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We arrived at Fort Lauderdale Cruise port about 10:30am. Independence was at pier 25 so we parked at the Midtown garage. There were ample parking spaces. We had suites so we made our way inside and right up to the counter. After getting our cards we were put in the suites/pinnacle holding tank. Boarding was at 11:15. It was zip right on. We went to the Concierge Lounge (Deck 10) to get a snack and await the room opening at 1:00. The CL is like a cave – no traditional bar and no windows to look out other than at the door. At 1:00 we went to our suite and it was quite spacious. More drawer space than we could ever use. Ladies, there is a magnified lighted make-up mirror. Nice deck with two loungers, table and chairs. We went to the 3:30 boat drill and then back to the room to change for dinner. CL opened at 5pm but we went to the Diamond Lounge (DL). It was spacious, had lots of window area and was more inviting. That was the last time we set foot in the CL other than for debarkation. 5:00 came and the room filled fast. Lots of nice hors d’euovres and drinks. Roshan was a good barman and took care of us the entire trip. They changed the red wine, and their Merlot was pretty decent – (on other ships, we watched at the end of night and the barmen used a funnel and drained all bottles of wine into one). Not so here. Eliana Garcia, DL Hostess, was superb in managing the DL. We observed her tact and composure when dealing with challenging events (i.e. disgruntled people that wanted to take drinks out). Well done. We went down to dinner and were on the MyTime side and had a 6:45 reservation. Only a couple people in front of us. When we later exited, there were over 100 people waiting, and it was slow. We noticed this each night. My advice is to eat in MyTime either early or really late. While on the MDR – the food menu selection has gone downhill. Other ships have more traditional RCCL fare. The menu was lackluster. Although we did get Lobster on a 5 night cruise so that was a bonus. We also asked for Indian that night and got chicken curry. That was better than the Lobster. Wait staff were very attentive and we were in and out quickly. The Promenade is a quick way to move masses across the ship. What we didn’t like was the large amount of smoke that wafted up the stairways from the Casino. It’s the same on all Voyager and Freedom class ships. RCCL wants to shorten the passengers’ lives with second-hand smoke. Adding to that were the trivia games – most held in the Schooner Bar. The air was sickening with smoke as the Casino was right there. Our clothes stank at night from this. RCCL – Why not move the trivia to the Pyramid Lounge? – it is always empty and for the most part – smokefree. Activities staff did a great job with trivia’s. Time to get rid of the key chains, highlighters, and pens. Give decent prizes and more people will attend and order more drinks increasing revenue (said from a shareholder). Chef’s table – we no longer go because the menu never changes. We would go each cruise if there was different fare. All ships have same menu and it is not the best. Wines choices for CT need a real Sommelier to select wines. Choices were lackluster. We have been to at least 15 Chef's Tables and it's getting old due to stagnation. Grease – fantastic! All cast were exceptional – clearly one of the top two shows we have seen on 60+ cruises. Claudiu Negreh was attentive as a suite steward and made interesting non-ship traditional animal towel babies. Food and Beverage Manager (Markus Juen) gave excellent amenities. Departure was great for Suites. Felix escorts you off ahead of the lines. Speaking of lines, IOTS was the worst departure (after leaving ship) we have had in 60+ cruises. No one at the pier knew what they were doing. After waiting in line we found the suites line – stay far left and go by all. Mobile Passport allowed us to sail through and avoid really long lines. Unfortunately, RCCL hires older people for pier staff and they just don't have the wherewithal to handle the crowds. Oh yeah - we returned to Pier 18 and had to get bused back to the parking garage. It was a delight to receive a “Royal Appointment” from the Future Cruise staff for suites to book without having to go into their office. Would I go on Independence again? Probably not because of the smoke, menus, and pier problems.

Independence Needs Improvement

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by dagunny

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2017
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
We arrived at Fort Lauderdale Cruise port about 10:30am. Independence was at pier 25 so we parked at the Midtown garage. There were ample parking spaces. We had suites so we made our way inside and right up to the counter. After getting our cards we were put in the suites/pinnacle holding tank. Boarding was at 11:15. It was zip right on.

