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gargeo83

March 16-24 Solo Independence Picture Review

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Sorry for no updates yesterday. I will be continuing today though. Thanks for following along everyone

Edited by gargeo83

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Day 2- At Sea Day

 

Woke up to the great sound of the waves hitting the side of the ship. A sunny day and a forecast of 32C today. There are alot of activities planned in the Cruise Compass for today because it is a sea day. So the best way to start the day is with a breakfast on the balcony.

 

*Cruise TIP alert* The breakfast door hangers can be found in your cabin near the door to the bathroom. Fill out what you would like and what desired time you would like to have it delivered to your cabin. Then hang the hanger on your door before 3:00am. The next morning they will call you before they come to your cabin. Also, dont forget to give a small tip.

 

 

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Breakfast was delivered right on time and was delicious.

 

 

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After breakfast it was time to head up to the pool deck for some sun. It wasnt too hard to find a chair as long as you get there early.

 

 

For Solo travellers they have a lunch meet everyday at 12:30 in Boleros Deck 4. I didnt attend any of these so I cannot comment on how busy it was.

 

 

Today was St. Patricks Day so it was fun to see alot of people in green. Since it was St Particks day, later in the afternoon I grabbed a beer from the Dog and Badger pub and went back to my cabin to enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean.

 

 

 

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After grabbing some more sun and people watching on the pool deck it was time to go back to the cabin to shower and change. Tonight is Formal night and the Captains Welcome Gala.

 

 

For the Welcome Gala there was free Champagne being handed out. I also saw some green Champagne being handed out for St Patricks Day.

 

 

*Cruise TIP alert* If you are wanting to get a good spot for photos of the Captain and the other officers, get to the Royal Promenade early. It gets very busy and full of crowds. To the point where you will not be able to walk from one end to the other very easily.

 

 

 

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Having previously been on Liberty of the Seas I knew where the Captain would be coming from. There is a bridge that can be lowered into the Promenade which makes for great pictures. Here you can see the Captain just coming into view as the bridge comes down

 

 

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The Captain also introduced the rest of the officers and other staff to the crowd. It was funny to see that one of the loudest ovations was for the Cruise Director Casey, when it was annouced he was from Canada. Must have been alot of us Canucks onboard. Even the Captain joked that he didnt realize there were so many Canadians onboard.

 

 

 

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After the Gala it was off to the Champagne bar for a Martini while the crowd moved on. I never saw this bar crowded the whole week so it was a great place to grab a drink and people watch as everyone is in formal wear and getting their pictures taken.

 

 

After the drink it was off to the King Lear Dining Room Deck 5. This is the dining room for all the "My Time Dining" guests.

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Before doing this cruise I read many reviews and some people mentioned that there were always waiting lines for My Time Dining. I never ran into this.

 

 

*Cruise TIP alert* To avoid the lineups I always went to dinner between 9:00pm and 9:15. I know this is late for some people but for me it wasnt. There was never a line.

 

 

Once you arrive at the dining room entrance you give the Hostess you cabin number and she radios for someone to come and escort you to your table. For those of you that noticed, this is why some of the waiters have earpieces in their ears that make them look like Secret Service. I heard many people ask what the ear pieces were for.

 

 

*Cruise TIP alert* Each morning outside the entrances of all 3 dining rooms the nights menu is posted for all to see. This helps if you are wanting to try one of the 2 speciality restaurants on Deck 11 Aft near the Windjammer. You can make sure you dont miss anything in the dining room that you really wanted to try. Checking out the menu each morning became a routine for me after grabbing a coffee at Cafe Promenade Deck 5.

 

 

I was seated very quickly and not shortly after the waiter came over and introduced himself and his staff to me. I had the same waiters each night. Sandip and his team did a very good job each night. They always referred to me by my name. This always impresses me that they can remember names and individuals preferences when they are serving many people each night.

 

 

To start I had the Chilled Banana and Rum soup with Tahitian vanilla cream.

 

 

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I couldnt decide between 2 main courses so Sandip brought me both. First up was:

 

 

Shrimp Ravioli

wilted spinach, creamy thyme and corn in a lobster sauce

 

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This was very very good. If I didnt have a second main course coming I would have ordered this again.

 

 

Second was:

 

 

Artichoke filled Crepes Au Gratin

fontina cheese, piave vecchio, and marscapone cheese reduction

 

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This was also very good but I preferred the ravioli. I was too full for dessert however so I just had a coffee.

