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Old 05-11-2008, 12:56 PM   #1
GOS
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Our "Independence" trip to Ireland...to be sure!

Friday 2nd May 2008 - Southampton

The day started for us at 6.45am. We are to meet Dave, Bev, Nicola and James at their home at 9.00am. The sun is shining as we leave the house at 8.00am, and it is looking promising for a good journey down to Southampton. We don’t stay long at Dave and Bev’s…we are all keen to get on our way.

The journey takes about 1.30hrs and we have a few rain showers along the way, but the sun is shining as we approach the port and find the ship waiting for us. So, we pull up at the dock and once we have found our documents, we unload the cars of all the luggage and then the car park attendants directs us to the parking lot.

Once parked, we make our way over to the terminal…no ears! Check in is relative quick and we receive our first gift of the cruise – two handy carry bags. The officer asks us to wait in the lounge area as we have been given boarding pass no.6 and like Disney, have to wait to be called. But we don’t have to wait long before we are called and we are finally on board at about 11.30am. As our cabins, which are on deck 6, are not yet ready, Dave takes on a quick tour of the ship, as the layout is much the same as that on the Navigator.

We have lunch in Windjammer, which is on deck 11 – a buffet style restaurant with two speciality restaurants off to the side – Portofino (Italian) and Chops Steak House. Like Palos there is an additional cover charge to eat here. 1pm soon approaches and as we can get access to our cabins, we head down to deck 6 and offload our carry-on luggage whilst checking out our home for the next 4 nights. It looks smaller than a cat 11 Disney cabin but lovely and extremely comfortable. It is well stocked with amenities…including a kettle and a proper hairdryer.


Deck 11 beckons us back and we take the elevator. Dave and Bev meet an old friend….Randolph, a bar waiter from their previous cruise. The Pool areas are wonderful and even the pools are heated. The adult pool areas are lovely, including the two spa pools that hang over the side of the ship. I wish now that I had packed a swimsuit.


At the aft of the ship is the new flow rider, a basketball court and we all have a go at shooting some hoops, a huge climbing wall and 9 hole golf course. Rick and I challenge Nicola to a game and cheat Miller wins.


After a drink in the Olive or Twist bar, we go back to our cabins to collect our lifejackets, as Muster is a 4.30pm. Dave, Bev and the two children are at one muster station on deck and Rick and I are directed into the main dining room as we have a different Muster station. The lifejackets, although a necessity, are very uncomfortable – the worst we have ever worn. Once completed and jackets stowed away once more in the cabin, Sail away party is being held on Deck 11 and this time we take the stairs. Who do you think we meet on the stairs….yes, Chris and Hazel! No time to chat, and definitely not on the stairs, we agree to meet up later for a drink.

Once up on deck the party is in full swing with the photographers and cameraman circling round the deck catching people as they wave to people on shore. The views are stunning; there are load of small boats trying to keep up with us as we sail out of Southampton.

Dinner tonight is at 6pm and once the deck party is over, we only have 30 mins left to get changed for dinner. The restaurants are all named after Shakespeare plays and our dining room is named after the Scottish one. Our table no 480 is in a really awkward place and once our meal is over, we ask to be moved.

I had the fruit medley to start, poached salmon plus James’s veggies and then Strawberry Pavlova for dessert. It was yummy and the meringue is really chewy. Rick had the International cheese platter for starters, beef tenderloin and then chocolate lava cake for dessert.

The shops are now open along the main promenade, and we have shock in store as although the prices in the shops are all in dollars the ship has to add 17.5% sales tax to every purchase – something to do with not visiting a non-EU port. Some of the shops sell a lot of designer goods, so it is all quite expensive.

Our next port of call is the evening show called Under the Big Top in the Alhambra Theatre. As you would expect it is all based around the acts that you would see at a circus. Very entertaining and very well put together.

There is a sail away celebration in the Pyramid Lounge with the house band after the show. By 12pm we are all flagging, so we head back along the royal promenade for our cabins. I stop on the way for a Latte, which I have to say was not nice. I will not be having another one. Once back in our cabin, I settle down to type up my thoughts of the day for this trippee.

I have to say that the ship is definitely huge and we haven’t even seen a third of it yet. It is very comfortable, clean (well, it is new) and not at all gaudy like the Carnival Glory. Apart from the prices in the shops, I haven’t got anything bad to write about yet.

The weather couldn’t have been any better for us today…a glorious departure from Southampton and the English Channel is very calm tonight.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:03 PM   #2
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Heather

Great pictures - what a beautiful ship and you were so lucky with the weather.

Tammy
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:22 PM   #3
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Fab start Heather - great photos and the weather looked great too!

