The Independence of the Seas whist pregnant: Day 10-11

The Independence of the Seas

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
Day 10-11: Cadiz & Lisbon (You are Here)
Day 12-14: Sea Days (including Giovanni’s) and Conclusion

Day Ten – Cadiz

Stepping out onto the balcony in the morning made us feel right in the heart of Cadiz, being in an aft cabin placed us perfectly to view the entire city. As it’s such a narrow, tightly packed peninsula we could even see the sea from the opposite side over the tops of the houses, with the distinctive cathedral easily visible. I think this was to be my favourite port, although I enjoyed all of them.

We took the Hop On Hop Off (HoHo) bus which starts directly outside the port gate, so only a few minutes walk from the ship as its a very small terminal. It was 18euro per adult, but I think you can save a bit if you buy online in advance. We took it to stop five, which is the Playa Victoria. There are miles of very sandy coastline, dotted with public conveniences and bars making it a very easy port to do yourself

The water was very very wavey, some people were surfing and very few people swimming outside of a small sheltered bay. We braved the breaking point and found it much calmer beyond, but this is at about 5 – 5.5ft depth so may be uncomfortable for some. My mum was quite nervous at first and refused to come in, but I finally coaxed her out past the waves where the seas were calm and we spent a relaxing hour swimming in the warm waters.

There are lifeguards and well marked safety buoys, but I’d still say it’s more for strong swimmers and I would be nervous about taking kids out past the waves as they would be way out of their depth. There is a much calmer, small sheltered urban beach in the city but it was absolutely jam packed so I was glad we had braved the waters and had a quiet swim. After a few hours on the beach we hopped back on the bus and got off at the cathedral. This is well worth a visit inside in my opinion, 5 euro discounted to 4 with a bus ticket. We spent an hour in here and could have spent more as it has an extensive audio tour available. The ticket also includes entry to the tower with lovely views, if you don’t mind climbing quite a few steep steps!

The rest of the town is easily walked or you can get back on the bus as it takes about 45 mins for a full circuit, Tiny cobbled streets hide bars and restaurants and tourist shops as well as local delis. There were lots of shops to go in, with an assortment of local shops, tourist shops and big commercial shops. It was a lovely town and very easy to do by yourself. Walking back to the ship from the cathedral took us about half hour through the winding streets.

Back in the room we got a call telling us that they had addressed the problem with sodas in the Windjammer, but of course, no offer of anything to offset our 10 days of poor drinks service and incorrect information. I appreciate that they paid attention to our complaint but it’s day ten and a shame that it took so long and that they didn’t seem that concerned that we’d paid for a drinks package that we’d struggled to get correctly. I was coming to the conclusion that the service was simply not up to par with previous cruising experiences, although we did of course still have a wonderful time.

Day Eleven – Lisbon

Lisbon was our last port, but such a beautiful coastline to sail into. Saving some of the best views for last, as for an hour before docking we cruised down the narrow channel with Lisbon’s sprawling coastline of monuments, forts and the cathedral easily viewable from our balcony. The suspension bridge was very impressive – the third largest suspension bridge in the world and we cruised under it with what looked like a few feet to spare!

We wanted to get a taxi to the zoo as I’ve done most of Lisbon’s historical sites before, but every taxi out front was offering private tours only. Getting a taxi in Lisbon is a bit pointless; they were just looking for their 100Euro tours and not wanting to take us. We were docked about 15 mins walk from the train station/metro, so we decided to go full DIY and brave it. This isn’t a big deal for me and Ben, who have traveled on public transport across many big cities around the world, but my mum, not being a traveler was quite nervous.

At the train station there were a ton of taxis but since we’d already walked to the metro we hopped on to save some cash. It cost 0.5euro for the card and then 1.40euro per trip, or 6euro for a day pass. That meant cost of getting to the zoo and back was just 3.30euro each! It’s straight down the line, no changes, and took about 15 mins. The Jardim Zoological stop is literally out front of the zoo so incredibly easy to find. Entry was 19 euro.

It’s an old fashioned zoo unfortunately, you get very close to the animals with little in the way of visual barriers but it’s also very bare, concrete everywhere and little in the way of enrichment. It seemed massively overpopulated by animals, although had almost no people in it. It was clean and tidy, loads of public toilets and small drink stands. Overall I wouldn’t recommend it until the exhibits get some modernisation in terms of animal enrichment and natural surroundings instead of bare concrete everywhere. In case you’re wondering why we chose a zoo, the business that Ben and I own is in the exotic animal field and I’ve worked with animals, including conservation and zoo work all my life and we are always keen to see how other places do it. Sadly there was nothing I could learn from this zoo, but it might make a good day out with kids and hopefully it eventually gets some modernisation in the future. Getting back on the metro was super simple and I’m glad we didn’t waste the money on a taxi and got to experience Lisbon’s public transport, which is very easy to use.

Not perhaps the most popular thing to do in Lisbon, but we have been here a few times and enjoyed doing something different.

Continuing reading the rest of the trip report:

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
Day 10-11: Cadiz & Lisbon (You are Here)
Day 12-14: Sea Days (including Giovanni’s) and Conclusion

 

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One thought on “The Independence of the Seas whist pregnant: Day 10-11

  1. Craig P says:

    I’ve just looked up this ship and seen some of the facilities. It is huge! Rock climbing? Ice skating? SURFING?! Looks like you had loads of fun.

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