Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by flowoflife
- Sail Date: March 2013
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Promenade Stateroom
There were many college students aboard from Ohio State, Perdue, and Duke to name a few. While some passengers complained (I guess because the students tended to congregate in large groups), it was enjoyable to see them have fun. The guys were gentlemen, and I spoke with a number of them at length about their majors and future plans. My daughter befriended many, both young men and young women. We never have any problem meeting people even though my daughter and I do not stay together during most of the day.
I enjoyed the fitness facility, the hot tubs, sauna, steam room, zumba class, the art history seminar, and art auctions. We went on the Stingray excursion in Grand Cayman Island, our second time. This time we enjoyed an air conditioned bus to the boat. I purchased a disk with photos from the photographer on the boat, who took pictures of my daughter and I "kissing" and holding stingrays. The sun and water tired us out, so we returned to the ship without shopping.
I looked forward to the new port in Falmouth Jamaica. The Falmouth port is a new gated area and offers shopping and eating for those who did not schedule an excursion. The place is spotless, sort of like a petrie dish away from the locals for tourists. I purchased a set of silver bangles. I had priced sterling bangle bracelets on line, so I was satisfied with the price I paid for a set at a jeweler, especially since I got a slight price reduction. The vendors were not pushy, and I enjoyed browsing through the stores. Margaritaville provided an air of festivity. There were many options for cool beverages, food, souvenirs, and liquor purchases. We were able to stop by most of the shops within a 2 hour period. It was hot in March so I was grateful for easy access to the ship.
Instead of going ashore in Labadee, my daughter and I enjoyed a private hot tub, private sauna, private steam room, and quiet reading. I appreciated the tranquility of a quiet ship while in port.
On the positive side, I attended the Ice Show, Quest (for the first time), and the Art History Seminar, which was very well done. I viewed the artwork around the ship and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings.
Of course, there were some negatives. The windows in our room facing the promenade were in drastic need of cleaning. I have a number of allergies, the main one being fish (not shellfish) and I am a vegetarian. Although I completed forms to alert RC of this issue in advance, there were few options (standard pasta) for me because fish stock is used when cooking shellfish dishes. This was a major disappointment. The food was rather lackluster, though one night the menu offered three entrees that I wished had been offered on separate nights.
Offering all alcoholic beverages for one price, $55, is ridiculous. Not only college students, but many adults attempted to get their money's worth with embarrassing, unpleasant results. RC should consider ceasing this practice. I understand they revoked a few alcoholic beverage passes by the second day of the cruise.
A major negative was the casino. I spend, or would have spent, substantial time there but for the smog of cigarette smoke. I overheard many comments from college students cutting through the casino that they feared cancer from second hand smoke. RC should eliminate smoking in the casino, or better yet, get non-smoking ships. The air flow in the casino was horrible. At the top of the staircase leading to the Promenade a chimney effect caused the smog to rise and also pollute that deck.
Regarding the shows, my daughter and I were very disappointed. The production shows consisted of too many of the same types of songs or dances, no pizazz. The comedian and the entertainer who wrote the song for Happy Days were rather pathetic--two different nights watching men in wrinkled, poorly fitting suits who limped. RC can do better.
Granted, last year we cruised on the Allure, which is a hard act to follow. But as a married Black American traveling only with my daughter, I truly enjoyed the trip, and would do it again. For those who did not enjoy the cruise (I heard the murmurings), they should not travel during college spring breaks (which may span three weeks in March) and they should be flexible enough that their day is not ruined because they can't have their desired chaise by the pool. And it is easy enough to find solitude in many areas of the ship at any time.
Regarding embarkation, we carried our luggage off for the first time, what a great option! We got off early, my daughter retrieved the car from the parking garage, and we were on the road looking for a restaurant for breakfast before 8:00!
- Read more Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Reviews
- Read Cruise Critic's Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Review
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
FalmouthVery clean and isolated from the locals. Easy access to and from the ship. Many options for eating, drinking, shopping, people watching. Some entertainment on the "plaza."View All 1,150 Falmouth Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Falmouth Cruise Port Review
Stingray SwimBoarded an air conditioned bus that transported us to the boat for a half hour trip to the sand bar. We entered the waters that had many well fed people-friendly stingrays. We were one of about eight boats in the area and we stayed with our group. The guide attracted stingrays, held them for us to get close and comfortable. A photographer took pictures of us handling stingrays, then offered discs of the photos (I purchased 4 photos on a disk for $40, a bit high but worth it since I didn't have a waterproof camera and she allowed for group photos). On the ride back we were offered cups of pineapple soda and crackers (glad I had my own bottled water). The bus was at the dock within five minutes and we were transported back to the pier with no problem. We were in the water about an hour, which is enough in the tropical sun.View All 540 Stingray Swim Reviews