32 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Caribbean - All Cruise Reviews

This was a last minute cruise to get out of the cold. It did not disappoint! While Mother Nature did not cooperate with a lot of sunshine we still enjoyed ourselves. We cruise once per year with a balcony cabin but wanted to go “on ... Read More
This was a last minute cruise to get out of the cold. It did not disappoint! While Mother Nature did not cooperate with a lot of sunshine we still enjoyed ourselves. We cruise once per year with a balcony cabin but wanted to go “on the cheap” this time. Even the inside cabin 3557 was more than adequate on this ship! Everything inside and out was clean and tidy. We took a galley tour which was fascinating! Quite an operation to get all of that food out to the cruisers. To be able to get all of the orders out including the “special” dietary requirements took a well coordinated team. Only issue was the Motown Trivia”. It was horrible! Being from Detroit, we know Motown and this trivia contest was really bad! The host had no idea what he was doing. They certainly had no idea what Motown was. Overall a great time was had by all! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We cruised from December 31 till January 5. I picked new year cruise because wanted different experience of New Year. Ship had some decorations but there were no Xmas tree! Also decorations were down in January 2. Balloons drop in ... Read More
We cruised from December 31 till January 5. I picked new year cruise because wanted different experience of New Year. Ship had some decorations but there were no Xmas tree! Also decorations were down in January 2. Balloons drop in promenade was a little crazy , too many people in one spot. We missed Costa Maya port due wind but weather conditions seemed fine and everyone on the ship were wondering about what really happened. That part was upsetting. So out of 5 days just 1 port day. My second time wit Royal Caribbean and missing ports each time. Food is a little bit bellow average. My husband is Vegan and he had Vegan menu in main dining which is nice. There always some indian vegetarian dishes in buffet. Shows were not bad at all. Ice skating show must see! Wish they had more of those. My son ( 6 years old) went to Camp and he loved it. They have very good program for children: doing crafts , playing hockey, memory challenge etc. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I have had three successful trips with Royal. This was my four trip. It did not meet my expectations. The food at the main dining room ( my time dinning ) was mediocre at best. We waited in line for 20 minutes even with reservations. My ... Read More
I have had three successful trips with Royal. This was my four trip. It did not meet my expectations. The food at the main dining room ( my time dinning ) was mediocre at best. We waited in line for 20 minutes even with reservations. My server was nice but was overwhelmed with all the table that he had. The windjammer had better food and service. The entire ship seamed under staffed. Chops – the food was good and once again the services was lacking. He services was nice enough But had to many table with not enough help. Haiti was a good port. Jamaica, nor so much. We all had to meet at 8:30 but the bus didn’t leave until 10:00. We did the bob sled, zip line and lift. It was booked, poorly organized. We didn’t get back to the ship Until almost 5, al most 2 hours late. We where the last one to return. Not worth the money or aggregation Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise in 18 years though we’ve done Carnival several times since. We’d stopped the night before at Port St. Lucie about ninety minutes away. Before we left the hotel, we got a text saying the ... Read More
This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise in 18 years though we’ve done Carnival several times since. We’d stopped the night before at Port St. Lucie about ninety minutes away. Before we left the hotel, we got a text saying the cruise was delayed a couple of hours. I later found out why and I’ll explain at the end of this review. We hung out at the hotel then arrived at Port Everglades around 1:00 pm. We’d decided to park at the port thinking it’d be more convenient. If I cruise from there again, I’ll use a park and ride service. We still had to haul our luggage to a shuttle to take to the ship. On our return, the ship was closer to the garage but we still had to tote our luggage a long way from ship to garage. Check in was fast. We entered on deck 4 where we were given complimentary champagne. The ship was very nice. I really liked the Royal Promenade which is done up to look like an open air street with the stores, bars, pizza place, and café along it. A lot of rooms looked out over it from above. We had a slice of pizza (just ok) then went to our rooms. We’d booked the two forward most deck 6 balconies. I’d done some research and was pleased because 6514 effectively gives you an extra 5’ of balcony and a forward view through a curved glass wind breaker. The room was fairly spacious. I could have done without the rounded bed though because the sheets don’t fit on it well. We eventually got them to open the divider between balconies but I had to bug them a couple of times. The internet didn’t work for the first day. I got a credit for the day but I had to bug them for that too. This was the first of several minor annoyances with RCI I’d have thru the cruise. You’d think they’d have automatically credited everyone for that first day. We walked the ship. The work out area was very nice except for the changing area which was surprisingly spartan. The spa looked nice but prices were eye popping. Wife would have done a massage but they were 2X shore prices. We checked our youngest into the teen club. Disappointingly, my oldest son, just turned 18, had aged out and RCL does almost nothing for the 18-21 y/o set. So my youngest had a great time with all the group activities but my oldest was kind of stuck. To use the wave rider, rock wall, and ice skating you have to sign a waiver and get a wrist band. RCI’s method of doing this was terrible. The line was so slow. Their signup tablets kept locking up. One of them kept failing and the attendant blamed one of our ID cards. So we had to go down to guest services, which told us the card was fine, so back up to the sports deck where of course this time it worked fine. We all did my time dining together that first night. The food was ok but nothing special. We then walked from bar to bar as they had a number of different music acts playing thru out the ship. The next day was a sea day. Breakfast in dining hall was ok. We made the mistake of going to the shopping talk. They were running behind and kept everyone outside the auditorium. Since the first 100 people were supposed to get a lanyard, everyone was cramming in from all sides once they finally opened the doors (in reality, they had lanyards for all). Next we decided to hit the art auction since