1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Background: This was a spring break cruise for my girlfriend and me. Neither of us has done a cruise, but we love a good beach and a good deal. We're still in school, and a cruise made the most sense for us. Ship info: I thought ... Read More
Background: This was a spring break cruise for my girlfriend and me. Neither of us has done a cruise, but we love a good beach and a good deal. We're still in school, and a cruise made the most sense for us. Ship info: I thought she was in fine shape. Loved seeing all the touch-ups they do throughout the cruise. I don't recall seeing anything out of order or in disrepair. They changed the sprinkler in our room one day which caused a (very) small leak. We told our cabin attendant and it was promptly fixed. No complaints. For a mega-ship I still felt like I was on a boat. It wasn't hard to find some outside space (and often uncrowded on the promenade deck). More windows and quite areas overlooking the ocean would've been nice though. I would've liked quite reading space without a bar 10ft away. Maybe that exists and I just never found it. Also, I think a balcony (someday huh?) would have solved that. Cabin: Typical inside cabin. We were concerned being under the windjammer, but it was quite quiet and we liked being close to food and the upper decks. Activities: We spend a great majority of our time out by the pool and in the sun (we were coming from Ohio after all). Being a spring break cruise, the pool level chairs filled very early in the morning. That wasn't a problem as I prefer the views from deck 12, and to be away from the music. At night we typically went to the Schooner Bar to enjoy the piano player. We also went the love and marriage show which was quite nice. We did have to leave early however because the rough seas that night caught up with my girlfriend. was a fan of dancing in the streets. I thought CD Ricky Matthews brought a lot of energy and made something that could have been hokey quite fun. Never got around to trying the sports activities, which is a regret, but hey I was enjoying doing nothing. Dining: We ate in the windjammer for breakfast and lunch (if on the ship). I thought it was a good selection with some real gems, especially from Jade. Beyond that it was pretty typical cafeteria/buffet food. We ate dinner in the MDR with my time every night. I really liked the food, and didn't have a bad meal. Girlfriend didn't enjoy one night, but that was more of a trying something new kind of a deal. We were big fans of our assistant waiter more than the waiter. He was not the most personable waiter (especially compared to one section over). The assistant was very nice, however. Sorrentos was about what I expected. Sprinkles was awesome. I'm a sucker for soft serve. I just wish it was open 24/7. Drinking: We got the premium package on the second day (too tired on embarkation day). This decision was partly driven by the recent price increases. We tried to burn our way through as many frozen drinks as we could. My favorite was either the frozen rum runner or labadoozie. The other drinks of the day were fine, but it was a cruise and darn it we wanted frozen drinks by the pool. The wine selection for dinner was quite good as well. My best tip- Frozen drinks at the pool aren't blended very well, and they just throw some rum on it after mixing. If you get it from an inside bar it is much, much better. Sadly I didn't discover this until the last night in the Schooner Bar. Best pina colada I had the entire trip. Ports: Grand Cayman: We booked a sting ray city and snorkeling tour through a private charter and had a blast. We chose a mid-day excursion and spent the morning at 7 mile beach. It was $10pp round trip to get to the beach. Seemed fair. Tendering was a breeze, and we were on maybe the 2nd tender to depart in the morning. Falmouth: Lots of people don't like it, but it was probably my favorite stop. Once again, we "did it live" and caught a taxi to Doctors Cave for $20pp round trip. Admission to the beach was $6pp, and we just lounged on our towels. We had great jerk chicken lunch. The driver was waiting for the group at the specified time and everything worked out fine. He did try to take us to a different area that could barely be called a beach. He didn't protest much when everyone continued to insist on Doctors Cave. It was a breeze and we felt safe. Not sure where the complaints come from. Labadee: I love Labadee because it's free. Nice beaches, well kept grounds, and areas in the hills to explore. The BBQ was good, and we could use our drinking package. What's not to love? The only negative was the weather (cloudy with morning sprinkles). Obviously not RC's fault. I think if it had been as nice as Jamaica, it would've been my favorite (just going to have to go again!). I'd love to try the zip line, but not for almost $100. I'm on student loans, RC. Disembarkation: We had initially planned to self-carry off the ship, but we were assigned 7:30am so we let them do the lifting. We were out in maybe 30 minutes. We rented a car from FLL because we had a late flight from MIA and wanted to explore south Florida. It was a fun day. Summary: This met, and exceeded my expectations. I