194 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

Our first cruise was a short one on Indy in April 2017, so we were excited to be sailing on her again last month to the Canary Islands. What we didn’t know was that during its ‘refit’ last year they also added more cabins. We were ... Read More
Our first cruise was a short one on Indy in April 2017, so we were excited to be sailing on her again last month to the Canary Islands. What we didn’t know was that during its ‘refit’ last year they also added more cabins. We were informed there were 4500 passengers (an extra 500 people) on our sailing, the ship was full to bursting point. I am disabled and therefore used a walking stick and mobility scooter, but there was no where to sit in the evenings all the bars were constantly over full. We missed so much evening entertainment due to the lack of seating, we ended up back in our cabin after our 8.30 dinner sitting most nights. We could never get a sun bed around the pools and if you are not up early on a sea day there was no chance of getting a sun bed anywhere. Particularly if you’re disabled and cannot climb up a bed crammed along side other beds. We feel RCI have crammed far too many passengers on the lovely Indy yet not added extra bar lounges or seating to cope with it. We loved the many ports we visited, the itinerary was great, but being back on a very over crowded ship by all aboard time soon lowered our mood. We felt it was dirty too, the balconies didn’t get cleaned the whole cruise, and Chops Grill was dusty, the blinds all lopsided and tatty, the floor was grubby and looked like it needed a good deep clean. We booked it to celebrate our anniversary but sadly I can’t even say the meal there was great as my meal kept going back as my steak wasn’t cooked how I asked for, by the time I got mine, my hubby had finished his and my side orders were cold. It’s true RCI charge extra for everything my hubby had commented on it more than once. It’s a shame because we were really looking forward to cruising with her, but we paid a whole of money for a cruise and then couldn’t enjoy it to the max because of RCI’s greed. There were some good points, the staff in the main restaurants were always amazing, they couldn’t do enough for us. Also if you did manage to get a seat in a bar (during the day) the bar staff were great, we never waited long to be served. If you are happy to get up at 6am, plonk yourself on a sun bed and then not move all day, or you love to stand in or near a bar all evening with no chance of a seat, enjoy sitting in the theatre an hour before the show starts to ensure you get a seat, and money is no object then this is the cruise line for you. For us, no, I don’t think we will be cruising on any of the ships that have had a ‘refit’ in future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We were first time cruisers, family of 5 trip including Gran and daughters 22 & 3. The ship is lovely and cabins are clean and comfortable we were well looked after by our steward. Food in both dining room & buffet restaurant ... Read More
We were first time cruisers, family of 5 trip including Gran and daughters 22 & 3. The ship is lovely and cabins are clean and comfortable we were well looked after by our steward. Food in both dining room & buffet restaurant was very good with a good selection. The ports were all excellent with plenty of time in each. However as with most things on this ship Royal Caribbean only seemed interested in getting you to spend spend spend. Shore excursions were hideously expensive so we arranged our own. Two ports were a good distance from the town and for one RC had a courtesy bus but for Madeira they were charging €19pp!! Given the amount of disabled, elderly and children this was not good customer relations. Most of the staff were friendly apart from customer services who must be so fed up with complaints they barely acknowledge you - very poor! However our main issue was this ship is not conducive to under fives. Yes there is a kids club but it’s inside away from pools etc most of the young kids wouldn’t go in. If they didn’t that was it for entertainment in the evening. There was the occasional family disco at 6pm but this was poor. As for the pools if you have a child still in nappies/diapers they can only use a small area which has a slide with water but nowhere to swim which is beyond strange. If they don’t wear nappies they are not allowed in this area. Therefore if you have children who are in both categories the family cannot be in the pool together. This was a massive issue for many families we spoke to. It must be impossible for single parent families. The sunbeds are comfortable but too many packed together no space in between the veritable sardines! We probably will cruise again but not with Royal Caribbean as one person we spoke to who had cruised with them before told us “the refurbishment has resulted in more cabins therefore more cruisers and less space plus many things that were previously included in the cost were no longer and the subsequent charges were over the top”. