Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by batfink: Plenty to do on Independence of the Seas
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Plenty to do on Independence of the Seas
We sailed to and from Southampton to the West Mediterranean. Most fellow guests were Brits, and average age seemed much lower than P&O/Fred Olsen cruises we previously did. Embarkation and disembarkation extremely efficient.
The staff were amazing - always friendly, and extremely helpful no matter what the problem, which has not been the case on other lines we have travelled with.
The facilities on the ship are superb. Climbing wall was a great thing to have, and was generally open for much of the day. Ice-skating fun, though availability somewhat limited and we only made it once. You really need to look out for when it's on, and go ahead of time as there was a long queue. Mini-golf was fun provided it was not windy, and 6 table tennis tables, so could normally find a free table, though might have been nice to have some inside for when it was too windy. There was so much to do that it was difficult to do everything - we never made it on the flowrider. Shuffle board was More disappointing: we could only find one board on deck 4 in an area where several easily would have fitted, so we never got to play.
We enjoyed bridge and dance class, though unfortunately the dance class was too crowded and the bridge not very well attended.
Buffet breakfast and lunch were of a similar standard to other cruises.
Sorrento's was generally open for a snack if you managed to miss them. Evening meals were quite good from a vegetarian perspective (better than P&O, but worse than Fred Olsen), though towards the end of the cruise a couple of times I was getting slightly fed up with lack of variety.
There is free ice cream from the machine on deck 12.
Evening entertainment was a bit variable in quality, and quite good overall, but not as good as P&O.
The main downside of the cruise was that a lot of things were very expensive. Drinks are very pricey (e.g. $7 for a pint of lager, close to double P&O prices). Also, the receipts from the waiters come with a line for an additional tip - like you haven't been fleeced already!
The drinks packages in general looked too expensive (unless you're planning to seriously piss it up), though if you like wine with your meal, there are wine packages worth getting in advance, where you buy a fixed number of bottles.
Even soft drinks including water were unreasonably expensive, and having read reports of people having water they took onboard at the start of the cruise confiscated, we just accepted the cost.
Using the Shuttle bus was generally also costly, though we managed to avoid this except for Livorno and Civitavecchia, one of which was complimentary.
The internet was extremely expensive ($0.65 a minute for slow machines with limited software). I brought my laptop and bought the $150 dollar package which roughly halved the cost as I knew I'd need frequent access. However, very frequently wifi was not working. I spent longer at the customer services desk than I did connected to the internet, and the whole thing was very frustrating. To be fair, the staff there were extremely helpful and ultimately they gave me my money back.
The tours were too expensive compared to other cruise lines, and as we were in Western Europe, we just did our own thing. We made our own way to Florence and Rome ($12 each for return ticket including the metro), easy enough with a little homework in advance and way cheaper than any organised tours. Less
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