For our eleventh cruise with R.C.C.L. we decided to explore the Canary Isles, including ports in Spain and Portugal .We flew Air Canada Kelowna to Vancouver B.C. then direct to Heathrow U.K. (albeit a night flight). By previously arranging for a limousine from the Airport to Southampton to our surprise the flight was on time and our driver was at the departure gate holding up our name card, who then whisked us on a leisurely ride to the Holiday Inn Hotel . Our room had an outstanding view of ships docking at the port.
Within Royal Caribbean's spectacular fleet the Independence of the Seas excels in comfort and design. The crew and Executive officers certainly compliment the vessel. No detail is overlooked to satisfy the guests however small. Cudos went to the young lady in housekeeping who took the time to" iron out" the quirks for a novice to "get on line" in the computer room. An additional merit went to the Cabin Steward in Deck 3 who dumped out his vacuum bag at the end of the day to search and retrieve a lost diamond earing. A particular commendable quality went also to our dining room waiters at the Main seating who seemed to have insight into our cuisine desires without looking at the menu. All parties received additional gratuities for their extra effort..Additionally a word of praise also goes out to the new Hotel Director who managed on the 3rd day to place a jar of Chutney on the condiment table to accompany the many delectable curry dishes presented in the Windjammer buffet.Our stateroom was really centralized especially for the entrance to the dining room and convenient also to the elevators.The cabin had recently been added to the deck plan when the ship underwent renovation..
The Guest service staff were very attentive and informative .....even crediting for a problem experienced in" logging on" to the computer room.
By prearranging several tours for the a.m. departures ,we did not consider the fall weather. We now know that in this part of the world........ it rains in the morning and the sun appears at noon! One interesting tour however was the visit to the distillery vintage room and the sampling of various grades of Madeira wine. Everyone on the tour lugged back a bottle or two to the ship., where it was delivered to ones cabin the night prior to departure.
In comparison to previous cruises the Theatre Headliner acts were below par , but if one couples the superb ice show then the total entertainment could be graded 4 stars.
The only downer on disembarkation that created some stress was a missing suitcase at the baggage pick up area. Thankfully this was subsequently found and despatched to the Doubletree Hilton at Heathrow Airport where we pre booked a reservation due to a business commitment. The Manageress thankfully made all the necessary phone calls to the Royal Caribbean baggage contractor at Southampton to ensure delivery by 6.30 pm. This hotel's management went "above and beyond' in this instance for a one time guest ,otherwise the Baggage Company would be required to arrange shipping the bag to Canada. The assumption was that a porter presumably picked up the wrong suitcase, which was returned after our transfer bus left for Heathrow.
What more can I say!............ other than we will take another cruise on the Legend of the Seas in '14 to the Panama Canal.. Submitted by Sailer Stan.