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Sail Date: November 2010
We booked the Cruise fairly late, through a local trusted travel agent. Our flights, via Easy Jet were independent of the Cruise and were fine for what they were - no complaints.Upon arrival at Malaga, having collected our luggage we were ... Read More
We booked the Cruise fairly late, through a local trusted travel agent. Our flights, via Easy Jet were independent of the Cruise and were fine for what they were - no complaints.Upon arrival at Malaga, having collected our luggage we were met by two RCCL reps who directed us to the area to collect our inclusive transfer. As per usual, we did not see our luggage again until it was delivered to our State Room.We were lucky, in that the coach left the airport within 5 minutes of our boarding; however, one passenger was moaning that they had been waiting for ages. I guess that is the luck of the draw.The coach journey from the airport to the Cruise Port was approx. 20 minutes and was comfortable and uneventful.Upon arrival at the port two long lines had formed, one for those with luggage (independent travelers), the other, for those without luggage, such as us.Although appearing long, the lines moved very quickly, and within a few minutes we were within the terminal and were directed to an even shorter line, which moved even quicker to the check in staff.Be careful....the Spanish don't know the meaning of the word line, and if you give an inch, they will take a mile and push in where they can, this was experienced throughout the trip. We cant however, blame RCCL for this!As we had completed our Cruise questionnaire online and have printed the 'Sea Pass', if we were at the check in desk for longer than three minutes it was a long time. We were there just long enough for RCCL to take an imprint of my pre registered credit card, to be issued with our charge/key cards and to complete a health questionnaire.We then followed the signs and headed onto the ship via a welcome aboard photo. Being a Coke Drinker, as usual I signed up for the Soda package, which provided I had at least three soft drinks a day (which I did), worked out to be very good value.Being the 'foodie' that I am, upon embarkation we headed straight to the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11. As expected, it was busy, but again, lines moved quickly and we quickly found a table to sit at.I cant stress enough, that now having done a number of Cruises, I must say that the food served in the Windjammer was fantastic, probably, the freshest, hottest, well presented and variety that I have come across.Having fed my rotund stomach, we headed to our Room, 8226, which was port side virtually at the front with a balcony.The room was exactly as expected, being well proportioned, very clean, ample closet space, nice balcony ......in fact, no different than any other Cruise Line in size (although layout slightly different) and more than adequate. My only complaint, although again, not RCCLs fault, as we booked so late the position of this cabin was the only one available, therefore we had a long walk to get anywhere.Over the years, we have seen all Cruise lines cut back a little each year. On this Cruise we noted that no toiletries were provided except for soak and shampoo. Long gone are the days of robes and luxury toiletries being provided it would seem. The one disappointing item (which my Mrs. Wont be impressed with, with me mentioning) was that we did not receive a little chocolate on our pillow at night. When I casually enquired about this I was told that RCCL ceased this practice three years earlier.......which I'm not sure is actually the case.We had a walk around the ship. Full compliments to RCCL for what really is a beautiful vessel in excellent decorative order. The weather had a lot to be desired and therefore we were unable to make use of the Swimming Pools or Sun Decks, but they certainly matched every other ship we have been on.Although not for us, the external rock climbing wall was impressive as was the Ice Skating ring, which despite my wife's best intentions, she never actually got round to using.On a Cruise ship I normally spend half my time waiting for lifts. Strangely, on this ship the lifts were fast and we noticeably didn't have to wait long.Having Cruised with RCCL some 17 years previously, we failed to mention this when we booked. Whilst in the UK, through our travel agents RCCL acknowledged our previous cruise and therefore we were entered into the Crown and Anchor society. When on board, we identified that this had not been carried across to our room key (indication) and that no other benefits were provided. Upon visit the guest relations lady, who was more than helpful, she noted our previous cruise, applied labels to our room keys and issued us with the discount booklet and ensured we were invited to the welcome back party.The discount book was well worth having as it included discounts on the Internet packages, free drinks and discounts to onboard purchases.Having packed my laptop so that we could communicate with our Children via Skype and so that I could log into my office and check emails etc.....we purchased a 500 minute Internet Package, which, in the end was excessive which cost us $145.00 with discount from the discount book. I was disappointed that the data socket in our room did not work and we did not have Wi-Fi in our cabin. This left us using a few Wi-Fi Hotspots around the ship. RCCL - if anything, please enable the Data sockets in the