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This was the largest ship I've been on for my fifth cruise. The category of "Very Good" fit this ship, the service, the activities, and just everything across the board. I have had "Excellent" or "Exceptional" experiences in each of these categories on other Royal Caribbean ships or with other cruise lines on various occasions. While nothing was "wrong" in any of these categories on this cruise, nothing rose to the level of "Excellent" either. Do not take the above to mean that we were displeased. Not at all. It was a wonderful cruise and well worth the time and money. If I were to rate anything as "Excellent", it would be the itinerary. I'm a HUGE fan of having an immediate Sea Day before you reach your ports and then a Sea Day after. It really gave us an opportunity to settle in on the ship and get in "cruise mode". Then, after the hustle and bustle of excursions in port, it was wonderful to have that final Sea Day to wind down, get back into "cruise mode", and enjoy the ship and just... cruising! Again, this was the largest ship we had been on and the first of this class with RCCL. The promenade truly was a wonderful experience and just a terrific way to get from end to end of the ship while having food, drink, and shopping opportunities. We were very pleased with the private island, Labadee, Haiti. SO many areas to explore and enjoy. It was very easy to take advantage of the drink package, which extended to the private island. SO many places to relax and enjoy the various beaches or just relax in the shade. We did the Green Grotto Caves and Dunn's River Falls excursion in Falmouth, Jamaica. The caves were nice, with great guides. However, the experience at Dunn's River Falls was just SO much more amazing, we wish we would have done an all-day excursion at just Dunn's River Falls. For those planning the Dunn's River Falls excursion, while you can certainly take stairs along the falls to enjoy its beauty, the excursion itself has you joining hands with your group to go UP and THROUGH the falls. You will get beyond soaked and it does take a bit of strength and sureness of footing. It is completely doable by most able-bodied individuals, but if you have ANY infirmities, heed the warnings. And... be sure to bring a quality "dry bag" to keep anything you don't want to get wet. The scenery and experience has made Dunn's River Falls my all-time favorite excursion to date. I'm relatively new to cruising and am totally hooked. I will be taking one to three cruises a year for the rest of my life. I just LOVE it. While I am enjoying becoming VERY familiar with some ports that are commonly hit, like Nassau, in general, I like to always go somewhere new. However, I will say that the locations, offerings, and itinerary of this particular cruise (Sea Day; Labadee, Haiti; Falmounth, Jamaica; Sea Day) make this one that I would sincerely consider doing again. THAT is probably the best testimonial for this ship, the itinerary, the ports, and the available excursions!!!

Very Good and Well Worth the Time and Money!

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by RonH2K

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
This was the largest ship I've been on for my fifth cruise. The category of "Very Good" fit this ship, the service, the activities, and just everything across the board. I have had "Excellent" or "Exceptional" experiences in each of these categories on other Royal Caribbean ships or with other cruise lines on various occasions. While nothing was "wrong" in any of these categories on this cruise, nothing rose to the level of "Excellent" either.

Do not take the above to mean that we were displeased. Not at all. It was a wonderful cruise and well worth the time and money. If I were to rate anything as "Excellent", it would be the itinerary. I'm a HUGE fan of having an immediate Sea Day before you reach your ports and then a Sea Day after. It really gave us an opportunity to settle in on the ship and get in "cruise mode". Then, after the hustle and bustle of excursions in port, it was wonderful to have that final Sea Day to wind down, get back into "cruise mode", and enjoy the ship and just... cruising!

Again, this was the largest ship we had been on and the first of this class with RCCL. The promenade truly was a wonderful experience and just a terrific way to get from end to end of the ship while having food, drink, and shopping opportunities.

We were very pleased with the private island, Labadee, Haiti. SO many areas to explore and enjoy. It was very easy to take advantage of the drink package, which extended to the private island. SO many places to relax and enjoy the various beaches or just relax in the shade.

We did the Green Grotto Caves and Dunn's River Falls excursion in Falmouth, Jamaica. The caves were nice, with great guides. However, the experience at Dunn's River Falls was just SO much more amazing, we wish we would have done an all-day excursion at just Dunn's River Falls. For those planning the Dunn's River Falls excursion, while you can certainly take stairs along the falls to enjoy its beauty, the excursion itself has you joining hands with your group to go UP and THROUGH the falls. You will get beyond soaked and it does take a bit of strength and sureness of footing. It is completely doable by most able-bodied individuals, but if you have ANY infirmities, heed the warnings. And... be sure to bring a quality "dry bag" to keep anything you don't want to get wet. The scenery and experience has made Dunn's River Falls my all-time favorite excursion to date.

I'm relatively new to cruising and am totally hooked. I will be taking one to three cruises a year for the rest of my life. I just LOVE it. While I am enjoying becoming VERY familiar with some ports that are commonly hit, like Nassau, in general, I like to always go somewhere new. However, I will say that the locations, offerings, and itinerary of this particular cruise (Sea Day; Labadee, Haiti; Falmounth, Jamaica; Sea Day) make this one that I would sincerely consider doing again. THAT is probably the best testimonial for this ship, the itinerary, the ports, and the available excursions!!!
RonH2K’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 1D 7528
One of the most spacious cabins we've been in. This particular cabin had some very light stains on the couch cushions and a TV with a slight imperfection/damage. We don't spend much time in the cabin on a cruise, so these were easily overlooked. It did keep us from rating the cabin as "Excellent", though. I would have expected the attendant/cruise line to note these imperfections and correct them.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Dunn's River Falls
    Best. Excursion. EVER! To fully enjoy this, you will want to be rather able-bodied to enjoy the trek up the falls. You go, hand-in-hand with others on your excursion THROUGH the water and falls to climb from the beach to the top! You do not go up stairs beside the falls, like we first thought. This is an option for those with infirmities, but not nearly as fun. You and everything you own will be SOAKED, so bring a dry bag to keep things dry, if needed! We enjoyed Dunn's River Falls and didn't get to enjoy everything available at this wonderful attraction. We really wish we had a full day to enjoy it!!! If you have the option, do just the falls for a full day, you will not be bored.
    View All 219 Dunn's River Falls Reviews
  • Green Grotto Caves
    It was a wonderful experience and the guide was outstanding the ONLY reason I don't rate it as "Excellent" is that, compared to our excursion at Dunn's River Falls later in the day, I think there are far more fun things to do in Falmouth, Jamaica. Still a lot of fun, though!
    View All 32 Green Grotto Caves Reviews
  • Labadee
    We were in a cabana on beautiful Nellie's Beach. The cabana life was wonderful with attentive service (drinks) from our attendant and just a beautiful beach to enjoy.
    View All 12,979 Labadee Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Labadee Cruise Port Review
  • Ziplining
    We did the Dragon's Fire Zipline (the one where you lie down, Superman style) and thoroughly loved it. The LONGEST zipline over water in the world. Well worth it!
    View All 204 Ziplining Reviews