1,823 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We went on this 5-night cruise with our two daughters, 6 (almost 7) and 4 as well as both sets of parents. Grandparents are 70's, we're 40's. We've been on 10 cruises - a few Carnival, a couple of Norwegian, one ... Read More
We went on this 5-night cruise with our two daughters, 6 (almost 7) and 4 as well as both sets of parents. Grandparents are 70's, we're 40's. We've been on 10 cruises - a few Carnival, a couple of Norwegian, one Holland America, one Celebrity and this is was our third Royal Caribbean. We chose this ship and its shorter itinerary because my parents have never been on a cruise (and, frankly, never really wanted to take one) and my in-laws have been on Disney cruises with my brother and sister-in-law and have mentioned they wouldn't enjoy it for more than 5 days or so. We had a good price on this (kids sail free) and there were lots of things for the kids to do. We didn't do even close to the number of things we could have done (no escape room, laser tag, etc.) but also keep in mind that RCI seems to really want to appeal to older families (tweens/teens) and adventurous adults. There were a number of things my girls couldn't do as they were too young and things that weren't appealing to the grandparents. But everyone found more than enough to do and the resounding review from everyone was that it was a terrific trip. (My parents are not converted to cruise people and I'm guessing in-laws would only ever go if they go with grandkids again but they were all very happy with their experience.) It sealed for me that I won't take shorter cruises again (at least not with the kids) - it costs a lot for us to travel to the ports, and PACKING on that last night is THE WORST. So I want to stay at least 7 nights! We chose an aft-facing balcony cabin. I debated a grand suite but decided the aft cabin was my happy-place and it cost less, anyway. The week before we did bid on the Royal Up program. (Weirdly, my husband received these emails inviting him to bid when I was the one listed first on all reservations and my email address was associated with the booking, etc...) We bid an extra $250 (per person so $500 as they only bid for the first two in the cabin) for a Grand Suite and an extra $350 (so $700 total) for a 2-bedroom suite. We did not get either of these but were really, really happy with the size and location of 1702 on Deck 10 that we had already booked and paid for. This cabin was deeper than we expected (full size couch as opposed to loveseat) and the balcony was huge. I'm sure I would have loved either of the upgrades but this really sealed my love of deep aft balconies and I'm glad we didn't pay the extra as we really loved this cabin. Activities: 1. 6 year old did Sky Pad. It was fun. She wanted to do it again but she wasn't over-the-moon about it so we didn't make the time to do it again. Everyone helping with this was super nice. 2. Water slide - 6 year old was big enough but since she's only a little over 50lb she had to push herself to get started again three times. So a bust for her! (Which was good - I didn't want her to spend her entire vacation waiting in line for a water slide!) 3. Rock wall - DH did it twice and had a great time. 6 year old did it twice and had major disappointment. They just send the next person on the next run and didn't make efforts to ensure it was a feasible run for that person. She was put on the hardest runs both times and the person running it didn't give her any advice or help when she looked down for encouragement. The first time they did let her try 3 times but it would have been nice if they'd helped point out options for her when she was stuck. (I totally get that they're keeping their eye on a million people and things, though, and this isn't a lesson!) It was not their fault but I felt badly as this was something she was really, really looking forward to and was a tearful experience both times. (Again, not really their fault. And she's pretty game for anything so I was a bit surprised by her reaction.) 4. Kids splash area was terrific - really fun for the kids! Plenty to do to keep them interested for a long time! Smaller slides and a bigger slide that they really enjoyed. 5. Pools were nice - as with all cruise ship pools I think they could be bigger but everyone seems to fit. We swam early evening twice and that was really nice as it wasn't crowded. One night, though, they were playing a poolside movie that included a lot of swear words (including the worst of them!) - I was surprised they'd play a movie like that in the pool area at any time, really, on a family ship. 6. Entertainment staff seemed to be really fun. We only caught a couple of "shows" out by the pool and they were great. 7. The ice show was good. We didn't ice skate this time - we did on our last cruise (Navigator of the Seas) and it was fun but we decided we weren't going to spend the time doing it. 8. We didn't make it to any shows (other than ice show) but the grandparents saw grease and they said it was really good. Ports Labadee - was beautiful with plenty to do. The grandparents got off with us when they originally planned not to and they were all glad they did as it was beautiful and relaxing (despite not really being beach people). The lunch was really good. Columbus Cove was where we landed and that was a great choice for us. Calm water, beautiful view. Husband and 6 year old did the Arawark inflatable water park and had fun. (It lasted forever!) Falmouth - we did the all-inclusive Blue Waters Beach excursion mostly due to its proximity to the port. (10 minute bus ride). The bus was really nice, the place was small and manageable, no hassling for sales or to buy things. Well-run and a really good excursion for us. The water stayed really shallow so it was great for our little kids. (I wrote a review on a popular trip review site if you'd like to hear more.) The port area was nice, clean and not pushy. This is essentially the review I sent to Royal Caribbean after the cruise: Amazing stuff: ~ Our dinner wait staff! Loved that they gave tips for the following day each night. Head waiter checked on us and also gave tips for ports. ~ Head waiter (or maitre d?) approached us immediately the very first night we arrived to escort us straight to our table when he saw my mother with a cane - that was so appreciated! He told us to never wait, find him or go straight in each night. (We kept our same table as we enjoyed Roman/Reagan.) ~ Service around the ship was friendly and welcoming. ~ The Washy Washy guys - AWESOME! ~ Ship was sparkling clean and well-maintained. ~ Great activities. ~ Food was better than I've had on a cruise in a long time. (Last cruise was Navigator in 2017 - food was good but not like this!) The main dining room was incredible food each night and the Windjammer was always good with tons of options. (With exception of Windjammer desserts and pastries.) ~ Disembark at ports was easy. ~ Labadee was beautiful and well-maintained. ~ Ship was super easy to navigate - the maps and signs outside of elevators/stairs were easy to read and follow. ~ Kids club - kids loved it and wanted to go every day. There were a few hitches discussed below. Staff was super friendly and kind to the kids. ~ Customs wait was awful but I REALLY appreciated the way the luggage was super easy to find when disembarking! Perfect way to do it! ~ Embarkation was smooth for having so many people waiting to get on. It was organized and felt "fair" as people were seated as they arrived. Appreciate that! Opportunities: ~ Stateroom attendant was good but sometimes overlooked restocking towels - easy to rectify if needed and otherwise did terrific job. (Not a problem, just justifying the rating I provided to RCI in this area on their survey.) ~ The bartenders were hard to get a smile out of and they looked exhausted. They did what they needed to do, were as efficient as possible and made good drinks. (Of course there were friendly exceptions but the majority of them seemed worn out and too tired to smile or be friendly. In their defense, the ship was full and I'm sure they were busy and tired.) ~The app was both terrific and frustrating because you needed more information than it gave. Eg - please list the time-frame activities are open (as is done in the Compass) as well as listing it every half hour if you need reservations. Also lot of information left out. I had read somewhere (online while planning?) that my 4 year old couldn't use the Sky Pad but when I checked the app it said at least 20 lb., must be > 7 to use VR. Since it listed an age for that, I assumed she could go. Turned out she needed to be 5. It would be a huge help to list ALL of the details needed for each experience so that cruisers didn't have to look in various places to get all of the information they need. ~ List which shows are when so people can plan their week in the app. I didn't make it to any shows due to small kids but I know someone missed Grease because they thought it'd be shown again later in the week. Since you get Compass nightly you cannot plan out your week and don't know what's coming in the days ahead. ~ The app sometimes showed what the "headliner " show was and sometimes it just said "Headliner