Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by shaheshang: Lavender != Purple!
Overall Member Rating
Lavender != Purple!
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
The local professional association goes on a cruise n' learn every second year during Spring Break. This year was the 6 night Western Caribbean cruise on the Independence of the Seas, a Freedom class ship of Royal Caribbean.
We decided to do Disneyworld in Orlando before the cruise so didn't have Royal Caribbean (via the travel agency) make all of the flight arrangements. Instead, we rented a one-way car to Fort Lauderdale and then took a taxi from FLL to the port.
Boarding was easy (though we weren't prepared for all the people that "needed" to be tipped) though a little tedious. The stateroom was very small but neat and, as we aren't that tall, we had the bunkbeds down all the time with no problems.
Onboard service was generally exceptional at all times and, most importantly, everything was neat and clean. Food was good, though nothing special even at formal dinner, and we didn't drink alcohol at all.
Our kids didn't go to the onship programs More (because we don't see them nearly enough) so we didn't do any of the adult only things, e.g., casino, bars, etc. However, we attended nearly all of the family-accessible shows plus used most of the primary attractions, e.g., H2O Zone, Waverider, arcade, mini golf, etc. The optional services like the photos (generally average photography) we used sparingly.
One poor thing does stand out: the software on all of the onboard systems (e.g., in cabin, photo kiosks, customer service counters, etc.) was uniformly poor, slow, buggy and prone to crashes. The final kick to the windsock is every user interface is slow, counter intuitive and buggy.
Another big failure: There was a murder at a resort at the first port 3 days prior to the ship's arrival the cancellation of the shore excursion happened at 2am the night prior. Needless to say, we didn't feel like purchasing the most expensive excursions left.
All of the above is excusable our experience otherwise was quite wonderful.
HOWEVER, disembarkation was a nightmare. No real problems separating the luggage into checked and carry. Few problems waking up on time (timezone change), quick breakfast and getting to the marshalling point. But the slow (2 hrs) process of going down to the pier, finding your checked luggage (ATTENTION: the idiot who decided to have both lavender and purple tags needs to be keelhauled) variously placed haphazardly in several locations, going through customs (quick and easy!), and then the extended wait for a taxi pretty drained our goodwill for this experience. Always wonderful when you have to deal with kids who think their precious stuff has been lost! Less
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Cabin review: I Oceanview Stateroom
We had an oceanview stateroom the cheapo one without the balcony. As none of us are exceptionally tall, the four of us were comfortable even with the bunkbeds down all the time. Closet space is tight, but putting luggage under the bed solved that. If would've been nice if there was less of the non-free stuff in the fridge so we could store other stuff (e.g., water bottles) in there. Finally, a couple more outlets would've been great, e.g., charging cameras, laptops, etc.Read All Oceanview Stateroom (I) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Decided to only do a couple of hours of shopping at the tourist zone. Most interesting part was the tender ride (gave us external views of the ship). Nothing too interesting shopping-wise.
Everyone was very friendly and helpful our kids even had a chance to pilot the sub!
Shopping was alright had to look for stuff you couldn't get back home, e.g., unique tequila and the color changing shirts.
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