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“Into the Unknown” … Independence OTS (Holiday sailing) – 12/29/2018-1/3/2019

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Just now, Trainfan said:

My wife and I are on this cruise.  We too are staying at the Holiday Inn Express this evening and looking forward to our first New Year Celebration at sea !   

Forget New Years for now, I am so excited for La Bamba tonight!

Have a great sailing!

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1 hour ago, Matt said:

Good luck sleeping tonight!

I usually have zero issues sleeping the night pre-cruise.  I’m usually exhausted after the day of travel + the Gravol (Canadian version of Dramamine) that I take for the flight. 

54 minutes ago, jurrjurr said:


I wonder if they will be broadcasting the World Junior Hockey games.  Go Canada!

Not sure about that but I think Hubby is more concerned with Leafs vs. Islanders on Saturday night. 😊

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1 hour ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Can’t complain...off our driveway at 8:30am, crossed the border, got to DTW and through airport security by 9:50am. Pretty quiet Friday at the airport. Uneventful so far. Currently debating what we should eat 😋

Have an uneventful flight! And let us know if the margaritas at La Bamba are still tasty! 😉 🍹

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On ‎12‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 4:36 PM, Lovetocruise2002 said:

d)The most important (according to Hubby) and comical reason (according to me), and the reason for the quote choice above: It has been so long since we have sailed in a regular cabin.  Hubby hopes that we (he means me) might like it and we will no longer need to book suites in the future.  In turn, that will save him money.  If this is what Hubby needs to say, “YOLO and Book It!”, then so be it.


@Lovetocruise2002 I'm dying laughing right now!!! You and I both know that's not going to happen! I have the same problem! Suite snobs unite! 😋

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5 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Have an uneventful flight! And let us know if the margaritas at La Bamba are still tasty! 😉 🍹

Having one right now! It is as tasty as ever!

5 hours ago, Twangster Fan said:

Hope You Don't Get Any Bad Weather Well Up In The Air.

It was a bumpy ride today but all good! 

4 hours ago, rjac said:

Poutine, of course. :3_grin:

Nah, we’ll save that for the Brilliance GC. It was McDonald’s.

1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Just catching up.  Have a GREAT cruise.  I peed a little when I laughed at the idea that your husband had....that you might fall in love with the ocean view room and never want a suite again. HA !  THAT was a good one.

Happy New Year !


53 minutes ago, bellemiche said:

@Lovetocruise2002 I'm dying laughing right now!!! You and I both know that's not going to happen! I have the same problem! Suite snobs unite! 😋

@WAAAYTOOO @bellemiche suite snobs know each other well. Hubby is living in a dream world 😆

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Pre-cruise evening:

Lyft Plus from FLL to Holiday Inn on 17th Street, $20. One seatbelt in the back seat was not working. I was not too impressed with that. First time ever that I did not leave a 5/5 rating. 

La Bamba was excellent as usual. I did not take pics of the menu as it is the same as my Mariner blog. See the link in my signature below if you would like to see it. If you have not had a chance to try this place yet, you must. They have 6 locations in South Florida. Huge portions, excellent food and service, and of course, tasty margaritas!  We are creatures of habit so food pics are the same. Posting again to make you all jealous and hungry. 😉

Chips & Salsa are always complimentary:


Hubby and D12 dream about the Cheese Dip...literally:


House Margarita tonight for me:


Chicken Tostadas:


Chicken Quesadilla:


Chicken Fajitas:



Kids Beef Tacos:


Kids Chocolate Sundae:


And my personal favourite...Fried Ice Cream (minus the whipped cream):


With full bellies, we made our way over to Publix for the usual pre-cruise stop. Purchased some water for tonight and tomorrow morning and some shampoo/conditioner and body wash for the kids.  Hubby asked why we needed those this time. The answer? No suite...no upgraded bath amenities tomorrow. 😔

This hotel doesn’t have many frills but it does have a 24hr hot water and coffee station. That is a plus in my books. The front desk told me that inspection was happening today and their new section should be opened anytime now.  I think I will keep my reservation here for March. We booked a suite during the week of Black Friday (when we booked this room) and it looks like we’ll be able to get into it by then. 

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On 12/26/2018 at 4:37 PM, Lovetocruise2002 said:

-          This is our first time without a balcony since 2003!  The suite snob in me still has not come to terms with that.

            You will be just fine so many activities on the ship to do than staying in you stateroom.

-          This is our first time sailing Freedom class.  I have heard so many good things about this class of ship from so many of you that I am very excited to check it out for myself.

            I love Freedom Class ship. Especially a big Royal Promenade on Freedom class.

-          We are #TeamNoDrinkPackage on this one because we have kids with us, and because this is our first cruise as Diamond members with Diamond benefits.  We will see how this works out.

           Believe me 3 drinks from Diamond Benefit and Diamond Louge drinks are more than enough. After I drank 3 drinks every night I did not want to drink at all during the day.

-          We have purchased our usual VOOM 2 Device plan again.

           We cut back the last cruise on Anthem, We got 2 free days Internet from Diamond benefit. We thought we will need to buy 1 or 2 more days of the Internet but end up we did not need it.

-          Dining mainly in the MDR again.  I did not love it on Mariner but for a short sailing, it will be fine.  Anything is better cooking on my own.  We are trying Giovanni’s for one night.

           This one I hope you get better luck than us when we sailed on Anthem. The foods in MDR are not that great for us in November. 

-          This is our first time sailing over the holidays.  I’ve always been hesitant to travel over the holidays for various reasons so I’m outside my comfort zone on this one too. 

            We love my Thanksgiving sailing minus food and price of the fare. We sure you will love New Year's party on the cruise.

 -          Once again, in the spirit of a live blog, please do not hesitate to ask any questions.  I will do my best to find out whatever I can for you.

            I sure you will do a great job as always. Thank you for doing it. Follow along.

-          When responding to a post with a series of pictures, please do not include the pictures in your reply.  It just makes for easier scrolling.





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5 minutes ago, mworkman said:

Now I'm hungry for some Mexican food 😟

Haha! My job is done. Now I can go to bed 😆

3 minutes ago, Susie said:


Thanks for the feedback @Susie!  It will still be a good time regardless. And not sure if you know, but I’m 100% an Oasis class girl. Everything else seems small lol.

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