Independence of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Contributor Level: Purser

4-6 cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

Conflicting emotions about my second cruise on Royal....

Sail Date: January 17, 2015

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Inside

After having completed a wonderful Alaskan cruise with Royal in July 2014, this cruise left something to be desired. I found the several theatrical productions to be much smaller (boat size?); although, the ice show was a nice addition. We found that things scheduled for kids did not run on schedule most of the time (movies poolside, activities in the kid's/teen areas, etc...), which was frustrating for parents and kids.  Members of our group had a near-death experience on the SNUBA tour offered by Royal. If my son-in-law had not been a certified diver and known what to do in the situation presented, both my 11- and 13-year-old grandsons and son-in-law would have been killed by the extremely unprofessional SNUBA attendant assigned to their group (since fired). This is not an exaggeration. Fortunately, after being able to save his sons from disaster, he himself recovered after several hours in the ship's emergency department. This impacted all of our party, of course, as we were shaken and concerned for all involved. Many statements taken by ship, port authorities, insurance, etc., and some compensation given (more expected to come).  

On a lighter note, our room attendant, waiter, and dining room assistant were great! The food was great some nights and less so other nights, but overall satisfying. The gym was superb! Clean, up-to-date equipment! The FlowRider was a hit with our teenage grandchildren. There was plenty to do on-board during sea days. The food in the cafes around the boat that was included in the price of the ticket was good, plentiful, and easily accessed. The variety in the Windjammer buffet was excellent. There were plentiful deck chairs available if only the enforcement of not saving seats with towels had been enforced. I guess that's just a common courtesy thing people should police on their own out of respect for taking turns, especially when not really using them. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise and will probably book another with Royal at some point in the future. 

Ship Quality
Things looked kept up, fresh. No peeling paint or rust noticed. Very clean rooms.
Food and Dining
Some menu items in dining room (meat dishes) seemed tough or chewy, and one presented as medium rare was just plain uncooked.
Service and Staff
Arturo and Christina at our 8:30 seating were great! A++++ On a scale of 1-10, they were a 12!.
Shows were okay for the most part. A little less than expected.
Children's Programs
One teenage girl loved the activities in the teen center. They combined the 2 younger groups together for some reason, so my 11-year-old grandson was not that impressed.
Onboard Activities
The trivia sessions were held in bar areas with limited seating. It seemed these were very popular activities, but could not accommodate all those wishing to participate. This was a daily occurrence. Other onboard activities (climbing wall, FlowRider, ice arena, pool areas, basketball court) were well utilized.
Destinations and Excursions
Our Segway excursion in San Juan was wonderful (other than the rain shower)! A lot of fun! However, unfortunate and unnecessary incident on the St. Kitt's SNUBA excursion for my son-in-law and grandsons. See comment in overall assessment at beginning.
Cabin / Stateroom
Had to look around for several items. Hair dryer in thin drawer to right of desk. Tissues in desk drawer facing chair. Asked for ice and got it twice a day! Elvis (yes, that was his name) was super! Very clean cabin. Plenty of room for time spent in it.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Take the water taxi for $6 round trip all day to the main street. Wifi at McDonald's with purchase. Beach chair rentals along boardwalk.
Basseterre, St. Kitts
We walked around the shops. Not much to do if not on excursion.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Very limited time in port. The shops don't open until 10, but boat lets you off at 8:30. Segway tour of Old San Juan was fun! Could walk to old fort if not on tour.
Labadee (Cruiseline Private Island)
Hard to find water after buffet closed. Easy area to walk. Was not impressed by the "insistent" locals when looking at merchandise.


If wanting to play trivia at the bar areas, get there early. However, they are usually running 2-for-1 drinks the hour before, so it's hard to get a seat if you're not drinking. In Labadee, hard to find water after buffet closes at 2. Take some off the boat if you get the water package.

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