1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Arriving at Lauderdale was a breeze. Parking lot closest was full so a little extra walk to lot 19 was in order... For some reason my RCL App went from my phone to the cloud and reloading took very long time to reload. It was ok because I ... Read More
Arriving at Lauderdale was a breeze. Parking lot closest was full so a little extra walk to lot 19 was in order... For some reason my RCL App went from my phone to the cloud and reloading took very long time to reload. It was ok because I had the set sail passes printed as well. Check in was a breeze. We are carry on people so we had no bags to check in. My dear GF and I selected Independence for the ship rather than itinerary. Lots of research went into finding just the right one and we weren't disappointed. To begin with she was "fresh" with a recent refit and "amped" upgrades. Though not Oasis Class shes still a really big comfortable layout. Ice rink deck three was home to great shows and family fun. Deck four Playmaker sports bar was very casual atmosphere and the casino nicely laid out. The promenade on deck five was breathtaking. We made our way to deck eleven for lunch at Windjammer which had me a little turned around on this ship being aft where the other RCL ships I had traveled previously were all forward. From there my very blonde GF made a reservation at the spa to have her hair lightened a little. This is where things went bad. It took twice as long as predicted (Making us very late for dinner) to begin with. Then the disaster unfolded when her hair dried. Instead of lightening it they darkened it countless shades to black in places! She went from Sondra Locke type hair to Lilly Munster in that ill fated visit. That's why I took one of the five stars I would have awarded had all gone right. We bit our tongues and moved forward. Opening night parade on the "street" of the promenade was very uplifting. Room was spotless and comfortable. Very good attendant. Our day at sea gave us a chance to check out the water slides, flowrider, golf course and explore. The "sky Pad" was closed I guess due to a mishap on another trip. Lunch again in Windjammer did not disappoint. Dinner was also excellent. That night we were treated to very spot on performance of "Grease". First stop was Costa Maya. We opted to do a ruins tour with Native Choice based on recommendation. Very detailed and informative! In that recommendation they said they would drop us at the beach where we snorkeled, had a great lunch, did some shopping for hammocks (got great deals) and had time to get GF a massage. Dinner aboard was again fantastic. Our next day found us in Cozumel. A few quick stops to pick up free trinkets then a stop at a recommended pharmacy for vanilla (which you can find everywhere) and some other deeply discounted medications (4 month supply of Omeprazole for what I pay for three week supply here). Our next stop took us off the beaten path to Kao Kao chocolate factory tour instead of the one being offered by RCL. We selected it after much research and again that research paid off with an extremely memorable hands on experience. From there it was off to Money Bar where we had an outstanding lunch of mixed nachos then some excellent snorkeling. Back aboard we joined in a fun "activity" cheering on and heckling those who were late returning to the ship. Dinner was good but the beef stroganoff did not resemble what I envision. More like oriental stir fried beef over buttered spaghetti. Still tasted good. We dabbled in the casino. I wound up $80 ahead playing craps and roulette. Gf wound up 35 cents ahead on the slots. Yesterday at sea we pretty much relaxed redoing some things we had done before. Dinner was fine. We went to Next cruise booking same Independence for next year but will be bringing her teens for that one. I went on my RCL app to check my expenses and noticed an odd $89 charge that was put on and taken off several times. At the service deck the attendant was rude and indifferent. No explanation . I then noticed that the same spa that destroyed my GF's hair took it upon themselves to "pad" the gratuity by quite a bit and unauthorized. Again the attendant was abrupt. "You need to take that up with them." They were closed and closed again for todays disembarkation! That's the second star removal reason. We did breakfast in the MDR and that was good. By then the line to get off was thinned out. Probably the fastest easiest disembarkation I have ever done. Its a shame that the spa incident(s) took place otherwise it would have been my pleasure to give it a full 5 star rating... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Royal Caribbean is remodeling its ships after which they are said to be "amplified". If there is one thing their ships don't need its to be amplified. The buffet on this ship had loud music from breakfast opening and ... Read More