cabins or provide Wi-Fi throughout!Internet Access throughout our trip, whilst not as fast as land based was more than adequate.Dinner time - we opted for first sitting at 6.45 and requested a table of 8. We got exactly what we asked for and were seated with 6 other people from the UK, all of whom were very pleasant. The choice of food would suit anyone's palette. Our Waiter was very attentive and polite, always offering his recommendation of the day having gone into great detail about each course. Equally, the assistant waiter was very efficient. On the first evening I requested a regular coke. From that moment on, every evening upon sitting down a regular coke would appear, and when that was finished, it was replaced as was my wife's water. Likewise, another member of our table had a taste for ketchup with everything, low and behold, a bottle of ketchup was by her seat each evening. The meal was three courses (most other Cruises have been 4 courses) and no petite pours afterwards (first cruise never to be offered these), but plenty of tea and coffee. Although not on the menu, I asked for Cheese and Biscuits in place of (or on occasion as well as) dessert which was forthcoming with a good selection of cheese.The Head Waiter came to our table each evening and spoke to each of us in turn ensuring that we were delivering what was expected....and it was.On three of the evenings the waiters did a song and dance routine, which was appreciated by all and were great photo opportunities.My wife and I took the opportunity of having breakfast in each of the locations offered on different days, this being the Windjammer, one of three restaurants which offered a buffet and another of the three restaurants which offered À la carte. The choice and quality of food in each was fantastic. The advantage of the A la carte menu was that I could have Kippers, a personal favorite of mine. In the end, the Windjammer was a personal favorite for variety with everything you would expect for a Full English Breakfast, to Continental Breakfast and everything in between. All served freshly, hot and tasty. As expected, an Omelet Station was also provided and there were no long lines for toast (of which there were several options available).Whilst lunch was available in one of the Dining Rooms we chose to lunch each day, except the final day in the Windjammer. For those that wanted them, they had hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza as well as full lunches with a different carvery each day with a variety of potatoes, vegetables and salads.On our last day on board we sampled Jonny Rockets which had a small surcharge for as much as you could eat. The restaurant is an American themed restaurant serving burgers, hotdogs, shakes, floats etc.....with the waiters performing a show and dancing every half an hour. Withy prior knowledge of what was on offer, due to our own dietary constraints we could not eat any of the meat products, however, everyone else was commenting on how great it all tasted.RCCL - Please note. We were very disappointed to note that unlike any other Cruise we have ever been on, the Windjammer Cafe closed each evening with no Midnight Buffet (acknowledged as being a thing of the past). Whilst a Cafe on the Promenade deck (deck 5) is open 24 hours, the only items available were slices of pizza, cakes and biscuits. I have come accustomed to visiting the 24 hour buffet, if only to look and not eat (well, I normally have something!) before bed, after all, with the first dining sitting being at 6.45 pm I can get hungry!Unusually for us, we only ordered room service once; this was for early morning coffee and tea to our room. It arrived earlier than expected, but in fairness, they telephoned us ahead to say it was on route. The Room service menu was comprehensive, although RCCL charged for room service between midnight and 05.00 - only approx $4, but still something we are not used to.The Cruise Director and his staff were excellent. There were three parades along the main 'Royal Promenade' during the Cruise which can be compared to a Disney Main Street Parade. Whilst we only attended the last one, we were told they were very enjoyable.The ship provided entertainment each evening with two shows included. Unfortunately, whilst they were to a high standard they were not to our personal liking. The shows did not have a story line as such with a few of us, despite the noise, dropping off to sleep. It is clear that when a Cruise has many non English guests, such as this Cruise had, the feasibility of having comics is unlikely and a decent proportion of the guests would not be able to understand the humor or the language. It was very interesting and important to note that during the behind the scenes tour we were told that a show lasts on a ship for up to 5 years, therefore, depending on when you travel, if you were to travel on this vessel again in the near future you would more than likely see the same entertainment, excepting guest entertainers of course.The Ice show was particularly good, repeated twice a day on each of the two sea days. However, the Ice Skaters did fall over a few times during each show! Until the end of the show it was difficult to guess what the theme of the show was...it turned out to be fashion.As expected, the onboard Orchestra was excellent as was the Pianist in the Schooner Bar and other music provided at various bars around the ship.The Bingo was well attended and presented well, unfortunately, we didn't win anything but the cash prizes were