Sail Date: September 2019
Embarkation was great, we were on the ship 5 minutes after entering the terminal. The refurbished part of the ship is great, it’s a shame they didn’t update the staterooms. Ours was quite shabby with stained and faded sofas, old net ... Read More
Embarkation was great, we were on the ship 5 minutes after entering the terminal. The refurbished part of the ship is great, it’s a shame they didn’t update the staterooms. Ours was quite shabby with stained and faded sofas, old net curtains which didn’t meet in the middle and filthy curtain liners. Come on RCI. Our cabin was kept clean though, so no problems there, it just felt grubby because it was tatty. The food in Windjammers and the MDR was very good, plenty of choice. We had the lovely Amit and Heman (Table 755) looking after us, who were so lovely, friendly and helpful. We had My Time dining and had the same table and time every night. The shows in the theatre were very good, but the last couple of nights they changed the time to 7pm or 9pm, which was no good with our dinner time, so missed 2 shows. Grease was ok, but they had a few hiccups. Both the ice shows were great. I don’t think the groups/bands were as good this year, but that’s just my personal opinion. Bar service was generally good, but they could do with more staff in Boleros, as most days there was only one serving and if they had to go and get more bottles it was left unmanned. Quite a bit of queuing most of the time. Katerina, the waitress was brilliant there, friendly and smiling. All the ports of call were great, as was getting on and off the ship each time. We had the usual kids running around and playing in the lifts, but that’s down to the parents who obviously didn’t care. I was a bit worried after reading previous reviews about getting a seat anywhere, but we always managed to find a seat in Windjammers and a sun lounger every day. The bars were quite busy and if we couldn’t get a seat in one we always found one in another (except the Schooner bar, which was always rammed). I do wish everyone would wash their hands in the restaurants, as every day we saw people just walking straight in and we have to go and use the tongs they have used. Instead of the lovely singing waiters singing to wash your hands as you go in, they should be making people do it who walk straight by. Great cruise, lovely ports of call, glorious weather and no real complaints, only the tatty stateroom. Cannot wait until the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because we were already vacationing in London prior. We really enjoyed the ice show “Strings.” The violinist was phenomenal and the choreography of the skaters was great. We ate in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because we were already vacationing in London prior. We really enjoyed the ice show “Strings.” The violinist was phenomenal and the choreography of the skaters was great. We ate in the main dining room the first two nights. The food was good, portions could have been bigger but the service was very slow. Izumi was good but it was an hour until we ate. I understand there is a show involved with dining in a hibachi restaurant but it just took too long. The balcony room was in a great location mid ship on Deck 7. I liked the size of the ship. Not too big and not too small. The ship excursion to Brugge was very good. We did the half day guided tour with free time. Overall a very nice ship and we would travel on her again if the opportunity arose. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Being frequent sailors on NCL, we had some trepidation in dipping our toe back into RCCL's offerings. We were pleasantly surprised on many, but not all, points. The ship was large, but unlike the NCL Breakaway, it never felt crowded ... Read More
Being frequent sailors on NCL, we had some trepidation in dipping our toe back into RCCL's offerings. We were pleasantly surprised on many, but not all, points. The ship was large, but unlike the NCL Breakaway, it never felt crowded except on sail away. We never encountered the long lines that were common on the Breakaway. We never had a problem finding a deck chair, as long as being right next to the pool was not a goal. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze in Southampton and at every port. We had a large balcony and it felt spacious for two people. The shower was the only thing that was very small. You couldn't bend in the shower without opening the doors. RCCL provides a bar of soap and a soap liquid that serves as BOTH soap and shampoo. There was an electric tea kettle because this was a cruise out of England. The outlets in the cabin were both American and European. It would be better if they also provided conditioner, like NCL does. Overall, NCL has larger bathrooms, more room in the shower and better amenities for bathroom products. I also believe that NCL provides robes that are not a condition of your cruising status. The balcony was very roomy, with two chairs and a large circular table and plenty of room to move about. We got two towels animals during our 6 day cruise. I think on NCL we got a towel animal almost every day. We ate at the Italian restaurant, Giovanni's. It was average. NCL does a better job with specialty restaurants. I had grilled shrimp, which was fine, but it should not have been served on a bed of mashed potatoes at an Italian restaurant. The desserts also were not well presented and looked very sloppy and not gourmet. The waiters in the main dining room were very good and attentive. They accommodated my lactose intolerance by having me order one day in advance each night. The food overall was between good and average. Some meals were better than others. I did not have dairy in my meals, so perhaps they were blander than the standard fare. We found the choices at the Windjammer buffet very good. We ate breakfast, lunch and tea in the Windjammer. It was fun to experiment with some British foods we never heard of like the meat pie and Scottish egg. The scones at tea time were very good and they offered strawberries, jam and cream to go with the scones. The entertainment was good too. We enjoyed the ice skating show, Strings. I wish they had showcased the ice dancing headliners more, as they were excellent. I also wish they had more than one ice show. Grease was just ok. It was a cut above a school play. However, the cast was very talented. It is just that Grease did not showcase their talent. We saw the woman that played Rizzo sing Rocky Horror at the Rocky Horror sing a long. She was exceptional. You could not appreciate her exceptional talent in Grease. Also, cast member J.P. did a guest set at the piano bar and he was absolutely exceptional and talented. He did a Jerry Lee Lewis rendition that was outstanding. Again, the play and show offerings did not show the breadth of his talent. NCL wins in the entertainment division. They have better quality shows. We enjoyed trivia, although the questions were geared towards the almost exclusively British crowd. The Britannia dance party was great fun as well. The ports were fun: Normandy, Bilbao and La Coruna, Spain. It was easy getting both on and off the ship. We booked an expensive semi private tour of the D Day landing beaches. I probably would not recommend that. They tour quality was fine but the guide, Christopher, was persnickety and scolded me for opening a ginger candy in the van when I felt motion sick. Also, we had a group of older, petty people who made the trip unpleasant, with comments about where they sat in the van. I think the anonymity of being in a larger tour is better. Our large tour of Santiago de Compostela was excellent. We took a ship shuttle to Bilbao and spent they day at our own pace. We would probably try RCCL again, but the food and entertainment on NCL is better. We did like the Independence much better than NCL Breakaway. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Had great time , took my 12 year old daughter did not know what to expect after reading the last review. (Did notice dents in the lift doors and did hear about the young man who was tazered and the 39 passengers that had to leave the ship ... Read More
