36 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Fitness Cruise Reviews

Booked this cruise as had a money off certificate from the last RCI cruise. Embarkation took 10 minutes, we must have lucked out and arrived at the perfect time (1pm) Overall really enjoyed the cruise. Ship was clean with lovely ... Read More
Booked this cruise as had a money off certificate from the last RCI cruise. Embarkation took 10 minutes, we must have lucked out and arrived at the perfect time (1pm) Overall really enjoyed the cruise. Ship was clean with lovely decor. Stateroom was a good size (Balcony room) and the attendant did his thing every day very well. Dining. Food in the MDR was OK but nothing special, buffet was good with loads of different options. Had a choppes grill which was superb, highly recommend. Also the pizza at Sorrentos was absolutely delicious! We saw several of the shows (theatre and Ice) and they were all amazing. All the staff were really nice and friendly, but the bar staff seemed very busy in the evenings and they could do with more bar staff IMO My 2 gripes were that the ship felt a bit too busy/crowded at times, and that in the casino they literally want to screw you out of every last penny. The blackjack has the worst rules of any casino in the world coupled with 6/5 payoffs for a blackjack, which is an insult basically. Anyway if you are not a casino lover you will have a great time on Indy, but as we are gamblers my next cruise will be with NCL. Im sure they will be just as stingy but I feel I need to vote with my feet, Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first ever cruise. It was amazing. Right from the time of parking the car at Southampton until we actually boarded the ship everything was so organised and efficient. Food was plentiful and the presentation was first ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise. It was amazing. Right from the time of parking the car at Southampton until we actually boarded the ship everything was so organised and efficient. Food was plentiful and the presentation was first class. Accommodation was brilliant and so was the entertainment. The spa on the ship was wonderful with very professional staff and the gym was brilliant too. It was absolutely faultless. So much so we have booked again for next year with the same ship. Every time we docked everything was explained to us. It is not everso formal but you do get a chance to dress up if you feel the need. Very mixed age group and every age is catered for. There was always something to do and everywhere was so clean. Just couldn't believe it. Not one speck of dirt anywhere and all the crew members just wanted to help and assist you. They were very very friendly without being overpowering. When the cruise came to an end and we left the ship, there was no long wait and everything was made so easy. Never wanted it to end. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. Having cruised the eastern and western Mediterranean, the Baltic, and the Norway coast, I wanted to cruise the Atlantic coast of Spain and France. This cruise left from Southampton, and seemed to be ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. Having cruised the eastern and western Mediterranean, the Baltic, and the Norway coast, I wanted to cruise the Atlantic coast of Spain and France. This cruise left from Southampton, and seemed to be mostly Brits though there a good number of other nationalities mixed in. The Brits are pretty formal, and on formal night, most of the men were wearing tuxedos, which is something I hadn't experienced on earlier cruises, when I was often one of very few men wearing a tuxedo. Given my earlier experience, I didn't bring a tuxedo on this cruise so I ended up renting one for the second formal night. Embarkation was the best ever. I practically walked right onto the ship. This was the largest cruise ship I have ever been on, though it was more similar in basic design to the medium-sized ships than I expected. I liked the look and feel of the ship, and it was easy to get around. I use the gym a good amount, and it has a beautiful and large gym, with sweeping views out to sea. I was surprised to see a topless deck, though nobody was on it because the weather most of the trip was pretty chilly. I decided to try out a promenade cabin for this cruise. I was just curious about what it would be like to look down on the promenade. I am glad I tried it, though in the future I think I will go back to oceanview or balcony (depending on the climate/weather). It was nice to look down on the activities, but it was necessary to keep the drapes closed most of the time because otherwise, people not only from the promenade but also the rooms on the other side would be able to see into my room. The cabin itself was quite nice, with a sitting area and the shower had doors rather than curtains, and seemed a little bigger than other cruise ship showers I have experienced. My cabin steward was very nice and did an excellent job making up the room and helping me with laundry and tuxedo rental. There was a lot of talk on this cruise about how UK law requires the charging of a VAT (value added tax) on the good sold on the ship, and this really curtailed the shopping. That didn't matter much to me because I don't shop much on cruises. I really liked the decor of the dining room and the service there was very good. We had a great table right next to the window so we had a view of the water. I signed up for early dinner, thinking it would be at 6pm (one of the people in our group was older), but early dinner was moved to 5:30pm, which was really too early for me but we made it work. The food was mostly good. RCCL has very good soups and I sometimes get those. I tried a couple of Indian dishes, which were good. I have learned to stay away from pasta, since the pasta sauces are not great and I suspect the pasta is at least partly pre-cooked since it's pretty starchy. But the beauty of the cruise is that if you don't like your dish, you can easily get a different one. We were very happy with the dining room experience. I did tours in 3 of the 4 ports. It seemed that relatively few people were doing tours, since the theater was mostly empty when the crowds for the tours were gathered. But I really enjoyed the D-Day Landing Beaches Tour, the Gardens of Normandy Tour and the Gijon Bike Tour. At the beginning of the cruise, the public areas of the ship, particularly the promenade, were quite crowded. We got some pizza at Sorrento's on the first day, and had to eat it standing up because there was no place to sit. Sorrento's pizza was reasonably good, though far from the best I have had, even at sea. It took until late in the cruise until I was able to get into the Dog & Badger, an English style pub with a singer along the promenade. The singer there was great and did a lot of songs from the late 1960s and early 1970s and some from the '80s and '90s. We found that table service in the bars was spotty, and we often had to get up and get our own drinks. These complaints about the public areas and bar service were my only real issues with the cruise. For some reason, the public areas seemed less crowded as the cruise went on. Maybe people found other less obvious venues, or maybe they just stayed in their rooms more. I really wanted to see Grease but missed it because I had a minor stomach bug and needed to rest. I heard it was excellent. All in all, it was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our second cruise ever, the first having been with carnival. I was pretty excited to check out all the fun stuff on the ship (flowrider, rock climbing wall, ice rink), but my main purpose for this trip was to relax and unwind. I ... Read More
This was our second cruise ever, the first having been with carnival. I was pretty excited to check out all the fun stuff on the ship (flowrider, rock climbing wall, ice rink), but my main purpose for this trip was to relax and unwind. I was impressed that despite the ship being sold out, it rarely felt crowded (except for the windjammer at breakfast and lunch). The cabin was nice and clean. We had balcony room 7248. Our stateroom attendant (Naning) was very friendly and always put a smile on our face. I liked that there was an abundance of chairs available for laying out in the sun, it was never hard to find somewhere to relax on deck which was very convenient. I do wish there was tables or designated collection point where people could leave empty glasses, there were random glasses rolling on the ground in the less busy areas of the ship (St. Tropez) where I usually hung out which was annoying. The adult pool was great, not very big, but it was usually pretty empty making it easy to swim around. I did find the random groups of teenage girls at the adult pool and on the sundecks a bit annoying though. It would have been nice is they made the forward St. Tropez area adults only as well. I was pretty excited to try the rock climbing wall and flowrider. For the wall, they only allowed 2 people to climb at a time, and because of the long line they would not allow people to go a second time until the line cleared and others were able to try it. Considering the limited times the wall was open, I only got to climb once which was disappointing. The flowrider line was also pretty long, I tried it once and gave myself a mild concussion. We never did get a chance to try the rink, again because of limited timings. The spa was pretty good, however there was a loud ice machine which turned on randomly in the relaxation room that was very distracting. The hair salon was great! And surprisingly not busy on formal night. The gym was also pretty good, however there are only a few benches available for lifting free weights that tended to be well used. The main disappointment with this cruise was the food. The windjammer was always busy and breakfast and lunch, which is to be expected. However the choices in the buffet was disappointing for a fitness conscious vegetarian. There were really no vegetarian protein options at lunch. There was one day when they had paneer at lunch, and one other day where there was a veggie burger. It would have been nice if there was at least one vegeatrian protein option everyday, but that wasn't the case. The main dining room was okay as well, the best meal we had was our last night when they specially prepared a 3 course vegetarian indian meal for us, and also had the soy chunks main meal. Most night we left the main dining room and had to go to the windjammer for a little something more to fill our tummies. Overall, this cruise served its purpose for some R&R. However, I do wish there was better dining options. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Six of us traveled on a five day cruise on the Independence. We had our two granddaughters ages 5 and 10 and they had a terrific time especially in the children's program, The entertainment was outstanding and we even went to see ... Read More
