1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Got off of Independence of the Seas yesterday – 5 nights western Caribbean (Cozumel & Costa Maya) Feb. 4 – Feb. 9, 2019. Please feel free to ask any questions. Background: Just 2 of us – my DW and myself, mid-50s from ... Read More
Got off of Independence of the Seas yesterday – 5 nights western Caribbean (Cozumel & Costa Maya) Feb. 4 – Feb. 9, 2019. Please feel free to ask any questions. Background: Just 2 of us – my DW and myself, mid-50s from Connecticut. This was our third cruise, all on RCI. Our first 2 cruises were both on Anthem of the Seas (5 nights to Bermuda in Sept. 2017 and 7 nights to Port Canaveral / Nassau in Oct./Nov. 2018). We chose this cruise as a relatively quick escape in warmer climates and on a different ship. We flew to Fort Lauderdale the day before and stayed at the Courtyard Marriott. We took an Uber from the airport to the hotel (I didn’t feel like waiting for the hotel’s shuttle), and took the free hotel shuttle to the port the morning of the cruise. Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 11:30 and were quickly checked in (it helps to be a gold member). Boarding started at noon and we boarded at 12:30 (again, it helps to have gold status) and it was right up to one of the pool-side bars. Cabins were ready at 1:30. The previous cruise was the annual 70000 Tons of Metal cruise, so it took the crew a little longer to get everything ready (and I think they were a little worn out, but they still did a great job all cruise). Cabin: Balcony cabin on deck 9 aft/port. Cabin was fine – in fact it seemed slightly larger than what we’ve had on Anthem (both the cabin and balcony). Only 2 power outlets to charge things which we made do with, but Anthem is much better with additional outlets plus USB ports. Our steward Lennox was terrific and made the best towel animal we’ve seen – DW called it Oscar the orangutan – he was hanging from a hanger with was hanging on the half curtain in front of the bed. Dining & Bars: We had breakfast every day in the Windjammer which was fine – the usual for RCI. Consistency seemed to be a problem. First morning I got an eggs florentine which was ice cold. The remaining mornings I made my own version of eggs benedict by grabbing a toasted muffin or bagel and putting my own fried eggs on – all of which was hot and delicious. The scrambled eggs were delicious as well. One morning my orange juice (they pour it for you, unlike Anthem which was self-serve) was hot – I think they poured it into a glass that had just come out of the dishwasher. From then on it was ice-water every morning. We didn’t typically have lunch, but did have a few mid-day snacks of pizza at Sorrento’s. The pizza was decent – better than on Anthem (full disclaimer – I grew up eating Sally’s & Pepe’s in New Haven, so my standards for pizza are pretty high). We had dinner 4 of the 5 nights in the main dining room using My Time dining (7:30 each night). Because we booked these nights/times in advance, we had the same table and wait staff, and they were terrific (waiter Ionut and assistant waiter Yehven). Ionut would take the time each night to engage in some small conversation and made us feel very welcome, and both remembered our names after the first night. Overall the food was quite good and got better each night. All of the appetizers and desserts were excellent and the entrees were pretty decent except the first night when my prime rib was rubbery and drowned in a thick, brown gravy and DW’s strip steak was overcooked and seasoned very poorly (one end was extremely salty and the other end had no salt). We both had the spaghetti bolognese (on different nights) and it was excellent. The one night we didn’t eat in the MDR we ate at Chops. We had eaten at Chops on Anthem and had a terrific meal, so we thought we’d try it on Indy. It was just as good if not better. The waitress was great (I can’t remember her name, just that she’s Russian). And all of the food was excellent, including the steaks (we both had filets) being prepared perfectly. Clearly RCI knows what they’re doing with their steakhouse. We had the deluxe drink package and probably broke even. All of the bars were terrific and we never had to wait for service. The Olive Twist on deck 14 is a hidden gem. We had pre-dinner drinks there almost every night and there were only a few people there. It’s got a great view. Sadly the bartender there didn’t know how to mix drinks – I had the worst whiskey sour and worst gin & tonic I’ve ever had at this bar. All other bars and drinks were good, including the drinks of the day. Activities & Shows: We didn’t do too many of the activities. We would have done the escape room, but not for $20 per person (on Anthem there was no charge for the escape room – I didn’t understand why there was a charge on Indy). We did play 9 holes of mini-golf which was fun (my guess is the mini-golf course was installed during last year’s rehab as it was in excellent shape and seemed new). The water slides looked like great fun – always a small line but it never