I've read a bunch of the reviews on here and it seems that people are either looking through rosey (booze goggles) loving everything, or the person who's jaded by a negative experience and poo-poos on the rest of the whole cruise. This review is looking at some legit highlights, lowlights and the 'just ok' stuff with RCL independence of the seas.
-Rooms: Constantly being cleaned and attended to. Room cleanliness and stewards were a focal point for keeping them servicing your needs through out the trip.
-Entertainment Staff: The GREASE musical was well performed, although wouldn't recommend for kids. It was well put together and we enjoyed it. Same with the ice skating show. Top notch.
-Escape Room: Well worth the extra $20/person to do this. Had a blast.
-Rock Climbing Wall/ Wave Runner/Water Slides: All of those activities around the back of the ship, they're all great. You'll have a bit of a wait, but they're worth it.
-Internet: Way better than I thought it would be for connection. Costs extra but worth it to stay in touch with the fam back home for emergencies and keep pictures updated.
-Debarkation: Do the self service and walk off, you'll go from room to curb within 15 mins. Others were stuck in long lines for HOURS waiting for their bags.
-Drink Package: Get one. Do it. Between $11/ coffees, $13 drinks. $4 waters. It adds up FAST. If you have the drink package the bartenders run it through the system and toss out the receipt just to account for inventory not for your account. In turn they pour heavy handed. Counted the liquor pour and got a consistent 7-8 second pour on liquor. Wow!
-Accountability: On my particular sailing, the ship was supposed to hit Haiti and Jamaica. Unfortunately, seas were too rough and we couldn't dock in Jamaica. This was a kill joy, but rather than get cracking on revising itinerary, or notifying passengers of how they'll 'make up for it' with refunding excursions and adding activities, the Cruise Director and Captain seemed to play "CYA" with the blame game of 'here's why this isn't my fault..." this was done at the sacrifice of filling the missed time or communicating what would be done. This caused tremendous lines at guest services, angry cruisers, and the little activities they did have were bottle necked.
-Cruise Director: It may seem unfair to put this on the cruise director, but they are the one handling the entertainment side and it was poorly organized. It seemed the majority of things were put together to his liking rather than to appeasing the masses. For example -- the 'movie channel' on the TV played IT 2, and Downton Abbey on loop. An odd mix until you consider the CD hails from the UK. Seems like he might have a horror fixation? Def not appropriate for the masses and other channels did not provide anything for the down time when you're in the room.
-Dining: I read reviews on this and took it with a grain of salt, but shouldn't have. Something is wrong with the food. For two younger people, healthy diets/appetites, in good physical shape -- the food EVERY night should not cause severe stomach issues. Not talking about the folks who over indulge either, just the small portions they had. And without fail....
-Outdoor Movies: The LED screen has taken a beating, it looks like hell and hard to see/hear anything.
-Layout: Smoking area is RIGHT next to the kids area...... smart.
-FLL Cruise Port Staff: There's no PA system for announcements and they tried with a consumer grade bull horn to make announcements to 6000 people and had 2 hour delays boarding.
-Haiti: Ladadee is 'just ok' there's a reason why not much is told to you about the island or there aren't many videos on it out there. Drinks are poured too strong which doesn't sound like it would be a problem but 80/20 on liquor to mixer ratio made some drinks difficult to tollerate for the little food provided on the island. It's beautiful there, I'd recommend doing NOTHING there just relax and take it in. Beach chairs are FREE don't get suckered into an excursion to pay for one. Shoreline is rocky like Northeastern US beaches, nothing fancy.
-Laser Tag: HUGE wait time on this, approximately 1 hour and you get 5 minute play time total for a group. It's fun, but not well organized causing the bottle necks.
-Mini Golf: Steering into the wind with no wind protection, the course is heavily impacted by the velocity of the wind and makes it hard on the game, and the player. It's still fun, but not for competitive sport.
Overall it was a decent cruise. We tried to stay optimistic and look at the bright side. Still got a vacation and time away together on the sea.