2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The Independence remains an attractive ship albeit with annoying cabin glitches due to aging. The addition of many suites and cabins as well as an obvious marketing plan to attract more families with children has lead to less comfort and ... Read More
The Independence remains an attractive ship albeit with annoying cabin glitches due to aging. The addition of many suites and cabins as well as an obvious marketing plan to attract more families with children has lead to less comfort and more noise. Added "specialty" dining venues (read fees added) seem to have reduced the quality of buffet and Main dining room lunch offerings. Breakfasts and dinners in the Main Dining room are still good to very good. Service in the main dining room was excellent. Crowding in the buffet creates many uncleaned tables. Entertainment in the theater was very good, production shows were OK. and as expected but fewer hours of music in smaller venues. Bar service was top notch as were drinks served. The Concierge lounge has been changed to a Suite only Lounge and Diamond Plus Crown and Anchor members are excluded; a minor annoyance as the Diamond lounge was well staffed and had adequate seating. Guest services provided excellent attention to passenger needs. Passenger demographics have changed to many large families, noticeably younger and more casual. Library was always empty and provided a quiet respite for the very few who used it. No area of the ship smelled of smoke, a real plus. Over all a satisfying cruise with no major problems or complaints. This was our 83rd cruise. So we have a good basis for comparing and rating ships. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
After reading reviews of this ship that were very negative, I was concerned about our December holiday cruise. The cruise was from 12/24-12/29, which I would assume to be a terribly busy cruise. And for the record, I absolutely hate huge ... Read More
After reading reviews of this ship that were very negative, I was concerned about our December holiday cruise. The cruise was from 12/24-12/29, which I would assume to be a terribly busy cruise. And for the record, I absolutely hate huge crowds. I was really worried with all the extra cabins added. For background, this was my 13th cruise, 4th on Royal Caribbean (3 on Carnival, 3 on Princess, 1 Disney, 1 Norwegian, and 1 Holland America). I've been on the Voyager, Freedom, and Oasis of the seas. The Freedom of the Seas was one of my favorites, which is why we booked this ship. But again, my concern was the extra 100+ cabins. Also, this was the first cruise that I took NOT in the summer, so every other cruise has been during summer vacation when the ships are probably packed as much as possible anyway. Having said all that, it really was totally fine. The first attempt at lunch in the windjammer after boarding was a total disaster. We just gave up after 15 minutes of wandering trying to find a table. We came back an hour later and got lucky, and I was really worried that it was going to be that way the rest of the cruise, however I remember it being the same way on Freedom of the Seas back in 2014. As it was on the cruise, the rest of the cruise was totally fine with being able to find a table. We had breakfast and lunch in the windjammer every day except one, when we ate in the main dining room for both. There were plenty of staff constantly clearing tables, bringing drinks, refilling the buffet items, just being overall very helpful. As far as everything else goes, we never had a problem getting seats at the shows. We'd show up maybe 15-20 minutes early, but in reality, we could've arrived 5 minutes early and still been able to find seats. With a few rare exceptions, the cafe promenade, sorrentos pizza, the soft serve ice cream were never terribly busy. I DID think that the tables in the main dining room were a bit more cramped than what I recall. It was rather difficult at times just to get out of the seat and through the exit. But the service was very good. The ship was in very good shape. The new water slides were great. We only went to them on the first sea day, about 30 minutes after it opened. We had no wait the first few times, then maybe 5 minutes or so a bit later. My kids loved the splash pad and pool. They also really like Adventure Ocean. They even liked it better than the kids program on the Disney Dream. I read many reviews complaining about bar service being bad, I can't comment because I don't drink, so it was a non issue for me. But I don't remember seeing huge lines of people at any of the bars that I would walk by. If I had to have a criticism, it would be that I was a bit disappointed in the dinner menus. There wasn't as much exotic-ish type things to try. Understand that I'm a chili's, applebees, famous dave's, coney island type of person, so it doesn't take much for it to be exotic to me. But even still, compared to other cruises, I was a bit let down. They had prime rib 2 nights, and