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

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern


Contributor Level: Purser
Experience: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 4

Overall Rating:

3.0 out of 5
Verified Review
8 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip)
Sail Date: January 17, 2015
Ship: Independence of the Seas
Cabin Type: Inside
Cabin Number: 7689
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 2 years ago

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. 

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Some menu items in dining room (meat dishes) seemed tough or chewy, and one presented as medium rare was just plain uncooked.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
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.

Entertainment

3 out of 5
Shows were okay for the most part. A little less than expected.

Children's Programs

3 out of 5
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.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Arturo and Christina at our 8:30 seating were great! A++++ On a scale of 1-10, they were a 12!.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Things looked kept up, fresh. No peeling paint or rust noticed. Very clean rooms.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
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.

Ship Tip

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.

3 out of 5
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.
3 out of 5
We walked around the shops. Not much to do if not on excursion.
3 out of 5
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.
3 out of 5
Hard to find water after buffet closed. Easy area to walk. Was not impressed by the "insistent" locals when looking at merchandise.
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