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our 3rd cruise on Indy and our first since it was refurbished. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with very little to complain about. I would say though that I preferred the ship before all the added whistles and bells. The ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on Indy and our first since it was refurbished. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with very little to complain about. I would say though that I preferred the ship before all the added whistles and bells. The overall condition of the ship was very good. The food in Windjammer and the MDR was some of the best we have had on any of our cruises and our waiting staff in the restaurant couldn't be faulted. Our balcony cabin was fine although the storage was limited and the wardrobe was badly set out. It was clean and functional. We rarely saw our cabin steward as we had nothing to ask him for as it was all there. We found a sun bed easily every day without resorting to getting up at the crack of dawn and in spite of reading in a recent review that people are charged $10.00 if the towels aren't returned at night this is simply not true. The only time you are charged is at the end of the cruise if the towels aren't returned. We never returned a towel at the end of the day merely changed them without showing our passes. We were served fairly quickly in all the bars we went to and also found a seat at all the shows.. Grease was particularly good and also The Jersey Boys show. The Cruise Director Cubby was just OK. We wish they would change the shows along the Promenade as they have been doing the same thing down Main Street for years now. The shops were a major disappointment on his cruise.. Normally there are carts with different items along Main Street but most nights there was one or none. Overall a great cruise Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
It's been a few years since we were last on an RC ship, onboard the Anthem, which was an amazing ship and experience. It was also one where most folk we spoke to would always say, "it's great, but it's not the ... Read More
It's been a few years since we were last on an RC ship, onboard the Anthem, which was an amazing ship and experience. It was also one where most folk we spoke to would always say, "it's great, but it's not the Indy". When we saw this year that Indy was doing a Canaries cruise, something we had wanted to do for a long time, we jumped at the chance to see if she was all that and more, especially after her recent refit and refurb, and hit or miss reviews here! Driving from Glasgow, thanks to FlyBe's exorbitant prices to fly direct to Southampton, our embarkation process from arriving at AB Parking to getting onto the ship probably took us no more than an hour from about 11am. The RC staff throughout were extremely helpful and ensured everyone was kept moving towards getting onto the ship. It was the same disembarking on our final day. It was all super slick, super efficient, and felt very well managed and controlled. Once onboard we had to wait about three hours for our cabin to be ready thanks to a deep cleanse of the ship due to an outbreak of the norovirus on the previous sailing. Again, on this point, I don't think I've ever seen a ship and her crew be so resolute in making sure everyone washed their hands, used hand sanitiser, or similar, be it getting on and off the ship or coming in or out of any areas with food and drink. Our cabin was starboard side mid-ships in the bow (7330). We weren't sure if it was a refurbed one or not, but it was certainly spacious when the sofa bed was away, with plenty room for my wife and I, along with our 11 year old boy. It also had a decent sized balcony, more than big enough for the three of us to be out on together. Our cabin steward did a decent enough job of keeping the room clean, although we had to put the sofa bed away ourselves after it was continuously left out for the first few days. After that, it was always put away during the day. The service felt perfunctory at best and nothing more compared to some previous experiences we've had. The ship itself, having spent a fortnight with her, isn't quite as grand as others would have us believe. She's a beautiful ship, but not quite in the same class as the Anthem (although I think we were spoiled sailing in her maiden year). The promenade is very nice, but you have absolutely no chance of getting any space or seats in the cafe, bars, or pub if you're on the 8.30pm dinner sitting. It's very disappointing after your meal to come down and see it crammed full with next to