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Short Cruise to get away with the family. Had Grandparents, kids and grand kids all together for the first time. Let me start by saying we were in a Suite for the very first time. It does make a difference in the experience. When on RCCL again, will almost definitely stay in a Suite. Prior sailing had a Norovirus outbreak. Our embarkation was delayed so ship cold be sanitized. Due to the situation, embarkation did not go quite as smoothly has it has on prior cruises. Extraordinary efforts were made to make sure it didn't happen again on our sailing. Wish I owned stock in Purell. Ship is not among the newest and biggest, so did not have all the activities now available on RCCL. That said, we did not run our of things to do. Looking to do it again in 2018. Due to the age of the grand kids had early dinner seating. Both Waiter and Assistant went out of their way to make us feel welcome and provided top-notch service. Being in a Suite provided significant additional benefits and we worked with a magnificent Concierge, who did her darnedest to make us feel appreciated. Though cruise was great, despite the additional sanitary steps that existed throughout the cruise, two items to comment on. First, our shore excursion in the first port, Costa de Maya, was cancelled due to water conditions. Have no issue with that decision, even though made last minute; since it was made for passenger safety. Since the cancellation involved numerous water sports tours, thought an announcement should have been made on the ship alerting those with later tour times. This would give them the option to change their excursions and possibly their attire, rather than going to the Pier only to find out about the cancellation. I could find no shore excursion staff on the Pier, though I was advised they were out there and available. When I got back on the ship and suggested the announcement I was advised that they would not make an announcement about a specific tour that might involve perhaps 25 passengers. I responded that in fact it was numerous tours, involving hundreds. I just thought they should have reached out to those effected, before they left the ship. Second item is about the photo options. Because we had two suites, we were offered the opportunity to have a personalized photo session. We took that opportunity, but we should have been advised about pricing, in order not to waste either our time or the photographers. After seeing the pictures, we weer advised the cheapest option was $500. The packages we were originally shown, started at $1,800 and went to over $3,000. I was looking for the decimal point, before I was advised there wasn't any. The personalized 8 x 10's were $100 or more than 5 times what other pictures cost, and that is single purchase rather than a package. If you are going as an extended family I would recommend buying the unlimited photo package. I would also recommend that you buy it before boarding, when it can be obtained at a cheaper price. The above paragraph notwithstanding, it was a amazing family trip, that we intend to repeat.

Family Cruise

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by Traveling Rich

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
Short Cruise to get away with the family. Had Grandparents, kids and grand kids all together for the first time. Let me start by saying we were in a Suite for the very first time. It does make a difference in the experience. When on RCCL again, will almost definitely stay in a Suite.

Prior sailing had a Norovirus outbreak. Our embarkation was delayed so ship cold be sanitized. Due to the situation, embarkation did not go quite as smoothly has it has on prior cruises. Extraordinary efforts were made to make sure it didn't happen again on our sailing. Wish I owned stock in Purell.

Ship is not among the newest and biggest, so did not have all the activities now available on RCCL. That said, we did not run our of things to do. Looking to do it again in 2018. Due to the age of the grand kids had early dinner seating. Both Waiter and Assistant went out of their way to make us feel welcome and provided top-notch service.

Being in a Suite provided significant additional benefits and we worked with a magnificent Concierge, who did her darnedest to make us feel appreciated.

Though cruise was great, despite the additional sanitary steps that existed throughout the cruise, two items to comment on. First, our shore excursion in the first port, Costa de Maya, was cancelled due to water conditions. Have no issue with that decision, even though made last minute; since it was made for passenger safety. Since the cancellation involved numerous water sports tours, thought an announcement should have been made on the ship alerting those with later tour times. This would give them the option to change their excursions and possibly their attire, rather than going to the Pier only to find out about the cancellation. I could find no shore excursion staff on the Pier, though I was advised they were out there and available. When I got back on the ship and suggested the announcement I was advised that they would not make an announcement about a specific tour that might involve perhaps 25 passengers. I responded that in fact it was numerous tours, involving hundreds. I just thought they should have reached out to those effected, before they left the ship.

Second item is about the photo options. Because we had two suites, we were offered the opportunity to have a personalized photo session. We took that opportunity, but we should have been advised about pricing, in order not to waste either our time or the photographers. After seeing the pictures, we weer advised the cheapest option was $500. The packages we were originally shown, started at $1,800 and went to over $3,000. I was looking for the decimal point, before I was advised there wasn't any. The personalized 8 x 10's were $100 or more than 5 times what other pictures cost, and that is single purchase rather than a package. If you are going as an extended family I would recommend buying the unlimited photo package. I would also recommend that you buy it before boarding, when it can be obtained at a cheaper price.

The above paragraph notwithstanding, it was a amazing family trip, that we intend to repeat.
Traveling Rich’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
Cabin GS 1286
First Suite ever. The balcony was large with both lounge chairs and regular chairs and a table. Bathroom ws larger than the one in my house. More than enough room for my wife and I. Pricing on Royal out of Ft. Lauderdale was a great value.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Snuba
    We were among the first six excursion members and were sent ahead of the rest of the group. We were whisked to the site, within view of the ship, were given training, though we have done this activity before and then provided the necessary equipment. Our particular guide, did an amazing job watching out for us and making sure that we were okay throughout the dive. Upon completion, he offered the members of our group the opportunity to take a second Snuba or do an actual scuba dive. We did not take him up on it, but the offer was made and reasonably priced. Rather than waiting for a cab, we chose the short walk back to the ship. All in all, a very worthwhile experience.
    View All 20 Snuba Reviews