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Independence of the Seas- Nov. 28 Photo Review!

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Hello everyone!

Between the stress of traveling back after our cruise and trying to get back in to the swing of things at work, I've had virtually no time for Cruise Critic (gasp) or other social media sites. I'm still in the process of resizing pictures and determining which ones to use, but hopefully I can start to do that over the next few days. I know that there hasn’t been a ton of recent reviews of the Independence, so hopefully I can provide a ton of good info for you all with upcoming cruises on the ship. CC is a wealth of knowledge and info, and I'd love to continue to give back to those who provided reviews before me.

 

Who We Are:

My fiancé and I are originally from the Chicago area but are living life out in Iowa (Go Hawkeyes!). We’re both in our mid 20s, this was my 7th cruise and his 3rd. It was terribly unfortunate that I caught the cruising bug early in life, because now my fiancé has it, and as we all know, the only cure is more cruises. So last year when my fiancé and I returned from the NCL Sky and were telling my parents about it, I had the fantastic idea to invite my parents on our next cruise. Fast forward a year and that was this cruise. Turns out it was a bit of a challenge to spend six straight days with my parents, but we all survived. Definitely looking forward to our next cruises where it’s just the two of us again.

 

This Review:

This review will quickly cover our pre-cruise experience, and a lot about the cruise and the ship itself, including menus, cruise compasses, and lots of photos. Of course opinions will be peppered throughout but I think that I’m fair enough that the negative opinions get outweighed by the positive experiences. I don’t want to tell you “how it is,” but only give insight and explanations of the things we encountered, struggled with, and loved. For future Independence cruisers, I truly think you’ll love the ship!! I know vacations are all about what you make them, and ours was extremely wonderful.

Our sailing was November 28, 2016 out of Port Everglades. We had a day at sea, visited Labadee on 11/30, visted Falmouth on 12/1, and another day at sea after that.

Edited by morninsun86

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We were on the IotS last November and will be again next April. Looking forward to your review. You also did the same itinerary we as we have coming up. **waiting patiently**:cool:

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So happy to see this review. My daughter and I are taking the exact same cruise in February. Thank you so much!

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Just off her from a 4 nighter to Cozumel. Interested to hear how our experiences compare.

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We were taking our daughter and fiancee (now husband) on that exact cruise a few years ago, but because of a snowstorm we weren't able to go so they went without us and had a great time and we wonder how our 6 straight days together would go; it's a big difference traveling family style when she was a minor versus now an adult.

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Thanks for your review to come. Any chance you could post cruise compasses ahead of review if have them?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Sorry everyone, I have no clue how a week flew by. I work in the education realm so work has been extra busy before winter break. I'm SUPER excited that all of you are following along and I promise I will start work on this today!! I need to remember how to include pictures in the review but also make sure they're not terribly big either. I'll be messing around with it for a little while, I'm sure.

 

I will definitely post the Cruise Compasses! I can also speak to both of the specialty restaurants (Chops and Giovannis) and provide our opinions on those.

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The Trip Begins!

Sunday 11/27 we flew United Airlines from Chicago O’Hare to Fort Lauderdale airport. Since our flight was at 8am, the TSA process wasn’t too bad, but I definitely remembered why we prefer Southwest out of Midway. For those of you who don’t have to deal with Chicago airports, consider yourself lucky. We arrived at FLL a little before noon and were out of the airport and waiting for our hotel shuttle by 12:10. We did a Fly, Snooze, and Cruise package from Quality Inn on Stirling Blvd in Hollywood, FL. We did the same hotel package last year and my reviews were less than stellar about the hotel accommodations, but I went ahead and did it this year to 1) give it a second chance, 2) because it wasn’t completely terrible, and 3) it was the cheapest option I was willing to consider. I called the hotel and requested pick up by the shuttle. The woman who answered the phone was a little confused about where we should go, but ultimately we found the sign to stand under. I’m not sure why she was confused- if you get dozens of phone calls like this a week, you should probably know the correct answer. After 20+ minutes of waiting for the shuttle, my fiance called again, when he was told the shuttle was close to our terminal. The waiting process took 25-30 minutes, which was a little frustrating just because we were getting hungry for lunch and wanted to change out of our “Chicago weather clothes.”

 

We get to the hotel, check-in went fairly quickly, and up to the room we went. This hotel definitely isn’t the newest or fanciest thing around, but it had clean beds, clean towels, and was a safe play to stay. After changing, we walked to the Taco Bell next door for lunch, and then to the Kmart down the street. It’s about a 10 minute walk, nothing strenuous or lengthy, and it’s convenient to walk instead of having to pay for a taxi or Uber.

A word of advice, the Kmart charges A LOT for sunscreen, mostly because it knows it can. I’m sure a lot of cruise passengers stop at Kmart to get supplies, especially those who didn’t check any luggage at the airport so were limited to 3 oz containers. Maybe it seems extra inflated because we live in Iowa, but one spray bottle of sunscreen was like $11, which is pretty ridiculous. Oh well, we knew we’d have to pay since we didn’t bring our own, but we’ll probably check luggage on our longer trip next November to avoid that again.

 

The Pool and Bar at the Hotel:

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After our Kmart adventure, the four of us sat by the pool and read for about an hour before we got ready for dinner. Last November when my fiance and I were in Fort Lauderdale, we met up with a few friends and had dinner on the Hollywood Boardwalk at Ocean’s 13. It’s right across the street from the beach and we had a great time, so we wanted to show my parents the area this time. We took an Uber for $10-15 and walked around the Boardwalk and beach for a while, before making our way to the restaurant. We definitely thought there was going to be a storm since it was incredibly windy, but any rain must have come overnight, because we lucked out the next day during boarding and sail away. Ocean’s 13 is a bar and grill with not a ton of food options, but the food is definitely good and the atmosphere is very relaxed, so we enjoyed ourselves. I would recommend it if anyone’s looking for a place to check out for a pre-cruise dinner and drink place.

 

Notice the two cruise ships on the left side of the picture! (Also, we always represent the Hawkeyes while traveling, so it's not the last you'll see of the black and gold!)

 

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The sunset was incredible!

 

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Edited by morninsun86

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You are right. I guess too that the majority of Kmart's customers there are cruisers who can spend more. How was the weather in FLL? A big change coming from your home! We are also single digits here in the northeast.

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Zomg I'm so excited!! Lol thanks for the review! I love pic reviews that start out the day before and have lots of info. It really gets me excited to go. Can't wait to see your next posts. :)

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