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Jana

Age: 39

Occupation:healthcare

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Independence Of The Seas

Sailing Date: 2010-03-7

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

I traveled with my husband and 4 other adult relatives. In the past I have felt that cruising is somewhat cheesy and staid, with endless eating being the primary onboard activity. I was pleasantly surprised with this cruise. There was quite a bit to do during sea days. The excursions we chose were pretty good, too. Overall, I enjoyed this cruise very much.


We were all impressed by our assigned dinner waiters. They were courteous and solicitous of our every need beyond belief. I have never experienced similar food service on land. The food is excellent, too, in the dining room and in the restaurants. We actually ate at all 3 restaurants, too-- Johnny Rockets, Portofino, and Chops. All excellent.


Great! We had a stateroom with a balcony, a first for us, and it was worth the extra fee for that balcony. It was as big as our stateroom. So nice to go out there and relax.


There was an impressive array of onboard activities. We enjoyed the rock wall, the mini-golf, ice-skating, dance lessons, and the FlowRider. On the FlowRider, I tried both the boogie-board and stand-up surfing. There was an adult boogie-boarding hour one night at 9 pm and I was the only one who showed up, so I got as much FlowRider as I could take. Awesome!
We also learned some Bollywood dancing which we expected to be lame but which actually turned out to be really fun. The Ice-skating rink is small but to have a rink at sea at all is something! You get to practice your turns. And the Ice-skating show, "Strings", was amazing.


In Belize we did the Cave Tubing and Zip-line excursion and it was pretty cool. Unfortunately, the day was cool as well so being in a river was not as pleasant as it would have been on a hot day. You float down a river that goes through a long cave. The water level is low during winter so many times we had to avoid rubbing our rears on rocks. Each tour guide gets to basically manhandle a train of 6 tourists on tubes through the cave because there wasn't a strong current.
I enjoyed the zip-line much more than freezing in the river. There were maybe 6 towers, and you hike or walk from one to the next in many cases. One guy freaked out after his first zip-line and quite, but everyone else in our tour group had a great time.

In Costa Maya we went on an excursion to see the Mayan ruins of Kohunlich and Dzibanche. There is a 2 hour bus ride to and from, but at least the bus is comfortable. The ruins were amazing, and you can climb on them. Very cool.

At the Cozumel stop, we went on the Xcaret excursion. We did this one because part of our group had already been to Xel-Ha. Xel-Ha seemed to be the most recommended park. I was looking forward to snorkeling but the snorkeling at Xcaret is lousy. No other way to put it. There is a cool lanrynth of water paths to float down, even snaking through a building at one point, but not many fish to be seen. Out in the bay, the life guards do not allow much room for snorkeling. There are not many fish within the snorkeling zone, that's for sure. Xcaret is more focused on wildlife. There is a mini-zoo there. During our stay, they had a sea-turtle release. I also saw dolphin-encounters. Wish we would have gone to Xel-Ha, though, because I hear the snorkeling is great there.

One thing to note about going to the mainland from Cozumel island--you have to travel via 45-minute ferry boat ride and it was not smooth-sailing. The ferry employees handed out plenty of sea-sickness bags. We quickly discovered the benefits of going up to the top level of the ferry, which was open air. I recommend sitting up there and taking Dramamine.



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