Enjoy a Unique Itinerary on one of the Largest Cruise Ships in the World
Independence of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern
Sail Date: January 18, 2014
Ship: Independence of the Seas
Cabin Type: Inside
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 3 years ago
Ship: The third and final Freedom Class ship (sisters: Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas), the Independence of the Seas (IOS) was the largest cruise ship when it debuted in 2008. Holding the title for only one year, the ship has many of the Royal Caribbean features that have now come to define the brand including: a rock climbing wall, a Flowrider surf simulator, Studio B ice skating rink, and On-Air Karaoke bar.
Itinerary: Our eight day itinerary was a nice departure from a typical seven day trip giving the Princess (AKA my lovely wife) and I the opportunity to visit two new ports of call: San Juan, Puerto Rico and Basseterre, St Kitts. Other ports included the traditional Caribbean destinations of St. Marteen and RCI’s Labadee, Haiti.
Highlight: The service in the dining room far surpassed the bar that had been set by our previous cruise experiences. Our waiter and assistant waiter (Ramir and Michael) provided the best service we have EVER received in the main dining room.
Biggest Disappointment: Even though IOS went through a recent refurbishment, the only major additions were the for-fee Cupcake Cupboard, the rebranding of the Italian specialty restaurant to Giovanni’s Table, and the addition of an outdoor movie screen on the pool deck. The ship still lacked newer RCI favorites like the Park Café.
Main Takeaways: Overall, the IOS itself lacked in character compared to our other recent cruises, but the service and ports of call made up for it. The Cruise Director, Joff Eaton, was very entertaining with a dry sense of humor that kept me laughing though the Princess did not always find him to be that amusing. The entertainment was basically on par with other ships on which we have traveled; although, this is the first time in our cruising history that we walked out of a show! The fellow passengers were typical for a January trip with few families and mostly other adult passengers traveling alone or in groups. This crowd suited us fine as the princess and I could easily find seats in the theater, bars, and lounges. While the IOS does lack some of the more modern shopping, entertainment, and dining venues of her sister ships, the experience on IOS can be very relaxing and enjoyable with the proper planning and execution.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
$6 blackjack on the afternoon in you are in Labadee. Tables open at 3pm. The casino was dead. At Labadee lunch is from 11:30am to 1:30pm, go early. Food runs out, fellow passengers get a little irritated, and the workers deal with this everyday, so they are indifferent