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harryfat1

(Slightly less so) Cheapo dad's trip report on Independence of the Seas

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Harry, you are doing a great job as usual, looking forward to more of your report and photos. On a side note, the temperature here at Myrtle Beach is 17 degrees and I had to fire up my semi fake fireplace (uses propane instead of wood) after seeing your photos of the nice warm Caribbean.

 

Jim,

 

Hi, Jim,

 

Hope you and your family had a nice holiday. Wow, didn’t know it gets to be that cold out in Myrtle Beach.

 

We froze in Miami getting off the ship on 12/30 as when we boarded it was 80 degrees in FLL and all of the Caribbean ports we visited. So we walked off the ship in t-shirt and shorts thinking it will be hot in Miami as we rode the hop on hop off bus.

 

Ha. It was 64 degrees and no sun and super windy on the top deck of the hop on hop off. Not fun.

 

I might need to ask about your Thanksgiving cruising experience as we might be doing a Thanksgiving cruise this year or go to house of Mouse. But that can wait until later in the trip report.

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Already on the third page? How did this happen?

 

Following along yet another time. You give me lots of things to talk to my husband while we wait for our April cruise. We were supposed to be on Indy's Transatlantic this spring, but then Royal cancelled it and we were forced to take a small boat (aka Navigator) back to Europe.

 

That would have been third time you doing a perfect report for our forthcoming Transatlantic. Sadly we missed it.

But even so, I am following with great interest. Please, go on!

 

ps. maybe next xmas time you take Oasis, as we just booked transatlantic 2019 with it?

 

Hi, Miryam,

 

This is just like a big annual party where old friends such as yourself show up to say hi as well as new friends reading my trip report for the first time so the post count adds up quickly with everyone dropping by in the beginning to say hi.

 

Yeah, I was going to say somehow I keep selecting ships that will do the TA the following year after our December cruise and that’s where you and Dani gets on.

 

So why did your TA get cancelled? I know Indy is due for refit in the spring but I am not really following the details as it’s after our cruise so it won’t impact me.

 

Not sure what we will do this winter. We may or may not do a cruise as we might go to Disneyworld instead and then go on Ovation of the Seas in Alaska in 2019 such that we won’t need to fly across the country. Or we might do a Thanksgiving cruise instead as my kids get Thanksgiving week off and sailings that week is so much cheaper than Christmas week.

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Wow. I skip CC for a day and miss 60+ posts of a new Cheapo Dad trip report, where the trip part of the report hasn't even started yet! Looking forward to another entertaining harryfat thread.

 

Hi, Bob,

 

Nice to talk to you again. Unlike an actual holiday party,being one or few days late here is not an issue as I will still be on day 0 for next few days.

 

Have been busy since coming home. The house looked like disaster encampment with 4 suit cases full of laundry to be done and I had to go into work for part day on New Year’s Day as well as trying to buy grocery to restock the refrigerator.

 

I will try to finds some time to make headway on the trip report as the week goes on and we all get settled back to the daily routine.

 

But I think I am coming down with a post cruise cold as I am getting a stuffy nose and the throat is not feeling great. We'll see how that works itself out the rest of the week.

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Somebody cares because I read all that. Is there a website that displays all the prices like this??

 

Hi,

 

Were you the person that emailed me today? If so, I replied in the email as they won't allow me to mention travel agent info here. Hopefully you will find the web site useful.

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I’m here for the random photos of Arizona.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

 

Haha, you and Heather are in the same boat (pun intended). So you guys come to a cruise forum reading about a Caribbean cruise report expecting to see rock pictures of Arizona? Yeah, that makes sense…or not

 

Technically it’s a tad bit early to have digression talk as I haven’t even started on day 0 of the trip yet as I tend to digress later in the report but it’s like drinking at 9 AM, somewhere out it is 5 PM and happy hour has started. So somewhere in the CC forum, someone is in the middle of a trip report, so I can digress now with few Arizona & Utah pics.

 

These were few from the summer road trip I had previously posted in the Freedom report. I have more but too lazy to look for them now.

 

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We leave for our first ever Royal Caribbean cruise in a few days, and it's on the Independence. Excited to read more of your review! :)

 

Have fun on your cruise.

 

Sorry to say this won't be ready for you before your cruise as I will still be in day 0 by time you sail. You are better off reading my Freedom trip report instead.

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Yay! Harry's back!

