Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by GrayMaineCruiser
- Sail Date: January 2017
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
I decided to splurge a bit and go for a Grand Suite, 1278, to be precise. As Suite guests, we very much enjoyed the perk of being able to fast-forward and sail through the embarkation lines at security and check-in. Once we were at the port, we probably spent no more than 20 minutes from entering the terminal and being aboard the ship. A great embarkation experience. We had flown in that morning and so by the time we were aboard the ship rooms were already open. We loved, loved, loved the Grand Suite which of course offers much more room compared to the outside view we had on Enchantment. The room was quite clean when we arrived. The only minor quibble is that the balcony seemed like it could've used an extra mop of the floor as it was slightly dirty. Also the outside table still had some fingerprint smudges, but again, very minor quibbles. We were greeted by a nice glass bottle of Evian. The bed was a bit firm for my wife who has some back pain, but our attendant Mikhail was quite attentive and put an extra layer of padding under the sheets which made it quite a bit better.
Independence is a marvelous cruise ship. Quite a bit bigger than Enchantment but easy enough to get around. Our Suite was located towards the front of the ship, which gave us quick access to the pool deck, but also the elevators, which gave us some quick access down to Deck 5 and the promenade. The ship looked very well maintained.
For dinner we mostly ate at either the Main Dining Room or the Windjammer, though for Embarkation night we enjoyed pizza at Sorrento's. Food in the Dining Room was excellent. We enjoyed every meal we had there, especially Italian night. Service was mostly excellent, but I think our waiter on the last night was a bit overwhelmed and the service was slightly slower that night, but not a big deal. Windjammer food was good as well. We didn't eat at either of the specialty restaurants.
Entertainment aboard Independence of the Seas was great. We enjoyed the piano player at Schooner, as well as the Latin band at Bolero's and the singer-guitarist at the Dog and Badger. We also caught the Britain's Finest, the Beatles tribute band in the Theater. I'm not exactly a big Beatles fan but it was enjoyable. We enjoyed the Gold Card exclusive seating on the top level. Great views of the stage!
We spent some time in the Solarium and loved the cantilever hot tubs. These are great because there was a lot of space in there so you didn't feel like you were on top of other strangers, plus some really beautiful views out on the ocean. I think we do prefer the totally enclosed Solariums like on Enchantment as opposed to the open air Solarium on Independence, but again, a pretty minor quibble.
We very much enjoyed the Bamboo Beach Club VIP excursion in Jamaica. If you are looking for a nice beach day I highly recommend it. I also highly recommend, if you have a choice, having O'Shane as your tour guide, he was excellent! But on this beach excursion you will not go hungry or thirsty. Lost of great food and rum drinks.
In Labadee, we took advantage of another Suite perk and spent the day at Barefoot Beach Club. We ended up renting one of the beach level cabanas. We had done a cabana when we went to Coco Cay aboard Enchantment. However, one notable difference is the cabana club in Labadee also has many beach chairs which anyone with a gold card can use. In Coco Cay it's just cabanas. So given this, I think next time I wouldn't have wasted the money on the cabana at Barefoot Beach. Certainly it was nice to have the shade and comfy seats in the cabana, but probably not worth the $395 when we would've had access to the club and plenty of shaded beach chairs. That all said, it was a great excursion.
I think one of our favorite places on Independence, again thanks to being Suite guests, was the Concierge Club on Deck 10. A nice, quite space only accessible with your gold Sea Pass card. My wife and I enjoyed many macchiattos from the specialty coffee machine there (as well as many of the yummy Coconut Ranger cookies). It was a nice space to have some quite time. Another great Suite perk. And I must say the Concierge, Felix Vargas, was excellent. He was super helpful with dinner reservations, disembarkation, and even surprised my wife and I with an Anniversary gift sent to our stateroom.
We really enjoyed our 5 night cruise on Independence. I would highly recommend a cruise on Indy to anyone contemplating it. You will not be disappointed!
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BeachWe did the Bamboo Beach Club VIP package. We very much enjoyed our time at the Bamboo Beach Club. Nice comfortable beach chairs, plentiful rum drinks and food. The beach and water were beautiful. Our tour-guide O'Shane was top notch! Would definitely recommend this excursion, great value for the price!View All 137 Beach Reviews
LabadeeWe enjoyed our Barefoot Beach Cabana Club excursion however I think in hindsight I would not have paid for a cabana since we would've had access to the club with our gold card anyway. The beachfront cabana was $395, but we probably would've been just as fine using some of the beach chairs that were there in the club. The BBQ lunch was very good.View All 12,802 Labadee Cruise Port Reviews
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