had a vision of the experience on the ship having a feeling of cheap with a thin veneer of fancy. I was happy to be wrong. Everything was well kept and well appointed. The activities and ship were well planned and executed, and the destinations were great. I will definitely cruise again with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We've cruised with Carnival, Princess, and NCL. I thought the ship was beautiful. We loved our superior oceanview balcony stateroom o the The service on board was excellent; we ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We've cruised with Carnival, Princess, and NCL. I thought the ship was beautiful. We loved our superior oceanview balcony stateroom o the The service on board was excellent; we especially liked our dining room waiter, Sunil. We had anytime dining and he made sure we had the same table and time each night. The entertainment on board was the best I've seen on any ship I've been on. Just a few things kept me from giving this a higher score: First, the food in the main dining room good, but not as much variety as I would have liked. Second, the pool area on at sea days was when the crowds got to me and my wife. Unless you start saving lounge chairs at 7:30 in the morning (which you're not supposed to do.) I wish the crew would enforce the rules about saving chairs. We were not able to enjoy any of the pool areas on sea days. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We family of 7 had agreat time on the IOS. This was our 9th cruise with RCCL and we are loyal to Royal for sure. I do see a few areas that the cruise could have been improved. First of all the food in the Main DR was good but not ... Read More
We family of 7 had agreat time on the IOS. This was our 9th cruise with RCCL and we are loyal to Royal for sure. I do see a few areas that the cruise could have been improved. First of all the food in the Main DR was good but not great!!! All my past RCCL cruise have had fantastic dinners. This cruise was lacking in that in my opinion. Steak special ordered medium and it came out with brown gravy? Who puts gravy on a filet? Not me. Anyway, the other main area for improvement would be the production shows and preformers. I know agian from past cruises with RCCL that the shows were always top notch. Not so this time. Maybe it was the Cruise Directors to blame a little (ricky) very nice guy and talented but it seemed that he would end up taking over whatever he was hosting or MCing... Also I dont like seeing the same shows(once apon a time) that we saw on the FOS three years ago. The 2nd show something Jazz was a total flop. It had not direction and seemed to jump all over the place. With all that being said we did book another cruise while on board and are counting the days until we cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We just returned from an 8-night cruise on Independence of the Seas out of Ft. Lauderdale. We drove from Kansas City to Florida and left our car at the Holiday Inn Express on Commerical - got their Park N Cruise deal. The shuttle to the ... Read More
We just returned from an 8-night cruise on Independence of the Seas out of Ft. Lauderdale. We drove from Kansas City to Florida and left our car at the Holiday Inn Express on Commerical - got their Park N Cruise deal. The shuttle to the pier was $35.00. Sailaway was perfect and the first two days were at sea. We took advantage of the adults-only pool, the golf simulator and lots of leisure time reading and relaxing. Our first port was St. Maarten and we took a cab to Maho Beach to watch the planes take off and land right over the beach. The beach was extremely crowded and there was nothing else to do there except patronize the bars. Been there now, done that! Second port was St. Kitts/Nevis. We did the Rail and Sail excursion and especially loved the catamaran sail around the island. The rail portion took us through the old sugar plantations (mostly gone now), the very poor countryside, and the beautiful Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. It's an old train (1920's) built for the sugar cane trade and now used for us tourists. It's kind of rickety, but it was overall a good experience. The island is beautiful. Next came San Juan, and we hiked from the pier to the fort at El Morro. The walk took us through old town with it's beautiful architecture. Only complaint about that part of the itinerary is that we got into port late in the morning and had to be back aboard ship by 1:30. Not enough time in port. Labadee, the part of Haiti owned by Royal Caribbean, is mostly for the younger set, with para-sailing, jet skis, zip-lines, etc. We went ashore and shopped a little (avoid the open-air artist village as they can get a little aggressive in selling their wares) but the enclosed bazaar has a lot of well-priced merchandise. We also had the BBQ on the beach, provided by Royal Caribbean, and it was pretty good. We had a forward, port-side balcony cabin and it was fine. Our cabin steward was fantastic, as was our waiter in the dining room. Almost all the Royal Caribbean personnel we encountered were fantastic. This was our third RCI cruise and it seems that they are very careful about hiring friendly, competent crew. The