When you book a cruise from Ft Lauderdale, "The Venice of America"- so called for its canals, I recommend leaving at least a day early or remaining a day after. I have stayed in Ft. Lauderdale many times before my cruises and enjoyed each one of them. Flying in a day early means that if a flight gets canceled you have more options; and when you finally get to the ship you can be relaxed and ready for pampering!
There are a few hotels very close to the pier, only a 5-10 minute drive. Each cruise line has a Pre-cruise Hotel Package you can book with your travel agent. Or you can book your own hotel. Your choice.
I have stayed at the Embassy Suites Hotel (Gay Friendly) near the pier. When I stayed there I asked for an East Tower Room. That gave me a nice view of the ships coming into port from my private balcony. The cook-to-order breakfast was very good. And included in the price of the room. The cost per night depends on the time you go. You can plan on about $298 per night for 2 people (the price in the Princess Brochure High Season Rates January-March.) Sometimes you can find better rates when you book non-cruiseline hotels. Have your agent check both. The hotel's website is: www.embassysuites.com. It's located at 1100 SE 17th St Ft Lauderdale.
The Hyatt Pier 66 is said to be a very gay friendly hotel. You can enjoy the 360 degree view of the town in the Pier Top Lounge in this 17 story tower hotel. Celebrity offers this hotel with its Pre and Post packages. Price in the 2000 Celebrity Brochure for peak time Jan- April 2000 was 2 nights $279 per person or $558 for 2 people. This hotel is located on 2301 SE 17 St (East side of Intracoastal Waterway) www.hyatt.com. Contact your agent for more information on this hotel.
Interested in fine art? Ft. Lauderdale has an internationally known landmark called simply "Museum of Art." It boasts over 5,000 works including pieces by gay artists Larry Rivers and Andy Warhol. Its monumental exhibition houses the CoBrA Collection, the largest gathering of works in the Americas by artists from Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. Admission Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday; Friday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, noon to 5pm. You can Phone 954-525-5500
For dinner I suggest Mark's Las Olas. It has a contemporary dining room and does justice to the food. It is said that the rare-seared, and peppercorn-crusted tuna with root vegetable mash, foie gras, and veal au jus is truly a work of art. This is one of many choices on the daily changing menu. It is pricey. The best seating is outdoors overlooking lovely Las Olas Boulevard. Monday - Friday, lunch and dinner; Saturday-Sunday, dinner only. Reservations recommended. 1032 East Las Olas Blvd 954-463-1000
For those looking for night life, Club Electra could be the place to visit. It's a South Beach-style hot spot, the shake-your-body spot for Gays in Ft. Lauderdale. The crowd is primarily 90% male. Cover charge Wednesday-Thursday, 9pm-2am; Friday-Saturday, 9pm-3am; Sunday, 5pm-2am. 1600 SE 15th at (16th St behind Arbys) Phone 954-764-8447 This is close to the hotels listed above.
I found really good information about Gay Ft Lauderdale in Damron's Road Atlas. You can find these in most large book stores. Or you can go online at www.damron.com and order a copy. I also recommend Access Gay USA. I have found this guide very helpful with useful information about Gay travel. I bought my copy at Barnes and Noble.