The Independence of the Seas whist pregnant: Day 8-9
Day 1-3: Southampton (Boarding, The Ship, Cabin #1700) Day 2-3: At Sea, At Sea – includes Chops Grill specialty restaurant Day 4-5: Gibraltar & Cartagena Day 6-7: Palma De Mallorca & Barcelona Day 8-9: Valencia & Malaga (You are here) Day 10-11: Cadiz & Lisbon Day 12-14: Sea Days (including Giovanni’s) and Conclusion
Day Eight – ValenciaI don’t want to be one for moaning, but by day eight – Valencia – the heat, my morning sickness and my lack of nutrition (nothing to do with the ship, just my queasiness – I’d had a serious meat aversion for a few days and was mostly eating baked potatoes!) was making me feel really drained. We planned to go to the Oceanographic, but I just wasn’t feeling up to it. I had a lie in, managed to eat some fruit and lazed around for the day. Whilst I was definitely feeling way way way lower in energy than I usually do, I was still really happy to be there and having a good time. It was a short port day anyway, with last boarding at 2:30pm and I saved us the taxi fare plus 80euro (for three adults) entry. More money for the casino right? Don’t tell Ben that’s what I was thinking. For those wanting details, a shuttle bus was available from the ship to the city centre, 10 euro for unlimited travel, and a 20 minute journey. Ben took it and said the centre is packed with stuff to see including beautiful ornate architecture as well as historical buildings like the bell tower and bullring, and shops. He enjoyed walking around the city taking photos the entire morning, whilst I rested and felt much better for it. This also gives me an excuse to return to Valencia, as I really would like to see the Oceanographic in the future. Perhaps when William is a little older and can appreciate it! We had dinner in Chops Grille for the second time, as I was feeling better after my rest and up to eating some meat. The food was excellent and I felt up to a bit of dancing and exploration around the ship in the evening. It’s amazing how much the heat takes it out of you – so if you’re pregnant and find yourself on a cruise or have young kids, just take a day off now and then.
Day Nine – MalagaWe had booked a dolphin watching tour with the ship in advance and I was really excited about it, but sadly it didn’t quite live up to expectations. It was listed as a wildlife tour with an opportunity to swim. Priced at $110 each I was expecting something a little more than we received. Going out the coach was 45 mins without any commentary, followed by a 15-20 min walk to the port in the baking heat. This was at a snails pace, as quite a few of our tour were on the older side of things. The tour guide didn’t seem to have any tickets so she stood in line at a ticket booth whilst we stood in the baking sun and the general public got on the boat before us. The boat wasn’t really a wildlife boat – it was a party boat, complete with drunk tourists, a bar at noon, and smoking on board even though the boat was full of kids! Not only that but because we were the last people on board, there wasn’t really anywhere to sit for good views. This was not the ideal experience we had paid $330 to experience. We did see Dolphins, but in that bay you couldn’t really avoid them. It is always nice to see them in the wild, and this was a beautiful bay that seemed to have a large, active population. The boat stopped for 10 mins for people to jump off and get back on, and then headed back. The list price for individuals was 16 euro, the coach back took less than 20 mins on a different route this time. With no priority tickets, no organisation, no private boat and no guide, we paid triple the price of getting a taxi and buying our own tickets. I noticed it was advertised at $100 on board too, so we paid more for booking in advance. I did feel like it was worth mentioning this to shore excursions, and they credited us the $10 difference in price, but insisted that the tour was as advertised. I suppose it was, and in all fairness it was an enjoyable morning, but for such a high priced tour we really expected something a little more. It’s just an example of how it seems it’s always better to do it yourself these days organised tours.
This was the second time we had to go to guest services and didn’t really feel like our complaints were addressed or taken seriously. This is a big difference to our favourite line, Princess, where the one time we had a minor complaint about the tour we received a full refund and genuine apologies. The beach is a 10 minute walk from the port and had lovely clear water with loads of fish as well as some really big shells so in the afternoon we had a walk to the beach and a very nice swim. I love swimming in the ocean and a Mediterranean cruise really is a wonderful way to have plenty of swimming opportunities! I forgot to take note of what we ate in the evening in my journal, but I’m sure it was good. I probably had a baked potato! We now had over 100 photos in our folder on board and haven’t even been trying. They really add up quickly with three people in a cabin so if you’re traveling with a family, I highly recommend getting an unlimited photo package and taking full advantage of it. Taking the photos was fun and it gave us something to do each night as we wandered down to the photo area to collect them, which always ended up with us stopping either in Bolero’s or the cafe for a drink and some nibbles.