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Independence Of the seas 11-16 Dec


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Day -3

To blog or not to blog this is the question.

On one hand it was a nice experience last time , on the other hand this following cruise was just got excellent  live review from Matt , also blogging in parallel  to such nice blog from Anthem with pictures I can only dream to  take with my poor phone  

But hey there is not such a thing as too much live blogs right ?!

 

So once again (and not so far from last time) we are planning to be on cruise.

This time a quick 5 days on Indi.

 

So let’s start from the whys:

After the last cruise we got a voucher from the Casino for a free cruise, the voucher allow you a free (well they call it  free, you still need to pay gratitude and taxes) to choose from a list that contains mainly Caribbean cruises.

If you choose not to use one of the cruises from the list you can use the voucher value for any other cruise you choose (only new cruises allowed  and it should be no later than one year from the voucher date)  

Why Indi – well I was looking for a bigger ship after our last cruise in the Voyager and a shorter one.

The main idea is for us to squeeze a cruise and some other activities in one week which will allow us to be back home/work at the next Sunday.

So the 5 days cruise was just perfect for that and I loved to find out short cruise on bigger ship (usually the shorter cruise are on the small ships for some reason).

Why now?  , We both need to consume some vacation days as the end of the year around the corner  and we both over the allowed accumulated quota.

The most important reason - its going to be my spouse birthday and I cannot think about  a  better  place to celebrate such occasion …

Besides that, does anyone really need an excuse why to cruising RC ?  J

 

As Usual (if I can call a second live blog usual) I am starting the blog few days earlier as the vacation starts now and I started my long journey to the US (currently waiting for my connection in a country which I will not disclose its name but its famous for its Swiss cheese , Swiss chocolates and Swiss clocks).

The plan was very simple, flying to Miami, take a car and drive to Orlando (I refuse to go to Florida and skip Orlando parks, sorry, if I am already there I will take advantage on it),

3.5 hours’ drive after a transatlantic flight is not something I am not familiar with and we planned to split the drive between us , its sounds like a good plan.

Plans are one thing and reality is another, my spouse was called few days ago,  urgently to some business meetings in the US.

It was perfect on one hand as it save us one of the reward airline ticket (all I needed now is one domestic ticket from the city the meeting are taking place to Orlando) on the other hand it means I will do the Miami – Orlando drive alone, well not totally alone, although  Matt still do not know it yet but he is going to make sure I will stay awake during driving by listen to a binge  RC blog podcasting I calculate after 8 podcast I should arrive safely, you can say many thing about Matt (just good thing don’t worry) but no one can say his  podcast  can be used as lullaby, especially with his enthusiasm,

Before you all ask why I did not fly directly to Orlando ?  well as I am using rewards  miles I cannot be too picky , in other words , it’s much easier to find international flight to Miami than to Orlando.

So now the plan is even easier , land in Miami , run to immigration and custom , pray that the lines are short and I am not stuck behind people from a flight of certain countries in Europe which the immigration officer love to question them for long period of time.

I will pick the car set the BT and start my way to meet my spouse so tomorrow we can visit Universal.

 

Currently still waiting here ,  after leaving a teenager to watch the apartment (he rather be left alone almost for the first time than joining us).

I just hope it will be ok as all we ask him  is (he is a teenager you know you cannot ask them much) :

We want still have the apartment when we are back.

No complaints from neighbors.

Alcohol bottles remain the same as they were , and no , to refill the Gray guess with water or the whiskies with teas does not count .

The cat should still be alive.

 

Not too complicated as I said, good we have insurance (and his grandmother to spy on him from a distance).

 

Here is the cat reaction after understanding we are again going to cruise without him .

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Tomorrow visiting Harry Potter (I hope).

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Day -3 To blog or not to blog this is the question. On one hand it was a nice experience last time , on the other hand this following cruise was just got excellent  live review from Matt , a

Day 3 Labadee  (or that at least what we planned). We were waiting for day 3 at Labadee  as it is only our second time over there , at the first time we did not really had enough  time to try all

Day  -2  , As I suspected I woke up around 3 am due to the jetlag which mean I only slept  3 hour. To avoid waking up my spouse I moved to the second room to watch some TV and go over emails

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Looking forward to following along. 

3 hours ago, Traveler said:

After the last cruise we got a voucher from the Casino for a free cruise, the voucher allow you a free (well they call it  free, you still need to pay gratitude and taxes) to choose from a list that contains mainly Caribbean cruises.

If you're on the Dec 11 Indy sailing, so are my parents and for the exact same reason.  They got a free cruise voucher for the gambling they do at a casino in Connecticut.

