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Cruise Ratings
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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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our first cruise - a three day holiday cruise to Freeport and Coco Cay. This ship is clearly older and in need of renovations but not terrible by any means. Ever crew member was friendly and responsive. I found the food ... Read More
This was our first cruise - a three day holiday cruise to Freeport and Coco Cay. This ship is clearly older and in need of renovations but not terrible by any means. Ever crew member was friendly and responsive. I found the food excellent at all times and well exceeded expectations - My Fair Lady, Chop Grill and Windjammer. Susie and Nicola as cruise directors brought a lot of energy to the entertainment and Paul Boland was the highlight. The bike tour on Freeport was average at best despite a very nice tour guide - I wish we were able to visit Nassau and had an excursion to Atlantis. Coco Cay was great - highly recommend you take the first tender off the ship as the lines get very long mid-morning and the lines are also long to get back to the boat - kills a lot of time. Definitely try the wave jet tour on Coco Cay - a blast! I heard we lucky to get to Coco Cay as the last 2 or 3 cruises could not because of the weather - caution to future travelers in December 2019. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We wanted to go to Cuba and only the smaller ships can do that. The ship was small, including the state rooms. The bed was not very comfortable and the shower was tiny. However, the crew was great and there were many cozy areas to ... Read More
We wanted to go to Cuba and only the smaller ships can do that. The ship was small, including the state rooms. The bed was not very comfortable and the shower was tiny. However, the crew was great and there were many cozy areas to sit outside of your room. The ship was kept clean and the crew worked hard to keep everyone happy. Entertainment was good but not great. Some shows were very entertaining and others not so much. The lack of lounge chairs on the decks was a problem for those who wanted to sit in the sun, but at least there were usually chairs to be found near the Windjammer around tables near the pool. The food was average with dinner being the best. Breakfast/brunch in the restaurant was fair. The buffet food lacked flavor and variety and seemed to be mostly re-purposed entrees from the previous night's dinner. Cold foods could have been chilled more and hot foods were barely warm. The children of our table mates loved the kids center. Overall, about what I expected from the oldest and smallest ship in the fleet. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise because I wanted to sail on a cruise for New Years (which I do often with my husband) plus, this year I wanted to go somewhere I’ve never been-Cuba. So, we chose the Empress. Warning: if you are a modern cruiser ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to sail on a cruise for New Years (which I do often with my husband) plus, this year I wanted to go somewhere I’ve never been-Cuba. So, we chose the Empress. Warning: if you are a modern cruiser where you expect to experience a Disney type of ship with rides, slides or roller skating rinks, don’t go on the Empress. If you are someone who loves the ocean, loves sailing and enjoys classic style cruising, this cruise is for you. I’ve been on over 50 cruises. I’m an avid cruiser. First, I booked an ocean view cabin and about 4 weeks before sailing, I received an e-mail from RCCL about an auction for an upgrade to a junior suite. So I did it, I bid $1000 and got a great junior suite 9126. The best thing about this cruise was our cabin. It had a spacious balcony, a lot of space, a great bed, a small walk in closet, a small couch area and a roomy bathroom. It was well worth it. We slept well and truly relaxed. Also, our cabin steward was superb. The next best thing about this cruise is the staff. Bobby, the cruise director is great. Our waiters were wonderful-Melvin and Ma. The enfire staff is professional, warm and friendly. The ship is clean and inviting. The food was delicious. NOW CUBA- it is not for everyone. We were 2 days in Havana. Food and basic nutrition in Cuba is non-existent. Best tip for you- eat on the ship. My first day in Havana I was afraid. I was lost and did not know what to do so we set off walking into Old Havana. Some streets are breathtaking but other streets look like a war zone. My best advice for Havana is hire the prettiest old car right when you get out of the port. For $40 an hour they will give you the most amazing tour of the REAL Havana and you will not regret it. About 4 people fit in the car and 3-4 hours is more than enough for an all encompassing and thorough tour of the real Havana. Do not be afraid. The people are friendly. Everyone on cruise was complaining that the cruise excursions were not worth the price. We ended up having a splendid and unforgettable day 2 in Havana. In Grand Cayman, there’s no need to splurge. The