only staff members that were less than friendly were in the Spa. We had a couples massage (which was very good) and the massage therapists were very congenial until they realized that we would not be purchasing any of the very expensive products they were selling. We had dinner at Chops on one of the formal nights, and the food was outstanding. On the whole, however, we were a little disappointed in the food in the main dining room and the Windjammer Cafe. There was little to no variation in the menu from one day to the next and there are three up-charge items on the menu in the main dining room. I don't remember that from previous cruises. We chose to "self-assist" for disembarkation, which meant we carried our own luggage and were among the first off the ship. We cleared the ship and customs very quickly and called our car service to get back to the hotel to pick up our car. Would we do it again. Not the driving part!!! It did allow us to visit friends in three towns in Florida, but next time we will fly to our port. Would we do the same Caribbean itinerary again. I don't think so. It was fun and a much-needed relaxing vacation, but we would like to see some different ports on the next cruise. We would recommend RCI without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We have cruise in asia lots but this time since it was a graduation trip, we were taking it to the max. We were quite worried about our first time crusie on board the Independence. But we researched and plan for the ship , the ports and ... Read More
We have cruise in asia lots but this time since it was a graduation trip, we were taking it to the max. We were quite worried about our first time crusie on board the Independence. But we researched and plan for the ship , the ports and all our stuff we needed to do and it worked out really well.. (Independence worked out nicely with its price(inculdes a USD 200 free credit, ports and the third largest after the Oasis class quantum class) This made it the deal with the hump cabin as a bonus. We didn't take the ship's excursion which was risky and bold, but managed to pull through. We stayed at the Holiday Inn (Sheridan)..Not a bad place just far from fort lauderdale attractions but since it has a train station beside it (sheridan) that takes us to miami in 20 mins...it was not bad after all..inf-fact really good. Day of Embarkation We took a taxi to Terminal 29 after a 3 day fun filled trip in Fort lauderdale which included seeing the sights in Miami. Decided to book a taxi instead of the hotel shuttle as we didn't want to wait. Turns out the taxi ride was 20 bucks for the two of us which match the shuttle prices so it was worth it. Arrived in Port Everglades,drop of our bags and headed to the terminal where we were directed into the early bird line. The early bird line was for cruisers who came really early instead of following their normal check in time like RCL had sent the email. We arrived at 10am and there was already a queue forming. While waiting, the RCL staff joked with us and make us feel pumped up for the cruise. Entered the terminal at 10am, and after through security which they took a look at my Miami glass bottle filled with coke, we were sent to a line waiting for check in. Terminal 29 didn't look really much like a cruise terminal..remove all the RCl stuff, and u have an empty building ready for containers. Anyway we checked in for the cruise and after they gave us our set sail pass, we will ushered into rows of seats to wait for boarding. Boarding time was at 11am and they do it in rows, firstly went the RCL Crown members on the higher teir,suites, followed by general boardning. We went through the doors where we saw the later arrivals all stuck in a line. RCL staff, waved us off, had our pictures taken and up the gangway, onto the ship, hardly believing we were on it. We had lunch at the windjammer and it was nearly empty, maybe it was because we were the first to arrive aka the early birds. Wide selection of choices and friendly servers. The windjammer begin to fill up soon enough and then it was crowded. Rooms were open at 1pm and we had a hump cabin on deck 6. We had the Evian package and it was delivered..but not the gift. Ran down to Guest services, queue in a line for 30 mins and finally got an answered that it will be here at 5pm. Handeled the dinning reservation since were my Time. Stateroom attendant introduce himself and he was a lively chap. got our request and we headed up to the bow for the sailway and to meet with cruise critic friends. Day 1 - At sea Lots of things to do, sign up for the art auction and went to soak in the whirlpool at the solarium. Towels were easy to take but you must return them...Deck chairs were filled to the brim. Lunch at windjammer was good so was dinner in the King Lear. Though bar service wasn't great in the King lear, and our seat was in a awful place, we told the Matire and he was nice, and noted our request Day 2- At sea Lovely sunny monring. Went for the cruise critic meet and greet in the afternoon and won 2 prizes..met many people and had a lovely chat with some.