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Independence 9220 & 9218 pictures and brief review

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OK, this is the first time I've tried to post pictures, so please be nice. I booked Independence for 3/10/13 last March on a whim. One of the balcony connecting to a window combinations was available so I grabbed the two rooms. I scoured CC looking for pictures but could not find any, so here are pictures for others!

 

Here is the balcony room 9220

 

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Here is the window room 9218

 

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Connecting door looking into 9218

 

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Looking at the couch area in 9218

 

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The connecting door is obviously on the wall with the desk, otherwise the rooms look like other balcony or window rooms. Both couches pull out so you could have 8 between the two rooms. It was just myself, my husband and our two grade school aged sons. Unfortunately, now we are spoiled having two rooms :D. I don't know if we could go back to 4 in a room.

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This is the first balcony on the 9th deck, I've heard them called the "bubble balcony"

 

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Looking up at bridge

 

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Looking forward through glass

 

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I loved this balcony! It felt so open and huge, despite being normal sized. Now, you don't have much privacy if that is a concern, the people on the bridge can see you. On the other hand you can pretend you are driving the ship. I would say that we felt more motion, but it was not a problem for us. Also, you REALLY feel the bow thrusters when you are docking, it was enough to wake me up. If you had a lot of early ports you might get tired of vibrating wake up call.

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Thanks for the pictures. I didn't know that you could get a balcony connected to a window cabin. I'll bare these in mind for when the kids are a bit older and we take them with us on cruises. We have 3yr old twins and a 1yr old so would have to have 2 cabins and whilst we'd love a balcony I'd feel happier with the kids just having a window x

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On to the short review. We live in a university town and our spring break is always at the same time as the university, so we are stuck with the possibility of cruising with college spring breakers. We knew this ahead of time and were prepared to see some bad behavior. I know there is already a review that discusses some of the problems. However, we were lucky enough to not directly encounter any problems. Either that or we just did not notice as we see it around town :eek:. I did wonder how some of the young women were managing to walk on their high heels after a day of drinking!

 

Overall, I found a mix of ages. There were obviously spring breakers, but also many families and couples, as well as some older people as well.

 

Dining

Except for lunch we pretty much stuck to eating the the dining room. We had early dining and a great table by the window. It pays to email dining services a great tip from CC. It was the new menus and we enjoyed the food. A couple of dishes we a little meh, but we did not go hungry. We are not vegetarians, but do enjoy vegetarian dishes, I would say that was an area that needs improvement. I wold like to see the Indian dishes in the dining room brought back.

 

I highly recommend breakfast in the dining room. Most of the time we just did the buffet, but it was so much calmer than the Windjammer. We did get the crab cake benedict, and french toast and enjoyed both. My boys lived on chocolate donuts!

 

Lunch we mostly ate in the Windjammer and went at off times so we did not encounter too many crowds outside of the first day. I became addicted to the bread pudding!

 

Snacks lots of yummy cookies and brownies from the Cafe Promenade, my son also enjoyed the pizza from Sorrentos.

 

Ports

Grand Cayman - My husband is not really a beach guy, so we did the semi sub excursion. It was a great way to see what lies beneath the ocean in comfort. We say a shipwreck and pleantly of fish.

 

Falmouth, Jamaica - We like to include some history for our children so we choose the Great House at your Leisure excursion. Basically once up at Good Hope they give you a map and you can wander on your own. We had an employee (not an official tour guide) walk us around. He knew basics, but we did not get much history. I would suggest going for the tour with the horse and buggy to get a more official tour.

 

Labadee, Haiti - Our boys finally got their beach day! Obviously, this is not really Haiti, but it is a beautiful beach and we had a great day. We were off the ship early enough to snag a spot under a tree on Nellies Beach, the boys happily played in the water and sand all day. They did not even ask about the coaster! Again we ate before there were lines, so no problems with the buffet. I did want to try a Labadoosie, but not before lunch. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready they were no longer wandering the beach with them. I'm sure I could have gone to a bar looking for one, but was too lazy :).

 

Ship

We thought the ship was a great condition. Everything was clean and well kept. The staff was friendly. Our stateroom attendant Alvaro was awesome. We enjoyed the ice show, flowrider, rock wall, and ice skating. The only pool we used was the H2O Zone, but as we had children that was by choice, not to avoid college students. Our boys were tired out so we were usually back in our rooms by 10:00 p.m. enjoying a drink on the balcony. I would say the beds are getting a little uncomfortable. We did find it odd that our connecting door at some point had been taped with masking tape around the opening. Maybe it was done to prevent sound between the two rooms?!? I had to compulsively remove some of it :o.

 

Embarking/Debarking

We stayed at the Hyatt Place Airport/Cruise Port and took at taxi to port arriving around 11:45, it probably took about 1/2 to get on the ship.

 

Coming back our tags were for 8:30, we left the ship at about 8:40, and were through customs, taxi line and to the airport by 9:20.

 

We had a great time and loved this class of ship! I'm happy to answer questions.

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Thanks for the pictures. I didn't know that you could get a balcony connected to a window cabin. I'll bare these in mind for when the kids are a bit older and we take them with us on cruises. We have 3yr old twins and a 1yr old so would have to have 2 cabins and whilst we'd love a balcony I'd feel happier with the kids just having a window x

 

It was a great combination, I did not have to worry about them going on to a balcony without knowing. It was also nice having two bathrooms! The only downside it that it is a long walk to dining. I suppose that did help work off all the cookies I ate :)

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I appreciate that you took the time to post pictures and general info. :) We leave on April 7th on FOS and they have interior/balcony AFT. I wonder if they have any "early morning wake up" noise/vibration. I have been wondering about the bow, just because of window, not interior. Next year will be our last family of four BEFORE college. I would love to make it an extra special trip for my DD. She said she prefers interior but I wonder if she would appreciate having a window....

Thanks again!

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I appreciate that you took the time to post pictures and general info. :) We leave on April 7th on FOS and they have interior/balcony AFT. I wonder if they have any "early morning wake up" noise/vibration. I have been wondering about the bow, just because of window, not interior. Next year will be our last family of four BEFORE college. I would love to make it an extra special trip for my DD. She said she prefers interior but I wonder if she would appreciate having a window....

Thanks again!

 

We actually, tried to get the interior/balcony but it was already gone. I think the boys enjoyed the window. At least with the aft it is not as long a haul to the Windjammer or dining room :), it was a looong was from our rooms. My kids did not notice the thrusters when asleep, but I am sort of a light sleeper.

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