decent amounts.Being old and tired we didn't venture into the Disco.Like so many other ships, this cruise included an art auction, which is something my wife and I particularly enjoy. As usual, despite my wife holding my arm down so I couldn't bid, I won and we ended up purchasing two items of art at fantastic value. The auctioneer was excellent in his delivery and knowledge of the works of art and his team was very professional. It has to be acknowledged that the Spanish generally don't purchase art at sea and the contingent of the guests was not the type that would ordinarily purchase art. I therefore doubt that despite his best efforts if the auctioneer met his target! The free champagne was flowing at each auction.RCCL Please note - we were very disappointed with the goods sold within your on board shops. RCCL missed lots of opportunity to sell branded goods such as photo albums and RCCL branded chocolate etc... which would have made ideal gifts; unfortunately we had to purchase gifts on land. Our Cruise included two ports of call, Tenerife and Madeira, whilst a Varity of Ship Excursions were available none of them appealed to us, so we got off the ship and made our own arrangements.Disembarkation was simple and unhurried, unlike previous cruises we did not feel that we were being pushed off the ship.Value for money - In my opinion excellent value for money. Whilst know one ever pays brochure price I can tell you that the price we paid in total, which included the flights (and one suitcase each), plus transfer to and from the ship was exceptional. There was talk around the ship that some passengers paid £150.00! Each (for an inside cabin)...if true, £150.00 for a 5 night inclusive cruise is unbelievable. Whilst I am not crying for RCCL, even with the quantity of scales involved (over 3000 passengers and 1,200 crew) it is difficult to see how RCCL made any money, maybe this is why the little things that I have picked up on that we expected and weren't in place, were indeed, not included. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We had been on Calypso last year and knew that Spirit would be as good. The plus for these ships is that every passenger is friendly and ready to talk and at each meal you meet someone different to talk to. The cabin staff are very ... Read More
We had been on Calypso last year and knew that Spirit would be as good. The plus for these ships is that every passenger is friendly and ready to talk and at each meal you meet someone different to talk to. The cabin staff are very friendly (perhaps with a view to a monetary gain at the end of the cruise!!) The shows are terrific and the crews talent contest not to be missed. We were lucky to have Elvis as a waiter and entertainer on that night. He was a star! The one place that should be missed out on this cruise is Agadir - not worth going to do. Everyone we talked to who had been was of the same opinion. Some places could do with a shuttle transfer from docks. A shuttle was available at Lanzarote but Madiera could hae really done with one. Thoroughly recommend Thompson Cruises. I have been on nine Pricess Cruises - which I have enjoyed, but my next one will be on Thompsons. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We booked this cruise as we felt it would be a lovely way to celebrate Christmas. We travel with two severely disabled young adults who are our children and have cruised many times, albeit, not with P & O. I have to state at the ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we felt it would be a lovely way to celebrate Christmas. We travel with two severely disabled young adults who are our children and have cruised many times, albeit, not with P & O. I have to state at the beginning of this review, that it is without a doubt, the worse cruise our family has taken. Firstly, I will highlight the good points. The cabins were good and kept totally clean throughout the cruise by our steward, who spoke little English, but was good at his job. Some of the reception staff were helpful and friendly, but some were not. We were allocated a table in the Peninsular restaurant, and, although we would normally use alternative dining due to my sons dietary needs and disabilities, we had to use the Peninsular as food in the conservatory was so awful! During our cruise, there were a number of Norovirus cases, and apparently, due to this, precautions were obviously taken with regards to stopping self service in the conservatory and Alfresco's. We do feel that if the use of hand gel had been insisted upon earlier in the cruise, this may not have happened. It always amazes us that some people absolutely refuse to use the gel that is there to safeguard them! We feel that if there was one member of staff allocated to making sure this was used, it would save problems in the long run. The food in the conservatory was dire. The choice was extremely limited and the themed dinner buffets made it useless to us as all food in there was spicy. The themes were Indian, Thai, Mexican, Caribbean, Country and Western, with no alternatives. We have never been on a ship where the is so little choice. Also, portion control was practised, which again, we have never had on any ship we have been on. This is the first cruise where 3 of our party has not put on any weight at all. On one occasion, I asked for some Cheddar cheese to accompany crackers in the conservatory. I was given a piece of cheese which was approximately the size of half a cheese triangle. I asked if I could have more and was told