Time for Some Big-Ship Cruising aboard Independence of the Seas

Aboard Independence of the Seas

What a wonderful thing, to meet up with old friends in a new place! Early on the morning of June 22, I turned the boat over to Chef Brian here at Bocas Marina, who will be cat-and-boat sitting for us while we’re aboard Independence of the Seas for 10 weeks. Caught an early water taxi to town, flew on a little puddlejumper to Panama City, and, via Miami, to Heathrow Airport. After a 4-hour wait, our good friends Cason, Julia, and Suzanne showed up from Phoenix and Seattle, respectively, and we taxied to a funky little hotel near Russell Square.

Hogwart’s Platform 9-3/4 at Kings Cross Station

We had a fabulous time together for 5 days, cramming as much of London into our time together as possible. Mastered the tube to explore the British Museum, Westminster Abbey, Cruise to Greenwich, a West End Show (Avenue Q – the x-rated muppet-like musical), and watching the World Cup Soccer finals from a pub a few blocks from the hotel. We also took an “independent” day, for each of us to do whatever we wanted. For me, it was haircut, manicure, and shopping for essentials like underwear, which cannot be found in any size, quality or quantity for women like me in Central America. For Julia and Suzanne, it was the Victoria and Albert Museum. Suzanne, Cason and I “did” the Tate Modern.

Today we taxied to Waterloo Station for a short train ride to Southampton, where we joined Ole’s youngest son Petter and his girlfriend Kristina, to take over the Independence of the Seas for two weeks together.

The ship is phenomenal. We counted 22 bars, a 3-level formal dining room, 4 specialty restaurants; there’s an ice-skating rink with world-class shows; a theater that seats 1800 with sound, lighting, and special effects to rival any Broadway or West End theater; entertainment from Vegas-style “t&a” reviews, chamber music; Brazilian jazz guitar; and English sing-along pub music. Can’t wait to get at the 14-day itinerary! I’ve provided a link to Royal Caribbean’s page on the Independence here so you can see what we’re talking about…

The challenge is that the ship is full – over 4200 passengers, 1450 crew. We’ve signed Petter and Kristina into our cabin, and Suzanne is sharing a triple with Cason and Julia (who are celebrating their 4th February 29 anniversary…hmmm…) and we want to be able to accommodate everyone. But whenever a ship is brand new, all of the past cruisers want to be among the first to cruise a new ship and new itinerary, so we’re chock-a-block here.

Sailaway was fantastic, cruising down the Thames past the Isle of Wight, through a veritable flotilla of day-sailors, and into the English Channel.

Speak Your Mind