Cruisers have a lot of choices to make and they start long before embarkation day. Do you want to cruise for 7 or 14 days? Should we get the drink package or pay as we go? Is the balcony stateroom worth the upgrade? Once you get all of that figured out, the really hard part starts…figuring out what to pack. If you head to your closet and see a depressing lack of acceptable cruise wear, never fear. Those cruising from Fort Lauderdale have tons of options to give their wardrobe a much needed boost from major brands to unique boutiques.
Guide to Sawgrass Mills
When it comes to mega-malls, there aren’t many in the entire country that rival Sawgrass Mills. With over 350 retailers, it’s the second largest mall in Florida and the 11th largest in the United States. It’s over 2 million square feet of retail space and there are plenty of great deals to be had! What makes the complex unique is the focus on outlet and value stores offering recognizable brands for far less than retail.
Located west of downtown Fort Lauderdale at the edge of the famous Everglades, the mall can be overwhelming to first time visitors because of the sheer number of places to explore. We suggest starting in one of the newer sections of the mall, The Colonnade Outlets. This outdoor section has a number of high end outlets like Prada, Burberry, Coach, Kate Spade and plenty more. There are also a few places to eat or grab a drink with outside seating. On a beautiful South Florida day, there’s nothing better than being outside, so this section of the mall is usually a popular spot for window shoppers.
Stay near the mall so you can maximize your shopping time at one of Florida’s premier shopping and dining complexes.
From there, head inside the main section and peruse hundreds of stores from small to massive. There’s a Super Target if you need to grab some sunscreen before you sail or the O’Neill outlet if you’re in the market for a new swimsuit. The full list of retailers is impressive and means having plan in place before you go is smart so you don’t get overwhelmed with all the options and places to explore. The mall is just a 15 minute ride to Port Everglades so staying nearby makes embarkation morning a breeze.
More than Just Shopping
While you could spend all day popping from store to store, Sawgrass Mills has a bunch of fun things to do and great places to eat. If your legs need a break from walking, the Regal Cinemas and IMAX theater is welcome relief. If you need a fuel boost, there are plenty of good bites to be had. Some of the most popular restaurants for shoppers at Sawgrass Mills include:
- Zinburger Wine and Burger Bar
- Texas de Brazil
- Seasons 52
- Mojito Bar Tropical Eats & Latin Beats
- Matchbox Vintage Pizza Bistro
Guide to the Galleria Mall
If you’re staying at one of the many luxury hotels and resorts along Fort Lauderdale Beach, the best place for retail therapy is the Galleria Mall. With more than 100 retailers and some of Fort Lauderdale’s most popular restaurants, Galleria Mall is a popular spot with locals and visitors alike. Stefano Versace Gelato hits the spot after a day spent enjoying the sun, surf and sand of Fort Lauderdale Beach, or treat someone special to dinner at The Capital Grille.
Here’s a great tip, if you go to Guest Services at the mall, they hand out coupon books with tons of awesome savings so don’t miss out!
There’s a lot to do before you cruise, but those looking for some retail therapy on vacation should consider a stay at a hotel in Fort Lauderdale near the best shopping in the area. Both Sawgrass Mills and The Galleria Mall have all the best shopping, dining and entertainment nearby so you can start your vacation long before you set foot on the ship!