A little bit of background: this was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We are a family of five, my husband and I in our mid-thirties and three children: our son is 10; our daughter 8, and our youngest daughter 20 months. Having younger children, we have sailed several times on Disney Cruise Line and we really enjoy Disney. Originally we were supposed to sail the Oasis as part of a wedding party for my cousin. Alas, that fell through and we decided to book the Independence instead. The 8 –night itinerary was really the deciding factor. As much as we would have loved to sail on Oasis, the prices were double what the Independence cruise cost. We booked a D1 balcony room in July ’09 and watched religiously for a price drop. Several months prior to sailing RCCL released GTY Balcony rooms, including quads. We were technically a quint (five of us in the room, allowed since our youngest is under 2) and when we called to change from our assigned D1 to GTY Balcony at first we were told we could not. The next day, however as promised a supervisor called us and told us not only had they adjusted our cost to reflect the lower GTY price, they also allowed us to stay in the D1 room to which we were already assigned. This was desirable to us since the room was in a good location (mid-aft, deck 9). We were very pleased with RCCL’s customer service and now we had a hefty OBC spend onboard the ship.
We live in Central Florida so on the afternoon of Friday January 22 we left for the four hour drive to Fort Lauderdale. We stopped along the way for dinner at Cracker Barrel, which is a pre-cruise tradition for us.
After dinner we arrived at the Hyatt Place hotel in Ft. Lauderdale where we would be staying that evening. We booked through Hotwire for $89/night (not including parking). The hotel was nice and was full of other cruisers departing the next day.
Our room on the fourth floor was very large and had a sitting area with sectional that pulled out to a double bed, mini-kitchen including fridge, desk area with many different computer hookups (free Wi-Fi is included for at least the first 24 hours of your stay), a large bedroom area with a king bed that was divided off from sitting area part of the room, a real closet, a large bathroom counter area and a separate toilet/shower room. Also a gigantic (at least 48 inch) flat screen TV. Some pictures of our room:
<a href="http://www.ucruiser.com/"><img src="http://www.ucruiser.com/ticker/disney/tickers/8l18b5i9i6uckotw.png" alt="Cruise Countdown Tickers" border="0"/></a>
Disney Fantasy 10-25-14
Oasis of the Seas 11-9-13
Carnival Breeze 5-5-13
Disney Fantasy 9-22-12
Allure of the Seas 9-18-11
Disney Magic 10-30-10
Independence of the Seas 1-23-10
Disney Magic 9-27-08
Disney Wonder 10-4-07
Disney Wonder 3-18-07
56 Days at sea and counting...