Show" - even on the day of that event and after refreshing. So, again, have to rely on Compass to get the rest of the information. ~ My fault but I wish I'd known I wouldn't be able to buy photos on the last morning - I went down to buy all digital photos but the photo area wasn't open and I was out of luck on all of the pictures taken during the cruise by cruise photographers. (So sad we didn't take any family pictures on formal night! The photos they took were beautiful as we'd reviewed them previously but I was waiting until the last morning to decide if I should get all of them or choose a number of them instead.) ~ Windjammer desserts and morning pastries were just so-so. It seemed very few were made on the ship - those that were made there (caramel and sweet rolls) were very good. (Definitely the low point of otherwise terrific food. Probably good for my diet, though!) Dining room desserts were terrific. ~ Getting off the ship at the end was a free-for-all. People didn't follow the luggage tag order and just left whenever they wanted despite announcements that things were backed up. I've never taken so long to get through customers on a cruise! It was a little nutty and I was happy my flight was delayed or I'd have been in a major panic. ~ Kids club was generally fun but my 6 year old had a tough time one night and part of another night because there were kids who weren't listening and making things really hard for the teachers. Not sure what to do about that - another way to give time-outs or call parents to come and get them? I felt badly for teachers because that must have been really hard and it really affected the way my daughter felt about her previously beloved "Kids Club" experiences. ~ Kids programs would benefit from a way for the staff to contact parents. I'm sure it's only rarely needed but maybe it'd help those kids who are not participating well? ~ Kids program was full one night and we waited 30 minutes for an opening. I kind of expected this as it was during spring break but it was too bad more staff couldn't be called. At least 10 parents showed up to drop off when I waited with my (surprisingly patient) 4 year old and some were really upset because it was a big problem for their plans for the evening. Overall we had an amazing cruise. The items listed in opportunities are just that - they're not complaints or areas of dissatisfaction as they are small in comparison to the great time we had and how smoothly most things went. My in-laws were along and have previously been on several Disney cruises and said this compared very well and had points they preferred over Disney. My parents were along and have never cruised (and, frankly, weren't really interested but wanted to go along with the grandchildren) and they had a great time - they were surprised by how much they enjoyed it all. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Independence of the Seas to Haiti & Jamaica. 3/9/19 This was a Spring break cruise for my family. We brought our adult kids and their friends. We live in Florida, so we drove 4 hours to the port in the morning. I pre-booked parking ... Read More
Independence of the Seas to Haiti & Jamaica. 3/9/19 This was a Spring break cruise for my family. We brought our adult kids and their friends. We live in Florida, so we drove 4 hours to the port in the morning. I pre-booked parking at the park and go. My husband dropped us off with the luggage and drove to the parking lot, and they shuttled him back. He was back with us in 10 minutes. We gave our luggage to the porter and went through security with our carry on's after a quick stop at the expedited desk (gold members) we walked right on the ship, it was 1:00. Our rooms were ready, so we dropped off our carry on bags, the kids changed into swimsuits, and we went for lunch. Luckily we missed the rush, it was typical buffet food, salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta, fried chicken, some Asian food that I don't eat, etc... Nothing to write home about, in fact, I think the food is Royal Caribbean’s biggest weakness. We booked a balcony cabin on deck 7 and the "kids" had an inside cabin across the hall from us. I booked this cruise a month before sailing, and it was for Spring break, so my options were limited to find 2 cabins near each other. Our cabin 7398 (spacious oceanview balcony) was excellent, the only drawback was the long walk, but honestly, after the first day, I really didn't mind the walk at all. I was worried it would be loud at the back of the ship, but it was not, I would stay there again!! Our cabin steward was wonderful, wish I could say the same for the person who took care of the kid's room. We never saw him, he never left any towel animals in the room, and there was broken glass on the floor for 2 days, I finally had to ask my guy to take care of it. This is why I don't like the gratuities being automatically charged to the account. I went down to guest services to complain about the kid's room not being cleaned, and I was told rather abruptly that all rooms are cleaned every-day, and the only reason it wouldn't be was if the do not disturb sign was up. I assured them this was not the case, but he just stared at me like I had 2 heads. I asked if he could make sure someone went in there today because one of the small glass shelves in the bathroom cabinet was broken, and there was still some glass on the floor. No one ever came to the room, I had to ask my steward to clean it when we got back to the ship from being in port all day. We spent the first day exploring the ship, she is beautiful!! There is so much to do, if you don’t have fun on this cruise, it is because you don’t want to!! I was worried with this big of a ship, and this many passenger’s, it would feel really crowded, it did not!! Except for the places you would expect, like around the main pool, but there are so many lounge chairs, you just go up a level, and there are plenty of seats. Never had trouble finding a table in the windjammer for lunch (buffet). We arrived for most of the shows just a few minutes before they started, and never had trouble finding 6 seats together (even for grease). The shows were all really good! The late-night comedian the first night was disappointing, she did not know her audience, or how to change gears when she wasn’t getting the laughs. The late comedian on the last night was awesome, we laughed so hard it hurt!! The cruise director is hysterical also. He runs the Love and Marriage game, and the Quest game. Both are not to be missed.. so much fun!! Our favorite place to hang out during the day was in the adult only Solarium. It has 2 hot tubs that hang out over the side of the ship, big enough for 20 people in each, and the pool in this area has adirondack chairs in ankle deep water, and bar stools in the deep part of the pool. The pool is also deep enough that you can swim, not just walk across like most ships have. There are lots of chairs in the shade, for those that don’t want to get any sun. There is a bar right there, so you don’t have to go to far to get a drink. However, these are the slowest people I have ever seen in my life. They make everyone stand in a single file line to get a drink, I attempted to sit in a bar stool to order a drink and was told if I wasn’t going to sit there and finish my drink, I would have to get in the line. So, no one ever at sat at that bar, it was just weird. I ended up going to the next pool bar to get my drinks, because it was always much faster. As far as the extra attractions on board, the kids all did the flow rider, they have separate times for people that want to lay on the board (boogie board style), and those that want to stand up (surf style). It is always a shorter line to boogie board, they only waited 20 minutes. There is plenty of seating for those of us there to just watch. The line to surf standing on the board took about an hour. It is so much fun to watch everyone do it, the wait did not seem that long. The staff are very patient with all the guests, and really want everyone to succeed at it! We thought you had to pay for the lessons in order to ride it, but you don’t, just sign a waiver, get a wrist band and wait in line. The slide always had a line as well, but it moved very fast. They all did the rock climbing, and the archery. They waited maybe 10 minutes and enjoyed it. The sky-pad was not something we attempted, and after hearing about the man who fell off it, we were glad we didn’t use it. The girls went ice skating, they said the skates were in terrible shape, she has been in skating all her life, so she would know. The blades were very dull, and small kids were falling everywhere because they don’t have those walker style things to help them. The girls decided it was just to dangerous to be out there, the were afraid for the little ones, so they left. We wanted to do the escape room, but never got around to it, and at an extra $20 a head times 6 of us, the $120. went elsewhere. Mini golf was fun, pool volleyball was fun, as was the volleyball tournament. The kids were not interested in the arcade, but did play the games in the sports pub, they have corn hole, foosball, pool tables, dart boards, and some arcade style basketball and ski ball games. We tried the