We were leaders of a group of 114 people. The care that our group received was over the top good. I've never had such an efficient and friendly onboard coordinator. Overall the service and personnel on the Independence of the Seas was outstanding. The Windjammer had good food and a good selection of food at breakfast and lunch, with great service to go along. The ship was clean and seemed to be in good repair throughout. Boarding and disembarking were a breeze. Since we are Diamond members, embarkation was under 15 minutes. Disembarkation was 45 minutes from gangway to airport using a charter transfer.
On the negative side, the main dining room was terrible at best. The food was not well prepared, the menu selection was poor, and the service was so bad we had to go to the head waiter through the reception desk to get some improvement. Everything costs extra nowadays. If I read the Flowrider sigh correctly, it is $300 per hour for a group lesson. That's ridiculous.
With 4300 passengers on board, I felt that it was too crowded in some areas such as the Promenade Shops, theater, and dining room. There was a lot of pushing and shoving among passengers, and more than a few fights broke out - mainly among people 70 years old and older!
I felt that RCI has tried to emulate Carnival on this ship, and it doesn't work for me and many others who don't like Carnival. RCI and RCCL used to offer a quality product with outstanding service. It appears that those days are gone.
If you are not a beach person, which we are not, Labadee is a complete waste of time. There are a lot of small vendor stalls and every vender is trying to push or pull you into his or her area to sell you the same thing that the next stall has for the same price. It is worse than a Mexican flea market. we got out of there as quickly as possible and went back to the ship.