1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I can see why Caribbean cruises are so popular now that we’ve sailed in north/west Europe. Mid May, and sea days were cold, windy and often foggy. Only people brave enough to go out were mostly those wearing parkas and the smokers. We ... Read More
I can see why Caribbean cruises are so popular now that we’ve sailed in north/west Europe. Mid May, and sea days were cold, windy and often foggy. Only people brave enough to go out were mostly those wearing parkas and the smokers. We did think there were too many smoking areas. Our first Indy of the Seas sailing. Two seniors. Even with everyone mostly inside, the shop did not seem over crowded. Food was adequate. Although in the main dining room their pasta dishes were not very good. Regular steaks off the menu were thin, tough and grisly. Other than that, we were happy with the food. We had the 6pm seating. Desserts were great. And the food from the coffee area on the promenade was sometimes better than MDR. We were in a promenade window cabin, 8th floor. Noise was not really an issue. Other than occasional party below, the room was very quiet. Even with a connecting door, there was no noise from bordering cabins. Great staff overall. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This is an excellent, clean, classy ship with excellent dining in a beautiful restaurant, nice facilities in the ship including work out areas, plenty of places to lounge (some private, if you look carefully), excellent shows and a staff ... Read More
This is an excellent, clean, classy ship with excellent dining in a beautiful restaurant, nice facilities in the ship including work out areas, plenty of places to lounge (some private, if you look carefully), excellent shows and a staff which cannot do enough for you while maintaining a great attitude. We had a balcony room which can actually be a bit noisy if you are next to party animals...I recommended the ship post "quiet please" signs on each balcony to see if that would help as the reason we are on the balcony in the first place is to get away from....the noise at the pools etc. The staff was really fine, especially our servers in the restaurant. Note, we did purchase "The Key" which allowed for easier on and off the ship as well as a nice sit down meal in the restaurant next to the chaotic buffet line both on the day of embarkation and on disembarkation day as well. I think the Key is worth the modest price as you also get priority seating at the shows as well as one high (eh) speed interned device Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our second Royal Caribbean cruise so we were looking forward to it. The positives: The RC staff were excellent, always smiling and helpful. We loved our cabin steward. The spa massages were fantastic! The dining room food was ... Read More
This was our second Royal Caribbean cruise so we were looking forward to it. The positives: The RC staff were excellent, always smiling and helpful. We loved our cabin steward. The spa massages were fantastic! The dining room food was good. The wait staff was excellent. The ship was clean. The breakfast at the pizza place was delicious, cooked fresh sandwiches - highly recommend it. The Promenade Oatmeal cookies were great. Johnny Rockets fries and onion rings were cold and bad but the sandwiches were very good. The negatives: the crowds at the pools were crazy - it was almost impossible to get two chairs together near the pools. The food at the Windjammer was bad and was repeated each day item for item. The afternoon snacks were mostly mediocre leftover lunch desserts. You could only get iced tea at lunch and dinner - not at breakfast. This was the first time that we had an inside room and it was fine - plenty of space. We even had shelves that we left empty. We had booked a 10 night cruise before leaving the ship but cancelled it once we got home -just couldn't get excited about that food for 10 days straight. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We had cruised on this ship before and had a great time on that trip. This time we were celebrating my husband's 85th birthday with our entire family of 14. The staff went out of their way to accommodate our party. The on board ... Read More
We had cruised on this ship before and had a great time on that trip. This time we were celebrating my husband's 85th birthday with our entire family of 14. The staff went out of their way to accommodate our party. The on board activities kept us all busy, and the dining selection satisfied us all. Because of bad weather, we could not go to Cozumel as planned and the captain decided to go to Laberdee, Haiti for safety reasons. We had a great time on the island. Our children and grandchildren, aged 17 and up participated in all the great beach activities. They snorkeled, zip lined, and swam in the ocean. Grandpa and I watched! The Ice Show was spectacular, the Comedy shows were very good. The Escape Room was one of the most fun experiences we had when working together as a team to solve the mystery of escaping. We were really happy with our choice of Royal Caribbean Independence of the Sea. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
In the past five years we have done two transatlantic cruises per year on the Navigator of the Seas. It was not available (supposedly being refurbished - hopefully better than the supposed refurbishment they just completed on the ... Read More
In the past five years we have done two transatlantic cruises per year on the Navigator of the Seas. It was not available (supposedly being refurbished - hopefully better than the supposed refurbishment they just completed on the Independence of the Seas). 1. The food in the main Dining room was mediocre at best. Length of time for overall service resulted in missing some of the evening entertainment. Much of the time the food was barely warm. 2. Our cabin attendant – took two days to get tissues after they had been requested, we had to ask for soap to use by the sink to wash our hands (never got any but fortunately I did have some in my toilet articles), we were in a disabled cabin and so asked for a wedge for the door for us to use but each time he gave us one it would disappear the next time he came. 3. Despite being told that this ship had been recently refurbished it was obvious that the carpet in our cabin had been patched together. Our last night on board my toe caught in one of the areas where the carpet was coming apart causing me to fall injuring my shoulder. 4. The trivia’s were held in the Schooner Bar which has very limited access for people in wheelchairs or scooters. 