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Independence of the Seas Live Blog

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Monday 14th October Would you believe woke up at 4am as we couldn't sleep, think this was down to excitement and looked out of the window and the Independence had already docked. We decided to start to slowly get ready and head down to breakfast at 06.30. At 09.30 am our taxi arrived and we took the 2 minute drive to the cruise terminal with the hope of checking in early. Luggage drop off was a breeze and to our amazement we were allowed to check in straight away at 09.40 and then allowed to board the ship at 10.45 (WELL DONE RC). As soon as we got on board we were wowed by the ship and after a quick visit to guest services, yes you guessed it straight up to the Windjammer for lunch and yes Matt you were so right the honey stung chicken was awesome.

As our room wasn't going to be ready until 13.00 we decided to check out the ship and went to the Spa to register for the raffle with the hope of maybe winning a free treatment. The announcement arrived that the cabins were ready and up we went to see our room and to our amazement our luggage was there and we were able to unpack before the 15.45 lifeboat drill. After a short visit back to the room we then went up to the spa for the draw of the raffle unfortunately it was not our lucky day. Evening meal was a breeze as we decided on the Windjamer again as MDR menu was not to our liking and was really impressed with the selection offered. After dinner we made our way up to the Viking Crown lounge for drinks and met a really nice couple after which we hit the casino and then to bed.

Our first day and impression of Royal Caribbean has been fantastic and we are so glad we chose this ship.

Day one has been awesome can't wait to update you on our next day.

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Tuesday 15th October Our first day at sea began with breakfast in the MDR after which we went down to the promenade for the the free raffle draw in the perfume shop which my wife had got tickets for and was stunned when her ticket number was called out :). Her prize was fantastic it was a hamper worth $250.00 in which was perfume, after shave, a huge bottle of champagne, chocolates, a bear, and other ship memorabilia. We then explored this amazing ship a bit more and went to the gym, the gym is absolutely awesome with everything you could ever need. After the gym we headed down to Cafe Promenade for some coffee and a snack as we didn't want anything to heavy as tonight was our first formal night and we had booked a table at chops grill. Our first impressions of what we have seen on the Independence today is that she is one amazing ship and the staff and crew are so friendly and very helpful. The quality and standard of the food is so far well above any of the other cruise lines that we have sailed with. We had booked a Balcony Cabin on the 9th deck close to the back of the ship and are very happy with our choice. The room is a good size with a big comfy bed and a well equipped bathroom and although small looking the shower cubicle is ok size wise and has a great power shower. Storage space is fine with a good size wardrobe and plenty of draw space and the balcony is a good size with 4 chairs and a table. In the evening we headed up to Chops in our formal wear and I have to say my wife looked stunning. Well what can I say about Chops Grill, oh I know ! wow wow and double wow, it has to be one of the best steaks I have ever had and as for the service it was 5 star. We then headed down to the casino for a few drinks and some fun and I have to say it's one of the best casinos at sea. Tomorrow we are in Vigo Spain and we are looking forward to seeing this ancient historic port.

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Wednesday 16th October Up early today for our arrival into Vigo and as we opened the balcony doors we found it was still dark and also raining but we weren't to surprised as we expected it to be similar to the UK but it wasn't going to stop us going ashore. We headed up to the Windjammer for breakfast and found the selection on offer to be great and like you Matt I love the omelette station in fact it was a much better than the buffet the MDR offered yesterday. After breakfast we set off to explore Vigo on our own as we found RC trips were not that great. Vigo has a new shopping mall right next to the ship with some great shops, free Wifi and a good little store for supplies like chips and sodas and other essentials you may need all far cheaper than the ship. We found that even in the rain Vigo is actually a surprising little gem with good local restaurants and cafes plenty of big name stores and things to do. If Oysters are your thing then visit Oyster alley where you will find some of the best local seafood in Spain. At around 13:00 we headed back to the ship and as we got close the rain stopped and the sun came out. Once on board we decided to go the dog and badger for lunch and was disappointed to find that they don't serve food even though RC brochure and website said they did so we went to the Windjammer.

