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Independence of the Seas Cruise Review - Royal Caribbean International

Eastern Caribbean Cruise on the Independence of the Seas

By Mary and Vincent Finelli

Deck 11 has many guest facilities. Forward is the State of the Art Fitness Center with beautiful views of the sea while using treadmills, etc. In the Solarium are two huge whirlpools one on each side of the ship, cantilevered over the sea, and a swimming pool just for adults. Near here are two Barsanti Mosaics named "Tigers in the Jungle" based on the works of a French Post-Impressionist painter Henri Rousseau. In the forward stairs portside is the Robert Silvers' head of Venus inspired by Botticelli's unforgettable "Birth of Venus." This artist creates his work by computer using thousands of tiny photographs to form a larger image --- You must look at this up close, rather than the usual admonition to "stand back in order to get the full import of a picture". Here, you must go up close to see how this was made. Amazing!

Deck 12 forward is the Day Spa, the Sky Bar, and the jogging track. Toward aft is Johnny Rockets a 50's style diner and the Challengers Arcade, Adventure Ocean children's area, and the Surf Teen Disco.

Deck 13 has the Rock Climbing Wall, the Sports Court (basketball, volleyball, tennis), the Golf Simulator and the Dunes Mini Golf. The most unique sports opportunity is the Flowrider which allows passengers to surf standing or kneeling.

Deck 14 has the "Olive or Twist" & the Viking Crown Lounge, the card and game rooms, and Diamond Lounge where we met the Diamond Member Concierge Columella Arandia.

Deck 15 has the nearest thing to heaven on the sea: the Skylight Chapel.

The Independence of the Seas is decorated with art work inspired by the Old Masters, but executed by modern artists --- very interesting.

This ship is huge at 160,000 tons and 208 feet tall (double the height of the Statue of Liberty) and its Royal Promenade is longer than a football field. Its enormous size allows RCI to offer a more diverse vacation.

Independence of the Seas Service and Food
The state of the economy has finally done what years of begging from us could not accomplish. The over abundant portions have finally been reduced to appropriate sized portions. We are so happy not to waste food --- we could rarely finish those too ample entrees. It does not restrict those with gargantuan appetites, since they can still order as much as they want. RCI has brought eating back to normalcy. Thanks to Executive Chef Ivo Jahn, we enjoyed dining in the Romeo & Juliet Restaurant. Maitre D' Dominic Barr gave us a nice table and our Waiter Sabit Majaki and his Asst. Waiter Chantelle John made every night a dining pleasure. Head Waiters Jason D'Silva and Francesco Orlando made us feel special.

Sunday formal night we dined with Captain Teo Strazicic (a very erudite gentleman, who had insightful ideas on education (Vincent & Mary are both university teachers) and other world topics. It was a fantastic dinner only surpassed by Chef Ivo's Almond Brittle Hand Made Chalice filled with wild berries and cream! The food is of good quality and available all over the ship: from Sorrento's Pizzeria on Deck 5, to self serve frozen yogurt on Deck 11 at Sprinkles. We also dined at the Chop's Grille where both food and service were excellent. Food & Beverage Director Joao Mendonca oversees a complex system with dexterity. Bravo! Room Service all week long was prompt, hot and appetizing.

Cabin on the Independence of the Seas
Wheelchair accessible cabin #7324 is bright with light pine wood and the RCI trademark blue and aqua colors. When entering on the left there is the oversized bathroom with a 4'X4' shower with safety rails and a fold away seat. There is one sink with a large medicine chest for amenities. Next, there is a sofa and a queen bed flanked by two night stands and reading lamp sconces; the head board is the traditional aqua suede.

When entering on the right, there is a triple armoire with shelves and both high and low cross dowels for hangers and a private safe. This last is the handiest item since cruisers may lock up valuables and go wallet and purse free all week. There is a lighted mirror on the desk/vanity, a LCD TV and a hair dryer in the first of four drawers.

The far wall is all glass and has a door to the extra large balcony with two chairs, a small table and a chaise which our excellent steward Lenore Reid brought for Vincent. Our week was perfectly restful thanks to the lovely Lenore.

Entertainment on the Independence of the Seas
On the Independence there is no shortage of opportunities to be "amused." Sunday evening from our balcony there was a beautiful sunset with a clear view of the slenderest crescent moon in the SW sky. Above the moon shone the planets Venus and Jupiter. All three heavenly bodies were close to each other --- picture perfect and brighter than 1st magnitude stars. However, as we looked at other balconies, we were astonished to find that we were the only audience for this phenomenon; so we took a picture of it! This is why we love to cruise.

For other more typical activities, Cruise Director Allan Brooks does his very best. The RCI singers and dancers perform in production shows like "Center Stage" in the Alhambra Theatre along with comedians like Michael James; ballroom dancers Olga & Dimatri have a dance competition. The Ice Show "Strings" with world class performers on ice and an extraordinary violinist from Canada (so sorry we haven't got her name.) This is only the beginning, for the athletic minded the "Flowrider" and the "Rock Climbing Wall" are musts. Don't forget golf, basketball, shuffleboard, ping pong, swimming, Bingo, Casino games and tournaments, etc. etc. Oh, just get out there.

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