Six of us traveled on a five day cruise on the Independence. We had our two granddaughters ages 5 and 10 and they had a terrific time especially in the children's program, The entertainment was outstanding and we even went to see the ice show twice. We had been on the Independence two years ago and were not happy with the meals but I think they have greatly improved the menu, The meals in the dinging room were consistently good breakfast, lunch and dinner. I didn't feel nickeled and dimed by constant selling of spa treatments, bingo games, art auctions and jewelry sales presentations. The Diamond Lounge Jackie was the best and the larger Lounge was appreciated as the one two years ago was cramped. The head waiter was fantastic (Ben) and very accommodating to the two family members with food allergies. He even took time to entertain the 5 year old with an origami bird made out of the children's menu.Our room attendant, Joe did a great good and left towel animals for the kids every night. It was a very relaxing vacation and we were very pleased with the helpfulness and pleasantness of the staff, They went out of their way to make our vacation a great experience. WE are diamond members but I have to say they did a fantastic job for a five day cruise and the family had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
It's really sad how far the Royal Caribbean brand has fallen in 10 years. It's now pretty much a low end cruise. This is our second cruise on Royal Caribbean this year. We took this exact same New Years Eve cruise ten years ... Read More
It's really sad how far the Royal Caribbean brand has fallen in 10 years. It's now pretty much a low end cruise. This is our second cruise on Royal Caribbean this year. We took this exact same New Years Eve cruise ten years ago. It was very disappointing. Gone is the awesome food, dancing waiters, sculptured butter, midnight buffet and true formal night. The best thing about cruises is the food. Royal Caribbean was the best for my parents generation. On this cruise, there wasn't one dinner that was decent. Seriously, If you were in a nice restaurant at home and were served the "filet mignon" that you got on this cruise, you would have called over the waiter and said, "Something's wrong with this. It's REALLY tough.". Same with the fish plates, lobster and shrimps. We opted for the safe pasta one night. It was very undercooked. The famous lobster night offered very small and mushy lobsters (on two RC cruises this year). You had to ask for butter and lemon. Caesar Salad came with no dressing; just some oil and a dusting of cheese. I asked and was given a small cup of Caesar dressing which was fairly tasteless. It just seems that the lowest quality meats, fish and other items are now being used. Few sauces or condiments are included. You have to ask for every basic add on you would expect. Even if cooked well, the food would be tasteless. The breakfast and lunch buffet was equally low quality. If you've eaten at a "Golden Corral" you know that these low end buffet restaurants offer you all you can eat of fairly low quality foods but generally it's a great place to take the kids and you can always find a few really good items. This cruise ship offering wasn't half as good. I don't know what's going on at RC. It's pretty much a low quality floating Golden Corral. This cruise and the previous RC, there wasn't one dinner that was memorable (well... not in a good way.) Really sad. Every meal on an RC cruise use to be such a treat. It seems that they no longer have any interest in the food. I don't know why. The service was really good and the waiters were constantly apologizing for the food. (Same thing on the other RC cruise we took this year.) I mentioned to the staff a few time, politely, that the food quality seem to be poor. They all agreed that it had dropped off without saying much. Funny, when the waiter came to ask about my steak, I wasn't going to say anything but he read it on my face. "A little tough?". Really sad, because I have fond memories of my parents and in-laws taking us on RC cruises ten years about and earlier. All we talked about was the food. As "older adults" we decided to start cruising on our own. We started with low end Carnival Cruises and now a couple of Royal Carib. Frankly, the Carnival experience was much better. The RC cruises ships are superior, especially the cabins, but the total experience was far better on Carnival. Any recommendations? Higher quality, food to rave about? Other stuff - This cruise line really stinks at people flow. Embarking was a breeze but every other time they try to move people it's a cluster. For example, after the muster drill, people want to flow back off the deck to their rooms or the pools. For some reason, the only way out is through revolving doors. It slowed everything. Simple things like coffee don't flow well. You expect to walk up to the table pick up a cup, get your coffee, tea or decaf and then go to the sugar, milk, spoons etc. No. You walk up to sugar and milk. There are then coffee urns. Where are the coffee cups? Behind the Urns. Literally. Every station is like that. Bagel? By the breads right? No. Off by the sweets. Cream cheese? Back by the coffee. Salmon? Got to go ask for that. Most of their big parties are in the promenade which is basically a mall in a hallway that runs the length of the ship. Elevators at each end. So basically there are only two ways out and then that stops because people want to go up in elevators. Scary part was near midnight a lady was trying to get her ill husband out of this long hall and back to his room. She was about mid way down this big hall stuck in the crowd. We helped clear a path till she got to the elevators, but it wasn't easy. Never saw a staff member in the crowd who could help. Last time I did a Royal Carb New Years cruise, it was done on the top deck with big screens for the count down. Plenty of room to party and move and if someone got ill it would be easy to get them out of there. Speaking of the deck, the nice thing was there was an "adults only" section, a "kids section" and the usual party section. Nice but they put the noisy party section in the middle so the "solarium" (quiet adults only section) was not. Lastly - If it's electronic it doesn't work well. That includes the internet, cabin TV, treadmills in the gym, fridge in room and interactive menus in your cabin. This is no longer in the "Luxury Cruise" category. Switch this to "Low end cruising". Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I have been a loyal cruiser, I have been summer cruises with Royal Caribbean, but I wanted to experience an Autumn cruise. As I am an emerald member, the embarkation process was quick, smooth and easy, it had taken 10-15 minutes from ... Read More
I have been a loyal cruiser, I have been summer cruises with Royal Caribbean, but I wanted to experience an Autumn cruise. As I am an emerald member, the embarkation process was quick, smooth and easy, it had taken 10-15 minutes from the pier check in to walking on the cruise ship. My advice is to get down to the Southampton terminal early, by doing this, you will avoid large queues. The disembarkation was very easy using my card to get off the ship, the luggage was easy to get to, you find the number, take your suitcases/luggage and leave the terminal. The Independence Of The Seas is a big ship in the Freedom Class band of the Royal Caribbean Cruise line, the ship has lots of choice, when you get on board from sports to entertainment, spa and beauty and the Gym. I was lucky to be in a balcony stateroom, I was at the back of the ship on deck 7. It was straight forward to get to the stateroom, our luggage arrived outside our stateroom at 1pm. The cabin was clean and beautiful. The views from the back of the ship were breathtaking to watch when I opened the balcony door. The Main Dining Room on Decks 3, 4 and 5 had a shakesperian theme to them as they were named Romeo & Juliet (Deck 3) Macbeth (Deck 4) and King Lear (Deck 5). I was in the King Lear Dining Room and the meals and drink were 1st Class. The Entertainment was absolutely sensational, the headliner shows such as Grease and The Magnets was West End Quality! The service was very good. The negatives in my opinion was that the food in the windjammer was under par, the desserts were sensational, but the meats such as the chicken was fatty, dark and oily. It felt to me that the standards of food in the windjammer lacked in quality, the positives about the windjammer is that there is a variety of food to choose from, from Asian, American to British and French cuisine. I and my Family visited Bruges, Paris and Cherbourg they were all stunning. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Embarkation was fast and easy. Had a great time on a wonderful ship. Dining was great as always and the Diamond Lounge staff were fantastic. Ports were beautiful. we only did 4 shore excursions, Santiago de Compostela, Fatima, sailed the ... Read More
Embarkation was fast and easy. Had a great time on a wonderful ship. Dining was great as always and the Diamond Lounge staff were fantastic. Ports were beautiful. we only did 4 shore excursions, Santiago de Compostela, Fatima, sailed the Santa Maria and Windsor Castle. Ice shows were great, and the few entertainment shows we went to were also great. We spent a lot of time in the gym and it was always clean and easy to use. Good equipment and way better than Anthem's. We also rarely used the elevators and it was a great help when you are trying to keep the weight off with all that good food! Disembarking was easy as pie, but it was a nightmare when it came to the crew doing there job getting us to the right bus for our excursion transfer to the airport. There was only one guy trying to give directions in the Alhambra Lounge. He finally said just go, and look for your bus, there should be someone outside with a sign, there was not, but we made it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My comments are for the Independence Of the Seas Sept 2016 Southampton to Barcelona 13 Day cruise Our thoughts on what was good 1. The Service on the ship was good 2. the Entertainment was good 3. the State Room was good ... Read More
