Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by gbm13: Solid but lacking personality
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Solid but lacking personality
Embarkation was a breeze . .. we decided to get there early, figuring we might as well wait at the Port instead of our hotel room. Embarkation was supposed to start at 12:30pm but we were on the ship by 11am, in our swimsuits and by the pool. Cabins weren't ready until 1pm, but who cares? Food at the Windjammer was pretty good, easy to get to.
Cleanliness - Everything on the ship look really clean, and there were signs everywhere about hygiene. You still had the occasional idiot picking through the bananas with his hands, even though there was a sign to use the tongs, but at least they were trying.
First 2 days were sea days - Very windy as expected. Getting a seat by the pool on deck 11 will shield you from the wind somewhat. I went jogging on Deck 12 and it was actually kind of funny. Against the wind was awful (someone said it was like 48 knots- ship speed + wind) but with the wind was like floating. Overall a decent although strange workout. The captain did a More good job of mostly steering around rain.
Pool - Around the main pool that have a video screen that wasn't always showing videos related to the music. There were the occasional pool games - but overall, pretty relaxing . . Not a lot of pushing of drinks, or big party atmosphere.
Dining - we were a little disappointed by our table, right by 2 bus stations, but it turned out ok. Our biggest disappointment was in our waitstaff. Other then introducing themselves, they never took an interest in us. Never asked where we were from, how our day was, suggestions for the next day. etc. The Head Waiter was very nice, and our friends child has a nut allergy and they were very helpful with that.
Also - really didn't have the singing waiter and theme nights. A couple of times, but not like other ships where every night there is a theme. Not sure I missed it, but I expected it.
Food - The main dining room food was pretty good. Take into account the fact that it's banquet food disguised in a restaurant format. We were a little disappointed by the selections available, but the food itself was very solid. We ate at Chops Grille - 2nd night to avoid a formal, plus booked online you get a $30 beverage credit. The steaks were good - the dessert (mud pie ) was great. I don't know that it's worth $30/person. They sell a cookbook for $25 after the meal, and it gets you a galley tour on the last sea day, which was interesting.
In St. Maartin we did the Sea Trek - which was great. Bring towels. The excursion tickets don't tell you to.
In Labadee - we booked a cabana - because we were on the ship so early, we were able to be early in line when the desk opened at 12:30. We found out later that Grandeur of the Seas was going to be in Labadee with us, which reduced the availability. I don't know that the cabana was worth it, but the part of the beach we were at - all the way at the end by the breakwall was nice and peacefull. Get floating mats. The food was hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and ribs. Nothing special. No snacks.
Our last cruises were on Carnival and there was a big difference here. Pool was more relaxing on Royal - not as much of the pool games and drinking. Plus, as much as I hate to admit, the passengers seemed a little higher class then on the Carnival ships. But there was definitely less energy on Royal.
Entertainment - The singers and dancers were excellent. Whenever they were on, it was fantastic. The comic was using old material, very ordinary. There was a trio that had appeared in Vegas that was awful, not what I think anyone wanted, people were streaming out. There was a Motown group that was excellent. Juggler was ok, the cruise director was also an entertainer. One night before the juggler did about 20 minutes standup. He was ok. He also performed in the Promenade 70's Dance party.
Summary - The ship is very well run and we had few complaints about the trip. But there was definitely a lack of personality that we've been used to on other cruises (Disney, Royal & Carnival). No one asked where we were from, or how our days were. Everything ran smoothly, but there was just a lack of that personal touch. Less
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