We're rather newbs when it comes to cruising, and with only a few bumps on the carpet, everything went very well. Independence of the Seas itself is in great shape and I see the crew working on her all the time during this cruise. The food was pretty good, but we were wowed by it. The food, however, is subjective so take it with a grain of salt. The wait staff is exceptional. I Wayne did a great job taking care of us for 8 days. He would tell us what to expect the next day and what to look for at the next port. Something I've never seen any Carnival wait staff do.
Geoff Eaton and his crew did a great job with entertainment and there is always something to do on the ship. My wife mentioned that she was bored by day 7 on Voyager of the Seas, but not Indy. We missed both parades, but did attend the 70's party which was great. The Royal Promenade was literally packed but everyone had a great time.
We used the stairs a lot because we did not feel like waiting for the elevator (which can be a long wait), but with over 4000 passengers, it's understandable.
St. Maarten: We took the circle tour which cost us $25 pp and it took us around both the French and Dutch side. Due to limit time, we only get to see a 747 take off at Maho beach. Highly recommended if you like that kind of stuff.
St. Kitts: We did a Nature Adventure tour with RCI. This was our second choice because the original tour booked ahead of time with RCI got cancelled (slight bump in the carpet). The tour was good, and I would do it again.
San Juan: We got there on Thanksgiving day at 7:00AM so nothing was opened. There were, however, tons of taxis and tour buses that can take you through both Old and New San Juan for $10 pp / hr. Our tour guide did a great job explaining the history of the Forts. This was our second choice because the original tour booked ahead of time with RCI got cancelled due to the holidays (another bump in the carpet). I wish we had more time here, but we left the port at 2:00PM.
Labadee: We had the Dragon Flight tour which is worth every penny for the view. Food was provided by RCI, but they were okay.
Debarkation was pretty easy. We did the self debarkation at 7:30 or so. There was a line, but 30 minutes later, we were at the port waiting for our ride back to the hotel.
Over all, this was a great cruise. I would do this again in a heartbeat.
This location is owned by RCI, and it is catered to cruisers who just wants to relax.
It's a mad house out at the port, but we did get a tour at $25 pp