My comments are for the Independence Of the Seas Sept 2016 Southampton to Barcelona 13 Day cruise Our thoughts on what was good 1. The Service on the ship was good 2. the Entertainment was good 3. the State Room was good 4. The food was good Our thoughts on what was not good 1. Deck 4 ( the walking Deck) The one side of this Deck was occupied by the smokers. it was like taking a walk through an ashtray. Some smokers congregated near the access doors to the deck, consequently the non smoker got a lung full of smoke as they accessed deck 4. 2. Main dining room wine charges, 1 bottle of wine CLOS du BOIS was $55.04, this bottle in California would cost $11, this is overcharging. People like to have bottle water in there room at night and during the day not just to drink but to swallow pills 3. A small bottle of water $2:90,this is overcharging, the same bottle on shore 1€ or $1.22 this cost is more expensive than 1 gallon of gasoline in California. 4. I beer $7.00, this was too expensive 5. Afternoon tea in the Windjammer was good except the chef had no idea how to make scones, the scones they had were not good, the rest of the food for afternoon tea was good 6. The offshore trip recommended by Royal Carribean in Cartagena which included a trip past the old mines was a joke I would not recommend this trip ashore , the highlight of the trip was the Roman amphitheatre which is right in the middle of town and within walking distance from the ship Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Had 2 previous Royal Caribbean cruises on smaller ships which were very good but this one Butlins on sea. Very good boarding but food in restaurant very average to poor husband could not even get his fork into the chicken it was so tough ... Read More
Had 2 previous Royal Caribbean cruises on smaller ships which were very good but this one Butlins on sea. Very good boarding but food in restaurant very average to poor husband could not even get his fork into the chicken it was so tough sent it back but as usual not replaced and no explanation as to why so poor so no main course that night He should have known as chicken was not good on any dish served also no dish was served hot all at best just warm. Windjammer food was definitely nicer. Became a joke not to have waiters recommendations as they were all bad. Saw a fist fight between two families at reception we had to call for security with some other passengers elsewhere as no staff intervening it took around 10 mins to turn up then they stood and watched. Asked why security so slow coming was advised they were dealing with a more serious incident upstairs !! In all heard a lot of people were thrown off during the course of the cruise (approx 70). Not enough sun beds had to be quick to get one. Not all but some fellow passengers rude. Excursions generally ok but please ask for feedback as one excursion everyone trying to get away from the guide who we couldn't stop talking also could do with more free time at the end of the tours. Could mention other negatives but Probably best not too. Agree with other reviews market goods etc On a good note Room attendant Carlton was a joy always happy and helpful. Bar staff particularly the champagne bar and the olive and twist were very good I'm sure all the others were as well but these were the 2 bars we drank in. Cleaners were all polite and cheerful. As booze is available all day and cheap deals available cruising is not special anymore it would appear that RC attract the wrong people just to fill cabins and do not enforce their own rules ie dress codes in dining rooms and reserving sun beds. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our first RC cruise - previously we were die hard Prinxcess fans. So pleased we switched. More luxurious, more variant, more options for food, activities, venues, entertainment, pubs and clubs. The IOS had just about ... Read More
This was our first RC cruise - previously we were die hard Prinxcess fans. So pleased we switched. More luxurious, more variant, more options for food, activities, venues, entertainment, pubs and clubs. The IOS had just about everything. And in grand scale, grand quality, grand luxury. We were returning for a two week cruise in 2017 - can't wait. Although in a cheap inner cabin we never felt like the steerage customers. We also had a drinks package and we were so pleased we did. We had elderly, middle aged, teenagers and children on the cruise but nbody was lfet kicking their heels so to speak. Plenty of quiet sopts to laze for the elderly, education options galore, activities for teens and young adults, and our child loved the climbing wall, the skating rick, the basketball court and the flowrider. My wife and I thoroughlky enjoyed the theatre productions, the ice show spectacular, and the main dining room. Royal it was, Royal we felt, and Royally treated too. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Let me start off by staying that I was a huge fan of Royal Caribbean. I convince everyone to cruise with this ship over Norwegian and carnival. My family and friends was a group of 10 with 3 cabins. We were told that we would be linked ... Read More
Let me start off by staying that I was a huge fan of Royal Caribbean. I convince everyone to cruise with this ship over Norwegian and carnival. My family and friends was a group of 10 with 3 cabins. We were told that we would be linked together for dinner , that did not happen. The first night my friend went down to guest services and waited for 5 minutes for them to tell her in 30 seconds, they can't do anything about it, and dismissed her. .. That was unacceptable so j went to speak with the dining room supervisor and still waited for almost 1 hrs bast dinner service to get it resolved. From a 3 yr old to grown adults we all felt the same about the dinners served in the formal dining room, it was very hit and miss, we would have great appetizers and then bland dry food. It made for a very frustrating dinner...especially at 830 at night. The tender situation at Belize was uncalled for. Because they have priority for guest with excursions we were ready to get off the ship since 830 am and we were not cleared to get off until 1030 am... The our time was cut sort on the island. The itinerary said we would be leaving the island at 6 pm, but when we got off, they told us we had to be back by 4. 1030 to 4 is not enough time to enjoy an island. The worst tender situation was disembarking the ship. They requested we leave our cabins by 830 and it was nothing but grid lock people trying to get off. We have to wait in the staircase with 2 toddlers (3 yrs old) until 1130 unit we could finally get off the ship. 3 hrs waiting on the floor is totally Unacceptable!!! There were some nice points on the ship, the rock climbing, the ice skating, and pools were fun, but the irritation out weighed the perks... The best time we had was in Mexico with an all inclusive and the food was 10 x better than what we ate on the cruise, which quite frankly is shameful. I do not usually judge an entire company on one experience, but even my kids are asking not to us Royal Caribbean again, and they at quite easy to please. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Our 9th annual spring break cruise with our kids (15yo) and several other families. We sailed Indy in 2014 as well, and were happy to be back on board. We have sailed Royal and Carnival multiple times for spring break cruises. Our ... Read More
Our 9th annual spring break cruise with our kids (15yo) and several other families. We sailed Indy in 2014 as well, and were happy to be back on board. We have sailed Royal and Carnival multiple times for spring break cruises. Our favorite thing about Indy is the staff; for some reason, they are better on Indy than on the other Royal ships. It was the case in 2014, and was still the case this year. I have not cracked the code on why that would be the case, by the way. We noted this year that more staff is from the Caribbean rather than from Asia. But the staff in both 2014 and 2016 was better than other Royal and Carnival ships we have sailed, to be sure. My least favorite thing about Indy is the lack of a true headline Broadway show. Royal needs to get its product consistent: Liberty (same class as Indy) has Saturday Night Fever, also on shorter length cruises. But Indy...nada. We saw a very good comic, and a very good ventriloquist. But the lack of a Broadway offering on Indy is bothersome. I love these Freedom-class ships. Nice and big, but not as gargantuan as Oasis class. I'm a big fan of this class, and will not hesitate to sail Indy again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I am a 50+ multi-lingual experienced traveler. I have just completed my first cruise ever on Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas. The ship is huge and beautiful and decorated nicely for the holidays. Our Junior Suite 1370 was very ... Read More
