Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by Beyond The Sea 03: Fantastic Sunny Spain
Overall Member Rating
Fantastic Sunny Spain
This was our 4th RCI cruise, each of them have been 2 week long european cruises. Our children think they are the best possible holidays. We mainly chose this one because the dates fitted our vacation dates & we didn't want to repeat a previous itinerary. This was the biggest ship we'd been on, so our 1st experience with a promenade, ice rink , & flow rider.
My 17yo & 14yo daughters said the cruise was the best 2 weeks of their lives, so as other parents would understand, that made it a very successful holiday for my husband & me.
My husband & I had a port forward balcony on deck 6, & our daughters a promenade view on deck 6 BUT I hadn't realised I had booked their cabin right above the Dog & Badger pub. There is nightly live music in that pub until the early hours, & every word & note transmits straight to the cabins above. There were many justified complaints from my daughters. I went to customer service after the 1st night More asking to change, & was told the ship was fully booked & that it would be impossible to change cabins. By the 3rd night, my 14 yo came to our cabin in the middle of the night with her quilt & pillow to sleep on our couch. I went back to customer service the next day & pleaded with them for a cabin change. We were told they could change to a promenade view cabin on deck 8. Thank goodness! They changed cabins, but the next morning, my daughter woke reeking of stale urine, & realised that the mattress & bedding stank. We contacted cabin staff who said there had been young children in the cabin on the previous cruise, & changed the bedding. So not a great start to the holiday as far as cabins go. However, the stinky bedding & pub noise problems were rectified by the 4th night. Yay! My husband & I were really happy with our balcony cabin & stateroom attendant, Noelia, who brought us an ice bucket each day at 5, & kept the cabin clean.
We really enjoyed the itinerary of the cruise.
We didn't do any of the ship's tours.
We visited a friend in Vigo, & walked to the castle on the hill with a great view.
Lisbon was interesting although my husband had his iPhone pick-pocketed on a tram.
Gibraltar we did a tour by taxi van with another family to the caves, the apes, the rock, & the siege tunnels, then shopping in the main street.
Ibiza my husband & I took a taxi to the old town in the morning, enjoyed exploring that, then a boat back to the ship to collect our daughters who had opted to sleep in. The 4 of us took a taxi to a beach in the afternoon.
We did a DoValencia hot springs tour in Valencia- found it on tripadvisor & recommend it. Loved Mallorca. HOHO bus, did the cathedral, palace, & castle.
Barcelona was the only rainy day of our cruise, but still had a great time, taxi to la Sagrada Familia then Parc Guell, then walked along La Rumbla.
Loved Cadiz. Got a map from tourist office (not far from where we docked ) & walked around the suggested routes. Went to the Cadiz museum & saw Phoenician sarcophagi, really interesting. Great shopping. Cheap shoes!
We didn't have a problem finding a seat in the Windjammer. A couple of times we sat at a table with others & enjoyed meeting people from other countries.
We were a little unlucky at the main dining room. Our 2 waiters were inexperienced, & it seemed had too many clients to attend to, so we appreciated the help of the head waiter, Suraj, on several occasions. We enjoyed most of the food served there.
It was great being able to bring on 2 bottles of wine per cabin for the 1st time. We got a 7 bottle package to have with dinners as well.
There were many teenagers on board which worked really well for our daughters, who were able to meet & socialise with their peers. The 1am curfew for under 18s was enforced, & they were sent to their cabin by security staff at night if found out later than 1. We dined with the girls nightly, but went our separate ways after dinner, which meant my husband & I had some nice,( rare) child free evenings.
We really enjoyed the ice shows. I recommend seeing them! The evening shows in the Alhambra theatre were hit & miss. I liked the entertainment director, Joff. The "Best of British" promenade party on one of the last evenings was a lot of fun- like a giant karaoke party of well known hits.
We found the boat clean, plenty to do, set up to provide a fantastic holiday for cruisers. Yes, people hog the sun loungers, but I just walked around asking "are these taken?" until I found one to use.
There were some things that had unfortunately deteriorated since our last RCI cruises 3 & 5 yrs ago. We noticed extremely little local (spanish) food on offer which was a shame , on a spanish cruise. There were no barbecues on deck on sea days. There were no fresh flowers in the dining rooms. I don't like how items on the menu in the MDR have extra charges. There were no ice sculptures or fruit sculptures which used to give a feel of luxury to the Windjammer. If RCI just charged a few dollars more per customer these things could be re-instated.
Overall, we did enjoy our 2 week cruise, & would happily do it again. Less
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