I’d been told I was one of the closest to guessing the price of the Peter Max. I did get two glasses of champagne out of the deal and some of the art was pretty, but even though I did end up “winning” free art, it turned out it wasn’t free after all. You have to pay $35 shipping for an ok print that I could get at Michael’s for $20. I just passed on it. If you want to go to the art auction – I suggest staying long enough to snag the champagne then leaving – also never buy the art, the markups are obscene. Rest of the day was much better. I peeked in on the ice show. It was packed, they should do more of them. That evening’s Once Upon A Time live music revue show was really well done. Next we did the disco dance party on the Promenade. This was a really nice use of the promenade as the singers were on bridges above while everyone danced on the streets below. We closed with the adult comedy act, the comedian had been on Last Comic Standing and was very good. Day two was our one port day in Cozumel. We did the Fury catamaran. You board the catamaran, wait for the inevitable stragglers (man I hate them), and they take you to a spot to snorkel (surprisingly close to the ship). The snorkeling was just ok. While we saw a fair number of fish, we’ve had better snorkeling elsewere. We then road the catamaran to their private beach area with water inflatables. The ride on the catamaran and the beach area were both terrific as was the ride back where the crew led us in dances while we tried not to fall over (it wasn’t too rough but you do bounce around a bit). Beer, wine, and soda were free but lunch on the beach area was $11. They also had much less pricey massages than the Spa. Bring cash though since they have no credit card capability. We tried the ship’s buffet area when we got back. As with the dining hall, just ok. We then went back off the ship and had drinks at the El Cid hotel restaurant overlooking the port just outside the port area. Nice spot and drinks were half what they were on ship. We went to the rock show featuring a singer from Foreigner. Another nicely done live show though I wished he’d sang more complete songs instead of just sampling them. Finally, we went to the Xmas caroling on the promenade. Again, a nice use of this location with the carolers singing from above. That night we started to have a problem with the room. The balcony door wouldn’t seal well and since it was fairly windy, we got a loud whistling sound. I managed to seal it well enough but it would get worse the next day. Last day, we slept in missing the Santa visit. I entered the black jack tourney and had no luck. We tried Johnny Rockets, pretty good burgers and all you can eat (at a fairly reasonable upcharge – milk shakes are extra but I had a buy one, get one deal). We used the gym and hot tub. Hot tubs overhang the side of the ship which gives a nice view. We went to the early showing of Grease. A really well done production, almost shockingly good for a cruise ship. Ate at main dining, again, just ok. The whistling in our cabin got bad enough that we complained. Their fix was to basically seal the door with tape. Since it was the last night, I didn’t care too much, but I’d like to think they can actually fix something like that. The next morning, I found that we’d been double charged for a wine purchase the night before so I again had to go to guest services. Tried breakfast in the buffet area, omelet station was good, the rest – again – just ok. Check out was fairly quick. I used the Mobile Passport app. This saved some time but I’m not sure if it was because the app is so efficient or just because the mobile passport line was much shorter. Having been on Carnival some, I thought I’d give a few thoughts comparing them and RCI. While I haven’t been on Carnival’s newest ships, the Independence was the nicest ship I’ve been on appearance wise. The promenade was very nice. I liked the rooms (minus the leaky balcony door and rounded bed) and the balconies, which project out more from the ship then the Carnival one’s I’ve seen. If Independence had an adult’s only area, I never found it, but since we had a balcony this time, it wasn’t an issue. Much to our surprise, we thought the food on Carnival was superior. Maybe a little better in the dining halls, but much better in the other areas. Carnival had better buffet, better pizza, and better deli sandwich areas. It also had free nightly sushi and specialty tastings at a tasting bar. Carnival also had better daily drink deals (though we did get a good deal on the kids’ soda packages by pre buying from RCI). RCI’s live shows were vastly superior to anything I’ve seen on Carnival. They had much more and better live music in the bars. Carnival’s one advantage was their nightly comedy club shows as I really like stand up. Carnival also seemed to have better in room TV. Service was fine on RCI, but on Carnival, I’m used to the attendant sneaking in our room to clean every time we stepped out. We didn’t quite get that on RCI. There were also a few glitches in service that I mentioned above. Only our youngest used the rock wall, flow rider, or skate rink since he had reserved times as part of the teen group, but I might have if they’d been opened more. I’m surprised they have these things and aren’t running them all day long. RCI could also have more planned activities for the 18-21 y/o crowd. In summation, it was a fun cruise and I’ll definitely consider RCI next time, but it’ll probably come down to price and itinerary as to whether I choose them over Carnival. I'll try to post pics if I can downsize them. Now, fair warning, if you’re sensitive and don’t want to know what happened on the previous cruise to delay the ship, stop reading. On the last night, someone decided to jump off deck 12 into the ocean. The ship searched for several hours with no luck until the coast guard took over and the ship headed on for port. I don’t know whether the jumper was drunk or suicidal. I don’t know why anyone would want to kill themselves that way, if you actually survive the fall, drowning at sea seems like a horrible, slow way to go. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have cruised several cruise lines, but for the few years we have been loyal to Royal. I became Diamond Plus on this sailing. I contacted Royal's Special Needs Dept. before sailing to arrange for a wheelchair to get on the ship ... Read More
