Western Caribbean on Independence of Sea by
A Traveler from Charlotte, NCSailing date: Jan 2013
Very clean, well maintained ship
Low food quality
I sailed on Independence of Seas January, 2013 for 6 night itinerary from Fort Lauderdale visiting Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Costa Maya. I have previously sailed with RCCL on Jewel of Seas.
Independence is a beautiful, very large, very clean and well maintained ship. Room steward was very attentive and available if we needed him. Guest services were helpful and friendly. There were lots of activities going on around the ship. Ice show was very good.
Given all the good things about this ship and staff it is so sad the food quality did not meet my expectations of Royal Caribbean. There were no trays of fresh sliced fruit only bowls of whole fruit, apples, bananas, kiwi and pears. There were no cook to order stations of any kind and no food outlet at the pool area. The hamburgers and hotdogs occupied a large section on the buffet. There was no omelet station at breakfast and a staff member confirmed that the scrambled eggs were powdered. The premade omelets looked as though they were pressed from a tortilla maker. The Windjammer Buffet area was too small for the number of passengers and was very, very congested every time we visited. The one main dining room was nice, service was very good, but food was below average. There were two other outlets that served pizza or finger sandwiches. The room service menu was the most limited of any ship I have traveled on. Three other food venues were available for a surcharge of $5 to $30.
Although the Independence fell far short on food quality I know this is not the standard of all RCCL ships. I will most likely sail on RCCL again but not on the Independence.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.
Did you find this review helpful?
Bad bad food by
A no nonsense traveler from OhioSailing date: Dec 2012
My previous sailing with Royal was 10 yrs back and food quality has significantly gone down. Even today I remember the excellent meals from Royal Caribbean decade ago cruise and this is a total contrast to it, food wise. Ship is newer, clean, entertainment was outstanding but Id not recommend this ship or royal Caribbean to anyone due to their food quality, which is a big part of cruising for most cruisers.
I didnt use their onshore excursions which is expensive for a family of 4. We made our own independent booking for ex, we rented a car from Hertz in St Maarten and toured the island freely.
Their specialty, Portofino restaurant food quality was similar to that of Olive garden and this is $20/person. the wait to be seated (despite the reservation) and the wait between courses was unacceptably long. Enough that we requested for the main course to be packed and sent to the room, with the desert. And we were there from 8 pm till 9.45 pm!! What started out as a special evening turned sour due to this - Additionally kid's club was closing at 10 pm so we ended up leaving without finishing the dinner.The appetizer risotto was nice but everything else after it was mediocre. Thiramisu base reeked of cheap rum
Coming to the main dining room its several notches below the Portofino, which I compared it to Olive garden earlier The kicker is, food served in the main dining room is also served in the buffet. Raviolis were doughy (I have never tasted raviolis that were this bad. It was a new low), chicken breast bland with no seasoning, nacho chips thats no longer crispy, guacamole that turned brown, Indian dishes made by Chefs with little understanding of the cooking process (curry powders thrown in and not cooked well, so it tasted bitter). Butter chicken was made without heavy cream, which is a big component of it it was basically tomato paste from the can thrown in with leftover chicken from lunch earlier that day (I could easily make that out)
One of the fellow diner, due to food allergy had written to Royal Caribbean with detailed info and it wasnt communicated to the waiters. Despite mentioning it, the waiter had very little interest in wanting to understand and accommodate it. Additionally, waiters couldnt speak to the dishes when we had questions.
Windjammer food could be compared to banquet type of food. May be like golden corral. I found their fries to be really tasty though.
Overall, none of the meals were outstanding I dont remember a single dish that made an impression.
Regarding the outrageous tip expected on the cruise Cruise liner is basically shifting their responsibility to you. We arent tipping them for exceptional service, but rather paying their salary as what the cruise liner pays is very low. It may have been understandable to pay $30 tip for a dinner, for family of four, if its multicourse fine cuisine But when its several steps down than Olive garden food coupled with mediocre service, the tip doesnt make sense. Same with room steward 160 dollar tip for 8 night cruise for 2 adults and 2 young children. Rooms were quite clean but when was the last time you left $160 tip for 8 night stay? This isnt just applicable to Royal Caribbean but rather to the entire cruise industry.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.
Did you find this review helpful?
The Bad, The Good, And the Ugly by
Doug V from Boston, MASailing date: Mar 2009
Low level staff
First, the bad news. There is an oddly thin veneer of glamour about Royal Carribean, like someone showed them a short movie about elegant living and they cobbled together a vacation experience from that. Telling your guests to put on black tie does not a formal affair make, particularly not when your wait-staff are trying to sell your guests an extra glass of soda or wine throughout the entire meal. A well worn rule of thumb in polite society says that whenever you ask someone for their wallet at a formal gathering, you had better be affiliated with a charity, a cause, or a candidate. If you ignore this rule, any air of formality that you hoped to establish at your occasion will sink like the Titanic. Royal Carribean either doesn't know this rule, or doesn't care.
It seems to us that there is a system in place from the moment you board the ship to constantly sell you things. I'm talking about drinks, both soft and alcoholic, excursions, trinkets, momentos, gambling, massages, facials, accupuncture, haircuts, shaves, manicures, etc, etc, etc. Anything and everything that they can make an extra dime on, they will sell you. Calls home are $8.00/minute, internet access is $0.55/minute, small bottles of water for shore excursions, $3.50, pay per view movies in your room, $12.99 each. It wouldn't be so bad if they came through with the goods when you paid, but the tropical drinks they serve for $8.50 have never even met a peice of fresh fruit, their burgers from "Johnny Rockets" are extrordinarily bad, and their roulette wheels all have double zeros, thus improving the odds for the house.
With that said, there is, to be fair, some good news. The ship itself is spectacular. You have to see it for yourself to understand what I mean. The "low level," least senior staff were fantastic. I'm speaking about the people who bus your table, clean your cabin, refresh your water or coffee, and just generally look after you. About these people, I just can't say enough. They are smart, attentive, polite, pleasant, and go about the business of making you as comfortable as possible almost invisibly. Unfortunately, these marvelous people are hindered by Royal Carribean's previously mentioned zest for revenue enhancements.
16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.
Did you find this review helpful?