We went to the Concierge Lounge (Deck 10) to get a snack and await the room opening at 1:00. The CL is like a cave – no traditional bar and no windows to look out other than at the door.

At 1:00 we went to our suite and it was quite spacious. More drawer space than we could ever use. Ladies, there is a magnified lighted make-up mirror. Nice deck with two loungers, table and chairs.

We went to the 3:30 boat drill and then back to the room to change for dinner. CL opened at 5pm but we went to the Diamond Lounge (DL). It was spacious, had lots of window area and was more inviting. That was the last time we set foot in the CL other than for debarkation.

5:00 came and the room filled fast. Lots of nice hors d’euovres and drinks. Roshan was a good barman and took care of us the entire trip. They changed the red wine, and their Merlot was pretty decent – (on other ships, we watched at the end of night and the barmen used a funnel and drained all bottles of wine into one). Not so here.

Eliana Garcia, DL Hostess, was superb in managing the DL. We observed her tact and composure when dealing with challenging events (i.e. disgruntled people that wanted to take drinks out). Well done.

We went down to dinner and were on the MyTime side and had a 6:45 reservation. Only a couple people in front of us. When we later exited, there were over 100 people waiting, and it was slow. We noticed this each night. My advice is to eat in MyTime either early or really late.

While on the MDR – the food menu selection has gone downhill. Other ships have more traditional RCCL fare. The menu was lackluster. Although we did get Lobster on a 5 night cruise so that was a bonus. We also asked for Indian that night and got chicken curry. That was better than the Lobster. Wait staff were very attentive and we were in and out quickly.

The Promenade is a quick way to move masses across the ship. What we didn’t like was the large amount of smoke that wafted up the stairways from the Casino. It’s the same on all Voyager and Freedom class ships. RCCL wants to shorten the passengers’ lives with second-hand smoke.

Adding to that were the trivia games – most held in the Schooner Bar. The air was sickening with smoke as the Casino was right there. Our clothes stank at night from this. RCCL – Why not move the trivia to the Pyramid Lounge? – it is always empty and for the most part – smokefree.

Activities staff did a great job with trivia’s. Time to get rid of the key chains, highlighters, and pens. Give decent prizes and more people will attend and order more drinks increasing revenue (said from a shareholder).

Chef’s table – we no longer go because the menu never changes. We would go each cruise if there was different fare. All ships have same menu and it is not the best. Wines choices for CT need a real Sommelier to select wines. Choices were lackluster. We have been to at least 15 Chef's Tables and it's getting old due to stagnation.

Grease – fantastic! All cast were exceptional – clearly one of the top two shows we have seen on 60+ cruises.

Claudiu Negreh was attentive as a suite steward and made interesting non-ship traditional animal towel babies.

Food and Beverage Manager (Markus Juen) gave excellent amenities.

Departure was great for Suites. Felix escorts you off ahead of the lines. Speaking of lines, IOTS was the worst departure (after leaving ship) we have had in 60+ cruises. No one at the pier knew what they were doing. After waiting in line we found the suites line – stay far left and go by all. Mobile Passport allowed us to sail through and avoid really long lines. Unfortunately, RCCL hires older people for pier staff and they just don't have the wherewithal to handle the crowds. Oh yeah - we returned to Pier 18 and had to get bused back to the parking garage.

It was a delight to receive a “Royal Appointment” from the Future Cruise staff for suites to book without having to go into their office.

Would I go on Independence again? Probably not because of the smoke, menus, and pier problems.
dagunny’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
Cabin GS 1556
Large Deck with 2 loungers and table and chairs. Very attentive room steward. Huge amount of drawer and hanger space.Furniture a bit tired.Magnified lit makeup mirror. Tub with good shower head. Dual sinks.Doorbell. Mood adjustable lighting.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews