It's been a few years (3?) since sailing on Royal. Just jotting down a few observations in this mini-review.
Independence of the Seas
Fort Lauderdale, Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica
5 Night cruise
March 9-14, 2019
Cabin 8342 - center of the hump balcony.
Embarkation - excellent! We left from terminal 19. Arrived at port in an UberXL at approx 10.15am after staying the night in the Sleep Inn Suites. Dropped off luggage, and made our way right through to the waiting area. We're Platinum, so we waited beside the "Key" cruisers (that's a new one for me). They started boarding a little after 11am I believe. I found it odd that we did not get our sailpass cards at embarkation. I suppose it's to same time at check in so the agents aren't all scrambling through the same box of cards for the right ones. Was a little odd, but probably the best way to do it.
Ship: Love the Indy. I think this was our 3rd time on her.
-The ship - never felt crowded
-Grease - the show was fantastic
-Once upon a time - another show - fantastic!
-Room attendant - we asked for ice - and she delivered - twice a day
-Cans of pop on day one - that's a new option. We ordered 12 cans of pop which arrived the first evening. Hence the need for the ice
-Solarium. A new twist for me - lifeguards and pool deck attendants very present.
-Washy Washy duet. Corny, yes, but I had fun watching the energy of these guys.
-Labadee beach bungalow on Columbus beach. We normally rented the OTW cabanas on Nellies, but the price is crazy high on those. Half the price for a beach bungalow and it's a nice area. Will do that one again.
-Balcony chairs that recline! That's new. Very welcomed update.
-Ice Cream machine attendant. Love that idea! Makes the machine area cleaner, more sanitary.
-Roaming Piano player dude. Ran into him playing his piano in the oddest places - even on elevators a few times.
-Ranger Cookies - love these little disks of coconut chewy crack!
-Chops. We got the 3 night dinning package, and used 2 nights @ chops and 1 @ Giovanni's. Chops was decent - except for the desserts. Chocolate melting cake was great according to my wife, but the apple pie was horrible. The filling was more like an jellied apple paste- and it has raisins! The crust was rubbery. So, I asked them to take it back. He brought my next choice - key lime pie. I'm a huge pie fan - but I could not eat this one either - it was neither tart, nor tasted like limes. But, the shrimp cocktail was amazing! Steak was very good the first night, and mediocre the second night.
-Falmouth. It's so bloody far from all the popular stuff. We did the Green Grotto caves which was decent.
-Cruise Director - Jamie Fentiman. He was mediocre on stage - but could actually sing. He was Horrible on the TV morning show - which I suppose no one really watches anyways
-Hard bedding. It didn't ruin anything at all for us, but even with the mattress topper (was already installed), the bed was a board.
-Johnny Rockets. Cover charge is now $9.95 per person. That's crazy. Used to be $4.95 from what I remember. We had BOGO Milkshake, which we enjoyed, but still... charging $10 pp over and above the cost they already factored in for a meal. Likely our last time in JR. There was only one other family there. The fries have changed too - or maybe we had a bad batch. We remembered them to be quite good - but they tasted like freezer bag fries. Not impressed
-Room service - ouch.. $7.95 service charge no matter what time of day. I'm torn on this one since we very rarely used room service. But, at least we didn't see a lot of plates sitting in the hallways with only a small amount of food eaten - so that's a good thing - less waste.
Overall - it's always a good week when you're cruising. I'd give this one an 8/10.