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harryfat1

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

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I very much enjoyed your review of the Indy and read along to the end of the trip. There are so many pages now, that finding the answer to my simple question will be easier to ask it. Can you tell me what time the shows started. My DH and I are doing a five night western itinerary in November and I want to make sure my dining reservations do not interfere with the timing of the nightly shows. Any information would be very much appreciated.

 

Hi,

 

Thanks for reading along.

 

Looks like Canadian1 has already answered your question on the show time (thanks for Canadian 1 for doing so). Just remember that the day 1 show is typically only 1 show and the Grease show will be different time as it's 90 minutes long so they have to schedule it early. It was 5:30 to 7 for our sailing for those of us with late dinner at 8 PM.

 

The other typical nightly shows were typically at 7 PM for the 8 PM dinner folks so we can go directly to dinner from the show. Hope that helps.

 

Have a great cruise in November.

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Hi

 

Just finished reading your report and can't thank you enough for all the valuable information. A few days ago we booked the Independence of the Seas for the end of this year. I feel incredibly lucky to have come across another one of your detailed cruise reports as two years ago we went on the Allure for the first time your Allure report helped so much.

 

I can't help but think about the all time you spend sorting pictures, writing detailed information and responding to comments from readers. We are very fortunate that you are a cruise critic member.

 

Thanks again and wishing you much fun in your future travels.

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Hi

 

Just finished reading your report and can't thank you enough for all the valuable information. A few days ago we booked the Independence of the Seas for the end of this year. I feel incredibly lucky to have come across another one of your detailed cruise reports as two years ago we went on the Allure for the first time your Allure report helped so much.

 

I can't help but think about the all time you spend sorting pictures, writing detailed information and responding to comments from readers. We are very fortunate that you are a cruise critic member.

 

Thanks again and wishing you much fun in your future travels.

 

 

Hi,

 

Wow, thank you so much for the high praises. I don’t deserve it. I’m just a basic cheapo dad that went on a plain vanilla cruise with the family and came home to write about taking a plain vanilla cruise and saving money isn’t a bad thing.

 

I do want to take credit for introducing Sir Mix A Lot to CC in my trip report. Don’t think too many people at CC listens to rap songs otherwise…

 

It was time consuming sorting the pictures as we used a mixture of cell phones and cameras and somehow they were not in sync in terms of timing as the cameras were on Florida time when we started the vacation but the cell phones were bumped to island time after San Juan so we could be taking 1 picture with camera and 1 picture with cell phone and they would be one hour apart when I sort them. That part caused me major grief when I came home as I try to group them together to tell my story but I’m sure you don’t care to hear that.

 

It's like making sausage, people just want to consume it, not find out what you have to do to make it.

 

Anyway, thanks again for the kind words. Right now I am knee deep in trying to map out my summer road trip and booking all my hotel stay. I won’t be in “cruise mode” until after July time frame. You have a great time on the Indy later this year.

Edited by harryfat1
(You try typing with your toes without typos...)

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I had the walking route more or less mapped out in my head prior to leaving home. I also download the step by step walking map of OSJ in case we got lost but I never needed that. Just used Google map from my phone as my phone is now turned back on given we are back in US cell phone coverage area.

 

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I like the cobble stone roads of SJ

 

 

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Give you folks 3 guesses on who took this picture...

 

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Harry, I just discovered your report today and now I've spent the entire afternoon reading it. I've made it to San Juan! We are selling the Freedom out of SJ in August and will visit several of the ports that you visited on this trip. Then in February we are sailing on the Independence out of FL and Labadee is one our stops. So your report has been a wealth of information. Can you tell me about the step-by-step walking map of OSJ that you downloaded? We are going to be in SJ for 2 days pre-cruise and 1-day post cruise and want to do a lot of exploring.

 

Just want to tell you that I love your style, your humor, your photos...everything. I'm just afraid I'm not going to get much done until I finish reading this report. Oh well! Thanks for taking the time to share your trip. Oh, and your family is beautiful!

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Another San Juan question - My husband and I will have plenty of time to see San Juan before the cruise, but the rest of our party will only have the first half of Saturday before the cruise leaves that evening. So my question is, if there is only time to see one fort, which one should we see?

 

Thanks again for your review!

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Another San Juan question - My husband and I will have plenty of time to see San Juan before the cruise, but the rest of our party will only have the first half of Saturday before the cruise leaves that evening. So my question is, if there is only time to see one fort, which one should we see?

 

Thanks again for your review!

 

del Morro requires a fair degree of agility. There are steep stairs so it is not really suitable for anyone with mobility difficulties. Great views of the harbor entrance.

 

San Cristobal has ramps, some are a bit steep. Wonderful views of the old city and port as well as the Atlantic. Lots of great picture opportunities. Also some educational exhibits for the history buffs. Some guns and a pile of cannonballs that will gladden the heart of any young adventurer.