no space anywhere. Likewise, while we certainly never had any problems getting sunbeds or space at any time during the cruise, the poolside beds and those around the running track on deck 12 were very cramped and always busy with very little being done by staff to vacate empty loungers (there's supposed to be a maximum 30min limit). We always found space at the back of the ship towards the flowrider and beyond Johnny Rockets. Food wise, the Indy has definitely been one of the best ships for food I think we've been on. Both the Windjammer and Main Dining Room excelled in choice, quantity, and quality of food. Granted, the days at sea saw the Windjammer absolutely packed with very little room to get seats, but you prepare your best for this and try to schedule your eating time around when you feel it wouldn't be as busy. Johnny Rockets was never busy given it's a chargeable eatery ($10 per head for as much as you want), but the food was very tasty and I'm also sure ridiculously high on the calories. We also bought the three night dining package which we used in Giovanni's Table and twice in Chops Grille. Giovanni's is nice, but the food isn't a patch on Jamie's Italian on the Anthem, while our first experience of Chops on the ship wasn't great from a customer service point of view (this was rectified on our second visit and made up for the first one completely, plus the steaks are to die for in there). We used RC for two shore excursions, Lanzarote where we did the camels and timanfaya national park, and Madeira for the toboggan, cable car and wine tasting. While you are paying extra doing these through RC, we always feel it's better for piece of mind should any delays occur and you get left behind (as we saw several did during this cruise too). Both excursions were very enjoyable and professionally managed. We sadly only managed to see a few shows during our cruise; the brilliant Freeze Frame ice skating show, Frankie Valli and the Dreamers, and Grease. All very enjoyable, but you did need to be there about 30mins before to ensure you got a prime viewing seat. All highly recommended. Lastly, a special mention must go to our waiting team in the main dining room. Our sitting at 8.30pm was always brilliant thanks to Radu and Thommy who very quickly picked up on our needs every night. Nothing was too much trouble, any changes or requests were met with a swift response and resolution. Both were an absolute dream and played a huge part in making our holiday as enjoyable as it was. Radu in particular always had information to hand at the end of our meal regarding our next day on the ship. Both continually went above and beyond and were a pleasure from start to finish. We enjoyed our time on the Indy thoroughly, and while she maybe doesn't have the bling or glamour of the Anthem, we'd happily sail with her again in the future! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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
Sail Date October 2018
First time on Indy and highly impressed. Embarkation was seamless as was all service once aboard. After the recent refurb, the ship was radiant and fun to explore. Was told cabins had not been refreshed but ours was as good as new, ... Read More
First time on Indy and highly impressed. Embarkation was seamless as was all service once aboard. After the recent refurb, the ship was radiant and fun to explore. Was told cabins had not been refreshed but ours was as good as new, spacious, spotless and with a deep balcony. Had been a bit worried with some reviews...kids running round, drunken antics, overcrowded...but this was not the case on our September cruise. A good mix of passengers and came across no problems. I have not given 5 stars because I did feel there was a lack of queit space/coffee shop options and had the ship been any fuller ( school holidays?), I would call it overcrowded. Think the extra cabins installed during the refit are not in the interest of overall passenger comfort/experience. Staff were brilliant, friendly without being overbearing. Never came across the selling hype. Main dining room food and that it the Windjammer was good, but certainly not exceptional. We had My Time dining but in reality had to book a fixed time as there was not availability between 6.30 and 8.00. Only had lunch in The Winjammer. Breakfasted in MDR buffet and never waited more than 5 minutes for a table for two. Often straight in and that was always between 8.30 and 9.15. Entertainment was very good. The 90 minute Grease show and The Bohemians Queen tribute band stood out....as did the 9 piece orchestra. Loved the music in the different bars too e.g. Mattiz in Boleros Latin bar. Joff Eaton was briiliant as the Entertainment Director...especially in whipping up the crowds on the two Royal Promenade street parties. Joff is both highly professional and approachable. I do think