turkey dinner two nights. Funny thing about the turkey, we noticed that the cranberry sauce still had the ridges from the can on the side. Disembarking was a nightmare. The government shutdown resulted in very few customs and immigration agents, we didn't get off the ship until probably 10am, and had to wait another hour to get out of the actual building. It was really terrible. Not the cruise line's fault, but left a really bad taste. Luckily Fort Lauderdale airport is a 5-10 minute drive, so we made our 12:55pm flight, but it was close. We disembarked through the same terminal in the summer of 2016 of the Oasis with very little problem, so I was really surprised at the mess this was. To recap, first holiday cruise, was really nervous about massive hoards of humanity, and while that was the case, the crew did a really good job of accommodating the people. I would definitely consider doing it again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We had cruised on this ship before and had a great time on that trip. This time we were celebrating my husband's 85th birthday with our entire family of 14. The staff went out of their way to accommodate our party. The on board activities ... Read More
We had cruised on this ship before and had a great time on that trip. This time we were celebrating my husband's 85th birthday with our entire family of 14. The staff went out of their way to accommodate our party. The on board activities kept us all busy, and the dining selection satisfied us all. Because of bad weather, we could not go to Cozumel as planned and the captain decided to go to Laberdee, Haiti for safety reasons. We had a great time on the island. Our children and grandchildren, aged 17 and up participated in all the great beach activities. They snorkeled, zip lined, and swam in the ocean. Grandpa and I watched! The Ice Show was spectacular, the Comedy shows were very good. The Escape Room was one of the most fun experiences we had when working together as a team to solve the mystery of escaping. We were really happy with our choice of Royal Caribbean Independence of the Sea. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have taken a dozen cruises on Carnival and enjoyed each one. With the kids getting older we thought we'd try out Royal Caribbean with all the additional activities they offer. The kids did enjoy the waverider and rock climbing wall ... Read More
We have taken a dozen cruises on Carnival and enjoyed each one. With the kids getting older we thought we'd try out Royal Caribbean with all the additional activities they offer. The kids did enjoy the waverider and rock climbing wall but overall everyone was disappointed. Believe it or not, the kids (ages 9, 12, and 14) said they still prefer Carnival. Here's why: The beds on the Independence were TERRIBLE. I woke up each morning upset (and throughout the night!) with my back and hip bothering me. I spoke to numerous other guest and over heard other people's conversations on this. One family said they were in a JR suite and had the same issues. Such low hanging fruit!!! I respectfully let guest services know and they kept adding duvet covers that did not help. It was like sleeping on plywood, definitely not what we we're looking forward to on vacation! Additionally, with the exception of the dining room staff, customer service was aweful! I am very sensitive to culture given the organization I work for has struggled with this and it appeared to me the employees were not friendly or happy, and at times down right rude. More than not the casino dealers were grumpy which does not make it fun to "donate" your money and we tend to donate more than win!!! Lastly, there were limited take and go dining options. Carnival has Guy's Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana which are wonderful but we were surprised to find Royal does not offer a grill of sorts, only the dining room buffet. The kids did not appreciate someone making their ice cream cones as well. We really wanted to switch given the amenities but sadly we will not cruise with Royal again and may try other cruise lines (maybe NCL?) or stay with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We had a great time on our cruise to Haiti and Jamaica. The only things that were lacking were the food in the Windjammer and the Grease show. I cannot comment on the actual show, as it only played for 2 nights. That is my issue. The ... Read More
We had a great time on our cruise to Haiti and Jamaica. The only things that were lacking were the food in the Windjammer and the Grease show. I cannot comment on the actual show, as it only played for 2 nights. That is my issue. The major productions should play throughout the cruise, and the cruisers should be told what nights. We did not know that it was only playing in the first nights and so we missed it. I was so disappointed! The food in the Windjammer was not good, especially breakfast! The dining room food was wonderful and we had a great waiters. One night I had the lamb shank and it was amazing. They also do an amazing job if you have food allergy. The bar tenders were all good and drinks tasted the same from bar to bar. Everyone seemed genuinely happy and loving their jobs! Our cabin steward was wonderful and always smiling. I would recommend!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose to cruise as a celebration for my 50th birthday. I had never cruised before and my primary hesitation was fear of seasickness. But now I am hooked and can't wait to cruise again. Admittedly, I sought out the best deal - based ... Read More
