I just returned from a wonderful 8-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Independence of the Seas. The cruise was absolutely wonderful. My family has traveled with 3-generations at Xmas for the past few years. This was our first Xmas cruise together. All of us (ages 14-50+) had a wonderful time and were very sad to leave this beautiful ship. This was my first cruise with RCCL, after 2 Carnival cruises, and will certainly not be my last. I did enjoy my 2 previous cruises but not to this extent.
Embarkation: A breeze! We arrived at the port around 11am and was on the ship well before noon.
Stateroom: Superior Oceanview Balcony: Plenty of storage space & nice size. The shower is rather small and I am a small woman. I wonder how it works for people who are blessed with more weight! The boys (2-teens) had an interior room and felt like they had adequate space.
The Food: Average to really good at times. Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table, and Johnny Rockets were really good and worth the nominal fee! The food in the main dining room and Windjammer ranged from average to very good.
The activities: Plenty to do for everyone. I was never bored and we had 2 1/2 consecutive days at sea. The surf simulator is tough according to my son but he enjoyed it. The shows were average to good. (I liked them all but some of my family members were a little more critical.) Once Upon A Time was very good! The games we participated in were fun but we did not participate in many. A few family members gambled. Some won, some lost. We participated in the Mystery Dinner Theater and the All Access Tour. The Mystery Dinner Theater was a bit corny but fun. The best part of the All Access Tour was touring the Bridge. I don't think either is worth the cost if you have to give up something to do them. I recommend them if the cost won't affect the rest of your trip. I enjoyed them but probably would not do either again.
Service: Very good overall. The staff were very friendly and seemed happy or at least pretended to be happy the whole cruise. We were even surprised with a gift of a bottle of champagnes and chocolate covered strawberries! The teens also received Xmas gifts from RCCL.
The ports: Loved all of them except St. Maarten. I probably did not choose the best excursion, as we just took a tour of the island because our first tour was cancelled. We did The Essentials of St. Kitts, which was a great tour. We went to El Yunque in Puerto Rico, as we had been to Puerto Rico before but not to the rainforest. It was a great tour and worth the day! (The visit here is very brief with a 1:30pm All Aboard!) We did not book an excursion for Labadee and did not need to. The island is absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to visit again this June!
The ship: A true beauty with space to accommodate all without feeling crowded. It only felt crowded once...in the Windjammer... on our return from Puerto Rico. I think everyone wanted lunch at the same place and at the same time. I found a couple of great spots to just hang out and relax but won't share them in fear that they won't be great spots anymore.
The people: Some were a little stuffy and a little arrogant. Some kids were bratty....But we met many wonderful people I'd love to cruise with again...including BasketCruiser! :)
Disembarkation: A breeze as well. We chose self-assist due to an early flight of 10:10am. My in-laws had an 8:45am flight. The elevators were empty as well...on a sold out ship! I guess everyone else was afraid to book an early flight at Xmas time! We were all at our gates with plenty of time to spare. My immediate family (with 2 teens) had over 3 hours at the airport! Yikes!
Overall....Our best cruise yet! I hope I love the Oasis as much as I loved the Indy! Happy sailing to all of you planning to sail this beautiful ship!