Sail Date: December 2017
love chops and giovanni and the 70s party. the 70s party did not have any of those light up things being thrown to the crowd that was a bummer. Giovannis was spectacular. I find it kind of amazing I have NEVER used the washy ... Read More
love chops and giovanni and the 70s party. the 70s party did not have any of those light up things being thrown to the crowd that was a bummer. Giovannis was spectacular. I find it kind of amazing I have NEVER used the washy washy in all my trips on royal and the ONE time i do i get the virus. The solarium was anice place to rest and our cabin on deck 3 which i did not really want turned out to be a blessing it was near the my time dining and for breakfast and everything was easy to find becuase it was at the back of the ship like windjammer and we alwaysknew where the theaters were because of it. Cops was very good and my time dining is our favorite because we do not have a speicifi time. we will be on another royal ship in May in Copenbahgen Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
This 5 day cruise was on a ship we had taken before - we booked late so had only a couple of options for our cabin - we chose an outside cabin on deck 3 aft - the cabin had a great location - near everything. First time w have not had a ... Read More
This 5 day cruise was on a ship we had taken before - we booked late so had only a couple of options for our cabin - we chose an outside cabin on deck 3 aft - the cabin had a great location - near everything. First time w have not had a balcony in a long time and it was fine especially since the weather was not great for part of the time. Cabin was small but clean - the steward, Saym was terrific and saw to our every need. The weather in Labadee was awful and we stayed on the ship - very relaxing. Jamaica was a little better and we ventured out on a culinary tour which was very nice and different We opted for my time dining but even though we booked our times online before the trip - they messed it up and it was difficult dealing with the dining room staff to fix it and we had to go to guest services where it finally got resolved. We ate at Chops and Giovanni's and they were great - especially Giovanni's The shows were really good and the street party on the Promenade was fun although it was more fun last time when the staff involved the cruisers more. Now for the real problem - there was an outbreak of Norovirus on the ship 2.5 days out - many people got sick but the crew did the best they could - they sanitized the ship, did not allow guests to serve themselves in the buffets and tried to get the guests to wash and sanitize their hands all the time. The wait at the doctor's office for the first day or so was hours long and the room service for quarantined guest took forever. By the next to last day, when my boyfriend got sick, the doctor's office was less crowded and he was seen pretty quickly and room service came faster as we were not allowed to bring any food back to the room for the sick people They did the best they could. Overall, under the circumstances, the cruise was ok Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
The Independence is a beautiful ship with top notch service. We chose this cruise for our first family cruise with young children because of the ship's beautiful public spaces, cabins suited for families, and wide range of activities for ... Read More
The Independence is a beautiful ship with top notch service. We chose this cruise for our first family cruise with young children because of the ship's beautiful public spaces, cabins suited for families, and wide range of activities for children, in particular, Adventure Ocean. We stayed in a suite and enjoyed the "suite perks", which where definitely worth it for us. Downsides of the trip were the rain in Labadee and a very unfortunate Norovirus outbreak onboard. EMBARKATION - Starting at Fort Lauderdale, we had cold weather during embarkation...highs in the low 60's. At the port, we had a smooth experience except for our interaction with the bag porter (who is NOT a RCCL employee). After spending a few days at the hotel in Fort Lauderdale and taking cabs around town, we had nearly run out of small bills for tipping and tried to give the porter a dollar for helping with our bags. He was clearly offended at the low tip and was quite rude about it. He shoved it back at us and refused it. The rest of embarkation went smoothly, with no issues at all. Everyone inside the terminal was very friendly and the process went quickly. We were not surprised however that evening, when some of our bags failed to be delivered to our stateroom with the other bags. Our stateroom attendant was eventually able to find the missing bags in an unclaimed baggage area later that night. The tags had been removed. We assume the porter removed them as they had been secured fairly well, but anyway, we were happy to get our bags on the first evening. CABIN - Our room was spectacular! We had a suite and it did not disappoint. We used the heavy curtain to separate our bed from the sofa the kids slept on to give everyone their own space and it worked really well. The room was quiet, despite being near the elevators and below the pool deck. The bathroom had Grohe fixtures and was very nice and sparkling clean and well laid out. Our stateroom attendant Mikhail Tibu, was top notch and greeted us every day and gave us his bell station phone number in case we needed anything. The room was very clean everyday. As a suite guest, we also had a concierge assigned to us - Jackie Yabut. She was also very friendly, and greeted us every day and left voicemails in the morning giving a briefing of what was going on that day. There were a couple of things on-line in the cabin description that were different in-person. First, the refrigerator in the room is not cold at all - it is barely cooler than the room temperature, maybe 50-60 degrees. If anyone is wondering if you can chill a bottle of wine in there, you can't. You can't keep milk cold for kids or refrigerate medicine. And if you happen to be traveling with an infant, you definitely can't keep breastmilk cold. The stateroom attendant brings ice everyday though, so it wasn't an issue for us. Also, on-line I read that we would have a DVD player so I brought several DVDs for the kids. I think that the DVD players were recently removed because the player was gone but we could still see the Velcro where it was attached. Instead of DVDs, the suite comes with free in-room movie purchases. Our kids watched 2 movies, normally $12 each, for no fee, so that was nice. DINING - We were traveling with our children, ages 3 and 7. One of the main reasons we booked a suite is because I was worried about "germs" on the ship because unfortunately my 3 year old is a thumbsucker and in general a curious child who likes to push buttons and turn knobs, etc to see what they do :O I was really dreading bringing a toddler into a buffet area, touching everything, sucking his thumb, etc. So, with the suite, we were able to avoid the buffet area pretty much completely. We dined at our assigned table in the King Lear Main Dining Room as well as had room service delivered to the room (without the typical $8 fee). We were able to eat breakfast everyday on the balcony. This prevented our kids from being in the buffet and restaurant areas too much, which was important to me. A few times I did venture out to get food and bring it back to the room - they didn't seem to mind this. The Main Dining Room food was pretty good. I usually ordered whatever the waiter recommended and that was a good strategy for me. There were always plenty of kid friendly choices as well - hamburgers and hot dogs at every venue. We tried Chops Grill once. I really liked it and thought it was worth the extra fee, but my husband thought the Main Dining Room was just as good. We also went to Johnny Rocket's once. We all liked that - the onion rings were amazing! We also tried Sorrento's pizza. It was okay as a late night snack, but I can see why other reviewers say the pizza is mushy or that the cheese is a little strange. It probably tastes better after a couple of beers. Room Service staff seemed a little overwhelmed at times. Every time we ordered something, they seemed to forget part of the order - like a bag of chips or silverware. It was not an issue, but something to be aware of. ENTERTAINMENT - We signed the kids up for Adventure Ocean and they both really loved their Aquanauts and Explorer programs. The staff are true professionals. I was worried the kids wouldn't like it, but it was the opposite - they didn't want to leave. They did art projects and played games and had lots of fun. The kids both attended for the first 3 nights. The kids also really enjoyed the H2O zone with the water sprayers and the lazy river. We also went to the ice show, Strings, which was wonderful with really top quality performers. We were really impressed with the beautiful Studio B theater. You do need to show up early for this show. We tried the first day to show up as it was beginning and got turned away because it was full. We also played mini-golf at Independence Dunes and played shuffleboard. On-line I had read that the ship offered in-room babysitters and tried to arrange one one evening so my husband and I could go to a late night show, but they don't actually offer this service. They said they are in the process of getting people certified to be in-room babysitters and that "corporate" has changed the requirements. We were disappointed at first, but the kids enjoyed the Kids Club so much in the evenings that it wasn't really a big deal. Our 7 year old stayed at kids club until 11pm one night and it only cost us $3.50, so it worked out well. SERVICE - Top Notch. No complaints at all. The staff all tried so hard to provide excellent service. A few people seemed overwhelmed at times, but never rude or disappointing. I guess this is where the whole issue of the Norovirus Outbreak can be covered. On our ship about 332 passengers reported stomach virus symptoms, starting on Day 3. I had been looking on-line at different discussions and articles and I think for the folks who had sick cabin-mates or who saw someone in a public area getting sick felt like the whole ship was sick, but we never actually saw a sick person. 