December 2015 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Independence of the Seas
My husband and I have cruised several times in the past (most recently on this same ship - different itinerary) and while we had a good time overall, we were not blown away by the quality on this particular cruise. Generally speaking, the service fine was everyone was welcoming and friendly. We had one bad experience the first night in the dining room when NO ONE came to our table for about 15 minutes after being seated. The explanation: it was the first night and they had a lot of special requests at that moment to deal with. Since a cruise has a first night every week, we found that to be a pretty weak excuse. They turned it around as the next night, upon request, we were moved to another section of the dining room and only had the kind of wonderful interactions with the wait staff we'd become familiar with on previous cruises. Our room attendant was nice, staff we encountered at the other eateries and around the ship were friendly, and a particular shout out to the nursery staff who made us feel very comfortable leaving our 17-month-old. They were wonderful.
Our biggest issue was with the perceived quality, particularly with the food and entertainment. The food was not good (with a few bright moments here and there, most of it was uninspired, and in some cases, not worth eating). The entertainment was the definition of "bad cruise" entertainment. We also experienced a very disorganized, and quite frankly odd, disembarkation at the conclusion of the cruise. We were placed in the theatre where no announcements were made as to which groups were being called to leave and there were no staff members present to answer questions. When we finally got the signal to leave the elevators and stairways were clogged with people and the lines to get off the ship and then through baggage and customs were nothing we had seen before. The whole process took about 2 hours which was longer than we've experience in the past. As I mentioned earlier, we were on this same ship just a couple of years ago and had a much different experience. It left us wondering if perhaps RC is focusing it's efforts just on it's biggest fleet since Independence of the Seas is now a third-stringer.
This was a our toddler's first cruise and she had a great time, so we had a great time. But in the future I think we'll be looking to other cruise lines who are upping the ante on the experience.