First Impression of RCCL & Not The Greatest, TBH...

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 17

Overall rating:

3.6 out of 5
Independence of the Seas

5 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip)

Sail date: March 07, 2020

Ship: Independence of the Seas

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 7665

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

I probably won’t do a Royal Caribbean cruise again.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
This was the fastest embarkation experience I’ve ever had! Royal does it right when it gets to letting people onboard. My boarding pass was flagged as “expedited arrival.” I didn’t realize what it meant until I asked once of the staff members who was doing the temp scanning. He told me that I was able to use a separate line, which basically ended up being a straight shot to the ship. All I had to do was complete the medical questionnaire, let them look at/scan my passport, and get my carry on scanned. This took 4 minutes tops; not an exaggeration.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Food was inconsistent in the main dining room for dinner as far as temperature. When I asked for them to heat up something, it never came back hot. Not even warm. The only reason I continued to go there for dinner was because I felt pressured by my wait staff to come back and leave a review for “10 out of 10 service.” My favorite meals the entire voyage was breakfast by far! I really enjoyed using the main dining room during this time to avoid crowds and chaos. Seating was plentiful. The food was pretty decent and the vibe was perfect. I didn’t try any speciality dining restaurants. Sorrento’s was banging. That was a heavy hitter on this voyage for sure. The Windjammer was just okay. Their burgers did not “wow” me, at all. (Yes, I’m a Guy’s Burger fanatic!)

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
This was my biggest issue with this cruise. The cruise director was trying his darnedest to pump people up due to the circumstances but folks just weren’t feeling it...at all. The Love & Marriage Show made me cringe a bit. I didn’t like the idea of sharing a pool/hot tub with people due to the public health crisis going on, so there’s that. The amount of trivia was just too much; who the heck wants to play trivia on a cruise? Not I! I don’t recall seeing many bingo games listed on the daily compass. The outdoor activities were great but empty for the most part. There was an adequate spa and gym with nice staff, but I felt a little too much pressure to buy packages and book services. The Sky Pad was closed a lot due to high winds. I did not use the casino; can’t stand smoke for too long and ventilation wasn’t the best.

Entertainment

3 out of 5
I did enjoy the skating show in Studio B; great talent! I’ve never seen the movie Grease before but the performance was excellent! Great energy; awesome stage set/props/dance/costuming/lighting, etc. That experience in itself was a 5 out of 5. The DJs were completely TRASH. (I feel like I can’t get into my cruising alter ego if the music is not right. LOL.) They also had a really weird juggling guy one night that I walked out on because the vibe wasn’t right. The audience was dry which made the performance kind of cringey. The “washy-washy” guys were fun. There, I said it. Yes, I understand the importance of hand-washing. (It’s no laughing matter in these times!)Yes, I’m including them as performers because that’s basically what they did for people all day and night.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Waiters in the making dining room were great. I loved the morning staff in The Windjammer who offered pastries and coffee when I I didn’t feel like moving from my seat. My room steward, bless her heart...she was good but I think I was the one that was throwing her off. She would ask me questions to try and see when I was leaving the room and I apparently wasn’t saying what she wanted to hear half the time. I paid for a vacation to do what I want. I also paid (AND SUBSTANTIALLY TIPPED) a room steward to clean around my schedule. Everyone was generally pleasant, from the shop attendants to the folks at guest services.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Cute ship. Everything was shiny. Lots of folks were cleaning tables, getting dirt my plates/cups, etc. I did see a lot of sanitizing of handrails and door knobs. Enjoyed the layout a lot.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
It’s a basic interior cabin. Not much to say. Didn’t expect a fancy set up. It served its purpose.

Ship tip

I have several pieces of advice: Don’t book a spa package before your cruise; prices go down significantly while on board. Bring your own books. The library was raided on Day 1 so don’t count on that as your sole resource of materials. Get the WiFi package halfway through your cruise to save money. (Yes, they will allow that!) Bring your own Bluetooth speaker in case the music onboard is not your style.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
Disembarking was swift, yet sketchy. No one asked if I was feeling okay as they did during embarkation. No one did a temperature scan. I think everyone was just glad that we dodged the bullet of onboard quarantine. Everyone ran like hell during self assist before Port Everglades authorities changed their mind.
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