(olive and twist) Day 3- Saint Marten The place was full, with about 4 ships including us in port. Deboard the ship when it first docked and went to Marigot and then Maho.. Didn't do Orient but overheard that it was dirty. Never seem crowded the port and easy to navigate. Return to the ship and waited for the ship to depart. Wanted to see pier runners, but instead got a guy getting handcuffed of the ship for smuggling drugs into the ship. Sad sight to see his family left at the pier while the ship horned and departed. Tonight was formal night and the captain gave his speech, over 4 thousand people on board. I knew the ship was full. Day 4- St kitts Took a private tour which included the whole island and a beach stop. We were docked with the shioulette in port and a Aida on the other side of the island. Day 5 - San Juan Short stop just from 7am to 1pm..didn't go with the ship tour and save a bunch with free shuttle though it took a while. Two forts and some shopping later were on board. Remenber to take passport and a ID even if you are from the USA. The guards wanted to see them. Formal night and they had lobster tail.Room service delivered 3 lobster tail and deserts wrongly to our room ..Our luck i guess Day 6 - Labadee Unfortunately i was sick and unable to enjoy the island but my partner went and it was nice beach with clear waters and nice array of dishes for lunch. Lots of place to buy Haitian stuff, but know the prices before buying. Day 7 - At Sea Last day...Played the mini golf and hang out around the shops and the casino, packed our stuff and secured an earlier departure so we can catch our train. Found out later that we were too early. Day 8- Arrive Sad to see the cruise ended, we went to the respective area to wait for our number to be called, and when it happen, sent to a long line to wait for departure. Clearly it was overfilled and coupled with the gangway not operating for a while..took some time before getting of the ship. Found our luggage, cleared custom and onto a cab in less than 30 mins. We will be back again, with RCL and maybe with Independence again. Where RCL stood out -Service There was excellent service throughout the ship displayed by the officials and the RCL staff on board, all were happy to take pictures and showed themselves throughout the ship, greeted everyone. An example, when i fell ill, the medical staff was kind and they offered me free in-room movies and drinks from the mini bar. Guest service called me and reassure me that if i needed anything to call them immediately. I was given a bag full of recovery items which a nice touch but never expected that they will give me a future cruise credit as well. WOW. Service in the dinning room was outstanding with the two serves, Danisha and her collegue making us happy and well fed during the trip. They offer great food recommendations and even remembered our drinks. We were so happy that we stayed at the same section throughout the cruise. Stateroom attendant Roselito was excellent, he makes the best towel animals and cared for us throughout the trip. Cruise Director Ricky and Gordon was the best, funny and interesting with humor and fun. In fact, i could not fault anyone on the ship for poor service. Housekeeping did not receive my gift during turnaround day and gave me two gifts as an apology. Entertainment Some of the best entertainment ever. From the different performance in the Theater to the Ice show which was just spectacular with the music and choreography and the dance. Ricky the CD could even have a show for himself. It was that great Food Food was great throughout, never had to send any food back.. and there were a wide array of options to choose from. The MDR had different specials each night for you to choose from which was nice and also it gave a description of the special ingredient/chef for that day which was informative and nice. Port Shopping There is always a port shopping talk for the latest bargain you could buy on the islands. And remember to collect your coupons for discounts and a free voucher to collect a free charm from the islands. Ship Great activities from the belly flop, art auction, Parades where staff in different colorful costume parade to Flowrider, mini golf and rock climbing. There was so many things to do, each day was a different one, never made us feel bored. Many pictures of art designs around the decks, it was lovely with the different colors in the royal promenade to the ship's carpets and cabins which were just looked new. Finally the ship never felt crowded even if it was a full house, queues never long and never have to wait for long tables or snakes Where RCL didn't stand out -Food Windjammer had the same food for breakfast every day.... we never tried the MDR for breakfast though..sad..Lunch in the Windjammer same thing. Lunch in the MDR was different, it was like dinner...there were good choices including a salad bar. Entertainment - Even though i mentioned i like the entertainment on the cruise but if i were be doing a B2B cruise, the entertainment like the shows remain the same.For repeat crusiers, that presents a problem but for new cruisers, it was just off the blocks.. Vibrations -There was a slight amount of vibration throughout the ship, we could feel it in our cabin and it got worst in Olive and Twist. I don't know whether this ship is getting old so hence the vibrations or its just the way. But just to make sure, it didn't bother me too much, i was able to sleep peacefully.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Hotel Pre-Cruise - Because my DH has Hilton points, we stayed at the Gallery One Hilton Doubletree. We would highly recommend it. Walking distance to the beach, across form grocery, next to a great mall and a water taxi stop are just some ... Read More
