After a harrowing adventure in which our parking lot/shuttle service basically lost one of our bags at Port Everglades, we finally got on board and started relaxing! (The service is called "Premier" and they were anything but -- we do NOT recommend them!) Thanks to a porter at HOLLAND AMERICA on a nearby Pier who sent our "lost bag" over to Independence --happily, it actually was the 1st to arrive in our cabin. (Do NOT pack important meds in anything but your carryon, lesson learned).
FOOD We did "anytime dining" for the 1st time (this was our 6th cruise) and liked the flexibility and meeting more people. Main Dining Room food was not always stellar but we'd rate it good to very good. One night when the lamb was very tough, my husband was brought a replacement (salmon) fairly quickly. Politely ask for what you'd like until you are pleased, don't just "suffer in silence". We especially loved the melt in your mouth roast turkey and my lobster tails were great. We were fairly pleased with the Windjammer and only found it chaotic perhaps twice all week. That happens mainly when they're getting close to shut-down time, so try to avoid that. Loved the small portions in array of desserts and grateful for sugar free options too (SF peanut cookies are great!) We learned to be very precise in our breakfast orders in the Main Dining Room and, once we did, it was pleasant to be served. Tip: Hubby prefers a fresh fruit plate as his appetizer and they brought it every night, no questions asked. He also likes milk to drink, and they met that request easily too. On one of the last days they did amazing FRUIT carvings outside the Windjammer -- don't miss it!
ADVICE for your ROOM: unless you plan to buy items from the in-cabin frig, ask the steward on Day 1 to empty it out so you can chill your own items. Then we kept some medical supplies but also could store, eg. a yogurt, a milk carton, a bit of cheese etc. plus the 4 cans of soda we brought from home. We also asked the steward on Day 1 for fresh ice 2 x a day; we brought our own flavored water enhancer and simply kept mixing tasty ice water as we pleased. Also re your room: we had an interior cabin. When you ask for a queen size bed, they push 2 twins together and it is VERY tight getting in and out of bed from both sides, especially the TV side. If you are 55 plus (as we are) you may not like that! Next time we may go with two twins in order to have a center aisle. Also, we overpacked and had trouble finding a place for everything plus our empty luggage: next time we'll know better. Note that you can ask for robes, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and shower gel -- if you don't ask, you probably will not get them.
Entertainment: Motown was a disappointment - bass singer sick but even still the voices were lacking, they just seemed too old and tired out and their attempts at humor failed. Once Upon a Time: we loved it a few years ago and felt they made some changes we were not crazy about but still fairly creative. We didn't miss a show, really.....we felt the ship's team had some pretty strong singers. Ice skating show was being raved about, and we agree. I missed Quest but hubby went and liked it; it was quite the topic of conversation next day. Some people are so lackadaisical about watching the Compass and totally miss these things, which we don't understand.
I'll review Shore Excursions elsewhere. If you are fortunate enough to be sailing on Independence soon, Bon Voyage!