We have cruised several cruise lines, but for the few years we have been loyal to Royal. I became Diamond Plus on this sailing. I contacted Royal's Special Needs Dept. before sailing to arrange for a wheelchair to get on the ship for one of our party. We arrived at the terminal about noon (Port Everglades) and found out there was delayed boarding. There were no wheelchairs available and all seating was taken.It was a disaster area.. The small staff at the terminal were not any help and looked overwhelmed But, somehow we made it on board was happy to see our rented scooter waiting for us in our cabin. By the way, Suite guests were not treated any differently I found a big improvement in the Windjammer's breakfast. They now have sunny side up eggs, perfectly done, ready on their hot plates. Great hash brown potatoes We ate in the MDR for dinner. Food just OK. The portions are smaller, buts that's all right Staff were great. Enjoyed our cruise. The Freedom class ships are the perfect size Thanks to our Concierge, Felix, we had a smooth disembarkation. But, they need a better plan and staff when boarding is delayed Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My husband wanted Royal Caribbean because it's supposedly a good balance between value and quality. While we did get a good price the quality was lacking. Too many crew members were new and not trained properly. The food was the ... Read More
My husband wanted Royal Caribbean because it's supposedly a good balance between value and quality. While we did get a good price the quality was lacking. Too many crew members were new and not trained properly. The food was the biggest disappointment. This was my 7th cruise and by far the worst food. The entertainment was another story, very good. Enjoyed every show we saw. Embarkation was quite slow. Ship is showing some wear. Room, loved our ocean view room. 7th deck all the way forward. 7506. Very roomy. Dining, as I said earlier just not good. Entertainment, the shows are the best I've seen on a ship. Service, almost everyone was nice and gracious just not trained well and a little lacking in English. Labadee is beautiful but the sellers are soooo pushy. It's very large with a lot to do. Jamaica, we did Green Gotto caves and Dunn river falls, lots of fun, great guides, clean bus. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Background information: This a specific chartered cruise that is done once a year by a group called the flying dutchmen. We paid nearly 5K more to when comparing apples to apples minus the entertainment of having the bands on board. So ... Read More
Background information: This a specific chartered cruise that is done once a year by a group called the flying dutchmen. We paid nearly 5K more to when comparing apples to apples minus the entertainment of having the bands on board. So be prepared to pay alot more money for this cruise. Pros are that you will see an occasional singer here and there, the original reggae artists who have been entertaining for years did a great job like beenie man, sanchez, shinehead, steel pulse, etc. I think what really made them so much better was that they had so much original material that they could entertain us for an hour without singing someone elses songs, you have to appreciate the authenticity in that regard. Cons is that the event planner should be changed out as they didn't plan well for weather and were running HOURS behind schedule which really made it difficult to sleep because you dont want to miss anything yet when you port, and you signed up for something, you need to go. If you like to have a plan, do not take this cruise, you will literally die. Hotel information (if any): Embassy suites on 17th was a great location to stay at as they are mini suites with many shops and restaurants nearby. We stayed few nights in Miami with some friends and that was a good time to live like a local but if you don't have friends there Miami has great nightlife and good people watching. Ship information: Independence of the Seas which is an older ship but the suite was nice. We had a junior suite for 4 of us and it was nice- get a balcony- we met many people who have cruised and having the balcony was a nice private area to get away from it all. You will be issued a cruise card that you can use to charge things to your room etc so just carry this around with you, nothing else. If you lose it you can go to the desk and get a new one with your ID. They use this to scan you on and off the ship. Activities We played shuffleboard, rock climbed and did not do the flowrider. There's a casino but not like the bigger ships with bowling and movies. they also had bingo which was a little unorganized as well. Service The service was hit or miss. The cabin attendant didnt show up twice a day like he was supposed to. Most of them were just hired on and were either brand new or a few months in but they definitely made us feel like we were putting them out by asking them for something. BRING A WATER BOTTLE WITH A LARGE OPENING. They didn't have water fountains really and they had pitchers of water which was drinkable but not easy for filling narrow bottles. Port & shore excursions The excursions through the cruise line were 50-70 dollars more per person. We spent the first day with a family friend and used Peat Taylors group in Ocho Rios and loved our guides. If you can do a little more research and book outside the cruiseline you'll save some money there. The port is just as chaotic whether you are booked with the cruise line or not so just make sure you get your dates right and the tour vans will be there usually marked with the company name. There are people at the docks in bright pin shirts that will take your name to ensure that they tour company can get into the get. Check in with them and just wait. If you are a last minute planner and don't want to commit they will be happy to take anyone on if they have the room. If you are doing water activities wear your booties on and off the ship the less you have to carry the better. Get a waterproof backpack and put your valuables in there to keep with you at all times. Travel to embarkation port We got there around 1pm and we were to leave at 4. Checking in luggage was a bit messy as there were people everywhere and the traffic was poorly controlled. Look for a specific line if you have a suite as you do get priority service. if you are planning on dropping people off and then dropping off your rental car - don't- stay together and theres a port everglades bus that leaves from the airport near rental car area on second floor - only certain car rental agencies use this but they don't check when you get on to see where you came from so just get on! Cabin Cabin was ok and if it were cleaned when it should have been it would have made the stay more enjoyable. I got tired of hearing about how busy he was and how many rooms he had. He also would rush us out or he said he'd be working all day long- last time I checked that is what he was there for. Dining Dining was weak. Many people who were experienced cruisers were very unhappy with the food and said they'd never take royal caribbean again. Buffet choices stay the same day in and day out. Best bet is to go the to ala carte dining and order form the menu. Its included in your package and the food is fresh. The Windjammer was a buffet but if you could catch them bringing out fresh food it was good too. Children's clubs no kids but they had an arcade upstairs and it was fun. They also had kiddie pools but quite honestly this is not a kid environment. You're up until wee hours of the night and people were loaded so I would never bring