Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by cruzin_ga_gal: December Rush Is On for Points!
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December Rush Is On for Points!
Husband and I, both in mid-fifties, Diamond Plus members, saw this come up at a great price and booked a couple of weeks prior to sailing. It was a three night cruise to Nassau and Coco Cay to come back to a 7 day cycle as it returned from the UK.
We received an e-mail stating that due to the ship's transatlantic crossing, the coast guard would be conducting inspections and to not expect boarding to begin until 1pm. Since the message was received 2 days from sailing, we already had our flight tickets. We flew in Wednesday morning to FLL and was at the terminal by 11am. It appeared that most of the departing guests were gone but we were not able to board until after 1pm.
The terminal has designated waiting areas for suite guests, DP members, D members, etc. The order to embarkation is Suite, DP, D etc down the line. Once the suite guests were in line, there was a free for all. The mad rush of DP was rather amusing. It makes me laugh to think that there are More really DP members that think they own the ship. People, such as ourselves who had waited for several hours, was suddenly behind a group of DP members that had waited by the stairs and rushed forward to load. This just leads up to the trampling that I will be explain later.
Since we were late loading, we thought we would just go to the room and drop our hand carrys then grab a bite to eat. No, the rooms were not going to open until 2. So off to the Windjammer for a bite to eat. Okay, slim pickings. The usual honey stung chicken was there, but the bread was stale, and the salad choices were not there. I guess they hadn't been able to stock up on US stores yet. We were fed, so we were happy.
The room was not ready at 2 although we were able to go to it. There were no bathrobes or toiletries in the room. We had to actually ask for things that are standard. To have to ask for a bar of soap is unacceptable. The room appeared clean, but the usual touches were not there. It seems that it was just thrown together. The life preservers were just thrown on the closet floor, taking up most of the space.
The balcony was nice. It was the first on the 8th deck. It is open on one side and it was nice to look forward and see where we were going. The room is small, but for 3 days, we did not have a lot of luggage or items to store, so there was plenty of space. The shower is small with the round doors, but it has the height that 6'4" husband needs.
So, all settled in our room, we decide to go to the concierge lounge to check in and see what was going on. We went in around 5:15 and saw that it was packed with people and no service was going on. There was one bartender that had a scared look on his face that kept going in and out, but no concierge. We waited for a couple of minutes and left. We decided to go to the diamond lounge and found that the pinnacle, dp and d were all grouped in Olive or Twist. It was totally packed. There were no bartenders and it seemed to be 3 deep around the bar. No one was working the floor, and it just seemed so understaffed that we left. I had spoken to one lady the next day and learned that she waited 20 minutes for a drink. Poorly planned and poorly executed. I have never seen a function so unruly (again the tramplers at loading were the same at the bar).
Day 2 was at CocoCay. The water was cold, but it was nice to lay out in the sun. We prefer to go out to the beach between the jet ski shack and the water park. We did not eat at the outside barbecue as the birds were out in full force and wanted to eat without the seagulls circling around us like a pack of thirsty DP members wanting a drink from the bar.
The shops on board are typical, with a British twist. It was obvious that the ship had been getting their stores from the UK, as most of the products were not of US origin.
Day 2 at the Olive or Twist was same as day 1. We decided to be patient and get a drink. Again, understaffed. Again, members getting attention at the bar by being overly loud and obnoxious. It apparently works, as they were rewarded a drink before others that were waiting got theirs.
We learned that Nassau was not going to be our stop for Day 3, since the port authorities overbooked the docks. We were instead diverted to Freeport. This was exciting for us, as we were only at Freeport once before with another line and it was a nice alternative to Nassau.
RC was able to throw out several options for shore excursions. We took the island tour with the Bahamian Brewery tour. It was nice. The perfume factory was a wasted time, and the downtown area is sad that there are so many empty buildings/shops. A few vendors were really pushing their wares.
Only ate in the MDR twice. Once for dinner and once for breakfast. Breakfast service was terrible and the waiter forgot much of every one's order. Dinner was okay, we thought that with the new menus on board the Oasis, the menus would have been changed throughout the fleet. No, same old menus. On the last morning there were no coffee cups in the Windjammer. We had to go to several drink stations to find a cup. Where are the dishwashers? Where is the staff?
This is the worst run ship we have ever been on. I hope that they have all their wares/stores in to stock up. Also hope that the staff comes back to their stations. (I did hear that this was a sick ship on the transatlantic and most of the staff was recovering). I hope that this is not the case, as we weren't informed that we had been boarding with the chance to be sick or be exposed.
Did my husband and I have a good time? Yes. Would we come back? Perhaps. Would we recommend this ship to a friend? No. Less
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