that was a portion. We accept that the staff had to serve the food due to the virus on board, but many dozens of people felt that P & O saved an awful lot of money on food during the cruise. We also appreciate that some people are greedy and take food they do not eat. This was not the case, the portions were minute. Alfresco was where we ate our breakfast most days. The staff were good, but again, portion control was practised. My son eats only soft food and so a cheese omelette was the perfect choice. The omelettes were thinner than most crepes and although he has a small appetite, we needed to go back for another omelette for him each day. We were served to one piece of bacon and half a tomato. Scramble eggs were being served by the half spoonful. The Peninsular was good and they tried very hard to cater for my children. I cannot fault them at all. As this was a Christmas cruise, we expected the atmosphere to be festive and the entertainment to match the season. This was absolutely not the case! After the first 3 days, I found myself apologising to my family for taking them away from Christmas. Even the staff were unable to disagree that it seemed Christmas was cancelled. On Christmas Eve, it seemed we may have Christmas after all. Santa arrived on deck accompanied by Christmas music. The choir sang and were really good. Later, the crew sang Carols, and the show, 'Jingle all the way' was very festive. Apart from church services, that's where it ended! Christmas day was a huge anti-climax with very little to do. The only difference to the normal days entertainment was that words were added, ie frosty shuffleboard, Rudolph carpet bowls etc. It was pathetic! Christmas dinner in the Peninsular was good and quite festive. I can truthfully say that I have never heard so many people saying that they couldn't wait to get back to Southampton. I am not just talking about the usual moaners that all ships have, but families and people who had travelled with P & O many times. We spoke to many, many people who felt this way and the staff were apologising for the lack of Christmas. I had people who were horrible to my children, which has never happened on any other cruise. I have never been so glad to leave a ship and return home and will never travel with P & O again. I will also not recommend them to family or friends. We feel we lost our Christmas Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
My first Christmas on holiday and now I know why some people choose to spend them holidaying..... I deliberately chose a fairly small ship as I was travelling solo. I wanted friendliness and was not disappointed. Such a ... Read More
My first Christmas on holiday and now I know why some people choose to spend them holidaying..... I deliberately chose a fairly small ship as I was travelling solo. I wanted friendliness and was not disappointed. Such a variety of food - being a fish lover I tasted the best fish dishes ever: including grilled hake, flaked salmon, tuna, cod, poached salmon. What really helped to make it was the entertainment - 5* Christmas Day I watched a pantomime with a real traditional flavour and all 7 evening performances including a comedian and Dean Martin impersonator. All were great!! On entering the main restaurant Christmas morning I was greeted with - Madam, would you like bucks fizz or champagne with your breakfast? Lovely Will definitely be sailing on the ship again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
We set sail on a snowy day in Southampton, after waiting 30 minutes we boarded to find our cases already outside our stateroom..result! This was our 3rd trip on the Queen Victoria and so after unpacking we went to the Lido for a spot of ... Read More
We set sail on a snowy day in Southampton, after waiting 30 minutes we boarded to find our cases already outside our stateroom..result! This was our 3rd trip on the Queen Victoria and so after unpacking we went to the Lido for a spot of lunch and then later watched as a brass band played as we sailed away with Mr & Mrs Christmas on the quay waving us off. Our first port of call was La Coruna where unfortunately it was raining. That night there was a strong gale which made walking in heels a bit of a challenge but Queen Victoria handled the seas well. Next it was Lisbon, one of our favorite places and again it didn't disappoint, a wonderful town with lots to see and do with some of the friendliest people you could wish to meet. Gibraltar next, 24th December and warm enough to sit in a swimsuit on the balcony! Christmas day on board was a delight, good food, entertainment and a little gift from Cunard, very nice. On the 26th December we were in Lanzarote, while here we went on a trip to Fire Mountain, a trip not to be missed and the landscape is awesome! Our next stop was Gran Canaria followed by La Palma, where it was 74 degrees, and then on to Madeira. We stopped overnight at Madeira and were moored out in the bay when the fireworks went off at midnight New Years eve. It was a fantastic display and from our balcony we had a spectacular view. As always the service on Cunard couldn't be faulted, the only disappointment were the shows which were a repeat, except for the comedians, of the entertainment we saw in August and July the year before! Come on Cunard, if you want us to keep returning then update the shows. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
Myself (31) and my partner (37) have just returned from an 11 day Canaries and Morocco cruise aboard NCL Jade and felt that I just had to write a review to dispel some of the negative comments which are posted on these sites. I had read so ... Read More