Hotel Pre-Cruise - Because my DH has Hilton points, we stayed at the Gallery One Hilton Doubletree. We would highly recommend it. Walking distance to the beach, across form grocery, next to a great mall and a water taxi stop are just some of the pluses. All rooms are suites so great for families or groups and they had a shuttle to the port for $8 per person. Embarkation - Awesome....we were on the ship half an hour after arriving at the port. We ignored our RC phone call and arrived about 11 a.m. We did lunch in the Windjammer and were by the pool enjoying the sun by noon. Rooms opened at 1:00 and we received our luggage about 4. Cabin - JS 9348...love the space in a JS and everything about it. Seems just right for us. We truly enjoy our private balcony so having chaise and comfy chairs along with all the indoor benefits seem worth the extra money to us. Shows - We attended most show and felt they were just average, but we really enjoyed the ventriloquist that performed. He was very talented and entertaining. Entertainment - Poolside was always fun, but very difficult to find a chair in the area, but that is nothing new on any cruise. We participated in the games in the evening such as quest and watched others such as Love and Marriage. Seems to be our favorite type of entertainment and didn't disappoint us. Ports - We stopped at Grand Cayman, Falmouth and Coco Cay. All are good. Tendering is always and negative at Grand Cayman, but the port is beautiful. Falmouth's new shopping area was a nice surprise and Coco Cay makes for a great beach day. Dining - We had an exceptional waiter Dane and assistant Lloyd in the main dining room. We tried to change to an earlier time, but there were nine in our group and couldn't be done. We were told early dining was filled a year in advance, not sure if true, but seemed to be. Anytime would have been an issue too. We heard people complaining that 7:45 was the earliest ever available for groups. We ate breakfast and lunch in Windjammer and had no complaints. It had a good variety buffet style. We understand it is not gourmet, but adequate. MDR food seemed to have slipped for us. We have not cruised for 8 years. Steaks were low quality, appetizers were just okay and has stated on the boards no shrimp available. Waiters seemed to be covering more area...maybe a cost cut? Food in the MDR not the WOW factor it was for us in the past. We did Johnny Rockets one night and thoroughly enjoyed that. Be aware that the per person charge only covers food...all drinks are an up-charge. Disembarkation - We were not on a tight time schedule with a 2:00 flight out of FLL, but left the ship at our appointed time. We were in a line about and hour and would recommend that if you have plenty of time relax in the ship's public areas and stay there. We arrived at the airport to early to go through security and we probably would have walked off the ship if we had waited for the crowd to thin. We did check our bags though the ship and we would highly recommend this service. It was so nice to go through customs with no luggage and walk to a cab for airport transport. We also recommend a cab. Only $20 with tip for four of us, much cheaper than the shuttles. Summary - No cruise is bad, but this one missed the WOW factor. We were with great friends and still had a great week. Just a few glitches that made us feel that RC is all about the money now and service is slipping. We ordered wine from gifts about a week before boarding. I ordered my favorite at $51 a bottle, but what I received was the another bottle on the list at $26. When I questioned it, I was told they didn't have my wine on the ship and it was an adequate substitute. I fought it through a couple channels, but got no credit. My DH told me to drop it, but disappointing. Just the start of things not on the ship. Nothing for a sunburn on the ship...sorry we're out of stock. Low watch supply on the ship...sorry we didn't get our shipment. No shrimp on the menu...sorry there is a shortage. We received all the wrong C&A info in our cabin. They had us Diamond Plus and we are Emerald. We had to go to the service desk and wait in line to get correct discount info. Sounds minor, but we waited in line and waited while they contacted C & A to be told sorry we made a mistake....a free drink would have been nice for our trouble. One of our major disappointments was nothing RC could help except maybe to better police the ship. It was the smoking on the ship. We had people near us at the Set Sail party smoking...trying to hide it, but the smoke was blowing toward us and annoying. Someone smoked on a balcony near ours to the point that if we kept our balcony door open our cabin smelled like smoke. It's not allowed and hard to catch, but disappointing. Casino was always smoke filled in the evening. We both have allergies and wear contact lenses so smoke is not only annoying, but is an irritation to us health wise. We could not remember that problem on any of our cruises before. Our son suggested that maybe our cruise had a high number of Europeans and Asians. He travels a great deal overseas and says that it is still acceptable to smoke there, while in the US there seems to be a great deal of courtesy for non-smokers. Overall a great trip as all cruises are, but seemed to be somewhat all about RC making money not giving service.