I am a 50+ multi-lingual experienced traveler. I have just completed my first cruise ever on Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas. The ship is huge and beautiful and decorated nicely for the holidays. Our Junior Suite 1370 was very spacious with lots of storage and a balcony big enough for 4 people to sit comfortably. Embarking was very easy – less than 15 minutes from taxi to onboard!! We went to the Windjammer as suggested and had some cocktails while overlooking Ft. Lauderdale. I had bought the beer and wine package, my husband had the ultimate beverage package. I was surprised to discover not all wines were included. I was also surprised that I could order multiple glasses of wine but could not get a whole bottle unless I paid for it! Silly. Every time we ordered a drink that was not covered, we had to sign for it. It already included an 18% gratuity, but there was a line if you wanted to add extra. I would have preferred a more expensive wine package that included ALL wines and did not request me to sign each time. Anytime dining does not mean that. You need to make reservations for the same “anytime” for the rest of the cruise. The Main Dining Room was beautiful but the food was less than average. Windjammer Buffet and Jade were surprisingly good. We preferred to get our dinner in the Windjammer and take it to our cabin and eat on our balcony. Windjammer was so busy and noisy it was not a restful place to dine. The Main Dining Room was elegant and quiet, but the food was only average. Chops which cost $40pp extra was absolutely delicious, but again we had to pay extra for the wine we chose that evening. Room Service was unorganized. Since the ship is so huge there were lines for everything but they moved fairly quickly. On “At Sea” days the pools were packed and the thumping dance music never stopped. Between Christmas Carols throughout the ship and the dance music my head was spinning. The Library was quiet but did not have an outside view. I expected to feel the rolling of the ship but I was surprised by the chug chug chug vibration I felt. It took about 24 hours to get used to. Getting off the ship was a nightmare. Since they allowed people who could carry their own luggage off first, EVERYONE seemed to try to get off. There were very few people in our assigned waiting area – The Alhambra Theatre. We reported at 9am as requested but did not get off the ship until past 11am. Overall, it was a nice vacation but I doubt I will take a cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I am surprised to see that the overall rating for this ship is only 74%, because we had SUCH a great time. The service, staff, and dining were fantastic and so is the ship. We went to the "Love and Marriage" game show and the ... Read More
I am surprised to see that the overall rating for this ship is only 74%, because we had SUCH a great time. The service, staff, and dining were fantastic and so is the ship. We went to the "Love and Marriage" game show and the comedy show and they were so much fun, lots and lots of laughs. The shopping Seminar was very informative and the packet you receive is chock full of coupons for dining, jewelry and souvenirs at every port, whether you are on a budget or looking to splurge. We only did breakfast at the Windjammer and it was jam packed everyday, however the quality and freshness of the food were exceptional. The MDR did not disappoint, the food (you will want seconds of the lobster tail and the Keylime pie for sure) was delicious and our servers (Ursula and Veda) were excellent. The cupcakes at the Cupcake Cupboard are awesome. The Royal Promenade Cafe always had a variety of fresh pastries no matter the time, Sorrento's Pizza was just "meh". My husband and I did not do any specialty dining, but some of our family did and they really enjoyed their experiences at Chop's Grille. Our room attendant, Thirsha was very accommodating, attentive and extremely pleasant to just talk to and our cabin (Superior Oceanview with private balcony) was clean and well maintained. Watching the movies at the pool was such a relaxing and fun experience. Embarkation took a whopping 1 hour and 45 minutes, but we realized that we arrived at the port right around peak time. The ports we sailed to were Belize and Cozumel, we had a great time at both but it all depends on the excursions and tours you choose. City tour in Belize is very interesting and informing and Cozumel has awesome shopping. I would definitely do this ship again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Royal Caribbean May 2014 (half term week) S’ton to Le Havre, Bilbao & Gijon – 6 days. Couple in 40’s and two elderly mothers – in 3 balcony cabins To star with positives….. +good cabin size & layout & comfy bed ... Read More
Royal Caribbean May 2014 (half term week) S’ton to Le Havre, Bilbao & Gijon – 6 days. Couple in 40’s and two elderly mothers – in 3 balcony cabins To star with positives….. +good cabin size & layout & comfy bed +food very decent in main dining room with number of choices + generally good staff service +ice show very good + crazy golf good fun (but overrun with kids unless you did it in rain) But outweighed by the negatives…. -ship totally overtaken by kids and geared completely to their needs – all pools, shows, activities, sports etc. -very little adult supervision of kids running wild everywhere either by parents or RCL staff – imagine Butlins at sea -very little variety or imagination for seminars, activities lectures, etc. Often little to do -poor quality theatre performances – pretty amateur -no bathroom toiletries or nice touches eg chocs on bed at turndown -facilities very gimmicky & poorly planned which benefit very few, eg flowrider only two max at a time & huge pace taken up, 3 table tennis tables all outside & near edge of ship & pool so balls lost or cannot use in foul weather (most of this trip),rock wall only two at once & takes large space,etc -ice rink great idea but rarely open for skating and only 4 shows (all same) requiring tickets to be queued for at 8:30am which disappeared within 20 minutes! Summary - never again with RCL – if this had been my first cruise I would have been put off for life. Luckily there are better ships eg Celebrity Eclipse. Also never go in school hols – the ship was 30% children with some appalling behaviour. RCL are aiming more downmarket at lower income families and cutting corners/costs. Relaxed cruising for anyone aged 40 onwards is no longer an option with RCL. Steer clear to be safe…. Oh and did i mention that you have to queue for everything as the ship was so crammed full....   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Family aboard for our first Owners Suite experience in 20+ years of cruising RCCL. We arrived at the dock to no lines whatsoever at 11:45am, not that we we're expecting to wait as Diamond members with an Owners Suite - but great ... Read More
Family aboard for our first Owners Suite experience in 20+ years of cruising RCCL. We arrived at the dock to no lines whatsoever at 11:45am, not that we we're expecting to wait as Diamond members with an Owners Suite - but great start. Ready to rock in our bathing suits and sun lotion, we we're shocked to have our cabin ready for us at 1pm after finishing the typically packed first lunch at Windjammer. There were no long lines for lunch - just close to impossible to get a seat with Chops closed at the time. Fun afternoon with the kids in the kids pool area, while the water in the kids whirlpool was still clear and clean (I wont go in there after Day 1). Upon returning to our cabin, we met our steward, Kamal, who would be servicing our room and a few to either side of us. Within 2-3 cleanings, he picked up on where we wanted everything, how the kids slept best etc and really made our trip and use of the Owner's suite an absolute pleasure. We did not use room service and really never had any special requests for him after the extra pillows on night 1 which came almost before I hung up the phone :) We then met the Suite Concierge, Nizar, who had quite a sweat going on night 1, but those who work hard, sweat hard. Nizar works HARD to make sure his suite guests have the best experience they can possibly have. A Cabana on Barefoot Beach at Labadee is usually our #1 priority, and with 2 ships in port, and a late arrival on our initial e-mail we almost missed out on one, but got the last one. Our cabana was rocking the great tunes from a mini Bose for anyone reading this.... LOL. Nizar took care of every request with diligence and a smile. He alone was a reason to consider coming back to the Independence next year, but read on and you will see why we did not make that choice. The Dining Room. Oh Boy. I have long come to accept the quality of the food has gone down as prices have gone up. For years, I have been mentally prepared to be served B-/C+ food in an elegant setting with great staff on RCCL and with that I would give the Dining Room a great score. But the great staff just wasn't there on the Independence, at least for me. Our assistant waiter, Dragen, was the only accommodating staff member in the dining room. I experienced a flat out "holier than though" attitude from our waiter. He made us feel uncomfortable ordering too much, or asking for something out of the ordinary. He always had a chip on his shoulder. Every answer was met with an excuse. I will compliment him on getting our kids done by 6:40 to get back to Adventure Ocean every night but he only got their order right 1 of the 5 nights we did this, serving a Gluten Free meal to the wrong child one night, leaving him without dinner. This is the first time that a head waiter or Maitre'D did not come introduce themselves. It was not until the Director of Dining Services came on Night 3 that we could even share our troubles with anyone. The table next to us was very unhappy with him as well. The Suite Guest access to Chops for Lunch and Dinner is what saved this trip from the dining room debacles. It was a PLEASURE to have breakfast and lunch one floor up from our cabin in a quiet and elegant setting with GREAT SERVICE. Albeit, just grilled chicken, salmon and strip steak - the ability to have a cooked to order meal outside the dining room was a great perk for suite guests and if they can expand on this idea, which I hear they are going with Quantum and Anthem, the suites will only grow in popularity. Adventure Ocean was great for the kids. They were very, very accommodating. The entire staff asides the guy they referred to as "Jedi" who DID NOT belong as a kids counselor, was fantastic. Thank You for putting the VACATIO in our VACATION, as our kids are a lot to handle some times... If it opened at 8am instead of 9am, it would be PERFECT but beggars cant be choosers. As far as the rest of the staff, from the entertainers that we saw, to the BINGO MC, to the cruise director. The Independence has substandard staff to the 2 other Freedom Class ships. Without a doubt, they send them to the Independence for training and trial. The Bingo MC was funny, but his adult humor was so questionable that I would not bring my kids. If the sexy legs of Bingo is "PG" this guy was talking "R" regularly with innuendos. I didn't mind the humor but definitely found it inappropriate. And then there was a NORO outbreak. Whispers of it as soon as Day 4, full on quarantines and no self service food by Day 5. All I can say is PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS FOLKS. RCCL needs to be even more clever at containing this. Luckily, we wash our hands at every opportunity and have never caught NORO, despite cruising every year. Room service almost could not be reached the last 3 days of the trip. This also became a large factor in booking back to back 5 days next year. No risk of wide spread infection before a chance to clean at home base. We booked back to to back on Liberty for next year. Can't wait !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