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del Morro requires a fair degree of agility. There are steep stairs so it is not really suitable for anyone with mobility difficulties. Great views of the harbor entrance.

 

San Cristobal has ramps, some are a bit steep. Wonderful views of the old city and port as well as the Atlantic. Lots of great picture opportunities. Also some educational exhibits for the history buffs. Some guns and a pile of cannonballs that will gladden the heart of any young adventurer.

 

Thanks. We are all adults in reasonable shape, so I don't think the stairs will be that big of an issue (hopefully!). And 5 of our party of 6 are from Texas so we should be acclimated to the heat. Maybe my husband and I will do both before everyone else arrives and then take the entire party to the most suitable one on Saturday morning.

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This is amazing. I remember years ago when my husband and I were getting ready to go on our first cruise, I read one of your trip reports. I read "Cheapo Dad" and immediately remembered! Now to go back and read it!

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Harry, I just discovered your report today and now I've spent the entire afternoon reading it. I've made it to San Juan! We are selling the Freedom out of SJ in August and will visit several of the ports that you visited on this trip. Then in February we are sailing on the Independence out of FL and Labadee is one our stops. So your report has been a wealth of information. Can you tell me about the step-by-step walking map of OSJ that you downloaded? We are going to be in SJ for 2 days pre-cruise and 1-day post cruise and want to do a lot of exploring.

 

Just want to tell you that I love your style, your humor, your photos...everything. I'm just afraid I'm not going to get much done until I finish reading this report. Oh well! Thanks for taking the time to share your trip. Oh, and your family is beautiful!

 

Hi,

 

Thanks for the compliment. Glad the info is helpful.

 

I downloaded this walking self guided tour of Old San Juan but since we never made it to the tourism office (toward the left as you walk off the pier), I never used the guide I printed. We had couple young nieces with us and I knew they wouldn't have the stamina/patience to see all the buildings so we just went to the 2 forts directly and bypassed the other sights.

 

http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/old-san-juan-walking-tour-1/

 

But if you have time, I believe you can get the actual physical map of OSJ from the tourism office and use that as a guide or use Google map from your phone to guide you.

 

Hope this helps. Have a wonderful time on all your upcoming cruises.

 

Harry

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Another San Juan question - My husband and I will have plenty of time to see San Juan before the cruise, but the rest of our party will only have the first half of Saturday before the cruise leaves that evening. So my question is, if there is only time to see one fort, which one should we see?

 

Thanks again for your review!

 

This is personal preference, of course, but if I had to pick only 1 fort, I would pick Del Morro just because of the surrounding grass area and the edge of the harbor view.

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Thanks. We are all adults in reasonable shape, so I don't think the stairs will be that big of an issue (hopefully!). And 5 of our party of 6 are from Texas so we should be acclimated to the heat. Maybe my husband and I will do both before everyone else arrives and then take the entire party to the most suitable one on Saturday morning.

 

When we were there, the island was still recovering from the hurricanes of 2017 and the free trolley was not running but I believe they started that back up earlier this year? If so, you can save time to ride the trolley around OSJ instead of walking.

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This is amazing. I remember years ago when my husband and I were getting ready to go on our first cruise, I read one of your trip reports. I read "Cheapo Dad" and immediately remembered! Now to go back and read it!

 

Hi,

 

Thanks for following my various installments. I need to trademark the name cheapo dad and try to make some money from it.

 

Maybe I need to sell some key chains or t-shirts at the CC meet and greet event next time I cruise. Have a slogan like "I cruised with cheapo dad"...

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Hi,

 

 

 

Thanks for following my various installments. I need to trademark the name cheapo dad and try to make some money from it.

 

 

 

Maybe I need to sell some key chains or t-shirts at the CC meet and greet event next time I cruise. Have a slogan like "I cruised with cheapo dad"...

 

 

 

You should definitely look into self-publishing on Kindle Unlimited.

 

From another thread on cc , what do you mean by a cruise pricing spreadsheet ? The obvious would be you check out the prices on different cruises and list them on a spreadsheet. What are the criteria you check out ?

 

Thanks

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Harry,

 

I finished your trip report. It was wonderful! I feel like you are a kindred spirit in your planning details. I too am an Excel lover for vacation planning. My spreadsheet evolves over time. At first it will list the days/locations and activity options and estimated costs. That will be sent to everyone traveling with us and then in group email discussions we will decide what we are going to do. Actually I usually say, "This is what husband and I are going to do. We would love for you to join us, or here or some other options." And then everyone joins us because I make it easy by doing all the planning. Once activities are decided on the other options are deleted from the spreadsheet. As the trip gets closer I will add columns for things to pack for that day, one column for clothing and one for other items. For land trips I will also add in restaurants. I've also done trip planning in Word with a separate page for each day. The information is at the top of the page, then I can take the pages and jot notes each day to use if I want to do a trip report or scrap book. I also use multi-pocket folders with pockets for each day of the vacation and all confirmations/information for each day in that pocket. Then I can put Cruise Compass, receipts etc in that day's pocket also.

