Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by sjb2173: Good but could be better for families with younger children
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Good but could be better for families with younger children
This was our second cruise with RC but this time we took our 3 and 5 yr old girls and one set of grandparents - which is why we chose not to fly. We booked two deluxe balcony rooms with an adjoining door. The room space was okay, not much room with sofa bed made up but ample and other than some passive smoking from other balcony users - it was lovely - please note only two chairs and very small table/foot stool per cabin - so eating breakfast on your balcony without a table difficult. Not a bad size shower room, bed very comfy, room a bit dated and adjoining room door had obviously been taped up at some point and then torn off as some of paint removed in process which did not look great - but this being picky.
Ship lovely and big, very clean, staff genuinely friendly and helpful. A lot of the staff we met seemed to have children of a similar age and were often keen to share this with you and show photos of their children on their phones - which was nice to share.
Be More prepared for your arrival n the ship we had stayed over the night before as had long journey and got on board just before midday. Army of people on carpark which is the one recommended by RC which was approx. 10 mins walk to terminal (with luggage and children and elderly grandparents). Security and check in through terminal fine but OMG the Windjammer was jammed - horrendous - so be prepared. We just found somewhere else to go - as just impossible to find anywhere to sit let alone work out where everything was - food/drink etc. Cabins were available at 1pm so leave it until after that.
Chose to have 6pm table in Romeo and Juliet restaurant, had lovely table for 6 right by the window which the girls loved - we had requested this - so thanks RC for booking this as this was one of the highlights for us. We made use of the Explorers club (3-5 yrs) my 5 yr old was 6yrs on the last day of the holiday - but she and her sister really enjoyed the club. The girls could have their evening meal at the club as the staff took them down to the Windjammer which meant we could have a break during the evening - up until 10 pm (unfortunately most of the shows were 9pm to 10pm - so we always had to leave early to collect them- so we never saw a full show),Husband loved the waverider and had good opening times such as first thing in the morning and later on in the afternoon. I used the gym 4-5 times good selection of equipment although frustratingly only two rowers of which one was out of use for the whole cruise. I used spa twice which was lovely, look at for offers especially on last day at sea. Drinks - glass of wine in main restaurant $8, cocktail similar price - not big drinker so didnt bother with any drinks package - think you have to average about 7 drinks per day to get use out of it. Food in both Windjammer and main restaurant lovely - salad bar in main restaurant nice, limited for children but nice change Childrens menu in main restaurant was the same for the whole cruise? Girls bit bored of it by the end of the cruise.. After 3-4 days we just avoided Windjammer for food - busy and difficult to keep getting up and down for food when having to find food for four people. Would say 60% of people on boat over 60yrs and rest families and younger couples. Quite a few mobility scooters and wheelchairs - never a problem - other than lift usage - long waits sometimes - we walked when we could but hard with tired little legs to go up several flights of stairs. Grandparents enjoyed all shows, we found times limiting, often on at 7pm or 9pm - we dined at 6pm so 7pm too early and 9pm too late with younger children.
Went to Jonny Rockets one night - which was fun - nice burgers and onions rings and the girls loved their milkshakes and the staff dancing.
Some of ports of call disappointing and the good ones we had to rush to get back to the ship as it was leaving early? Vigo - shopping and poor at that. Did not help as pouring with rain.
Lisbon - lovely went to Belem which was nice, but huge queue to get off the ship - only one card checking machine, which didnt help. Be prepared to pay $12 per person to use RC shuttle bus if no pre-booked excursion which I knew about prior to going, so factor this in prior to going - walking huge distances was not an option for our party. Also in Lisbon - shuttle bus chaos - waited good 30 mins before buses actually arrived and this was at 11am, not 8am so should have been more organised - very stressful. I gave feedback about this with customer services on the ship but did not appear that interested.
Lanzarote - booked trip to beach - lovely
Gran Canaria - didnt get off ship - didnt want to go shopping and didnt book an excursion
Tenerife - Loro Parque - which was great - but had to rush round and I mean fly round to see what dolphin/whale shows they had - got there at 1030 - back on coach by 230pm - not enough time. Note - free shuttle bus offered by local town - refreshing - RC take note??
Madeira - had prebooked whale and dolphin boat trip which was cancelled due to poor weather So got shuttle bus to town and went up mountain in cable car - not bad.
La Coruna - really dont bother getting off we did get off and and lost an hour walking round 'shops' - think it is just good place for ship to stop off and re-fuel to be honest.
You could have left your children in kids club from 0900 - 0730am some mornings til 10pm - not for lunch and tea on days at sea, we had poor weather 3-4 days and when too rough for pool other than kids club and crazy golf not a huge amount for them to do.Ice skating rink - limited times only one day that could use and other 3 sessions that were offered were in the evenings. Wanted to let my 5 nearly 6 yrs old use climbing wall - had to be 6yrs - this needs to be highlighted disappointed child. They spent a few afternoons watching the same three barbie films shown on the cabin TV that just got repeated. The big screen over the pool bit of a waste - same film played twice over cruise, of course whole weekend of football for those essential games? No kids films shown on the ship during the cruise, halfway through cruise on cruise survey suggested using Pyramid lounge for a kids popcorn and film session? Did play new Superman film in there twice but not suitable for our two. TV in cabin - yes we did watch it whilst our two were asleep - very poor if there was a film on which was not every night - it just kept getting repeated - but of course you could purchase a film to watch for $13? Swimming pool area for children was good with two hot tubs which our two loved. The ice show was great and at a time which our two could go - so worth queuing for the tickets.
Also tip if celebrating a birthday remember banner, balloons etc - we enquired about a celebration banner for our cabin door - $31?? Needless to say we didnt buy one. We bought a birthday cupcake for our daughter for the last night of the cruise - but not allowed to take any leftover cake off ship next day which was shame as rest had to go in the bin. Did take our two for a cupcake decorating lesson at Cupcake cupboard which they enjoyed and it filled 30 mins.
All in all would we cruise with RC again -not until our children are a lot older - think we will Disney cruises a go next time. It was a good trip - but could have been so much better!. Less
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We booked two deluxe balcony rooms with an adjoining door. The room space was okay, not much room with sofa bed made up but ample and other than some passive smoking from other balcony users - it was lovely - please note only two chairs and very small table/foot stool per cabin - so eating breakfast on your balcony without a table difficult. Not a bad size shower room, bed very comfy, room a bit dated and adjoining room door had obviously been taped up at some point and then torn off as some of paint removed in process which did not look great - but this being picky.