On this our 6th RCI cruise, we decided to go with an itinerary that was filled with "1sts" in terms of stops. This cruise seemed ideal, and the addition of the 8th night intrigued myself, my wife and another couple we went with. ... Read More
On this our 6th RCI cruise, we decided to go with an itinerary that was filled with "1sts" in terms of stops. This cruise seemed ideal, and the addition of the 8th night intrigued myself, my wife and another couple we went with. Going in the middle of March meant that most schools/colleges were still in session, which in turn meant a boat filled with retirees. That's fine by us. We have done so many adventurous excursions and trips, it felt good to book a trip that was meant for relaxation. Onto the meat of the review: Embarkation: Port everglades always has some mess going on, but traffic was surprising light, and check in went super quick. We exited our ride's car and were on the ship within 30 minutes. This was our 1st cruise as Platinum Tier members, but we went to the line for Gold Passengers to hang out with the other couple we were with. I don't need no special treatment haha. Bags were at our rooms by 3pm, quickest I've had yet. Muster Drill wasn't too bad either. One day we'll get a station in the air conditioning though... Room: We booked a Promenade room on Deck 6, as we have the last 3 cruises. We like having a room that's close to the "meat" of the ship. Only having to use the elevators when we're going to Deck 11 and above. Some people complain about the noise from below, but we never heard anything remotely bad after 11pm. It was also a connected cabin, but we must have had some church mouse neighbors, since not a peep was heard. We even had robes waiting for us in the room. The Ship: Very clean aside from some wear on the carpet in our room. Their was a small Norovirus outbreak around Day 5, so they stepped up on the cleaning measures. Nothing too crazy, but handrails were covered in some kind of solution. Changing the spoons in the buffets pretty quickly. Glad to see them take it so seriously. Contrary to some of the reviews I've seen, the crew could not have been nicer. Our room attended Raphael was very good (Aside from not making enough towel animals for my wife...heh) and opened our door when he would see us coming down the hall, and made sure we had a nice bucket of ice every night. Glad to see it wasn't what other's had said didn't pan out, since that was the only fear I had going onto this cruise. There was a small charter group of "bear" cruisers. But they were all real nice, and had some fun costumes for the '70's Dance Party ha. Coincidentally my wife's nickname for me is "Bear" and I told her she had to refrain for the week ha. Activities/Shows Cruise Director Geoff and his crew were great. Very friendly and super approachable. Asked me how my vacation was going when I saw him outside a C&A event. The Captain was also very nice, even though we had to concentrate while listening to his accent. The Ice Show "Strings" was the best we've seen on their ships. The addition of a live violinist really helped. Even with a few falls. Who can blame them. The 1st two days at sea were a but rough, and I tripped up a bit, and I wasn't wearing skates. The other shows didn't seem too interesting and we skipped them for the most part. We did go to the comedian's late night show, and I vowed to walk out if he did a cruise ship toilet joke, but he stuck the landing and was pretty funny. As was the juggler during the farewell show. I apologize, but their names escape me as I write this. The Schooner lounge is usually one of our favorite places, as the piano bar can have some great group sing alongs. Not so much this go round. The gentleman they had (Vic) was not my idea of a good time. He ended up butchering most songs unfortunately. Since we were essentially bring the median age on board down by a few decades, most of the things to do on board were not crowded, despite a full ship. We didn't use the flowrider until the final day, but there weren't many people on, so they left it open fully for boogie boarding instead of using the inflatable divider. Same with the rock wall. My wife and I essentially interrupted the sports crew from napping in the shade to scale the thing. but they were super nice and ready to go when we walked up. One minor thing, was that they only had one Blackjack tournament the entire cruise. On the 7 nighters, they've always had 2. A bit disappointing, as my friend and I each won one last year. Ah well. Food/Drink: Breakfast was usually in the Windjammer, which was just fine. We ate in the MDR the first morning, and should have gone there more, but we usually dilly dally too much and it's closing up by the time we get out there. We got room service breakfast one morning. Beware when trying to order it thru the interactive TV, as less than half the choices that are on the sheet are in the system. And good luck filling out the paper if you haven't brought a pen into your room. Seriously, no pen? Lunch was whatever we felt like doing. We had Johnny Rockets one day, which was tasty, especially my milkshake. Though this isn't a complaint at them, but just in general for all milkshake makers across the world. Everyone needs to blend their strawberries better. they get stuck in the straw! Sorrento's and Promenade Cafe are great for a snack between Lunch and our 8:30PM late seating dinner. My wife loved the brownies in the Cafe. Dinner was usually on Deck 3 in "Romeo and Juliet". Live music almost every night was a real treat. The food was usually good to great. Our wait staff Illya and Conny were very good and quick to help. Despite us consistently rotating our seats at the table just to freshen things up. After ordering Soda the 1st night, we'd always have one waiting for us on the table. One of the only minuses we could give this week would be when we went and made a reservation for Giovanni's Table. On the very first day, we went up to the restaurant and made a reservation for 8PM on Day 4. The gentleman took my room number and party size, and we left. Day 4 comes around and we go up. Lo and behold they were doing the Murder Mystery Dinner. No way we had a reservation. The manager could find no record. Our best guess is the gentleman on the first day took it down, and didn't realize that was when the show was going on. It wouldn't have been a big deal if someone had called us before and let us know. But we got no apology. We were able to make a reservation for the next night at the same time though. We were just lucky we had 2nd seating for dinner, and were able to go down there. But once we actually got to eat there, it was delicious. Ports: Read my separate port reviews. Disembarkation: Quick and painless, aside from Post Cruise Blues Syndrome. We were actually off the ship earlier than our call time. It was our 1st time leaving our luggage out the night before, since we didn't have anything pressing us off quick. Aside from the numbers being a tad difficult to navigate we found everything in tact. Overall: Loved the itinerary, and would do this cruise again easily! Though I think we are leaning toward some of the "Oasis" class for our next trip, just to get that feeling of unfamiliarity back. This was our 4th "Freedom" class cruise in a row and want to be a little different next time. This year was the cruise for itinerary, next year is the cruise for ship.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Independence of the Seas may not be the most elegant ship, but it certainly is one of the most fun ships. Royal Caribbean does a good job of catering to guests looking for an active, entertainment packed cruise and our Indy sailing did not ... Read More
Independence of the Seas may not be the most elegant ship, but it certainly is one of the most fun ships. Royal Caribbean does a good job of catering to guests looking for an active, entertainment packed cruise and our Indy sailing did not disappoint. We stayed two nights pre-cruise at the impressive Westin Diplomat on Hollywood Beach, taking cabs from the airport and to the cruise port rather than renting a car. Check-in around 2:30 was fairly straight forward as most of the crowds were already aboard by that time. Next time we check in later in the day, we will carry all our own luggage directly to our cabin to avoid waiting for it to be delivered. We had hoped to go to the gym before dinner but couldn't because our bags hadn't arrived. We were very pleased with our seventh deck balcony cabin, as being on the starboard side allowed us to enjoy the sun on the balcony during the initial two days at sea. Being a slightly older ship, the balcony was extra large. The gyms on Freedom class ships have the most spectacular views from the elliptical trainers and treadmills situated along the windows at the front of the ship. There is room for improvement in the gym, however, as some of the equipment had unsanitary rips in the plastic upholstery. Because I have a very severe gluten intolerance, one of the first things we did upon embarking the ship was to pay a visit to the dining room manager to express my concerns. The dining room staff were unbelievably attentive to my dietary needs. Our head waiter Suraj took me under his care, making sure that I did not make any choices which might compromise my health. The menus have many items marked "gluten free" but not all of them are suitable for someone who cannot tolerate any cross-contamination. On more than one occasion, I had the chef visit my table to warn against a selected item which may be cross-contaminated and to make suggestions as to a better choice. This level of care gave me great peace of mind and I had absolutely no problems while dining on board. The main reason we choose Freedom, Oasis and now Quantum class ships is because my husband loves the Flowrider surf simulator. Having last been on Allure, he missed having a dedicated stand up Flowrider, as they divide up the time on the one Independence Flowrider between stand up riding and boogie boarding. He ended up extending his Flowriding time by signing up for group lessons. The entertainment on board ranged from excellent to just okay but I have found that to be pretty typical as not every entertainer appeals to every individual. The skating show is always outstanding and worth waiting in line for the tickets. The skating show on Independence features a guest violinist who truly was a virtuoso. We always enjoy the jazz night in the Olive or Twist lounge which features the lead cast members from the production shows. It is great to enjoy their talents in a more intimate venue. We prefer sailing on Allure and Oasis but went back to a Freedom class ship because of the ports offered in this extraordinary 8 day itinerary. Being able to visit St. Martin, St. Kitts, San Juan and Labadee made this a very special cruise as we loved all our port days.