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Having been on at least 9 cruises, 2 on Princess and 7 on Carnival, we opted to try out RCCL's IOTS for the itinerary. St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Labadee & San Juan. We have always enjoyed Carnival's party atmosphere, so we ... Read More
Having been on at least 9 cruises, 2 on Princess and 7 on Carnival, we opted to try out RCCL's IOTS for the itinerary. St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Labadee & San Juan. We have always enjoyed Carnival's party atmosphere, so we weren't sure a more subdued cruise line would suit us. We also weren't sure if we would find the large price increase between the two cruise lines worth it. First I must say the ship is beautiful and check in was a breeze and we were onboard in no time, when we showed up to the port at 11 am. Our cabin, outside window stateroom was teeny compared to Carnival. That wouldn't have been such an issue had the bunk beds for our daughters (8 & 11) were not directly above our bed. We were not able to sit up comfortably in bed (my husband, not at all) when they bunks were down. We had to duck to get out of the bed to head to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Very strange layout. Bathroom storage was 1/2 that of a Carnival ship though we appreciated the closing shower doors in lieu of a curtain. Stateroom attendant very nice. Only shampoo offered in shower. No shower gel, free white strips, tooth paste as on Carnival. Pools: LOVED the fresh water pool options....Carnival only does Salt. Many pools to choose from and a varying levels of depth for every age. We enjoyed the nightly movies (no popcorn though...Carnival wins this). We also missed watching the morning show on the big screen...RCCL has it on, but no sound. My time dining: This is a joke. When we booked the cruise 11 mos prior to sailing, early dining was all full and waitlist was also full so we had no choice but to take MTD, even though it required prepaid tips. We are generous tippers, but I dislike having prepaid tips. I prefer cash at the end of the cruise based on service. However, we had no option, so we went with MTD. Upon arriving at 5pm on the sail date we were told that all reservations for MTD were full for the week for every time until, 745pm. Excuse me....we need a reservation? I saw nothing about this when booking, or checking in online. Our travel companions were on this same ship and itinerary last Spring Break and they were shocked. What is the point of "MTD" if you are forced to come at a certain time every night? After some arguing with the reservation desk, they got us in for 5:30 for the week, which was somewhat early, but better than nothing. Carnival's MTD is much better. You show up when you want and no prepaid tips. We had to skip out of the dining room twice this cruise because we hadn't enough time between eating lunch to go to such an early dinner. Room Service has a charge after a certain time. Speciality dining: Loved Chops Grille. Worth the $35 surcharge pp. Ice Cream: Carnival wins hands down. 24 soft serve all throughout the pool deck. RCCL 11-5:30 and only 1 open machine. LONG line. Tasted good. Guess they are saving their bottom line. There was a second side which was not open once during our 8 nights. Spa: We usually book at least 1 massage and treat the girls to the kids spa/ice cream parties when offered. However for $65 per child for a pedicure & no ice cream, it wasn't worth the cost this time. They also didn't offer very enticing sale incentives. Adult massages were also more expensive than Carnival, though it looks as though Elemis is still the product of choice. Activities: This is the HUGE difference for our family. We much prefer many options for pool games, music and activities. Most of the sea days (we had 3) there was 1 pool game (either volleyball , belly flop or cannonball competition). Karaoke was only at 10:45 at night, and only for adults. They had 1 family night karaoke, on the last night for 1 hour. It seemed that there was very limited live music at the bars inside and very few trivia / game options or other activities that did not revolve around the Ca$$ino, $pa or Art Auction. A note about trivia. We went to trivia every night at 8pm. They use a very small bar on the 4th deck for this each night. It is completely over crowded and there is constant traffic from the Alhambra show theater. They really need to move this to a larger venue. They also need a better prize for the winner than a pen, highlighter or luggage tag. Carnival's ship on a stick is tacky, yes....but much coveted. Shopping: I really appreciated RCCL not pushing sales for spa treatments, port stores, gold by the