332 works out to be about 5% of the ship. Even if you double that number since many people apparently didn't report their symptoms, it's 10%, which certainly works out to be over 600 people. Surprisingly, this didn't totally ruin the experience for us. I asked several crew members about it and heard that their ongoing investigation revealed that 3 passengers boarded the ship infected in Fort Lauderdale and from there, spread it to others. Very unfortunate. Granted, if we were part of that 5-10% that got sick, then this whole review would be different I'm sure. Starting on Day 3 we got inundated with announcements that increased sanitization measures were being put in place - washy washy stations and crew members distributing hand sanitizer everywhere, letters to the room, PA system reminders every couple of hours to wash your hands. All of the staff were focused on sanitizing and keeping the ship clean and keeping people's hands clean. We did everything we could reasonably do to prevent getting sick (washing hands a lot with soap and water, lots of hand sanitizer, putting the 3 year old in the stroller when we left the room so he couldn't touch rails/buttons, avoiding the buffet, using Clorox wipes to wipe down chair arms and seats when we sat down, etc.) and fortunately were lucky and we didn't get sick. We weren't able to take the kids to Adventure Ocean and asked for our Arcade Tokens to be credited back to our account since we didn't want the kids touching the arcade games, but other than that, we were able to enjoy the cruise. We still dined in the Main Dining Room, had room service, took the kids to the pool, went to a well-attended ice show, got cupcakes, went to the gift shops, and enjoyed walking around the exterior walking paths and jogging paths. PORTS - We went to Labadee and Falmouth. I would go back to both ports again. I was impressed by how big the Labadee "complex" is and also with the Haitian artists at Artist's Village. Unfortunately, it rained the whole day we were in Labadee, so we were drenched and that certainly diminished the experience, but it was still nice. I think on a sunny day, it would be really spectacular. I did bring water shoes for the kids and I as I had read about the rocky beach - there is a lot of coral there. We went to John's Hall Plantation in Falmouth and the Mt. Olive Basic School. Both were great. OVERALL - We all enjoyed the cruise and would go again, and would like to stay in a suite again to enjoy those extra benefits. The ship is beautiful already and with the upcoming refurbishment in April 2018, hopefully it will be even nicer. The service was excellent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
I got a great price last minute for a connected Deck 6 promenade view room and was able to be off. Two adults in room one, one adult, one child in second room. Upon checking in, asked queen bed to be converted to twins and locked door ... Read More
I got a great price last minute for a connected Deck 6 promenade view room and was able to be off. Two adults in room one, one adult, one child in second room. Upon checking in, asked queen bed to be converted to twins and locked door opened between rooms. This was done quickly, our stateroom attendant was friendly and hard working. These rooms look down on busy promenade area which is a major walkthrough with a 24 hour cafe, late night pizza, and late night pub. The cruise director hosted a few parties from moving bridge visible from our rooms which had large windows looking down. These are not quiet rooms. They were spacious with a seating area and small refrigerator. Dining room food was just OK on selection and preparation. We went elegant night, first sea day and didn't return during 5 day cruise. Ate at Windjammer, pizza, and Chops grille one night. Fellow guests in buffet Windjammer's cafeteria allowed children to roam unattended, getting their own food, and touching inside the food areas. We actually had a significant virus outbreak second to third day of cruise which was no doubt linked to this. Camp and the arcade was closed final two days of cruise, crew was pulled from all areas to serve at buffet. This was preferable to me because of numerous incidents I witnessed by fellow guests before the outbreak. I'd loaded money on an arcade card and didn't get to deplete funds before arcade was closed, which Royal knew, but I still had to call guest services to have amount refunded. That was annoying. A few things Royal could have been proactive about. They still charge $13.50 daily tips whether you go to dining room or not. It was a beautiful ship with nice crew, but being sick one day probably clouded my review. Grease was excellent, cast and audience had fun. Babies were in the audience due to camp being closed, but there were only a few interruptions. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We are limited on time for travel so we are always looking for a cruise that fits the schedule. When we see a Freedom Class RCCL Ship it is a no brainer. We live in Florida and embarked out of Fort Lauderdale as we have many times before. ... Read More
We are limited on time for travel so we are always looking for a cruise that fits the schedule. When we see a Freedom Class RCCL Ship it is a no brainer. We live in Florida and embarked out of Fort Lauderdale as we have many times before. Parked our car at Park N Go (as usual) and where transported to the port fast and easy. Sailed through the embarkation process and boarded the ship. Cabin was as expected, clean and waiting for our arrival. Needed to change our evening dining arrangements, again smooth sailing. Ships dancers and singers put on the show grease. A+ did a great job. All shows where up to Royal standards. Only one port of call and we have been there many times, Cozumel. Nice port and always enjoy the people there. Service on the ship was never missing, everybody wanted to help and always had a smile. No grandchildren this trip (school) but we booked the same cruise on the same ship in January 2019. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Great Christmas decorations tree lighting Santa's arrival, crew has great energy all were excellent-food was good - service in the dining room was excellent...had a great trip! Luckily we dodged the bullet as this ship had the norovirus on ... Read More
Great Christmas decorations tree lighting Santa's arrival, crew has great energy all were excellent-food was good - service in the dining room was excellent...had a great trip! Luckily we dodged the bullet as this ship had the norovirus on the cruise after ours, unfortunate! The casino could be larger as people were trying to play various games but were unable at times as the tables were packed at all times. Entertainment was fabulous from the Vegas Tenors to the ice skating show to the fantastic Grease show! Really terrific entertainment plus the bands playing in the lounges were great too! We knew the weather was extremely windy in Cozumel so we signed up for the Mayan Cuisine cooking class held at Playa Mia Resort, so it was a cooking class and you could swim and use the water slides after class. The class was fantastic and the resort terrific!! Great day! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This is our first ever cruise and I have to admit, we are seriously disappointed. To start, we’ve always heard that one of the best parts of a cruise is the delicious food. Well, on this ship there is no good food to be found. The ... Read More
This is our first ever cruise and I have to admit, we are seriously disappointed. To start, we’ve always heard that one of the best parts of a cruise is the delicious food. Well, on this ship there is no good food to be found. The main dining, the buffet, the pizza shop, it’s all high school cafeteria quality. In the main dining they do try to dress it up a bit, but they’re just putting lipstick on a pig. The staff works their tail off and they deserve to be recognized for it but holy cow, the food is shameful. Even the kids don’t want to eat. The second most disappointing part is the lack of entertainment for kids. Royal Caribbean advertises SO MANY activities for children, but they really don’t live up to the advertisements at all. The kids clubs are underwhelming and rather boring. Our eleven year old didn’t want to attend at all, and our four year old was tired of the kids club by the first afternoon. Again, the staff tries really hard but they can only work with what they are given, and they aren’t given much. Which leads me to part #3. Without decent kids activities and clubs, there isn’t much to do. I guess if you wake up in the morning and immediately start drinking, and plan on drinking all day, then you’ll be happy. Of course kids can’t drink so they’re left being bored out of their minds. The mini golf, surfing simulator and other activities are open but they are full of drunk adults so the kids have a tough time with that. I’m willing to admit maybe my expectations of a cruise were too high when we booked, and that’s ok. However, for the cost and the way they advertise, very very little of the cruise lived up to expecectations. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This is our 3rd time on a RC cruise, 5th time overall. We were impressed with the Promenade shops, Ice Rink show, crew service, and were quite happy that our room which faced the Promenade was silent. (Great job soundproofing!) I also ... Read More