We chose to cruise as a celebration for my 50th birthday. I had never cruised before and my primary hesitation was fear of seasickness. But now I am hooked and can't wait to cruise again. Admittedly, I sought out the best deal - based on value. I ignored small ships. I ignored ships with poor reviews. But I looked for a good price. I was willing to sail out of anywhere in Fla. We tested our luck (successfully) and flew in from Toronto to FLL the day of sailing. Although we made it with a couple of hours to spare, maybe we won't test our luck again. We got to the port around 1:30pm and it was a very manageable line. We were through security, checked-in and on-board within 20 minutes. The ship itself was wonderful. Of course, I have no experience to draw upon - but it seemed big and well-appointed, without being so big that you got lost. We paid for the guaranteed ocean view and got a 2nd deck room about 3/4 towards the front of the ship, but it was great. Bigger than we expected, lots of places to store your things, and the cabin steward was fantastic. Actually, just about every single staff we encountered were great. Smiles, sometimes singing and joking with you. If they don't love their job, they know how to hide it very well. The food was good. Probably our biggest disappointment, only because we always hear how amazing the food is. Admittedly, we may be more "foodies" than most and had a higher expectation, but some meals were excellent - while a couple were at best just decent. We dined on our own time on the 3rd deck, and were very happy with that choice. Most evenings, we didn't go to eat until after 8pm so we could enjoy the ship. We did hit the buffet for lunch or breakfast a couple of times. It is huge in there, and you really need to walk around a few times to see all the choices. The food was good in there, but we avoided it because tables were a bit hard to find. We saw the comedian on the first night during the late show (11:30pm). It was adults-only, but there were several families with young kids. While I was fine with that, that does lead to a thought that it was hard to find staff at times to help enforce the rules (we were on a smoke-free sundeck one day and some guys came up and vaped a few feet from us - it took me 10 minutes to find someone to ask them to stop). But the comedian was amazing. Truly. Comedy can be hit-or-miss, and this was a hit. Morning. Day-2. We must have been in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico and we woke up to the ship rocking. I thought: this is my worst nightmare. But I was worried for no reason. So long as I didn't look out at the water, the movement didn't bother me. Yay! Many of the experienced cruisers we met said that while it CAN get worse, this was not normal for cruising and you typically don't feel the swells that much. We saw Grease on night-2. It was good. Better than what you might expect a cheesy cruise show to be, but far from Broadway. My biggest surprise was that the show was one-night-only. I expected to be able to go any night that worked for us, but we had to change our plans in order to see it. That was about it for entertainment for us, though. They did have cheesy things like DJs throwing light-up necklaces in the main mall, and game show activities, but no more comedians or more formal shows. But that was okay - we were always busy. Admittedly, we didn't get to do a lot of the things on the ship. The days went so fast on a 5-night cruise. We spent a lot of time in the adults-only hot tub and the people were a lot of fun. Overall, the other cruisers were excellent. Time wasters: the art auction - we thought it would be fun, but bidding starts at just 10% below retail value (and who knows who is responsible for assessing that value!), and the auction takes a couple of hours. Blech! Also, we entered the slot tournament - fun, but once again we spent an hour in the awfully-smoky casino in the middle of the day, when we should have been up on deck. Ports: Costa Maya - basically an outdoor shopping mall. We took advantage of an empty ship and didn't debark until after lunch. Did some shopping, had a beer on the fake beach and was back on board two hours later. Experience was about a 4 out of 10. Cozumel was fun, but also so touristy. We decided to avoid the outdoor mall at the port and take a taxi into town. Good luck getting out. It's set up like a casino, making it hard to get out. The ride was safe, 10 minutes