Had great time , took my 12 year old daughter did not know what to expect after reading the last review. (Did notice dents in the lift doors and did hear about the young man who was tazered and the 39 passengers that had to leave the ship from the week before we sailed) But thankfully we only experienced well behaved children and young adults on our cruise . Totally overwhelmed by the sheer size of this ship . Went on and explored at approximately 11am . Our time was 1-30 pm to embark but it really doesn’t matter what time you get there. The facilities are outstanding , from the pools to the flow rider to the theatres and dining rooms unbelievable ship . A couple of negatives , 1) the windjammer is an ‘buffet type diner’ I just personally found it stressful , just too busy , but the food was fantastic. Brilliant choice. 2) I didn’t have drink package for myself just my daughter and sometimes I felt like that I had took the cheap way to cruise when occasionally bar person would say ‘oh just a soda package ‘ 3) My room , nothing wrong with it but my daughter got chocolate on the cover the first night and it was not change throughout our stay , and even be night her sheet was missing so I found a trolley in the corridor and took one of it. Maybe I should have said something? Also I love the animal towels they put on your bed but we only got one , my daughter was so excited wish they could have done more has a friend she met had three, but I do understand they are busy. But all small things compared to the rest of the positives . Pool fantastic my daughter loved the jacuzzis Entertainment absolutely brilliant loved it all , went to grease , comedians , brilliant ice show, best night was silent disco we had great time , it was all just fab! Loads to do on ship , never got chance in the 6 nights to do it all and relax and we only left the ship once in Spain for couple of hours. My daughter loved the quiz at 8 pm every night even though we were not too good at it, then we did the family game show and then watched whatever was in that evening in the theatre fantastic! We also ordered the complimentary continental breakfast 2 days to our room , we loved it , what a treat. But the best experience we had on our holiday, was the dining . Our waiter and waitress was fantastic Lisele and Remidios . They made us feel so special catering to our every needs.. going out of there way to please us . We had great view of the sea from our table absolutely loved going down for dinner. Fantastic food, from duck to steaks to lamb chops and large shrimps !! We had an internal room which had plenty of space for the two of us and I loved it was so dark so slept later. Brilliant time we just want to go again . Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our 3rd cruise on Indy and our first since it was refurbished. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with very little to complain about. I would say though that I preferred the ship before all the added whistles and bells. The ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on Indy and our first since it was refurbished. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with very little to complain about. I would say though that I preferred the ship before all the added whistles and bells. The overall condition of the ship was very good. The food in Windjammer and the MDR was some of the best we have had on any of our cruises and our waiting staff in the restaurant couldn't be faulted. Our balcony cabin was fine although the storage was limited and the wardrobe was badly set out. It was clean and functional. We rarely saw our cabin steward as we had nothing to ask him for as it was all there. We found a sun bed easily every day without resorting to getting up at the crack of dawn and in spite of reading in a recent review that people are charged $10.00 if the towels aren't returned at night this is simply not true. The only time you are charged is at the end of the cruise if the towels aren't returned. We never returned a towel at the end of the day merely changed them without showing our passes. We were served fairly quickly in all the bars we went to and also found a seat at all the shows.. Grease was particularly good and also The Jersey Boys show. The Cruise Director Cubby was just OK. We wish they would change the shows along the Promenade as they have been doing the same thing down Main Street for years now. The shops were a major disappointment on his cruise.. Normally there are carts with different items along Main Street but most nights there was one or none. Overall a great cruise Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
went to great ports , food was very good in all areas, entertainment was ongoing, ship was in very good condition , many return passengers onboard, diamond club was of a high standard, just the interior rooms are a bit on the small side ... Read More
went to great ports , food was very good in all areas, entertainment was ongoing, ship was in very good condition , many return passengers onboard, diamond club was of a high standard, just the interior rooms are a bit on the small side (but there only to sleep in), anyone complains about this cruise then they should stay at home. the only thing that they should look at is handing out cruise cards to passengers as they embark not leave them at the cabin door (new system) as a few were forgotten by cabin stewards and this caused issues having to chase them up so you could get into room. the ship has been upgraded in some areas and there is a lot of new furniture around the place, as usual the jets in some of the spas were not working , they also cracked down on CHAIR HOGS as many selfish passengers were witnessed by us (early spa people) reserving seats then disappearing for ages (we took pleasure in pointing these out to deck supervisors and having them removed)Ha Ha Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The whole family really enjoyed this two week cruise to the Italian med. We were all onboard by 11am to enjoy this incredible ship . The balcony cabin was of a good size but was starting to show some signs of wear and tear , however it was ... Read More
The whole family really enjoyed this two week cruise to the Italian med. We were all onboard by 11am to enjoy this incredible ship . The balcony cabin was of a good size but was starting to show some signs of wear and tear , however it was kept really clean by our friendly state room attendant. We tried three meal dining package for Chops, Giovanni' s & Japanese restaurants all which were of a really good standard of food and service. The adults in the party all had the beverage package , which if you like a drink are value for money . Around the pools on sea days can get very busy however we always managed to get sunbeds together but we were up and about by 10am in the mornings , after this time you may struggle to get four or more beds together. We went to two shows, the first which was Grease was really enjoyed by us all , the second was an adult comedian who was just ok . We did two trips , one to Rome which combined the Collesuem and the Roman forum, the other which was my favourite was the tour of Pompeii at Naples . The six people in our party really enjoyed our time on the Independence it has something for everyone , we will definitely sale with RCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Chosen as a quick get away for half term with our young children. Embarkation was not the usual standard RCI provide at the pier. We were travelling in a suite and got moved from suite line to regular line and ended up waiting an age. The ... Read More
Chosen as a quick get away for half term with our young children. Embarkation was not the usual standard RCI provide at the pier. We were travelling in a suite and got moved from suite line to regular line and ended up waiting an age. The ships makeover has done her good. The activities for the children were brilliant and they loved exploring. Even though there were over 1000 children onboard it didn’t feel like it. They never really had to wait too long to get on their chosen activity. We were travelling in a JS, room 1106. One of the new cabins placed up by the spa. The room was lovely and quite spacious for four of us. However I would advise if looking to book this cabin for a sunny cruise the balcony may be an issue. Whilst a great size with table and chairs and two loungers as it was previously part of the spa the balcony is protected by glass all round with only the middle section being removed for you to see out. This prevents the sun coming through and I would imagine on hot days would make the balcony very hot. Main dining room and service was exceptional. Never ventured to windjammer. Izumi experience was brilliant and would highly recommend. The only negative we had was that we felt the staff (save our dining room staff) didn’t seem as happy/content as previous RCI cruises. Whether this was because it was only a 4 night cruise or for other reasons we couldn’t tell. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Booked this cruise as had a money off certificate from the last RCI cruise. Embarkation took 10 minutes, we must have lucked out and arrived at the perfect time (1pm) Overall really enjoyed the cruise. Ship was clean with lovely ... Read More
Booked this cruise as had a money off certificate from the last RCI cruise. Embarkation took 10 minutes, we must have lucked out and arrived at the perfect time (1pm) Overall really enjoyed the cruise. Ship was clean with lovely decor. Stateroom was a good size (Balcony room) and the attendant did his thing every day very well. Dining. Food in the MDR was OK but nothing special, buffet was good with loads of different options. Had a choppes grill which was superb, highly recommend. Also the pizza at Sorrentos was absolutely delicious! We saw several of the shows (theatre and Ice) and they were all amazing. All the staff were really nice and friendly, but the bar staff seemed very busy in the evenings and they could do with more bar staff IMO My 2 gripes were that the ship felt a bit too busy/crowded at times, and that in the casino they literally want to screw you out of every last penny. The blackjack has the worst rules of any casino in the world coupled with 6/5 payoffs for a blackjack, which is an insult basically. Anyway if you are not a casino lover you will have a great time on Indy, but as we are gamblers my next cruise will be with NCL. Im sure they will be just as stingy but I feel I need to vote with my feet, Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I can see why Caribbean cruises are so popular now that we’ve sailed in north/west Europe. Mid May, and sea days were cold, windy and often foggy. Only people brave enough to go out were mostly those wearing parkas and the smokers. We ... Read More