 

All that planning and organizing can seem anal, but I think it makes the actual trip SO much easier and less stressful. And with a plan you are able to get so much more out of your days. I cringe when I see those people getting off the ship with no idea what they are going to do that day. You spent that much money to go a cruise and you don't even know what your daily options are?! Shudder! I can't take vacation every week. I have to maximize my time and money.

 

We are also kindred in that we traveled a lot with our son when he was growing up. Now those trips are some of our fondest memories. Even the occasional hiccups are looked back on fondly now, like when he was 10 and got mad in WDW's Hall of Presidents because we were "trying to make him learn something on vacation"! The lesson that day was to not over plan the day and try to make an exhausted child do something he probably wouldn't have been crazy about any time. Our son is grown now but he still travels quite a bit with us, and to give your cheapo side something to look forward to - now he pays his own way! It's fabulous!

 

I want to say one more thing - I so appreciate your encouragement of others to add their own photos and opinions and to ask questions. You are so right, there are no dumb questions. If you are wondering about something, chances are someone else is too. Ask! Thank you for encouraging others to participate in your trip report. And thank you for doing the trip report, and for including information/photos from your other trips. I hope you have many more wonderful (and well planned!) trips in the future.

 

Donna

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You should definitely look into self-publishing on Kindle Unlimited.

 

From another thread on cc , what do you mean by a cruise pricing spreadsheet ? The obvious would be you check out the prices on different cruises and list them on a spreadsheet. What are the criteria you check out ?

 

Thanks

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Hi,

I assume you are referring to my exchange with JamesEM? I don’t know what his spreadsheet looks like but mine is just a listing of the ships’ sailings dates/costs. Not as if you do any calculation per se in these spreadsheets, just a listing of various info that is important to each person.

For example, if I want to sail in December to Caribbean, there are at least 4 mega ships to choose from (all the Oasis class ships) as well as others. I can’t track all the costs in my head when there are possible inside/ocean view/balcony prices per each sailing per ships so a simple cost schedule is used to track the numbers.

Sometimes when you list things out, you will see some “deals” such as balcony price for one sailing might be cheaper than OV for another.

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Harry,

 

I finished your trip report. It was wonderful! I feel like you are a kindred spirit in your planning details. I too am an Excel lover for vacation planning. My spreadsheet evolves over time. At first it will list the days/locations and activity options and estimated costs. That will be sent to everyone traveling with us and then in group email discussions we will decide what we are going to do. Actually I usually say, "This is what husband and I are going to do. We would love for you to join us, or here or some other options." And then everyone joins us because I make it easy by doing all the planning. Once activities are decided on the other options are deleted from the spreadsheet. As the trip gets closer I will add columns for things to pack for that day, one column for clothing and one for other items. For land trips I will also add in restaurants. I've also done trip planning in Word with a separate page for each day. The information is at the top of the page, then I can take the pages and jot notes each day to use if I want to do a trip report or scrap book. I also use multi-pocket folders with pockets for each day of the vacation and all confirmations/information for each day in that pocket. Then I can put Cruise Compass, receipts etc in that day's pocket also.

 

All that planning and organizing can seem anal, but I think it makes the actual trip SO much easier and less stressful. And with a plan you are able to get so much more out of your days. I cringe when I see those people getting off the ship with no idea what they are going to do that day. You spent that much money to go a cruise and you don't even know what your daily options are?! Shudder! I can't take vacation every week. I have to maximize my time and money.

 

We are also kindred in that we traveled a lot with our son when he was growing up. Now those trips are some of our fondest memories. Even the occasional hiccups are looked back on fondly now, like when he was 10 and got mad in WDW's Hall of Presidents because we were "trying to make him learn something on vacation"! The lesson that day was to not over plan the day and try to make an exhausted child do something he probably wouldn't have been crazy about any time. Our son is grown now but he still travels quite a bit with us, and to give your cheapo side something to look forward to - now he pays his own way! It's fabulous!

 

I want to say one more thing - I so appreciate your encouragement of others to add their own photos and opinions and to ask questions. You are so right, there are no dumb questions. If you are wondering about something, chances are someone else is too. Ask! Thank you for encouraging others to participate in your trip report. And thank you for doing the trip report, and for including information/photos from your other trips. I hope you have many more wonderful (and well planned!) trips in the future.

 

Donna

 

Hi, Donna,

 

Thanks again for the kind words. Glad the info was helpful and I appreciate your feedback.