Sailaways could be more of an occasion as they are on some other lines. We had the deluxe drinks package which probably meant we drank a fair bit more than we would otherwise...and often resulted in a late night tasty slice of pizza from Sorrento's! Always good service across the bars. Normal bar prices are expensive. Many of the new additions are aimed at children/youngsters which we did not use much. Did enjoy watching the surfers on the Flowrider at the stern. Loved the Independence Dunes mini golf at the front of the ship. Indy has an excellent promenade deck on Deck 4 and you can get to the bow of the ship on Deck 5. We didn't use the sunbeds..hundreds of them. However, if you looked around there were always some free. Would liked to have seen more upright chairs on deck. The itinerary was excellent. Nine ports over 15 days. All lovely and easily accessible from the ship. We went on 2 ship excursions (farm and Agaete on Gran Canaria and Teide volcanoes walk on Tenerife) and the guides excelled with their knowledge and humour on both trips. The whole RCI and Indy experience proved better than what we had envisaged. If RCI can positively address the issues which seem to have dogged the school holiday cruises, Indy will continue to be a real winner with families. Outside of these times, Indy is a busy, lively cruise ship that has much to offer...but don't choose this ship for a quiet retreat! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise for the late summer sun, sailing from Southampton (just up the coast for us now). It was our 5th time on IoTS - so we knew what to expect. Boarding was efficient as ever, and our luggage reached us at a reasonable ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the late summer sun, sailing from Southampton (just up the coast for us now). It was our 5th time on IoTS - so we knew what to expect. Boarding was efficient as ever, and our luggage reached us at a reasonable hour. We had a "D" grade superior ocean view with balcony stateroom, so there was plenty of room to store our belongings and to not feel claustrophobic. Ramesh looked after us very well, responding to our few requests promptly. We joined the Facebook group who had organised a cabin crawl (thank you very much), and we found it very interesting seeing the other grades of cabins. We have visited the Canary Islands on few occasions, as well as Western Spain and Lisbon, so didn't feel the need to do shore excursions. It's a steep climb to go anywhere in Vigo, but EL Corte Inglese is well worth a visit if you want any cosmetics. They also have good, free wifi and good coffee!. Lisbon doesn't look quite as down-at-heel as it did 4 or 5 years ago. Hopefully it is starting to recover from the crash of 2008. The City Sightseeing Ho-Ho buses are good value here. Don't forget to keep your ticket to get 10% off your next ride on City Sightseeing. Cadiz is a beautiful town. It was glorious walking around the city wall areas with the parks. La Palma was new to us, but we had been to the other 3 islands. As usual, we visited one on a Sunday and it was closed!! Sunday definitely seems to be a family day there. In Madeira, we visited Blandy's to buy some of their Madiera wine. Made our suitcases heavy to take off ship, but we managed. We took a private excursion in La Coruna. This was very good value. The coach was waiting for us, close to where the ship docked, and we had a tour around the town and out to the Roman Lighthouse, with a very knowledgeable guide. We had arranged anytime dining, in Romeo and Juliet. However, I developed a cold during the first week, and didn't want to inflict it on others, so we mainly dined in the WIndjammer. The food in the Windjammer is excellent; I felt the choices on the MDR menu (we looked anyway) were not as good as previous cruises. We often lunched in the Café Promenade. The choices there were definitely not as good as previous cruises. One day, there were 3 different rolls and a tuna wrap. The rolls were mozzarella and something, Brie and something or 3 cheeses. So cheese, cheese or cheese. Drinks prices were extortionate, but we are very fortunate in that we have attained entry to the Diamond Lounge, so a couple of glasses of wine a night went down very well! The staff and crew are wonderful. They are so cheerful, helpful and polite. We didn't go to much of the entertainment, though we did see Grease, which was excellent. My husband was really looking forward to the Queen tribute band, but even he complained that the theatre sound systems drowned out the singing. Disembarkation was a little delayed. A crew emergency on the Friday night meant that we reached Southampton an hour late, with the consequent delay in the crew getting luggage off. What's good about Indy? The ambience, the crew, the staff, the whole experience. What's not so good? (I wont say bad). The food is letting her down a little - corners are being cut. Extras are costing more and more: excursions, drinks, duty free, cosmetics. I am concerned that there will be reportedly 64 more cabins after the refit. That's potentially 128 more people to fill the bars, the WIndjammer, the cafes, the pools, get on and off ship etc. School holidays are a time to avoid anyway, but in future the ship will be bursting at the seams with the 3rd and 4th beds filled. We don't have another cruise booked on Indy, but we will. Let's hope we won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