I can see why Caribbean cruises are so popular now that we’ve sailed in north/west Europe. Mid May, and sea days were cold, windy and often foggy. Only people brave enough to go out were mostly those wearing parkas and the smokers. We did think there were too many smoking areas. Our first Indy of the Seas sailing. Two seniors. Even with everyone mostly inside, the shop did not seem over crowded. Food was adequate. Although in the main dining room their pasta dishes were not very good. Regular steaks off the menu were thin, tough and grisly. Other than that, we were happy with the food. We had the 6pm seating. Desserts were great. And the food from the coffee area on the promenade was sometimes better than MDR. We were in a promenade window cabin, 8th floor. Noise was not really an issue. Other than occasional party below, the room was very quiet. Even with a connecting door, there was no noise from bordering cabins. Great staff overall. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
The staff was amazing and they made every effort to accomodate our requests for food and other amenities. Cruise was overall fun for the whole family and this cruise is best if you have little children as it has arcade and other fun areas ... Read More
The staff was amazing and they made every effort to accomodate our requests for food and other amenities. Cruise was overall fun for the whole family and this cruise is best if you have little children as it has arcade and other fun areas that young kids will love. The shows and food were great. The pizza being available almost 24 hours a day and being included in your cruise price was definitely a plus. The jamaican and haiti port visits were great as well and the jamaican tour we took was awesome. Did not try the specialty restaurants but tried the lobster (paid extra) and it was really good. Would recommend people to book top floors as you are close to buffet and the pool areas. Since the elevators might get busy, you might want to take stairs to get to your destination quicker. Overall Experience: Excellent cruise for family Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Just returned from a 5 day cruise with my family (wife + 2 teen age kids) and wanted to share some immediate feedback for others. More later - but for those about to cruise here you go: 1. Overall we had a great experience and would ... Read More
Just returned from a 5 day cruise with my family (wife + 2 teen age kids) and wanted to share some immediate feedback for others. More later - but for those about to cruise here you go: 1. Overall we had a great experience and would do again. 2. If you use the Gym (good facility) be aware that almost No One cleans their equipment when done. I suggest you wipe down the equipment you use Before and After with the wipes that are provided and place all over the place. I truly can't believe that I saw people on treadmills/stair steppers/bike and eliptical machines for 30+ min and then just step off and walk away. I spent at least 1 hr in the gym each day an Never saw a cruise employee clean up anything. Oh - and last thing on the gym - there is No Water unless you want to buy it from the machine. Even if you have the drink package you have to walk outside to the pool bar. Suggest you bring water in with you before hand. 3. Drink machines (Soda and Water). There are very few of these machines on the ship and none on the outside deck by the pool. If you plan on getting drinks from these machines you best map out where they are on day 1 and figure it out. If you lay out by the pool you will stand in line just to get some water. 4. Drink Service. Everywhere on the ship (regardless of how much you tipped on Day 1) prepare to be frustrated by how slow the service is. It seems that each bar is severely understaffed. 5. Wait Staff in Dining room - "absolutely the best" on a scale of 1-10 they get a 12! Literally couldn't be nicer. 6. Hand Washing - signs are posted everywhere, but you'll still see people leaving the bathroom w/o washing their hands. Take advantage of the hand santizer stations all over the ship. Also you will get a kick out of the Washy Washy guy in the Windjammer buffet who sings songs about washing your hands. This guy always has a smile on his face and just plays a great roll. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Went on the Western Caribbean Cruise with my husband. We are both in our early 30's with no children. We were looking for a relaxing and fun getaway on a great ship we did not plan to do any excursions. We both really enjoyed ... Read More
Went on the Western Caribbean Cruise with my husband. We are both in our early 30's with no children. We were looking for a relaxing and fun getaway on a great ship we did not plan to do any excursions. We both really enjoyed Indy! The timing of the cruise was perfect as there were not too many children on board. Embankment was extremely easy. We had done all the paperwork online and were able to skip the lines. Rooms were ready right at 1 pm. We love going to see the shows. Both Grease and the Ice Show are not to be missed. They will only show Grease one day (for us it was on the second night). You do not need to reserve seats, we got there early (30 minutes) because I wanted really good seats. You could get there later and still find seats. Ice Show was also wonderful, they will show the ice show on two different days (total of 4 performances). Both performances are during the day so you do not need to worry about moving dinner plans. We liked the Ice Show so much we went on both days! I had read a lot of reviews before our cruise and was really worried about the food. One thing we love about cruising is enjoying a Delicious 3 course meal. I set my expectations a bit lower and I will say the food was okay, not terrible as others had said. We had dinner every night in the MDR. My time dining, although we always make reservations. The servers were great. We were able to have a table for two with the same servers. Some meals were better than others but nothing was bad. TIP: If you go to the MDR for breakfast make sure you do a la cart, the buffet in the MDR was a let down. Johnny Rockets has a small fee but the food was delicious! If you have a drink package, the milkshake is included when you eat there. Labadee was really nice. We just relaxed on some beach chairs and swam. I loved that we could use our drink package there. It's a perfect port stop if you don't want to spend money. The food lines were long but not terrible. From my research we decided to stay on the ship for Falmouth, Jamaica. We did not want to be hassled while we walked around and explored. We had decided to get off the ship to walk around the port area. Really not worth it unless you want to buy Jamaican souvenirs or expensive jewelry. Disembarkment was awful. We were given a tag that would allow us to get off with the first group, 8:30 am. Since we are Gold members we were able to wait in a different room. I was extremely excited about this. There was no crew in the room with us and no announcements over the speakers. Everyone in the room was confused. There was an electronic board right outside our waiting room which would advise which tag numbers were allowed to leave the ship. We were all constantly checking. Either they weren't updating the system or they were extremely behind schedule. It was about 9:15 am (45 minutes late) when the board suddenly jumped and allowed 10 new tags to leave the ship. Not sure what happened, would have been great to have a crew member with the Crown and Anchor Reward members. Customs Line was extremely long! My husband and I both have Global Entry which allows us to bypass the standard line. TIP: If you have Global Entry make sure you bring your physical card. I have never carried the little card while I travel, I have always been able to just scan in using my passport. They tried to make us go in the regular line since we did not have the card. Luckily a guy let us go through. Overall the cruise was great. The ships size is perfect and there is a lot to do. Would definitely travel on Indy again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
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 ... Read More
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!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We went on this 5-night cruise with our two daughters, 6 (almost 7) and 4 as well as both sets of parents. Grandparents are 70's, we're 40's. We've been on 10 cruises - a few Carnival, a couple of Norwegian, one ... Read More