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Hint - the best camera is the one you have with you.  Some of my pictures are from my phone because I don't always want to carry the Albatros that my good camera seems to be on some days around my neck.

Now it is even worse , you took my last excuse  :1_grinning:  

But I agree with you , its always the camera you have available for you at the right moment 

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15 hours ago, Matt said:

Looking forward to following along. 

If you're on the Dec 11 Indy sailing, so are my parents and for the exact same reason.  They got a free cruise voucher for the gambling they do at a casino in Connecticut.

Nice , so I should look who in the casino wear RC blog T shirt :1_grinning:

The key if you take such cruise is to enjoy it as any cruise and not feel any obligation to spend time in the casino (well not more than what usually you do)  since you got it for free .

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16 hours ago, twangster said:

If the neighbors or grandmother haven't called to report teenager issues at this point you are doing very well!

Do not worry , they did not call but the school send a message that he did not arrive that day , in  a very strange coincidence his girlfriend parents got the same message about her.

Well time for plan B.  

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Day  -2  ,

As I suspected I woke up around 3 am due to the jetlag which mean I only slept  3 hour.

To avoid waking up my spouse I moved to the second room to watch some TV and go over emails I guess getting the upgrade at the hotel was useful.

The hotel itself is very near Universal, almost a walking distance, we consider this option (walking) but somehow we picked the coldest day so far in Orlando and it was rainy (we actually brought the cold front with us) . I was waiting until 7 am for the guest service to open so  I could reserve the shuttle ride to the park.

The early shuttle was already full  I had to settle for the next one which I did not like too much as I wanted to be there early to avoid some of the crowds, the other option was to use the car but I remembered it will take more time (queue , parking , walking).

After quick breakfast we took the shuttle to the park (5 minute drive) and walked to the entrance.

There is some magic with those park (if I am allowed to use the word magic for Universal) I mean, if you come with the right mode, allowing yourself to leave any cynical feeling at the gate (not easy for me I admit) and just have fun it can be a great  experience , in other words, let’s face it you can  feel like a child again for few hours.

We went directly  to the Diagon alley which was under contraction last time we visit the park (too long ago I guess , shame on us well mainly on me) , the waiting time for the ride (the escape from Gringotts)  was less than 10 minutes so I even did not bothered to use the express pass I bought.

I enjoy the ride although I think the older ride at the other park (the Forbidden Journey) is still better.

After the ride we went to drink the warm butterbeer , yes they serve it warm also and the cold day was perfect for that, another thing you need to forget when you are at a theme park is  counting calories (you start to see the similarity to a cruise right ?) .

We wanted to take advantage on the short lines during the morning so we jumped on the Hogwarts express to move to the adventure island.

We reach there just on time to do the forbidden journey ride as the waiting time was again only 10 minutes, I love to go to a theme park when it’s cold and rainy, lines are much better !

We went and did all the other attraction we planned to do there, took something to eat and did again (this time using the express pass) the forbidden journey, although on a full stomach it’s a different experience, still loved it.

We took the train back to Universal studio to do the rest of the attractions we skipped before, including some of my favorites like the mommy revenge and the new ride with Jimmy Fallon which was hilarious.

We did again the escape from Gringotts just in time to see the Macys parade.

Although it was still quite early we were both tired and since we done already most of the attractions we wanted we headed back to the hotel.

It was a perfect day

 

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Day -1 , 

Nothing really to tell abut day -1 as it was more focused on making sure the self embarkation will be out of the scope than doing something really fun . the fact that the mall was visible  from our room window did not help much  :5_smiley:  Well some time a we all need to pay the price.

Day 1:

Finally the day as  arrived and while I am written this post we are doing the final packing and get ready for the long journey from Orlando to Fort  Lauderdale port.

Have not decide yet what I will do first , drop the suitcases with my partner at the port or go directly to return the car at the airport, I guess we will decide on the way per the traffic.

Although its our 6 cruise we are still very excited , first  hey its a cruise what there is not to be exited but we also going to experience  several  things for the first time  :

1. Drinking package - since it is only 5 days cruise we said we will give it a try , its not that we both are heavy drinkers but as many wrote here the freedom to try what you want and to drink when you want without thinking on the price is nice.

2. Cruising   during   a birthday  - my partner birthday will be at day 5 of the cruise , I am planning to celebrate it at Giovanni table.

3. Cruising during the winter -it is the first time I will go on a ship wearing a sweater :1_grinning:

Well its seem that packing is done (mine was done last night) so we are ready to go , I  will report on the first day later.

 

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We did it ! 

