Returned two hours ago from an 11 day cruise to the Canaries. An outbreak of Noro-virus ensured that several thousand people were kept waiting at Southampton, either shoved into a departure lounge (no water or toilets) or freezing outside in queues, from 2.00pm until 7.30pm while the ship was supposedly 'sanitized'.No-one knew what was going on or how long it would last. Royal Caribbean did not seem to see the importance of keeping their guests in the information loop! Whilst understanding that this was being done for our benefit, the back spasms that I suffered from extended standing, lasted for 8 days of the 11 day cruise-not helped by an uncomfortable mattress! However, all the pre-cruise cleaning, and CONSTANT spraying of all surfaces every five minutes by a fleet of 'Sanitizers', and CONSTANT exhortation to 'wash-your- hands-in-hot-water-with-soap-for-twenty-seconds' did not stop a further outbreak of the Noro-virus.
We were lucky to have pretty good weather, with the temperature rising to a pleasant 22 degrees when were were in Tenerife, and sea conditions that were not too challenging-so our main purpose of getting sea air and some warmer climes were achieved.
However, the food in Windjammer's, Jade and the main dining rooms was at best, mediocre, and at worst, inedible. The coffee was dreadful, even when paid for, promised Art Classes fizzled to nothing, salads were served on hot plates, some of the entertainment was not good. And the QUEUES!!!! Every day there were sections closed off in the dining rooms, while people were made to wait outside--it was outrageous, and made everyone bad tempered.And the bed was so hard, despite the addition of a memory foam mattress,that I slept very badly for eleven nights--not what I have experienced in the past. A brand new sweat shirt was ruined by bleach marks caused by the sanitising spray on the ship's rail--(replaced by something similar from the ship's shop)--but what was that doing to our skin??
So what WAS good about this cruise--well the entertainments director, Joff was the best cruise director we've come across, and quite honestly was much funnier than some of the comedians; the Ice Show was very good and professional; some of the musical offerings were good.
We were really looking forward to this cruise,and have been sadly let down. The highlight for us is that we met a really nice couple, so thank you for that, Independence of the Seas, if for very little else.