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Totally perfect! Great weather,sun and 80's. Lovely ship. The pool arrangement is brilliant. Three separate venues . . . large kiddie pool/area, bigger adult pool/hot tub complex, a third, more laid back "soakers" pool with ... Read More
Totally perfect! Great weather,sun and 80's. Lovely ship. The pool arrangement is brilliant. Three separate venues . . . large kiddie pool/area, bigger adult pool/hot tub complex, a third, more laid back "soakers" pool with two great "extended overboard" hot tubs. All three, beautifully decorated, bright, colorful appealing. Service exceeded expectations. Brenden Benoit, our cabin steward was marvelous. In addition to great care each day, you enjoyed his upbeat smiling manner and attitude. Roy, in the Romeo & Juliet Dining Room was also, outstanding. The ship was immaculate No trash to be seen. The Promenade provided a nice array of eateries, bars, snack places. R.C.'s two parades added a dsh of fun and color. Great music as well. The entertainers were far better than expected. A half dozen guys and gals with very strong, appealing, varied voices led the "Broadway Show Cast. ' Excellent dancers as well. An outstanding band was featured throughout the cruise, in shows, pardaes, and in the Oliver or Twist, 14th floor bar. Great sounds. In addition R. C.'s ice show, "Violin" was spectacular. Interesting story line, gorgeous custumes, skilled skaters, wonderful music. Vic, the piano man in the Schooner Bar was engaging and fun. His ability to replicate and array of piano styles and involve the audience invites multiple after dinner visits. Fun. The itinerary was interesting. St. Martin's a bit disappointing, but St. Kitts, San Juan, and particularly Laberdee were super. There is much more to the private island than we realized. We wished we had been provided adnvance information as there are many beaches, multiple activities that we didn't discover until near too late. Stop at the information office and get a map. We got it much too late in the visit. The fitness center on the 11th floor, fore, has a wonderful cruising view. It is incrdible well equipped. I found all of the stuff offered by my Sun Prairie Athletic Club which is top shelf. Returning to the polar extremes of Wisconsin made our two week Fla./8 night cruise even more enjoyable.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Excellent Cruise and Customer Service.  We did the 6 night - Western Caribbean, Feb 23-March 1. Plenty of entertainment. One particular aspect about cruising is all the different people you meet. Not disappointed! Made many friends.. ... Read More
Excellent Cruise and Customer Service.  We did the 6 night - Western Caribbean, Feb 23-March 1. Plenty of entertainment. One particular aspect about cruising is all the different people you meet. Not disappointed! Made many friends.. Staff all friendly and accommodating. Staterooms were kept in good order every evening and the main dining selections did not disappoint. This is our third RC cruise so we have limited experience and expectations. Constant hand cleaning before dining was requested and wasn't obtrusive. Only a couple negatives. One being minor - I'm an exercise nut and some of the cardio-equipment was showing its age with slow and unresponsive user inputs. But you were still able to get in the workout. The other negative was more apparent and I'd like to pass this on to future cruisers. Check with the cruise line to inquire as to what conventions will be participating on "your" chosen cruise. This cruise had a convention with participants showing off their "geek" status. A few of the venues were closed for some of their specific events..This made us change our plans twice. We had a few conversations with fellow passengers about similar situations. Well at least at made for some great people watching... But that being aside, would definitely sail again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My wife and I traveled to Ft. Lauderdale to embark on Independence of the Seas from Albuquerque, NM. This was my 18th cruise and my wife's 7th. It was my 7th on Royal Caribbean and my wife's 3rd on Royal. We are very active ... Read More
My wife and I traveled to Ft. Lauderdale to embark on Independence of the Seas from Albuquerque, NM. This was my 18th cruise and my wife's 7th. It was my 7th on Royal Caribbean and my wife's 3rd on Royal. We are very active individuals in our early/mid 30s. We stayed at the Embassy Suites by the cruise port. I had read some negative feedback on cruisecritic regarding how this hotel has gone downhill lately. I would say that we found there to be no evidence of this. The front desk service was exceptionally friendly. We found both the public areas and the room to be clean and well furnished. In fact the room looked to have been recently remodeled. I believe the taxi to the hotel from the airport was about $15. We arrived late in the afternoon, so we didn't have a lot of free time. My wife has a pretty limited diet, so she is usually happiest getting food at a grocery store. We walked over to the Publix behind the hotel and she got her rations for the day along with some beverages for the cruise. We spent some time in the pool and hot tub before grabbing a couple drinks and snacks at the manager's reception. We are not really drinkers, but it looked like there were several options available, not just a couple wines as someone reported in a previous post on cruisecritic. We then headed over to Moe's Southwestern Grill which we had seen on an episode of Undercover Boss ("Welcome to Moe's!"). I grabbed a burrito to take back to the room and it was quite good. I am training for an ironman triathlon, so I had to get a 15 mile run in the morning of departure. My wife took a cardio ballet barre class at ProPilates which was also in the Harbor Shops along with Moe's and Publix. My run was great, and the cooked to order breakfast I had afterwards was fantastic. I had an egg white omelet, fruit, yogurt, grits, french toast sticks, and just about anything else I could stuff into my face ;) After cleaning up, we headed to the ship a few minutes after noon. My wife and I discussed this prior to our trip and we decided we wanted to walk to the ship, which was at Pier 29. We are pretty good hikers, and we like a good story, so we figured we'd give it a shot. Let the record show my wife was probably more into this idea than I was! We made it in about 50 minutes... not too bad. I actually kind of enjoyed it. I think it was a good three mile trek. When we arrived, there was a line out the door of the terminal, but someone immediately asked to see my pre-embarkation documents. Since we are Platinum, we were sent to a VIP line which must have moved us past about 150 people. I felt a little bad for them, but for us, it took maybe 20 minutes to go from our arrival to boarding the ship. I guess all those cruises we've taken are paying off! We found the ship to be in very good condition despite its upcoming dry dock. You would see crews all the time vacuuming, painting, etc. They take very good care of the Indy. The ship is very impressive. I think there is a room, deck space, environment, or whatever you want to call it for just about anyone. Although the ship did seem crowded at times (more so to my wife than to me), it wasn't too bad. I don't think I stood in line longer than a couple minutes for anything with the exception of the FlowRider line, which sometimes had waits of 15 minutes for a turn. Our stateroom was a fairly typical interior room on Deck 6. We found the location (just forward of the front stairs) to be really good. We had very easy access to the Promenade Deck, the Schooner Bar for trivia, the dining room, the Pyramid Lounge, and the theater. My wife had one gripe about the room that I agreed with. It sounds small, but it was a bit of an annoyance. The soap "indention" at the sink lacked a barrier to stop it from sliding into the sink. So every time you used the soap, you had to sort of press it down so it wouldn't slip into the sink. Just a minor design flaw that hopefully has been corrected on future builds. Our stateroom steward, Suputra, was exceptional. He was very kind and friendly, and he did a great job of cleaning the room. We had towel animals every night! We did have one weird issue in the room. I had a massager which is known as "The Stick". It looks like a rolling pin and is about two feet wide. I left it on the bed the 2nd or 3rd evening, and when we came back to the room that night, it was nowhere to be found. We searched high and low and it was gone. We never took it out of the room, so we knew someone else did. I asked Suputra the next day, and he knew of the item, but didn't know where it was. He hadn't changed the sheets that day. I thought maybe it was taken to the laundry room by mistake, but it didn't turn up. I made a comment to the front desk, and they took it pretty seriously. They had security and a housekeeping supervisor (there were actually