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


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Good morning! Out of dry dock! 

This hotel provides a hot breakfast selection: the usual, sausages, pancakes, waffles, omelettes, etc. Nothing photo worthy. Snapped a few pics of the dining area. 



Would I stay here again? Yes. For the price, value, and proximity to Port Everglades it is decent for a one night pre-cruise stay. Just know that you won’t be getting the Renaissance or Conrad and it’s all good.

Just finished with breakfast. Going to pack up the room and headed over to the port. It’s cruise time!


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I’m almost regretting looking at the updates this morning because now I’m STARVING for Mexican since those pictures look so good! But in reality I have no regrets and I’m very excited to follow along with you on your trip. Have a fabulous time and I’m looking forward to seeing how you cope without a suite! ?

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Greetings from Terminal 18!

Lyft Plus to Terminal 18: $11.83

Noted that at terminal 18 there is a separate security line for Diamond and above. 

They still took our pictures at check in even though we uploaded ours already. 

Currently waiting to board. 10:43pm. No one has boarded yet.

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1 hour ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

11:12am...still no boarding. I don’t recall a time in our cruising history where it has been late like this. WJ is going to be packed!

I had friend that was cursing on Liberty in December, they were not allowed on until 1:15-2:00, he was texting back and forth with me, he was furious, it was his first cruise as a Diamond, all types of reasons were being floated around in the boarding area.

It ended up being a family of 4 that had been diagnosed with one of the "Pox" disease on board and then quarantined, immigration would not release the ship until the family was off and the ship had been deep cleaned, hence the delay.

My meaning is that the delay may be for a very good reason. 

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Room Tour: 

Surprise! It’s an Ultra Spacious Oceanview. Still roughing it but at least the kids get a bunk. There are only 2 with this configuration on Freedom class ships. The rest are more like the standard JS with the bunks in the walk in closet area. This setup allows for more separation between the living spaces. I found this room about two months ago. It just randomly popped up one day and it was $200 to upgrade from our original 1L. This is a Cat. 1K. It sleeps up to 6. I kept it it a surprise from the kids until 1pm today. They love it! I still desperately miss the decor of the newer ships. And the bathroom is small!  For those of you wondering, the suite snob in me is still struggling. 


















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Dinner Night 1:

Dinner was slow tonight. Even though we ate at 5:30pm and asked to hurry so we could make the 7:15pm Welcome Aboard show, it still moved at snail’s pace. We were a few minutes late for the show. Nothing special to report. It was the standard MDR fare.


Caesar Salad:


They had savoury bites!


@Matt‘s favourite...Spaghetti Bolognese:


Fish, Seafood, and Mash:

Just need to vent on this one. We had this dish on Mariner and it was ok. Tonight on Indy, the breaded shrimp was barely edible. It was so dry and almost chewy. 


Hazelnut Chocolate Cake:


After dinner we went to see the Welcome Aboard show, mainly because I have heard many good things about the CD, Jamie Fentiman, and I wanted to see if what I had heard was true. He’s good. Lots of energy. Quite comedic. 

After the show, D10 wanted to check out Sugar Beach. The prices there are ridiculous. However, as luck would have it, we got stuck in there while they were filming the morning show. Both girls ended up on it! And they got some free candy too! Win-win! ?

?D10 with Jamie (CD; right) and Daniel (AM; left).


Going to call it a night now as we are all quite tired. Goodnight all ?


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Great review so far.  The CD was quite funny.  Neat you got a picture of the two of them in the candy shop.

Your room looks great...and although not a JS, at least its a step up from oceanview.  Spacious and great views with those windows.

How was the welcome show?  We found it odd that they only had one show first night and it conflicted with dinner time.

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9 hours ago, LandstromCruise said:

Have a great time!  Enjoying reading along. I’m on Symphony Jan 5th and hoping to do my first live blog to give back as well! 

Live blogs are a great way to learn from each other ?

