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Independence of the Seas review 2/4/19 - 2/9/19

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Got off of Independence of the Seas yesterday – 5 nights western Caribbean (Cozumel & Costa Maya) Feb. 4 – Feb. 9, 2019.    Please feel free to ask any questions.



Just 2 of us – my DW and myself, mid-50s from Connecticut.  This was our third cruise, all on RCI.  Our first 2 cruises were both on Anthem of the Seas (5 nights to Bermuda in Sept. 2017 and 7 nights to Port Canaveral / Nassau in Oct./Nov. 2018). We chose this cruise as a relatively quick escape in warmer climates and on a different ship.  We flew to Fort Lauderdale the day before and stayed at the Courtyard Marriott.  We took an Uber from the airport to the hotel (I didn’t feel like waiting for the hotel’s shuttle), and took the free hotel shuttle to the port the morning of the cruise.



We arrived at the port around 11:30 and were quickly checked in (it helps to be a gold member).  Boarding started at noon and we boarded at 12:30 (again, it helps to have gold status) and it was right up to one of the pool-side bars. Cabins were ready at 1:30.  The previous cruise was the annual 70000 Tons of Metal cruise, so it took the crew a little longer to get everything ready (and I think they were a little worn out, but they still did a great job all cruise).



Balcony cabin on deck 9 aft/port.  Cabin was fine – in fact it seemed slightly larger than what we’ve had on Anthem (both the cabin and balcony).  Only 2 power outlets to charge things which we made do with, but Anthem is much better with additional outlets plus USB ports.  Our steward Lennox was terrific and made the best towel animal we’ve seen – DW called it Oscar the orangutan – he was hanging from a hanger with was hanging on the half curtain in front of the bed.


Dining & Bars:

We had breakfast every day in the Windjammer which was fine – the usual for RCI. Consistency seemed to be a problem.  First morning I got an eggs florentine which was ice cold.  The remaining mornings I made my own version of eggs benedict by grabbing a toasted muffin or bagel and putting my own fried eggs on – all of which was hot and delicious.  The scrambled eggs were delicious as well.  One morning my orange juice (they pour it for you, unlike Anthem which was self-serve) was hot – I think they poured it into a glass that had just come out of the dishwasher.  From then on it was ice-water every morning.


We didn’t typically have lunch, but did have a few mid-day snacks of pizza at Sorrento’s.  The pizza was decent – better than on Anthem (full disclaimer – I grew up eating Sally’s & Pepe’s in New Haven, so my standards for pizza are pretty high).


We had dinner 4 of the 5 nights in the main dining room using My Time dining (7:30 each night). Because we booked these nights/times in advance, we had the same table and wait staff, and they were terrific (waiter Ionut and assistant waiter Yehven).  Ionut would take the time each night to engage in some small conversation and made us feel very welcome, and both remembered our names after the first night.  Overall the food was quite good and got better each night.  All of the appetizers and desserts were excellent and the entrees were pretty decent except the first night when my prime rib was rubbery and drowned in a thick, brown gravy and DW’s strip steak was overcooked and seasoned very poorly (one end was extremely salty and the other end had no salt).  We both had the spaghetti bolognese (on different nights) and it was excellent.


The one night we didn’t eat in the MDR we ate at Chops.  We had eaten at Chops on Anthem and had a terrific meal, so we thought we’d try it on Indy.  It was just as good if not better.  The waitress was great (I can’t remember her name, just that she’s Russian).  And all of the food was excellent, including the steaks (we both had filets) being prepared perfectly.  Clearly RCI knows what they’re doing with their steakhouse.


We had the deluxe drink package and probably broke even.  All of the bars were terrific and we never had to wait for service.  The Olive Twist on deck 14 is a hidden gem.  We had pre-dinner drinks there almost every night and there were only a few people there. It’s got a great view.  Sadly the bartender there didn’t know how to mix drinks – I had the worst whiskey sour and worst gin & tonic I’ve ever had at this bar.  All other bars and drinks were good, including the drinks of the day.


Activities & Shows:

We didn’t do too many of the activities.  We would have done the escape room, but not for $20 per person (on Anthem there was no charge for the escape room – I didn’t understand why there was a charge on Indy). We did play 9 holes of mini-golf which was fun (my guess is the mini-golf course was installed during last year’s rehab as it was in excellent shape and seemed new).  The water slides looked like great fun – always a small line but it never seemed like a long wait and everyone came out with a big smile on their face.


We saw Grease and it was excellent (almost as good as We Will Rock You on Anthem).  We also saw the ice-skating show which was amazing – Olympic and national champions from around the world doing amazing things on a very small rink (about a quarter the size of a hockey rink).


Cruise director Daniel and the activities director (I can’t remember her name either, just that she’s from Scotland) were great.  We saw them at the Love & Marriage show, belly-flop competition, lip-sync competition, and Quest game show and all were a lot of fun, thanks in large part to them.



This was our first time in Mexico.  We didn’t do any excursions.  For both ports, we just walked around.


In Cozumel we walked the immediate area off the ship, and then headed down to Sting Ray beach.  I’d read other reviews that said to watch out for all of the shop keepers who get right in your face to sell you something and those reviews were dead on.


In Costa Maya we just walked around the immediate port area with all of the shops and stuff.  We did see the swim-with-dolphins attraction which was great – everyone looked to be having an amazing time.  We also went into the aviary which was great fun.  They give you a little plastic cup with bird seed and sunflower seeds to feed the birds, and the birds are not shy about landing on you and eating.  It was very neat.  And when in Mexico… we had a Mexican beer at the Mexican cantina just to say we did it.



As usual with RCI, this was easy.  We stayed in our cabin on the balcony until we had to vacate at 8:30.  We were scheduled to disembark at 9:45, but walked off at 9:15.  Luggage was waiting for us, and clearing customs took only a couple of minutes – we were in a taxi heading to the airport by 9:30.

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Thanks for your review, going on the Independence in April so enjoyed reading this!

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Going on Indy in a week.  What was the dress attire in the main dining room for both men and women.  Are they enforcing the dress code?

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8 hours ago, jldaddy said:

Going on Indy in a week.  What was the dress attire in the main dining room for both men and women.  Are they enforcing the dress code?

We were also on the OPs sailing - 

No they weren’t enforcing anything in regards to dress code.

The 2nd night was “formal” night. I’d say most were dressed a little nicer but not overly formal. The guys sitting 2 tables away were in jeans.  

The other days were labeled as casual. 

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