We are two travellers in our early 50's. We have been on 13 cruises in the last 10 years and have four more booked - one with Celebrity (Europe), one with RCI (New England) and two with Azamara (Antarctica in Jan and St Pete's next June). We went on the INDY as we wanted a no-fly holiday and a bit of luxury so we were prepared to pay top whack for a Grand Suite. Before we left my sister said we would love the ship but not our fellow passengers.
We had a private car to travel to Southampton, arriving at 12.30 p.m. As gold card suite guests embarkation was flawless. We went straight to a check in desk and we were on board within minutes. Unlike most other ships we have been on the first impression of our welcome was somewhat lacking. There was no-one there to really welcome you on board, no welcome glass of champagne and no-one to show you to your cabin. Because of the size of the ship you can understand that, but considering we had paid well over Â£4000 it was a little disappointing. On the other hand - we were impressed generally by the ship, it's appearance, pictures, fittings, facilities etc. That was a good first impression.
We had to wait a while for access to our stateroom but when we got in we were well impressed. We were in a Grand Suite 1556 and it was fantastic. Our stateroom attendant Elena became a friend over the 11 days on board and nothing was too much trouble for her - well done Elena and RCI.
As a gold card member we had access to the concierge lounge and again this was really nice as you met fellow suite guest and had free drinks between 5 and 8.30 - again well done RCI.
The big negative for us was that the dining experiences which were not up to standard. For three nights we ate in CHOPS ($60 sup pp pn) - good but the menu stays the same - and twice in Portofinos ($40 sup pp pn) - just OK we would say. Our experience of the main dining room was bad - we had to wait long times - had food delivered before our wine had arrived - not offered any bread rolls - just not good service, too many people and not enough staff. If RCI read these reviews we do think there should be an area of the restaurant designated for gold card guests. This is in part catered for for breakfast and lunch which was a free for all in the Windjammer. As gold card members you could take your food into CHOPS so were always able to get a table and we had a reasonable lunch time dining experience. I would have hated being just one of the crowd fighting for a seat in the Windjammer. We did have one bad experience with ordering room service but other that that room service was very good and room service had some exceptionally good customer focused staff.
We did not use many of the ships facilities but heard from other passengers very mixed review - it seemed that you really liked the ship, the shows, the facilities or you didn't. There were many families but apart from one incident most children were well behaved. That said I'm not sure there I would want to go on the ship in the summer holidays. There were a load of chavs on board - you know who you are :-)
Ports of call were good in our opinion and our favourite was Vigo even though it was the one we were least looking forward to.
Disembarkation was smooth and efficient.
In summary, I really do believe that there is a ship for everyone. The fact that we all like different things must be a good thing. The INDY is aiming to satisfy the needs of families, those who want to do belly flop competitions and those with the holiday camp mentality generally. It really does not want people like us who are looking for a luxury cruising experience. However, and it may come as a surprise if you have bothered to read my review, but we are really glad we have been on the ship because unless you have tried it you cannot be objective. Would we go on INDY again - Definitely NOT (but we know of other who would love the ship). Would we sail with RCI again - Definitely YES.
At the moment we love Azamara but Seaborne are on the radar for a 2013 booking too!
Happy sailing :-)