Finally! I meant to post this a couple weeks ago but life kinda got in the way. It has a habit of doing that ; ).
Anyway, after months and months of planning, the day of our vacation finally arrived (and went just as quickly)! So here are all the fun little details and a few pics of our trip.
The Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International
The Ship: Independence of the Seas
Length: 4 days/4 nights
Destination: Cozumel, Mexico
Room Type: Superior Ocean View with Balcony – deck 7
How We Decided on What Cruise Line, Destination, and Length of the Cruise
Since we had never cruised before we were looking for somewhere warm and 4-5 days in length. I didn’t want to take my chances going on a full 7 day cruise in case I ended up getting seasick or completely hating it for whatever reason.
We weren’t too picky on the cruise line, but we were looking for a good deal without sacrificing quality. The winner became Royal Caribbean (although, I do wish we would have looked around just a little bit more at other cruise lines, just to see how they compared).
DAY 1/Boarding the Ship
We were pretty much clueless when it came to boarding the ship. We were dropped off at the terminal where we stood looking this way and that trying to figure out where we were supposed to go. You might as well have smacked a newbie sticker right on our foreheads lol! Thankfully after about 5 minutes we finally spotted a Porter who was able to take our luggage and direct us to the correct building.
Check-in wasn’t too bad. We were there so early that there was no line, therefor no waiting. We filled out a little questionnaire, basically making sure we didn’t have Noro or any other virus. Then we got our Sea Pass card and then waited in the waiting area for about 45 minutes. Pretty painless since they had free Wi-Fi in the terminal.
The first thing we did upon entering the ship was purchase our drink packages (I will discuss my thoughts on the drink packages at the end under the “Final Thoughts” section). Once purchasing our packages we explored the ship a little and had lunch in the buffet. Then off we went to see our room.
The room was actually slightly bigger than I expected. From other reviews I’ve heard the rooms are really tiny. We found there was more than enough space and storage for the 2 of us. The beds are tall enough that you can slide your suite case under so they aren’t in your way. The bathroom reminded me of a one you would see in an RV – it was small but manageable. I’m guessing if we had a deluxe ocean view rather than the superior that the rooms would be a little smaller, but I think it still would have been fine.
*Side Note: Please excuse some of the poor quality photos. In my excitement and sometimes overwhelmed state of mind I just started snapping away without taking much time or thought, haha.
Excuse the lighting and the slightly crumpled bed ; )
The TV was actually really nice to have in the room. During our occasional downtime in the room we watched Harry Potter and other various movies. You could also order room service straight from the TV. How awesome is that?!
After getting all settled in we decided to grab a couple drinks and head to the top deck to watch the sailaway party. There was music and dancing and then the horn sounded. It was a perfect way to say hello to our vacation! Then we headed back to our rooms with our drinks in hand to enjoy watching our ship float away.
Sail-away drinks! My husband had a mojito and I got the drink of the day, which I unfortunately don’t remember what it was, but it was delicious!
The sunsets were amazing! This one was my favorite :)
The sunset was perfect. We were so relaxed on our balcony, sipping our drinks, watching the world float away. It was completely wonderful. The rest of the day we spent relaxing, then we did more exploring of the ship, and then had dinner in the main dining room. Overall a very fun day!
Our sailing days were pretty chill. This was also the day I found out that I get sea sick. After taking a Bonine pill and putting on my sea bands I started feeling better. I wasn’t going to let myself sleep all day so we decided to grab some lunch at the buffet.
The buffet had about 3 star quality food. We always headed there for lunch and I ended up getting salad most of the time. If you give me too many options I get overwhelmed so I tend to just stick to what I know I like.
Then after having lunch there was a lot of this going on…
There is nothing like sipping frozen fruity cocktails while soaking in the sun and overlooking the pool and ocean.
And a lot walking around the ship
Overlooking the Royal Promenade. This is where you would find all the shopping, and cafe’s, and pizza, etc.
And a lot of time playing in the casino. :)
I was getting a little tired at this point ; )
This was also the formal night. We ate dinner in the formal dining room most nights, which was really nice and fancy. The food was good, I would say around 3.5 – 4 stars. Their pasta was really good and I couldn’t have dinner without their pumpkin seed rolls. Of course dessert was my favorite. I loved having chocolate just about every night!
Of course we couldn’t pass up getting one of the formal photos :)
Instead of going on an excursion we decided to take the day extremely easy and started the day with room service followed by a couples massage, which was extremely relaxing. Then we went out to explore Cozumel and see what the port had to offer and grab some souvenirs. Cozumel was beautiful. I was a little disappointed with some of the prices, especially on cheap-o key chains, but we ended up getting a great deal on some Mexican blankets!
After walking around and finishing up shopping we had lunch at Senor Frog’s. I will say Sr. Frog’s definitely had a Mexico spring break feel though, there were lots of tequila shots and body grabbing going on, which was probably the biggest downside to it (for us anyway). But at least the food was good! Then back to the ship we went to grab some ice cream and hang out by the pool.
The view from Sr. Frog’s
Here we are having a great time!
Day 4: Sailing
The last full day on the ship was a lot like the first full day on the ship.
There was a lot of this going on…
We also went to see the ice skating show, which was actually really awesome. I feel like they are extra talented since they can pull off double axles while the ship is moving. I unfortunately didn’t get pictures of the actual show – I was too caught up in the moment.
We spent the last night of our trip out in the hot tub, under the starts, and sipping on just one last cocktail. It was the perfect ending.
Although this was the kids area you get the idea of just how beautiful the ship is, especially at night.
Since we weren’t to leave the ship until 9:30 that morning we packed up our stuff and headed to the Cafe Promenade for a light breakfast. We had to wait a while once we got to our designated area for debarking. I was glad to have a book with me. The line to customs took quite a while, but once we got our luggage the line started moving quickly and we were out of there before we knew it. We grabbed a shuttle and then headed off toward the airport to say goodbye to our vacation.
We both ended up getting the Royal Replenish drink package, which included unlimited sodas, non-alcoholic drinks, premium coffee and tea, fresh squeezed orange juice, and bottled water. I honestly thought I would drink a ton of bottled water and have coffee and orange juice every day, however, that was not the case. Because it was so convenient I almost always ended up getting the free orange juice, lemonade, and water that is included in the booking price. They didn’t have bottles of water just laying around everywhere and half the time I didn’t feel like tracking someone down to ask for one. Sooo yeah, it just wasn’t worth it for me. But, hey, at least I know now. :)
My husband on the other hand ended up getting his money’s worth of drinks. He had plenty of soda and none-alcoholic drinks (we also spent extra on a couple alcoholic ones as well). Next time we will upgrade him to one of the alcohol packages. Alcoholic drinks cost $12 and it adds up really fast.
Booking a Massage vs. an Excursion
As I mentioned earlier we decided to book a massage instead of an excursion. We ended up having the massage first thing in the morning, which was really nice but left us with the whole day ahead of us with not a whole lot to do aside from shopping at the pier. This was relaxing, but ended up being borderline boring for us the rest of the day. Looking back I felt like we didn’t end up doing or seeing anything which was rather disappointing. Next time we will definitely book an excursion since I think it would be a little more fun and would give us more to experience. If you really want nothing but to do but relax then you should be safe with the massage. :)
Everyone was really nice and the service was good. Overall it was a great experience and we would do it again.
For anyone who has questions about our trip or if you have questions in regards to booking a trip, feel free to ask – I’m happy to help!