Family Fun Cruising at Christmas

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 26

Overall rating:

4.9 out of 5
Verified Review
Independence of the Seas

5 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 24, 2018

Ship: Independence of the Seas

Cabin number: 6671

Traveled as: Large Group

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

Our party of 11 (9 family members of 3 generations plus 2 adult friends) loved it! As our family's hosts, we were deeply satisfied. It was a big investment for us, and it was totally worth it. The sailing was rougher than we expected, however, and our two young adult sons spent most of one sea day in their cabins, despite heavy medication. Still, they are eager to do it all again! Royal Caribbean does cruising so well, we can't imagine any better.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Embarkation could not have been smoother or easier, even for our 1st time cruisers.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Generally, food and drink were excellent, especially in quantities! My only disappointment was in the eagerly awaited but very over-done lobster tails. Otherwise, all our 11 cruisers were happily and well-satisfied.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
The only problem? Too many choices for 5 days and nights! Our group ranged from 4 to 69 y.o., and everyone found more than enough fun to satisfy their desires. It was amazing!

Entertainment

5 out of 5
The performers, from the smallest lounge shows to the biggest stage shows, were uniformly outstanding. We especially enjoyed the big stage musical and dance offerings and the singer-pianist in the Schooner Lounge. He was terrific!

Children's Programs

5 out of 5
Our 4 y.o. granddaughter and 9 y.o. grandson loved the program areas for them, as well as the swimming pools and buffet dining. On our second shore day, the grandson chose to stay on board in his kids club area. The schedule of those activities also helped their parents and grandparents to more fully enjoy the adult activities and get some R&R.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
As we found on our first RC cruise, the staff and their service almost always exceeded our highest expectations. With only a couple of exceptions, the crew went out of its way to make our cruise an incredible experience -- and they did that with true Christmas spirit.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
The ship's layout is great for ease of access to all of its offerings. We especially liked the Royal Promenade, the three level main dining room, the adults-only pool areas, and the children's areas. Everything was clean and well-maintained. One thing lacking, however, was a simple way to communicate with our cruise mates. The terrific new app helped us keep track of programs and venues but not each other. A simple texting feature would be a very welcome and highly useful addition to the smart phone app that we otherwise loved.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Our cabins were the smallest interior ones, and given the little time we spent there, they were just fine. My only complaint is that in the queen bed configuration, it is very difficult to get in and out of the bed! There is only about three inches clearance at the lower corners. Be prepared to climb in and out from the foot of the bed! Otherwise, even those least expensive accommodations are well-organized and appointed, with lots of storage even for a longer cruise. The space is small but highly efficient and comfortable.

Ship tip

As with any cruise ship, a thorough tour of the ship at the beginning of the cruise is essential, and the new on board app is awesome. Get it; use it!

Ports of call

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida

5 out of 5
Be sure to take the river cruise to see the city. The Hollywood Beach broad walk is also a lot of fun! Rendezvous Restaurant, just a block off Rt. 84 at I-95 serves outstanding food on a marina of the South Fork of the New River. A 10 minute walk away is the beautiful Secret Woods Nature Center with multiple elevated walkways -- and it's free!

Cozumel, Mexico

5 out of 5
We rented a four door Jeep for the day for a little over $100 and made our own loop tour of the island. We enjoyed several small road and beachside cafes with cheap drinks and food in quiet, laid-back settings; and we drove a narrow back road toward the north point light house, affording us opportunities to walk on desolate ocean fronts with tidal pools and spectacular views. That was the best part of our Cozumel stay.

Cococay (Cruise Line's Private Island) Did not visit port

Weather with rough seas made it impossible to visit Coco Cay. Instead we landed in Nassau, The Bahamas -- much more interesting, to my taste. Nine of us took a van ($30 for the day) to a small, primitive beach resort that offered restrooms, rental chairs, and a bar with reasonable prices. A narrated tour of the island came with the van, and it was well done. We ended the day shopping in the port area, where there are many options. Nassau is a typical "3rd World" port -- a bit grungy but vastly more interesting than a cruise line beach!

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Quick and easy! What more could one ask?
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