The Bad, The Good, And the Ugly
Independence of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: March 01, 2009
Ship: Independence of the Seas
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 9 years ago
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.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Ports of Call
Don't Miss: Monkeys.
Don't Miss: The distant view of the shore from the ship's dining area. Costa Maya looks best from a distance.
Pros: Low level staff
Cons: Royal Carribean