and cost about $8. The main strip in town (about 6-7 blocks) was similar to the tourist trap shopping mall, but at least there was a mix of locals with the big-name stores. And once you walked beyond the strip, or away from the beach inland, you got to experience more of what you'd expect from Mexico. We found a mom-and-pop restaurant for lunch a few blocks inland, and it was great. I had a steak - my girlfriend had seafood. Came with soup. Nachos and their homemade salsa and guac. We each had a beer. And the bill was $16. Amazing. Back on the ship, we enjoyed our sail back to FLL and felt like the trip flew by way too quickly. I will cruise again. Most likely with RC. I would certainly recommend this ship for just about anyone. I just wish we had a couple more days. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have only sailed with RCCL the last 14 years or so after sampling Carnival, Princess, Holland America, NCL, Costa and Celebrity and we have found that RCCL has and does provide us with the best value for our money. Cost wise all of the ... Read More
We have only sailed with RCCL the last 14 years or so after sampling Carnival, Princess, Holland America, NCL, Costa and Celebrity and we have found that RCCL has and does provide us with the best value for our money. Cost wise all of the cruise lines I mentioned are in the middle. RCCL has consistently gave us the best overall cruise which included the ship appearance, food, crew, ports of call, excursions and entertainment. This cruise on the IOS was a free cruise i won on the May 22, 2018 sailing of the grandeur of the Seas in a slot tournament. We had to pay for the taxes and gratuity but it gave me a chance to participate in the grand slot tournament and win a nice cash prize. I didn't make it past the first round but it was fun. This was a 5 day cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale and the ports off call were Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico.We've been to Cozumel maybe 10 times so we stayed on board and enjoyed a nearly empty ship. We did get off in Costa Maya but just to look around. Its a location that hasn't been developed yet and I'm sure in 10 years it will have hotels and resorts all over the place. The entertainment like shows and trivia were ok. The show was Grease and was done very well and the rest of the shows we didn't go to because It's pretty much the same crap. The cruise director is a must see guy. He was very funny and he made the Quest game show. If you've never seen the Quest I recommended it highly and if you're under 18 or disgusted by men wearing bras and lipstick and seeing tattoos on women plus other questionable things don't go. Overall the cruise was excellent and i recommend sailing on the IOS. A lot of people did back to back sailings which gave them 10 days. try it. PS, I like the dinning room experience but I didn't like the food. my wife loved the food so maybe I'm picky. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We always travel RC, but we chose this ship because it was affordable and had a Royal Tots program with a nursery. Getting on the ship was super easy and hassle free. We went straight to the Windjammer for some food and we found it very ... Read More
We always travel RC, but we chose this ship because it was affordable and had a Royal Tots program with a nursery. Getting on the ship was super easy and hassle free. We went straight to the Windjammer for some food and we found it very easy to find food to feed my 15 month old. We had done baby led weaning so she had been on solids for awhile now. But even newly eating solid food babies will be find at the windjammer. Anything we couldn't find (such as milk and straws) we just asked and it appeared :) The Nursery opened at 1pm for the open house and registration. We were there early and on line just like many other parents. We registered our daughter, signed the paperwork and reserved time slots for her to be dropped off. The nursery is open from 9am until at least midnight. It may have been later, but we never used it after dinner. We only brought our daughter there for a couple hours each day. She had a blast there and the girls in the nursery were just so amazing and so sweet. The other great thing about this ship was the open play space for the toddlers. It was great! A safe place for our daughter to run around, meet some new friends (if other kids were there) and burn off energy. The open play area was open from 9am to 5pm. One nice thing was that the toys were cycled each day so it never got boring :) On this cruise we decided to get a junior suite so we would have the tub. There are ways around not needing a tub, but I found that it made it easier for us to have the tub and the extra space. We had a pack-n-play delivered to our room and that took up a bunch of space too. But the suite was just enough space for her to run around. Oh I forgot to mention, we were able to borrow toys from the nursery to bring to our room!! They have several bags of