swimming area right by the tender / dock (walking distance) shopping area and is a nice swimming, snorkel area. Don’t go to Calico Jacks or anywhere else. Those areas are overcrowded and not worth it. Grand Cayman is clean and pretty. Back on the Empress, I recommend the sushi making class BUT here is my TIP: buy one class which is enough for two or even three people and they let you share. The class makes so much sushi enough to share with 2 other people. A couple can take turns making the different types of rolls and so on. What I didn’t like about the Empress was that there is an odor on the port side of the ship like ballast water. The bon voyage party was exactly like the white hot party-boring. They need new activities. They have the same ole love n marriage show, Quest. The bingo was lame as well. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This was a good cruise. People have to understand your not going on a mega ship. ALSO this is not a cruise to take with 16-20 year olds, UNLESS they are truly into visiting Cuba. There is no disco club, sports deck (other than rock wall) ... Read More
This was a good cruise. People have to understand your not going on a mega ship. ALSO this is not a cruise to take with 16-20 year olds, UNLESS they are truly into visiting Cuba. There is no disco club, sports deck (other than rock wall) and only one small pool. We did not go to key west as there was an accident earlier in the month closing part of the port so we were changed to an overnight in Havana The food was excellent both in the MDR and Windjammer. Again, this is not a mega ship. The cabins reflect the ships age.. No balconies, except for suites. The cabins are small as are the bathrooms and showers. There is not a lot of technology like on the newer ships. The staff was very friendly and bent over backwards to make sure you were happy. Dinner in the MDR was very good. There was a Cuban themed menu every night along with the classics. Windjammer had it usual fare. It is smaller and a bit more crazy especially on days when everyone wants to get off the ship, but they had a great choice of dishes. The gym, if you can call it that, looks like an add on above the Viking Lounge. Small and lacking equipment. Overall it was a great time. This cruise is about going to Cuba. If you have teens who want to party and play sports this is not the ship for you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate New Years with friends. Having cruised since 1995 this is our first RCL cruise. Never have I heard one negative thing about RCL from friends who only sail RCL. I was well aware this 6 day cruise was on ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate New Years with friends. Having cruised since 1995 this is our first RCL cruise. Never have I heard one negative thing about RCL from friends who only sail RCL. I was well aware this 6 day cruise was on an older ship, but never did I expect the ship to show her age the way this one did. Because of the jacked up price for the New Years cruise, we took an inside cabin, something we haven't done in years. Carpets were worn, in the main areas, and stateroom. The couch was badly stained, the bathroom showed signs of rust and I have never had a bathroom as small as this one. The shower? Small is too large a word to describe it. The bed was about 2 inches from the couch on one side and table on the other. Getting out of bed in the dark was interesting to say the least. We went to put our wine in the refrigerator and found pooled water with mold growing in it. So much for the room. I do want to say boarding was a pleasure. Disembarkation was a nightmare cattle call, with everyone being ushered off the ship at one time, despite a so called schedule. Food ... room service was nicely done. The Windjammer buffet was mediocre, with the same selection daily of so so food. If you like your coffee strong , and I mean strong, this is for you. Breakfast in the dining room was slow unless you chose the buffet they offered there as well. I ordered my eggs over easy and they came out with runny whites. The staff are all eager to please at every turn. Dinner in the dining room some nights seemed rushed. We were told by our travel agent because we were a party of 7, to see the reservation staff upon boarding and request our dinner time, so we wouldn't have to wait for an available table with any time dining. We were given a time prior to 6 pm, which was too early. Otherwise we had to wait until 8:30. We felt as the dinner wound down and desert came, we were being rushed out . Put down your fork and the dish disappeared. Of course, as expected on a holiday sailing, at sea days it was impossible to find a lounge at the pool. The entertainment was so so. The Latin band was excellent, as was the band in the theater. We loved the ice skating show!! The Lyric Theater shows were not so good. Some of the staff we spoke to agreed the ship needed to be updated. Some even apologetic. All in all, when I pay top dollar I expect something. I expected something special because it is RCL. Having been to most ports before many times over, I have to say we loved the trip to Mayan ruins we took in Costa Maya. I would have enjoyed the opportunity to walk outside the port area, but we were not in port all day. We had a fun private tour guide in Cozumel and we loved how he just let us do our thing. We went to a beach north of town, which was lovely and we hit the Ticquila factory of course! We wandered the town and took some fun, surprising turns to end our day of fun. All in all, the success of the trip was all due to great off ship trips, great friends and abiliity to laugh at it all. I would not go back on this ship but I may want to try a newer RCL. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our second NYE cruise and third time on the Adventure. We appreciated the upgrades that were added in the last dry dock. Embarking and debarking were easy, probably the best we have ever experienced at Port Everglades. We ... Read More
This was our second NYE cruise and third time on the Adventure. We appreciated the upgrades that were added in the last dry dock. Embarking and debarking were easy, probably the best we have ever experienced at Port Everglades. We had a walkoff with the Suite Concierge and it took 12 minutes total. Our grand suite (1578) on deck 10 was lovely and very convenient to the elevators. Very large with plenty of storage, a mini fridge, wetbar, a nice bathroom and balcony. The balcony had a padded lounger, a table and two chairs. It is completely covered, and was quite pleasant most of the time. We were a little concerned the cabin might be noisy as we were located under the pool deck, but that was only an issue on NYE when we tried to turn in around 12:30. Once the deck party ended, all was quiet again. We had the Ultimate Dining Package and enjoyed one dinner at Chops, one at Izumi and four at Giovanni’s Table. Chops and Izumi are both on the Royal Promenade and were a little too noisy for us. Giovanni’s Table is located next to the Windjammer with a beautiful ocean view. We got great service from Amar and Arvind at GT. Christopher was the Suite Concierge and did a great job. He made our dinner reservations pre-cruise, though we changed several onboard. He also hosted a suite party at Giovanni’s Table for lunch one sea day. The party was well attended with many officers, including the Captain and Hotel Director. Nearly every day we received goodies in our suite, including gifts from the Captain, the Hotel Director, Christopher and the casino. We had requested a beach towel as our Diamond Plus gift, but housekeeping called and said they were out. So they substituted a tote, which came in handy as we were packing. Service was good throughout the cruise. Our cabin steward, Renato, was very good and kept the cabin in great shape. Mercedes was the cruise director, and did a fine job. Entertainment was good. We really enjoyed the production shows, the comedian and the staff talent show, Adventure’s Got Talent. The outdoor movies were fun, including Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again and Oceans Eight. We had colds all week so we stayed on the ship in Grand Cayman. In Costa Maya, we took a taxi to the town and enjoyed a great walk. At Cozumel, we shopped at the port and returned to the ship early. Even though we were not feeling the best, we had a great time and will gladly sail on the Adventure again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This is the second time that we are on this ship. We also cruised for New Year's last year and booked this cruise while we were on the ship. I have to say last year was better. The ship is getting ready to go in for dry dock ... Read More
This is the second time that we are on this ship. We also cruised for New Year's last year and booked this cruise while we were on the ship. I have to say last year was better. The ship is getting ready to go in for dry dock for a major renovation. We live in Miami so we used Lyft to go to the port. We got there at 11:30 am. Embarkation was quick - we are Emerald and the line was very small. Our room would be ready at 1:30 so we went to the buffet to have lunch and wait for our cabin. We had an interior cabin - 9643 - it was confortable - had lots of storage space and drawers. Our cabin steward was excellent, We cleaned our room twice a day, brought us ice and was attentive to all our needs. We had Mytime dining and we had made reservations for 7:30 3 nights a and 2 nights 8:00. Out waiters were ok - not as friendly and attentive as what we are used to - maybe they had too many tables to serve. The food was ok - nothing expectacular. They never served lobster. We were on the Harmony in September and the food and the service was excellent. We ate in the buffet for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast was good - they had a good selection of items but lunch was not so good. It was like eating the previous night reheated leftovers. You could not even make yourself a great salad. The staff was attentive and friendly. We enjoyed the shows - there two production shows, one hypnotist, a comedian and a tribute to BonJovi. There were all good. We spent quite a bit of time in the Casino. The slots were not paying much. Even the