Best Cruise Ever
I've been on about 15 cruises with different lines (RCCL, Princess, Holland America, NCL, and Carnival). I would have to say that this was the best cruise yet. Everything was great - the food, the entertainment, the service, the ports. The ship (160,000 tons) was smooth with no movement, even tho there was a day with wind and the seas were a little rougher.
The architecture of this ship was absolutely the most beautiful I've seen. Like RCCL’s newer ships, this one had the promanade deck that ran through the center of the ship. Shopping and some restaurants were all located here. It was like walking through a mall - only there were 3 layers of rooms above it. We were in one of those rooms overlooking the promadade. You could see a lot of action below. The room had a window with a sofa in front, so you could sit and look out. It felt like an outside cabin, but without the view of the water. Our cabin (6275) was located mid ship, so walking to the dining room on one end, or theater on the other didn't seem too far to walk either way.
All of the staff were always smiling and seemed happy. They were especially attentive on this ship and made everyone feel special. The “buffet” as seen in many ships was not located partially outside on deck, but in a large dining-type room. This made it much more comfortable, and there was never a time where we couldn’t find a table. The staff was so helpful, and would carry your plate for you if you had anything else in your hands (coffee, bowl of soup, etc.)
The entertainment was the very best that I’ve seen. With such a variety (singers, dancers, ice skaters, comedians, orchestra, violinist, special ABBA group that was contracted) the entertainment was always something to look forward too. Some ships have “canned” music, but this orchestra was live and able to be seen and appreciated. The dancer's costumes were the most beautiful that I’ve seen.
I’ve been to most of the ports that we stopped at, so I chose to stay on board in Grand Cayman. It was a great day since the ship was so uncrowded. I climbed Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, which I’ve done in the past a few times, and its still a great experience. I also went to Green Grotto Caves, which was a good choice, and I’m glad I was able to see them. There was fairly strong wind the day we went to Labadee, and the snorkeling that we did was not a good experience. But that was not the fault of RCCL. We chose to return to the ship afterward, so I didn’t really get to appreciate the private island and what the cruise line has done to make it great. I had been to Labadee about 25 years ago, back when it was just an island with some sand and beach. The cruise line has definitely done tons of work on this island. I will definitely put Independence of the Seas back on my list of ships to again cruise with.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
You have to get tickets (free) for the ice skating show, so don't forget to listen for announcements. It was probably the best of all of the shows.
Ports Of Call
George Town, Grand Cayman Did not visit port