inch, watch sales cruise DVDs, etc...Yes, they still have this sales, but they aren't shoved in your face like they are at Carnival. Stores are more upscale which is clearly what this ship caters to...beautiful things at high prices. Food: Comparable, however, for the Windjammer buffet...limited kids options. Only burgers, hot dogs and fries most days for kid fare for lunch or dinner. Sorrento's pizza is yummy. More options in dining room (mac n cheese, pasta) for kids. Drinks: Again, they don't push the alcohol sales as much. Rarely saw a waiter pushing the drink of the day on the pool deck. 99% of the time we had to walk to the bar to get a drink, waiters were scarce. Wine pricing varied by bar, even when I saw the same brand and selection poured. House vodka was also different priced by bar. They would push Absolute as house when we asked for house for $9 when the true house was $6. We caught onto to this when we ordered 1 in the Pyramid lounge and it was $6 and the bartender told us what the true house brand was. Ports: Loved them all but Labadee was gorgeous. Service: Had a couple of snarky employees which was surprising for a more upscale ship than Carnival Shows: Enjoyed a couple of the evening shows. Overall, we had a really nice week cruising with friends, but we both agreed that over all Carnival is much more to our liking. Now that's just us. Of course, it is all dependent on what you are looking for in a cruise. We are budget conscious cruisers and went on the Carnival Breeze last year and so we are comparing this ship to that new ship. For the 1K more we paid for the Independence, we did not feel it was worth the additional cost.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Independence of the Seas, great in so many ways and not so great in others but with this size of ship you just can't have everything perfect. We enjoyed our 8 nights eastern Caribbean cruise. This ship aims to families but too many ... Read More
Independence of the Seas, great in so many ways and not so great in others but with this size of ship you just can't have everything perfect. We enjoyed our 8 nights eastern Caribbean cruise. This ship aims to families but too many teenagers misbehaving being very loud, never did I saw a child misbehaving but teenagers were running around like you would expect from a 5 year old, obviously their parents are not with them and who is going to stop them right, they should come up with something. Our ocean view cabin on deck 3 had a terrible smelly bed, not sure what it was did not want to investigate, we had plenty of pillows so my entire top of the bed was covered with pillows so I would not have to smell the odour coming from the mattress as it was just disgusting like a very rotting metal smell it was weird and I just covered it I did not let that ruin anything. Our kids slept on those beds on top coming from the top, they loved it but the railing was broken it would not stay well in position, it got fixed when we reported it but it started coming apart once again. I find this ship kind of worn out it needs to be refreshed, you can see the age. The champagne bar had terrible chairs and couches full of stains, I'm surprised they have not noticed that yet, the upholstery needs serious washing. I will never again go on a ship this age as I will now know what to expect, it was not bad at all but there are others waiting. We have gone previously on Royal Princess and that ship was only one year old so obviously I can see the difference now. Great service in the King Lear dining room by Mayowon lady but others did not care so much at all. Now in the Rome and Juliet we went there for lunch as for dinner it was set dinner time only so we wanted to see how it was there for lunch, the food seemed better than dinner but the service was terrible, rude people working there and that was everyone as if they were on strike, it was our last night so maybe they just did not care whatever I don't expect any fake smiles at all just a regular professional service. They were disorganized when seating people and one guy even knocked out of my hands my camera by pointing to the other couple were they should sit it was all in rude manner as if we were kids on a field trip, I felt very uncomfortable when I sat down I basically wanted to leave it was just terrible feeling and I'm not picky at all. They had a buffet salad station but they prepare the salad for you once you choose all your toppings, awesome fresh salad. They serve so many tasty cocktails, I bought the premium package and I was surprised that with all the premium drinks that I could drink the fresh squeezed orange juice was not included found that ridiculous and I'm not buying the ultimate package just to get the orange juice lol. Olive & Twist bar on 14th floor was nice and quiet, we discovered that place 3 nights before the end of our cruise, it had a nice view of the H2O water park and ocean. Our cabin keys stopped working twice had to run down to front desk few times. They give away tickets for the ice show at the beginning of the cruise, how was I supposed to know that??? Did not see any ice show as if it didn't exist, why having it if you can't accommodate everyone, why do they have tickets to that??? After paying gratuities upfront and also with the purchase of our beverage packages I am still being asked to tip, I find this offensive and uncomfortable every time I ordered a drink, my gratuities are included I should not be given a receipt with line for a tip. $384 were our tips for a family of four and I don't think I spend that much in any all-inclusive resort, now let’s add to that our beverage package gratuities now how do you expect me to feel when I’m being given an envelope in our state room asking for more? I paid gratuities and I understand them completely but please stop asking for more! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We were suite guests. We were pleased with the size of the suite but we felt that the service was very much lacking. Our suite attendant--Larisa--was wonderful, but we did not feel the personal service that we are accustom to when paying ... Read More
We were suite guests. We were pleased with the size of the suite but we felt that the service was very much lacking. Our suite attendant--Larisa--was wonderful, but we did not feel the personal service that we are accustom to when paying the premium price for a suite. The balcony was disappointing as it was so dirty from the salt spray that you could not sit at the table or lay in the deck chairs without feeling the grit from the salt. On our other cruises with another cruise line, the boat was washed down while we were in ports. We felt that the crew was short staffed and did not have the time to spend to give that personal service. We did have a few crew members who were very helpful and gave that personal service, but that were few. On other cruise lines, we noticed the ship being cleaned all the time; trash being picked up, ashtrays emptied, plenty of hand sanitizing stations, and the crew constantly wiping down hand rails and surfaces. On our entire trip we saw one person wiping down a hand rail. We encountered crew members with a really bad attitude: one of our party had walked into the cafe and asked where the coffee was. The crew member she had asked said: "Are you blind?!" We were all very upset by this comment. There was a small group of crew members who made our trip very memorable, but the majority of the crew were not friendly and accommodating. We were impressed with the Main Dining room food and service. Our waiter--Allan--was awesome and the food in the Main Dining room was wonderful. We were not pleased with the overall service on the ship as a whole. We were pleased with our suite: the size of the suite was wonderful, roomy and decorated in a simple elegance. We were not pleased with the Cruise line policy that we could not smoke on our private balcony and that we had to leave our room to go to the pool deck to enjoy a cigarette (the advantage, however, to having to go to the smoking section was that we socialized with other guests). If RCI wants to improve increase your staff, Suite guests expect a more personalized service. I saw our room attendant having to take care of interior rooms as well as the suites. In my opinion she should have been assigned to only suites instead of have to be spread so thin that she could not give us the personal service that a "butler" should have given. I give Larisa a 10 out of 10 for her personality and her trying to give us first class service but she was too over burdened to do that. We paid for a suite because was wanted that first class service. It was not Larisa's fault that Royal Caribbean is shorting their staff. I talked with other guests and that was a command theme. Hire more staff if you want to be competitive with the other Cruise lines. Make you crew happy because they are the first line to your paying customers. RCI advertised that their guest would be WOWed by their newly renovated ship. We were not WOWed by Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. WOW your passengers by treating them with 1st class service, the ship is just a machine, the cruise is all about the people.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was my 2nd cruise with RCL and my in laws first with them. The service was outstanding. There was a little mix up on our assigned table in the beginning but was quickly fixed. Our waiters , Dwayne and Leilei were awesome. They made my ... Read More
This was my 2nd cruise with RCL and my in laws first with them. The service was outstanding. There was a little mix up on our assigned table in the beginning but was quickly fixed. Our waiters , Dwayne and Leilei were awesome. They made my 6 year old son feel very special. Their supervisor, which sadly I cant remember his name, was so kind and also helped us out. Our room attendant was quick and had a great sense of humor. Adventure ocean, the play area for the kids, was awesome. My son loved it and their safety was top notch. The only complaint was that most adult activities were after 10.30 pm and the children after hour care starts at 10 pm. Also the coffee was terrible, but all the other foods were great. (Hint: Try the cheesecake lollipop at the cafe, they go out quick but its worth coming back over and over) Read Less
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

Find an Independence of the Seas Cruise

Email me when prices drop