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Independence of the Seas Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,776 Reviews

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Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by ottobar

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Feb 2020
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean

After 25+ years of cruising on a fairly regular basis on 4 different lines we finally found a ship we would try really hard to avoid in the future. And although even with the following it’s possible to have a good time, and no doubt many inexperienced cruisers will think a vacation on this ship was great, there are too many problems for us to go back any time soon.

Ever experienced bacon that does not taste right? Too long in the freezer, too long sitting in its own fat, too long since it was cooked, who knows – but you will experience that at breakfast. How about shrimp cocktails – on the menu nightly – or prime rib – on the menu several nights - with no horseradish option on the sauce? Seems they ran out on day two. Beer drinker, but not enough to lay out $80 per day for the drink package – be prepared to pay $9.43 (inclusive of the required 18% “gratuity”) for your bottle of Bud. And don’t look too long for a price list of the liquor at any bar – they don’t have any ex the bar’s “specials”. Drinking on cruises use to involve drinking at reasonable prices. Not on this ship.

Experience the fun of waiting too long for a towel at the pool when on a day at sea 4,200 of your new best friends want one also – and there’ only one towel station, and the one person manning it is trying to multi-task regarding various issues raised by those at the front of the line. Or how about showing up for second dinner seating at the scheduled time of 8pm, having a mob scene await you, wait for your table, wait for your water, wait for your waiter, and when the head waiter comes by he explains to you that if you show up at that time and the stage show has just let you, you have to wait? Or this last morning, you look forward to a nice sit-down breakfast with a tablecloth, but get turned away at 8am being told the formal dining area that was opened was “filled” so please try the 11th floor buffet? This is despite the fact the ship has two other identical formal dining areas. Oh, and it was buffet only, no ordering for this final breakfast please.

But my favorite was, having convinced my wife to stay up for the 10.45 pool party, to be told when we showed up that it would not start till about 11.30. Seems they were playing a movie at the pool and they could not start the dancing till the movie was over. I’m sorry, you have the same schedule every week, how can you mess that up?

Combined with the conspicuous absence of senior crew members (except for the Brit who is the beverage manager) – cruise long enough and you can spot them – they have the best uniforms and usually look the part – and the fact that in 4 days we never laid eyes on our cruise director (except on TV), it makes me think maybe they’ve gotten tired of having to personally deal with the customers. Certainly, we listened to a lot of our fellow customers who had things to say to them.

Not good. On the positive side, lots of reggae music, very pleasant staff, good trivia contests – most of the time (but make sure that female on the staff shows up on time next time please), Graham?? The Scot was a hoot and a lot of fun, try the tenderloin at dinner when available, and you’ve got snails in garlic butter on the menu nightly. But simply too many people not handled in the right way. So don’t short the stock (yet), just try and find another ship if your plans allow.

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