As a way of explanation we are a retired couple and cruise about 3-4 times a year and our mantra is Cunard for ourselves and Royal Caribbean when we take the grandkids. In the last three months we have cruised twice by ourselves, once on a ... Read More
As a way of explanation we are a retired couple and cruise about 3-4 times a year and our mantra is Cunard for ourselves and Royal Caribbean when we take the grandkids. In the last three months we have cruised twice by ourselves, once on a 10 day Cunard Round Britain cruise and once on a 10 day Canaries cruise with Royal Caribbean. This review I by means of a direct comparison. PRICE Very similar as for both 10 day cruises we paid a bit under £2k per person. In the case of Cunard it was for a Superior Balcony and we got free parking and a bit of on board spend and on RCC we had a junior suite with the free basic drinks package (more of which later). A DRAW EMBARCATION and DISEMBARCATION Both superb, as they now have it down to an art form. We were on board within about 15 minutes on both ships and similarly leaving the ship did not entail any waiting. A DRAW CABIN Both were fine and much the same price but the Junior Suite (7714) on RCC was superb. The notion of it being a suite, is a misnomer as it gives no specific advantages apart from being at the back of the ship with a bit more room, a bigger balcony and a bath/shower rather than a shower. The Cunard cabin was just fine but the totally balcony privacy and the superb view of the wake made the RCC cabin a real winner A WIN for RCC SERVICE I cannot speak highly enough about the service on both ships and I marvel at the high and consistent level achieved by both crews. We never had a reason to complain on either ship and both crews could not do enough to make things special. It does help if one walks around oneself with a smile on ones face and treats the crew positively but that is obvious as the 'moaners' never do this, as seasoned cruisers all know A VERY HIGH SCORING DRAW. FOOD I had imagined Cunard would win this hands down but they only did on one category, the high level speciality dining. On both ships we found the normal restaurant food and the buffet food to be of a surprisingly high standard. For example both presented really good protein options with the salads such as prawns, smoked salmon, Italian meats etc and there was no evidence of cost cutting in this aspect. The choice in both of the main restaurants was very good. As to the high end speciality restaurants, which we frequent a lot on board, as we find them a real bargain given their standard, we have to say that Cunard came out on top here. Their Verandah restaurant is in our view at least 1 star Michelin level and we had the pleasure of meeting their chef, Trevor and he was a total class act and a genuine star chef. In comparison the Chops Grill concept is a bit outdated.....and although there is nothing wrong it is all a bit formulaic with the emphasis on huge jumbo prawns and huge steaks etc rather than being on culinary finesse. In comparison we thought the lower level RCC speciality restaurant of Giovanni's much more interesting and a very good Italian standard with a good choice and an excellent wine list. However we have to give the edge to Cunard but not by much and both cruise lines maintain a very high standard. A WIN FOR CUNARD JUST LOYALTY PROGRAMMES As these link with free drinks, I will talk about these first. We are Diamond members of RCC and Platinum members of Cunard... which is about equivalent in terms of numbers of cruises. However one loyalty programme is streets ahead of the other and that is RCC. By comparison Cunard is Scrooge like and this is one thing they need to look at. On RCC we were provided with a discrete lounge with free coffee, a large deck, three free drinks of any type per evening and canapés plus a free photograph each plus a number of other incentives. It says much but I can't remember what Cunard give as it so measly in comparison. A WIN FOR RCC BY A LARGE MARGIN DRINKS If you cruise you get used to all cruise lines charging high prices with high compulsary tips. It is a fact of life and so no use moaning to no avail. However RCC now push drinks packages as the solution and I for one find this unattractive. We were given the free