This is our 3rd time on a RC cruise, 5th time overall. We were impressed with the Promenade shops, Ice Rink show, crew service, and were quite happy that our room which faced the Promenade was silent. (Great job soundproofing!) I also had a massage while onboard which was excellent! We went to Labadee, Haiti and Falmouth, Jamaica on our trip. Port Details: -We chose to go on the zipline and coaster in Labadee, both were safe and a ton of fun! (Yes, the zipline is expensive but we felt like it was worth the money for 2 adults.) Since this is Royal Caribbean's private island, all of the chairs and sporting equipment was free to use. While the staff does prepare a lunch on the island, it was super hot that day so we appreciated being able to hop back onto the boat and eat at the WindJammer before heading back out for an afternoon swim. -In Falmouth, we found a driver to take us to Doctor's Cave which is a beach about 45 mins away from the port near Montego Bay. You pay a small fee to get in, $6/person, and it was not crowded at all. Water was beautiful, plenty of fish to observe snorkeling, and the food we ordered was excellent! You can pay to rent chairs and an umbrella, which we did and was well worth it. We felt safe the whole time at this beach. Full disclosure, we did have one guy come over and offer us weed, which we politely declined, and he was very respectful in leaving us alone for the rest of the day. Food: -We found most of the meals in the Romeo & Juliet dining hall to be tasty and there was plenty of variety. A couple of dinner entrees weren't fabulous but the staff hit the mark most of the time. Service, I will say, was top notch. We did eat at Chops one night - we both felt like the food wasn't quite as good as it's been on previous ships. Again, nothing was horrible or not prepared properly, just felt like our other experiences have been better. The Windjammer food is nothing to write home about and I wouldn't call the pizza on the Promenade very good but the Main Dining Hall was on point for each of our meals. Coffee was good everywhere! Ship Amenities: -With 2 days at sea, we found more than enough activities to keep ourselves busy. Huge props to RC for creating an adults-only pool area. Very relaxing and quiet. The shows were all very good but especially Grease and the Ice Rink show. Check them out! This was our first time on a ship with a Promenade - we liked it. Room: -We chose an interior room but upgraded to a view of the Promenade. The designers did an excellent job with the soundproofing so we didn't hear a thing from below. These rooms are small but we don't spend a lot of time in them so sufficient for our needs. Very clean and our steward was friendly - highly recommend staying in the middle of the ship. Everything Else: -While we really enjoyed ourselves, the upsell on the ship was difficult to escape. If RC is reading, please tone it down. Having the flash merch sales in the middle of the Promenade is inconvenient to those who are just trying to pass by. The photographers were a little aggressive in trying to get you to pose for a photo when all I want is to head out to the beach. I was disappointed that portions of the pool area were closed off to those of us who didn't purchase a suite or haven't cruised 20+ times. Finally, I marked on my reservation that we were celebrating a birthday and anniversary but nothing from the ship or crew acknowledging it. May be a process that needs to be tightened up. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
CABINS - We chose this as a family cruise, there were 8 of us traveling in 4 cabins. Balcony cabin 8324 Port Side was roomy and located well near the rear elevators, the mornings we arrived in the ports it was too hot to use the balcony ... Read More
CABINS - We chose this as a family cruise, there were 8 of us traveling in 4 cabins. Balcony cabin 8324 Port Side was roomy and located well near the rear elevators, the mornings we arrived in the ports it was too hot to use the balcony for relaxation as it faced the sunrise, it was sweltering (even on a Nov cruise). The balcony dividers are NOT private, you can see right through them to the cabins on each side. Interior Promenade view cabins 8257 and 8259 were connecting cabins, my adult children said they were quiet and they liked them very much, they said there was no issue being above the Promenade and they were located well near the forward elevators. Interior cabin 6403 was roomy and well liked by my Father in Law, convenient to the rear elevators, he had no complaints. The cabins overall were dated but they were roomy, clean and offered a lot of storage (drawers, cabinets, closet, shelves, hooks). The beds were like sleeping on cots, not very comfortable. Morning announcements started kind of early which is not to my liking being a night owl, but they kept them brief and to the point. The morning we arrived in Labadee Haiti we were not pleased at all with the local