my kids there. Entertainment Older bands were awesome and the newer bands did well too but not enough material to keep you interested. Disembarkation Leaving was easy you just swipe your cruise card and were gone. We had carryons so we did not check the luggage in the night before to leave. You have to walk done two flights of stairs with your bags so just be sure you can carry it. Summary If there are only certain bands you want to see - go to a concert. We have seen a lot of them in Vegas. LA and Hawaii and I must say that experience was much better for me. if you don't have that luxury this is an opportunity to catch them all here. Don't pack too much as you really don't need it. I didn't use half of the clothes I brought and brought a clothes line to hang on my balcony and looped the line through my clothes so they wouldn't blow off. They were dry in no time. They supply soap and shampoo etc so that can ease up on some space also. The cruise was windy so if you think you're rocking your big hat make sure it has a loop on it to tie around your neck. I don't think I'd do this cruise again :) Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was my first-ever cruise. It was the annual full-charter Welcome to Jamrock reggae cruise featuring several of the Marleys as well as an all-star cast of reggae stars past, present and future. I had a great time but found it to be ... Read More
This was my first-ever cruise. It was the annual full-charter Welcome to Jamrock reggae cruise featuring several of the Marleys as well as an all-star cast of reggae stars past, present and future. I had a great time but found it to be a mixed experience. The performances were spectacular. Every artist did a lengthy set backed by their own band (which is often not the case at land-based reggae festivals where there are curfews). The shows were originally scheduled to all be outside by the pool on the top deck. This led to a fun outdoors festival party vibe. For less crowded sets you could just walk up close to the stage and have a great view. But for more popular acts like cruise host Damian Marley the place was so packed many were in areas that had poor sightlines (poles etc). Several nights it rained and the music was instead held in the ship's theater. Again, a mixed experience. I knew that the theater's capacity was far less than the 4000 passengers on board so I got in line quite early and scored a great seat. But I heard plenty of complaining from folks who showed up later and could barely see the stage from where they were standing in back. On prior editions of the cruise when a smaller ship was used there were formal meet and greets with the artists, but on the larger ship it was less common to just run into the performers. A few lucky folks did get photos/autographs with their favorite singers but it was far from guaranteed (except for Stephen Marley the only artist who did an organized signing). Generally the acts got on board, did their show, and then disembarked at the next port. My cabin steward was very friendly and helpful. I was surprised and sorry that I was never given any kind of survey after I returned home so I could recognize him. The dining room service was fine and all the other interactions with staff were perfectly pleasant. All my cruise veteran friends had told stories about the wonderful meals they'd eaten on their cruises, but the food on board this ship was so terrible and boring the promoters of the charter actually posted an apology on their Facebook page! Because of the shows most passengers used the buffet which had the same bland items each night and surprisingly little Caribbean influence given the cruise theme. The times I used the dining room things weren't much better with many of the plates interesting in theory but very poorly executed. Note that while some folks did bring their kids, this is probably not the most family friendly cruise given the late night events and the consumption by most passengers of the large amount of alcohol and other substances that were easily obtainable when the ship docked in Jamaica. Our sailing was delayed by several hours beacuse of a luggage issue. The first act had to perform in their street clothes because their suitcase hadn't yet reached their cabin! Things were a lot smoother on arrival. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We have been sailing Royal Caribbean for many years. Our last cruise was on Vision of the Seas and we had a very poor experience. We decided to give RCCL one more shot and decided on The Independence of the Seas. First off it is a ... Read More
We have been sailing Royal Caribbean for many years. Our last cruise was on Vision of the Seas and we had a very poor experience. We decided to give RCCL one more shot and decided on The Independence of the Seas. First off it is a beautiful ship, but obviously a beautiful ship helps but does not makeup the total experience. The staff put together for this ship is excellent. The Wait staff was very attentive from the Main Dining room to the Windjammer Café. By the way, no matter how busy the Windjammer was we always found a table for 4 with an excellent view. Tables were cleaned quickly, plates were cleared when empty and beverages were offered tableside. The bartending staff did an excellent job all over the ship. Even when there was a line they worked quickly and efficiently to serve drinks with courtesy and a smile. Our room steward also did an excellent job. We never saw her much but always when we needed her. I personally love having ice all the time and requested it Day 1. We never returned to the room with an empty ice container. The food was also surprisingly good. We ate breakfast & lunch at the Windjammer Café and Dinner in the Main Dining room. The Windjammer depending on what kinds of food that you enjoy had mixed reviews. I like salmon with red onions, fresh fruit & eggs for breakfast. There were no complaints. Lunch was typically salad with a few sides. So we are fairly easy to please. All of our dinners were very good in the Main Dining Room. Crusted Salmon, Prime Rib, Lobster Tail, Lamb Shank all excellent. Appetizers, soups and salads were all very good. It was our 1st experience with a Promenade Stateroom #8257. Usually we have a balcony but decided on this stateroom due to the pricing at the time and on board credit. It worked out very well. With the high winds on deck the balcony would not have mattered. We still had plenty of room and enjoyed the views of the promenade when we were in the room. With so much to do on the ship we weren't in the room very often anyways. We really didn't miss the balcony much at all. Our ports were Labadee, Haiti & Falmouth, Jamaica. Keep in mind we picked this cruise because we weren't going to do any excursions. We just wanted to relax and chill. Labadee is beautiful. Sand, Beaches, Foliage were very nice. Bring your water shoes for bathing. I did some snorkeling by the rocks and there were some nice small colorful fish but nothing extravagant. There are some rocks