We went on this 5-night cruise with our two daughters, 6 (almost 7) and 4 as well as both sets of parents. Grandparents are 70's, we're 40's. We've been on 10 cruises - a few Carnival, a couple of Norwegian, one Holland America, one Celebrity and this is was our third Royal Caribbean. We chose this ship and its shorter itinerary because my parents have never been on a cruise (and, frankly, never really wanted to take one) and my in-laws have been on Disney cruises with my brother and sister-in-law and have mentioned they wouldn't enjoy it for more than 5 days or so. We had a good price on this (kids sail free) and there were lots of things for the kids to do. We didn't do even close to the number of things we could have done (no escape room, laser tag, etc.) but also keep in mind that RCI seems to really want to appeal to older families (tweens/teens) and adventurous adults. There were a number of things my girls couldn't do as they were too young and things that weren't appealing to the grandparents. But everyone found more than enough to do and the resounding review from everyone was that it was a terrific trip. (My parents are not converted to cruise people and I'm guessing in-laws would only ever go if they go with grandkids again but they were all very happy with their experience.) It sealed for me that I won't take shorter cruises again (at least not with the kids) - it costs a lot for us to travel to the ports, and PACKING on that last night is THE WORST. So I want to stay at least 7 nights! We chose an aft-facing balcony cabin. I debated a grand suite but decided the aft cabin was my happy-place and it cost less, anyway. The week before we did bid on the Royal Up program. (Weirdly, my husband received these emails inviting him to bid when I was the one listed first on all reservations and my email address was associated with the booking, etc...) We bid an extra $250 (per person so $500 as they only bid for the first two in the cabin) for a Grand Suite and an extra $350 (so $700 total) for a 2-bedroom suite. We did not get either of these but were really, really happy with the size and location of 1702 on Deck 10 that we had already booked and paid for. This cabin was deeper than we expected (full size couch as opposed to loveseat) and the balcony was huge. I'm sure I would have loved either of the upgrades but this really sealed my love of deep aft balconies and I'm glad we didn't pay the extra as we really loved this cabin. Activities: 1. 6 year old did Sky Pad. It was fun. She wanted to do it again but she wasn't over-the-moon about it so we didn't make the time to do it again. Everyone helping with this was super nice. 2. Water slide - 6 year old was big enough but since she's only a little over 50lb she had to push herself to get started again three times. So a bust for her! (Which was good - I didn't want her to spend her entire vacation waiting in line for a water slide!) 3. Rock wall - DH did it twice and had a great time. 6 year old did it twice and had major disappointment. They just send the next person on the next run and didn't make efforts to ensure it was a feasible run for that person. She was put on the hardest runs both times and the person running it didn't give her any advice or help when she looked down for encouragement. The first time they did let her try 3 times but it would have been nice if they'd helped point out options for her when she was stuck. (I totally get that they're keeping their eye on a million people and things, though, and this isn't a lesson!) It was not their fault but I felt badly as this was something she was really, really looking forward to and was a tearful experience both times. (Again, not really their fault. And she's pretty game for anything so I was a bit surprised by her reaction.) 4. Kids splash area was terrific - really fun for the kids! Plenty to do to keep them interested for a long time! Smaller slides and a bigger slide that they really enjoyed. 5. Pools were nice - as with all cruise ship pools I think they could be bigger but everyone seems to fit. We swam early evening twice and that was really nice as it wasn't crowded. One night, though, they were playing a poolside movie that included a lot of swear words (including the worst of them!) - I was surprised they'd play a movie like that in the pool area at any time, really, on a family ship. 6. Entertainment staff seemed to be really fun. We only caught a couple of "shows" out by the pool and they were great. 7. The ice show was good. We didn't ice skate this time - we did on our last cruise (Navigator of the Seas) and it was fun but we decided we weren't going to spend the time doing it. 8. We didn't make it to any shows (other than ice show) but the grandparents saw grease and they said it was really good. Ports Labadee - was beautiful with plenty to do. The grandparents got off with us when they originally planned not to and they were all glad they did as it was beautiful and relaxing (despite not really being beach people). The lunch was really good. Columbus Cove was where we landed and that was a great choice for us. Calm water, beautiful view. Husband and 6 year old did the Arawark inflatable water park and had fun. (It lasted forever!) Falmouth - we did the all-inclusive Blue Waters Beach excursion mostly due to its proximity to the port. (10 minute bus ride). The bus was really nice, the place was small and manageable, no hassling for sales or to buy things. Well-run and a really good excursion for us. The water stayed really shallow so it was great for our little kids. (I wrote a review on a popular trip review site if you'd like to hear more.) The port area was nice, clean and not pushy. This is essentially the review I sent to Royal Caribbean after the cruise: Amazing stuff: ~ Our dinner wait staff! Loved that they gave tips for the following day each night. Head waiter checked on us and also gave tips for ports. ~ Head waiter (or maitre d?) approached us immediately the very first night we arrived to escort us straight to our table when he saw my mother with a cane - that was so appreciated! He told us to never wait, find him or go straight in each night. (We kept our same table as we enjoyed Roman/Reagan.) ~ Service around the ship was friendly and welcoming. ~ The Washy Washy guys - AWESOME! ~ Ship was sparkling clean and well-maintained. ~ Great activities. ~ Food was better than I've had on a cruise in a long time. (Last cruise was Navigator in 2017 - food was good but not like this!) The main dining room was incredible food each night and the Windjammer was always good with tons of options. (With exception of Windjammer desserts and pastries.) ~ Disembark at ports was easy. ~ Labadee was beautiful and well-maintained. ~ Ship was super easy to navigate - the maps and signs outside of elevators/stairs were easy to read and follow. ~ Kids club - kids loved it and wanted to go every day. There were a few hitches discussed below. Staff was super friendly and kind to the kids. ~ Customs wait was awful but I REALLY appreciated the way the luggage was super easy to find when disembarking! Perfect way to do it! ~ Embarkation was smooth for having so many people waiting to get on. It was organized and felt "fair" as people were seated as they arrived. Appreciate that! Opportunities: ~ Stateroom attendant was good but sometimes overlooked restocking towels - easy to rectify if needed and otherwise did terrific job. (Not a problem, just justifying the rating I provided to RCI in this area on their survey.) ~ The bartenders were hard to get a smile out of and they looked exhausted. They did what they needed to do, were as efficient as possible and made good drinks. (Of course there were friendly exceptions but the majority of them seemed worn out and too tired to smile or be friendly. In their defense, the ship was full and I'm sure they were busy and tired.) ~The app was both terrific and frustrating because you needed more information than it gave. Eg - please list the time-frame activities are open (as is done in the Compass) as well as listing it every half hour if you need reservations. Also lot of information left out. I had read somewhere (online while planning?) that my 4 year old couldn't use the Sky Pad but when I checked the app it said at least 20 lb., must be > 7 to use VR. Since it listed an age for that, I assumed she could go. Turned out she needed to be 5. It would be a huge help to list ALL of the details needed for each experience so that cruisers didn't have to look in various places to get all of the information they need. ~ List which shows are when so people can plan their week in the app. I didn't make it to any shows due to small kids but I know someone missed Grease because they thought it'd be shown again later in the week. Since you get Compass nightly you cannot plan out your week and don't know what's coming in the days ahead. ~ The app sometimes showed what the "headliner " show was and sometimes it just said "Headliner Show" - even on the day of that event and after refreshing. So, again, have to rely on Compass to get the rest of the information. ~ My fault but I wish I'd known I wouldn't be able