You must have left the rain behind
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:23 PM   #4
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great start heather.
cant wait to see more.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:25 PM   #5
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spectacular ship. your photo's are great.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:28 PM   #6
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Day 2

Saturday 3rd May 2008 – A day at sea and arrival in Cobh (Cove), Ireland.

I had a rough nights sleep last night. The pillows were new and so very hard. I found it difficult to sleep. Eventually at 7.30am I give up on sleep and decide to get up (the alarm was set for 8.00am)

The Ship is definitely swaying with the motion of the sea. Time I think to get used to my sea legs again. Whilst I’m in the shower, Rick browses the TV and tries to find a news channel. The only news is Al Jazeera News, but finally we here the election results for the Major of London – Boris has won and is elected as Mayor.

This morning we are to meet the others in the Promenade Café for coffee/tea and pastries in Cafe. A good selection of teas and a variety of different pastries and doughnuts are on offer. At 9.30am, we can queue to collect tickets for tonight’s ice show and then purchase tickets for tomorrow’s shuttle bus to Cork from the excursion desk.

Once breakfast is out of the way we all do some shopping in the various shops along the Promenade. Whilst Rick and I wait outside for Bev and Dave we meet Chris and Hazel, plus their two friends in Promenade lounge.

This morning is finished off with Bingo for the girls (no luck), whilst the boys take a walk round the decks. Lunch today is in Romeo and Juliet – Brasserie 30. Lots of choice, but I can’t remember what I chose to eat. There is a scrap booking lesson in the afternoon for girls and boys video/photo our arrival in Ireland. As we approach the dock there are lots of small boats out to welcome us, jet skis and a fire boat shooting water high into the air. What a welcome.

As we dock in Cobh (Cove) there is a big welcome, with lots of people on the dock side and loads of cars causing long traffic jams,


As we disembark onto Irish Soil it is very cold and windy with the inevitable showers. After a brisk stroll round the town of Cobh we decide to give up after 2hrs. We all head back to the Promenade Café for tea to warm up.



Our next free gift has been delivered to our Stateroom – two Independence of the Seas baseball caps. I ask our Cabin Steward, Ricardo if he has any other pillows to offer, but he doesn’t so I will have to use towels tonight.

The decision not to eat in main dining room is made once we have read the menu on display outside the restaurant. So Windjammers instead and the food is lovely. Whilst we are eating, we watch all the traffic on the dockside and the people watching us watching them! Still lots of traffic and the inevitable jams, but the Police eventually put out cones along the road.

The shops are all closed except the photo gallery. I purchase our embarkation photo and a scrap-booking album. The ice show begins at 9.00pm and we are in the queue by 8.30pm. Even then, we have to make do with seats to the side of the rink.


The show doesn’t disappoint, definitely one of the highlights of the entertainment this week. There is a show called Varity Showtime at 10.45 in the Alhambra Theatre, which is great fun, ballroom dancers and magic/comedy act

Rock Britannia, the promenade dance party is being held at 12pm, but we give up after 20 mins as we are all dead tired. The weather was lovely this morning but wasn’t great this afternoon, hope for better weather tomorrow.
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Last edited by GOS; 05-11-2008 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tammy Stringer View Post
Heather

Great pictures - what a beautiful ship and you were so lucky with the weather.

Tammy
Thanks Tammy...good to hear from you
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen Mouse View Post
Fab start Heather - great photos and the weather looked great too!

You must have left the rain behind
That's what we thought...until the next day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyerneeds View Post
great start heather.
cant wait to see more.
Thanks Mike...your wish.......

Quote:
Originally Posted by irongirlof12 View Post
spectacular ship. your photo's are great.
Thank you Andrea
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:49 PM   #9
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Day 3

Sunday 4th May 2008 – A day in Cork, Ireland

Today is Nicola’s 13th birthday. Breakfast again today, in the Promenade Cafe. I give Nicola her birthday card and present – a diamante bow shape pendant and necklace and Bev gets an early birthday present too - a diamante droplet necklace and a pashmina. The entertainment staff are rehearsing their last night parade along the promenade and we get a close up view of the show, Olympus Rocks.

Off the ship at 10.00am to catch the shuttle bus into Cork. The journey takes about 30mins along some very narrow and twisty roads. The sun is shining but there is a bitter wind, I’m glad that I have my thick coat on. Most of the shops are still closed, so we stop for a coffee in one of Ireland’s answer to Starbucks – O’Brian’s. M&S opens at 11.00am which is handy as Rick needs a pair of jeans as the one’s that he has on will walk off on their own, if he doesn’t get a 2nd pair.

