Independence of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

2-3 cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

The Bad, The Good, And the Ugly

Sail Date: March 01, 2009

Reviewed: 8 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Oceanview

First, the bad news. There is an oddly thin veneer of glamour about Royal Carribean, like someone showed them a short movie about elegant living and they cobbled together a vacation experience from that. Telling your guests to put on black tie does not a formal affair make, particularly not when your wait-staff are trying to sell your guests an extra glass of soda or wine throughout the entire meal. A well worn rule of thumb in polite society says that whenever you ask someone for their wallet at a formal gathering, you had better be affiliated with a charity, a cause, or a candidate. If you ignore this rule, any air of formality that you hoped to establish at your occasion will sink like the Titanic. Royal Carribean either doesn't know this rule, or doesn't care.

It seems to us that there is a system in place from the moment you board the ship to constantly sell you things. I'm talking about drinks, both soft and alcoholic, excursions, trinkets, momentos, gambling, massages, facials, accupuncture, haircuts, shaves, manicures, etc, etc, etc. Anything and everything that they can make an extra dime on, they will sell you. Calls home are $8.00/minute, internet access is $0.55/minute, small bottles of water for shore excursions, $3.50, pay per view movies in your room, $12.99 each. It wouldn't be so bad if they came through with the goods when you paid, but the tropical drinks they serve for $8.50 have never even met a peice of fresh fruit, their burgers from "Johnny Rockets" are extrordinarily bad, and their roulette wheels all have double zeros, thus improving the odds for the house.

With that said, there is, to be fair, some good news. The ship itself is spectacular. You have to see it for yourself to understand what I mean. The "low level," least senior staff were fantastic. I'm speaking about the people who bus your table, clean your cabin, refresh your water or coffee, and just generally look after you. About these people, I just can't say enough. They are smart, attentive, polite, pleasant, and go about the business of making you as comfortable as possible almost invisibly. Unfortunately, these marvelous people are hindered by Royal Carribean's previously mentioned zest for revenue enhancements.

Pros: Low level staff

Cons: Royal Carribean

Recommends Independence of the Seas? No.

Food and Dining
From "good" to "not great."
I hate pandering.
Ship Quality
High "wow" factor.
Cabin / Stateroom
Small but clean and well-tended.
Service and Staff
Low level support staff were all fabulous; room stewards, house-keeping, diningroom support staff, and all service staff associated with the "Windjammer Cafe" were simply outstanding. They could teach the staff in the formal diningrooms quite a bit about service.
Cozumel, Mexico
Mexico, but without the annoying street venders and the lingering bowel problems. Take a walk, or better yet, rent a Jeep and go find a tropical drink with fresh fruit in it. Beaches are beautiful and the drinks are generous.
Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico
Costa Maya is a "Tourist Village," but it is also a Town about two miles down the road. The first can be missed, and the second should be avoided.
Don't Miss: The distant view of the shore from the ship's dining area. Costa Maya looks best from a distance.
Belize City, Belize
Belize is worth seeing. Wildlife is spectacular, jungles are beautiful, and the people are friendly. What more could you ask for?
Don't Miss: Monkeys.

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