to buy photos on the last morning - I went down to buy all digital photos but the photo area wasn't open and I was out of luck on all of the pictures taken during the cruise by cruise photographers. (So sad we didn't take any family pictures on formal night! The photos they took were beautiful as we'd reviewed them previously but I was waiting until the last morning to decide if I should get all of them or choose a number of them instead.) ~ Windjammer desserts and morning pastries were just so-so. It seemed very few were made on the ship - those that were made there (caramel and sweet rolls) were very good. (Definitely the low point of otherwise terrific food. Probably good for my diet, though!) Dining room desserts were terrific. ~ Getting off the ship at the end was a free-for-all. People didn't follow the luggage tag order and just left whenever they wanted despite announcements that things were backed up. I've never taken so long to get through customers on a cruise! It was a little nutty and I was happy my flight was delayed or I'd have been in a major panic. ~ Kids club was generally fun but my 6 year old had a tough time one night and part of another night because there were kids who weren't listening and making things really hard for the teachers. Not sure what to do about that - another way to give time-outs or call parents to come and get them? I felt badly for teachers because that must have been really hard and it really affected the way my daughter felt about her previously beloved "Kids Club" experiences. ~ Kids programs would benefit from a way for the staff to contact parents. I'm sure it's only rarely needed but maybe it'd help those kids who are not participating well? ~ Kids program was full one night and we waited 30 minutes for an opening. I kind of expected this as it was during spring break but it was too bad more staff couldn't be called. At least 10 parents showed up to drop off when I waited with my (surprisingly patient) 4 year old and some were really upset because it was a big problem for their plans for the evening. Overall we had an amazing cruise. The items listed in opportunities are just that - they're not complaints or areas of dissatisfaction as they are small in comparison to the great time we had and how smoothly most things went. My in-laws were along and have previously been on several Disney cruises and said this compared very well and had points they preferred over Disney. My parents were along and have never cruised (and, frankly, weren't really interested but wanted to go along with the grandchildren) and they had a great time - they were surprised by how much they enjoyed it all. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Independence of the Seas to Haiti & Jamaica. 3/9/19 This was a Spring break cruise for my family. We brought our adult kids and their friends. We live in Florida, so we drove 4 hours to the port in the morning. I pre-booked parking ... Read More
Independence of the Seas to Haiti & Jamaica. 3/9/19 This was a Spring break cruise for my family. We brought our adult kids and their friends. We live in Florida, so we drove 4 hours to the port in the morning. I pre-booked parking at the park and go. My husband dropped us off with the luggage and drove to the parking lot, and they shuttled him back. He was back with us in 10 minutes. We gave our luggage to the porter and went through security with our carry on's after a quick stop at the expedited desk (gold members) we walked right on the ship, it was 1:00. Our rooms were ready, so we dropped off our carry on bags, the kids changed into swimsuits, and we went for lunch. Luckily we missed the rush, it was typical buffet food, salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta, fried chicken, some Asian food that I don't eat, etc... Nothing to write home about, in fact, I think the food is Royal Caribbean’s biggest weakness. We booked a balcony cabin on deck 7 and the "kids" had an inside cabin across the hall from us. I booked this cruise a month before sailing, and it was for Spring break, so my options were limited to find 2 cabins near each other. Our cabin 7398 (spacious oceanview balcony) was excellent, the only drawback was the long walk, but honestly, after the first day, I really didn't mind the walk at all. I was worried it would be loud at the back of the ship, but it was not, I would stay there again!! Our cabin steward was wonderful, wish I could say the same for the person who took care of the kid's room. We never saw him, he never left any towel animals in the room, and there was broken glass on the floor for 2 days, I finally had to ask my guy to take care of it. This is why I don't like the gratuities being automatically charged to the account. I went down to guest services to complain about the kid's room not being cleaned, and I was told rather abruptly that all rooms are cleaned every-day, and the only reason it wouldn't be was if the do not disturb sign was up. I assured them this was not the case, but he just stared at me like I had 2 heads. I asked if he could make sure someone went in there today because one of the small glass shelves in the bathroom cabinet was broken, and there was still some glass on the floor. No one ever came to the room, I had to ask my steward to clean it when we got back to the ship from being in port all day. We spent the first day exploring the ship, she is beautiful!! There is so much to do, if you don’t have fun on this cruise, it is because you don’t want to!! I was worried with this big of a ship, and this many passenger’s, it would feel really crowded, it did not!! Except for the places you would expect, like around the main pool, but there are so many lounge chairs, you just go up a level, and there are plenty of seats. Never had trouble finding a table in the windjammer for lunch (buffet). We arrived for most of the shows just a few minutes before they started, and never had trouble finding 6 seats together (even for grease). The shows were all really good! The late-night comedian the first night was disappointing, she did not know her audience, or how to change gears when she wasn’t getting the laughs. The late comedian on the last night was awesome, we laughed so hard it hurt!! The cruise director is hysterical also. He runs the Love and Marriage game, and the Quest game. Both are not to be missed.. so much fun!! Our favorite place to hang out during the day was in the adult only Solarium. It has 2 hot tubs that hang out over the side of the ship, big enough for 20 people in each, and the pool in this area has adirondack chairs in ankle deep water, and bar stools in the deep part of the pool. The pool is also deep enough that you can swim, not just walk across like most ships have. There are lots of chairs in the shade, for those that don’t want to get any sun. There is a bar right there, so you don’t have to go to far to get a drink. However, these are the slowest people I have ever seen in my life. They make everyone stand in a single file line to get a drink, I attempted to sit in a bar stool to order a drink and was told if I wasn’t going to sit there and finish my drink, I would have to get in the line. So, no one ever at sat at that bar, it was just weird. I ended up going to the next pool bar to get my drinks, because it was always much faster. As far as the extra attractions on board, the kids all did the flow rider, they have separate times for people that want to lay on the board (boogie board style), and those that want to stand up (surf style). It is always a shorter line to boogie board, they only waited 20 minutes. There is plenty of seating for those of us there to just watch. The line to surf standing on the board took about an hour. It is so much fun to watch everyone do it, the wait did not seem that long. The staff are very patient with all the guests, and really want everyone to succeed at it! We thought you had to pay for the lessons in order to ride it, but you don’t, just sign a waiver, get a wrist band and wait in line. The slide always had a line as well, but it moved very fast. They all did the rock climbing, and the archery. They waited maybe 10 minutes and enjoyed it. The sky-pad was not something we attempted, and after hearing about the man who fell off it, we were glad we didn’t use it. The girls went ice skating, they said the skates were in terrible shape, she has been in skating all her life, so she would know. The blades were very dull, and small kids were falling everywhere because they don’t have those walker style things to help them. The girls decided it was just to dangerous to be out there, the were afraid for the little ones, so they left. We wanted to do the escape room, but never got around to it, and at an extra $20 a head times 6 of us, the $120. went elsewhere. Mini golf was fun, pool volleyball was fun, as was the volleyball tournament. The kids were not interested in the arcade, but did play the games in the sports pub, they have corn hole, foosball, pool tables, dart boards, and some arcade style basketball and ski ball games. We tried the wings in there, and they were very good, of course, we had to pay for them. The casino was smaller than I thought it