on the bottom but nothing ridiculous. Lunch was served on the property a lot like Cococay. I thought is was a little better. Falmouth was a very nice shopping area. Again we just got off the ship to shop for the kids and got back on by lunchtime. A great afternoon spent poolside. Embarkation was quick and easy. We have preferred boarding. Even if not, the process is very efficient. Just make sure all your paperwork is in order when you arrive. Disembarkation is a different story. We always carry off our luggage since we had a bag taken by mistake a few years back. Usually there is a line but even after the line ends and you are off the ship the customs terminal is a ways down the pier. NOT very convenient. In fact the Disembarkation was the worst we have experienced. If that was the only thing to bitch about it would deter me from taking the cruise again. All in all, The Independence of the Seas is now one of my favorite ships. We will definitely be keeping her in mind for the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Overall a great cruise. Here are a few things that need to be worked on: (1). The shore excursion, "Jaguar Zip Line and Cave Tubing" in Belize was a great experience; however, it was advertised as a 5 ½ hour tour, and we ... Read More
Overall a great cruise. Here are a few things that need to be worked on: (1). The shore excursion, "Jaguar Zip Line and Cave Tubing" in Belize was a great experience; however, it was advertised as a 5 ½ hour tour, and we ended up arriving 2 hours late just as the ship was sailing. It was 1 ½ hours each way to travel to the site. It would have been nice to know this as this would have affected my decision in taking this excursion. (2). The food in the Windjammer was very dry and had apparently been left out for quite some time. (3). I ordered lobster and steak at "Our Time" from the menu and paid for it and was very surprised to see that I was charged an 18% gratuity just to have it delivered at the table in which I was already paying gratuities to the wait staff. I think this new practice of charging gratuities on these items is ridiculous. I understand charging gratuities for alcohol; however, I feel like charing it on food items ordered from the menu is a double charge. (4). The stateroom air conditioning worked very well; however, the rest of the ship was continuously hot and stuffy. The elevators have halogen lights in the ceilings that emit a lot of heat, so the elevators are about 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I booked this cruise with two 18 year old men for their Spring Break. The night before we stayed at the Courtyard Plantation. They have a frees shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and one the next morning from the hotel to the pier. ... Read More
I booked this cruise with two 18 year old men for their Spring Break. The night before we stayed at the Courtyard Plantation. They have a frees shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and one the next morning from the hotel to the pier. Our flight time and the shuttle didn't match, so they told me to take a cab and they paid for it when we arrived at the hotel. I love Marriotts! The hotel also comped me 3 free Bistro Breakfasts because I am a Marriott gold member and they have now concierge level. The hotel is clean and in an area easy to walk to restaurants and bars. A fun night! We arrived at the terminal at 10:30 and proceeded to a holding area with seating. At 11:15, we were on the ship. Our cabin wasn't available until 1, but we spent the time exploring and eating at Windjammer. It was fun to board so early and to enjoy the ship before others boarded. I bought the Ultimate Drink Package for me and the Royal Replenishment package for the boys. I definitely got my money's worth, as did the boys, who enjoyed espressos, red Bull and Peach Coladas. RCI is clearly pushing us all to unlimited packages. The drink prices have really increased in the last 2 years. The cheapest glass of wine is $8-12, so if you have 2 glasses of wine at dinner, a beer with lunch, and a pool drink in the afternoon, you are almost there. Add to that bottles of water, a latte in the morning and an espresso or after-dinner drink at dinner, then it makes sense even more. I enjoyed tasting drinks I never would have tried (and if they were too sweet, I just returned it to the bar). I also enjoyed sparkling water with dinner and the fresh-squeezed orange juice at breakfast. The drink package started as soon as I got on the ship, so that was nice. It can be used on Labadee, which was great. I reached my conclusion that the UP makes sense when calculated over the entire cruise. One Day 1, I enjoyed a lot of beverages. On Day 5, I only had 2 alcohol drinks. So, think of it like that. Hats off to someone who can drink for 5 straight days! The RR package for the boys made sense because of their love for specialty coffee drinks and Red Bull. We had Aft cabin 7708, which has a huge balcony (4 times larger than regular balconies), with room for two lounge chairs, two sitting chairs and a table. It had views of the aft and port side. The room has two beds and one pull-down bed. There is not a sleeper sofa. Two days were very windy on top, but not on our balcony--a nice treat. This was my first time on Independence, although I have been on Freedom. The ships are virtually identical. I am a Platinum member of Crown & Anchor. This was a first cruise for my son's friend, and he really seemed to enjoy it. The food was about the same as usual. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants, although table mates did. They all said that neither Chops nor Giovanni's was anything special. I prefer the Main Dining Room for meals. I just enjoy the variety, the discussion with new friends, and the informality. Highlights included the lobster, the perfectly prepared vegetables and the Bailey's Cream-flavored souffle. When a dish arrived lukewarm, I sent it back for a properly heated version--a common complaint on cruise ships. Our table had 7 people, and my experience is that if you get above 4, wait quality suffers. Also, we were by a table of 10 children. They were reasonably well-behaved, but were demanding on the wait staff, which caused our table to suffer. When I pointed this out to the head waiter, he became our waiter for the rest of the cruise. I nice "save" by RCI. I always suggest to first time cruisers that they base Dining Room meal quality on the level of service and food quality they would expect at a large wedding reception in a hotel ballroom. If you go in with that expectation, you won't be disappointed, and almost always will be pleased. When you think about what they are doing back of house, it is a small miracle. Although it was a Spring Break cruise, there was little, if any, college rowdiness. Security was everywhere, and the Captain ended his muster drill speech with a warning that underage drinking would not be tolerated. That was the first time I had heard such a speech, and it set the mood for the