Myself (31) and my partner (37) have just returned from an 11 day Canaries and Morocco cruise aboard NCL Jade and felt that I just had to write a review to dispel some of the negative comments which are posted on these sites. I had read so many that we were beginning to dread our trip. We have cruised before with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean & P&O and until now Royal Caribbean were our favourites and P&O were despicable and we would never ever cruise with them again. I was worried about the freestyle aspect of NCL and thought that maybe it wouldn't be as special as a regular cruise and would be far more informal in terms of customer service provided however need not have worried. We booked the cruise with cruise.co.uk for an amazing price and booked our own flights and an overnight stop in Barcelona the night before. This was an excellent money saver and no hassle of flying early morning or missing the ship, with an added bonus of a whole day in Barcelona to sight see. We reached the cruise terminal by taxi at 12 midday and were on the ship by 12.45pm, we were greeted by efficient and friendly staff checking us in and printing our cruise cards and there were no queues longer than 2 or3 people at a time. Every person was asked to have their hands sanitized before boarding to try and contain any germs aboard and this continued to my satisfaction all cruise, staff members placed in strategic areas giving hands one quick spray is hardly a chore and is for everyone's own good except the odd dirty few who refused. We left our hand luggage in a holding area so were free to roam the ship comfortably and had lunch in the garden cafe buffet which was a bit busy and manic but nothing new for the first day until people settle. Plentiful choice of foods and everyone well catered for. Fruit and salad stations, hot meat Carvery's, pasta as you want it cooked with any sauce etc, breads, soups, cheeses, cold meats and daily specials anything you can think of really. Staff served the food for the 1st couple days just to be sure of no virus outbreaks on board but was back to normal on 3rd morning. Our cabin on deck 11 was ready by 3pm and was compact but as expected, the bathroom was larger than expected however and lovely sized fully enclosed shower and lots shelves. Wardrobe space and dressing tables, drawers etc all ample for a couple. Very clean and cosy with extremely comfortable beds. We ate in Alizar restuarant most nights (which was a "free" restaurant as well as Grand Pacific and the Garden Cafe Buffet) and it's the same as walking into a restaurant at home, wait 2 or 3 mins for a table size of your choice and enjoy. The menu was always varied and had an always available section with prawn cocktail, Caesar salad, 8oz sirloin steak, chicken breast or salmon for those not wanting the daily choice. The remarkable thing was it opened until 10.30pm so never any trouble having a proper meal if you fancied eating late. We mainly ate at 10pm as by the time you eat breakfast and lunch you are always so full !!! We ate in the garden cafe too one evening and this was also very good with so much choice available and always hot and fresh. The speciality restaurants were also very good and were worth splashing out at least once whilst you are on holiday. We were kindly treated to a complimentary meal in Cagney's steak house and the difference could really be seen. The food is brilliant in the free restaurants but was just that little bit more extra special in the extra charge ones. The 16oz T-bone steak and lobster were amazing! For the 1st hour of opening many of the restaurants were 2 for 1 so the price was not too bad at all We found the beer expensive on board with a pint costing $7.38 with all taxes added, be careful of the 8% spanish tax which was added when the ship was in Spanish waters! However cocktails were pretty much always on offer and mainly buy one get one free so two cocktails for $6.40 or happy hour Martinis for $4.95 which is fair. I bought the soda package which allows unlimited pepsi, 7Up, diet sodas etc for $69 for the entire cruise which was very good value. There was a wine package but I didn't pay much attention to the price and we were also given 2 complimentary bottles so we were very happy. We stopped in Casablanca, Agadir, Las Palmas Gran Canarias, Madeira and Malaga, We made our own way to the Hassian II Mosque in Casablanca as there wasn't much else to do but we made our way back to ship after a couple of hours as it wasn't the nicest port. All other ports however were lovely and would not hesitate to return. My partner is from Madeira so that was our favourite day and all our family and friends met us in the Marina and waved us off again that evening. We went on an NCL excursion in Agadir as I was a bit apprehensive about the port however it was actually better than expected and not as scary as made out to be. We went to a typical show area and watched horseman with guns and belly dancing and snake charmers etc which was worth the price for an enjoyable afternoon. The activities on board were very good and varied and we were never ever bored or short of places to go or things to do. The ship is beautiful, not crowded at all and not gaudy as some people make out. It is brightly coloured with a Hawaiian theme but is very tasteful and fun. The pools were always clean and warm and the ship was kept spotless at all