wings in there, and they were very good, of course, we had to pay for them. The casino was smaller than I thought it would be for a ship this size. We are not big gamblers, but we managed to donate a few hundred dollars over the course of the cruise. The staff made it fun to lose your money! The night club on the 14th floor is fun, it was always crowded, but that is to be expected. The bar staff there was exceptional, this is the only place where we tipped extra. They really earned their money and took care of the crowds of people. One night they held a silent disco, it is not to be missed. Everyone is given headphones, and the room is silent. It is so funny to watch people dance to different music that you can’t hear. If you go, take your headphones off and just watch the crowd, too funny!! It was a very windy week, so we never did any of the outdoor at night events, they had dancing under the stars one night, and movies by the pool, can’t comment on any of those. Breakfast in the dining room was wonderful, you could order from the menu, or if in a hurry, they have a buffet. We ordered room service one morning, it came about an hour later than we asked for, but it was a sea day, so no worries there. We enjoyed it out on the balcony. The dining room was a disappointment every night. The food was just bland, honestly unless you want a steak every night, you will be disappointed. Even the desert left a lot to be desired, we all ordered something and passed them around, boring. I wonder if this is done to get you to pay to go to one of the other restaurants onboard where you pay extra. The waiter was very hard to understand, he was Indian, and got upset when I asked him to slow down when speaking. He also asked us to give him a good review on the survey they email you after the cruise. His assistant was wonderful and got us everything we needed. We all had the drink package, and he remembered what each of us was drinking every night. We ended up skipping the dining room one night to go to Johnny Rockets for hamburgers. It was really good, we had to pay $10 each, but you could have as much as you wanted, except the shakes were another $5. Gold members are buy one shake get one free, but you have to ask for the discount, they don’t just give it to you. On our last night we were charged for our drinks in the dining room, even though we have the drink package. We did not know this until we got up the next morning and found the bill slipped under the door. You must go to guest services to have the charge removed, but they are kicking you off the ship, and the line for guest services is about an hour long at this point. We left thinking we could just call when we got home. No such luck, I wonder how many people they pull this little trick on. We debated over getting the drink package, but it worked out that we got our money out of it. We figured 5 drinks a day would cover it. I’m not a big drinker, but when on vacation, I have a few more than normal because I am up and out more than usual. I had a frozen drink by the pool during the day, 2 drinks at diner, because it took so long, one at the show, one if we went to the casino or karaoke, and another one at the late night comedy show or the night club. That put me at 6 for the day, most nights it was more than one drink late night. It sounds like a lot, but if you think about being out from 6:00 pm for dinner until 2:00 am when the night club shut down, that is less than a drink an hour. Overall, I loved the ship, she is beautiful and there is so much to do, the service was lacking in certain areas, and the food was very disappointing, despite this we had a great time.. I will review the ports and excursions in Haiti and Jamaica that we did in another post. I will also post the Cruise Compass. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I am writing this review since we traveled with children that have food allergies. I was concerned that they would not receive the care and attention they would need during meal times and be left with poor choices. I have a child with ... Read More
I am writing this review since we traveled with children that have food allergies. I was concerned that they would not receive the care and attention they would need during meal times and be left with poor choices. I have a child with Celiac disease and another with a peanut/nut allergy. There was no need for me to worry. They took exceptional care of the kids and tried to give them everything they wanted. Our dining service team was exceptional. My daughter had gluten free food made specially so that she had little to no cross-contamination. She did not get sick at all on the week cruise. She had everything she wanted from desserts, to whole pizzas made just for her. Since my husband and I could relax knowing they would be fine it made the whole cruise experience better. They always had activities to keep them busy and entertained. We liked the ice show and the poolside activities were entertaining. We were able to enjoy the ocean view and a drink. I don't write reviews but I am sure someone out there may have the same concerns but we were really impressed. We already booked another Royal Caribbean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was mine and my husbands first every cruise!!! This is a beautiful, well-designed ship. There is a lot to do aboard this ship, the music and shows were amazing. The ice skating show was spectacular. The Escape Room was super ... Read More
This was mine and my husbands first every cruise!!! This is a beautiful, well-designed ship. There is a lot to do aboard this ship, the music and shows were amazing. The ice skating show was spectacular. The Escape Room was super fun!!! The Washy Washy Guys that greet you upon every entrance to the Windjammer Café were very fun and entertaining!!!! The crew was so friendly and attentive to their guests. Our room was always very tidy and stocked with clean towels and washrags. We purchased the drink package (highly recommend) which was well worth the money. You could drink as much as you wanted just about anywhere on the ship. This package included, tea, coffee, soda, water and your adult beverages. It would be nice if they had more soda fountains located throughout the ship. The ports were a lot of fun, we actually enjoyed Costa Maya more than Cozumel. We enjoyed the pool w/ swim up bar in Costa Maya and the folks there were super friendly and fun. We purchased the Playa Mia Deluxe Beach Day in Cozumel which was well worth it, but the shop owners in Cozumel are a little pushy with their products. The only negative thing that I feel I need to mention is not RC's fault but we chose our vacation during Spring Break 2019 and there were so many young college students on the cruise and they were barely clothed. They overcrowded the pools and their bathing suits had very little material!!! So be careful of the date you choose to sail! Other than that....I would sail on the Independence of the Seas again and again and again!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The crew was very nice and welcoming. Embarkation was lightning fast. It was the start of spring break so there were a few more college kids than normal which made the pool area busier than other cruises. The pool bar and drink ... Read More
The crew was very nice and welcoming. Embarkation was lightning fast. It was the start of spring break so there were a few more college kids than normal which made the pool area busier than other cruises. The pool bar and drink service was very slow. The Windjammer food was not great during lunch time, but breakfast was good. The breakfast sandwiches in the Pizza restaurant were the best. Dinner in the main dining room was hit or miss. Grease was great and Mo5ac was fantastic. The ice show is a must see! There was not as much live music on this cruise as previous ones. There seemed to be less activities compared to previous RC cruises, but this was our first cruise under 7 days on RC. The ship still is in great shape and clean. You would never guess it’s 11 years old. We are cruising on the Independence again in 10 months with our whole family and are excited to go back on the Independence. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We were spoiled on this cruise as we were fortunate enough to stay in a suite and enjoy all of the perks and benefits that come along with that. That being said, this review will focus on the general ship amenities/experience. We went on a ... Read More