5. Only one shore excursion was available for disabled people. Inexcusable! 6. We never could get a run down of our charges on our TV screen so we had to wait in line at Customer Service (very long lines most of the time because of the number of people onboard). 7. Space for the disabled in the Theatre were reserved only on deck 3 rather than on 3 and 4 like on the Navigator. Lots of disabled people on board. 8. Trying to get through the Royal Promenade was extremely difficult with all of the tables for the different shops selling things and with the amount of people it became even more of a bottleneck. The definition of Promenade is a leisurely walk taken for pleasure, to display one’s finery, etc; a public place for such a walk as an avenue, the deck of a ship, etc. There was no chance of a relaxing or leisurely walk along the “Promenade” as busy as it was most of the morning, afternoon and evening. Zumba on the Promenade – seriously! I / We feel that Royal Caribbean was ill equipped to deal with the amount of people on board. This includes the wait for the elevators – same amount of elevators as on the Navigator but substantially more people on board and a considerable number of people on board were disabled. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We have travelled on 'Independence' before and always found it to be a lovely experience all round. Third time this year. Staff excellent, food superb, and lovely rooms. Our attentive waiters were as always 100% ! Cabin steward ... Read More
We have travelled on 'Independence' before and always found it to be a lovely experience all round. Third time this year. Staff excellent, food superb, and lovely rooms. Our attentive waiters were as always 100% ! Cabin steward delightful and diligent. My husband has certain health issues including bad sight but everyone was helpful and polite. Especially in the dining room and in the lifts.The food just gets better and better and we made new friends at our evening table who we are still keeping in touch with.Our last formal night's photo shoot was taken with all of us and many thanks to the head waiter who arranged for us to 'kidnap' our two favorite waiters Alan and Mark for 10 minutes! I do hope to be travelling with RC in the future. we have sailed the Mediterranean twice before but would maybe like to try different places next time. Thank you again RC ! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our first cruise holiday so unable to give comparisons with other companies but will give what I regard as a fair review. The cabin overall was very good with Ricardo our attendant keeping it clean twice daily. The cabin with ... Read More
This was our first cruise holiday so unable to give comparisons with other companies but will give what I regard as a fair review. The cabin overall was very good with Ricardo our attendant keeping it clean twice daily. The cabin with balcony was a good size for 2 people and comfortable. There were a couple of niggly points that prevented an excellent score but not really worth mentioning. The jewel in the crown for Royal Caribbean are their staff. From the managers down to the general cleaners, everyone was friendly and went out of their way to be helpful and cheerful. So an excellent score for service. We had my time dining on deck 3 for dinner and always asked for sharing tables so we could meet other guests. I don’t recognise the queues other people mention never having to wait more than a couple of minutes to be seated but then again we went when all the kids were back to school, so the amount of guests was probably far fewer. All the waiters and assistants were attentive and gave great service. Apart from one evening the food was also excellent. We used windjammer for breakfast and lunch (when onboard) and although not up to the dinning room standard, the food was of a good standard. Boarding and disembarkation was also first rate and far far easier than an airport. Some of the excursions were poor value for money. With up to 2 hours ‘free time’ on a 4.5 hour trip we felt the guides not doing a good job. On one trip the main reason for going was a visit to a volcano, after setting off we were told we could not go there with no explanation, only to find on returning to the ship that another tour with disabled guests had visited it as planned. On another trip we arrived back to the meeting point after some more ‘free time’ 5 minutes early to find the coach doors closed and about to drive off without us. Had we been on time we would have been left stranded. The shows were either good or excellent although difficult to get a seat unless you were at least half an hour early. The entertainment and activities on ‘at sea days’ was very limited for older (not elderly) guests. Now the reason for a 3 star rating rather than a 5. Practically everything on board was geared to squeezing more money out of you, even some of the shopping promotions were listed as entertainment. Far and away our biggest disappointment was the overcrowded feel of the ship. It was difficult at best and impossible most times to get a seat at any of the bars of an evening when you want to just sit and have a drink. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the only places you could get a seat at times was in the restaurants where you have to pay or in the casino. The sun loungers are packed tightly together and it is practically impossible to get near the pool for a dip so we gave that a miss. In peak season with over a thousand additional kids on board it must be a nightmare. Overall the cruise left us feeling that we couldn’t understand why people rave about cruise holidays, it was good but could have been a lot better had the passenger / facility ratio been a lot better. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Fifth and last time probably on this ship. Far to crowded and a very rough element now. A lot of people were evicted from the shp for bad behaviour, mainly brawling. MDR long wait for food and quality when it finally arrived not good. Far ... Read More