times. There were not many children aboard and they were kept well entertained so no problems there for a quiet time. The Captain was always proudly walking up and down and interacted with the passengers and staff very often which was lovely to see. The staff we encountered were all amazing and could not do enough for you, I will be keeping on contact with many of them. It was a pleasure to see such a happy workforce, a stark comparison to the staff on P&O ships. Even the bar staff were always playing little magic tricks or jokes to entertain us. The Shows were all very very good especially Elements and 4Ever which were amazing and not to be missed. We watched every show and was very impressed with the standard of entertainment. The cruise director Karen and her crew were also very friendly and fun. This is a long review but is totally unbiased and honest and we would not hesitate at all to book with NCL again, the freestyle cruising was very nice without having to think what time is dinner? do i need to dress up tonight etc? We dressed up when we wanted to and it didn't matter if some people did or some didn't. It was lovely to eat at any time too. Do not let the reviews put you off, this was by far the best cruise we have been on with RCI Voyager a very close second . Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
I was a little nervous beforehand as I didnt know what to expect on our first cruise but need not have worried as everything was fantastic. We parked right next to the terminal at Southampton and the check in process was so quick and easy ... Read More
I was a little nervous beforehand as I didnt know what to expect on our first cruise but need not have worried as everything was fantastic. We parked right next to the terminal at Southampton and the check in process was so quick and easy it puts airports to shame. Within little over an hour we were on board and another hour later we checked into our cabin. The suitcases arrived soon after so we could unpack and start our holiday. We hadnt realised that by taking our cruise over Easter a number of the shops in the Ports of call would be closed but we just enjoyed a short walk around each port. We went with our 11 year old son so we ate informally in the Windjammer cafe. There was always a great choice at all meals although it sometimes got busy at breakfast and lunch. By dressing informally we did feel a little underdressed later in the evening when mixing with people who were dressed up for the formal nights in the main restaurant. The entertainments team were great, expecially James the Cruise Director and his sidekick Jason. Treatments in the Spa proved quite expensive and they did try and sell extra services/products whilst doing the treatment. There were 4300 on board including 1200 children but it never seemed really busy or crowded at any time. Although our son did not join in with the kids clubs there was plenty to do with a varied daily programme. Our stateroom attendant was first class and every evening he laid out an animal made from towels which our son was always keen to rush back after dinner to see what was waiting for us. We were very lucky that for the majority of the cruise we had really good weather and only had one bad day with rough seas. The most offputting thing was that evening they had put sickbags in various locations around the ship so were obviously expecting a problem!! Departure was as easy as arrival with a well planned timescale. We opted to take our own bags off to save leaving them out the night before. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and would certainly do another. I think we were spoilt with RCCL as there was so much to do so any other liner will not seem as good. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Our only other cruise was 20 years ago so thought it was about time we sailed again. Embarkation - Very well organised as you would need to be with 4000 people to board. From dropping off our bags to having access to the cabin was less ... Read More
Our only other cruise was 20 years ago so thought it was about time we sailed again. Embarkation - Very well organised as you would need to be with 4000 people to board. From dropping off our bags to having access to the cabin was less than 1/2 an hour, good start to the cruise. Cabin - Balcony on deck 7, very happy with it, plenty of storage space and everything we needed (except of course the no iron rule). Cabin Steward - Nikolai was very friendly and helpful and kept the cabin very tidy with towel animals every other night; a nice touch. He always stopped for a chat whenever we saw him and we were very happy with the service. Facilities - Impressed with the many and varied facilities aboard and enjoyed reading the daily 'Compass' newsletter to check on the day's activities. Shows - Really enjoyed the 'Armenian' comedian, (sorry forgot his name), his was the stand-out show, closely followed by the ice-show, impressive with spectacular costumes. The ships Singers and Dancers shows were not to our taste so only saw the 1st one. The other shows were ok but no more than that. Casino - Very nice facility, never too crowded. Evening Dining - We were allocated a table in the Romeo and Juliet dining room and thought the food was very good, well presented and with a good choice, hence we never felt the need to try one of the pay restaurants. We were lucky to have tablemates that we got on with and pleasant professional service which made the whole dining experience enjoyable. Breakfasts - We had