seemed like a long wait and everyone came out with a big smile on their face. We saw Grease and it was excellent (almost as good as We Will Rock You on Anthem). We also saw the ice-skating show which was amazing – Olympic and national champions from around the world doing amazing things on a very small rink (about a quarter the size of a hockey rink). Cruise director Daniel and the activities director (I can’t remember her name either, just that she’s from Scotland) were great. We saw them at the Love & Marriage show, belly-flop competition, lip-sync competition, and Quest game show and all were a lot of fun, thanks in large part to them. Ports: This was our first time in Mexico. We didn’t do any excursions. For both ports, we just walked around. In Cozumel we walked the immediate area off the ship, and then headed down to Sting Ray beach. I’d read other reviews that said to watch out for all of the shop keepers who get right in your face to sell you something and those reviews were dead on. In Costa Maya we just walked around the immediate port area with all of the shops and stuff. We did see the swim-with-dolphins attraction which was great – everyone looked to be having an amazing time. We also went into the aviary which was great fun. They give you a little plastic cup with bird seed and sunflower seeds to feed the birds, and the birds are not shy about landing on you and eating. It was very neat. And when in Mexico… we had a Mexican beer at the Mexican cantina just to say we did it. Disembarkation: As usual with RCI, this was easy. We stayed in our cabin on the balcony until we had to vacate at 8:30. We were scheduled to disembark at 9:45, but walked off at 9:15. Luggage was waiting for us, and clearing customs took only a couple of minutes – we were in a taxi heading to the airport by 9:30. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 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
Sail Date: January 2019
This was a last minute cruise to get out of the cold. It did not disappoint! While Mother Nature did not cooperate with a lot of sunshine we still enjoyed ourselves. We cruise once per year with a balcony cabin but wanted to go “on ... Read More
This was a last minute cruise to get out of the cold. It did not disappoint! While Mother Nature did not cooperate with a lot of sunshine we still enjoyed ourselves. We cruise once per year with a balcony cabin but wanted to go “on the cheap” this time. Even the inside cabin 3557 was more than adequate on this ship! Everything inside and out was clean and tidy. We took a galley tour which was fascinating! Quite an operation to get all of that food out to the cruisers. To be able to get all of the orders out including the “special” dietary requirements took a well coordinated team. Only issue was the Motown Trivia”. It was horrible! Being from Detroit, we know Motown and this trivia contest was really bad! The host had no idea what he was doing. They certainly had no idea what Motown was. Overall a great time was had by all! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
I recently sailed on a 8 day cruise on the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Sea's and was disappointed on the way a situation was handled with their staff. I was in need of women's sanitary products on day 2 of my 8 day cruise ... Read More
I recently sailed on a 8 day cruise on the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Sea's and was disappointed on the way a situation was handled with their staff. I was in need of women's sanitary products on day 2 of my 8 day cruise and visited the gift shop to purchase. To my amazement they had a shelf for these products but, only a few products were available. I requested a sale's person for assistance and inquired why they only had a few limited items for a ship of over 4,000 people with approximately 2,000 women? The salesperson stated that they would search for more products in the back and came back and only found one item for me to purchase. I asked them if they planned to stock up on products on the first port and he stated they wouldn't stock up on any depleted items until they docked back in Ft. Lauderdale 6 days later! I requested a manager and expressed my disappointment and not only was he short but, dismissed me as if my request and disappointment was not warranted. In addition, the ship only had a few machines in the lady's restroom and they were all empty so I essentially had no options for a week other than to buy the one package they had available which of course was highly overpriced. I have to say, I have been on many cruises and have never experienced not being able to purchase something that I needed in an emergency situation. Carnival always had a full stocked gift shop and I was really turned off by RC and their attention to detail in this area and sensitivity to women. The manager wasn't even open to providing a discount for the product or provide me anything in lieu of the inconvenience. Royal Caribbean needs to be more invested in the needs of women and provide adequate inventory for necessary