would be for a ship this size. We are not big gamblers, but we managed to donate a few hundred dollars over the course of the cruise. The staff made it fun to lose your money! The night club on the 14th floor is fun, it was always crowded, but that is to be expected. The bar staff there was exceptional, this is the only place where we tipped extra. They really earned their money and took care of the crowds of people. One night they held a silent disco, it is not to be missed. Everyone is given headphones, and the room is silent. It is so funny to watch people dance to different music that you can’t hear. If you go, take your headphones off and just watch the crowd, too funny!! It was a very windy week, so we never did any of the outdoor at night events, they had dancing under the stars one night, and movies by the pool, can’t comment on any of those. Breakfast in the dining room was wonderful, you could order from the menu, or if in a hurry, they have a buffet. We ordered room service one morning, it came about an hour later than we asked for, but it was a sea day, so no worries there. We enjoyed it out on the balcony. The dining room was a disappointment every night. The food was just bland, honestly unless you want a steak every night, you will be disappointed. Even the desert left a lot to be desired, we all ordered something and passed them around, boring. I wonder if this is done to get you to pay to go to one of the other restaurants onboard where you pay extra. The waiter was very hard to understand, he was Indian, and got upset when I asked him to slow down when speaking. He also asked us to give him a good review on the survey they email you after the cruise. His assistant was wonderful and got us everything we needed. We all had the drink package, and he remembered what each of us was drinking every night. We ended up skipping the dining room one night to go to Johnny Rockets for hamburgers. It was really good, we had to pay $10 each, but you could have as much as you wanted, except the shakes were another $5. Gold members are buy one shake get one free, but you have to ask for the discount, they don’t just give it to you. On our last night we were charged for our drinks in the dining room, even though we have the drink package. We did not know this until we got up the next morning and found the bill slipped under the door. You must go to guest services to have the charge removed, but they are kicking you off the ship, and the line for guest services is about an hour long at this point. We left thinking we could just call when we got home. No such luck, I wonder how many people they pull this little trick on. We debated over getting the drink package, but it worked out that we got our money out of it. We figured 5 drinks a day would cover it. I’m not a big drinker, but when on vacation, I have a few more than normal because I am up and out more than usual. I had a frozen drink by the pool during the day, 2 drinks at diner, because it took so long, one at the show, one if we went to the casino or karaoke, and another one at the late night comedy show or the night club. That put me at 6 for the day, most nights it was more than one drink late night. It sounds like a lot, but if you think about being out from 6:00 pm for dinner until 2:00 am when the night club shut down, that is less than a drink an hour. Overall, I loved the ship, she is beautiful and there is so much to do, the service was lacking in certain areas, and the food was very disappointing, despite this we had a great time.. I will review the ports and excursions in Haiti and Jamaica that we did in another post. I will also post the Cruise Compass. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I am writing this review since we traveled with children that have food allergies. I was concerned that they would not receive the care and attention they would need during meal times and be left with poor choices. I have a child with ... Read More
I am writing this review since we traveled with children that have food allergies. I was concerned that they would not receive the care and attention they would need during meal times and be left with poor choices. I have a child with Celiac disease and another with a peanut/nut allergy. There was no need for me to worry. They took exceptional care of the kids and tried to give them everything they wanted. Our dining service team was exceptional. My daughter had gluten free food made specially so that she had little to no cross-contamination. She did not get sick at all on the week cruise. She had everything she wanted from desserts, to whole pizzas made just for her. Since my husband and I could relax knowing they would be fine it made the whole cruise experience better. They always had activities to keep them busy and entertained. We liked the ice show and the poolside activities were entertaining. We were able to enjoy the ocean view and a drink. I don't write reviews but I am sure someone out there may have the same concerns but we were really impressed. We already booked another Royal Caribbean cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was mine and my husbands first every cruise!!! This is a beautiful, well-designed ship. There is a lot to do aboard this ship, the music and shows were amazing. The ice skating show was spectacular. The Escape Room was super ... Read More
This was mine and my husbands first every cruise!!! This is a beautiful, well-designed ship. There is a lot to do aboard this ship, the music and shows were amazing. The ice skating show was spectacular. The Escape Room was super fun!!! The Washy Washy Guys that greet you upon every entrance to the Windjammer Café were very fun and entertaining!!!! The crew was so friendly and attentive to their guests. Our room was always very tidy and stocked with clean towels and washrags. We purchased the drink package (highly recommend) which was well worth the money. You could drink as much as you wanted just about anywhere on the ship. This package included, tea, coffee, soda, water and your adult beverages. It would be nice if they had more soda fountains located throughout the ship. The ports were a lot of fun, we actually enjoyed Costa Maya more than Cozumel. We enjoyed the pool w/ swim up bar in Costa Maya and the folks there were super friendly and fun. We purchased the Playa Mia Deluxe Beach Day in Cozumel which was well worth it, but the shop owners in Cozumel are a little pushy with their products. The only negative thing that I feel I need to mention is not RC's fault but we chose our vacation during Spring Break 2019 and there were so many young college students on the cruise and they were barely clothed. They overcrowded the pools and their bathing suits had very little material!!! So be careful of the date you choose to sail! Other than that....I would sail on the Independence of the Seas again and again and again!!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
The crew was very nice and welcoming. Embarkation was lightning fast. It was the start of spring break so there were a few more college kids than normal which made the pool area busier than other cruises. The pool bar and drink ... Read More
The crew was very nice and welcoming. Embarkation was lightning fast. It was the start of spring break so there were a few more college kids than normal which made the pool area busier than other cruises. The pool bar and drink service was very slow. The Windjammer food was not great during lunch time, but breakfast was good. The breakfast sandwiches in the Pizza restaurant were the best. Dinner in the main dining room was hit or miss. Grease was great and Mo5ac was fantastic. The ice show is a must see! There was not as much live music on this cruise as previous ones. There seemed to be less activities compared to previous RC cruises, but this was our first cruise under 7 days on RC. The ship still is in great shape and clean. You would never guess it’s 11 years old. We are cruising on the Independence again in 10 months with our whole family and are excited to go back on the Independence. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We just sailed on the Indy Feb 2019. Myself, my husband, and two sons (7-10yrs) had an absolute blast. The ship was beautiful. The washy washy guys at the entrance of the windjammer literally made everyone smile every day. The food was ... Read More
We just sailed on the Indy Feb 2019. Myself, my husband, and two sons (7-10yrs) had an absolute blast. The ship was beautiful. The washy washy guys at the entrance of the windjammer literally made everyone smile every day. The food was good. However... The Sky Pad (The thing my kids COULD NOT WAIT TO DO) was broken for the whole cruise. There is a "clothesline" in your shower to hold wet bathing suits. The one in our cabin was literally black with mold on it. The "my time dining" really ended up being a reservation due to the crew pushing you to keep a set time and table. The Grease show was postponed "due to medical issues" And the frozen drinks... I never remember them making the frozen drink and then just pouring the alcohol on the top?? Cococay was not done yet so the trip there was pretty boring. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I traveled on the newly amped Indy the last week of January with my kids and we had the time of our lives. I’d like to touch on some things that I couldn’t find in reviews, specifically for parents traveling with kids. Embarkation ... Read More
