Southampton hotels were all fully booked as three ships left on same day, so travel agency should have booked a hotel for night before boarding. We sorted that by staying in a lovely inn in the New Forest.
Boarding was fairly smooth, but our room was reserved by another couple and they always referred to us by their name. The room was good, interior stateroom, with excellent room valet. We quickly noticed the great amount of mobility scooters, wheelchairs, crutches etc, wherever you were on the ship. The promenade of the ship was like being in a shopping mall, really unimpressive and a complete waste of space. The ship was really just a big money grab full of cabins and very little free space for anyone. The average age of the passengers had to be at least into the eighties, with the majority being disabled and needing assistance. We witnessed one mobility scooter user, lifting her scooter off the boat ramp and climbing on it again, and we think that if you can lift it, you don't need it.
The food in the Romeo and Juliet restaurant was not good for choice and was never warm enough. The Windjammer buffet was crowded at all hours it was open, and you were lucky to get a seat. So, now to Royal Caribbean. Drinks package costs $1320.00 for a couple for 12 nights, for the cheapest wine you can imagine, and other drinks of poor quality. This is optional of course, but all the other drinks were very expensive, and would have to be signed for each time. You will never get into profit with the drinks package. The bars upstairs were on deck 14, had comfortable chairs, but they were taken up by sleeping seniors, and slow bar service, if they were open at all. Bars close at 1:00 am at the latest. We had talked with Tracey the Guest services manager, and complained about the lack of activities for people and space for relaxation and she apologized but there were no other activities.
We are experienced cruisers, but found this boring, the seminars were about arthritis and back pain, so who wants to go to that! Only thing we could do was quizzes and bingo, and that was really expensive..$22.00 for three tickets.
Summary: Boring, poor food, crowded, no space for relaxation, pool bars close when when quiet, old people everywhere, DONT GO on Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas.