This is the first time my husband and I have cruised and everyone we mentioned to that had cruised before said we would love it and would want to book for next year as soon as I got home. I honestly dont know what we have missed out on.
We had to pay for VERY expensive internal flights to Southampton for a start
The ship was VERY impressive: a total of 14 decks with several restaurants, [as the pre-allocated Royal Carib flights were sold out]. Check in wasnt too much of an issue as it seemed to be tailing off when we finally arrived on board.
The good things:
-Very impressive ship
-Excellent food in most restaurants
-Mostly excellent ports
The bad things:
-Exorbitant onboard prices: Alcohol prices were very expensive: Â£5 for a
spirit or beer and any alcohol you buy at a port is taken from you and
returned on the last day of your holiday.
-Constant touting for more money to be spent. Including dropping you off at More expensive vendors on arranged day trips.
-Sunloungers were a joke: they play a recorded message throughout the day
saying any sunloungers left unattended for 30 mins would be cleared for other
customers. I do not know how many times and how many loungers I saw left for
HOURS that were not cleared, yet we left our lounger for 20 minutes once,
and our towel/belongings were removed.
-Kids were allowed to run riot in the pool area harrassing folks using the
-Entertainment focussed mostly to young families/children or OAPs. They
appear to have omitted the 20-40 age group.
-Not all food is inclusive, You need to pay a cover charge for
Chops Grille [a steakhouse]- fook OK, service excellent though.
Johnny Rockets [American/burgers] - food and setting as an old American type
diner very good, but if your kids find out about it and they want to eat here
every night, you are talking Â£4 a head, extra if they want the milkshake,
plus tip on top.
Ben and Jerry [ice cream].
-Windjammer buffet was ok and had a HUGE selection of food. It was very
obvious that some cruisers only go for the food, however it was generally a
bit of a 'bums rush', with grannies generally getting in the road, bumping
into you and and not expecting that they had to queue.
-This cruise defnitely focusses on OAPs/families and was not for young
people. I wasnt looking for 18-30 type entertainment but it was all naff
quizzes/soft rock. [EG: on of the activities offered was how to fold
animals out of towels- seriously?]
-The Spa - the absolute epitome of a joke. I attended for a manicure and
change of nail colour. The manicure itself was Â£35 approx, and a complete
waste of money and she didnt have any nail colour I liked- I ended up having
to use my own. Every other treatment was ridiculously expensive.
-Free Onboard cinema: no Bourne Legacy, Expendables 2 or even Avengers
Assemble; Think instead Forrest Gump, Ghost. Of course for the very cheap
price of $12.50 you can order a more recent movie in your room.....
-Service by barstaff generally pretty rude.
-Even with anytime dining [where you prepaid your tip], you still had
to 'book' a table if you didnt want to dine with other folk at a larger table.
-Even when you had a table for 2, you were so close to other diners, you had no
choice but had to socialise.
-Prepaid tips: you were still offered envelopes to pay tips on the last day.
-Deck 12 pool party with DJ Diggy on the first week. This was by far the
best event of the entire cruise. It actually had some modern music from the
charts, and actually catered to an age group outwith 0-19, 41-99. This only
happened once the entire cruise.
-Most of the ports were exceptional and just left you wanting more,
unfortunately though you just felt you didnt get long enough [one beautiful
port we actually left @ 1pm]. Less
Independence of the Seas Cruises to the Western Mediterranean
This was by far the most beautiful port we visited but we only had between 7am to 1pm.
I would love to have had more opportunity to explore. We have also marked this as one port we would return to on holiday.
It was fantastic to be able to see more of Lisbon from the 4x4, unfortunately though our tour guide wasnt very knowledgeable.
We were generally just pointed out: "here is a museum", "Here is a view", "Here is a little fort", "Here is a bit fort". When we were told "here is the BIG fort". When asked how old, we were told "it is very very very old"!
Worthwile to get quite further afield but dont expect much of a history lesson.
We didnt take Rome excursion as we did Florence the day before. Zero information provided on this port, because they expect everyone to do Rome. The port, Civitavecchia - no information provided, including the fact that their shops close from 12-4pm [even on the Saturday we visited].
Absolutely nothing to do in this port and by far the biggest and poorest port we visited.