Independence of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Third Mate

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

2 out of 5

Disappointing cruise

Sail Date: April 19, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Family w/young children

Room Type: Inside

I have cruised 19 times now on various lines, 6 on Royal Caribbean, one being on the sister ship, The Freedom of the Seas. In general, the experiences have been positive. My family and I looked forward to another great experience. Wrong!! It seems Royal Caribbean has cheapened things. Staffing has been cut and other areas have also been cheapened.  It started with the disappearing ink on the sea-pass cards. The printing would disappear and the card would not work. After a few replacement cards, my son was told it's due to  suntan lotion. This is a tropical cruise. You need sunscreen. It seems there must be some permanent ink. The service desk was the next disappointment. Service is the wrong title. Most people there had to find someone else to get the answer to any question. The wait-staff has especially deteriorated. It would take us two hours for dinner every night. We were told that the number of wait staff had been cut resulting in more tables per waiter and less assistant waiters to help. We only saw the head waiter/waitress on the last night. As for service in the dining room for breakfast, forget it. The host/hostess was unfriendly and the staff was minimal. Room service was also affected as the breakfast we ordered for 8-8:30 wasn't delivered until 9am. Bar service was also slow. One pool bar server actually answered my son "I guess so." when asked if a drink could be ordered. On the subject of pools, the adults only pool was warmer than the "hot" tubs. The hot tubs were actually warm tubs. I don't understand why at least one tub could not be hot. 104 is the usual standard. Onboard, I bet they were 88-90 degrees. A new little box in the lower right corner of the menu was also a surprise. There are now added charges for certain items on the main dining room menu! Specialty restaurants are one thing. But in the main dining room?

These are just a few of the issues we had this cruise. On a positive note, the ship was very clean. Our room steward did a great job. Boarding was very organized and quick, as was debarking the last day-if you walked off with bags. But the overall experience was disappointing. Next time we will try a line we have never experienced.

Ship Quality
The ship was maintained and kept very clean.
Food and Dining
Service has deteriorated. Fewer wait staff with more tables to cover made for slow service. The food was okay. But extra charges are everywhere.
Service and Staff
As an average, service was okay. The room steward did a great job. But that was offset by the dining staff and waiters around pool.
The entertainers were all old! Even the singers and dancers are older than on previous cruises. The skaters were the best entertainers.
Children's Programs
The teen program was good. The middle age one was not so good. It was cancelled a few times due to "lack of age grouos". If a program is advertised, it should be available.
Onboard Activities
Destinations and Excursions
Two out of three stops were to Royal Caribbean owned areas. Any excursions you wanted, you were steered to their facilities.
Cabin / Stateroom
If the beds are put together for a queen size, there is limited access to one side. The shower is extremely small. But it was kept well by the staff.
Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida
George Town, Grand Cayman We took the Dolphin Swim/Stigray City tour. It was very good. The entire group had a great time and lots of fun.
Falmouth, Jamaica
It is owned by Royal Caribbean! You are discouraged from going outside the gates to get transportation due to safety issues. But they limit who come inside and those vendors must pay Royal Caribbean for the privilege. Resort areas are encouraged rather than public beaches.
Labadee (Cruiseline Private Island)
Again, it's owned by Royal Caribbean, an extension of the cruise. But everything costs. Costs LOTS! You are there until 5:30 but the food and drinks provided by the ship shut down at 2. After that, any drink must be purchased at a stiff price. You are nickel and dimed to death.


You can ask for items that are not on the menu. If available, you will get them the next night, like shrimp cocktail. You can have your tips removed from your onboard account and tip the people you want to acknowledge with the amount you choose.

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