Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Trip Report: Christmas Cruise on Independence of the Seas [Day 1] Embarkation

A more appropriate name for this trip report might be "The Shingleton's Most Shambly Cruise", as this may be the closest we've come to a National Lampoon-style vacation.

My dad and I booked this cruise in August.  That's some real advanced planning for us.  And that was also the only real advanced planning we would do.  After I moved to Los Angeles, I didn't feel much motivation to research ports and plan excursions.  St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan, and Labadee are all ports we had been to before, and this wouldn't be the first time that we'd wing it once getting there.  So I didn't book a thing.  Had some ideas, sure, but no real plans.

A week prior to the cruise, I received the terrible news that my mother and sister had been in a terrible wreck.  We were incredibly lucky that they survived with only minor injuries.  But in the wreck, my sister hurt her left foot and was in a great amount of pain, so she was in a walking boot and on some wonderful pain medicine to begin our cruise.

And then I almost didn't even make it onto the ship for the cruise because I missed my red-eye flight from LAX.

Due to me barely making the ship, I'm lacking some of the typically Embarkation Day photos I typically have for my trip reports.  Thankfully, Rachel knew better than to mess up the bed before I could photograph the room.  I've trained her well.

Deluxe Balcony Stateroom (D3)

Balcony Stateroom (D3)

We had a D3 balcony stateroom on the sixth floor, room 6528.  It really is a spacious balcony stateroom in comparison to the deluxe premium balcony staterooms on Royal Princess, and the wave balcony staterooms on Norwegian Epic, though certainly not as contemporary and plush in furnishings.  I appreciated the large sofa which was so long that I'm certain it could convert into a twin-size bed.



Balcony Stateroom (D3)

The room has a large vanity and a wonderful amount of storage space.  And the flat-screen television has really opened up some counter space (check out the balcony staterooms with the old box tvs on our Adventure of the Seas cruise).

Balcony Stateroom (D3)

The bathrooms are a fair size for a cruise ship stateroom. One of my complaints is that if you try to adjust the water temperature before you actually get in the shower, it's a little difficult to keep from getting water all over the bathroom floor.

Stateroom Bathroom

And my other gripe is that they no longer stock the tissue containers with tissues. Apparently, people had been flushing tissues down the toilet which can clog them. Though I find it completely understandable that people were using tissues in place of toilet paper because the TP provided was nearly transparent and as soft as a fine-grain sandpaper. Is that too much bathroom talk for you?

Stateroom Bathroom

Then we'll move outside to the balcony. Though you can't really tell in this photo, it was a good size balcony. Plenty of room for two chairs and a table.

Balcony

Port Everglades

Good-bye, Friends!

Port Everglades

As I'm sure you can imagine, there wasn't much time between me boarding the ship and our Muster drill. Rachel and I had a Muster location in the Pyramid Lounge, and it was ridiculously overcrowded and not enough chairs for everyone... or even half of everyone. And the people who got there early and had seats took no pity on poor Rachel limping along in her walking boot, as no healthy-bodied person offered her his seat.

Sail-Away, Fort Lauderdale

After Muster, despite my rough appearance due to having slept in an airport (oh and I did a lot of running and crying, too), I went with my family to the Sailaway Party because I definitely needed a drink. I'm really glad that my view of the ship leaving was from the ship.

Port Everglades

Pool Deck

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Sail Away

Sail Away

Sail Away

Cheers to making this cruise!

Champagne Toast

Romeo & Juliet Dining Room

Royal Caribbean has one grand multi-story dining room on their cruise ships, rather than multiple smaller dining rooms. However, each floor has its own dining room name. Romeo & Juliet Dining Room was actually just the third floor (lowest, main level). There are also dining rooms on the fourth and fifth floors, open to the third floor below.

We made a grand entrance by arriving 20 minutes late. Oops. By the time we made it to the Romeo & Juliet Dining Room on Deck 3, there was no host there to direct us to our table. We told someone who was main dining room staff, and he sent us in the completely wrong direction. So our entrance became even grander as we circled the entire dining room in search of our table. Hellooooo, everyone! Look at us!

For an appetizer, I ordered the Smoked Fish Rillettes. From what I can remember, it was pretty good, but nothing to write home about.

Smoked Fish Rillettes

I snuck a photo of Rachel's Watermelon and Raspberry Soup.

Watermelon and Raspberry Soup

Boyd

Because my favorite cuisine might be Mexican food, I opted for the Soft Shell Tortillas. They were a little bland. I have too much good Mexican food to appreciate that.

Soft Shell Tortillas

And for dessert, the Blueberry Peach Crumble.  Pretty good.  I liked the ice cream.

Blueberry-Peach Crumble

Rachel had the Carrot Cake, which was on listed as the Chef's choice.

Carrot Cake

And because we were extremely exhausted, we spent the rest of the evening in bed.

Next: [Day 2] At Sea