four men in our room, which seemed like a bit of an overkill) come up to search our room. They also checked the cameras in the hallway to see if someone gained access. We never did find it. Royal, to their credit, issued me a $100 on board credit to compensate me for replacing the item and also for not being able to have it for the trip. Remember, I ran 15 miles a couple days earlier, and my muscles could have used a massage. Quick free ad for The Stick people - if you have IT band issues or sore muscles, The Stick is a great tool to take care of those issues. Anyway, Royal handled things pretty well, but the front desk woman I dealt with seemed to have a bit of an attitude, although she did help me ultimately. Dining was pretty good to excellent, depending on where you were eating. A note to those who might be expecting that they can swich to My Time Dining when they get on the ship: There is a chance it could be full as it was on our sailing. We tried to switch from Early to My Time on the first day, but were told it was full. We were put on a waiting list, but apparently they never took anyone off of it. We ended up switching to Late seating, and got a nice table for two that we enjoyed. I had read that the Indy was supposed to get the new dining room menus well before our voyage, but they kept getting delayed. I actually emailed a Royal rep before sailing and she wrote back saying they would not be available. It wasn't the end of the world since usually anything coming out of the main dining room kitchen is very good. Well I was pleasantly surprised to see the new menu hanging on the wall outside the dining room on the first day. The new menus did not disappoint. I have to admit I had 3-4 appetizers, 1-3 entrees, and 2-3 desserts every night, and I loved the vast majority of the items I ordered. The service by our waiter Hilal, our assistant waitress Amrita, and our head waiter Erduly (spelling might be off) was wonderful. Between my ordering of half the menu and my wife's special requests, we kept them quite busy. On about the third night, we asked Erduly if he could produce any dried figs for my wife's dessert since she couldn't eat anything else on the normal menu. He kind of made a big deal about checking to see if it was possible. The next night he produced the figs almost like it was some huge ordeal and he had to get them from the back corner of some freezer that might have been on an adjacent ship... so he had to personally dive overboard, swim to the other vessel, sneak on board, obtain this precious commodity, and then swim at 23 knots to get back on our ship, all while wearing his red tux. I'm giving you a hard time, Erduly, but we really did enjoy you during the week and appreciated your efforts. The reason I go into all this detail is because on the last day I went to breakfast in the main dining room for the first time (I had previously had breakfast in the Windjammer). I ran into Erduly and was glad to see him and he greeted me as well. I went to the buffet set up they have in the MDR, and amongst the dried fruit offerings were, you guessed it, dried figs!! So while he made a point of tracking down these delicacies, it really wasn't a big deal. Again, I'm not complaining about this, we just thought it was pretty funny. The food in the Windjammer was good but not great. Some of the ingredients were not of the highest quality, so the chefs did a good job with what they got. All the basics like omelets, fruits, oatmeal, and grits were very good. Lunch was sort of hit or miss, but most things were good. I would say at breakfast they could have had hash browns a couple mornings. They only had tater tots or triangular wedges of potatoes. They also had a pancake of the day - nut, cranberry, etc. I thought it was funny that your cranberry pancakes had literally two cranberries in each one. The Promenade Cafe and Sorrento's Pizza were both good places to grab snacks. They had a fudge cookie at the Promenade Cafe that I tried on the first day. It was like eating a rock, but actually tasted good, so I tried it again the next day. The texture was much better, so I made it a regular item to grab whenever I needed a little snack. Be sure to check these places daily, as the offerings do change. Since I've touched on service already, I won't go into great detail here, but I wanted to mention a couple things. Overall, it was wonderful throughout. The only little issue I had was with the shore excursions desk guy. He was rather short and unfriendly. And I didn't even ask questions, I just told him which one I wanted to do and he had kind of a snippy response. Not a big deal, just the one negative on service. The entertainment on the ship was great overall, but we've seen better. The production singers and dancers were excellent. There were six, yes six, singers - three men and three women. The first show with the fairy tale theme was the best of the three. The last one was interesting; it included most of the musical performers on the ship. The other production show was a little less enjoyable. The guest performers were good, but not great. The comedian on the first night was very good. He did a late night show later, but we didn't see it. They had the original singer of the Happy Days theme song on, and though a little past his prime, he still put on a great show. There was a juggler who was ok, but had a very short act. Joff, the cruise director, had to do about 20 minutes before the ballroom dancers did a brief performance. Finally, the juggler came on. There was a ventrilaquist another night, and he was very good. Apparently he performed on America's Got Talent. Overall, pretty good performances, but nothing earth shattering. The game shows were fun to attend and watch. The activities on the ship were pretty good. I spent a lot of time on the FlowRider, enjoyed the miniature golf, and other sports that were available. They had a dodge ball tournament one day that was billed as guests versus crew. While a fun concept, the crew team played every game while the guest teams only played twice each out of the ten games played. So the crew got about an hour and a half of dodge ball while the guests only played for about 15 minutes each. I would have liked to have played more, and I wasn't the only one. Also, the games were sort of rigged in the crew's favor. I won't go into details, but some people were pretty upset to the point of someone getting tossed out of the game. It was fun though, just not as fun as it could have been. I also played in and somehow won the ping pong tournament. It was a lot of fun and I met some nice people. I should mention here that Tam from Scotland who ran the ping pong and also helped me on the FlowRider and rock wall was a super great guy who Royal Caribbean should be happy to have as an employee. Ports - In St. Maarten we did "The Extreme", a ziplining excursion booked through the ship. It was pretty fun, but not as much fun as other zips we've done. There were about 30 people on the tour and only two guides. You had to rig yourself onto the line with limited training. About half way through the line, the second of the guides took off, leaving about 15 of us on our own to rig ourselves for the first time. You'd think that at least for the first time they would make sure people knew what they were doing before, you know, slinging yourself 500 feet down a line as much as 100 feet off the ground. We survived this trip and walked around town later. St. Maarten is a great port. In St. Kitts we did a Volcano hike that I booked with David who was recommended by a friend as well as on cruisecritic. The hike would have been tough on a dry day, but it rained 90% of our time in the jungle, and you had to climb over roots, rocks, logs, etc., which made it very difficult. Most of us took spills but luckily no one was hurt badly. The guide was in a huge rush and made a point of it to pass another group. A couple of the group could keep up with him, but most everyone else was quite a distance back. He'd stop every so often for us to catch up, but it would have been better if he just went at a slightly slower pace. We didn't get to see St. Kitts besides the trip out to the volcano, but we saw a lot of poverty. We really enjoyed San Juan, but due to scheduling restraints, we only had a few hours. It was fun just walking around town and doing a little shopping and photo taking. Labadee is a great private island with lots to do. The barbeque lunch is cool, although not spectacular. We did the Dragon Coaster which was a lot of fun. One tip - if you want to go out to the Dragon's Point, do so early. We tried to go there towards the end of the day, and they locked the gate leading out. Disembarkation was a breeze. We did self assist and you could leave the ship anytime you wanted after 6:15. We left around 7:45 and the customs wait was about 15 minutes. There was no line for a taxi and no traffic leaving the port. Taxi fare was about $17. We made our 10:25am flight with plenty of time to spare. If you wanted to be first off the ship, I don't see why you couldn't get a 9am flight, with the only problem being if the ship were delayed coming in for some reason. In summary, we had a great time and it was hard leaving the ship as always. We will definitely sail on Royal again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My daughter (age 23) and I vacation together while my son enjoys his father's company for college spring break. We drove to Ft Lauderdale from Virginia, stopping two nights en route to visit friends. The shuttle from the garage was ... Read More
