Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by rrodriquez2: Nice Ship Turned into Booze Cruise
Overall Member Rating
Nice Ship Turned into Booze Cruise
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Embarkation was simple. We were on the ship in under 15 minutes because we had a suite (Owners) and those get priority boarding. I did not know this booking but would do it again because it was a huge time saver. Port Everglades was well done and we found it to be preferable over other ports.
Debarkation was just as simple and fast.
The only problem and it was a huge problem was the college kids that had booked up to 50 room blocks per school we heard. The cruise was marketed as a spring break cruise by some of the agencies which we didn't know. After the sailaway party we could never find a time where the main pools were desirable. The whirlpools always had 30 or more drunk college students singing some type of song about another fraternity, college or woman that happened to walk by them. The human broth that was those whirlpools had to be a nasty petri dish. I just hope it wasn't spread into the other pool areas and was filtered separately otherwise GROSS. More We eventually just gave up on using the whirlpools which was a major reason for going. They spread inside to the cantilever ones as well. They spread into the kid zone at times. We even saw the in the kids circular pool once or twice? It built up each day with the last day at sea being the worst.
Dining was good. The regular steak was like chewing on a leather dog bone. No matter how you ordered it, it came out well done, dry and often fatty. Everything else was good. Portion sizes continue to get smaller. A "scallops" appetizer is now literally two scallops. The drink service was confused by the new drink packages. The first two nights the children at are table either never got drink service or it took most of the meal. Deserts were mostly average. I could not differentiate between the food on this cruise and a recent Carnival Cruise. It seemed about the same. The pizza was awful. This looked and tasted like frozen pizza.
Ports were good. Grand Cayman and Labadee steal the show. Falmouth is okay but there is very little to do in the main area. Royal needs to buy more real estate and extend the gated area to include a pool area and a few addition dining options. Think Costa Maya. The location requires a long ride to most destinations. Labadee is really nice. The location is exotic and will be different than many places you've visited with mountains descending into the ocean. The food option was poor. They only served lunch for 90 minutes. If you're doing one of the longer excursions during that time you may go the entire day without eating because we got yelled at trying to take a second plate for those on the tours. The drink service was also confused. The Labadoozie served at the bars came in a tiny plastic cup with a huge straw? It was about 3 sips worth and they ran out often. That was "included" in the package. If you wanted the larger service you had to try to buy it from the servers but some wouldn't sell to us even when we were willing to pay off package. It's as if the crew still doesn't know what the packages cover and don't. Nice port, but one other issue is much of it is geared at older kids. There's almost nothing for kids under about age 8 or 9 to do.
In closing I'd give this cruise a 7 out of 10, the lowest rating of any of the cruises I've taken over the last 3 decades. The drink package combined with the RCCL age booking policies just allowed way too much nonsense to go on and it ruined the use of the pool deck. College groups shouldn't be allowed to book one of the newer ships. Let that nonsense be contained to 3-5 night Bahamas cruises. A lot of vacations were ruined by abusive language and behavior. Less
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