Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by Wabs: Why not.....definately not!
Overall Member Rating
Why not.....definately not!
Destination: Canary Islands
I will make this a balanced and fair review.
It didn't start well. Embarkation at Southampton involved an hours queue outside the terminal building in freezing weather, then a further 2 hours to get through the check in process to board the ship.
An excessive wait to board a lift (more about the lifts later)then 15 minutes wandering around trying to find the cabin with no crew on hand to point you in the right direction.
The cabin was clean and spacious and the balcony a good size. Tea and coffee available in the room but only paper cups available to use. The bathroom was a good size, the shower resembled a jet wash or high pressure hose pipe with no toiletries and very small bath towels.
Dining in the Othello, a side area to the Romeo & Juliet with only 20 tables most of which were for two was very pleasant. If you want a table for 2 at dining you need to pre-book at the time of booking your cruise. The food was good but got boring after a few days More with daily variations of beef and very limited vegetarian options. The service was excellent although there was a sense of being rushed- one of the problems with being on 1st sitting.
If that's the majority of the positive things here are the bits that were not so good:
Entertainment was pretty poor only thing worth watching was the ice show (lengthy queue for a complementary ticket)and the BMK bike performer. In the end we didn't bother to go to the shows.
Sardines - that's what it felt like on the ship. Although it's a big ship there was not enough public space inside for the 3000+ guests. That meant if the outside weather was cold you had no chance of getting a seat anywhere in the ship public places, or the lounges or the library (which is very small) or the cafes or pubs on the promenade, hence we spent a lot of at sea time in our cabin or our balcony.
Feeding times (just what it felt like) at the Windjammer was dire. Again the food was good but it was virtually impossible to get anywhere to sit as it was frequently overcrowded. We decided the best way to play it was to go for breakfast at 6.30am that way you got a seat, avoided the crowds and (bun fights) and it was the only time the coffee was decent as it was freshly made and had not been left stewing in an urn for hours. For lunch arrive at 11.30am or 2.30pm to avoid the crowds.
Everything seemed to come with a big extra price tag on it. Fresh juices, decent coffee, decent ice cream all had a $4.95 price to pay. Cover charges for the speciality restaurants - OK most cruise lines do that now but a cover charge for a hamburger bar?? Drinks are expensive and by in large of poor quality and the prospect of a $1000+ bar bill ensured we left the alcohol well alone.
A few other points there are only 12 lifts on the ship for 3200 guests. As you can imagine that caused a few problems especially as 7 of the lifts were glass scenic ones and quite small, there was also a large number of people in wheelchairs or with scooters on the cruise which caused even more problems when you needed a lift.
The ports of call were interesting but very little information was available as to what was available in the port or how close you would dock to main areas. As a result we ended up paying for tours we could probably have arranged much cheaper ourselves.
Overall it was a disappointing cruise or more specifically a disappointing ship. I last sailed with RCI about 5 years ago and feel their standards have gone down. I think they are really now second best to Cunard and FO. Less
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