We were spoiled on this cruise as we were fortunate enough to stay in a suite and enjoy all of the perks and benefits that come along with that. That being said, this review will focus on the general ship amenities/experience. We went on a sold out/ nearly sold out cruise during a school break and I was nervous that the ship would be overrun with kids...it wasn't. I was worried that there wouldn't be capacity in Adventure Ocean for my kids, but there was room. I was worried that the ship would be trashed with ice cream cones and pizza plates, but it was clean. I had read reviews that the food in the Main Dining Room was bland and warned my family to have low expectations, but it was good. I knew that the rooms hadn't been updated with the recent refurbishment and expected the cabins to look tired, but the stateroom attendants and other staff work so hard to keep everything clean and polished it looked nice. I had read about long lines at bars and was expecting that too - but again, not the case. I never had to wait more than a few minutes, except at the swim-up bar in CocoCay, but that is a unique sort of a place. The Escape Room was fun too - I'd recommend it. My little one loved the new Splashaway Bay. I'd recommend this ship - very fun family cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Not "us". We did the Celebrity Edge the week prior. So we went looking for a cruise that left FLL or MIA on Sun or Mon. There were 3. (HAL, CCL, and RCCL). We had never done an RCCL. We have put many clients on them, and ... Read More
Not "us". We did the Celebrity Edge the week prior. So we went looking for a cruise that left FLL or MIA on Sun or Mon. There were 3. (HAL, CCL, and RCCL). We had never done an RCCL. We have put many clients on them, and they ALL love it. So for us this was research into the brand, and what it is like. It was well worth it for that alone. My personal take-aways: - Food was Good to Very Good. Buffet was HUGH, one of the most diverse we have ever seen. But it was CROWDED, and we just are NOT buffet people. MD was nice. Late seating. GREAT waitress. Food selections in MD were just OK. Not great, or diverse, but tasty. Portions were BIG (for us). Pizza (we eat glueten free) was one of the best crusts we have ever had. Other GF options were VERY hard to come by. - Entertainment was not what we like. The BIG show was Grease. A re-re-re-off-off-off Broadway thing. Well done. HUGH cast, but we MUCH prefered CEL's unique Edge type entertainment. The ice show was SPECTACULAR. Two really good bar bands. The Piano Bar was NOT Great - just OK. He was a bit goofey (Billed as comedy piano). Never finished a song - like he had adult ADHD. - The jumpie thing was broken. We both enjoyed the water slides. I did the wave thing. The adult pool was too full for us to even consider, and the hot tubs even worse. I can see where this fits multi-generational as kids pool looked really fun from the upper (granpa) lounge. - Room was ÖK". We had a last min. assignment (booked 3 weeks before sailing). Inside up front. Got what we got. Not a ton of storage. Only one receptacle. Room steward was good, but not great. Room seemed a bit small. Two BIG negatives. 1) The quantity of people. Ship was FULL FULL FULL. Not just kids, but I don't know where another 1,000 adults would have gone. Just too many people. And the NOISE and hub-bub were impossible to get away from. I realize this is a personal choice, and some LOVE all this action, so not going to call this a RCCL problem. 2) This IS an RCCL problem: Ship was FILTY. We boarded, and public areas were not clean. ie: lime on the deck from previous cruise. Carpet was visibally dirty in many public areas, and in the room. They really need to empty the ship one day every month or so and do a deep cleaning. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Amazing staff, amazing shows, amazing food, but please, please, please pay attention to dates of school breaks. The boat was overrun with barely dressed 12-16 year olds running wild. I'm amazed for a family ship they wont enforce a ... Read More
Amazing staff, amazing shows, amazing food, but please, please, please pay attention to dates of school breaks. The boat was overrun with barely dressed 12-16 year olds running wild. I'm amazed for a family ship they wont enforce a slight dress code and by slight I mean no side boobage from a 15 year old girl! And parents, watch your kids. We happened upon a fair share of kids on top of one another by the ping pong tables and back deck near the jogging track. Very awkward and shocking. I'm only 30 and was a bit caught off guard by the PDA of the teens. Onto the good....2 awesome water slides and a fun surfing simulator ride. But by far favorite was the entertainment. I cannot say enough how amazing Grease, Love and Marriage, and Crazy Quest were. Grease did cancel the first night so the crowd was a bit excessive the only other night it played but definitely worth it. Besides the mostly naked teens, the one other major disappointment was Coco Cay. The island beauty was overpowered by the construction. Right off the bat you are ferried from the boat through the middle of construction. While they try to separate the noise and chaos, it's just not possible as they were building cabanas right by the beach chairs. Overall, would do Royal again with my husband given there are no school breaks. As for family, so disappointed by the overly enthusiastic, hormone driven teens that we would go with Disney for family. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are experienced cruisers but have not been on Royal Caribbean for many years. Things have changed. We were greeted to over 1000 children as we tried to eat lunch on day one. I expected Walt Disney to arrive at any moment. We just ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers but have not been on Royal Caribbean for many years. Things have changed. We were greeted to over 1000 children as we tried to eat lunch on day one. I expected Walt Disney to arrive at any moment. We just didn’t expect that so many children would be on a cruise during school days and were not told to expect. Had a nice table by the window for dining however after the second night of a table of 12 next to us having a party we ate dinner at the buffet after. BTW—no dress code in the dining room. Food was so so at best. Royal Caribbean allows smoking in certain public areas including the casino. The problem is that in order to get to the theatre you must walk through the casino—our clothes smelled like smoke. Second hand smoke also drifts in the sports bar next door as well as the adjoining lounge. I think Royal Caribbean needs to re-think the customer base they really want. Looks like they are trying to be Carnival and Disney all in one but the two don’t mix well in our opinion. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We just sailed on the Indy Feb 2019. Myself, my husband, and two sons (7-10yrs) had an absolute blast. The ship was beautiful. The washy washy guys at the entrance of the windjammer literally made everyone smile every day. The food was ... Read More
We just sailed on the Indy Feb 2019. Myself, my husband, and two sons (7-10yrs) had an absolute blast. The ship was beautiful. The washy washy guys at the entrance of the windjammer literally made everyone smile every day. The food was good. However... The Sky Pad (The thing my kids COULD NOT WAIT TO DO) was broken for the whole cruise. There is a "clothesline" in your shower to hold wet bathing suits. The one in our cabin was literally black with mold on it. The "my time dining" really ended up being a reservation due to the crew pushing you to keep a set time and table. The Grease show was postponed "due to medical issues" And the frozen drinks... I never remember them making the frozen drink and then just pouring the alcohol on the top?? Cococay was not done yet so the trip there was pretty boring. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I had a great time on this cruise. One of the things I liked was the washy-washy duo outside the Windjammer . RC made multiple sinks available to wash your hands prior to eating. Cleanliness is a must on a ship and these reminders were ... Read More
I had a great time on this cruise. One of the things I liked was the washy-washy duo outside the Windjammer . RC made multiple sinks available to wash your hands prior to eating. Cleanliness is a must on a ship and these reminders were important. I liked the pool entertainment: the belly flop contest, the sexy man contest, the men v women contest and I'm not the only one who was entertained - all contests had roaring, cheering crowds.The staff was polite and smiling. The food looked delicious and tasted the same. I took the bus tour in Ocho Rios Jamaica and the guide, Ann Mare, shared many interesting facts . In Labadee I snorkeled; saw lots of fish and aquatic vegetation. My stateroom attendant kept the place tidy. Really, the entire adventure was a blast. And while I was away, my hometown got hammered with snow. I had fun in the sun while my friends were digging out! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Got off of Independence of the Seas yesterday – 5 nights western Caribbean (Cozumel & Costa Maya) Feb. 4 – Feb. 9, 2019. Please feel free to ask any questions. Background: Just 2 of us – my DW and myself, mid-50s from ... Read More