 

How sad that I was just thinking this past weekend, "I wonder if Harry's family went on another trip this year?" And then went LOOKING for a report! LOL. Finding nothing, I felt gypped out of my enormous CC fees. But you have redeemed yourself tonight!

 

Sadder still, I recognized your first post and knew you were economizing your intro before you admitted to it! LOL. That's how I knew that FOS was a C/P, because your title clearly said Indy. THAT's how I knew Harry was back with Episode Three!

 

Saddest is that I've sat here and devoured 4 pages of intro and your trip has yet to begin! Now that I'm invested, I guess I'll just have to scuff my feet and follow along, because gosh all, I love your pics and commentary. You hooked me at that chocolate roll-thingy, you tease. How many days before we find out what that is?

 

Anyway, highly impressed that everyone's favorite cheapo went on a 9-day trip. And yes, I actually read your reasons why! So you are not writing to hear yourself type.

 

Just remember, after this third episode, you better not pull a George Lucas on us and make us wait umpteen years for the next sequel!

 

WOW! You know my writing style better than I know my own style as I had to look back on what I wrote from a year ago and decided I was just going to use that as I just came back home couple days ago and still not 100% focused on work and home. So figure who is going to sue me for plagiarizing my own work?

 

That chocolate thing is the "yule log" thing they have as a special dessert for the holidays. I think I had it on day 6 on the Freedom. Sounds good on paper. Taste wise, not so much.

 

This is the "best value" cruise I can find giving the circumstances of my kids' school vacation. Out the door, including taxes and port fees, it's like $113 per day per person for 2 cabins. Throw in $225 OBC from TA and $100 OBC from Royal per cabin, it was a decent deal given it's a Christmas sailing. But doubtful we will sail again during Christmas. The extra fees is not worth it for me. Cheapo dads and moms are better off sailing the week before.

 

I started this thread and uploaded some sample pics within 48 hours of coming home so don't feel too ripped off on your hefty CC annual fees...

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One reason I didn’t update my anal spreadsheet is on the Freedom class ship, you don’t need to pre plan for shows or dinner as with other ships. The Indy follows the more traditional 2 seating setting and typically has shows pre or post dinner, depending on when you have dinner.

 

For some, that is great as they don’t have to worry about uber planning and being super anal to know where they will eat 4 months later. But for the Disney planner in me, this is too boring as I have nothing to do pre cruise to “d o something”.

I have been conditioned by Disney to start sweating months before to gear up for the reservation system like in pouncing on the computer and phone to reserve dining at the 180 day mark to book all the days of the Disneyworld trip. The Freedom and Indy style is “too tame” for the 9.8 anal scale people like myself.

 

About the pre-planning I did was to email Royal 49 days out and requested a table. Don’t laugh, someone else from my roll call beat me to making the request so it goes to show you that just because you rank 9.8 on the anal scale of 1 to 10, there will always be 9.81 and 9.82+ level people out there.

 

For those who don’t know, you can email Royal to make a specific request. RCLDining@rccl.com

 

My request was for table for 8 on deck 4 next to the balcony railing. Simple, no?

 

Then they emailed back to confirm you have the table. We were assigned table 468. The map below is the MDR for deck 4. The number on the top is table number, the number below is size of table. Do note this changes by seating by sailing such that sometimes they can change the table to make changes between 4 to 6 to 8 on an as needed basis.

 

At least I thought that was all settled. Will explain more on why this thing fell apart by time I get to day 1:

 

 

 

25565136098_ed6d727cfa_b.jpg

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Another thing you can request info from Royal as to learn who will be performers for your cruise. Email them at this email:

 

web_reservations@rccl.com

 

This can be asked couple weeks prior to sailing so you can Google/YouTube the performers to see if their entertainment venue is what you like to hear. This is what I received from the Royal:

+++++++++++++++++

 

We would be happy to provide more information on the planned entertainment for your upcoming sailing. Here is a list of our Headliner acts sorted by the night of the cruise they take place for.

 

1) Heath Harmison, Comedian

2) Production Show

3) Revoiced, Acapella Group

4) Derek Marshall, Comedy Hypnotist

5) Act Not Specified

6) Production Show

7) Elisa Furr, Female Vocalist

8) Production Show

9) Louis Johnson, Comedian

 

Our Production Shows are as follows:

 

Grease: The Musical

Under The Big Top

Center Stage

Invitation To Dance

Once Upon A Time

 

This is an estimate of our entertainment schedule and is subject to change. The most up-to-date information regarding entertainment can be found in your Cruise Compass once onboard, and at the Box Office.