 

After lunch we went up top for the sail off which was at 14:45, it was brilliant the sun was warm and the view of Vigo was awsome. The rest of the day was spent hitting the gym and exploring more of the ship, the flowrider looks cool and I will have a go at some point during our cruise and also try the rock wall and mini golf. There is so much on offer on the ship that I don't know how we are going to fit it all in. Dinner this evening was at Johhny Rockets and to be honest I was disappointed as the burgers were ok but not great and quite small, the chilli chese fries were very lacking of both the chill and the cheese and the strawberry sundae was very average as they had used canned strawberries and really cheap ice cream, COME ON JOHNNY ROCKETS SHIP UP OR SHIP OUT. After dinner it was the usual for us Casino , drinks and bed. Although today we didn't seem to have much luck with a couple food choices this is still the best cruise line we've been on are having such an amazing time we already don't want to get off. Tomorrow we are in Lisbon Portugal

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Thursday 17th October We got up by 06:00 this morning and had ordered breakfast to the room as we wanted to see the pilot board and enjoy the sail into Lisbon which takes about 40 minutes till you reach the berth. As we headed in it began to get light and we were able to enjoy the sights along the shore and then just before we docked we had to go under the 25th April Bridge which is a sister bridge to the Golden Gate in San Francisco and is the third longest suspension bridge in the world, and we only just got under. Again we opted to do our own tour which was massively cheaper than the ships tour. We paid €15.00 each and that allowed us to use the hop on hop off bus & tram tour and this also included entrance to some of the attractions, trust me this is a great way to see Lisbon as we covered most of the city and sights. After a long but great day we got back to the ship about an hour before sail off and went up to deck 12 for the sail away. The sun was still hot so we chilled on some loungers and listened to the reggae band and at around 18:00 we set sail.

 

Dinner tonight was in the Windjammer and as usual the food was great and then we went to see the Bohemians who are a Queen tribute band in the Alhambra Theatre and then onto the 70s dance party on the Promenade which was fantastic and then the usual, Casino and drinks. The entertainment on the ship is more than outstanding as there is so much to choose from. The only downside so far was that we purchased a soda package only to find that the new machines are not on the Independence so we asked for a refund and RC gladly credited our account. Tomorrow is another sea day and we have booked Giovanni's for dinner.

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Friday 18th October We slept in today as we had a late night and exploring Lisbon had tired us out but we did manage to get some breakfast from the Windjammer. I just love everything about the Windjammer, the food is always good and it's different every day which I find incredible considering the choice of food you have and the amount of people they feed and also the service from the staff is superb :) , nothing is too much trouble. After breakfast we hit the shops on the Promenade and I really think that RC have hit it spot on with their idea of basically a shopping mall on a ship because most of the time you forget you are at sea. Take Cafe Promenade for example , you actually feel like you are in a coffee shop in a city so I say WELL DONE RC WE LOVE IT :) :) . We then decided to hit the gym and then try out the solarium for a swim and a chill in the jacuzzi which hangs from the side of the ship. The pool was great and is big enough to swim some lengths and the jacuzzi was big , hot & bubbly with great views. Unfortunately it was then time to leave the solarium and get ready for dinner.

 

Our choice for tonight was Giovanni's and we couldn't wait to get there. As soon as we arrived we were shown to our table and had been seated next to the Captain and his Officers, WOW dinner with the Captain well close anyway he he. We were slightly disappointed to find that the menu was different from what we had read on RCs website as there was no Lasagne and no Cannelloni but there was some good things to choose from. The food was of a really high standard but was surprised to find that it was more fine dining than family especially as RC promote it as family dining experience. We both decided Chops was the better of the two but the desserts in Giovanni's were awsome with great Canolis and Tiramisu. Tomorrow we are in Lanzarote in the Canaries.

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Saturday 19th October We awoke this morning to find ourselves already docked in Lanzarote but as we were doing our own thing today there was no rush. Once we were ready we went off to the Windjammer for breakfast and I had another great omelette and a pile of breakfast ham which I love plus some fruit and my wife had her favourite of pancakes with maple syrup and crispy bacon. Yet again the food and service was excellent :) . With breakfast finished we set off to explore Lanzarote and had purchased tickets for the shuttle bus provided by RC at a cost of $12.00 each as it was too far to walk into town in the 82º heat. Our overall impression was that Lanzarote needed a good clean as it was a little run down in parts and had a lot of graffiti. It had a good shopping area and a pleasant promenade to walk along but to be honest if we stop there again on a cruise we will stay on board as we didn't really like Lanzarote.