Got off of Independence of the Seas yesterday – 5 nights western Caribbean (Cozumel & Costa Maya) Feb. 4 – Feb. 9, 2019. Please feel free to ask any questions. Background: Just 2 of us – my DW and myself, mid-50s from Connecticut. This was our third cruise, all on RCI. Our first 2 cruises were both on Anthem of the Seas (5 nights to Bermuda in Sept. 2017 and 7 nights to Port Canaveral / Nassau in Oct./Nov. 2018). We chose this cruise as a relatively quick escape in warmer climates and on a different ship. We flew to Fort Lauderdale the day before and stayed at the Courtyard Marriott. We took an Uber from the airport to the hotel (I didn’t feel like waiting for the hotel’s shuttle), and took the free hotel shuttle to the port the morning of the cruise. Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 11:30 and were quickly checked in (it helps to be a gold member). Boarding started at noon and we boarded at 12:30 (again, it helps to have gold status) and it was right up to one of the pool-side bars. Cabins were ready at 1:30. The previous cruise was the annual 70000 Tons of Metal cruise, so it took the crew a little longer to get everything ready (and I think they were a little worn out, but they still did a great job all cruise). Cabin: Balcony cabin on deck 9 aft/port. Cabin was fine – in fact it seemed slightly larger than what we’ve had on Anthem (both the cabin and balcony). Only 2 power outlets to charge things which we made do with, but Anthem is much better with additional outlets plus USB ports. Our steward Lennox was terrific and made the best towel animal we’ve seen – DW called it Oscar the orangutan – he was hanging from a hanger with was hanging on the half curtain in front of the bed. Dining & Bars: We had breakfast every day in the Windjammer which was fine – the usual for RCI. Consistency seemed to be a problem. First morning I got an eggs florentine which was ice cold. The remaining mornings I made my own version of eggs benedict by grabbing a toasted muffin or bagel and putting my own fried eggs on – all of which was hot and delicious. The scrambled eggs were delicious as well. One morning my orange juice (they pour it for you, unlike Anthem which was self-serve) was hot – I think they poured it into a glass that had just come out of the dishwasher. From then on it was ice-water every morning. We didn’t typically have lunch, but did have a few mid-day snacks of pizza at Sorrento’s. The pizza was decent – better than on Anthem (full disclaimer – I grew up eating Sally’s & Pepe’s in New Haven, so my standards for pizza are pretty high). We had dinner 4 of the 5 nights in the main dining room using My Time dining (7:30 each night). Because we booked these nights/times in advance, we had the same table and wait staff, and they were terrific (waiter Ionut and assistant waiter Yehven). Ionut would take the time each night to engage in some small conversation and made us feel very welcome, and both remembered our names after the first night. Overall the food was quite good and got better each night. All of the appetizers and desserts were excellent and the entrees were pretty decent except the first night when my prime rib was rubbery and drowned in a thick, brown gravy and DW’s strip steak was overcooked and seasoned very poorly (one end was extremely salty and the other end had no salt). We both had the spaghetti bolognese (on different nights) and it was excellent. The one night we didn’t eat in the MDR we ate at Chops. We had eaten at Chops on Anthem and had a terrific meal, so we thought we’d try it on Indy. It was just as good if not better. The waitress was great (I can’t remember her name, just that she’s Russian). And all of the food was excellent, including the steaks (we both had filets) being prepared perfectly. Clearly RCI knows what they’re doing with their steakhouse. We had the deluxe drink package and probably broke even. All of the bars were terrific and we never had to wait for service. The Olive Twist on deck 14 is a hidden gem. We had pre-dinner drinks there almost every night and there were only a few people there. It’s got a great view. Sadly the bartender there didn’t know how to mix drinks – I had the worst whiskey sour and worst gin & tonic I’ve ever had at this bar. All other bars and drinks were good, including the drinks of the day. Activities & Shows: We didn’t do too many of the activities. We would have done the escape room, but not for $20 per person (on Anthem there was no charge for the escape room – I didn’t understand why there was a charge on Indy). We did play 9 holes of mini-golf which was fun (my guess is the mini-golf course was installed during last year’s rehab as it was in excellent shape and seemed new). The water slides looked like great fun – always a small line but it never seemed like a long wait and everyone came out with a big smile on their face. We saw Grease and it was excellent (almost as good as We Will Rock You on Anthem). We also saw the ice-skating show which was amazing – Olympic and national champions from around the world doing amazing things on a very small rink (about a quarter the size of a hockey rink). Cruise director Daniel and the activities director (I can’t remember her name either, just that she’s from Scotland) were great. We saw them at the Love & Marriage show, belly-flop competition, lip-sync competition, and Quest game show and all were a lot of fun, thanks in large part to them. Ports: This was our first time in Mexico. We didn’t do any excursions. For both ports, we just walked around. In Cozumel we walked the immediate area off the ship, and then headed down to Sting Ray beach. I’d read other reviews that said to watch out for all of the shop keepers who get right in your face to sell you something and those reviews were dead on. In Costa Maya we just walked around the immediate port area with all of the shops and stuff. We did see the swim-with-dolphins attraction which was great – everyone looked to be having an amazing time. We also went into the aviary which was great fun. They give you a little plastic cup with bird seed and sunflower seeds to feed the birds, and the birds are not shy about landing on you and eating. It was very neat. And when in Mexico… we had a Mexican beer at the Mexican cantina just to say we did it. Disembarkation: As usual with RCI, this was easy. We stayed in our cabin on the balcony until we had to vacate at 8:30. We were scheduled to disembark at 9:45, but walked off at 9:15. Luggage was waiting for us, and clearing customs took only a couple of minutes – we were in a taxi heading to the airport by 9:30. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I traveled on the newly amped Indy the last week of January with my kids and we had the time of our lives. I’d like to touch on some things that I couldn’t find in reviews, specifically for parents traveling with kids. Embarkation ... Read More
I traveled on the newly amped Indy the last week of January with my kids and we had the time of our lives. I’d like to touch on some things that I couldn’t find in reviews, specifically for parents traveling with kids. Embarkation from Ft Lauderdale was extremely organized and I was thankful for the large play structure for the kids to run around on while we waited. My kids were ages 3 and almost 7 and both loved Adventure Ocean. They were in different groups, which was actually good because they got a break from each other. The camp hours were 9-12, 2-5 and 7-10. The youngest age group, ages 3-5, filled up quickly at night. Capacity is 30 kids and they were always at capacity after dinner. Also, the rate after 10pm is extremely reasonable at $7 per child per hour. They also prorated it, so one evening I picked up at 10:40 and they charged me $3.50 per child. The kids activities on this ship were great and there was so much to do. The kids Splashaway Bay was great for both kids and the 2 feet deep kids pool was where my 3 year old spent so much time. It was nice that Fish and Ships had a bar to utilize, the free ice cream was right near by, and the main pools were just around the corner. So many hot tubs to use in that general area. It was a great set up. Also, Windjammer being right through the door was great, the kids could get food and get right back to the pool. I checked my younger one into kids camp and was able to do laser tag, the big water slides and sky pad with my older child. He loved all these activities. Both kids loved ice skating and the large climbing structure near the Flow Rider. We never got a chance to do the rock wall or mini golf. As far as the ice skating goes, they have blocks of time to skate. So if they’re open for skating from 5-8, go sign up for a block of time. The schedule was weird and we didn’t get as much skating time in because of it. I saw a comedy/magic show which in my opinion, was terrible. I also saw Grease, which was fantastic, not cheesy at all, I really enjoyed it and the theater was packed. I arrived 40 minutes before the show and it’s a good thing I did. People had a hard time finding seats. We did my time dining in the MDR on deck 3 at 5:30 every night. It was the earliest dining which I wanted for my kids but we had the same table by the window every night. Food was great, kids menu got kind of boring for my kids by the end of the week. I wish they would have had a grilled chicken or steak option, different pasta dishes, veggies choices like corn on the cob, etc. They basically served them “kid food” which they definitely got tired of because they ate it for lunch as well. For extras, Sugar Beach was an inexpensive fun treat for the kids. I let them get a few pieces here and there and it was well worth the small cost to treat them. The kids arcade was a complete and total ripoff. The was the only thing on the entire ship that had me rolling my eyes at the pricing. $2-3 for ONE GAME?!? At home these games are at most $.50 each. My kids begged to play in the arcade and I refused. Nope, no way. Not paying $50 for them to each play 10 games. Just no. The music on the Royal Prom was fun for all ages, the kids loved dancing. I really enjoyed the layout of this ship. Service was good, food was good, and I’ve sold my kids on cruising. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We (myself, wife and 13 yr old son) sailed on Independence of the Seas: 1/25/2019. This was a 6-night sailing that stopped in Nassau, Labadee and Falmouth. This was our forth cruise with RCCL and 7th overall since 2014. We had a very ... Read More