room service on all but the last day and a relaxed breakfast suited us as opposed to the more hectic Windjammer. On the few occasions we did uses the Windjammer for lunch we always found a table without too much trouble but picked our times to avoid peak-time. The food was plentiful and we had no complaints. Excursions - We booked an RCCI excursion in every port and they were a mixed bag, particularly enjoyed Madeira and Tenerife but think that Ferrol should be dropped from the itinerary, boring was the best way to describe it. Disembarkation - Even easier that embarkation, simply walked off the boat with our luggage. Most of my comments have been positive but there are always a few areas which can be improved. The Negatives - (Some of these were known before we cruised) Cost of Alcohol - Extortionate Alcohol policy - whereby you can't even buy a bottle of local wine to enjoy on board - unnecessary Ice-Show - Queueing for tickets should be eliminated and reserved through the TV screen. The organisation to get access to the venue was a shambles, this whole process needs a revamp. Bingo - A total rip-off, prices too expensive and prizes inadequate leaving a large profit for RCCI. I read numerous reviews before selecting this cruise so had a very good idea what to expect. We were restricted in timeframes and choose this cruise as we thought there wouldn't be lots of children or teenagers on board. This proved to be the case and apart from the pool area we rarely saw them. The majority of passengers were in the 60+ bracket, as we are, but so many of them must offer warning signs to the NHS as the incidence of obesity was at alarming levels. At first I thought the pool area was a beached whale sanctuary and then thought it must be a maternity facility as so many of the men appeared to be in the third trimester. We look forward to cruising again and would have no issues in cruising on the Independence of the Seas but will try another line next time in order try a different experience. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Our first time on a cruise and all i can say is wow wow wow it is that good. FOOD.the food is probably the best thing about the cruise.from the Windjameer to evening meal to pizza at 3 o clock in the morning it is just first class.Eating ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise and all i can say is wow wow wow it is that good. FOOD.the food is probably the best thing about the cruise.from the Windjameer to evening meal to pizza at 3 o clock in the morning it is just first class.Eating in the main dining room is like eating in the Hilton hotel.The staff cater to all your needs and would be offended if you didn't have a good time or had a meal you didn't like and you didn't tell them so they could rectify it. DRINKS:Me and the wife got two beer and wine packages it worked out around 550 English pounds for them both and we thought that was excellent value for money.any cocktails we just bought extra at a reasonable amount. ENTERTAINMENT:the entertainment is excellent and with the ship being so big you don't feel like you are crammed in just to see a performance.the highlight of the cruise was kev orkian of Britains got talent what a funny funny guy he is and also the main man korey simon in the schooner bar.he is a hidden gem on the boat and we found ourselves in the schooner bar most nights being entertained off him and some nights i would sing Elvis with him and it made our holiday. PORTS OF CALL:Being the canaries the ports of call our nearly all the same but because you can get on and off the ship during the day we just popped off for a couple of hours but really the ships that good you want to be back on and enjoying the what the ship has to offer. we cant wait to go next year you really have to go on the cruise to appreciate how good it is.roll on next September 2 weeks round the med.Awesome holiday thank you rci Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Easy check in despite it being busy.Our room was ready when we embarked at 1.30pm. Ship Lovely and clean as was our room. We had a great cabin steward who went over and above his duties --- thank you to Christian! Lovely BIG comfy bed and ... Read More
Easy check in despite it being busy.Our room was ready when we embarked at 1.30pm. Ship Lovely and clean as was our room. We had a great cabin steward who went over and above his duties --- thank you to Christian! Lovely BIG comfy bed and the balcony was the biggest we have ever had.I liked the shower cubicle,no water splashing on the bathroom floor! Not too far from the elevators. Great food with a good choice in Windjammer although occasionally it could have done with being hotter. It did get a bit busy at times although we always manged to find a table - I guess most ships are like that though. Restaurant food was great as well the meat was so tender and yummy puds! We enjoyed all of the ports and the weather was kind to us. Shows --- fantastic as was the Strings ice show. We had to be in the theatre for 8.30pm for the 9.00pm show or we couldn't get a seat! Very popular! Found the outdoor pools a bit cold and the hot tubs the opposite we boiled like lobsters! Enjoyed the indoor pool and hot tubs though. Drinks - yes they are a tad pricey unfortunately. Newspapers can be bought for $3 at the coffee shop in the promenade. We went with trepidation because of the ships size --- but have been won over and have booked again for next year --- same ship. Read Less

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