toys that are free to borrow and you can trade them in for different bags if you want. We kept our bag the whole time because she liked the toys a lot. This little thing that they offer was priceless. So with the room being big enough we were able to let her run around and play. We moved the glass table behind a chair in the corner so she couldn't get to it and hurt herself. Of course all of the drawers are reachable by her, but she left them alone. Our daughter also loved going on the balcony and since it was all covered with glass, we didn't have to worry about her falling through. The stateroom was basically as childproof as you could get :) Having the balcony was nice and we thought we would use it more during nap time, but we ended up napping too hahaha We took our daughter out to the splash pad one day. I didn't realize that the area for the babies was a really tiny area so I got "yelled" at to move to the baby area. But the baby area is plenty big when there are only a few babies and the parents there. There is even water slide for the babies. It was a perfect size. We would send her down on her belly feet first and even at the bottom in the pool of water, it wasn't too deep that she was under water. She had so much fun!! The dining room was probably the hardest thing for a 15 month old. Dinners were 1.5 to 2 hours long and she had to sit still in a high chair the whole time. But the waiter was amazing. Always had food for her, and once he found out that she loved strawberries there was a bowl of strawberries waiting for her. We ordered off the adult menu most nights for her, because, well why not? lol She loved the food and I loved the service we received. If she started whining and crying, the waiter came over to distract her and re-focus her on something else. We did not take advantage of much of the entertainment because we were in bed at 8pm when the baby was in bed, but we did do the escape room during the day while she was at the nursery. It was definitely worth the $20. We have done many escape rooms and this one was so different and fun. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
My sister, cousin and I sailed on the Independence. We splurged for a Grand Suite and it was well worth it. Our room was amazing and the perks made us feel like Royalty. We loved the VIP treatment - from the VIP seating at the pool and ... Read More
My sister, cousin and I sailed on the Independence. We splurged for a Grand Suite and it was well worth it. Our room was amazing and the perks made us feel like Royalty. We loved the VIP treatment - from the VIP seating at the pool and shows, to breakfast dining in the Specialty restaurants to the escorted debarkation - it was all fantastic. The Suite lounge provided free alcohol and snacks each evening and Junior the Concierge was amazing. He even arranged chocolate chip cookies in our room for my cousin since she loved them so much. We took the All Access tour and we met Captain Teo who was hilarious. Our shore excursions (7 color lagoon in Costa Maya and the Dolphin Swim) both through the ship were the Best! Can't wait for my next cruise and may very well book another cruise on Independence simply because of the Crew! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Maybe because we have not cruised for awhile, but we just had a great time. Four days is plenty if you do it right. The Indy remains immaculate. We did not notice any crowding (save for embarkation in the Windjammer, but that's ... Read More
Maybe because we have not cruised for awhile, but we just had a great time. Four days is plenty if you do it right. The Indy remains immaculate. We did not notice any crowding (save for embarkation in the Windjammer, but that's understandable), despite extra cabins having been added recently. The crew almost to a one was friendly & eager to accommodate. Our cabin (balcony 8228) was clean in every respect and not "worn" as some have opined. Anytime dining was fine & on time as long as you reserve your time, & service was outstanding. We did notice lines for passengers who just showed to dine up when they felt like it, but we had the same table & wait staff every nite. We didn't catch any shows but admittedly just enjoy relaxing at sea. Did see the comedian on TV with a funny joke: "I love Cozumel! Who wouldn't want to take a billion-dollar ship to a garage sale?" Seems you need to do the RCCL App. now for lots of stuff, pre-cruise & onboard & to be interactive with the cabin TV. We're Diamond status & the 3 free drinks per nite pp saved $$ for sure. Wife won $200+ at roulette (00/0) - bet with the house! + she graciously paid down our tab with it. Thought about reducing the $14.50/day pp auto gratuities but, ya know, we were treated that well that I didn't. And thanks to Vacations To Go, our TA (ask for Shay Baker) that has treated us right for many years now. Bons Voyages Always!! Read Less
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates N/A 3.8

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