We (myself, wife and 13 yr old son) sailed on Independence of the Seas: 1/25/2019. This was a 6-night sailing that stopped in Nassau, Labadee and Falmouth. This was our forth cruise with RCCL and 7th overall since 2014. We had a very nice time and even some poor weather did not affect us that much. There was just so much to do on ship that we did not get around to everything. Embarkation was smooth. We arrived at the port about 10:15 and were on the ship by 11:30. Our cabin was ready at 1:00 and our luggage was delivered around 5:00. We did attend most, but not all of the shows. The ABBA (ABBACADABRA) show was nice and the production of Grease had us toe tapping and singing along. We’re in our early 50s and grew up to much of that music. Kudos to the production teams of both of those shows. Also attended a comedy show (Rondell Sheridan) who was very funny in both in the ‘family’ show and the ‘Adults Only’ show. The ice show was very entertaining as well and very similar to what we experienced on the ‘Freedom of the Seas’ back in 2016. My son and I tried the ‘SkyPad’ on the first day and we were both a little underwhelmed. We were going to try and get back to it again later in the cruise but never did. My son did play laser tag and said it was fun but was in a very confined area. I wanted to try so many more of the activities on board but just didn't get around to it. Did not try the flo-rider, rock wall or the 'Perfect Storm' water slides but did play a few rounds of mini golf and enjoyed that. My son tried the other activities and had a great time. The food was generally very good and we had dinner in the main dining room every night. On sea days, we also had lunch in the main dining room and would highly recommend doing this if time permits. Not that the food is that much better but finding a table is simple and you also get waited on like during dinner. Sorrentos was a hit when we sailed on Freedom of the Seas a few years ago and this was no different. We enjoyed ‘Grabbing a Slice’ many times throughout the cruise. Our main dining room wait staff were very friendly, helpful and were very attentive to my wife’s celiac disease. They would have gluten free bread at her place setting every night while my son and I ate regular bread. They also presented her with the following night’s menu each night so she could select just about anything which they would then prepare gluten free for her the following evening. I think this would be easier to do if you had fixed time dining like we had but may be a bit more difficult for those choosing ‘My Time’ dining. Windjammer was very good as well with lots of options and a tip of the hat to ‘Mr. Washy – Washy’. Very entertaining way to get passengers to wash their hands before eating. Yes, seating was a bit difficult at times but we were always able to find a table in a short period of time. After a couple of days, one of the crew showed us that we could sit in Giovanni’s table restaurant during breakfast and that became our ‘go to’ place to eat when eating in Windjammer. Not sure how that would work during lunch or dinner but It’s directly to the left when you enter the Windjammer café and was awesome. We used the fitness center on 3 mornings and found it to be very nice. They had anything and everything you would find at your local club such as Planet Fitness. Equipment was in excellent condition with lots of it. Treadmills were very nice and you could look out over the ocean when you ran. PORTS: Nassau, Bahamas: We’ve been to Nassau a few times before so did not have any excursions planned and feel somewhat lucky that we didn’t. The weather was not good in Nassau and it rained off and on much of the day. We stayed on the ship and just ‘chilled’. I did talk top some people who did have excursions planned and said they generally had decent weather. Labadee, Haiti: We really like this port. My son and I did a parasailing excursion and had a great time. We also did a bit of snorkeling although this is not a great place to see many fish. My wife relaxed on the beach and read while we were parasailing and snorkeling. Lunch on Labadee was probably my least favorite meal and not that it was necessarily bad but it’s just not like other venues on the cruise. The burger and hot dog I had were fine but just overall a bit underwhelming. Falmouth, Jamaica: We have been here before and the last time, we spent the day at Margaritaville and had a fantastic time. This time we decided we’d wander out into the town (outside the gated port area). Once outside the gate, we were constantly approached by locals which made my wife a bit uncomfortable so we ended up going back inside the gated area and grabbed a few drinks at Margaritaville. The locals were fine if you told them that you were not interested but it was a bit much. I think if we would have gotten a little further away, it would have lessened but we decided to just go back. Debarkation: We chose self-debarkation since we had a scheduled flight for 11:55. This went very smoothly and we were at Fort Lauderdale airport around 9:45 only to find our flight had been delayed but that is no fault of RCCL. Overall, we had a great time. We did not notice the over crowdedness that some reviewers have written about although I understand our sailing was sold out. We were able to find sun beds when we wanted to but like any ship, finding one ‘poolside’ was difficult. We already have another cruise (Harmony of the Seas) scheduled and are very much looking forward to it late in the year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Independence of the Seas is definitely a ship that you should experience. The ship was updated, spacious, fun, and CLEAN! It never seemed busy, and you never had to wait for a drink. The staff was extremely friendly, and they seemed to ... Read More
Independence of the Seas is definitely a ship that you should experience. The ship was updated, spacious, fun, and CLEAN! It never seemed busy, and you never had to wait for a drink. The staff was extremely friendly, and they seemed to really enjoy their ship. CABIN: We originally booked an Ocean View room, but participated in the Royal Upgrade program. We were upgraded to an Ocean View Balcony and I will never book a room without a balcony again. The room was nice and clean. The room attendant was fantastic. I suggest ordering room service "complimentary" and enjoying it on the balcony. DINING: The food in the Main Dining Room was amazing, as always on a Royal Caribbean ship. The Windjammer Buffet is mediocre food, at best. Sorrento's has great pizza throughout the day and night. We did eat at Johnny Rocket's one day and it was not very good, so I do not recommend eating there. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment on this ship is the best I have seen on a cruise. The performers were all very talented and it was never cheesy like the other shows that I have seen. They did have an ABBA group perform and they were not very good. I enjoyed the Cruise Director because they were informative, but not in your face like on Carnival cruises. The announcements were brief and to the point. If you are ever to consider cruising on this ship, I would highly recommend it. It is great if you are a family or traveling as a couple. 5 out of 5 stars! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was a last minute cruise to get out of the cold. It did not disappoint! While Mother Nature did not cooperate with a lot of sunshine we still enjoyed ourselves. We cruise once per year with a balcony cabin but wanted to go “on ... Read More
This was a last minute cruise to get out of the cold. It did not disappoint! While Mother Nature did not cooperate with a lot of sunshine we still enjoyed ourselves. We cruise once per year with a balcony cabin but wanted to go “on the cheap” this time. Even the inside cabin 3557 was more than adequate on this ship! Everything inside and out was clean and tidy. We took a galley tour which was fascinating! Quite an operation to get all of that food out to the cruisers. To be able to get all of the orders out including the “special” dietary requirements took a well coordinated team. Only issue was the Motown Trivia”. It was horrible! Being from Detroit, we know Motown and this trivia contest was really bad! The host had no idea what he was doing. They certainly had no idea what Motown was. Overall a great time was had by all! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I recently sailed on a 8 day cruise on the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Sea's and was disappointed on the way a situation was handled with their staff. I was in need of women's sanitary products on day 2 of my 8 day cruise ... Read More