Fifth and last time probably on this ship. Far to crowded and a very rough element now. A lot of people were evicted from the shp for bad behaviour, mainly brawling. MDR long wait for food and quality when it finally arrived not good. Far to much asking us to applaud when they parade and tell us how wonderful they are. This is probably aimed at getting us to tip their poorly paid staff who are lovely and cant do enough for you. It really is aimed at extr acting aa much money as possible.from the passengers who are packed in like sardines and told they are having fun. Paying 18 dollars extra each for a shuttle bus to take us into a town which was advertised as the stop in the brochure ia not acceptable...Windjammer food very good if you are a meat and fish eater. We are not and lactose intolerant so we ate a lot of salad and pasta. The best part of our cruiae was Boleros where a latin band called Mattisse performed most nights. It was usually packed and no seats available unless we arrived early or were very lucky. We loved the dancing . We havw been cruising for over twenty years did overall enjoy ourselves but this was not the cruising we expected and paid for.. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had sailed on Independence twice before and loved the ship. We like RC - and the "fun" atmosphere. Although always a large ship, it never felt too crowded. However, this time it was a completely different experience. I had ... Read More
We had sailed on Independence twice before and loved the ship. We like RC - and the "fun" atmosphere. Although always a large ship, it never felt too crowded. However, this time it was a completely different experience. I had not known that they had added more cabins but once on board you certainly noticed the crowds. Everywhere seemed mobbed. Like some other reviewers, we had the same feeling that RC are cutting down on so many things. Very difficult to find anywhere to sit in any of the lounges in the evenings and walking through the mall was really like going to a shopping centre - but without any good shops - shops are really poor. Why don't RC open any interesting shops? Food in the buffet was very good but walking round looking for somewhere to sit if very off-putting. Thought restaurant food rather poor. We agree with others that having to pay high prices for the special restaurants is ridiculous - we did go to the Italian one night and although pleasant and nicely served, it was far too expensive. We also agree with other reviewers about the children/teenagers running around the ship - could not swim in the pool because it was full of kids and from what we heard the nightclub was taken up with teenagers which I know annoyed many. By the end of the cruise, the children were quite out of control. Found staff in restaurant a bit more distant than I remember and on many occasions took plates away before you had finished eating! Entertainment was just OK - the dancers were fine but the singers were pretty awful. Ice show great! We did have the most marvellous cabin steward - best ever! Something drastic has happened to this once lovely ship and not for the better. It is so obviously OVER CROWDED and like other reviewers, will not be sailing on her again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We have been on the particular ship 3 times now, they have done a fantastic refurb the only problem with having more cabins was it was impossible to get a subbed, the supposed staff who were to monitor the sun beds were inefficient and ... Read More
We have been on the particular ship 3 times now, they have done a fantastic refurb the only problem with having more cabins was it was impossible to get a subbed, the supposed staff who were to monitor the sun beds were inefficient and didn’t do their job in most cases. I totally agreed with ruc decision to offload the people involved in fighting during one of the England matches. The standard of dress in the main dining room should be reviewed, we are by no means snobs, but we saw on several occasions people mostly men,entering in shorts. We will think long and hard about going with RC! Again I fact we will probably try another cruise line.it would’ be such a shame as in other respects we like this cruise line, the other ship we went on was the freedom to the Caribbean. The only other gripe we have is that the main theatre shows are repeated, we travelled the same time last year and the main shows were the same I.e grease. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My 75th birthday treat and Bucket List "Go on a BIG SHIP". 4,128 passengers, 1,600 sunbeds. Overcrowded by about 1,000 passengers too many. Queues everywhere. Despite valiant staff service at bars is appalling that's if you ... Read More
My 75th birthday treat and Bucket List "Go on a BIG SHIP". 4,128 passengers, 1,600 sunbeds. Overcrowded by about 1,000 passengers too many. Queues everywhere. Despite valiant staff service at bars is appalling that's if you can get a seat. On non sun days there is an acute shortage of seats. Hence the high amount of scooters as this is the only way to guarantee a seat. The food in the MDR is mediocre as RCI want you in the premium restaurants. At meal times the MDR is less than half full as all are in Windjammer which is spacious and the food is quite good plus you can have as much as you like. The ship is beautiful and well appointed with good shows in the theatre. But the queues and lack of seating spoil everything. Plus the paying system at the bars takes longer than getting your drink. Cabin 1686 was lovely and well looked after by an attentive steward. In future will stick to a smaller ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was to be a cruise for me and my partner but she passed away last year so my nephew came. Royal Carribean were most unhelpful when I tried to cancel after her death. Problems at the port started with parking allocated park was full ... Read More
This was to be a cruise for me and my partner but she passed away last year so my nephew came. Royal Carribean were most unhelpful when I tried to cancel after her death. Problems at the port started with parking allocated park was full so we had a long walk though the cases were picked up. My luggage did not get to my cabin until 8p.m leaving me without some medication but after a discussion the medical centre helped free of charge. The ship is really nice, the food and staff were friendly and efficient. The places we went were beautiful especially Geiranger we went to mount Dalsnibba where I made a shrine for my partners remains, it was a stunning morning the views are spectacular. We went on a trip to Flam by coach returning by boat again superb. The cost of booking on board for the trips is way to expensive diy it. The gratuities $14.50 per person is horrendous. The small double room was o.k but the shower is the smallest I have ever been in. No writing paper or pen in the room, no tissues in the shower room no mini bar. The entertainment was poor Grease 3 times magician 3 times. We got friendly with some lovely people who enhanced our cruise. Oh and I got Gastro Enteritis for the second year running, last year with P&O. I enjoyed the cruise and will go again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