Royal Caribbean is remodeling its ships after which they are said to be "amplified". If there is one thing their ships don't need its to be amplified. The buffet on this ship had loud music from breakfast opening and through the day, even though the few people there at seven am wanted nothing to do with loud music at that hour. The Royal Promenade had the same problem as well as the pool deck. Movies on the pool deck were ear splitting to the point of pain, even if you wanted to watch. Nearly impossible to get away and find a peaceful spot. Frequent cruising Crown and Anchor Society members say they complain at every survey, but nothing is done. This cruise had a large number of infants in strollers and elevator service was extremely slow. Elevators were packed all cruise long, like a sardine can. And slow! If you didn't get to the main dining room right at opening for breakfast be prepared to stand in an extremely long line. The schedule for bands in the lounges was pequiliar in that at times there was no entertainment at all except the piano in the Schooner bar. The show Grease was very good, however. But there was only one production show which is the same one on several other ships. The ice show was typically good, but there was only one set and the costumes were not as spectacular as other shows. It would have been good to have a meet the stars event like other ships, but not on this one. No captain's corner either. Couldn't tell you who the cruise director was. Heard him on the pa but never actually saw him, even at the "Top Tier" reception for RC's "best customers". Been on many RC cruises and never had that happen before. He seemed pretty detached from the guests. Food was generally good, but no lobster night and service at both breakfast and dinner was very slow, like two hours for dinner, after being seated. Breakfast servers seemed largely inexperienced and ordered items often never arrived, even after a long wait, such that eventually you just gave up. This is a nice class of ship but the experience was not as good as other Freedom class ships, such as Freedom and Liberty. Most of the staff were really good, like guest services crew, our cabin steward, and especially the loyalty ambassador. But at the top level there didn't seem to be a true commitment, but rather a kind of attitude of doing only the minimum level of effort required. And it showed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our second Royal Caribbean cruise so we were looking forward to it. The positives: The RC staff were excellent, always smiling and helpful. We loved our cabin steward. The spa massages were fantastic! The dining room food was ... Read More
This was our second Royal Caribbean cruise so we were looking forward to it. The positives: The RC staff were excellent, always smiling and helpful. We loved our cabin steward. The spa massages were fantastic! The dining room food was good. The wait staff was excellent. The ship was clean. The breakfast at the pizza place was delicious, cooked fresh sandwiches - highly recommend it. The Promenade Oatmeal cookies were great. Johnny Rockets fries and onion rings were cold and bad but the sandwiches were very good. The negatives: the crowds at the pools were crazy - it was almost impossible to get two chairs together near the pools. The food at the Windjammer was bad and was repeated each day item for item. The afternoon snacks were mostly mediocre leftover lunch desserts. You could only get iced tea at lunch and dinner - not at breakfast. This was the first time that we had an inside room and it was fine - plenty of space. We even had shelves that we left empty. We had booked a 10 night cruise before leaving the ship but cancelled it once we got home -just couldn't get excited about that food for 10 days straight. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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: 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
Meh
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 16th cruise on Royal Caribbean and our 2nd time on Independence. Sadly, it was rather a disappointment overall; for me to give a cruise a 3 star rating is a first. In fairness, not everything was disappointing about this ... Read More
This was our 16th cruise on Royal Caribbean and our 2nd time on Independence. Sadly, it was rather a disappointment overall; for me to give a cruise a 3 star rating is a first. In fairness, not everything was disappointing about this cruise and not everything about the vacation was a problem with Royal Caribbean. I'll try and delineate in my full review below. Pre Cruise Stay We drove to Ft. Lauderdale the day prior to our cruise and stayed at The Quality Inn and Suites on Stirling Rd, roughly 15 to 20 minutes from Port Everglades. NEVER AGAIN. Our room in this "hotel" were dingy and dirty. The price for the room plus five nights parking was close to $200. It included a free shuttle to/from the port, however, there was so much confusion at the time we were supposed to leave regarding who was going where in the shuttle that we decided to take an Uber instead (about $20 plus tip; we shared the Uber with another couple also not happy with the shuttle situation). Our car was fine when we returned, so, that's a good thing! Embarkation Good marks for this. We arrived at the port around 10:30 and were through security, check-in, and sitting in the Diamond embarkation area by 10:50 or so. They boarded not too long after, and we were on the ship a bit after 11. Ship Indy has received a huge overhaul since the last time we were on her (December 2015) with the vast majority of the changes being to "kidify" her (water slide, bungee jumping thing, other stuff) plus add venues that younger adults would find more interesting (Play Makers Sports Bar/Arcade (this in essence cut the casino back by a third)). I'm sure there were other differences as well, but these were the most obvious. Not upgraded were the staterooms; still the old light green/pink drapes, carpets, etc. in them. The ship itself seemed in good shape; very clean, no obvious signs of wear and tear, carpet stains, etc. I'm also impressed by the looks of the main dining room on Freedom Class ships. Oh, and they added hand wash stations at the entrance to the Windjammer. Dining We pre ordered the Ultimate Dining Package so had all four meals in one of the specialty restaurants (which would be Giovanni's Table or Chops Grille since the package wasn't good for Izumi). There were significant issues with making RSVPs. Our first RSVP was made for us at 6:30 embarkation night at Gio's, which was ok; however, we prefer eating at 7:30. Absolutely none of these time slots available at either restaurant when we checked with the Diamond Concierge that first evening. So, we ended up eating very late the 2nd night (8:30 RSVP (more on that evening later) and 6:30 the 3rd and 4th nights. It seems to me they oversell these packages and it's very hard to get the time slot you want. I wouldn't do this again. Also, the food was just, in general, "meh"; some stand-outs here and there, but not what you'd expect for paying extra. People seem to complain about the food in the main dining room (which I can't really comment on this cruise since we only ate breakfast in there one morning and it was fine), however, you'd really expect the food in restaurants you have to pay extra for would be superior. It wasn't. The wine list was also pathetic. Only a few wine by the glass selections available, and fewer of these within the limit of the drink package (which we had). For the first time ever, we did not step foot into the Windjammer (other than to visit the bar), nor did we order room service. The food available in the Diamond Lounge was quite good, especially what they laid out for lunch/afternoon. We found ourselves in there more often than not eating several small wraps, sandwiches, fruit, etc. Drinks As mentioned, we had the drink package having secured a pretty good deal on it during the Black Friday sales. Most of the bars/bartenders were very accommodating and helpful as we attempted to navigate through the issue of why there was a $12 per drink limit, yet, many of the menus listed drinks at $13 each. Only one bar, The Champagne Bar, were sticklers for this (telling us the only glass of champagne we could get there would cost us $8 over the drink package price; very confusing since Chandon Champagne was widely available every other place and included). Come to think of it, we had an issue at Indy's Champagne Bar the last time we were on this ship! Service in the pub, Boleros, Schooner Bar, Viking Crown (Olive or Twist), the bar in Windjammer, and the Diamond Lounge was excellent. As an aside, we paid $52 per person per day for the drink package. On board it was $70!!!!! Service In general, ok. A few folks were just so friendly and helpful. Most were ok; a few were not very helpful at all. This was not a cruise where I'd say "The crew made this cruise", however. Entertainment We saw two shows; the ventriloquist and Royal's Love and Marriage. The former was excellent; I laughed so hard I cried. The latter was ok. Same questions, so, I am thinking people come prepared to answer them "correctly", which isn't very interesting. The Scottish guitar player/singer in the pub was good. As an aside, there were a lot of kids at shows that were not really kid appropriate. And, speaking of which. PAX Kids! Kids! More kids! I've never seen so many kids on a cruise before EVER. Why were they not in school? LOL. Kids, teens, young adults (20s) overran the pool areas so we didn't even bother trying to hand out in our usual spot The Solarium. Kids running around the hallways, up and down the stairs, in and out of the elevators. Even kids in the Diamond Lounge during cocktail hour (thankfully they were well behaved). So, yeah. I've nothing against kids but this was a bit much. Which leads me to believe Royal Caribbean is really upping the game on the kid/family market, which means we'll probably jump ship to Celebrity. There were your usual party animals on this cruise, not surprising as it was over a long weekend. Booze Cruisers. Thankfully, though, no real issues with PAX except one evening in Gio's when there was a huge snafu with RSVPs. People with RSVPs were waiting long past their time slot. Some were getting very irate and extremely rude, both to employees and other PAXs waiting in line. I know it's not unusual to run into rude people here and there on a cruise, but this situation was boarding on uncomfortable. Stateroom Junior Suite 9338 starboard in the middle of the hump. Very close to Centrum (aft) elevators. Oversized (long) balcony (large enough for two chairs, a small round table, and two loungers). Quiet stateroom with tons of space, a walk-in closet, lots of drawers, and a good-sized bathroom with a shower/tub. As previously mentioned, the furnishings were a bit dated. Our stateroom attendant, Ultra, was sweet and efficient (although we hardly saw her; not that we needed to; she responded to our few requests promptly). Diamond Lounge One of the best experiences we've had. Hailey was the concierge and she was very helpful. Because