 

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Hi,

 

Were you the person that emailed me today? If so, I replied in the email as they won't allow me to mention travel agent info here. Hopefully you will find the web site useful.

 

I wasn’t, but emailing you sounds like a great idea :)

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So happy to read another “trip report” from you. Cheryl from Sydney who has no connection with the Caribbean.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Hi Cheapo Dad!

 

I cant tell you how happy I was to see that you are writing and sailing again. I was intrigued by that room price listing thing too - because I always seem to pick an expensive option without meaning to

 

Looking forward to reading about what you and your family get up to!

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Hi,

 

Good talking to you once again.

 

I see from your signature, you are booked on the brand new Symphony. How exciting. You must like big ships also.

 

Yes....Symphony March break 2019. I know...like you talk about too, that is the worst time but we're at the point that we are not comfortable taking our kids our of school so it's March break, summer or xmas. And yes...I'm with you in the big ships. As you said, after Allure, it's hard to compare with others. However having said that, so far this cruise looks amazing too. Plus 9 days is perfect. The 7 days always goes so fast and 9 is not too many.

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Those same old Arizona photos?! ;p That's fine, it's cold and snowy here so I'm happy to look at photos of anywhere warm! (And I can't believe you remembered I commented on them in your previous report. Wow, I'm flattered). :D

Heather

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Harry,

 

Thanks for providing this e-mail address. I'd heard of others doing this and knowing who the scheduled entertainment was likely to be in advance of boarding, but I could never manage to find the contact information to try it myself. I've got a message drafted and will send it later this month in advance of our 1 February departure on Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore. Given the weather we've been having in the area lately and the forecast for Charleston, SC today, this may be the one cruise where I'm looking to be entertained on the ship rather than venture out into the open decks and simply watch the waves go by. Cross your fingers that our forecast is more favorable than for those that left on our same 9-day South East Coast and Bahamas itinerary yesterday!

 

Enjoying your trip reports immensely, as it's a way to see other ships in the fleet. Living just 45 minutes from the port in Baltimore, we've only ever been on Grandeur and Enchantment. Would like to see some of the bigger ships in person someday, but it's just too easy to get in the car and park it at the cruise terminal in our own back yard without having to worry about making flight connections, etc.

 

I eagerly await the next installment of this trip report, and the associated photos. Amazing!

 

Another thing you can request info from Royal as to learn who will be performers for your cruise. Email them at this email:

 

web_reservations@rccl.com

 

This can be asked couple weeks prior to sailing so you can Google/YouTube the performers to see if their entertainment venue is what you like to hear. This is what I received from the Royal:

+++++++++++++++++

 

We would be happy to provide more information on the planned entertainment for your upcoming sailing. Here is a list of our Headliner acts sorted by the night of the cruise they take place for.

 

1) Heath Harmison, Comedian

2) Production Show

3) Revoiced, Acapella Group

4) Derek Marshall, Comedy Hypnotist

5) Act Not Specified

6) Production Show

7) Elisa Furr, Female Vocalist

8) Production Show

9) Louis Johnson, Comedian

 

Our Production Shows are as follows:

 

Grease: The Musical

Under The Big Top

Center Stage

Invitation To Dance

Once Upon A Time

 

This is an estimate of our entertainment schedule and is subject to change. The most up-to-date information regarding entertainment can be found in your Cruise Compass once onboard, and at the Box Office.

 

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(Trying to squeeze in one more post before heading off to work. I will reply to various folk’s comments later today.)

 

I always chuckled (well, ok, more like a smirk if you want to be technical) whenever I read a question on the forum from cruisers that asked if there will be kids in the late December sailings. OH, YEAH. Boat/Ship load. We contributed 2 to the count as Royal considers people under age of 18 to be a kid.

 

At the muster drill, they announced the ship had close to 4,300 passengers of which, we have around 975 kids. As a comparison, I looked back at my old trip report on the Freedom and I noticed I had written down the exact number for that sailing (4,416 for Freedom) but I didn’t write down the exact number for the Indy. Guess my standard is slipping as now I am just going with round numbers instead of actually writing things down and talk about numbers that NOBODY cares about…

 

At any rate, using “approximate numbers” taking 975 divide by 4,300, we get around 22.5% of the passengers being kids. So stay away from these pre and during holiday sailings if you are kids phobic.

