Larger than Life: Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by jdechter

Independence of the Seas 5
Member Since 2000
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Larger than Life

Sail Date: January 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
This was our 25th cruise, 3rd on RCCL. I booked this mostly for the ship, but the itinerary was a good one. We flew LAX to PBI and stayed 3 nights pre cruise in Boynton Beach to visit relatives. We drove Fort Lauderdale and returned our Budget rental car at the office on 17th st. They provided a cab to the port as their van was out of commission. We booked an outside cabin on Deck 2. This deck has access to only one stairway/elevator bank. We enjoyed the convenience of being able to return from port and go up one flight of stairs right to our stateroom. It is most advantageous to be near the elevators if you book on this deck. We had a nice large porthole window and a great room steward who provided bathrooms and extra towels upon request.

Although embarkation was efficient, getting room tags at the port is not so great. The porter put the wrong quadrant number on our bags. One arrived after lunch and the other two didn't show up until 6:30so much for tipping. Lunch wasn't More the zoo we expected, we were eating at 1:30. Staterooms are available after 1:00. Muster drill was long but we departed on time. Now the ship itself is a wonder but not overly large. It seems wider, not so much longer so getting around was doable.

There is a lot of emphasis on the mall like Promenade, and I missed the sensation of being on the sea. The flow rider, climbing wall, sport court, miniature golf are all located in one area. Even if you don't use them, they are fun to watch. We had early seating at a table for 6. We had a wonderful table overlooking the chandelier.However, the service was poor. We got the feeling we were at a training station for both the waiter and his assistant. The maitre d frequently came over to converse with us and he was very friendly and accessible. We had a special meeting with Host Anne and Host Laura, and RCCL provided a cake and some snacks. Now breakfast at the buffet was crowded and mediocre. People were anxious to get off and enjoy their time in port. Lunch in the buffet was poor, the array of food was disappointing. We did not try Portofino's ( couldn't get in), Sabatinis or Johnny Rockets. Lunch in the dining room was much better as was breakfast.

Entertainment We saw the ice show twice, just amazing. The production shows were very original. Didn't like the comedian. Went to one of the parades. Missed the deck party which we heard was good.

Belize We took the Lamanai bus/boat trip through RCCL which was enjoyable. The weather was good, not hot and not buggy. Cozumel We did the clear kayak and snorkel through RCCL. The beach was somewhat disappointing and rocky, but the kayaking was fun. snorkeling was good, the water very clear, but frankly not as good as Hawaii. We returned to the ship for lunch and a shower and went out to downtown. We found an internet place for $1 for 30 minutes and a huge new market like a super Target. Costa MayaMy husband was disappointed at first to see the beach at Majahual and thought the water was uninviting. However, we parked ourselves at Pez Quattro at the end and really enjoyed the beach and the water. We returned to the ship for lunch and went out again to look at the shops. The second sea day I really began to enjoy the ship and its activities, I could have used another day. We attended the Art Auction and won the grand prize and a bottle of champagne.

Disembarkation we had a 1:20 flight so I wasn't in any hurry to get off. We ate breakfast in the dining room and stayed in our stateroom until 9:30. Getting off was easy, finding the luggage was easy and then there is a huge crowd to go through customs. there were a large number of non US citizens, maybe this slowed things down. We easily found a taxi to go to FLL. We had more time to kill there and found a lounge that was previously an Admirals Club with WiFi and couches. Our flight was overbooked so AA sent us to Miami in a cab to fly home on a non stop first class. Our luggage was at LAX when we arrived, this was a great ending to a wonderful cruise. We enjoyed good seas, some wind and no rain, couldn't have been better. Less

Published 01/13/09

Cabin review: I2626 Oceanview Stateroom

Very good location, quiet, easy access when returning from port. Good size, nice big porthole window. Small bathroom and closet, not enough hooks (bring your own self adhesive), small drawers. Hairdryer shut off each time I used it and would not go back on till the next day, luckily I brought one. Very little storage in the bathroom.

Read All Oceanview Stateroom (I) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We traveled to Lamanai to see the ruins. The trip was all day consisting of a bus ride followed by a ride up the river. We saw alligators and monkeys. The ruins were impressive and the weather was good, not hot or buggy. The meal was fair-bring snacks. This was a ship excursion.

This port was trashed and is still rebuilding. The beach and water are just the same as before the hurricane, but the vegetation has been damaged. They did a nice job paving the sidewalk. The water was clear but there is sea grass, water shoes recommended. DId not partake of the massages but they were busy. The vendors are there but "no thanks" worked just fine. It was a lovely day. There was one other ship in port that day full of people from a "JAM cruise." Interesting crowd!
Read 1761 Costa Maya Reviews

We did the Clear kayak and snorkel through RCCL. We were the first group to go out. Having never kayaked before I was apprehensive but it was really easy. The water was very clear and the guide was good. We returned to shore and then went snorkeling. Equipment was provided but we had brought our own. There was a small pool and the beach is rocky and small. We did not stay long afterward as it was partly cloudly. Afterward we were asked to fill out an evaluation form, and it wanted to know how we heard of the excursion. One of the check offs was cruise critic! Cool!
Read 5470 Cozumel Reviews

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