high rollers were not winning big jackpots. There was a lot of smoking in the casino which I don't like - specially people who don't play go there to smoke. Non smoking slot section is very small. They had raffles but if the person was not there they did not pay the price and did not any more names. We had two stops - Nassau and Labadee. In Nassau we took a cab to Baha Mar Resort and Casino. Beautiful resort and a great casino. In Labadee we went to the beach and spent the day there and enjoyed the ships BBQ. Since we live close to the port we cruise a lot and have been to these ports several times but always enjoy going again. Disembarkation was easy. We were off the ship by 8:45 am after picking up our luggage and quickly going through Customs. The New Year's celebration was good. They had music by the pool and also in the Promenade. This year they were selling tables in both areas so people would have reserved seating. The promenade was packed so we went up to the pool deck. Overall we enjoyed the cruise. Like this ship - not too big not too small. All the staff was friendly and attentive and we would cruise on it again. Compared to the Oasis class ship what I like about the Navigator is that it has a lot of open areas to sit where you can watch the ocean like in lounges. (deck 4 & 5) What I don't like is that they have limited venues to eat - Park Cafe is very small - it has sandwiches and pizza and when the buffet is closed (3:30 to 5:30) it's the only place you can grab something to eat (for free). Coming back from Nassau there must have been 100 people in line to grab a snack. Whereas the larger ships have many more options. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I loved this cruise. I would first like to say how great the staff were. Our waiters in the dining room were a joy to talk to and the stateroom staff were also very nice and made you feel welcome. There was never a time where we ... Read More
I loved this cruise. I would first like to say how great the staff were. Our waiters in the dining room were a joy to talk to and the stateroom staff were also very nice and made you feel welcome. There was never a time where we didn’t have something to do on the ship. I enjoyed lounging on the poolside and in the hot tubs for times where we wanted to relax. As for the entertainment, there’s so much to say. The comedy shows were amazing, the game shows are a blast to watch, and live music and karaoke was fun. We also enjoyed mini golfing, ice skating + an ice skating show, the arcade, family bingo, and ping pong. As for the food, everything we ate was complimentary and it wasn’t bad. Most of the things were delicious, and only a few things could’ve been better. I loved going to the Windjammer every morning for breakfast, grabbing a bite from the Cafe Promenade, and dining at the Saphire Dining Room fo dinner. The gym had lots to do. I had tons of fun on this ship, even if it’s an older ship. I wouldn’t have been able to tell it was built in 2002 if I didn’t find out. New Year’s eve was also a great time, despite our balloons being stuck, but that was all joy and laughter. The days at sea were mainly lounging but if we had “nothing” to do, we could always go exploring around on the ship or the Star Lounge was a great spot for entertainment. For the ports, Nassau and Labadee were great experiences, and we were always on time. This was a great experience for my first time cruising. I think it’s great for all ages. The only negatives would be some rocking on the ship but I got used to it. Thank you Royal Caribbean!! I will miss this ship a lot. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
My family of 4 (17 and 15 yr old boys) do like cruising. This is my 14th. We live only 30 minutes from house to Galveston terminals so do take advantage of the convenience. We did New Year's Eve on Voyager of the Seas several ... Read More
My family of 4 (17 and 15 yr old boys) do like cruising. This is my 14th. We live only 30 minutes from house to Galveston terminals so do take advantage of the convenience. We did New Year's Eve on Voyager of the Seas several years back from Galveston and have always talked about that particular cruise. We've also done Thanksgiving and Xmas but prefer to be home for those. New Years, on the other hand, is a holiday that we do want to be out-and-about so finally booked another cruise. We chose RCCL as the Royal Promenade is the perfect setting for a "Time Square" type countdown party. We also booked Liberty sailing on July 29th so this is twice in 5 months on the same ship. Embarkation From the July 29th experience where we were dropped off at 10:35 am, that was the start of rush-hour-traffic and took us a good hour plus from walk in to fully boarded. The photo system in the terminal was broken so had to take picture as we boarded so that added to the length. This time we drove ourselves and targeted 10 am to enter the building...actual time was about 10:10. Galveston x-ray had 2 sections; 1 for Platinum and above, and the other for Gold and below. We are gold but only had maybe 5 families ahead of us so no big deal. Next was taking picture and getting