If you haven’t booked a Royal Caribbean Cruise do NOT book one. As a seasoned traveler and a 5 time cruiser, 3 times to Europr and living over seas in Japn for 3 years---I am telling you DO NOT BOOK ROYAL CARIBBEAN—OR-- cancel your cruise if you are unfortunate enough to have already booked the Independence of the Seas.
Here is why:
•The Worst Food worst food of any cruise I have ever sailed
•No 24 food service in the Windjammer
•The Windjammer doesn’t’ have enough tables so you must get a table before you get your food if you can find a table--sometimes we just left
•Food police guard the Windjammer so even if you wanted an apple around 5 pm the cops are there to stop you and direct 6 floors below to the pizza place.
•They shut down the Windjammer from 5 pm until 6:30 and then again at 9 pm so forget a late night snack
•Unhappy people serving the food All of them wanted to get off the ship
•Nothing special on the Buffet EVER—Hamburgers, Hot dogs and then slop that was bland enough to cater to the over 80 crowd and let them gum it down without their teeth
•Overcrowded and horrible first day boarding and last day departing procedures
•Over priced drinks and watered down cocktails
•Any alcohol brought onto the ship is taken off you and given back on the last day
•Automatic gratuities and then the servers try to get you to tip extra on top of the 18% saying they don’t get all of the tip themselves
•NO FOOD SERVICE at the pools so even if you wanted some of the slop you have to go back to the Windjammer and tote it out yourself
•Don't purchase their drinking water packages. It costs about $4.50 for a bottle of water.
•They try to ding you for every minor thing as if they built the ship and now YOU have to pay for it every nickel dime they can extract or coerce from you. All the time we were on the ship, Royal Caribbean employees are incessantly attempting to fleece the last penny from your pockets. Like “official” photographs at $20 a photo, overpriced watered down cocktails at the pool side, art auctions, Bingo cards, junk watches, junk costume jewelry, duty free cigarettes (can't smoke them until you leave) duty free alcohol (again can't drink it on board) paying for fitness classes, paying for the shuttle buses at some of the Ports that convey you from the boat into the local town
So you say –Well what was good:
•Our Jr. Suite was wonderful
•Spending time with my wife
•Sleeping with the door open so you could hear the waves
•The Entertainment Director Goff was hilarious!
Final word---Book anything but this BIG ship the Independence of the Seas or you will HATE it- they built this behemoth and you will pay for this BIG Loser of a ship every day with the nickel dime fleecing and Royal Caribbean's missing food availability, lousy food quality and watered down drinks.
To bad you didn't come here before your cruise instead of afterwards to complain about it. Then we could have educated you on what to expect with RCI.
On every RCI cruise I've been on the Windjammer had plenty of food choices and not just burgers and hot dogs. I've also received excellent drinks that I would not classify as watered down. Did RCI promise you the Windjammer would be open 24 hours? The same open hours are used on all RCI ships and not just the Indy. Did you go to the Promenade Cafe? It is open 24 hours for snacks. And Sorrento's Pizza has extended hours.
All of the items you mention that cost extra are the same on mainstream cruises these days, no matter the cruise line. Photos at $20, art auctions, bingo, etc.
RCI has a strict alcohol policy which is on their website, and again if you had asked here first we could have told you about it.
I happen to like RCI, and the Freedom class ships of which Indy is one. Sorry you didn't like it, but it appears you didn't have your expectations properly set.
Mark, thanks for your review.
It's interesting that your review is so different than 99% of the reviews of Independence we've had on this board. I know many people who booked Royal Caribbean, and Independence of the Seas in particular, based on prior reviews, and loved the ship as well.
It sounds like you would be happier on one of the all-inclusive cruise lines.
Did you use a travel agent to book this cruise?
Strange...but I thought the Independence was the best of the mega ships. Food police? Give me a break. The Windjammer has certain hour they are open on all of the RCL ships--there are other places to get food when the windjammer isn't open. Watered down cocktails? I don't think so.
I think you're way over exaggerating with your complaining. Who do you think you are to tell us not to book Royal Caribbean or to cancel a cruise with them? There are a lot of people looking forward to a wonder cruise vacation and don't need to read about watered down drinks and lousy food. I actually find your post insulting, and I'm inclined to delete it.
I have to say I find this insulting too. I just came off the Freedom of the Seas today. It was my third cruise on this class of ships at RCI. Every employee on the ship went out of their way to make our vacation fabulous! I've only cruised on RCI 4 times but I have never been disappointed. I just booked Freedom again for December 2010. By the way, we never went hungry. Just curious, if you have cruised 5 times what 5 cruise lines gave you all that you say RCI did not.
I am absolutely outraged by this post, really really mad. This guy/woman really should have done some research before booking with Royal Caribbean, and I did loads of research before ever booking so I knew what to expect, subsequently I have booked three further cruises with them. I find this post inaccurate. go get an apple where they serve apples, if somewhere is closed for 1.5 hours in the afternoon for preppiing then its bloody closed. Get a life, you probably booked a 'cheap' cruise, something maybe cheaper than your used to, why did you decide to go with RCCL? Presumably after being on 5 cruises why did you change? Not up to your expectations? Who said the staff ALL of them (that you stated) wanted to get off the ship? You should really really remove this post, its inaccurate and very off putting for guests. I've heard fantastic reports about the Independance, I've sailed on voyager and liberty both different but fantastic. Im actually so mad now after reading this.
For perspective on "junk" watches...
I've purchased Fossil watches on RCI cruises. Not terribly expensive but still not junk. On the Oasis they sell Omega, Tag-Heuer, and other high end brands.
We try to not over-moderate posts, even when they are filled with inaccuracies and hyperbole. It is user opinion and we don't want to squash it. Let the OP's post stand for what it is, and take it for what it's worth. Those who have cruised with RCI before - and most importantly have cruised with RCI recently - know what to believe or to discard. Personally I have been impressed with my last several RCI cruises and feel it is a great product they offer.
Some cruises can be "off" a bit for various reasons. People go on cruises with their expectations not properly set for that cruise line. People get pushed to a cruise by price or an overzealous agent and the guests preferences aren't given due consideration. It happens.
As for me - I'll cruise with Royal Caribbean many many times in the future. I like their product, their ships, and their outstanding service. Others might need to re-evaluate their cruise selection process, or if they even like cruising when you get to the root of it.
Hello Let's Cruise - welcome to Cruise-Chat! I love the Freedom of the Seas too. When I mentioned the Independence was the best, I comparing it to the Freedom Class Ships. I been on all of them more than once. I my opinion, it's a tough choice which is better of the two. You can imagine how hard it is to believe that a Freedom Class Ship could possibly get such a bad review by anyone. Sometimes you just have to consider the source.
Does this mean I should cancel my upcoming cruise on the Oasis...I THINK NOT.....I love the Voyager class...nothing but good times with RCL....I do most of my cruising on NCL, but when I get a chance, RCL works for me.....I guess you just can't please everyone....happy sailing to the rest of us....
I've been on 15 Royal Caribbean cruises....ain't had a bad one yet. I've been on all three Freedom class ships and loved every one of them.
I'm sorry you were unhappy with the Indy...she rates #1 or #2 with my favorites.
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