My daughter (age 23) and I vacation together while my son enjoys his father's company for college spring break. We drove to Ft Lauderdale from Virginia, stopping two nights en route to visit friends. The shuttle from the garage was extremely convenient. We did not join the lines to board at around 1:00, but took advantage of the check-in for Platinum Crown and Anchor members. We were immediately given access to our room, 7581 facing the Promenade. Our room steward, Tony Pinto, made the trip very pleasant, and we commended him on the departure survey. We scheduled 6:00 dinner and enjoyed our fun dinner companions, who made the meal something to look forward to for their company. There were many college students aboard from Ohio State, Perdue, and Duke to name a few. While some passengers complained (I guess because the students tended to congregate in large groups), it was enjoyable to see them have fun. The guys were gentlemen, and I spoke with a number of them at length about their majors and future plans. My daughter befriended many, both young men and young women. We never have any problem meeting people even though my daughter and I do not stay together during most of the day. I enjoyed the fitness facility, the hot tubs, sauna, steam room, zumba class, the art history seminar, and art auctions. We went on the Stingray excursion in Grand Cayman Island, our second time. This time we enjoyed an air conditioned bus to the boat. I purchased a disk with photos from the photographer on the boat, who took pictures of my daughter and I "kissing" and holding stingrays. The sun and water tired us out, so we returned to the ship without shopping. I looked forward to the new port in Falmouth Jamaica. The Falmouth port is a new gated area and offers shopping and eating for those who did not schedule an excursion. The place is spotless, sort of like a petrie dish away from the locals for tourists. I purchased a set of silver bangles. I had priced sterling bangle bracelets on line, so I was satisfied with the price I paid for a set at a jeweler, especially since I got a slight price reduction. The vendors were not pushy, and I enjoyed browsing through the stores. Margaritaville provided an air of festivity. There were many options for cool beverages, food, souvenirs, and liquor purchases. We were able to stop by most of the shops within a 2 hour period. It was hot in March so I was grateful for easy access to the ship. Instead of going ashore in Labadee, my daughter and I enjoyed a private hot tub, private sauna, private steam room, and quiet reading. I appreciated the tranquility of a quiet ship while in port. On the positive side, I attended the Ice Show, Quest (for the first time), and the Art History Seminar, which was very well done. I viewed the artwork around the ship and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings. Of course, there were some negatives. The windows in our room facing the promenade were in drastic need of cleaning. I have a number of allergies, the main one being fish (not shellfish) and I am a vegetarian. Although I completed forms to alert RC of this issue in advance, there were few options (standard pasta) for me because fish stock is used when cooking shellfish dishes. This was a major disappointment. The food was rather lackluster, though one night the menu offered three entrees that I wished had been offered on separate nights. Offering all alcoholic beverages for one price, $55, is ridiculous. Not only college students, but many adults attempted to get their money's worth with embarrassing, unpleasant results. RC should consider ceasing this practice. I understand they revoked a few alcoholic beverage passes by the second day of the cruise. A major negative was the casino. I spend, or would have spent, substantial time there but for the smog of cigarette smoke. I overheard many comments from college students cutting through the casino that they feared cancer from second hand smoke. RC should eliminate smoking in the casino, or better yet, get non-smoking ships. The air flow in the casino was horrible. At the top of the staircase leading to the Promenade a chimney effect caused the smog to rise and also pollute that deck. Regarding the shows, my daughter and I were very disappointed. The production shows consisted of too many of the same types of songs or dances, no pizazz. The comedian and the entertainer who wrote the song for Happy Days were rather pathetic--two different nights watching men in wrinkled, poorly fitting suits who limped. RC can do better. Granted, last year we cruised on the Allure, which is a hard act to follow. But as a married Black American traveling only with my daughter, I truly enjoyed the trip, and would do it again. For those who did not enjoy the cruise (I heard the murmurings), they should not travel during college spring breaks (which may span three weeks in March) and they should be flexible enough that their day is not ruined because they can't have their desired chaise by the pool. And it is easy enough to find solitude in many areas of the ship at any time. Regarding embarkation, we carried our luggage off for the first time, what a great option! We got off early, my daughter retrieved the car from the parking garage, and we were on the road looking for a restaurant for breakfast before 8:00! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My husband and I put this particular itinerary off multiple times. We always found somewhere else we really wanted to go more. Our ports on this cruise were Grand Cayman, Falmouth Jamaica and Labadee Haiti. Were we ever wrong putting ... Read More
My husband and I put this particular itinerary off multiple times. We always found somewhere else we really wanted to go more. Our ports on this cruise were Grand Cayman, Falmouth Jamaica and Labadee Haiti. Were we ever wrong putting this itinerary off until now! Grand Cayman was beautiful. We took a tour that included Hell, the Rum Cake Factory, The Turtle Farm, and Stingray City. Outstanding tour. We covered a lot of ground, at a nice pace. Stingray City was definitely the highlight! That was an unbelievable experience, and we would definitely do it again. Next up, Falmouth Jamaica. We had heard so many horror stories about Jamaica, we weren't even sure we wanted to get off the ship. My advice to anyone going to Jamaica, don't listen to naysayers. Take an organized tour and enjoy your day. Stay out of the "local markets" where you get hawked to death. If you must, just shop in the port village. Our tour in Jamaica was called "The Heartbeat of Jamaica". First, let me say, the roads out to Trelawny were semi-paved at best, so the ride out there (about 40 minutes) was a bit bumpy. It took us to a local grade school first. If you are from the States, this was an eye opener, and as far as I am concerned a must see. The children and their wonderful teachers were very accommodating and extremely friendly, and we enjoyed this very much. At this point our jitney picked us up and took us to the sugar cane and papaya fields. Our guide Dana was wonderful. We actually got to plant papaya seedlings which was a lot of fun. Next, we went to the site of the original "Big House". We had a wonderful tasting meal of papaya juice, fresh fruit (including papaya, citrus and pineapple) and some of the best jerk chicken I've ever had. After our tasting, we had a rum tasting, with all different varieties of rum. While we were waiting for our coach back to the pier, our guides offered up more fresh papaya juice and a wide variety of fresh fruits. Last, but certainly not least, was Labadee. What a beautiful place! In Labadee we did the Dragon's Breath Flight Line. WOW!!!!! It's pricey, but so worth the price. You start out 500 feet off the ground and fly a breathtaking 2600 feet over the water. I am not a thrill seeker, but this is something you just have to experience. The cruise line BBQ was good, as always, and the weather was perfect. I highly recommend this port. Independence of the Seas is a big, beautiful ship. The crew is helpful to a fault. There are so many things to see and do, just on the ship, that your week can be completely full, if you choose. We will be taking this cruise again, and we're just sorry we've put it off for so long. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I was already booked on the liberty for the following week and was looking for something to take a couple of my friends on. Normally I would avoid the bahamas at any cost, but when I saw the independence was doing the route, and that ... Read More
I was already booked on the liberty for the following week and was looking for something to take a couple of my friends on. Normally I would avoid the bahamas at any cost, but when I saw the independence was doing the route, and that balcony cabins were going at the same rate as inside cabins, I threw all reservations to the wind. Now, as everyone knows a vacation is what you make of it, and if you want to have a bad time (as one reviewer clearly did on this same sailing) you definitely will! I dont subscribe to that theory at all. Here are some details. Embarkation: Ft lauderdale is usually quite simple to get in and out of. We left the hotel at 1:15 pm and were on the ship by 2:30pm. There was a bit of a wait inside the terminal, (my friends were not crown and anchor members so I waited with them in the NON priority line). The Ship: I have sailed on the explorer, the navigator and the liberty so I was quite clear on what to expect with this ship. It was very clean, service was great as always and, in my opinion this class of ship with the Royal Promenade is so much nicer than any other cruise lines offerings. The previous reviewer was devistated by the cancellation of the port of nassau. Personally, I could not be happier, the bahamas is yucky and by cancelling and moving to freeport meant that the last day would be 1/2 of a sea day(which I prefer as opposed to the greyhound bus method of port, to port, to port ). The port of nassau was cancelled due to a screw up with the Port NOT RCCL. While Freeport is a very small port, for my purposes, I walked off the ship, took a look around, had beverages at senior frogs, strolled through DEL-SOL my favorite store for sunglasses and went back on the ship. I am not sure what horrible thing happened to the previous reviewer about getting off the ship. but I told my friends ( and I said a couple times a year) that this was the best debarkation I have ever experienced. EVER! I walked out of my stateroom at 8am and was standing at my gate at the airport before 9am. Amazing! As far as I am concerned, it's rare that you get a chance to take a real ship to the bahamas (it's usually the small older ones). So I was absolutely thrilled. I truly dont have one bad thing to say, I got way more than what I paid for and exactly what I expected. I enjoyed the independence so much I am looking at a six nighter next month... Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
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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