After starting later than we planned we arrived to the port around 11 am.

I first dropped the suitcase and went to return the car at the airport. Taxi back to the port cost me 22$ which is not cheap for a 5 minutes ride.

From the taxi to the ship it took us 10 minutes so around 11:45 we were  already at the WJ starting to use the drink package.

We done the quick spa tour and went down to the room which was open at 1 pm 

 

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Day 1 

I must say for the first day it was very well organized.

10 minutes from the minute I arrived back to the port including 30 second of me almost fainting  finding out I forgot my backpack with the laptop and some other important documents at the security area. Before I already vision my vacation with out it  I turned around from the check in counter to see a security lady looking for me  with the backpack. apparently when they saw  the backpack left at the security desk they looked inside and found my old passport (the one that I have my Visa) and started to look for me, actually,  I think even without a picture of me it was enough just to look for a person running in panic around the area.

WJ was not packed as I remembered from previous cruises and we fount a table very quickly , food was good.

At 1 PM all the room were ready with no delays , we dropped our bags and went up to the pool deck to look around and drink some more exotic drinks (which is a good name for drinks you will never usually order in bar without people looking at you funny).

At 2 PM we went to check the room again and we saw we already got the luggage , 15 minutes and everything was organized and the suitcases under the bad , six cruises give you some experience .

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Oh forgot to say , this is our first time with a  sea view balcony cabin, I like it (well what is not to like in it).

The muster drill was fast , but it was so crowded which let me think that in case of a real issue we are doomed , the drill was also the last AHHH for the day.

I mean , in a first cruise day you have six  AHHHH moments : 

1. passing security.

2. Going up the ship.

3. Finding your table in the WJ.

4. Getting your room.

5. Getting your luggage

6. Finish with the muster drill 

Dinner was at the my time dining , I must say it also went very well comparing to previous  times , we are usually not a main dining room people (it just take too much time)   but we try to be there at least forthe first night

This time everything went very smooth, in less than one hour we were after the dessert , the food was excellent , I took the fish tempura which was like a very good fish and chips without the chips and my partner took the  stake which she loved.

Well more later as my battery going to die and I am in the pool deck without my charger.

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They light the tree at the evening with a party on deck 5

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Hanuka was not forgotten either 

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Deck 5 upper view 

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Some note for me , I must find a better  resize picture application , the one I am using now (resizing and sending it to my laptop via email) is not that good , any recommendation for Android application like that will be highly appreciate.  

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3 hours ago, Matt said:

Great wrap up of your first day.  Thanks for sharing it!

I am pinging @monorailmedic for Android app recommendations for resizing photos easily. You're on the right track, resizing offline is much faster.

I usually do my photo work on a computer, but I've used the below app a few times and it seems to do the job without much fuss.  Straightforward to use, too.  To give you an idea, on my site, most images within an article are 400px wide (though sometimes larger depending on what they are), and in my galleries (where you can see larger versions), they're usually 650px to 1000px wide.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.simplemobilephotoresizer&hl=en&rdid=com.simplemobilephotoresizer

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2 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Great live blog you've got going so far! I definitely enjoy those "T minus" recaps, it's interesting to see what you can do with the time when you make a point of arriving a day or two early.

Can't wait to see how the rest of the trip goes. And wish your partner an early Happy Birthday for me!

Thanks, 

Since everytime we want to cruise we need to take a  3 to 11 hours flight we always try to add some extra activities before.

And my partner says thank you for your wishes

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44 minutes ago, monorailmedic said:

I usually do my photo work on a computer, but I've used the below app a few times and it seems to do the job without much fuss.  Straightforward to use, too.  To give you an idea, on my site, most images within an article are 400px wide (though sometimes larger depending on what they are), and in my galleries (where you can see larger versions), they're usually 650px to 1000px wide.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.simplemobilephotoresizer&hl=en&rdid=com.simplemobilephotoresizer

Thanks , I am downloading it right now and will test it.

Currently I am using application call resize which let you pick the picture by using the share option and send it using email after that I open it using my laptop. 

Maybe I will send it to the laptop as full size and try to edit it there using Picsa or something like that. 

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52 minutes ago, Traveler said:

Thanks , I am downloading it right now and will test it.

Currently I am using application call resize which let you pick the picture by using the share option and send it using email after that I open it using my laptop. 

Maybe I will send it to the laptop as full size and try to edit it there using Picsa or something like that. 

If you are on Windows, this is my favorite bulk resizing photo app.  It is simple and can resize a lot of photos quickly. http://www.faststone.org/FSResizerDetail.htm

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