I recently sailed on a 8 day cruise on the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Sea's and was disappointed on the way a situation was handled with their staff. I was in need of women's sanitary products on day 2 of my 8 day cruise and visited the gift shop to purchase. To my amazement they had a shelf for these products but, only a few products were available. I requested a sale's person for assistance and inquired why they only had a few limited items for a ship of over 4,000 people with approximately 2,000 women? The salesperson stated that they would search for more products in the back and came back and only found one item for me to purchase. I asked them if they planned to stock up on products on the first port and he stated they wouldn't stock up on any depleted items until they docked back in Ft. Lauderdale 6 days later! I requested a manager and expressed my disappointment and not only was he short but, dismissed me as if my request and disappointment was not warranted. In addition, the ship only had a few machines in the lady's restroom and they were all empty so I essentially had no options for a week other than to buy the one package they had available which of course was highly overpriced. I have to say, I have been on many cruises and have never experienced not being able to purchase something that I needed in an emergency situation. Carnival always had a full stocked gift shop and I was really turned off by RC and their attention to detail in this area and sensitivity to women. The manager wasn't even open to providing a discount for the product or provide me anything in lieu of the inconvenience. Royal Caribbean needs to be more invested in the needs of women and provide adequate inventory for necessary items to serve their customer base. As far as the rest of the cruise experience, the ship overall was beautiful and well designed. I didn't care for the food at all! This was the biggest complaint among many of the people I met on the ship. This was very disappointing because for the expense you would hope to have options that are appealing. They had options that were self pay but, you expect the options that are provided to be of standard or better. I did appreciate that they are big on keeping your hands washed and have hand washing stations as you enter the dining area and multiple published signage throughout the ship. This was a full ship charter so the activities and entertainment were above board and amazing. The excursions were not the best and overpriced. I wouldn't suggest purchasing an excursion through RC, you are better off taking a cab and experiencing the island on your own or booking a tour of your choice from a local vendor. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Experienced cruisers with 14 cruises and 93 nights on 5 cruise lines. This cruise was a 5 night cruise from Ft. lauderdale with stops in Labadee and Falmouth, Jamaica. This ship generally docks for departure at pier 29 and the closest ... Read More
Experienced cruisers with 14 cruises and 93 nights on 5 cruise lines. This cruise was a 5 night cruise from Ft. lauderdale with stops in Labadee and Falmouth, Jamaica. This ship generally docks for departure at pier 29 and the closest parking garage "Mid Port" is well beyond walking distance but RCL provides a shuttle van. My suggestion is to go directly to the garage and board the shuttle unless you have giant luggage. This way you avoid the traffic and confusion at the pier. There is no Dining Room service for lunch on departure day. The ships departure time is 4:30PM but generally leaves between 6-7 PM, too bad. Guests are allowed into cabins at 1:00 PM. PRO: Guest services, quality of food, staff, main shows, ice skating show, soft serve attendant, clean ship, emphasis on hand washing...but should be better enforced. Hidden find...the 3rd floor dining room serves breakfast, every day, as both a buffet and an order option. The buffet is widely varied and extensive. Much calmer than the Windjammer. The 80's dance party in the open core of the ship, on the last night, is not to be missed. It is really a performance by some of the cruise staff and the technology will amaze you. The ice skating show is way beyond what we expected and is available on the first sea day and twice on the last sea day. Seats around 800. Don't miss it! The Cruise Director is the best we have ever experienced. This man is involved everywhere, he can sing, dance and is very upbeat. CON: Lounge and bar music is lacking in variety, options and substance. Dining Room dress code should be renamed "Carnival of The Seas". Younger people wearing caps, torn shirts, etc. for nice evening meal. Too bad. The ship needs more on board choices for entertainment during sea days such as talks, computer or camera instruction, etc. Too many silly games. Drink prices are mostly around $12-14 with grat. Wine is about the same. Drink packages are $70. The Captain provides very limited information of interest. Needs to be more outgoing...not just a figurehead. Poor movie selection on the TV and way too much advertising. Neutral: Chops Steakhouse $42 up charge. Dress is not up the scale we expected, food average and staff are as expected in a nice restaurant. This was a bonus provided by our AAA booking. AAA often has value added bonuses that are combined with those of the cruise lines. Directional signs...need to be added. NCL has carpeting that shows fish swimming toward bow. All lines should adopt this for cabin hallways. We booked the Bamboo Rafting in Jamaica through RCL which was cancelled when the van didn't show up and we waited 45 minutes. Suggest you book directly with the rafting company for $65. They pick you up at the same place in the port in nice vans...several people used this option. If this review was helpful please let me know. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We wanted to try the Independence after the refit. This was a 5 days cruise and we were very happy that the weather was absolutely spectacular. The ship is gorgeous and the service was excellent. The food in the main dinninig room was ... Read More
We wanted to try the Independence after the refit. This was a 5 days cruise and we were very happy that the weather was absolutely spectacular. The ship is gorgeous and the service was excellent. The food in the main dinninig room was pretty good and the Windjammer was very good. Dissapointed that we could not get anybody in the Promenade Cafe to brew a strong espresso, like we have in other ships. The cast of Grease is excellent and had presentations other than the play, which was an added bonus. We liked the latin band Mirage, they were good and played a good variety of songs. There were some large theme groups and that made for some of the venues reserved for private functions, which always leaves the general population out, for example, the first sea day, the Dance Fitness class was cancelled due to rain, they were not able to bring it inside because of the venues occupied by private functions. All in all it was 5 beautiful days in a beautiful ship. We will sail the Independence again in a heart beat. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I’m a little late with this review, but better late than never right ; ) I was on the Independence of the Seas – 5 night Western Caribbean itinerary to Labadee and Falmouth, Jamaica. (January 12-17, 2019.) So a little bit about ... Read More
I’m a little late with this review, but better late than never right ; ) I was on the Independence of the Seas – 5 night Western Caribbean itinerary to Labadee and Falmouth, Jamaica. (January 12-17, 2019.) So a little bit about me and my travel partner/bf. We’re in our mid-20s. I’ve been on three cruises prior to this one. This was my bf’s first cruise. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before and stayed at the Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale/Downtown Las Olas Area. The hotel partners with a company called All-Star for free shuttle service to and from the airport as well as within a 1 or 2 mile radius of the hotel. I found that the driver that I dealt with on that particular day was extremely rude and overall unpleasant. However, I refused to let him ruin my vacation. The hotel itself was clean and comfy and offered free continental breakfast the next morning. We took an uber from the hotel to Port Everglades. We got to the port around 11:15 and it took roughly 25 mins from the time we dropped off our luggage to when we were onboard the ship. We were in cabin 8330 (balcony). It was pretty spacious and the storage was adequate for the both of us. My only complaint was that there weren’t enough outlets in the room, but we made due. For breakfast we ate in the Windjammer everyday except for disembarkation day when we finally made it to the MDR. I wish we would’ve done breakfast in the MDR every day. It was soooo good :) The Windjammer was fine too. There were a lot of options so I doubt anyone would go hungry. We also had dinner in the MDR everyday. Again, the food was fine. Lots to choose from. I know food is subjective so not everyone may agree with me. Side note: our waiter Iputu and assistant waiter whose