First RCI Cruise: Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by sk8teacher

Independence of the Seas 5
Member Since 2005
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First RCI Cruise

Sail Date: February 2013
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We selected this cruise because the wife wanted to participate in a crafting group that was scheduled for it. Having sailed several Holland America cruises on much smaller ships, we were somewhat apprehensive about going on a ship this large, but went with an open mind.

In our opinion, RCI has it together. The embarkation went very smoothly, only taking about 45 minutes from the time we got in line, and that was only because of a glitch with their computer system.

We were aboard around 11:30 and went to the Windjammer to have some lunch and wait for our room to be available. The food in the Windjammer was good, with a nice variety available, and the staff were wonderful about telling us "newbies" where to go and where to find things.

At 1pm they announced rooms were ready and off we went. We were booked into 9502, a bow-facing ocean-view. When we opened the door, we were pleasantly surprised at the amount of room available. There was plenty of storage More available, and actually enough room on the wall where the window was to have put a small table and a couple of small chairs. Too bad they didn't. It would have been a nice feature.

During the cruise we explored the ship completely and found her in good condition, the staff very friendly, the meals in the main dinning room were very good.

Leaving the ship upon return was even smoother than coming aboard. We went down to our waiting area at 8:45 (about 15 minutes early), were told to go ahead off, walked off the ship got our bags, went through customs and were at the taxi stand by 9:10.

Overall we were very impressed on how RCI handles large amounts of people very quickly and orderly, actually better in our opinion than Holland America on much smaller ships. We would definitely consider another RCI cruise. Less

Published 02/20/13

Cabin review: F9502 Large Oceanview Stateroom

We had cabin 9502, a bow facing oceanview. We were very impressed with the size of the room, and it's location. Very quiet, with plenty of storage space. I will be posting pictures of our cabin here on Cruise Critic shortly, so just do a search on IOS cabin 9502 to find them.

Read All Large Oceanview Stateroom (F) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Again, we decided to go along with two other couples on a private tour, with Kingsley Taxi. Our first stop was at Dunns Falls where we found out there was a $20 entrance fee per person. As we had no intention of climbing the falls and only wanted to get some pictures, we felt the fee was too much and decided to wait outside while the rest went in. I was still able to get pictures of a couple of nightingales and some other birds while we waiting on the others. Our next stop was at Shaw Park Gardens, where we had a very nice tour of the gardens, with excellent explanations of the various fauna found there. On the way back we stopped in Ocho Rios for some jerk chicken. While the stops themselves were good, our feeling is that the driver was more interested in conducting business on his cell phone then paying attention to his driving. We did not feel very safe while traveling in his car, and would not recommend him for any tours.
Read 1034 Falmouth Reviews

Being avid nature photographers, we booked a private tour with Geddes Hislop, a naturalist. We met him in town, and then went out on a three hour tour of the island, looking for native birds and wildlife. It was a fantastic tour, and we saw nine different species of birds, including the Grand Cayman Parrot and the West Indian Whistling Duck. Geddes is very knowledgeable and provides a fantastic tour. Highly recommend him.

This is RCI's private island. We are not beach folks but still were impressed with the overall experience there. The area is quite large with plenty of paved paths for those in wheelchairs. For lunch there was two separate eating areas on both ends of the area, which really helped spread out the 3000+ passengers on the ship, At no time did we feel that it was crowded.
Read 1319 Labadee Reviews

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Member Since 2005
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