I traveled on the newly amped Indy the last week of January with my kids and we had the time of our lives. I’d like to touch on some things that I couldn’t find in reviews, specifically for parents traveling with kids. Embarkation from Ft Lauderdale was extremely organized and I was thankful for the large play structure for the kids to run around on while we waited. My kids were ages 3 and almost 7 and both loved Adventure Ocean. They were in different groups, which was actually good because they got a break from each other. The camp hours were 9-12, 2-5 and 7-10. The youngest age group, ages 3-5, filled up quickly at night. Capacity is 30 kids and they were always at capacity after dinner. Also, the rate after 10pm is extremely reasonable at $7 per child per hour. They also prorated it, so one evening I picked up at 10:40 and they charged me $3.50 per child. The kids activities on this ship were great and there was so much to do. The kids Splashaway Bay was great for both kids and the 2 feet deep kids pool was where my 3 year old spent so much time. It was nice that Fish and Ships had a bar to utilize, the free ice cream was right near by, and the main pools were just around the corner. So many hot tubs to use in that general area. It was a great set up. Also, Windjammer being right through the door was great, the kids could get food and get right back to the pool. I checked my younger one into kids camp and was able to do laser tag, the big water slides and sky pad with my older child. He loved all these activities. Both kids loved ice skating and the large climbing structure near the Flow Rider. We never got a chance to do the rock wall or mini golf. As far as the ice skating goes, they have blocks of time to skate. So if they’re open for skating from 5-8, go sign up for a block of time. The schedule was weird and we didn’t get as much skating time in because of it. I saw a comedy/magic show which in my opinion, was terrible. I also saw Grease, which was fantastic, not cheesy at all, I really enjoyed it and the theater was packed. I arrived 40 minutes before the show and it’s a good thing I did. People had a hard time finding seats. We did my time dining in the MDR on deck 3 at 5:30 every night. It was the earliest dining which I wanted for my kids but we had the same table by the window every night. Food was great, kids menu got kind of boring for my kids by the end of the week. I wish they would have had a grilled chicken or steak option, different pasta dishes, veggies choices like corn on the cob, etc. They basically served them “kid food” which they definitely got tired of because they ate it for lunch as well. For extras, Sugar Beach was an inexpensive fun treat for the kids. I let them get a few pieces here and there and it was well worth the small cost to treat them. The kids arcade was a complete and total ripoff. The was the only thing on the entire ship that had me rolling my eyes at the pricing. $2-3 for ONE GAME?!? At home these games are at most $.50 each. My kids begged to play in the arcade and I refused. Nope, no way. Not paying $50 for them to each play 10 games. Just no. The music on the Royal Prom was fun for all ages, the kids loved dancing. I really enjoyed the layout of this ship. Service was good, food was good, and I’ve sold my kids on cruising. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We (myself, wife and 13 yr old son) sailed on Independence of the Seas: 1/25/2019. This was a 6-night sailing that stopped in Nassau, Labadee and Falmouth. This was our forth cruise with RCCL and 7th overall since 2014. We had a very ... Read More
We (myself, wife and 13 yr old son) sailed on Independence of the Seas: 1/25/2019. This was a 6-night sailing that stopped in Nassau, Labadee and Falmouth. This was our forth cruise with RCCL and 7th overall since 2014. We had a very nice time and even some poor weather did not affect us that much. There was just so much to do on ship that we did not get around to everything. Embarkation was smooth. We arrived at the port about 10:15 and were on the ship by 11:30. Our cabin was ready at 1:00 and our luggage was delivered around 5:00. We did attend most, but not all of the shows. The ABBA (ABBACADABRA) show was nice and the production of Grease had us toe tapping and singing along. We’re in our early 50s and grew up to much of that music. Kudos to the production teams of both of those shows. Also attended a comedy show (Rondell Sheridan) who was very funny in both in the ‘family’ show and the ‘Adults Only’ show. The ice show was very entertaining as well and very similar to what we experienced on the ‘Freedom of the Seas’ back in 2016. My son and I tried the ‘SkyPad’ on the first day and we were both a little underwhelmed. We were going to try and get back to it again later in the cruise but never did. My son did play laser tag and said it was fun but was in a very confined area. I wanted to try so many more of the activities on board but just didn't get around to it. Did not try the flo-rider, rock wall or the 'Perfect Storm' water slides but did play a few rounds of mini golf and enjoyed that. My son tried the other activities and had a great time. The food was generally very good and we had dinner in the main dining room every night. On sea days, we also had lunch in the main dining room and would highly recommend doing this if time permits. Not that the food is that much better but finding a table is simple and you also get waited on like during dinner. Sorrentos was a hit when we sailed on Freedom of the Seas a few years ago and this was no different. We enjoyed ‘Grabbing a Slice’ many times throughout the cruise. Our main dining room wait staff were very friendly, helpful and were very attentive to my wife’s celiac disease. They would have gluten free bread at her place setting every night while my son and I ate regular bread. They also presented her with the following night’s menu each night so she could select just about anything which they would then prepare gluten free for her the following evening. I think this would be easier to do if you had fixed time dining like we had but may be a bit more difficult for those choosing ‘My Time’ dining. Windjammer was very good as well with lots of options and a tip of the hat to ‘Mr. Washy – Washy’. Very entertaining way to get passengers to wash their hands before eating. Yes, seating was a bit difficult at times but we were always able to find a table in a short period of time. After a couple of days, one of the crew showed us that we could sit in Giovanni’s table restaurant during breakfast and that became our ‘go to’ place to eat when eating in Windjammer. Not sure how that would work during lunch or dinner but It’s directly to the left when you enter the Windjammer café and was awesome. We used the fitness center on 3 mornings and found it to be very nice. They had anything and everything you would find at your local club such as Planet Fitness. Equipment was in excellent condition with lots of it. Treadmills were very nice and you could look out over the ocean when you ran. PORTS: Nassau, Bahamas: We’ve been to Nassau a few times before so did not have any excursions planned and feel somewhat lucky that we didn’t. The weather was not good in Nassau and it rained off and on much of the day. We stayed on the ship and just ‘chilled’. I did talk top some people who did have excursions planned and said they generally had decent weather. Labadee, Haiti: We really like this port. My son and I did a parasailing excursion and had a great time. We also did a bit of snorkeling although this is not a great place to see many fish. My wife relaxed on the beach and read while we were parasailing and snorkeling. Lunch on Labadee was probably my least favorite meal and not that it was necessarily bad but it’s just not like other venues on the cruise. The burger and hot dog I had were fine but just overall a bit underwhelming. Falmouth, Jamaica: We have been here before and the last time, we spent the day at Margaritaville and had a fantastic time. This time we decided we’d wander out into the town (outside the gated port area). Once outside the gate, we were constantly approached by locals which made my wife a bit uncomfortable so we ended up going back inside the gated area and grabbed a few drinks at Margaritaville. The locals were fine if you told them that you were not interested but it was a bit much. I think if we would have gotten a little further away, it would have lessened but we decided to just go back. Debarkation: We chose self-debarkation since we had a scheduled flight for 11:55. This went very smoothly and we were at Fort Lauderdale airport around 9:45 only to find our flight had been delayed but that is no fault of RCCL. Overall, we had a great time. We did not notice the over crowdedness that some reviewers have written about although I understand our sailing was sold out. We were able to find sun beds when we wanted to but like any ship, finding one ‘poolside’ was difficult. We already have another cruise (Harmony of the Seas) scheduled and are very much looking forward to it late in the year. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Experienced cruisers with 14 cruises and 93 nights on 5 cruise lines. This cruise was a 5 night cruise from Ft. lauderdale with stops in Labadee and Falmouth, Jamaica. This ship generally docks for departure at pier 29 and the closest ... Read More