booked in january to see what the refurb looked like and to try a shorter cruise,, couple days away!!! full of hens and stag chasing around the ship, drunk on top deck, loud... ordering rounds of drinks at the bar for around 15 people at a ... Read More
booked in january to see what the refurb looked like and to try a shorter cruise,, couple days away!!! full of hens and stag chasing around the ship, drunk on top deck, loud... ordering rounds of drinks at the bar for around 15 people at a time.. couldnt get to the bars, not enough staff, service terrible, food warm in fine dining restaurants... long waits to be seated although time slot booked.. one man came out shouting he had waited over an hour and the service was disgraceful... at times i agreed!!! if your going to cruise.. book yourself a 5 day + break where i am sure you will get the service and quality that RC are typically used to delivering.. certainly wouldnt recommend 2 day tasters... was a waste of money and not a pleasant experience!! we also had a cabin on deck 7 which i though had been refurb.. very old fasioned ,. def needs a makeover! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
We were invited on the 13 May 2018 but had already booked the following 5 weeks so it was consecutive cruising for us, it was an eye opener to see the way people present themselves when something is free it was occasionally embarrassing ... Read More
We were invited on the 13 May 2018 but had already booked the following 5 weeks so it was consecutive cruising for us, it was an eye opener to see the way people present themselves when something is free it was occasionally embarrassing and sad to see a beautiful ship being treated without respect. The extra 100or so cabins have made a difference to the number of people using deck space and bars etc and walking the decks when people are sunbathing is not an easy option, we had a JS and it was as always very comfortable, clean and came with good service. We never used the main dining room but the Windjammer was excellent, the selection of food was very good but the lack of waiters was definitely noticeable, but I must say that all staff were very welcoming and friendly. The 5 night 1/2 term cruise was a nightmare with obnoxious vulgar teenagers whose parents should have been supervising their behaviour, those of us who have been lucky enough to have had children do not pay thousands of pounds to endure the bad manners of Someone else’s children, not all I must add were behaving badly.We thought the NEW Independence was really well done and especially the Suites lounge where at last those who are in Suites have an amazing view in stead of a windowless room. Sadly the room does not give access to D+ and that in itself has caused a problem however the whole of deck 14 is open to D & D+ from 5pm to 8pm and that area is also very comfortable with great views. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but some comments are quite unfair. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We took the January 18 4-night Western Caribbean cruise on Independence of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale. There were 4 of us: my wife and me, and my 100-year-old dad and his friend. It was the first cruise for my dad's friend, but the ... Read More
We took the January 18 4-night Western Caribbean cruise on Independence of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale. There were 4 of us: my wife and me, and my 100-year-old dad and his friend. It was the first cruise for my dad's friend, but the rest of us have cruised many times before, on both Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines. It was our first time on a Freedom Class ship. We chose this itinerary because we wanted a short cruise (we didn't know how my dad would hold up). We had a good time, but there's was nothing special about this cruise, and we've had better cruise experiences on other cruise lines. We arrived at the pier just before 12:30, which is when they started boarding. The check-in process went smoothly; there were a lot of people, but lines moved quickly. Staterooms weren't available until 1:30, so we went to the Windjammer for lunch (the dining rooms aren't open for lunch during embarkation). The Windjammer was mobbed, and it took us a while to find a table for 4. There was a decent variety of food, and what we had was good. My dad uses a wheelchair or walker to get around, so he and his friend stayed in an accessible outside cabin on Deck 2 (2648). The cabin was very large with a large bathroom, and had a porthole style window about 2 feet in diameter. My wife and I had a balcony room on Deck 8 (8624); the balcony was narrow, but big enough for two of us. Our room, which was about half the size of my dad's, was fine for the two of us, and was pretty quiet. There's a control that lets you choose whether or not to hear public announcements in your room, but we couldn't get it to work (we would hear music but no announcements). Our luggage was delivered to the room by 4:00. One of our suitcases contained bottled water, which technically isn't allowed but is tolerated. We also carried 4 bottles of wine onboard (2 per cabin), although all 4 bottles were for my wife and me. :-) If you bring your own bottles of wine into a public area (such as the dining room), Royal Caribbean says they will charge a $15 corkage fee, but people on the Cruise Critic message boards say this is rarely enforced; we drank our wine in our stateroom. I purchased a VOOM Surf & Stream Wi-Fi package before the cruise (there was a discount for ordering early), for 2 devices. Although Royal Caribbean touts VOOM as the "fastest internet at sea," the service was slow and unreliable everywhere we tried to use it. We used the service on two iPhones and two iPads (but only two at a time); on all devices the Wi-Fi would disconnect periodically, which is a problem if you're relying on Wi-Fi calling or text messaging. Before the cruise, I had installed a VPN app (KeepSolid VPN Unlimited) on all the devices to secure our internet connection, but the VPN app didn't work because the connection was too slow. Note that if you want to switch your VOOM connection from one device to another, you have to explicitly log off the first device (by going to logoff.com in your browser); disconnecting from Wi-Fi or even shutting off the device won't log you out. Unfortunately, there's no better alternative to using VOOM if you need internet access on the ship. The food on the ship was good, but not as good as we've had on