 

Our favourite part of this visit was seeing our floating palace come into view and it doesn't matter how much we keep seeing the Independence from shore we are still amazed how big she is and this really becomes apparent when you walk from the back of the ship where our room is to the gym. As we came back early we had a little siesta and then the usual gym & solarium. After freshening up we had dinner in the Windjammer for a change he he :) . There is nothing wrong with MDR we just like all the other options that are available more. Tonight after dinner we played mini golf by moonlight which was fun even though my wife beat me, the course may be small but its well laid out and I think its great that its open 24 hours and after that yep you guessed it , drinks, casino and bed. Without a doubt we are having the best time of our lives and are going to book a Mediterranean Cruise when we get back. Tomorrow is Gran Canaria.

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Sunday 20th October We awoke today looking forward to our one trip that we have booked with RC which was a Southwestern and Yellow Submarine tour which takes us to the far side of the island to Puerto De Mogan which is nicknamed Little Venice and a dive in a Submarine and the onto Maspalomas to see the Sand Dunes. After the usual great breakfast in the Windjammer we left the ship and boarded the coach to begin our day. The trip was fantastic and is a must do if anyone does this Cruise, Puerto De Mogan is amazing and is one of the most peaceful and scenic little fishing harbours we have seen. It was just a shame we only had 1hr free time there as we didn't want to leave and the dive in the Submarine was cool too, then it was off to the Sand Dunes for a photo stop and the back to the ship. We got back just in time for afternoon tea and my wife found some Scones with fresh cream and strawberry jam which were really good.

 

One thing that is really good to see is how much effort goes into keeping the ship virus free as we constantly see the crew cleaning every inch of the Independence and reminding people to use the gel dispensers but what is bad is the amount of people who don't wash their hands after using the toilet.

 

After tea we hit the gym, had a swim and hit the Jacuzzi in the solarium for sail away..... Man I love those Jacuzzis that hang over the edge. Dinner was nice and we spent the rest of the evening chatting with friends and having fun on the Promenade. Gran Canaria has been fantastic and we will definitely visit the Island again. We really really don't want to leave this ship as she is a real home from home and I have to say 12 nights is not enough time on board to do everything. If RC ever do a World Cruise the Independence would be perfect :) , still no need for me to get fed up yet we still have 5 more days to go. Tomorrow we are in Tenerife.

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Monday 21st October Arrived early this morning into Tenerife and opened the balcony doors to a sunny 88º. After breakfast we boarded the free RC shuttle bus to the port entrance and decided to use the hop on hop off bus for a tour of the town which had been good in some of the other ports we visited but oh boy was it a mistake here. It cost €16.00 each and was rubbish, we knew this wasn't going to be good as he went past the same place 3 times and circled a roundabout 3 times also. So basically it was a wast of money and my recommendation is if you come to Santa Cruz Tenerife do an RC tour or stay on board as there is not much to see or do. We decided to head straight back to the ship spend the rest of the day doing fun stuff up on the pool deck.

 

I have to say that my one and only real frustration with RC is getting back on board as there is always a long queue and the elevators are really slow and often get to level 3 and then go up again so this can be very annoying when you have been waiting for some time on level 1. Tonight we decided to have dinner on our balcony and drink the bottle of Champagne that my wife won on day 2 , this was an excellent choice as the food was great and it was a gorgeous evening. After our meal we went down to the promenade and had a coffee in Cafe Promenade while my wife waited for the raffle draw she had entered which was to guess the length of the necklace on display and we couldn't believe it when she won again and she had also recently come second in the slot tournament. The night was finished off in our usual way and then we headed off to bed. Tomorrow we are in Funchal Madeira

