We just returned our 8-day Holiday cruise on the Independence of the Seas. This was our first Christmas cruise and our first cruise without family and/or friends. We had a great time and ended up meeting some wonderful new friends.
Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 11am and was one of the first groups of passengers on the ship. There were a couple glitches with the system, however, things are bound to happen.
Stateroom: Deluxe Oceanview Balcony: Typical stateroom, although I think they removed some of the shelving on this ship. Also, there wasn’t much room in the closets. I suppose on this ship, when the renovated her, they took away some of the storage space.
The Food: Average, we don’t really cruise for the food, a lot of it, but just average. The food in the main dining room and Windjammer were pretty standard. I was surprised however, escargot was available in the dining room every night. I love RCCI’s escargot so I was excited, however, it was cold every night….that was disappointing to me. The Windjammer is pretty standard I think on each ship. Nothing really different there.
The activities: Plenty to do for everyone. The shows on this trip were not typical RCCI quality, in my opinion. We have always enjoyed the shows on RCCI ships, the entertainers just didn’t appear to be the same caliber we have experienced on other ships. The Cruise Director was pretty good on this ship. He at least had some personality. He and his staff were fun and pretty interactive. The highlight was one of our sail aways. It was not planned and it was incredible. They set up music on deck, facing a Princess Cruise ship and not only did they have a BIG group on our ship, the entire Princess ship was rocking and rolling with us. They were wanting to come aboard our ship. It was the best sail away I’ve ever experienced and it wasn’t planned.
The VIP event that RCCI put on for Crown and Anchor members, a night under the stars was outstanding. They did a really nice job. Really enjoyed the gathering and getting to actually talk to the Captain was a real plus.
We participated in a Wine event, worth what we paid for this event. It was outstanding and I would do it again. We have done other wine tastings and weren’t so impressed. This one was outstanding, the team presenting did an outstanding job, they were knowledgeable and entertaining at the same time. The wine was great.
Service: Very Poor service. I was very upset with the lack of service on this ship and the lack of care they give it. The only positive was Guest Services, one person there was caring and did an outstanding job. I have contacted RCI about that. We saw our Stateroom attendant one time, on day one, we had to track him down and get a hand towel and floor mat for our bathroom. Our dining room staff, HORRIBLE. The head waiter was nice, but neither of them really cared about us…BAD marks RCCI. It’s the first time in 13 cruises that I can say that. Oh well, hope it’s the last time…They do wine a little different on this ship and the assistant waiter takes your wine order, one night, he charged us for 595 bottles of wine. We had a charge for $18,000.00, they said they were sorry, that was big of them.
The ports: We have been to all these ports before, had a great time in St. Maarten, beach extravaganza was Great. . . The beach was beautiful, the tour guide was friendly and helpful, the food out delish. St. Kitts is one of my favorite ports, however, the beach trip was terrible. Never again… Puerto Rico, we just walked around. Labadeee is wonderful. RCCI does a pretty good job with the BBQ. We did the sandbar getaway, it was incredible. Will do that again. Loved it….
The ship: Love this size of ship, since there is so much for everyone to do. I typically enjoy the shopping, however, did not like the shops on Independence. Something do to with it’s owner or something, but the choices are lacking in the shops. Just my opinion. Their loss, didn’t spend any money on this ship.
The people: There were many, many children on this cruise. While I love children, there were many spoiled children who have no respect for anyone and that was sad. Some of them were wonderful, however, there were way too many always running and hitting and just being rude. But, for the most part, it was okay. Many people from all places. We continued to run into the same folks, which was very nice.
We did however, meet some incredible folks. There was one family we actually met on our shuttle bus on the way to the port and we continued to meet them throughout our trip. We just loved getting to know them (LadyLion_AP) and her family. What a neat family and we feel blessed to have gotten to spend some time with them. Hope we meet up again.
Disembarkation: We utilized the early off, we took our own luggage. We both were happy with that. We didn’t have to sit around and wait to be called. I don’t want to remark too much on this as if the word gets out this was good, it will become a problem…
Overall....We really enjoyed this cruise! Was really worried about taking a Holiday cruise, but…it ended up being one of our best yet. Service NOT….but can’t win them all. Hopefully, our next Christmas and New Year’s cruise will be even better.