9 hours ago, Auto said:

Hope the "cramped" space isn't cramping your style. Looks like the perfect room for my troop of 6.

Haha! I was just saying to Hubby that while the separation is great, I am 100% hating the washroom. I have in the last 24hrs or so managed to flood the washroom with the shower head (don’t ask) and knock over a multitude of things while at the sink! There is space for 6 but I find that the storage space would be lacking if you had 6.

40 minutes ago, WannaCruise said:

Great review so far.  The CD was quite funny.  Neat you got a picture of the two of them in the candy shop.

Your room looks great...and although not a JS, at least its a step up from oceanview.  Spacious and great views with those windows.

How was the welcome show?  We found it odd that they only had one show first night and it conflicted with dinner time.

Welcome show was standard. Agree about the odd time. We had dinner right at 5:30pm when MDR opened and it was a stretch to make the show on time.

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Good Morning! Day 2:

Mornings are way better in the Diamond Lounge. Sitting here in peace and quiet (without WJ madness as I write this). Love the espresso machine and not sure if it’s in my head or not, but the standard continental breakfast offerings seem to be a bit higher quality than WJ or Cafe Promenade. 








A few notes from last night. Not sure if it was the weather or our room location but motion was more noticeable compared to our forward cabin on Mariner.  Still not bad enough to deter me from booking a forward cabin though. Will keep you all updated on how this continues to progress throughout the cruise. 

Today is a sea day. No set plans for today. ?

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I think we boarded at 11:30 too in November.  It seemed rather late to me too.

I was hoping the MDR would be faster for you and the slowness was a MTD thing for me.  Hopefully, it will get better for you.

I agree about the decor of the rooms.  The old couches really need to be replaced!

I never even walked into Sugar Beach as it seemed that paying for Ben and Jerry's would end up being cheaper!


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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

The Diamond Lounge looks huge !

Seeing that this is my first diamond lounge , I cannot compare. It doesn’t feel that big though. 

1 hour ago, melski94 said:

I was hoping the MDR would be faster for you and the slowness was a MTD thing for me.  Hopefully, it will get better for you.

We are currently considering the WJ tonight....

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1 hour ago, Thetechie said:

This is an awesome blog. Making me more and more excited for our first ever cruise on Navigator next March! Loving all the info and pictures!

Let me know if there is anything specific you are looking for. 

1 hour ago, twangster said:

Shorter cruises often require they run a modified show schedule.  

That’s what I figured. And they have to share that venue with Laser tag and free skate. 

1 hour ago, rjac said:

Doesn't this interfere with using your drink package to the max extent? :27_sunglasses: 

My kids interfere with that ?

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Freeze frame takes you through the era of the 40s through the 50s. No scopes as it was asked that no photography or video of any kind be taken. The show on Mariner was more fun and entertaining while this one was still good but different. It focused more on the actual skating. 

We wandered into the MDR after and stumbled upon yummy desserts. That meant snack time!


For @Sweety


Currently back in the Diamond lounge. Afternoon snack offerings:



I think we are headed to watch Sexiest Man soon out on Deck 11.

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8 hours ago, Susie said:

That was I got on my Thanksgiving Dinner in MDR on November. It was really bad and I will never ever order it again.

The Diamond Lounge is really big compared to Anthem OTS little room. ? 

Well I will appreciate it more from today onwards then!

6 hours ago, Skid said:

Wow, I miss a couple of days and have a lot of catch up. Looks like a fun cruise. So happy you are enjoying yourself even though you decided to join the ranks of us mere non-suite mortals! ?

Happy cruising and happy new year!

Glad you found your way here @Skid!

4 hours ago, KathyC said:

We almost got the ultra-spacious on Allure for Europe.  Kept going back and forth. It ended up cheaper to get two Central Park balconies than to put four of us in it.  We have a port-intensive itinerary so no time to enjoy the view...so why pay for it?  LOL 

This room was cheaper than a JS and we did not have connecting options available. I actually don’t care much for the view from here.

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