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Tuesday 22nd October This morning we arrived in Funchal Madeira which was one of the places we have really been looking forward to. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side as it was raining and windy but this was not going to stop us having a good day ashore. By the time the Indy had come to a halt at the berth the rain had eased up so we decided to skip breakfast and head straight off. What was very disappointing was that the ship had shortened our departure time by 2 hours and we had to be back on board by 14:30 for a 14:45 sail away so hence our haste. Our short time ashore was great and we made the most of every minute that we had and fortunately we had planned our day whilst back home. First we walked from the ship along the waterfront to the Cable Cars which takes approximately 30 mins and once there we got on our Gondola to take the 15 minute ride to the village of Monte at the top. The ride up was great with amazing views of the Independence and Funchal below us and at one point we disappeared into the clouds. As soon as we got to the top we set off to ride the traditional Toboggans down to Livramento. The ride takes about 10 mins and was awesome :) :) and is a must do for anyone visiting Madeira it was well worth the price of €30.00. There are a few options to get back down to Funchal and we decided on a cab which cost €10.00, oh and I nearly forgot to mention be warned the queue for the Toboggans is very long and it took us 40 minutes to get to the front. When we got back to Funchal we still had time to vist the markets and shops and then walked back to the ship.

 

The Independence was a welcome sight as we were both starving as we still had not eaten so once we got on board it was straight up to the Windjammer for lunch and hey Matt you was right again they only seem to serve the honey chicken on the first day although you can order it from room service and yes I did more than once. Throughout the this cruise so far our stateroom attendant Selvin and the room service has been excellent. While we were finishing lunch we started to leave our berth and as we had a good view from our table we got some nice photos. Straight after lunch we went down to the Ice Rink to see a show which was pretty good and I have to applaud the skaters for their superb skating while the boat was moving. When the show ended we decided to hit the gym and then a swim and jacuzzi. The swim tonight was extra fun as we had hit rough seas so it seemed like we had our own personal wave machine although we were worried that they may close the pool but luck was on our side and they left us alone.

 

Dinner was in the Windjammer and yes I know we go there a lot but the food is so good and tonight we had Teriyaki Steak. After dinner it was Cocktail and Casino time :) :).

 

We have been on board for long enough now to give a small review of our cruise experience on the Independence. The ship has been amazing and I think we will need a holiday when we get back because there has been so much to do and see on board it does kind of tire you out. Everywhere we have eaten the food and service has been 5 star except for Chops which we would give 7 stars. The staff have been friendly and attentive and have done everything possible to make sure that we are having a great time and the ship always looks clean and well maintained. Tomorrow is a day at sea.

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Wednesday 23 October
Today was another sea day and our second formal night so we decided to sleep in to try and recharge a little and knowing that we would miss breakfast we had decided to have lunch in Brasserie 30 in the MDR. The menu only had a small selection but had some nice things to choose from so we had salad to start which turned out to be huge as it was like an assembly line with loads of different items to choose from. The chefs then put each item you chose in a bowl and mixed it with the dressing of your cholce it was delicious but we couldn't eat it all. Next I had a really good burger and my wife had chicken sliders.

After lunch we hit the pool and jacuzzi and as I was wet anyway I had a go on the Flowrider which was brilliant, I had never done anything like it before but decided to try the surf boards and I managed to stand up 3 times out of 6 with one go lasting 20 seconds which anyone who has tried it knows is not bad but the other 3 times were hilarious total wipeouts. Next we headed for bingo and only just made the start so I didn't check the price and couldn't belive it when my wife said it was $64.00 for the two of us and to make it worse you only got 4 games (1 game per card) for your money, normally you get 3 games per card TOTAL RIP OFF..... Ok moan over.

Next we went back to the room to get ready for formal night and again our choice for dining was Chops Grill as it was so good last time, it didn't disappoint as again it was 5 star service and phenomenal steaks. For starters I had a goats cheese and basil souffle and my wife had the cheese and onion soup to follow we both opted for the fillet mignon and of course I had to go for the 10 ounce and on the side we had baked potatoes, stir fried broccoli, asparagus and onion rings and finally for dessert we both opted for the creme brule as it was so good last time and we love the fact it is bought to you with flames which caramelise the sugar in front of your eyes. Wow that place is goooooooood and we can't wait to go back on our next cruise :) . After dinner we had some photos taken and then It was cocktails and Casino Royale. Tomorrow we are in La Coruna Spain which is our last port off call.