cruise. I spent most of my days at sea in the Solarium. It was well maintained and kept clean. The hot tubs were kept clean, as well. I usually stay away from the "active" pool. I have seen one too many belly flop contests, and I like a quite pool experience now. Our stops were Labadee and Falmouth. We did not do anything at Labadee with the amusements. Once you've done the zip line for $100, that's enough. We rested by the water, drank some Labadoozies, and then headed back to the ship for lunch. I don't care for the BBQ beach lunches. I find the food no better than a church picnic (RCI brings all the food, ice, water, etc. from the ship and cooks it on the resort). At Falmouth, we went on one of the Dreamer Catamarans and I highly, highly recommend this. It was a beautiful time. Be aware that the drinking age in Jamaica is 14, so you have to watch the kids. The last day at seas, the ship had a poolside BBQ. Steak, chicken, hot dogs, potato salad, etc. That was fun, and the first time for me. They had a large BBQ grill set up on the deck. Smelled fantastic! The entertainment was the best I have seen recently. The performers were top drawer. I especially enjoyed the comedian. Getting off the ship was chaos. Americans have convinced themselves that they are pack mules, and I could not believe the number of people who carried their own bags off the ship. This slowed everyone down. Also, the elevators stop at the 3rd deck on the last day, so these fools had to bump and bounce and carry their luggage down two flights of stairs to disembark. It took us 2 hours to disembark and go through customs. I don't blame RCI for this, although it may be time to rethink allowing passengers to drag their own luggage off the ship. If there had been an emergency during this process, I cannot imagine the choas. Crown and Anchor membership benefits are continuing to decline. There are small discounts off the internet service (which was excellent, by the way), and a buy one get one half-off beverage discount (meaningless to me due to the package). There was no welcome back party for C&A members. On disembarkation day, there was a C&A lounge set up in the dining room, which offered coffee and tea, but was uninspired. They need to work on the whole C&A program, as right now it is meaningless at the lower levels. Overall, an amazing fun time. Nothing is perfect, but my test is whether I want to go back. I do. Can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My mom, dad, and I all went on the Independence of the Seas in February. The ship was absolutely incredible! There are so many events and activities on board that you can't possibly do them all. My personal favorites include the rock ... Read More
My mom, dad, and I all went on the Independence of the Seas in February. The ship was absolutely incredible! There are so many events and activities on board that you can't possibly do them all. My personal favorites include the rock wall, surf simulator, mini golf course, movie screen pool, and ice skating rink. For adults, they have a casino and great places to eat. This ship is suited for the whole family. The cruise director, Ricky, was an absolute joy to see. It was like having our own personal comedian and announcer every show we went to! The food was incredible, and they even have a kids menu for your little ones who might be a little more picky than you. I would highly suggest sticking to a time you want to eat and not do "My Time Dining", because you really become close friends with the other people at your table. By the end of the five night cruise, our family and the family sitting with us were very close. The only downside to this cruise is the pricing. They don't tell you every detail on their website about the drink package, which at minimum, costs about 10-20 dollars per person per day. They make it sound like you NEED the drink packages to get remotely good drinks. They serve iced tea, water, lemonade, and different fruit juices every day at the buffet... For free! Also, the Internet is not good so don't bother getting the Internet package. It's terribly slow, but if you don't believe me and still happen to buy it, you can always get a refund if you don't like it. All in all, this was an AMAZING cruise with INCREDIBLE memories. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was my 27th, and worst, cruise. Embarkation was grueling. Many passengers and terminal was under construction. Worst experience yet. The food in the dining room was not great. It was sub par to all of my past experiences. ... Read More
This was my 27th, and worst, cruise. Embarkation was grueling. Many passengers and terminal was under construction. Worst experience yet. The food in the dining room was not great. It was sub par to all of my past experiences. Giovanni's, Chops and the Wind Jammer were very good. I didn't realize you had to my reservations for My Time Dining before you get on the ship so only 6pm and 8:30pm were options after my husband left because we stood in line again. The ship felt crowded. The room service coffee and food were terrible. The shows were very good. The ice skating show was excellent. My husband had a great time on the Flow Rider. We tried to ferry to Belize, waited on it 30 minutes and just got off. We had no water pressure in our cabin room 6402 shower. I washed my hair in the fitness center locker room. Getting off the ship was a nightmare. It was 3 hours from the time we left our cabin until we got to our car - all with an 18 month old. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our 30th cruise and by far the worst. Embarkation was delayed and there was not one announcement telling us how long we would have to wait. I later learned it was because the previous cruise was for heavy metal fans only, so ... Read More
This was our 30th cruise and by far the worst. Embarkation was delayed and there was not one announcement telling us how long we would have to wait. I later learned it was because the previous cruise was for heavy metal fans only, so tons of equipment had to be offloaded and the cabins took longer to clean! The weather was terrible - very cool with torrential downpours. Obviously the cruise line can't be blamed for the weather, but it is responsible for the lack of activities. How about showing a movie in the theater? How about having games and cards available? This was the first ship I sailed on that didn't have complimentary cards in a card room or at Guest Services. The ship's store was sold out - I guess other guests also had nothing to do. Good thing my husband and I had Kindle as the library had practically no books in English! We bought a dining package for $100 per person and ate dinner every night in either Chops or Giovanni's - we were very pleased with both the food and service in both restaurants. Entertainment was pretty standard - I had seen the dance show on another ship and was happy to see it again. The headline act was the Las Vegas Tenors - three guys, the ship's orchestra and a sound system that was so loud that we left during the second song, along with many others who were trying to preserve their hearing. The ship was pretty shabby in places; for example the carpet in the hallways looked like it had been shampooed a hundred times and it still had stains that could not be removed. Our cabin attendant Margaret did a very good job of cleaning our room. I have sailed on the Oasis (twice), the Allure and the Quantum and loved the big, new ships - I truly believe that Royal Caribbean is spending so much money on new ships that it has to let the old ones go to pot. Disembarkation was the worst ever - totally disorganized. It took over an hour to leave the ship - people just got on line and stood there waiting to disembark. Of course, on a short cruise many guests walk off their luggage. Hey, Royal Caribbean, you can't allow 50% or more of you passengers to choose this option - it's great to save on staff time, but terrible for guests. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Teens Club: First of all, this was the best cruise I have ever been on. I was 14 at the time of this cruise and was traveling with my 16 year old sister, mom, and dad. I would recommend going to the ship/port as soon as possible, which ... Read More
Teens Club: First of all, this was the best cruise I have ever been on. I was 14 at the time of this cruise and was traveling with my 16 year old sister, mom, and dad. I would recommend going to the ship/port as soon as possible, which can sometimes mean before the time you are given. Once on the ship, we went and explored each level, and we got the schedules for the teens club. If you are in the age group for the teens club I would 10/10 recommend it. The first night might be awkward if you are going alone but most people there are alone ad just want to meet kids their age for a fun cruise. On this ship there were two designated kids areas; the living room (which was a hangout room which included x-box, couches, wii, and tons of games) and the second place was fuel (this was a teens only night club that had colored lights, and a dance floor. A RC director would dj and they played good rap/ r&b music with the occasional pop song. I would recommend brushing up, or learning, popular rap music such as drake, fetty wap, kanye west, etc. The reason I recomend it is that the teens with you tend to know the songs, or if they don't, you will 100% impress them (it also impresses the boys). A cruise is perfect to meet new friends and have an overall better time. The curfew on this ship was 2:00 a.m. As for outfits, a cruise is the perfect way to express who you really are. I recomend a day outfit (for the pool or port), a dinner outfit (if you are eating with your family or in the dinning room), and a night outfit (these can consist of shorts, crop tops, pants, etc. Make sure you outfits are appropriate but also the clothes you pack can be a little scandalous without going over the top). I usually went to the teens camp after dinner but a few times I went during the day. Tips for the teens club: 1. Take a picture of the activities schedule on your phone so you know when everything is happening without having to carry the paper around all night or day 2. Meet new people and establish a group where you all like each other and know you can have fun 3. Make sure you pack outfits you feel confident in but you also look good in Cabins: I shared an inside cabin with 4 other girls who were all also teenagers. The person who cleaned our cabin was super nice and I would definitely recomend befriend your cabin staff. In the cabin we were in had two twin beds and two bunk beds that came down from the celling. Food: The food on this ship was very good. At the windjammer cafe (the buffet) they had a wide selection of tons of different (and yummy) foods. They also had sushi every night which was very nice. The dining hall we were assigned to was also very good with a wide selection which included escargot. Service: Best I've ever experienced. That's all I can say, it was amazing Ports: We stayed on the ship at each port but had basically the entire ship to ourselves. I would 10/10 recomend this ship Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
First of all, we believe that even an imperfect cruise is a great vacation. Having said that, we were disappointed in several things on the Indy. Before that, let me say that the best thing about this cruise was the staff. At all ... Read More
First of all, we believe that even an imperfect cruise is a great vacation. Having said that, we were disappointed in several things on the Indy. Before that, let me say that the best thing about this cruise was the staff. At all levels and and all times every member of the crew with whom we had contact was wonderful. They all clearly wanted to make sure our experience on the Indy was a positive one. Special kudos go to Jerry and Raluca in the 3rd floor dining room and Janet in the Bolero Bar. The biggest disappointment was the food. This was our 19th cruise and our 6th on RCI. To us, it seemed that the MDR menus contained fewer choices and that the preparation was worse than we had experienced on previous RCI cruises. The same was true with the Windjammer. We had always considered the entertainment on RCI ships to be among the best at sea. Here, it was a mixed bag. In the Alhambra Theater the RCI singers and dancers were great. However, we thought that two of the headliners were second rate. The comedian wasn't very funny and, while the singer had a good voice, his vocal imitations were awful. On the other hand, the latin band in the Bolero bar was just about the best band I have ever heard on a cruise ship. The singer/guitar player in the pub was also very good. Our balcony stateroom was typical. It had enough room & storage space, the bed was comfortable and the balcony was comfortable to sit and watch the water or have breakfast. However, the shower was extremely small and the toilet had black marks where the finish had worn away. Our steward was friendly and efficient. I asked for ice the first afternoon and she replenished the bucket twice a day. We have three future cruises booked on other lines after which we will probably return to RCI and see if anything has changed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Boarding the ship was very easy - no problem locating my cabin and then going to Windjammer for a quick lunch prior to life boat drill. The drill was quite long, and standing on deck in a crowd when temperatures are in the high 80's ... Read More