 

That's the wonderful thing about going on the internet and going to various "hobby" sites, such as travel or Disney or Comics or whatever people like and chat with other people that shares the same interest. Whereas your friends and family thinks you are too anal/over the top in your hobby appreciation, you come to these boards and you will find many kindred spirits.

 

There is no such thing as being too anal on these boards as someone else out there will be just the same in their intensity.

 

Everyone vacations their own way. I am sure many people don't like to plan and just go with the flow and walk off the ship to just wander around. That's fine. Our way doesn't have to be the only way. Just be happy on your vacation, how ever you do it. We all work hard for our money and we should be able to spend it as we see fit. Maybe by reading all the various trip reports from fellow cruisers will make our cruises 0.03% better than the 80%+ people that never read a cruise report.

 

I never really considered these installments just about me. I like to be interactive and make it like a big party/pot luck where everyone gathers for to share travel stories and ideas and help out the next set of travelers. Isn't that what the intentions of these boards? Not to go around telling people that their question is stupid because 500 people before them have already asked it before.

 

Anyway, thanks again for your compliment and have wonderful time on all your planned cruises.

 

Harry

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Well Harry in true form I have just finished reading your trip report almost 6 months after you began. Just like I did the last two. Such an enjoyable read about your family’s adventures! I truly appreciate how welcoming you make people feel. I started reading a report on CC today about Freedom which I will be on in 20 days. The OP is taking time to post about her family and add pictures about her experiences. Then come the comments of too much personal info. and other remarks. I felt sad for her. We all take away something different from each review. There is no need to tell the reviewer how to write a report to suit their needs only. You do such a remarkable job balancing everyone and respecting all views.

Sorry so long winded... happy rock adventures and soon enough WD will be around the corner. I hope Anthem turns a good price point for you so I can read about her next year.

Best wishes to you, your lovely wife and sons,

Barbara

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Well Harry in true form I have just finished reading your trip report almost 6 months after you began. Just like I did the last two. Such an enjoyable read about your family’s adventures! I truly appreciate how welcoming you make people feel. I started reading a report on CC today about Freedom which I will be on in 20 days. The OP is taking time to post about her family and add pictures about her experiences. Then come the comments of too much personal info. and other remarks. I felt sad for her. We all take away something different from each review. There is no need to tell the reviewer how to write a report to suit their needs only. You do such a remarkable job balancing everyone and respecting all views.

Sorry so long winded... happy rock adventures and soon enough WD will be around the corner. I hope Anthem turns a good price point for you so I can read about her next year.

Best wishes to you, your lovely wife and sons,

Barbara

Hi, Barbara,

 

Greetings from Utah. We are in the middle of our summer road trip so apologize for the delayed response.

 

Thanks again for the kind words. My trip report is just a big virtual party for everyone to share their travel experience. Hopefully the info is useful for you and other readers. I always appreciate feedback as it is good to hear what readers likes or dislikes about each trip report.

 

You folks have a great cruise on the Freedom. No cruise for us this year. We will see how next summer shapes up.

 

On side note, since I am on vacation now, here are some pictures of more rocks we saw so far on this road trip. Not sure who else is still following this thread when a post goes up but here is a sneak preview of my next trip report - whenever they might be.

 

Cheers.

 

Harry2e0d32e3dfbf31bc58aafe717676b80a.jpgdf105773f3d01a9cf4fabf9263fb05d8.jpg149898e8d08ffe1f89640e9e1a9c363d.jpgeb051c34790c8104425e6393e40c6d89.jpgbdcf5fd617195c7c1aff971e87926b2f.jpg2bb469e6b09fc7ac9e2e0e698eac56f2.jpg

 

Sent from my Samsung Note 8 using Tapatalk

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Hi everybody. Thanks for the well wishing messages and continuing to read the new posting after all these months.

 

Those pictures were from Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. We are now on the tail end of the 2,000 mile road trip to see Bryce and Zion parks as well as a drop at Vegas. Heading westward today for the long drive home.

 

It's brutally hot out here in the southwest desert and we had to hike in the 95 plus weather at Zion. Bryce was much more pleasant at 70. Per the cell phone app, we are averaging 5 to 7 plus miles per day hiking.

 

Anyway, here are some sample pictures from the road trip taken from my cell phone. Hopefully there will be better ones from the camera and other family members' cell phones to show next year.

 

Cheers,

 

Harry53569c4294d20d94ada106af4353ed51.jpgc2ea9065b2feebd616fb8ff5241e9ed1.jpg470313b5a9370a393bc663b772f134f1.jpg82fdffee473f46f881ade76acca577d2.jpg61e62b47c3c54ca96bad7b06f14ce1f3.jpgcbab01ace4237cb977235afd608fab89.jpg

 

Sent from my Samsung Note 8 using Tapatalk

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