We’ve recently returned from a 14 night cruise of Spain and the Canary Islands. It’s our second time on this ship and our fourth with RCI. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this holiday because I did, but there were a few issues that ... Read More
We’ve recently returned from a 14 night cruise of Spain and the Canary Islands. It’s our second time on this ship and our fourth with RCI. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this holiday because I did, but there were a few issues that prevent me from giving this a five star review.
The ship and the staff are incredible. Despite being very busy we didn’t encounter any of the over-crowding problems mentioned in other reviews. It never took more than a couple of minutes to get a drink, even at busy times. The food was generally good. The main dining room seems to have slipped a little since last year, but it’s still good. The speciality restaurants are all excellent and not too expensive if you pre-book a dining package before you get on board. I enjoyed all the bars and felt we received great service from the staff right across the ship.
The delux drinks package is well worth having, with a great selection of spirits and cocktails. What lets it down is the quality of the wines. The reds and whites are pretty poor and the “champagne” is awful. It’s a non-descript sparking French wine which smells like a clogged drain.
Our cabin, a balcony on deck 6, was okay. It looked a little tired in the places and the carpets and curtains were outdated, but it was a good size and kept clean and tidy. I slept well every night, even in rough seas, so the bed was very comfortable.
The entertainment was excellent. There’s a first-rate production of Grease and the ice shows are stunning. The themed nights on the promenade are good fun though they do get very crowded and hot. We had a party under the stars one night on the upper decks which was fun too.
What let the holiday down for me was the large number of children and teenagers onboard. We deliberately went during school term time but this seemed to make no difference. I know the Scottish half term took place during this fortnight but most of the kids were English, meaning they’d been kept out school for this trip. It resulted in all the issues raised in previous reviews: kids running around unsupervised, playing in the lifts late at night, etc.
We were also unfortunate to encounter a lot of Diamond class snobs on this cruise. They bragged about the Diamond lounge like it was the holy grail, then proceeded to moan about it: how small it is, how common it’s become, how there are too many diamond members on the ship and they were forced to mingle with the “riff raff”. We had four of these people on a table of eight at dinner and I found the constant moaning to be a drain, especially in the second week. Not RC’s fault, just the luck of draw for table seating. I wouldn’t like to think I’d ever go on a huge, beautiful ship and spend most of my time sitting in a single cafeteria-style room, not matter how many points I’d achieved, just to feel special.
The itinerary was good, with a nice balance of sea and shore days. I always enjoy the sea days with plenty to do across the ship. We had a bit off iffy weather on the way back: 5 metre waves and 60 mph winds, but the ship handled it well and with the stabilizers engaged it wasn’t too bad at all. It took about six hours to get through the worst of it, which we spent on a low deck, midship with little to worry about.
So, to summarise, Independence is a wonderful ship with lots of do and enjoy, let down by the odd issue here and there. But with the recent refit designed to appeal to families rather than couples, I don’t think I’ll be sailing on her, or any RC ship, anytime soon. I’d rather book with an adult only company and guarantee a child free, more relaxing cruise. Read Less