Boarding the ship was very easy - no problem locating my cabin and then going to Windjammer for a quick lunch prior to life boat drill. The drill was quite long, and standing on deck in a crowd when temperatures are in the high 80's isn't that great. I chose early dining, and was pleasantly surprised to be seated with four couples at a table for ten in the Romeo & Juliet dining room. Having escargot on the nightly menu is my favorite reason for sailing with RCI - including their Celebrity and Azamara lines. Servings were quite sufficient for my appetite, though I have seen many reviews complaining of small servings. I did ask that my salmon be cooked a bit less, and was told they must do it well done. Too dry for my taste. Several folks said the beef seemed tough. I stayed with seafood and found it o.k. if not terrific. The drink packages were not to my liking, and a wine only package was not offered. I did purchase my dinner wine by the bottle and found it really out of line considering retail price on shore. I don't mind their charging double, but four times the cost and plus 18% seems pushy. Menus had a special note that lobster and steak was available - for a price! Even an offer on the dessert menu for specialty coffee had a tiny note that it would be charged at current bar prices plus the dreaded 18%. I enjoyed the port call at Labadee, Haiti, and found their private area very well done. Many places to eat a lunch provided by the ship at no extra charge - and sufficient tables and benches for everyone. Beaches were beautiful - and again there were many lounges for sitting or sunbathing. A trolley was provided to take everyone around to the various areas of native shops and more beaches. Entertainment was very good. Trivia was always fun. Service was great both in my cabin and the dining room. My only disappointment was debarking. I used the wonderful $20 valet service to get my boarding pass and take my luggage to the airport for pick up at my home airport. I had hoped to find a direct exit line for those of us not searching for bags at customs, but such was not the case. Standing in line on board ship from 0830 until finally leaving the customs area at 1015 is somewhat tiring. The RCI shuttle bus at $16.75 was excellent. In general, it was a fine cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our 21st cruise. Again, RC made our vacation a good one. We ate at the 8:30 dining at a table for two. We requested a window table and they made it happen. Our servers Christian and Charles were excellent. They made sure ... Read More
This was our 21st cruise. Again, RC made our vacation a good one. We ate at the 8:30 dining at a table for two. We requested a window table and they made it happen. Our servers Christian and Charles were excellent. They made sure our orders were to our liking. Service was fast and food was always hot. I am a red meat eater and the prime rib, strip steak and filet were cooked to order, tender with lots of flavor. One night I had spinach pasta which I did not care for. We ate lunch each day at the buffet. Most food I liked. There were many choices for everyone to choose from. If you could not find something you liked you have a problem. We are not show people so I cannot comment on that. We are Diamond club members and that is one area RC can work on. Cocktails were served from 5-8:30 in a tiny room that would not accommodate all the Diamond club members. We had to stand in line for appetizers and drinks and then carry them to the another lounge that would hold all the guests. Guests must of arrived at 4 o'clock because the room was always filled when we arrived at 5 with the same people who stayed the entire time. I spilled my drink twice (not because I was tipsy) but because I had food in one hand and a drink in another. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I just returned today from a 7 day cruise on Independence Of the Seas. The ship is beautiful and the 5th floor corridor is great with a lot of food choices which are included. We travelled to Falmouth, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and ... Read More
I just returned today from a 7 day cruise on Independence Of the Seas. The ship is beautiful and the 5th floor corridor is great with a lot of food choices which are included. We travelled to Falmouth, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Haiti. The food in the dining room was excellent. We had use of the Diamond Lounge and that was an excellent perk with Butcher, who was our concierge. However, there was one BIG issue. When we arrived in our room, 7532 there was a foul odor. We reported it and asked for a change of rooms. They assured us the room was fine and the ship was full so they could not move us. They gave us an air freshener for the room. Then we found a wet spot on the carpet where the odor was emanating from. We reported this and when we returned to our room after dinner they had fans on the spot and a coconut deodorizer on the spot. We were told there was also an issue with the room next to ours and they had moved those guests to another room. Our cruise ran from Sunday to Sunday and every day between Sunday and Wednesday they said they would attempt to find another room for us. The people who had moved out from next door to us were now back in their room and they said, on Thursday we could move to the room they vacated. We declined. I think our issue at this point was that promises were made by many employees and never followed up on. We ended up staying in 7532. Both of us were sneezing, coughing and wheezing when we were in the room. Once we left the room we were ok. One night both of us got sick. We thought it was something we ate. But after checking with others who were at the same dinner and ate the same things we realized it was just us. Also FYI if you are in 7532 the safe combo only works for one day and then you have to change it. The first time it happened the tech came up and told us just to change the code when it acted up. So, that's what we did. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We were on "Independence of the seas" and had bad experience, Royal Caribbean's travel agent lied about onboard credit and prepaid gratuities, he was hard to be found once we paid for the cruise. Onboard people were ... Read More
We were on "Independence of the seas" and had bad experience, Royal Caribbean's travel agent lied about onboard credit and prepaid gratuities, he was hard to be found once we paid for the cruise. Onboard people were looking for table to sit down at windjammer every day, every meal, no tables and extremely slow cleaning by staff. Dining room staff had no clue about service and food, we had to flag down waiter/busser for water,wine,bread,butter,coffee. Food was tiny portion and had no flavour,bland,mushy, overcooked steaks, no flavour, food quality was poor. Dining room manager and head waitress should be demoted as busser, both of them had no clue about service & standards. Royal Carib sells everything on board for high price, 12 water bottles for $39.00, each photo was $23.00, no iron, send everything to laundry and pay more & more. Casino slots were fixed, no returns, machine starts malfunctioning as soon as it shows some prize, all the slot machines were fixed, manipulated,tricked out, complete rip off casino. No value, expensive and rip off cruise line, not worth going on a cruise with Cruise line... Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates N/A 3.8

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