items to serve their customer base. As far as the rest of the cruise experience, the ship overall was beautiful and well designed. I didn't care for the food at all! This was the biggest complaint among many of the people I met on the ship. This was very disappointing because for the expense you would hope to have options that are appealing. They had options that were self pay but, you expect the options that are provided to be of standard or better. I did appreciate that they are big on keeping your hands washed and have hand washing stations as you enter the dining area and multiple published signage throughout the ship. This was a full ship charter so the activities and entertainment were above board and amazing. The excursions were not the best and overpriced. I wouldn't suggest purchasing an excursion through RC, you are better off taking a cab and experiencing the island on your own or booking a tour of your choice from a local vendor. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Girls cruise! Needed something shorter than a 7 day cruise. Wish they had a specialty shop on cruise that sold chocolate covered strawberries and gourmet desserts like Carnival does at their coffee shops. Really missed that on Royal ... Read More
Girls cruise! Needed something shorter than a 7 day cruise. Wish they had a specialty shop on cruise that sold chocolate covered strawberries and gourmet desserts like Carnival does at their coffee shops. Really missed that on Royal Caribbean.Love the new washing station before going into the buffet, and you had to leave the buffet area to use the restroom, which meant you had to wash your hands again before entering. YEA!!!! Embarkation was super easy as well as getting off the ship. We bought the all you can drink alcohol package and it was a great deal and super easy to use. I noticed that they had soda fountains in random areas of the ship to use, which meant people who hadn't bought the soda package were filling up with cups of soda. They provide you with a certain mug to use if you buy it. Service was great on this cruise and I would highly recommend this to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
A very relaxing vacation was what we wanted and a very relaxing vacation is what we got. Our stateroom attendant Javier was amazing. He kept our room clean and stocked. Playmakers and Fish and Ships were nice additions. Service could be ... Read More
A very relaxing vacation was what we wanted and a very relaxing vacation is what we got. Our stateroom attendant Javier was amazing. He kept our room clean and stocked. Playmakers and Fish and Ships were nice additions. Service could be more prompt at Playmakers. The food at every venue: MDR, Windjammer, Cafe Promenade, Sorrento's, Chops, were all wonderful. MDR waiter kept hustling for more tips (this was the only real offputting thing that took place.) I love how even after the refurbishment, Indy is still the well appointed ship she always was. It never felt crowded, not even in the Windjammer on embarkation day when no one knows where they're going. We skipped Grease since we just saw it on Harmony, but the dancing show was wildly entertaining. Choreographed by Louis Van Amstel of DWTS fame, there were elements of jazz, ballroom, and latin dancing. Good job! My only peeve, and this goes more to the passengers than crew. What is with the dirty fingerprints by the elevator up-down buttons? Crew members can't monitor it in real time. So make sure you washy washy before you touch anything. Read Less
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
2 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
Pleasantly surprised by the size of the independence. Had been previously on oasis and found it overwhelming. Indy is the perfect size. The ship was not crowded at all and our cabin was one of the new ones on deck 12 and was extremely ... Read More
Pleasantly surprised by the size of the independence. Had been previously on oasis and found it overwhelming. Indy is the perfect size. The ship was not crowded at all and our cabin was one of the new ones on deck 12 and was extremely roomy. Enjoyed several movie night out on the deck under the stars. Grease was amazing however the theater itself was over crowded. Would have been nice if offered more than one night. The ice show was amazing also. We could have watched them skate for hours. The biggest complaint was dining room. Food bland, tables so close together the wait staff had to squeeze between and under staffed. The windjammer however was amazing! Are they trying to get you to pay more for the specialty dining?? The cruise overall was fun and relaxing. Decided 5 days too short. There needs to be s better way to disembark as the holding area was close to the casino and smelled terrible of cigarette smoke. All the bar tenders and wait staff were excellent and friendly around the ship. Going on the liberty in April and looking forward to comparing the two. 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 3.8
Rates N/A 3.8

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