Experienced cruisers with 14 cruises and 93 nights on 5 cruise lines. This cruise was a 5 night cruise from Ft. lauderdale with stops in Labadee and Falmouth, Jamaica. This ship generally docks for departure at pier 29 and the closest parking garage "Mid Port" is well beyond walking distance but RCL provides a shuttle van. My suggestion is to go directly to the garage and board the shuttle unless you have giant luggage. This way you avoid the traffic and confusion at the pier. There is no Dining Room service for lunch on departure day. The ships departure time is 4:30PM but generally leaves between 6-7 PM, too bad. Guests are allowed into cabins at 1:00 PM. PRO: Guest services, quality of food, staff, main shows, ice skating show, soft serve attendant, clean ship, emphasis on hand washing...but should be better enforced. Hidden find...the 3rd floor dining room serves breakfast, every day, as both a buffet and an order option. The buffet is widely varied and extensive. Much calmer than the Windjammer. The 80's dance party in the open core of the ship, on the last night, is not to be missed. It is really a performance by some of the cruise staff and the technology will amaze you. The ice skating show is way beyond what we expected and is available on the first sea day and twice on the last sea day. Seats around 800. Don't miss it! The Cruise Director is the best we have ever experienced. This man is involved everywhere, he can sing, dance and is very upbeat. CON: Lounge and bar music is lacking in variety, options and substance. Dining Room dress code should be renamed "Carnival of The Seas". Younger people wearing caps, torn shirts, etc. for nice evening meal. Too bad. The ship needs more on board choices for entertainment during sea days such as talks, computer or camera instruction, etc. Too many silly games. Drink prices are mostly around $12-14 with grat. Wine is about the same. Drink packages are $70. The Captain provides very limited information of interest. Needs to be more outgoing...not just a figurehead. Poor movie selection on the TV and way too much advertising. Neutral: Chops Steakhouse $42 up charge. Dress is not up the scale we expected, food average and staff are as expected in a nice restaurant. This was a bonus provided by our AAA booking. AAA often has value added bonuses that are combined with those of the cruise lines. Directional signs...need to be added. NCL has carpeting that shows fish swimming toward bow. All lines should adopt this for cabin hallways. We booked the Bamboo Rafting in Jamaica through RCL which was cancelled when the van didn't show up and we waited 45 minutes. Suggest you book directly with the rafting company for $65. They pick you up at the same place in the port in nice vans...several people used this option. If this review was helpful please let me know. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to try the Independence after the refit. This was a 5 days cruise and we were very happy that the weather was absolutely spectacular. The ship is gorgeous and the service was excellent. The food in the main dinninig room was ... Read More
We wanted to try the Independence after the refit. This was a 5 days cruise and we were very happy that the weather was absolutely spectacular. The ship is gorgeous and the service was excellent. The food in the main dinninig room was pretty good and the Windjammer was very good. Dissapointed that we could not get anybody in the Promenade Cafe to brew a strong espresso, like we have in other ships. The cast of Grease is excellent and had presentations other than the play, which was an added bonus. We liked the latin band Mirage, they were good and played a good variety of songs. There were some large theme groups and that made for some of the venues reserved for private functions, which always leaves the general population out, for example, the first sea day, the Dance Fitness class was cancelled due to rain, they were not able to bring it inside because of the venues occupied by private functions. All in all it was 5 beautiful days in a beautiful ship. We will sail the Independence again in a heart beat. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I’m a little late with this review, but better late than never right ; ) I was on the Independence of the Seas – 5 night Western Caribbean itinerary to Labadee and Falmouth, Jamaica. (January 12-17, 2019.) So a little bit about ... Read More
I’m a little late with this review, but better late than never right ; ) I was on the Independence of the Seas – 5 night Western Caribbean itinerary to Labadee and Falmouth, Jamaica. (January 12-17, 2019.) So a little bit about me and my travel partner/bf. We’re in our mid-20s. I’ve been on three cruises prior to this one. This was my bf’s first cruise. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before and stayed at the Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale/Downtown Las Olas Area. The hotel partners with a company called All-Star for free shuttle service to and from the airport as well as within a 1 or 2 mile radius of the hotel. I found that the driver that I dealt with on that particular day was extremely rude and overall unpleasant. However, I refused to let him ruin my vacation. The hotel itself was clean and comfy and offered free continental breakfast the next morning. We took an uber from the hotel to Port Everglades. We got to the port around 11:15 and it took roughly 25 mins from the time we dropped off our luggage to when we were onboard the ship. We were in cabin 8330 (balcony). It was pretty spacious and the storage was adequate for the both of us. My only complaint was that there weren’t enough outlets in the room, but we made due. For breakfast we ate in the Windjammer everyday except for disembarkation day when we finally made it to the MDR. I wish we would’ve done breakfast in the MDR every day. It was soooo good :) The Windjammer was fine too. There were a lot of options so I doubt anyone would go hungry. We also had dinner in the MDR everyday. Again, the food was fine. Lots to choose from. I know food is subjective so not everyone may agree with me. Side note: our waiter Iputu and assistant waiter whose name I cannot remember :( were both outstanding! Throughout the day we frequented Sorrento’s and Cafe Promenade for snacks a midday bites. We also went to Johnny Rockets one day since we missed the Windjammer for lunch. I didn’t know that Johnny Rockets was considered an all-you-can eat location after paying the up-charge. It was a nice surprise and I most certainly got my money’s worth :) We didn’t get a drink package because it just wouldn’t have been worth it for us. When we wanted a cocktail or the occasional ginger ale we just used our OBC and ordered a la carte. The service at the bar was speedy. The only time that we had to wait a little longer was when we were at the Olive or Twist bar late night for the night club-style party. I don’t remember who the cruise or activities directors were, but I do remember them being pretty funny when hosting The Love & Marriage show, the Quest, and the Majority Rules game. We didn’t see the shows and the only activity we did was the Sky Pad (which was a lot of fun btw). We stopped in Labadee and Falmouth. I had been to both ports before when I cruise on Liberty of The Seas in 2014. In Labadee we did the ship-sponsored Adult Sandbar Party excursion. Because the water was too high, we weren’t able to stop at the sandbar and instead were taken to Amiga Island. The water was clear, albeit a little rocky, but overall no complaints. Rum punches were flowing, the music was pumping and we just enjoyed floating around on beach mats for a few hours. In Falmouth we booked an ATV tour through Excursions in Jamaica. The driver picked us up from the port and we rode to Ocho Rios where we did a little shopping before being taken to the location where we would drive around on ATVs for 2-ish hours. Once it was over we were driven back to the port with plenty of time to spare. Getting off the ship was fairly easy, but that may have been because I have global entry. After breakfast in the MDR we walked off the ship around 9:00 and made it through customs in record time. I was very thankful that we didn’t have to wait in the looooooong customs line. Mind you, this was during the government shutdown so it seemed like the number of available customs agents was a little lean. We were in an uber by 9:07 on the way to the airport. Overall, we had a good time and would take the same trip again in a heartbeat :) Read Less
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates N/A 3.8

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