Ok so to start at the very beginning...check in...smooth as a babies' bum! Our main cases were taken off us as soon as we got out of the taxi at the port. there were plenty of people on hand to direct you to the right places etc. Yes there was a long zig zag line to check in and they did have "technical issues" at the time but all the staff kept you well informed and when you did get to the desk a few minutes and we were on the ship!
First impressions of the ship?....WOW much bigger than I expected...and completely spotless!
Our stateroom was comfortable, clean, and spacious, our balcony the same.
Staff...mostly they were friendly, accommodating and put across that nothing was too much trouble...they were a few individuals that let that side down but they work very hard..and they are human so it must be hard for them to be at their best everyday.
Food...windjammer...plenty of choice (too much i think) great for family's, it'll fill your tummy, but don't expect it to rock your world (don't bother with the mushrooms at breakfast).
We were in the King Lear dining room and used this most nights and I have no complaints, the food was delicious every time, great choice (inc sugar free) and the waiters were helpful when you needed something altered. There was even a menu for those watching their curves!
Specialty dinning...we used Johnny Rockets it was great for a $4.95 cover charge per person (not including drinks) the food and service was great...what i will say is that a cover charge should mean "cover" drinks and all...but there you go...
On board activities...There was always something going on for varied ranges and interests....please stay away from the bingo it is expensive, its poorly run and very low value for money...
Drinks...quite expensive so if you do enjoy the tipple or three be prepared...but there is a good cocktail/liquor choice, not a great beer choice and they do vary between bars.
Royal promenade...a great place to waste some time...cafe promenade...good coffee but needs to be bigger, not a space you could really relax in as there were people staring at you for your seat!! Items in shops are expensive...don't be fooled by the $10 dollar sales...there are what they say on the tin, don't bee line for your watches and handbags they will be sales so bide your time...the duty free shop is quite good for deals and the perfume house isn't too bad...do shop around in port though you could find a bargain! Generally the facilities are there that they say are they but they are not as good as RCI likes to think they are...
Entertainment...the ice show was lovely, various times to try and suit everyone but the ice rink was smaller than expected and at times you could tell the skaters were used to a bigger rink...
The shows...the entertainment team are talented but the "once upon a time" show I found to be childish and pantomime like...the last show was however age appropriate and fantastic!
There was also a singer they brought in for one night...she was ok but her speaking voice reminded me of sue off sooty and sweep (hehe). There was also a comedienne that was really funny.
Other notes, cruising from Southampton was a great option for the elderly and disabled passengers...and although the facilities on board were good for theses passengers and think RCI could do better, people on scooters often had to struggle to get around, resulting in frustration from their fellow passengers who often had injured toes and found their children often being victims of poor steering and lack of room for lots of scooters to be able to move around...the elderly often had to struggle to get their food and stay upright at the same time.
Also the weather and the roughness of the bay of bisque did detract from being able to fully enjoy all of indy's facilities (in fact 100 people disembarked in Madeira and flew home because they were tired of the weather)
The excursions were varied but quite expensive I felt sorry for families!
I also had to partake in the medical facility...beware a European health insurance card wont help you here so make sure you are fully insured! The medical facilities are quite impressive onboard, (thank godness)
So would I cruise with RCI again? Yes, definitely...service, experience and value for money is great (cant wait for the sunshine class to be launched)
I don't think I would do the same itinerary at the same time of year again but RCI doesnt control the weather.
But above all the cruise is what you make of it if you want an amazing holiday, regardless of everything RCI will give you that..no problem.