other cruise lines. My wife and I had continental breakfast delivered to the room each morning (except the last) so we could eat on the balcony; you could pick a 30-minute window for delivery, and the food always came at the end of that window or later. We had lunch in the Romeo and Juliet main dining room on the two at sea days, and dinner in the same dining room each night of the cruise. On the last morning of the cruise, I grabbed some food and coffee from the Windjammer and brought it back to the room (we would have have breakfast in the main dining room but my wife was sick). My dad and his friend had dinner with us in the main dining room the first two nights, but had the rest of their meals in the Windjammer (they like buffets; we don't). We had the My Time dining option, with no assigned dining times. We never made reservations for dinner, and never had to wait to be seated at our own table (we arrived between 6:30-7:00), even though the ship was full (around 3700 passengers). We were seated at the same table each night, so we had the benefit of having the same dining room staff without having to eat at a fixed time. Our waiter and assistant waiter were very good. The second night of the cruise was formal night. I usually try to avoid formal nights when I can, but I figured my dad and his friend might enjoy dressing up so we brought the appropriate attire. It turns out we didn't need to -- although we saw some people around the ship who were dressed up, the vast majority of other passengers in our dining room were not (some men were even wearing shorts, which aren't supposed to be allowed on any night in the dining room). It doesn't bother me that others weren't dressed up; it only bothers me that I dressed up when I didn't have to. :-) If we take another Royal Caribbean cruise, I'll know better the next time. Although the ship was full, we didn't have trouble finding places to sit on the pool deck during the at sea days, and there was always seating in the main theater. Service at the bars was a bit slow. The Promenade on Deck 5 was like the inside of a shopping mall. The selection and availability of music in the various lounges was not as good as on other ships. The 4 of us attended the shows in the main theater on 3 of the 4 nights: the Welcome Aboard show on the first night (with comedian Miguel Washington), the Horizons Motown show, and Grease; they were all pretty good. We sat at the back of the bottom level, in the area reserved for wheelchairs, and the view was good from there. The only port we visited was Cozumel. My wife and I went to the Nachi Cocom beach club (on our own), which we've done on previous cruises that stop in Cozumel, and my dad and his friend visited the shops at the cruise terminal and had drinks at Margaritaville. On that same day, we started seeing fraudulent charges on my dad's credit card (which he only used at Margaritaville), so it's likely that someone in the restaurant grabbed his card number; we had to cancel the card. On the last night of the cruise, my wife got very sick, with vomiting and diarrhea, chills, aches and pains. On the following morning, I started feeling sick on the way home, though I just felt crappy without the stomach issues. There were no reports of norovirus on our cruise that I know of, so it isn't clear what we had or how we got it (could have been food poisoning), but we're pretty much over it now (2 days later). Disembarkation went fairly smoothly. Our two cabins were originally were assigned different disembarkation times, but I went to Guest Services and got us all the same times. Disembarkation started earlier than scheduled, so we didn't have to wait in a lounge after vacating our cabins at 8:30. Because my dad was in a wheelchair, we were able to bypass much of the line in the terminal. We had to wait a while in line to clear Customs, but actually going through Customs was very quick. From the time we got in line to disembark, it probably took no more than 15-20 minutes to get outside the terminal. Overall, the cruise was okay (except for the getting sick part), but nothing out of the ordinary, so I can't really rate it better than average. My wife and I generally prefer NCL and Princess, but Royal Caribbean had the best itinerary for this particular trip. Although we prefer certain cruise lines to others, we usually choose a cruise based on the itinerary and the ship, rather than the cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
After the hectic Christmas vacation, January seemed a good time to unwind and re-charge the batteries. I booked two back-to-back cruises and was onboard for a total of 10 days. After having been somewhat disappointed with my three ... Read More
After the hectic Christmas vacation, January seemed a good time to unwind and re-charge the batteries. I booked two back-to-back cruises and was onboard for a total of 10 days. After having been somewhat disappointed with my three previous cruises, the INDEPENDENCE restores my passion for RCCL. Embarkation was trouble-free, as was the mid-cruise immigration call and the final disembarkation. Everything was well organized and waiting time was kept to a minimum. The ship was exceptionally clean, the crew and staff were friendly yet professional, officer visibity was excellent and the Captain's reports were clear, concise and informative. Hand sanitizers were every 10 yards. Since my previous reviews about onboard food have not been too kind, I stress that the food onboard this ship was the best I have had served in many a cruise. The Wind Jammer was excellent; plenty of choices, hot dishes being served hot, wonderful fresh salads, absolutely something for everyone's taste, a separate gluton-free corner and of course, delicious desserts. The Wind Jammer itself was clean with plenty of staff on hand to clear tables and sanitize all areas. The main dining room was always clean and tidy and the food was tasty and looked very appetizing when served; with my waiter being helpful and courteous. One couple at my dining room table was a man with his wife, who was in a wheel chair. On the first evening our waiter learned of this detail and subsequently (before we entered the dining room) he had moved the chairs accordingly, ensuring a clear path for the wheelchair to travel. Little things like this certainly help to convey the RCCL 'WOW'. The activites onboard were of the usual ilk but the entertainment was outstanding. The various live music bands onboard were very talented; with many genres at their fingertips and the Independance orchestra were second to none. I must give kudos to the ice-cast, who did a tremendous