Independence of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

Great Experience but not Perfect

Sail Date: May 17, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

Being a first time cruiser it was difficult to figure out the schematics of the restaurants. For instance, it wasn't until the cruise was over that my husband and I found out that one of the restaurants during the lunch hour offered a salad buffet. This buffet was not located in the normal WindJammer/Jade buffet. Fresh vegetable in general were lacking in all meal areas. The food was okay. There was a lot of it, but the food quality was not healthy.

What was problematic for us on the day of arrival was knowing where to go with our service dog for toileting needs. Nobody, and I mean nobody knew where to send us. It was like we were asking for foreign request that simply was not being understood. We had to go to guest services 4 times. Each time we were sent off on our own to explore the port side of the ship to find this toileting area. Each time we were unsuccessful. It wasn't until a staff person on the port side of the deck asked us what we needed. She then told us exactly where to go and pointed us to the door this area was behind. The only reason she knew where this toileting area was located is due to another family that had the same issue, also traveling with a service dog. It was ridiculous. And the service behind this one issue was not at all professional. They actually seemed bothered by our request.

Another thing that would have been nice is for the captain of the ship to announce land areas the ship was passing. We would pass islands that were visible from the ship....but no one on board had a clue what islands we were passes as the captain never stated anything to this nature, Travelers like to know what they are viewing. Similar to an airline pilot making an announcement of noted land masses the plane is passing over, the captain could have done the same regarding the passing of different land masses. 

Otherwise, our cruise was as good as expected. We learned a lot. The first time is always more difficult as there is a huge learning curve. There are hidden expenses that add a minimum of $500 to a total cruise cost that is not revealed until a passenger boards. Now that our first cruise is over....we know what do do on our next one.

Ship Quality
The ship was beautiful and it seemed to be clean and well kept
Food and Dining
It wasn't bad and it wasn't great. It lacked a lot in fresh veggies.
Service and Staff
Some staff were over the top friendly and helpful. Others were not. Those who were....we rewarded above and beyond with gratuite. I didn't find many guest service workers helping with a smile on their face. Few staff had this smile. But, I also recognized that the staff worked unbelievable long shifts....some 15 hours per day. I probably would not smile if I worked long hours like that as well.
Out of the five shows offered in the Alhambra Theater, 3 we could have easily not seen. There we only two shows that were great. The others were so similar in nature....a variety act of sorts that they were some what boring.
Onboard Activities
It is a shame that any activity on board comes with such a high price tag. To rock climb, do the flow rider, golf or even play bingo....cost money and a lot of it. For passengers that are not coming from a wealthy means, it is disappointing that absolutely any activity on board outside of the pool, movies, shows and food come with a large price tag. We couldn't participate in 3/4 of the on board activities because of the extra costs
Destinations and Excursions
It depends what your wallet allows for you to do. With each port....there are choices. For sure booking an excursion online and in advance is not at all necessary. It actually costs more to do it this way. Next time, my husband and I will not be pre-booking any shore excursions. We will decide what to do when we debark the ship. There is this sense of urgency for passengers to book some type of shore excursion. It is all hype for sales....nothing more. There is plenty to do at each port simply by walking and exploring. Some areas require getting connected to some excursion as they are not safe, like Jamaica. Haiti while beautiful was again not a place I enjoyed because absolutely every activity came with a huge price tag. Loved Cayman Islands and Cozumel. We enjoyed the beach and simply exploring on our own.
Cabin / Stateroom
Our stateroom while smaller then what I expected was perfectly acceptable for two people. I loved the balcony which allowed for us to sit outside in private and enjoy the travels. Our stateroom attended was one who should be awarded for top service. He is one of the few staff on board that really made a difference and acted like we mattered. His care was impeccable.
Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida
Didn't explore. No opinion
Labadee (Cruiseline Private Island)
It was nice to just sit and enjoy the water, food and drink. Disappointing that all attractions cost a lot of money. We didn't do any of them.
Falmouth, Jamaica
Love this port. We went on an excursion independent from the cruise line and it was fantastic. We were part of a small group of only 14 and went to areas in Jamica that most passengers didn't even know existed. Our tour guide was amazing and filled us with rich Jamaican history.
George Town, Grand Cayman
Our excursion was a disappointment. Again independent of the cruise line, we took the Atlantis sub. It was very expensive, lasted 1.5 hours and simply did not offer a lot to view. We went on this excursion because friends of us highly recommended it. We would have been happier exploring on our own.
Cozumel, Mexico
We loved Cozumel. We didn't participate on any excursion. We simply walked the streets and shopped. Had a meal and margaritas in a local resturant and swam in the sea. It was an awesome day.


Theater shows were okay. One out of five was really excellent. Food was average. Fresh veggies are very few and not healthy for the most part. State rooms are nice. Ship clean and tidy. Internet is not free and very slow. It hardly functioned and is certainly not worth the cost

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