May 2015 - Independence of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
Being a first time cruiser it was difficult to figure out the schematics of the restaurants. For instance, it wasn't until the cruise was over that my husband and I found out that one of the restaurants during the lunch hour offered a salad buffet. This buffet was not located in the normal WindJammer/Jade buffet. Fresh vegetable in general were lacking in all meal areas. The food was okay. There was a lot of it, but the food quality was not healthy.
What was problematic for us on the day of arrival was knowing where to go with our service dog for toileting needs. Nobody, and I mean nobody knew where to send us. It was like we were asking for foreign request that simply was not being understood. We had to go to guest services 4 times. Each time we were sent off on our own to explore the port side of the ship to find this toileting area. Each time we were unsuccessful. It wasn't until a staff person on the port side of the deck asked us what we needed. She then told us exactly where to go and pointed us to the door this area was behind. The only reason she knew where this toileting area was located is due to another family that had the same issue, also traveling with a service dog. It was ridiculous. And the service behind this one issue was not at all professional. They actually seemed bothered by our request.
Another thing that would have been nice is for the captain of the ship to announce land areas the ship was passing. We would pass islands that were visible from the ship....but no one on board had a clue what islands we were passes as the captain never stated anything to this nature, Travelers like to know what they are viewing. Similar to an airline pilot making an announcement of noted land masses the plane is passing over, the captain could have done the same regarding the passing of different land masses.
Otherwise, our cruise was as good as expected. We learned a lot. The first time is always more difficult as there is a huge learning curve. There are hidden expenses that add a minimum of $500 to a total cruise cost that is not revealed until a passenger boards. Now that our first cruise is over....we know what do do on our next one.