band playing on the pier as we arrived at 6:45 AM. Made for a very tiring day being woken up so early. It was lovely to be welcomed, but not at 6:45 AM. FOOD - I don't even know what to say other than it really wasn't very good, it seemed to lack quality and taste. Service everywhere was excellent. By no means are we picky eaters, we had a hard time with a few things just being that terrible. BAR SERVICE/ALCOHOL - Bartenders need to be sent back to bartending school and educated again on how to make mixed drinks and martinis. Many were undrinkable they were that bad. Frozen drinks were good, but if you asked for two flavors (Frozen Pina Colada and Frozen Peach Colada for example, they just poured straight Peach syrup over the Pina Colada). Drinks seem to be self-service, we did not encounter anyone walking around taking drink orders. We had to seek out a bar and it was pretty quick to get your order. PROMENADE - This is the area where the shops are and some additional dining. There is a Promenade Cafe that offers at no charge wraps, sandwiches, fruits, desserts, regular coffee and tea. They charge for specialty coffees, and they were very good. Sorrento Pizza was offered at no charge, it was good for a quick bite and tasted equivalent to a frozen pizza you'd make at home. For a charge they also had Ben & Jerry's ice cream and a Cupcake Shop. GYM - The gym was great, equipment was in working and clean order. Kind of strange but the treadmills said "no running". I'm sure there is a good reason, so we walked. ENTERTAINMENT - We enjoyed Grease, Abbacadabra and Dancing in the Street productions, all were excellent. We were able to get seats with no problems. POOLS - Tons of lounge chairs everywhere. Not a problem to get a place to relax, sometimes you just have to walk around a little, or go up one deck. We were not fond of the long lines to "check out" towels with our room cards and then have to wait in lines to "check in" the same towels when done, or receive a $25 per towel charge on our account per the signs. MY TIME DINING - We were able to make a standing reservation for the same time every night in the Romeo & Juliet Dining Room. The Dining Room was very nice and it was even decorated for Christmas. The service was excellent, the food not so good. Again we're all not picky, but it was pretty terrible. JOHNNY ROCKETS BURGERS - There is a $8 charge per person for "all you can eat", but that does not include milkshakes, they are extra. All burgers are cooked "well done" regardless of how you want them. Buns were stale and overall it was a waste of $50. Service was friendly and restaurant area was clean. FLO RIDER AND ROCK CLIMBING - We did not do these, but those that did looked like they were having fun. ICE SKATING AND MINI GOLF - We had fun with these activities. LABADEE HAITI - Other than being woken up by the local band at 6:45 AM walking up and down the pier we really liked Labadee. The adult kids (4 of them) did the Zipline, other than it costing over $400 for the 4 of them, they loved everything about it. Independence was the only ship in port when we were there so we had full run of everywhere without running into anyone. Beaches were clean and nice, abundant amount of lounge chairs with plenty of them in the shade available. Bathrooms/facilities were clean (the attendant even sprayed and wiped the seat before my 3 year old granddaughter used the toilet). I would suggest if you're a tipper, bring a few bucks to tip the bathroom attendants and the musicians that you walk by. Overall we had a very fun beach day in Labadee and we would look forward to going back. FALMOUTH JAMAICA - The fenced in port area where they corral everyone is a typical port with the jewelry and gift shop stores. Margaritaville was the only activity to do there, the pool was cloudy, they had an entertainment person with a microphone that needed to have said microphone taken away from her she was so annoying, she drove people away from relaxing by the pool. The photo people were demanding and rude. We bought a few t-shirts and frozen drinks, walked around a little and went back and spent the day on the ship along with most other passengers. We did not enjoy this port and we didn't feel safe in booking an excursion after seeing the "other side of the fenced in area" and hearing what many people were saying on the ship about not venturing anywhere outside of the port area on your own. I'm sure there are lovely places to see on this island, but it just wasn't for us. I will personally avoid all cruises with this as a port of call in the future, or if I can't I'll just stay on the ship. Overall we loved the ship, we loved the entertainment and we loved the service. The only disappointments were the quality of food and the Port of Call Falmouth. Read Less
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 2.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.8

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