 

I noticed in the dining room below me the Captain was having dinner at the head table.

 

 

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After dinner I went back to my cabin to drop off my camera before heading out to various lounges to listen to live music. Once back at my room I had a visitor waiting for me.

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Waiting in my room for me was the first towel animal of the week.

 

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I found these neat tiny lights that are next to the bed that I would leave on each night before I left the cabin. It is a great way to have some light in your cabin for when you get back and to help save energy by not leaving the main lights on.

 

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After dropping off my camera I was off to various lounges. There was alot of live music this night and I enjoyed listening to it. After a few hours I grabbed a night cap to have on my balcony while listening to the water and enjoying the warm night weather. Then off to bed.

 

Next up is Day 3 at Sea again.

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Before doing this cruise I read many reviews and some people mentioned that there were always waiting lines for My Time Dining. I never ran into this.

 

 

*Cruise TIP alert* To avoid the lineups I always went to dinner between 9:00pm and 9:15. I know this is late for some people but for me it wasnt. There was never a line.

 

 

Once you arrive at the dining room entrance you give the Hostess you cabin number and she radios for someone to come and escort you to your table. For those of you that noticed, this is why some of the waiters have earpieces in their ears that make them look like Secret Service. I heard many people ask what the ear pieces were for.

 

To add to your comments re: MTD. We had a "set reservation" for MTD at 6:00 pm every night. (I booked it online before leaving from home). We NEVER had to wait. Amazing. There are 2 lines for MTD. 1 for those WITH reservations, and 1 for those without.

 

Dinner took about 1.5-2 hrs for the 4 of us. (as mentioned previously, we always had the same staff and the same table). We never felt rushed to get out of there. We were 1 row away from the windows, so we always had a view of the sunset.

 

When we left the dining room at 7:30/8:00 there were always quite a few people lingering about in both lines. (we had to weave our way through them to escape the dining room).

 

SO, if you don't want to wait, then don't go for dinner at 8. (my tip).

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To add to your comments re: MTD. We had a "set reservation" for MTD at 6:00 pm every night. (I booked it online before leaving from home). We NEVER had to wait. Amazing. There are 2 lines for MTD. 1 for those WITH reservations, and 1 for those without.

 

Dinner took about 1.5-2 hrs for the 4 of us. (as mentioned previously, we always had the same staff and the same table). We never felt rushed to get out of there. We were 1 row away from the windows, so we always had a view of the sunset.

 

When we left the dining room at 7:30/8:00 there were always quite a few people lingering about in both lines. (we had to weave our way through them to escape the dining room).

 

SO, if you don't want to wait, then don't go for dinner at 8. (my tip).

 

We also did a standing 6:15 and got right in. We had the same wonderful waitstaff each evening. Like you noticed when we left around 8 it did seem a little more crowded.

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I am really enjoying your posts. it is terrific that someone can take the time to help others enjoy their cruise.

Thanks from Egypt.

Billy.

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How are the night clubs as far as dancing. We like to have a few drinks and dance but the past 2 cruises we were on, either it was a young crowd (BF and I are in our early 50's) and they didnt play the type of music we like to dance to or the club was dead and there was no one dancing.

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How are the night clubs as far as dancing. We like to have a few drinks and dance but the past 2 cruises we were on, either it was a young crowd (BF and I are in our early 50's) and they didnt play the type of music we like to dance to or the club was dead and there was no one dancing.

 

 

The main dance club was the Labyrinth on deck 4 and 5. It was only busy one night of the week. I was a little disappointed by that. Another disappointment was the Club 20 party they have in the Solaruim. I passed by just after midnight that night and there was only 5-10 people there. Not sure if it is always like this or just on my cruise.

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My DD is a figure skater and did the advanced skates as she brought her skates from home. She was the only one on the ice. She said the same thing, it was soft ice with lots of grooves. She was able to jump fine, but had a hard time with the spins and also said there was no glide. Made what they do in the show more impressive. The concierge was able to get her backstage to meet the ice cast after the show and they told us it takes months to really get used to the size and surface.

 

My teen boys had a blast on this ship. There was a very nice and active group of kids (in a good way). I met their friends during the week and I was impressed with what a polite group they were. They have been texting and facebooking since we got home.

 

We will do this sailing again without a doubt. The eight days was perfect, the ship, the crew, everything was just wonderful. Our favorite cruise so far.

