Just returned this afternoon from 6 nights visiting the Western Caribbean on the Independence of the Seas. We were celebrating our 20th anniversary, and the couple we went with were celebrating their 35th. So, we were really looking forward to a great vacation, and lots of good memories to make our special anniversaries momentous. We were not disappointed for a second. We arrived at the Port Everglades Terminal about 1:30 p.m. Check-in was a breeze, and completed in mere minutes. We had done all the on-line Set Sail pre-registration. so by 1:45 we had checked out our cabins, and headed for the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. We were really impressed with all the Purell stations to anti-bacterialize before entering. Every ethnic cuisine was available, plentiful, and beautifully displayed. There were carved watermelons with flowers cut in the melons, owls with olive rings for eyes, plums and tomatoes that were so beautifully carved, they belonged in frames. I love Indian food, and seldom have the opportunity to indulge. The Jasmine rice was fragrant, and the curried veggies and beans were yummy. My husband enjoyed hand carved beef, pasta, crunchy, piping hot fries, and delicious bread baked on the ship. Our companions enjoyed deli, veggie burgers, fried chicken and other well loved American culinary specials. This was the beginning of a 6 day eating orgy, where every meal was excellent. The staff in the Windjammer was always smiling, welcoming and eager to oblige our every request. We had dinner at the second seating at 8:30, table 522. Our server was Eric, a very personable, professional gentleman from the Philippines. He regaled us with card tricks, magic and mathematical puzzles. His assistant, Salvi was also excellent and most attentive. The head waiter was Peter and he runs a great staff, and it obviously starts with his high standards.
The opening show featured the cruise director and a really funny comedian doing a family show. After dinner the variety show was beautiful, the Independence singers, dancers and orchestra were fabulous, And quoting the superband, Queen, they did ROCK US, and they are most certainly champions. We really were "sailing away" from Ft. Lauderdale as Styx played from the stage. Speaking of shows, the Unexpected Boys doing the Four Seasons were GREAT. The Once Upon a Time Show, the ice skating show and the final evening's variety show were all really well done and very enjoyable.
We enjoyed an unBelizable shore excursion on Tuesday, our first port of call. Clifford, Jose and Aubrey were phenomenal guides as we went up the Seabun River to the country, where we picked up Land Rovers to make our way through the rain forest to the Mayan caves. Our guides kept us all safe and provided an interesting history of the area, the wildlife and the vegetation. Lunch and Jungle Juice (really good rum punch) completed this fantastic excursion. We took a second tour in Cozumel called the Sunshine Segway Tour. Our guide, Allan, who was just named Tour Guide of the year 2008, and Bobbie, his assistant were patient and taught me, a certified klutz how to successfully operate the Segway. It was so much fun. We rode to the beach, had a chance for lunch or a swim, but it was too chilly for any serious beach activity.
All in all this was a Wonderful cruise, we will definitely be going on Royal Caribbean again in the not too distant future. We did not find that the kids on board misbehaved or caused even a second's worth of problems. The staff, comprised of folks from over 50 countries were fabulous, and our vacation was A+. Thank you Folks of Independence of the Seas. We had a memorable, terrific time. Oh, I forgot to mention the pizzeria was Really good.