name I cannot remember :( were both outstanding! Throughout the day we frequented Sorrento’s and Cafe Promenade for snacks a midday bites. We also went to Johnny Rockets one day since we missed the Windjammer for lunch. I didn’t know that Johnny Rockets was considered an all-you-can eat location after paying the up-charge. It was a nice surprise and I most certainly got my money’s worth :) We didn’t get a drink package because it just wouldn’t have been worth it for us. When we wanted a cocktail or the occasional ginger ale we just used our OBC and ordered a la carte. The service at the bar was speedy. The only time that we had to wait a little longer was when we were at the Olive or Twist bar late night for the night club-style party. I don’t remember who the cruise or activities directors were, but I do remember them being pretty funny when hosting The Love & Marriage show, the Quest, and the Majority Rules game. We didn’t see the shows and the only activity we did was the Sky Pad (which was a lot of fun btw). We stopped in Labadee and Falmouth. I had been to both ports before when I cruise on Liberty of The Seas in 2014. In Labadee we did the ship-sponsored Adult Sandbar Party excursion. Because the water was too high, we weren’t able to stop at the sandbar and instead were taken to Amiga Island. The water was clear, albeit a little rocky, but overall no complaints. Rum punches were flowing, the music was pumping and we just enjoyed floating around on beach mats for a few hours. In Falmouth we booked an ATV tour through Excursions in Jamaica. The driver picked us up from the port and we rode to Ocho Rios where we did a little shopping before being taken to the location where we would drive around on ATVs for 2-ish hours. Once it was over we were driven back to the port with plenty of time to spare. Getting off the ship was fairly easy, but that may have been because I have global entry. After breakfast in the MDR we walked off the ship around 9:00 and made it through customs in record time. I was very thankful that we didn’t have to wait in the looooooong customs line. Mind you, this was during the government shutdown so it seemed like the number of available customs agents was a little lean. We were in an uber by 9:07 on the way to the airport. Overall, we had a good time and would take the same trip again in a heartbeat :) Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
A very relaxing vacation was what we wanted and a very relaxing vacation is what we got. Our stateroom attendant Javier was amazing. He kept our room clean and stocked. Playmakers and Fish and Ships were nice additions. Service could be ... Read More
A very relaxing vacation was what we wanted and a very relaxing vacation is what we got. Our stateroom attendant Javier was amazing. He kept our room clean and stocked. Playmakers and Fish and Ships were nice additions. Service could be more prompt at Playmakers. The food at every venue: MDR, Windjammer, Cafe Promenade, Sorrento's, Chops, were all wonderful. MDR waiter kept hustling for more tips (this was the only real offputting thing that took place.) I love how even after the refurbishment, Indy is still the well appointed ship she always was. It never felt crowded, not even in the Windjammer on embarkation day when no one knows where they're going. We skipped Grease since we just saw it on Harmony, but the dancing show was wildly entertaining. Choreographed by Louis Van Amstel of DWTS fame, there were elements of jazz, ballroom, and latin dancing. Good job! My only peeve, and this goes more to the passengers than crew. What is with the dirty fingerprints by the elevator up-down buttons? Crew members can't monitor it in real time. So make sure you washy washy before you touch anything. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Girls cruise! Needed something shorter than a 7 day cruise. Wish they had a specialty shop on cruise that sold chocolate covered strawberries and gourmet desserts like Carnival does at their coffee shops. Really missed that on Royal ... Read More
Girls cruise! Needed something shorter than a 7 day cruise. Wish they had a specialty shop on cruise that sold chocolate covered strawberries and gourmet desserts like Carnival does at their coffee shops. Really missed that on Royal Caribbean.Love the new washing station before going into the buffet, and you had to leave the buffet area to use the restroom, which meant you had to wash your hands again before entering. YEA!!!! Embarkation was super easy as well as getting off the ship. We bought the all you can drink alcohol package and it was a great deal and super easy to use. I noticed that they had soda fountains in random areas of the ship to use, which meant people who hadn't bought the soda package were filling up with cups of soda. They provide you with a certain mug to use if you buy it. Service was great on this cruise and I would highly recommend this to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Planned this trip for a couple of years - wanted to bring all my friends to my 50th bday cruise. This went really well considering we had some first time cruisers who weren't sure if they'd like it. Everyone had a blast and was ... Read More
Planned this trip for a couple of years - wanted to bring all my friends to my 50th bday cruise. This went really well considering we had some first time cruisers who weren't sure if they'd like it. Everyone had a blast and was overall pretty happy. We ate in the dining room most nights, and it was terrific, and generally people did what they wanted - so lots of varied experiences. The staff was super friendly everywhere we went. Things to note- if your whole group doesn't have the wifi package, you will have issues communicating. Frankly, the wifi is kind of spotty, so they still might not be able to - so plan accordingly. Would love a chat option in the RC app! Anyway - this was a really fun trip and RC is still my fave :). We keep talking about taking a different type of vacation, but I love my floating 4 star hotel with 4-5 star food included! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Pleasantly surprised by the size of the independence. Had been previously on oasis and found it overwhelming. Indy is the perfect size. The ship was not crowded at all and our cabin was one of the new ones on deck 12 and was extremely ... Read More
Pleasantly surprised by the size of the independence. Had been previously on oasis and found it overwhelming. Indy is the perfect size. The ship was not crowded at all and our cabin was one of the new ones on deck 12 and was extremely roomy. Enjoyed several movie night out on the deck under the stars. Grease was amazing however the theater itself was over crowded. Would have been nice if offered more than one night. The ice show was amazing also. We could have watched them skate for hours. The biggest complaint was dining room. Food bland, tables so close together the wait staff had to squeeze between and under staffed. The windjammer however was amazing! Are they trying to get you to pay more for the specialty dining?? The cruise overall was fun and relaxing. Decided 5 days too short. There needs to be s better way to disembark as the holding area was close to the casino and smelled terrible of cigarette smoke. All the bar tenders and wait staff were excellent and friendly around the ship. Going on the liberty in April and looking forward to comparing the two. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The Independence remains an attractive ship albeit with annoying cabin glitches due to aging. The addition of many suites and cabins as well as an obvious marketing plan to attract more families with children has lead to less comfort and ... Read More
The Independence remains an attractive ship albeit with annoying cabin glitches due to aging. The addition of many suites and cabins as well as an obvious marketing plan to attract more families with children has lead to less comfort and more noise. Added "specialty" dining venues (read fees added) seem to have reduced the quality of buffet and Main dining room lunch offerings. Breakfasts and dinners in the Main Dining room are still good to very good. Service in the main dining room was excellent. Crowding in the buffet creates many uncleaned tables. Entertainment in the theater was very good, production shows were OK. and as expected but fewer hours of music in smaller venues. Bar service was top notch as were drinks served. The Concierge lounge has been changed to a Suite only Lounge and Diamond Plus Crown and Anchor members are excluded; a minor annoyance as the Diamond lounge was well staffed and had adequate seating. Guest services provided excellent attention to passenger needs. Passenger demographics have changed to many large families, noticeably younger and more casual. Library was always empty and provided a quiet respite for the very few who used it. No area of the ship smelled of smoke, a real plus. Over all a satisfying cruise with no major problems or complaints. This was our 83rd cruise. So we have a good basis for comparing and rating ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.2
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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