job and the cast members of the musical 'Grease'. I enjoyed it so much the first cruise that I went again on the second one, each time the production was performed to the highest degree and equalling that of the Broadway production. One headliner show (on the second 5 days) were the band Horizon; a group who looked like, dressed like, sang and danced in the Motown era. They were excellent and made a welcome change from the other three headliners; all comedians. The second five days saw a change in the Schooner Bar pianist. Mr David Curtis arrived on board. I have had the pleasure of seeing David perform on quite a few ships in the RCCL fleet and his much varied repertoire, jokes, musical ability, lovely voice and guest participation guarantee an entertaining and fun evening. If I had to criticize, it would be that the guest participation numbers should be kept to just one song. Oft times, two or three songs by the same person (who more often than not, doesn't know the words, has a very weak or terrible voice or has drunk too much alcohol) is a waste of time and these people should be guided to the karaoke. Mr Curtis is exceptional in his own right and doesn't need to acquiesce to these 'wannabees'. The ports for the second five days allowed us to have a later arrival back on the ship; with return from Puerto Costa Maya being 6pm and Cozumel being 6.30pm. The extra few hours made such a difference and I appreciated the extra time on the island. Staying onboard for two cruises, it was never more glaringly obvious to me how the caliber of guests onboard can enhance or disrupt the vacation. The first five days saw friendly, happy people, curteous and polite; whereas the second 5 days saw a crowd that were unruly, rude, drunk and even aggressive at times. Adults over the age of 18 are allowed in Casino Royale but no-one enforced this rule. The second cruise must have had 400 children on board and I should think that at one time or another, they all ended up in the casino. I certainly do not want to have children of any age running around, bumping into people and spilling guests' drinks. There were enough slot technicians and the casino host as well as waiters and dealers on duty but no-one corrected this, with the result that babies and up, were in the casino all week. To my mind, the casino (like the nightclub) should be monitored whenever it is open. Notwithstanding my few (and very picky) negative comments, this is a beautiful ship; the food and service outstanding; the stateroom comfortable and airy and the entertainment first class. I would certainly cruise on the Independance again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The food is terrible,the windjammer cafe does not have eggbeaters even though the main dining room does.The windjammer food is tasteless,overcooked,horrible food.The bakery at breakfast is store bought and frozen,the cookies are stale ... Read More
The food is terrible,the windjammer cafe does not have eggbeaters even though the main dining room does.The windjammer food is tasteless,overcooked,horrible food.The bakery at breakfast is store bought and frozen,the cookies are stale store bought and tastes terrible,same selection daily and most is overcooked and salty.We have to ask for skim milk 10 minutes before breakfast so someone can go find some for us.The staff are not cleaning and disinfecting tables even though there was 2 outbreaks of norovirus recently.The staff are mostly rude and lazy,took us 3 days to get decent pillows after getting flat old pillows,and bedsheets are not being changed.They have fresh baked cookies but do not put them out,you have to go to coffee shop and ask for secret stash of fresh choc chip cookies.The music at warm pool is so very loud that it literally hurts your ears,the adult pool is no longer covered and the water is freezing,the hot tubs are only warm.You need to check out pool towels and will be charged $25 for each towel not checked back in with attendant.We thought that for our 40th anniversary we would go on a Christmas cruise,but there is only one Christmas tree and no decorations other than a gingerbread village in windjammer waiting area.Families are very upset with no Christmas cheer on board and food in windjammer was still the same boring horrible food.At last port we were not told to take seapass and picture ID and almost did not get past port security.Wish now that we had gone with a different cruise line,but had been on here 4 years ago and this was a 5 star ship with 5 star food but now barely makes it to a one star ship and point 5 food.Not much to do on ship,ice shows were great,but the 2 shows of live on stage "Grease" only could hold about half the people that wanted to see it,and was first come first seated.We have been deceived,lied to and taken advantage of,staff seemed as if unhappy working here.Please consider carefully before cruising on Independence. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Its our 50th wedding anniversary (Dec. 17,2017) so my husband and I decided to treat ourselves for the first time we go for Cruise. We're kind of nervous and do not know what to expect so invited our friends, so now we're total ... Read More
Its our 50th wedding anniversary (Dec. 17,2017) so my husband and I decided to treat ourselves for the first time we go for Cruise. We're kind of nervous and do not know what to expect so invited our friends, so now we're total of 8 people. When we were at the port, I was so amazed with the size of the boat( I guess this is expected from a first time cruiser). Finaly we got inside, went to Windjammer to have lunch, and all I can see is food, food, food. (By the way, we were welcome with crews with Champagne). As we go along... I enjoyed every single day and very much pleased with the service. I want to compliments our two waiters At King Lear room, table 651, Jonathan and Andrei(Romania), they made us feel like we are home and served us Kare Kare Shrimp and Salmon Sinigang(Filipino Dish) Another group I will not forget are the group of Ariel from Windjammer. I also went shopping for rings 2 for $39.90, paid and go, when I reached my cabin I left the rings and I hurriedly came back, unfortunately they were closed already coz it is Christmas eve. I went back the following night(Christmas day), this good looking guy(kind of chubby(he is cute)clean cut kept my rings and waiting for me... My husband and I enjoyed our vacation on our 50th wedding anniversary... so memorable. Thank you. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I am a Diamond level RCCL Crown and Anchor "member". This cruise was for five (5) days from November 27 through December 2, 2017, my second cruise on Independence of the Seas. Embarkment: After arrival at the Ft ... Read More
I am a Diamond level RCCL Crown and Anchor "member". This cruise was for five (5) days from November 27 through December 2, 2017, my second cruise on Independence of the Seas. Embarkment: After arrival at the Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport expect to board the bus to the cruise terminal between 11 am and 12 noon. Its a short ride and once there you will quickly move through Security and get your "Sea Pass" card, which is your room key and your "charge card" for all purchases on board. Boarding Day: The Independence OTS is a good sized ship, so once on board explore, go the Windjammer for buffet which has relatively "good" selection/variety of foods. The staterooms open about 1 pm and expect your luggage after the mandatory muster out on the deck. Dining Options: RCCL really pushes its specialty dining rooms, so expect to hear about it every night in the main dining room, and at the buffet. The main dining room has three different levels with the "My Time" dining at the Romeo and Juliet dining room on Deck 3. The assigned seating dining in the Macbeth dining room on Deck 4, and King Lear on Deck 5 at at 6:00 pm (early) and 8:30 pm (late). If you do the late seating expect delays in getting into your assigned table late, due to the 6:00 pm dining laggards. The MDR food: I chose the late dining and was assigned to table 654 in the Deck 5, King Lear dining room with Amit and Diva as a our waiter and assistant waiters. They provided good service. The main dining room (MDR) menu had the standard rotating offerings of poultry, beef, pork, Italian, vegetarian offerings. I enjoy anchovies on my caesar salad and to my surprise, our table waiter Amit told me on the second evening that they were out of anchovies, but the next night they had anchovies, so don't expect the waiters to be truthful to you about items not being available. On night four, as I dine later I went up to the Windjammer for a cup of tea and saw that they were serving a whole turkey being carved, so in the MDR that night I decided to order the roasted turkey dinner with dark meat on the menu. I was served a mechanically processed round dark meat turkey roll, a small "plug" of dressing, watery cranberry sauce. It tasted terrible. You would think that if the Windjammer buffet could serve a whole turkey that the MDR would not serve not even deli quality mechanically processed turkey roll. Look forward to the lobster tails on the last night in the MDR, they are small so order two. Entertainment: As I travel solo, on the shorter cruises, this basically was my "casino" cruise, so I will comment mainly about my casino experience. The casino staff, particularly the casino host, Alin Nicolae Bic, and the dealers were cordial and made the gaming experience excellent. The bar waiter came around the table frequently with you adult beverages. The slots in the casino are of the older generation with only a few of the newer machines. The tables games, craps, roulette, one hold em porker table, black jack, three card poker, one Ultimate Texas Hold em table, two three card poker table and one of the antiquated "Caribbean Stud Poker" table. Most of the time the tables have a $10 minimum, with some "stealth" (unannounced) $5 tables. The casino ran the usual Slot, BJ and poker tournaments. Overall, it was an enjoyable casino experience. Getting points towards a dollars off or a "free" cruise, is a little more difficult,as the levels of points to get a cruise has been increased. An inside cabin requires 2,400 points earned, a ocean view cabin requires 3,600 points earned, a balcony cabin requires 4,800 points earned. Remember, it takes about $4 played to earn one (1) point on slot play, and the table play is based upon the amount being bet and the length of time of your playing. Other entertainment: I did not attend any of the shows. Excursions: As I have been to the private beach / island in Labadee, Haiti and Falmouth in Jamaica, I did not do any of the excursions or get off the ship. The Crown and Anchor Diamond Club: Once you reach the RCCL C&A diamond level, you can enter the "Diamond Club" which is a private cocktail lounge with appetizers, and free cocktails, which is a nice perk considering drinks are at $10 each and above. Our Diamond Club Concierge, Jacqueline Yabut was very cordial, friendly and made you Diamond Club experience enjoyable. My Stateroom: Standard inside cabin on deck 9, stateroom number 9615, with its king bed (two twins pushed together), closet, dresser, chair, small table and bathroom with the round shower. My cabin steward, Joel, provided excellent service. Disembarkment: One of the smoothest and quick departure processes, off the ship in about a half and hour, got my luggage and went through customs in another half hour and on the bus to the airport for my return flight. Air2Sea flight bookings: Expect to embark to your port destination on a very early flight, and sit at the airport for a couple of hours, and expect the flight home to be booked on a late flight home. My suggestion is to do a flight out to the the ship and book your return flight on your own, as you want to make sure you get there, because if you book independently and miss the cruise you will be out some dollars and cruise time. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Just liked the look of it!!! The only real drawback was the main dining room on a formal night at 6.00 pm. we had a designated table number but found a very awkward older lady already at the table who was not for moving!! The manager ... Read More
Just liked the look of it!!! The only real drawback was the main dining room on a formal night at 6.00 pm. we had a designated table number but found a very awkward older lady already at the table who was not for moving!! The manager checked our table number and we were proved correct but he put us with others who were not good mixers and without any hint of an apology, however the food was brilliant, This was Macbeth dining room and we felt pushed out, We did not use again as the same problem would have happened again!!!!!!!! The rest of the cruise was really good and the staff on the state rooms and the windjammer dining room were first rate in fact all the crew were very good..We used the theatre most nights and was very enjoyable. Over all we would go on again but with a different dining option.!!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise mostly because of the itinery, we had been with Celebrity previously and wanted to compare the two. Celebrity was a quieter cruise and didn't have the promenade where everyone gathered so didn't have the same ... Read More