 

Jill,

 

We met the nicest teens at the Flowrider this cruise. They were all very nice, polite and personable.

 

We have already booked this ship for next March 15th and can't wait :D and I agree with you about the length of the cruise being perfect as well as the ship and crew.

 

We are looking forward to the Flowrider every morning again :)

 

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Day 3-At Sea

Day 3 Activities

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Woke up once again to beautiful sunny weather. Started off the morning with my now routine of grabbing a coffee, then checking out the menu by the dining room, then a few laps around the outside Promenade deck before heading to breakfast at Windjammer.

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Of course a quick stop at the back of the ship to see the wake of the ship

 

 

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Edited by gargeo83

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During the day was much the same as Day 2. Sitting by the pool enjoying the warm sun and people watching.

 

 

Was back at my cabin around 5:00pm to shower and change and then off to Vintages for a glass of wine. Vintages was always very quiet around 6:00pm because most of the passengers are at the 6:00pm early dinner seating in the dining room.

 

 

 

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For dinner I had the rack of lamb. Very tasty and very tender. (sorry that the picture is a little fuzzy)

 

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After dinner I headed back to the Royal Promenade to find a place to sit, or stand, for the 70s Disco Inferno party at 10:30pm. Again this is one of the times the Royal Promenade was very busy but that made the party more fun. The cruise director and staff did a great job getting the crowd into the mood to party. There were lots of shirts and other items thrown to the crowd, including a beach ball. Before throwing the ball into the crowd Casey the cruise director made a joke that if the ball hits the ground then the bars are closed. Of course the ball never even made it close to the ground!

 

 

 

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After the 70s party it was off to various lounges and bars again. Then back to the cabin for the night.

 

 

 

Tomorrow is Day 4 St Maarten. This days post will be very picture heavy so if you like pictures stay tuned!

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It started at 8 am to 9 for advanced stand up and 9 to 10 (last day was until 11) for stand up, where the sports staff will help load you. Yep, we had it all to ourselves (just the 5-6, sometimes 7 of us) for the entire cruise and it was AWESOME :D I will say this though, purchase a shortie wet suit. We ended up renting them from the dive shop because the first three days were so windy and COLD, brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

 

How much was the wet suit rental?

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Day 4 St Maarten

 

Day Activites

 

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I was up early this day to watch our arrival into the port.

 

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There were already 2 ships docked before us. Norwegian Epic and Mein Schiff 1.

 

 

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Next to dock before us was Celebrity Eclipse

 

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How much was the wet suit rental?

 

$40 for the whole week and best $40 we spent on that cruise. I could not believe how windy and cold it was the first three days. :eek:

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Then we docked next to Norwegian Epic

 

 

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Here you can see the water slide on Epic

 

 

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After we docked Celebrity Reflection came in and docked next to her sister ship, Eclipse

 

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The 2 Celebrity ships made for a great photo opportunity

 

 

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I noticed there was another fellow flag bearing Canuck onboard Reflection

 

 

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After watching us come into port it was up to Windjammer for breakfast and then off the ship to walk around the cruise ship port.

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Once off the ship I took some time to take the usual ship photos that I like to take while in Port. The size of these ships is always impressive to me no matter how many times I have cruised.

 

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I spent an hour or so walking around and checking out the stores in port. This is my 3rd time at St Maarten and there is a spice hut I always like to check out while Im here. After that I found a spot at Sharkys bar to have a Corona. Then it was back to the ship for lunch and more picture taking.

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$40 for the whole week and best $40 we spent on that cruise. I could not believe how windy and cold it was the first three days. :eek:

 

Cool. We'll probably do that for upcoming cruise. We both tend to run a little cold, and that should just make everything nicer.

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After lunch I went down to the Promenade deck for a bit of a stroll and to get some pictures.

 

 

 

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After that it was back to the cabin to enjoy the sun. Once back at the cabin I noticed they were performing tests on a lifeboat on the Port side.

 

 

 

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Here is a great picture to show how blue the water is.

 

 

 

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At 6:00pm we started to pull away from the dock. Sail-away is always fun when there are other ships in Port. Lots of yelling back and forth between the ships and people waving.

 

 

 

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After we left we were followed by Epic and Reflection.

 

 

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It was then time to shower and change and get ready for the evening. Tonight was Caribbean night so there were many people in festive Caribbean shirts.

 

As usual I had a pre-dinner glass of wine at Vintages, which was very quiet again.

 

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Then off to Boleros to listen to live music.