room key card. This is early so there were much much more stations than people checking-in. Time is now 10:25 and at the waiting area to board. Again, 2 sections for Platinum & above and Gold & below. We've got boarding card "Gold 1". RCCL must have disembarkation down smooth as ship was cleared for boarding around 10:40. "Gold 1" was called at 10:45. On to the ship and arrived at Windjammer at 11:00 but sign said opening was 11:30. However, the doors opened at 11:10. Muster for the majority is outside area of deck 4 under the life boats. It was uneventful lasting about 15 minutes. Internet We pre-purchased 1 Surf & Stream account. From our rooms 8579 and 8581, we could login but couldn't get data flowing the first day. It did work at lunch in Windjammer as well as deck 4 main dining room. We called to complain and was given credit for the first day as it was working on morning of day 2. Internet speed was slower with frequent drop-offs compared to what we experienced in July where it worked well. On evening of last day, we couldn't login as it kept giving an error code. Employee didn't recognize code so we got credit again. Had we needed to check-in for airline flight, I'd be really unhappy. My only guess is that more people were using wifi and may have overwhelmed the system. RC Apps This is a new app recently released. Worked fine majority of the time for me but my wife had issues early on so she went back to the old "Cruise Compass". My only issue with the app is that employee must have treated it as beta-testing so time of events listed were not always accurate. For example, 2 different ice skating shows were listed at the same time and location. We attended thinking it was a different show than the previous day but turned out to be the same show. Seeing the menu for the main dining dinner was nice to help decide to go there or Windjammer for speedier meal. The Carnival app we used on our October Vista sailing was much smoother and more capable so hopefully RC app will get to that level. Meals We normally like "Traditional Dining" but ended only going on 1st night and 2 formal nights. We did Windjammer the rest of the time as there were lots of variety there and allowed us go get thru the meal and be off to evening events. Most notable was Windjammer dinner day 5 that had seafood (mussel, clam, shrimp, and stone crab claws). I had at least 15 if not more of the stone crab!!! Entertainments Platinum Theater production shows were "Saturday Night Fever" and "In the Air". We saw these in July but went again anyways. Comedian was there for 2 nights and was really good. Juggler on last night was very entertaining. Ice show was "Encore! An Ice Spectacular". We missed out of seeing this back in July so made sure we got to first showing on afternoon of day 2. Piano Bar which we spent so much time in July sailing had a different person who's music and presentation didn't appeal to us at so spent very little time there. Lots of movies shown throughout the cruise with afternoon in Platinum Theater then 2-3 more on the pool deck every day. One venue missing was a sports bar. With college football bowl games and NFL playoffs people had to deal with small TVs in Schooner Bar. It was good that the Cruise Director decided to cancel a poolside movie on the night of the Sugar Bowl as it was Texas vs Georgia and with this ship leaving from Texas, plenty of Longhorn fans wanting to watch. Of course the main entertainment we booked this cruise for was New Years Eve which was on evening of day 2. Dinner was formal with lobster and New Year's hat/tierra/noise maker. Compared to Voyager, seems like less balloons dropping from ceiling. Champagne was not freely handed out like in the past...available for purchase. Budget cuts with time but no big deal. The music and countdown was great fun. Port of Calls Cozumel: we went to our normal beach club...Paradise Beach. They has bad storms the previous few days to was was not clear for snorkeling from shore so this was a bust. The kids had fun playing on the inflatables in the water. Grand Cayman: we were supposed to arrive at 10:30 but the Captain sped up and got us there at 8:30 to give us extra shore time...excellent move. We took the "Public Bus" to 7 mile beach. With 6 ships there that day, the beach was packed. We rented 2 jet skis ($60/half hour each) and had fun. We went back to Georgetown around 1pm for some shopping. My older son and I went looking for the snorkel spot at Paradise restaurant and found it. Excellent snorkel spot with lots of corrals and colorful fishes right as you enter the water. This is a must do for us from now on. Jamaica: we only went for some quick shopping and lunch in the port area as the stories about aggressive locals kept us in the fenced area. Wouldn't mind if cruise lines traded Jamaica for 2 days in Grand Cayman instead. Ship amenities We did the water slides, etc...in July so didn't feel the need to do those again. I went in the Serenity hot tubs several times as well as the steam room in the gym area. Other than that, morning exercise walk on deck 4 everyday. Read Less
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