We cruised on the Independence of the Sea on 11/9/19 to the Western Caribbean. We always liked the Freedom class ships and have been on a number of them. We had not been on this ship since 2015. Since we flew in the same day of the cruise and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale at 8:30 AM we waited at the airport until 10 AM and took the taxi to the cruise port, like 3 miles away. Arriving at the cruise port we had no problems with check-in even though we were considerably early.
We waited in the lounge until about 10:45 AM and were allowed to board so the embarkation went very smooth. They did not let anyone go to the rooms until 1:30 PM and on our way to the room we were able to get our luggage which was in the hallway. After the life boat drill we decided to go to the Diamond Club. The Diamond Club on deck 14 can only accommodate about 30 people so many of the people ended up at the bar area adjacent to the Diamond Club which was not a problem. After supper we went to the show, a comedian called Zoltan. We did not think he was very funny. Prior to the cruise we had purchased 2 coffee cards and after the show we stopped and had some of their specialty coffees. We bought the coffee cards off the Royal Caribbean website for $31 each which entitles you to 15 specialty coffees, about $2 per cup. You can also get Frappe’s on the card which are $6.25 on the ship.. Their coffee menu only reflected a small number of coffees that they make but it appeared that they would make anything you asked for as we requested 2 different coffees that were not on the menu which they made.
My wife was a participant on Cruise Critic and the ship typically provides the invitations to their Meet and Mingle which is usually held on the first sea day which in this case was Sunday. We never received an invitation so we had to call Guest Services and ask them to send up an invitation. On Sunday night we ate at Giovonni’s and had fillet mignon which was delicious. On most Royal Caribbean ships if you are a Diamond Plus loyalty member they have a buy one get one free at specialty restaurants on the first two nights of the cruise. The second day we went to the Diamond Club and they had shut off the bar adjacent to the Diamond Club for a special event party and that was a problem because there was no place for the overflow crowd to go. Later on the second night we went to see the musical Grease. It was a fabulous show and I would recommend you not miss it. The entertainment on the third night was a musical group called the Horizon, 3 guys singing Motown music. If you like Motown music you will probably like them. The next day we were in Grand Cayman. To get on the island you have to be tendered in. They required you to go to the Starlight lounge and get a number for boarding the tenders. As I looked down from my balcony I could see that they had 2 tenders anchored to the ship but only loading one. When we got to the island it appeared that there was limited space for the tenders to dock and since there was 5 ships in that day it appeared RC only had one docking area so I assumed that is why they were only loading one tender at a time. Anyway when we got to the island it was raining hard so since we had been there many times before we decided to stay on the tender and go back to the ship.
We hard internet on this cruise but it was not very reliable. On a number of occasions you could not get on the internet for several hours. On Tuesday night we went to Chops specialty restaurant and the food was good. Later that night we went to ice show called Freeze Frame, which took you from the 1940’s thru the 1980’s with music from each era. Very good show and some excellent skating. After the ice show we went to the theater to see Aaron Bonk who was a juggler and whip artist. He was OK but not really my thing. The next day we were in Falmouth, Jamaica. We have been there many times so we only got off the ship and looked at the shops on the dock. That night we saw a production show called Once Upon A Time which was an excellent show, great music with many popular songs. On the next day we were at their private island, Labadee, one of our favorite stops. There are beaches on the ocean side and also on the bay side. We have found that the ocean side, left side after you have gotten on Labadee, has more rocky areas and rougher surf and at the bay side there are very little waves and much sandier beaches. The water was quite warm. That night in the dining room they were serving lobster and the dining room was busy. After supper we went to see the third production show, Invitation to Dance. This was a high energy show with a lot of singing and dancing. Not only did they have the RC singers and dancers but they also had a professional dance couple that were very good. We thought this was an excellent show. The last day was a sea day and at night they had Farewell Show with a comedian named Scott Henry. He was better then the other 2 comedians but not exceptionally funny. Getting off the ship on Saturday morning was not as smooth as on some other ships. Guest services told us that we should arrive back in Ft. Lauderdale at 5:30 AM but we did not get in until 6:45 AM. We did a walk off since we had a 10 AM flight and were in line at 7:15 AM but did not start disembarking until 7:45 AM. We ended up getting to the airport at 8:35 AM.
In conclusion we thought the cruise was good. The entertainment had 3 good production shows but the rest of the entertainment was nothing to brag about. The food in the dining room was good but nothing special. The specialty restaurants that we ate at were very good. We had a balcony room which was fine, no problems.
Cabin was fine, good view