 

As shareholder of the company, I’m always interested on the occupancy ratio in the SEC 10K filing to see if they are stuffing guests like sardines on an average sailing. Per the latest number as of 2016, that number is 106.4% (highest on past 3 years). Obviously the holiday sailings are super packed with triples and quad cabins being full.

 

Using the Royal Caribbean press center info as a gauge, they have the Indy at regular capacity at 3,634 passengers and maxes out at 4,375. So using the 4,300 number per my fuzzy old man memory (unless someone else from this sailing remembers the exact number, please chime in), dividing 4,300 by 3,634 gives me around 118%, plus or minus a %. No surprises there as one expects holiday sailings to be way over 100%. On par with the 117% from our last year’s Freedom holiday sailing.

 

I think as long as we sail with kids during peak season, we will always be above the yearly average.

 

Yeah, yeah, I know, nobody cares…Fine, here are some beach pictures just for showing up to read this post.

 

 

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Dang. You do take lots of photos. I took 290 on our cruise. My husband took none. I had shutterfly pick out the best ones and make a book for me- then I added the captions. Where do you store all your photos?

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As shareholder of the company, I’m always interested on the occupancy ratio in the SEC 10K filing to see if they are stuffing guests like sardines on an average sailing. Per the latest number as of 2016, that number is 106.4% (highest on past 3 years).

You are slipping Harry - the new number as of the last quarter is 110.6% - page 27 of the SEC filing: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/884887/000088488717000067/rcl-9302017x10q.htm

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Checking in to say I love your reports Harry! Been hooked since the Blah, Blah, Blah report on Allure! Thanks for all the time and effort you put into all your reports! They are appreciated.

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You are slipping Harry - the new number as of the last quarter is 110.6% - page 27 of the SEC filing: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/884887/000088488717000067/rcl-9302017x10q.htm

 

 

Haha, I KNEW you would show up on this post one way or another as you were the only person that commented on it last year. Good to be consistent. Good to be consistent, no?

 

In my own defense, I like the numbers on the 10K instead of the 10Q you referenced as the 10K is an annual report that is inclusive of past 12 months, the 10Q is only the most recent quarter of past 3 months. The Q is more volatile as it includes seasonality and the 10K is more smoothed out when you account for the entire calendar year.

 

Besides, for the Freedom, I referenced the 10K back then so if I use the 10Q now, “somebody” (don’t know who it might be but we will look around the room for candidate) will comment that I am comparing apples and oranges in mixing up the 10Q and 10K from year to year. So it just makes more sense to be consistent with the 10K again even though the data is older.

 

You are very correct in pointing out the previous quarter had a very high occupancy rate of 110.6%, even compared to the prior year same quarter to date of 109.8%.

 

Now what is interesting to me is the table to the right on the 9 months ended YTD numbers. For the 9 months ended 2016, the rate was 106.5%. Then 3 months later at the 10K, it was 106.4%. Effectively flat. That implies the 4th quarter last year was around 106.5% range as not to move the needle much compared to the other 3 quarters.

 

That intrigues me in the sense that one would expect 4th quarter to be higher than average due to the holiday periods of Thanksgiving/Christmas/just prior to New Year sailing. The only way the math would work is that the other sailings in the quarter (all of October/first half of November & December) are below annual average.

 

They must be low enough to wipe out the holiday season highs of 117% sailings to bring the quarter number back to 106.5 range. Will be interesting to see the actual 10K numbers next month when they typically release them.

 

This makes sense conceptually as most families won’t cruise during those school days. So if you want fewer people on your future cruise, choose them on those dates. In theory you should get good cruise cabin rates as cruise lines have to fill these empty cabins. Nothing new here as everyone knows that. I'm just showing the data proof out the assumption.

 

On side note, I’m too lazy to check each quarterly numbers for 2017 but I would assume the 3rd quarter of 110.6% is the highest quarter for 2017 compared to Q1 and Q2 given it’s the seasonality of families sailing the summer months of July and August.

 

Anyway, back to work to look at more numbers…

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Hi Harry! Happy to see your review. I looked before I sailed on my cruise (week before you on Freedom).

 

Now if I can get some aft pictures, I'll be set. ;p

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Awhile back, I saw this ad about “Googling yourself” and I went ahead and typed in “cheapo dad” in the Google bar and guess what showed up at the top of the search result? My trip reports here at cruise critics. I guess cruise critics must have some clout to get the results high in the Google search.

 

I just did the same thing for "Blue Collar Diamond" Maybe we should be Copyrighting these names?

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