After a good walk up and down the lanes and streets of Cork, window shopping, Penney’s opens at 12noon, and we pop in to purchase a couple of items, such as a pillow for me. The new pillows on the ship are so hard and the towel idea wasn’t much better. We call it quits at 1pm and head back on the shuttle bus to Cobh (Cove).


The main part of Cork is mainly a shopping centre, and most of the museums, etc are away from the main part and also closed. The traffic is a lot heavier on the return journey and it takes nearly an hour to get back. Bev and James pop into the Heritage Centre at the dockside whilst everyone else gets back on board. We are having a late lunch in Jonny Rockets, which I have to say, one of the best meals so far. I have a grilled chicken burger and apple pie with cheese for dessert. Not sure about the cheese, but the diet coke with cherry syrup was delicious.

It is formal night tonight and as we want to get photos done and avoid the queues, we arrange to be ready by 5.00pm. Tonight we have our choice of 10 different backgrounds/settings and we make our choice. The Captains reception is being held in the Promenade tonight and we receive free drinks. The bridge across the promenade is lowered and we get our first sight of the Captain and his first officers.

As explained earlier, we asked to be moved and we are now in the King Lear Dining Room and table 537. Dinner was lovely – Filet of Beef and Cherries Jubilee for dessert, my favourite with a chilled pear soup to start, which although nice, was very sweet and a bit odd. As we have all had such a late lunch, we don’t eat much and have to be shoehorned out of our chairs by this point.

James left us half way though the meal, as he wanted to play Basketball and it is agreed that he will meet us in the theatre by 9.00pm, but he misses Nicola receiving her birthday cake and everyone singing Happy Birthday to her. As we need to walk off some of our dinner we take a stroll round the promenade and Bev buys Nicola a rose from the flower stall.

The ship set sail for Southampton shortly after 6pm and the ship is now rolling quite a lot, so we have to take our steps quite carefully, and we eventually end up in the Pyramid Lounge listening to a quartet playing a lot of popular 60’s tunes. They are the band that we saw earlier on in the week, and although their singer is from the Philippines, he is quite good.

Rick suggests that we take a stroll round the deck to the pointy end, for a Titanic moment, but half way there, the wind catches my skirt and whips it up and gives an old man a flash of my knickers, so we head quickly back to the lounge. Tomorrow, maybe!

Back to the cabin now to change and then a dash to the theatre and the show tonight is called Headliner Showtime and features Da Vinci. They are also quite good and supposedly have won awards and even performed for the Queen.

After a quiz and karoke in the On Air bar it takes only 30mins in the Casino to loose $50. After a final quick trip up to Oliver or Twist Lounge on deck 12, its time to call it a night. In our cabin we find a further gift from RCCL – a certificate and photo folder to celebrate being one of the first passengers to sail on the Independence.

We had a really good day today, the rain stayed away, the sun shone and the wind eventually calmed down, so that we had quite a nice stroll round Cork.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:56 PM   #10
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Great Trippie Heather! Loved all the photos too. What an enormous ship you were on. Any plans on returning to it?
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GOS View Post
– a diamante bow shape pendant and necklace and Bev gets an early birthday present too - a diamante droplet necklace and a pashmina.
Nice gifties Heather. Ahem....my birthday is January 29th.





Quote:
Rick suggests that we take a stroll round the deck to the pointy end, for a Titanic moment, but half way there, the wind catches my skirt and whips it up and gives an old man a flash of my knickers, so we head quickly back to the lounge. Tomorrow, maybe!
Looks like you'll be joining Karen and Paige in the "Flashin Follies".
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:05 PM   #12
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More tomorrow.
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Heather crossing the Pond Sept 2014 9 days in WDW May 2014Disney Wonder to Hawaii 2012 travelling with my DIS friends in October 1114 days in FL - February 11Trip to California to see my US Sista - February 2010Disney Magic - 7 day cruise - 24th October 2009 "Bash on the Boat" Jewel of the Seas - Cruise to Russia - 17th May 2009 Disney Magic - 15 day Repo Cruise 17th August 2008; Independence of the Seas - 4 day cruise - 2nd May 2008; Disney Magic - 7 day cruise - 20th October 2007; Dawn Princess - 10 day cruise - 21st May 2007; Disney Wonder - 11 day cruise - 15th Sept 2006; Disney Wonder - 4 day cruise - October 2005; Carnival Glory - 7 day Cruise - January 2003; Disney Magic - 7 day Halloween Cruise - October 2001; Disney Magic - 7 Day Millenium Cruise - October 2000
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:15 PM   #13
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Lovely trip and wonderful photos
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:06 PM   #14
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Enjoyed reading your TR and seeing your pics Heather!!!
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:09 PM   #15
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What a great trip, your pictures are fab
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