 

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After Boleros it was back to the cabin briefly. To get back to the front of the ship where my cabin is located, I took the Promenade deck for some fresh air.

 

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Once back at the cabin there was another towel animal waiting for me.

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It was then time to go to the dining room for dinner at 9:15pm. Once again there was no lineup and I was seated in the same section as previous nights.

For my starter I ordered the Caprese salad.

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I also ordered for a starter the Roasted Garlic soup. I am not a big soup fan but this was very tasty.

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For my main dish was pork with a scallop potato side dish.

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Dessert was a bread pudding dish with vanilla ice cream.

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After dinner I noticed the wait staff was gathering near the stairs to do a march around the dining room.

 

 

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Later that evening I went to the Love and Marriage gameshow. This was funny and entertaining as it has always been on other ships. After the show it was back to the cabin with a night cap on the balcony and then to bed.

 

Tomorrow is Day 5, St Kitts. It will also be a picture heavy post of the day and more food pictures. Plus another cruise tip about this Port.

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Great photos and review so far, can't wait to read the rest of it. I too am a canuck, born and raised in Toronto for 12 years before moving to Arizona. I now know to bring my Canadian Flags with me o drape over my balconies from here on out, loved it!!!!!!

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Thank you everyone for the nice comments.

 

 

I will be continuing this review tonight and I hope to have it completed by Sunday.

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Jill,

 

We met the nicest teens at the Flowrider this cruise. They were all very nice, polite and personable.

 

We have already booked this ship for next March 15th and can't wait :D and I agree with you about the length of the cruise being perfect as well as the ship and crew.

 

We are looking forward to the Flowrider every morning again :)

 

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Great FlowRider photo. Was this taken during open time or during a private/group lesson? I don't see anybody else in line at all.

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Day 5- St Kitts

 

Day 5 Activities

 

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St Kitts Cruise Terminal

 

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Celebrity Reflection joined us not too long after we docked

 

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After getting a few pictures from my balcony I went down to the Royal Promenade to get the morning coffee, and then check out the dining room menu.

 

After that I wanted to go to the Bow of the ship to get a picture of the 2 ships side by side.

 

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Excellent review and great pictures, am looking forward to the next installment. Reading this review is getting me excited about upcoming cruise on Indy to the Norwegian Fjords in June.

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After leaving the ship I was able to get another great photo opportunity of the 2 ships. This shows how big they are.

 

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This was my first time to St Kitts so I walked around the cruise port to see the shops that were there. Pretty much the same as all the other cruise ports.

 

I noticed there were a few guys that had baby monkeys that you can pose with for a photo.

 

*Cruise TIP alert* The monkeys make for a great photo but becareful if you are not wanting to get a photo taken. The guys were very aggressive and if you even looked at them they would have the monkey jump on you and tell you to take a picture with your camera. After they demanded $5.00 plus tip. I noticed almost everyone would pay but some didnt and that didnt become an issue with the men.

 

This museum is not too far from the ship and was still in the terminal area. You could take a tour of it if you wanted but I didnt.

 

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After walking around for a while I headed back to the ship for lunch. As I walked backed it started to rain a little but it was almost refreshing as it wasnt a down pour but helped to cool me off.

 

Some people have asked about if the ship is still being maintained well so close to dry dock date. As I left the ship in the morning I noticed them working on touching up one of the anchors.

 

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Here is that same anchor on my way back to the ship.

 

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I was surprised to see this as it seems like something that could wait until dry dock. But all over the ship I saw maintenance being done. Yes there are some areas where the ship has some wear and tear. But for a ship that has done a few transatlantics and for its age, it was still in great condition

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Excellent review and great pictures, am looking forward to the next installment. Reading this review is getting me excited about upcoming cruise on Indy to the Norwegian Fjords in June.

 

Im glad you are enjoying it. I also like to read reviews when Im waiting to go on a cruise. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Edited by gargeo83

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Excellent review, and GREAT pics!! :)

Really enjoying it, and can't wait to get home and read the next installment.

 

I'm considering this ship for a possible cruise next April, 2014.

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It wasnt long until I noticed my luggage was waiting for me in the hallway. So I dragged it in and started the great task of unpacking and hanging up my clothes for the week. Lots of closet space and a neat hanger on one of the doors for ties.

 

 

 

 

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Is -that- what that bar attached to the closet door is for?! I can honestly say I had no idea what it was for and was wondering if anyone knew

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