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Next we went back to the room to get ready for formal night and again our choice for dining was Chops Grill as it was so good last time, it didn't disappoint as again it was 5 star service and phenomenal steaks. For starters I had a goats cheese and basil souffle and my wife had the cheese and onion soup to follow we both opted for the fillet mignon and of course I had to go for the 10 ounce and on the side we had baked potatoes, stir fried broccoli, asparagus and onion rings and finally for dessert we both opted for the creme brule as it was so good last time and we love the fact it is bought to you with flames which caramelise the sugar in front of your eyes. Wow that place is goooooooood and we can't wait to go back on our next cruise :) . After dinner we had some photos taken and then It was cocktails and Casino Royale. Tomorrow we are in La Coruna Spain which is our last port off call.

Sounds like Chops was great again!

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Thursday 24th October This morning we arrived in La Coruna at 10.00 am and it was raining but to be honest we weren't expecting much with the weather as we are close to the Bay of Biscay. After the usual good Windjammer breakfast we braved the rain and went ashore. If you like shopping it has some great shops and some nice cafes. There are also some nice places to visit and if you feel energetic you can walk to Hercules Tower but because of the weather we just bought a few more gifts and then had a coffee. The rain had eased off by then so we went back to the ship. La Coruna is actually quite a big place and if the weather is good you could have a really nice day here.

Once we were back on the fabulous Independence we mapped out the rest of our day which was to head to the gym and even though the weather was bad we still went for a swim at the solarium and then a jacuzzi which we were really pleased about as we thought that yesterday was going to be the last time. I have to say that RC has the best gym at sea and we love the way the Solarium makes you feel like your in a big spa that you would find ashore with big comfy chairs and hammocks. We then grabbed some food from the Windjammer and took it to our room as we decided to pack this afternoon so that we can enjoy tonight and our last day tomorrow without the usual hassle of thinking that at some point you have to stop having fun and pack. Tonight we are going down at 20:00 for the $1000.00 prize raffle and then we are going to the Viking Crown lounge for drinks and dinner in Johnny Rockets as it's free because we have some vouchers from accumulated slot points.

Tomorrow is our last day and is at sea with Southampton soon to be in sight.

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Friday 25th October
Well sadly it's here our final day of the cruise and we have had the most amazing time whilst on board. Every day has been a full day whether ashore or at sea and we have lots of fantastic memories and loads of pictures and video. Whilst on board we have made a lot of new friends and had some hilarious times and we hope to meet up on future cruises. The service and food has been phenomenal and although most of the staff may not read this we would like to say a massive THANK YOU for making us so welcome and giving us so many good times :) WE KNOW HOW HARD YOU WORK AND THE LONG HOURS YOU DO TO MAKE OUR VACATION AMAZING.

Today we are having a sleep in and then going for lunch in yep you guessed it the Windjammer again and then spend most of the day just walking around and enjoying our final hours on board. Later on we will choose our dinning venue for the evening and are then going to hit the casino one last time and finish our evening having drinks with friends in the Viking Crown lounge.

WE ARE REALLY GOING TO MISS THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS BUT WE WILL BE BACK.

THANKS FOR EVERTHING RC AND SEE YOU SOON :) :) :) :)

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Thanks for the updates.  Your trip had a very interesting itinerary.  I must live vicariously though wonderful blogs like yours for itineraries like this. I like to zoom in on Google Earth to the port stops and view pictures.  It’s like I was right there with you!  You also had some good insight to ship details.  Great job!

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Friday 25th October

Well sadly it's here our final day of the cruise and we have had the most amazing time whilst on board. Every day has been a full day whether ashore or at sea and we have lots of fantastic memories and loads of pictures and video. Whilst on board we have made a lot of new friends and had some hilarious times and we hope to meet up on future cruises. The service and food has been phenomenal and although most of the staff may not read this we would like to say a massive THANK YOU for making us so welcome and giving us so many good times :) WE KNOW HOW HARD YOU WORK AND THE LONG HOURS YOU DO TO MAKE OUR VACATION AMAZING.

Today we are having a sleep in and then going for lunch in yep you guessed it the Windjammer again and then spend most of the day just walking around and enjoying our final hours on board. Later on we will choose our dinning venue for the evening and are then going to hit the casino one last time and finish our evening having drinks with friends in the Crows Nest.

WE ARE REALLY GOING TO MISS THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS BUT WE WILL BE BACK.

THANKS FOR EVERTHING RC AND SEE YOU SOON :) :) :) :)

Thanks again for spending the blog time and taking us along for the ride! Can't wait for our next Chops dinner-- May 2014 on Serenade.

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