Cabana Captain will attend to your every need. He or she can get you refreshments from the bar, offer you breakfast service, or even have lunch from the Pool Grill just above brought down to you – all without having to leave your relaxing perch.
That’s not to say that you have to stay at the Cabana all day; instead, you are welcomed to come and go as you please. I spent two ultra-relaxing hours at my Cabana this morning, reading the Wall Street Journal, a book, and of course a selection of cruise brochures I brought with me. It’s always good to be prepared!
Shannon was my Cabana Captain for most of the day, and she did a superb job, always managing to arrive just at the perfect moment – usually, when my drink ran out – and with a smile. She even came around in the late afternoon with a cup of fresh grapes and blueberries; the perfect antidote to beat the heat!
An entire bowl of fresh fruit is also produced on-demand when you arrive at your Cabana, and there’s nothing like having a ripe, juicy apple during the heat of the day. Forgot your sunblock like I did? Don’t worry – you don’t have to hike all the way back to your room; sunscreen is provided in every Cabana. And being Canadian, I used it liberally!
Here’s the thing: I never sit still. Never. I find it difficult to relax, and am always on the go. Today, I sat in my Cabana for two hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. What did I do? Not a heck of a lot – and it was a wonderful escape from the everyday. When I wasn’t gazing out at the ocean, I was reading. When I wasn’t reading, I was gazing out at the ocean. And it feels decidedly like you’re on the Lido Deck of a cruise ship out in the Cabanas; when you sit down, the road and beach disappear, leaving only the rich blue hues of the Atlantic Ocean.
I never knew doing so little could be so rewarding. Whenever I looked out at the sea, I felt like I was in Barbados, or St. Lucia, or even Hawaii. That’s the brilliance of this property; it may be firmly routed on land in Fort Lauderdale, but this classic ocean-liner-themed resort does a great job of transporting you to your very own fantasy land.
Like Shannon, every attendant who works the Ritz-Carlton’s beautiful pool area remembers their guests by name, inquires as to how they are doing, and asks – sincerely – if there is anything else they can do for them. As a guest, I like that. As a frequent traveller, I appreciate it wholeheartedly. I pass through hotels frequently, and it is always the ones that make me feel special, appreciated, and welcomed that leave the strongest impression on me. My time here, and at my private cabana, certainly left that strong, positive impression on me!
Tonight, I had the opportunity to dine in Via Luna, the Ritz-Carlton’s on-site restaurant. It is, as you might expect, excellent. How excellent? I only got a picture of this menu at the start of my meal; the rest of the time, I was enjoying my food far too much to even think about dinner. Veal and penne pasta with asparagus, brussle sprouts and truffle oil drizzle – amazing!
But what made the meal even more sublime was the environment in which you dine in; Via Luna looks like an elegant dining room on one of the ocean liners of yesteryear. In fact, the whole property has a strong influence from ships like the Normandie and Norway/France, with their sweeping walls, curving public spaces, and art-deco sensibilities.
Best of all, Via Luna is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even Sunday Brunch – a Ritz-Carlton tradition.
All too soon dinner was over, and I was left lamenting the fact that this would be my last night at this great property. While it looks like Tropical Storm Isaac is going to miss Fort Lauderdale, the weather here tonight is stormy to say the least, with high winds and dark, moody skies punctuated by lightning. Every so often, a flash of lightning will light up the vast Atlantic Ocean, revealing tanker and container ships slowly making their way up and down the coast, battling the elements as they do so.
But here in my room, the lights are glowing brightly and only the slightest sound of wind can be heard gently whistling through my balcony doors.
There’s so many things you can do with the Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale as your homebase; you can go shopping along Las Olas; you can take a water-taxi along the inter-coastal waterways; the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is just a few blocks away; and then, of course, there’s the sprawling Fort Lauderdale Beach coastline that just beckons you in for a swim.
In the end, I did none of these. Surprising? Yes – because I’m a big “get out and go” person. But aside from strolling down the oceanfront promenade, I found my day at the Ritz to be exactly what I needed – and very likely, just what pre-and-post cruise passengers need before they head off to or return from the Caribbean.
If only airports were like Ritz-Carlton’s – how much fun travelling would be!
Our Live Trip Report from the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale has sadly come to a close, but be sure to tune back in on Monday as we recap our coverage and, yes, explore Fort Lauderdale – just a little bit! There’s plenty more to come next week, right here on From the Deck Chair!
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009