April 2015 - Independence of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
I have cruised 19 times now on various lines, 6 on Royal Caribbean, one being on the sister ship, The Freedom of the Seas. In general, the experiences have been positive. My family and I looked forward to another great experience. Wrong!! It seems Royal Caribbean has cheapened things. Staffing has been cut and other areas have also been cheapened. It started with the disappearing ink on the sea-pass cards. The printing would disappear and the card would not work. After a few replacement cards, my son was told it's due to suntan lotion. This is a tropical cruise. You need sunscreen. It seems there must be some permanent ink. The service desk was the next disappointment. Service is the wrong title. Most people there had to find someone else to get the answer to any question. The wait-staff has especially deteriorated. It would take us two hours for dinner every night. We were told that the number of wait staff had been cut resulting in more tables per waiter and less assistant waiters to help. We only saw the head waiter/waitress on the last night. As for service in the dining room for breakfast, forget it. The host/hostess was unfriendly and the staff was minimal. Room service was also affected as the breakfast we ordered for 8-8:30 wasn't delivered until 9am. Bar service was also slow. One pool bar server actually answered my son "I guess so." when asked if a drink could be ordered. On the subject of pools, the adults only pool was warmer than the "hot" tubs. The hot tubs were actually warm tubs. I don't understand why at least one tub could not be hot. 104 is the usual standard. Onboard, I bet they were 88-90 degrees. A new little box in the lower right corner of the menu was also a surprise. There are now added charges for certain items on the main dining room menu! Specialty restaurants are one thing. But in the main dining room?
These are just a few of the issues we had this cruise. On a positive note, the ship was very clean. Our room steward did a great job. Boarding was very organized and quick, as was debarking the last day-if you walked off with bags. But the overall experience was disappointing. Next time we will try a line we have never experienced.