We recently experienced Royal Caribbean. It was our first time with this cruise line. We sailed on the Independence of the Seas from Ft. Lauderdale to Cozumel.
She is a slightly older ship, built in 2008 and her passenger capacity is 4375 guests. Our voyage was sold out and the ship didn’t feel crowded. It wasn’t during spring break, so there weren’t a lot of kids on this voyage.
Embarkation was a breeze, it took less than an hour from arrival to boarding and we arrived a little after noon.
Balcony cabin, deck 6 – good location – easy to get to everything – no long waits for the elevator. On the floor in the elevator they put the day of the week (it’s an insert into the carpet), which was pretty cool – except when they didn’t change it and that caused all sorts of confusion on what day of the week it was.
One thing we try to do on every cruise is the Chef’s Table. If you’ve never done it, you really need to. It’s really a pretty cool experience. So, on this ship it was 12 guests at a private table. The table is located in the Main Dining Room on a balcony overlooking the entire dining room. It was a cool location. Dinner took about 4 hours from start to finish and the food was delicious. There is a cost for doing it and this one was $85.00 per person and well worth it. It’s done with a wine pairing for every coarse.
The couple we sat next to during the dinner where originally from New York (well, the husband was – the wife was from New Jersey). Really nice couple and we enjoyed getting to know them. It seemed from this point on we followed each other around the ship at ran into them at almost every meal.
We ate in the main dining room on the first night – it was okay – I wasn’t impressed with our meal. The table next to us never received their appetizer. We did the Chef’s Table on the 2nd night. They have a two specialty restaurants – Chops Grille and Giovanni’s Table. Chops Grille was good, but Giovanni’s Table was excellent – from the service to the food, we enjoyed every moment of it. Remember that couple from Chef’s Table – at both restaurants, we ended up sitting next to each other.
We also made it a point to have lunch at Johnny Rockets – good burgers, good fries, good onion rings- great shakes!!
Lot’s of shops on the promenade, the usual liquor and smokes and jewelry. Plus a few extra’s like the Cupcake Cupboard and Ben & Jerry’s. So, one of the things I don’t really like is these are all extra’s – Johnny Rockets, Cupcake and Ben & Jerry’s are an upcharge. It should be included if they are offering it on the ship. Just my opinion.
So, they do have the Flow Rider, the rock climbing wall, miniature golf and the Ice Rink. We only saw one show, it was the Motown Show and it wasn’t very good at all.
I stayed on the ship in Cozumel and Joe went scuba diving (more on that later). We have been to Cozumel many times and our usual go to is Mr. Sancho’s (another day, another post).
We did have some issues on this cruise that I think are worth mentioning – I didn’t find the staff not to be very friendly or accommodating. They all seemed to be a bit grouchy to say the least – we were on deck and a waiter walked past and I asked him if he had any napkins – his response – NO and continued to walk. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but he should have said, no, I’m sorry – they have them at the bar, No, I’m sorry let me get you one – something other than just NO! This was a typical response when asking the staff a question. Just a bit rude.
The second issue we had was in the Casino. We spent sometime there (LOL!) I played slots mostly and Joe was playing Roulette. It was the last night and he was at a table playing with $5.00 chips and everyone else had colored chips. The gentlemen next to him lost all his colored chips and the dealer gave him $5.00 chips. Well, if you play Roulette you certainly know that there is absolutely no way to tell whose bet is whose if your all playing with the same chips. When Joe realized the player next to him was putting down $5.00 chips on the table, he brought it to the dealers attention – the dealer proceeded to remove $5.00 chips from the table, not knowing whose was whose, before you knew it, he rolled the ball while Joe was trying to get him to stop what he was doing. Of course, the number he had been playing all along hit – and his chip had been removed by the dealer. The dealer realized his mistake and kept apologizing – we got the manager, who had to get another manager, who had to watch the tape and then have a meeting. A few hours later, the manager called our room and they decided that the dealer did make an error and would pay off on the bet. They did the right thing, my issue was the dealers weren’t very trained at what they were doing. This was our issue, but there were others who were having similar issues at other table games.
The last thing I was very unhappy about is we booked an excursion for arrival back into Ft. Lauderdale as our flight was not until 7 pm. The last night of the cruise, we received a notice in the room that our excursion was cancelled. Oh good, what now – go to the desk – so sorry, no other options available. Now, I need to figure this out and make plans – oh, wait first I had to pay for WIFI at the cost of $30.00, so we could now rent a car for the following day. It was just handled very poorly.
All in, it was a good cruise, we enjoyed ourselves, the ship was nice, the food good (for the most part) and we were on vacation!