Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by JAYNEC555: First time family cruise
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First time family cruise
Easy embarkation at Southampton, from parking to onboard ship in about 20 minutes. Staff all really friendly and made a fuss of the children.
Arrived on board and went into the coffee shop for drinks and snacks - we were lucky as that was the only time we ever had a seat in there. As mentioned in previous reviews, it is a bit small.
Entered our room at 1pm and were suitably impressed, bed, sofa, nice balcony and all very clean. Three of the four bags arrived by teatime, the last one got broken in transit and the label became detached. After several visits to Guest Services, we found it.
First few days extremely rocky - after being assured that the ship was so big we'd never feel any movement, it was a big shock. However, we had the misfortune of hitting a storm at the same time as the Bay of Biscay which followed us for a couple of days, so can't blame RCI for that one. The captain was great, gave regular updates of where we were and what was happening More and even detoured slightly to miss the eye of the storm which only delayed us by a couple of hours in Vigo (not missed as not very impressive place!)
Once the sun came out it was great - the pool area not too busy and the free ice cream machine went down a storm with the children!
Kid's Club Adventure Ocean was superb, our two were in there continuously, they had games, quizzes, crafts, cinema nights with popcorn in their PJs and apart from an unfortunate accident involving my son's head and a basketball hoop resulting in stitches (the medical team were superb!) all went well.
We didn't frequent the formal restaurant often, we tended to stick to the Windjammer, which had great food (especially cakes!) or Sorrento's which was great for a snack. As was Room Service, although would say the menu a bit limited, but the Hot Chocolate great.
Staff very courteous, always cleaning and some worked like trojans. One criticism with regard to gratuities, you are advised to give them to your stateroom attendant and waiters, whereas there are many other very worthy staff.
Entertainment a bit hit and miss - the Cruise Director very prominent (not always a good thing), Bingo very expensive, we only did it once for a bit of a giggle, but worked out at $32!! Ice Show absolutely superb as was some of the evening entertainment. Some not so good - very dated 70's comic was highly rated but not our cup of tea.
Ports good apart from the Spanish ones (Vigo and La Coruna) - my advice would be skip them to spend more time in Portugal/Madeira, but just my opinion.
All in all a great experience, would definitely cruise again - whether with RCI not sure and would certainly go when the weather a bit more favourable Less
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Cabin review: Independence of the Seas Junior Suite Deck 7 1302
Lovely size, great balcony and very clean. Lots of storage space and good position on the ship as it was in the middle and less prone to movement in the choppy seas (although we did move about quite a bit)!