We chose this cruise mostly because of the itinery, we had been with Celebrity previously and wanted to compare the two. Celebrity was a quieter cruise and didn't have the promenade where everyone gathered so didn't have the same atmosphere as RC. We arrived at the port around the time we had been given for boarding and this is the only place we had to queue, once on board we went for a quick drink before going to our cabin. After dropping the bags off it was time to explore and we were surprised by what we found, so much to take in and it took a while to get our bearings but we enjoyed the experience of ending up somewhere different to where we had planned. The service from the staff couldn't be faulted, we never saw one grumpy face and I am sure there were some tired people on there as they work such long hours. We ate in the main dining room each evening, we were going to try the other restaurants but the food we were given was such good quality that we didn't feel the need. One tip is that for some reason they are not big on vegetables so order extra and after a couple of days your waiter will remember even if you forget. All in all a fabulous holiday and great value for money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
Food was lovely but a serious lack of vegetables and starters were not great for my quite conservative husband 3days he had Cesar salad. Service is fantastic you said something and it appeared. Shows were ok grease fantastic and ice shows ... Read More
Food was lovely but a serious lack of vegetables and starters were not great for my quite conservative husband 3days he had Cesar salad. Service is fantastic you said something and it appeared. Shows were ok grease fantastic and ice shows wonderful but too many comics promenade shows are fantastic .We didn't do any tours as I am disabled and can't keep up with them but the hop on buses are fabulous. Loved Lisbon beautiful city and under the bridge is a must see for all.Hired a scooter for the ship from Mobility at sea it was a great idea when I got off the ship I was much more able to walk. It is a relaxing holiday with lots of lovely places to see things to do big decision is whether to go for swim or hot tub lol. Cabin needs a bit of a refurb but plenty space even with the scooter in .All in all beautiful places to see and wonderful care and great food loved it Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My husband and I have cruised on the Independence several times and love everything about it, the staff are always friendly and helpful, we like to stay in a junior suite as we like the space and balcony, our cabin steward was excellent ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised on the Independence several times and love everything about it, the staff are always friendly and helpful, we like to stay in a junior suite as we like the space and balcony, our cabin steward was excellent too. We prefer to eat in the windjammer most nights as it gives us the opportunity to be more flexible with meal times . The service in the dining room is superb and the food is better some days than others. We enjoy eating in Chops but our favourite is Giovannis. Entertainment is good most of the time but the ice skating shows are the best. The gymnasium is excellent and well equipped with a fantastic view. There is plenty to do onboard whether it's sunbathing, swimming, flo riding, watching a movie or just having a drink, the choice is yours. I have nothing but praise for this ship so when I read negative comments from passengers who were on the same cruise as me, I wonder why. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Had a wonderful three days in London, then took train to Southhampton for overnight. Easiest embarkation ever. This was our sixteenth cruise and I believe 5th on Royal Caribbean. The ship is clean and beautiful. We just wanted a relaxing ... Read More
Had a wonderful three days in London, then took train to Southhampton for overnight. Easiest embarkation ever. This was our sixteenth cruise and I believe 5th on Royal Caribbean. The ship is clean and beautiful. We just wanted a relaxing 8 days and we got that. We only sat in on one show in the evening as we retire early, but get up very early. We thought the Windjammer was very good. Ate there each morning and for lunch. Very spacious and traveling with son and daughter-in-law we were able to meet up and find each other easily. Daughter-in-law is vegetarian and she had no trouble finding food to her liking. Tables were cleaned off quickly. This was the largest ship we have ever been on and never felt crowded except on formal night with everyone out early before dinner to get pictures taken. We did not go to ice show or see Grease. The cruise director was the best yet. Been on the job quite a few years and very funny. We did the progressive trivia each sea day and very entertaining. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This ship is a marvel. Very clean, polite employees, the food is wonderful, I found the service in the bars prompt however no bars provided galliano regardless of the fact that it is on the bar list.. Our room attendant did a great job. ... Read More
This ship is a marvel. Very clean, polite employees, the food is wonderful, I found the service in the bars prompt however no bars provided galliano regardless of the fact that it is on the bar list.. Our room attendant did a great job. Marion. The cabin was always clean and orderly except for the balcony w The casino dealers were very nice and even helpful at times tables could use some refurbishment though I loved the fact that the casino is now non smoking. The buffet food is very good with lots of variety. I did have to clean dishes off of tables to eat. several times is mo only negative comment. I didn't try the premium dining rooms. The shows are top notch professional, especially the Ice show and we enjoyed the variety of music in the lounges and abundant seating. They need more servers on the pool decks but the pools are nice and are very accessible to the aged and disabled. I chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Unfortunately, we found Canary Island to be disappointing Their beach sucks Funscal is wonderful Tours were so so. Nothing to write home about for us. We would for sure sail the Independence again Read Less
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 4.3
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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