June 2015 - Independence of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern
My 10 year old son and I (45 year old single mom) had a 4 star experience on the Independence of the Sea. We live in Florida, we have been on various cruise ranging from Disney to Carnival more than a dozen times. This was our first cruise just two of us and was our first time on a RC Freedom class ship. We LOVED the ship. My son lived on the sports deck and the 12th floor arcade and the camp area. He made friends easily with other kids as there were over 1,000 kids 17 and under. I felt safe enough to let him roam around with minimum supervision.
I also enjoyed the time on my own because there were plenty of quiet space where I can read or zone out. I was able to find shady area in the middle of afternoon on deck 12. There were also plenty of activities going on at the main sun deck with a giant TV screen. Bar service was great but the drinks were pricy.
The overall dinning experience was short of exception. We had the My Time Dinning schedule where we can reserve the dinning time rather than dinning at the assigned 6 pm or 8:30 pm schedule. I see cost cutting measures from dinning room service to the lack variety of food that offered on the nightly menu. The dinning room serving staff were friendly but VERY busy. I think the main server and the assistant server had to watch over more tables. Water was the only drink being offered. We had to ask and wait for ice tea (free) nightly. They never offed coffee to go with the desserts. I asked for coffee (free) with my dessert twice during two separate nights but never got it. I think the server just forgot the order. The paid beverages arrived at the table in a decent speed. For the remaining cruise, I walked over to the Windjammer Cafe (buffet dinning room) after dinner to service myself the coffee.
The nightly menu offered meat variety like chicken, pork, turkey, beef and limit choice of fish. Shellfish was almost not seen other than the lobster night. Tiny baby shrimps was used for shrimp salad and shrimp cocktail. It was like causal dining rather than the fancy experience that I was hoping for. Maybe the shellfish had been reserved for the $25 or $35 specialty restaurants. Other folks I met on the ship had the similar opinion on the service and food.
Again, we enjoyed our 7 night cruise. My son said he can live on the ship for another year. LOL. I will definitely try the Quantum Class ship the next time. My cruising experience tells me that newer and bigger ship is the way to go. Bigger IS better in cursing!! Thank you for reading.