April 2016 - Independence of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
I read all the reviews here the last few weeks, as with all, the one star reviews clearly were either not that bad or so incident specific to be useless, and the rave five stars just too good...so here is mine.
Embarkation; Flawless. 20 minutes at 1:00 pm from shuttle drop off to our room. The line looked long, it was easy, security is not like an airport.
The Stateroom: we had a superior balcony cabin 9th floor, it was very nice, slightly smaller than a hotel room, narrower really, bathroom a lot smaller. But functional. The shower is small, I am 6 feet 165 pounds and it was tight. But the room was clean, well lit, nice balcony. Only 2 outlets, none in bathroom, be prepared. Beds nice, more than adequate.
Food: It's not Mortons. It's also not Old country or Golden Corral. The main dining room ranged from adequate to good. Nothing was awful as some have said, maybe those are individual experiences, but overall, food was average to good, with the occasional, "pretty tasty" Bread fresh. They serve salad on warm plates, but again not end of the world. Buffet was well, a buffet. Breakfast daily, two lunches one dinner. Breakfast was decent. Yeah, powdered eggs, but edible. Always pancakes, french toast, oatmeal, fresh fruit and cereal. Decent pastries. Eat outside on the pool area, it;s nice. Lunch was fine, salads, burgers, sandwiches, etc. Probably best use of it. Dinner was eh. More like Golden Coral Some ok, some not good, really suited to families and tired people.
We ate at Giovannis. Worth the 25 bucks. It was very good.
Dress Code: Formal night which is what you want to know: saw two tuxes, some suits, decent amount of sport coats and ties. a ALOT of just pants and sport shirts, even on formal night. even some jeans. A little sad, and I liked dressing, but lots did not. So dress if you want, but you won't be out of place in nice pants and a shirt. Other nights were casual, nice shorts, Khakis. women in nice causal dresses. Some people dressed awful including hats, no one was turned away.
Entertainment. It was fine. Comedian was decent, production show was cheesy but 50 minutes. If you skip, you won't miss much, but they are ok. Movies outside were very cool.
Ports: Belize, do an excursion or stay on the boat. Even the staff told us this. The port stuff was awful, long tender, the one restaurant was bad, like, bad. I heard excusrions were good. Cozumel was decent shopping but the people are beyond pushy, some funny but it got old. At at Palmeros, it was good atmosphere, pretty view, no better than an american chain.
On Board shopping. If you have been on a cruise, it's just the same. Buy if you like, some decent prices but just seems like you are being taken. But not there to shop.
Disembarkation. yeah, a CF. left ship at 925, got on shuttle to airport at 11, stood in lines for all that time. Not sure what to do but prepare, it's a lot of shuffling along.
Overall: It's not the newest ship, but I am not sure what we missed. clean, pleasant, still plenty big, amenities, options. I would said again without a question. Staff was great.