it is up on Deck 14 close to The Viking Crown, the views are quite nice. We stayed in there frequently when we just wanted to sit, read, or chat. Disembarkation Another "meh"; I don't think folks were following instructions. Heck, there were no instructions where we were told to go and wait for our number to be called. We saw some people we knew go by while we were waiting for our number to be called; there number was our number so we just jumped in with them. A very long line at the terminal to get through security. Thankfully, it moved quickly. A bit of a zoo getting our Uber back to the hotel. Summary Maybe we're just getting old, but, for the first time, I didn't feel quite at home on this cruise. Everything seemed to be catering to kids, families, and first time cruisers. Even the magnet that you put on your stateroom door (magnet itself a vast improvement over the thing you put on the door handle) was geared at younger people. "Out catching more thrills. Please make up my room". PLEASE! The fact that we hung out in the Diamond Lounge (and other very quiet places) as opposed to the pool area or some of our favorite bars told me that we felt we needed to "hide" from all the craziness. Thankfully we found a few nice places, including our own balcony, so we did have some positive moments. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Wanted a holiday cruise. wanted cruise out of ft Lauderdale.wanted a cruise that did not go to Nassau,been there several times, same jewelry stores.weather was bad couldn’t go to coco cay ended up in nassau.ship was great,personel were ... Read More
Wanted a holiday cruise. wanted cruise out of ft Lauderdale.wanted a cruise that did not go to Nassau,been there several times, same jewelry stores.weather was bad couldn’t go to coco cay ended up in nassau.ship was great,personel were great.it looks as though royal Caribbean is drawing more children and families with their top deck amusement parks.that is fine I don’t go there,but when I go to a bar in the evening where adults congregate to enjoy a cocktail and appreciate the great bands, it is impossible to use the dance floor as there were10 little ones on it falling and yelling all evening.when you tried to get into the buffet, the ship is very proactive in having wash stations along the sides of the entrance,but then the ship has a man in the middle of this corridor making balloons for 20 children.almost impoossible to get through.love children been there done that.would like the space controlled more so that all can enjoy what turns out to be a $3000 5 day cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I did not have high expectations for this cruise, and I was not disappointed. The stateroom attendant was trying to be incognito, I only saw him once. While the room was kept clean, he never left tissues in the bathroom or a room service ... Read More
I did not have high expectations for this cruise, and I was not disappointed. The stateroom attendant was trying to be incognito, I only saw him once. While the room was kept clean, he never left tissues in the bathroom or a room service menu for breakfast. The were 2 waiters at the dinner due to the size of our group. The younger one seemed to have his act together, the more experienced one would bring soup and salad to the table at the same time and bring people the wrong orders. At the first night dinner, instead of showing us to our table, the head waiter merely pointed off in the distance and we had to find our own way. The food was mediocre. Usually one of the highlights of a cruise, at least for me, is to see the menu each night and see what the chefs have come up with. This cruise was disappointing. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Took this cruise because the price was right. My issue of contention was the food in the windjammer and MDR. First off, the coffee was the worst i have ever had on the numerous cruises I have taken with CCL and RCCL. The food took too long ... Read More
Took this cruise because the price was right. My issue of contention was the food in the windjammer and MDR. First off, the coffee was the worst i have ever had on the numerous cruises I have taken with CCL and RCCL. The food took too long to be brougt to the table and no matter how many times i reminded the server that I wanted or had ordered a beverage, I neither got the chance to order and or received the beverage after meal had been consumed. The servers were friendly and pleasant. Don't know if they had staff shortages but the wait times were bad. The pool deck during the day had zero fun vibe. I might as well have been at a pool in a gated community. There was a band in Boleros whose song selection was extremely limited. I can honestly say that CCL with whom I also cruise has better bands, better, cruise directors, better comedians and better DJ's. The 70's party on the promenade was awesome. I did get a kick out of the traveling piano player. The 80's party was mediocre. Terrible song selection. Grease was good as was the ice skating show. Cruise Director Jamie while quite the dancer and mc/game show host was barely around. He was dynamic when hosting Quest and leading the 70's party. Apart from that,he was not heard from nor seen. The cabin steward was AWESOME. Can't say enough about her. 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