Just come back from two weeks doing the med. I have previously done two cruises with P and O and very impressed with them however the independence has things that P and O dont have but overall I feel that P and O are slightly more refined.
The independence is a magnificant ship to look at both outside and inside the staff are very polite and pleasant and the ship was clean all the time. I was disappointed that to have anytime dining the graturities had to be paid up front at time of booking or if you didnt want that you had to have set dining. cruising is not cheap and therefore the guest should have the right to choose who they tip!! that did niggle me.
Luggage when boarding we got on ship at 11.30am and after asking on numerous occassions got our luggage at 7pm. How come Azura who holds over 3,000 people can have the cases outside your room when taking over cabin at 2pm!!! They tell you on a leaflet once you are on the ship you may have to wait up to 9pm if I had been told before I could of taken a change of clothing on for the evening meal.
The food to be fair was very good in the King Lear restaurant and the staff bent over backwards if you wanted extra I made the mistake of saying how much I liked creme brulee I then got it everynight lol in the end I said no more that I thought was very impressive and that out rules P and O to be honest.
The windjammer again plenty to choose from but come on plastic plates and cups and wooden stirers!! and no trays!! not impressed with that.
Sun beds as one gentleman said on here that is just a joke in the 14 days we were on the ship not once did we get a bed by any of the pools due to those selfish ones saving them and no pool attendants removing their towels. Also on deck 12 the sunbeds are put together like sardines and a running track in the middle of them great hearing thudding of people running when trying to sunbathe! not impressed.
The entertainment was good and it was great to see the captain and Joff compete in give us a clue and cause so many laughs Joff I have to say is a very funny man and will be missed.
We had a brief interlude in the medical centre after my husband cut his foot and I have to say that is one very impressive place and extremely clean and as good as any A and E department.
Overall enjoyed the cruise and the ports, met some lovely people as you do on cruise holidays. disappointed that rules seem to be set i.e sunbed length of time but no one follows them up. Also my husband and I could not get over the amount of people filling their pockets with freebie jams, etc from the windjammer, walking around the ship with plates of food and going into the lifts with plates of food and on two occassions food being left in lifts!! I certainly was able to have enough food with out having to take out of the windjammer I cant recall the ship running short of food whilst we were on it!!!
also my husband and I like the formal nights and we were surprised that people on the formal nights were allowed in to the restaurants (king Lear) with open neck shirts and trousers. I thought the windjammer was a place you could go if you didnt want to dress up. P and O would not allow you in to a mdr without black tie or tucks. That was disappointing and to be honest as it was so relaxed it gave us not insentive to dress up on the last formal so we went to the windjammer.
overall the cruise was relaxing and the ports were great but just probably wouldnt do RCI again.