standard package which was quite useless unless you drank beer, as the $8 wine, one could get on this package was quite undrinkable unless you had no interest of wine. It was New World garbage and we found ourselves having to buy higher priced wine. The alternative was to pay $40 a day per person for the premium package but that did not cover bottled wines for dinner, only the glasses of wine up to $12 and we had the free loyalty drinks provided each evening. However there were a lot of people on drinks packages and as a result they were drinking more alcohol, with some less than attractive side effects. We even found one guy having vodka at breakfast. In comparison there is no such emphasis on drinks packages with Cunard and I believe they are more civilised as a result and they have kept sommeliers in the dining room, a thing that is now fazed out on RCC. If one took the package element away the choice of drinks and the choices of good wine were much the same, which meant you had to pay around $50 for a decent bottle of vino. However wine is taken much more seriously on Cunard and their sommelier system is outstanding. A BIG WIN FOR CUNARD ENTERTAINMENT This is an area where there is a marked difference. If you want activity then RCC predominates with climbing walls, flow rider surf, ice skating, putting etc etc as opposed to mainly bowls and croquet on Cunard. As to indoor activities Cunard provides far more high brow activity in the form of lectures, specialist activities such as ballroom dancing and more classical as well as popular music whereas RCC were more into quizzes with everything and less demanding fare. The theatre shows were more to our taste on Cunard, as they tended to have better known vocalists and comedians but RCC had the one real showstopper with a stage production of the musical Grease, which was exceptional. Overall however Cunard was far more to our taste. A WIN FOR CUNARD AMBIENCE To be fair both have a fairly high level feel to them with luxury fittings and glitzy atrium areas and a variety of bars and speciality restaurants. Cunard puts more emphasis on formality and on standards but RCC is not hugely far behind and the standard is quite acceptable for most people. In fact the concept of having a 'main street' area in RCC is very successful and probably more interesting than the rather staid shopping precincts in Cunard. I believe although there is not a huge difference at the moment that there is going to be a considerable difference in the future due to the drinks package syndrome being pushed by RCC. This will attract less family orientated people and the ambience will change accordingly. A SMALL WIN FOR CUNARD WHCIH IS LIKELY YO TURN INTO A HUGE WIN FOR THE FUTURE THOSE LITTLE EXTRAS This is the area where Cunard wins hands down and which RCC should really so something about. When on holiday one wants to feel pampered rather than at a Travel Lodge but RCC do not seem to understand this. At the bars Cunard provide nibbles, not so RC.....Cunard provide branded toiletries, good size and quality bath towels and such things as gowns, slippers and bathroom extras .....in comparison it is real basic level stuff on RCC and the whole experience suffers as a result. Have the accountants been in to strip any semblance of luxury to save a few dollars? If so they on this count alone they will lose a great many customers. A RESOUNDING AND GAME WINNING VICTORY TO CUNARD CONCLUSION There are many very good things about both Cunard and RCC but Cunard seems to have a settled product and a settled marketing niche. In comparison RCC seem to be moving away from its trusted niche of being a family orientated ship and putting this at conflict, by trying to be an 'all in' standard brand with a high emphasis on alcohol packages and on cutting out any 'nice' extras. As such it risks being seen as more akin to such as the P&O and Travel Lodge level which if you are attracted by that is a fine thing but if not is going to be a further step away from the level Cunard and Celebrity. Going on both cruise lines, within a few months has made up my mind who I will cruise with next but as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We booked this cruise to enjoy some decent weather, for most of the cruise, as we had awful weather at home. Unfortunately we didn't realise that schools in some parts of the country, were on holiday....bad idea when sailing from ... Read More
We booked this cruise to enjoy some decent weather, for most of the cruise, as we had awful weather at home. Unfortunately we didn't realise that schools in some parts of the country, were on holiday....bad idea when sailing from Southampton ! Our Junior suite was very comfortable, plenty of storage space in the walk in wardrobe, & the shower, over the bath, was powerful & hot. Valerio, our stateroom attendant was attentive, & cleaned our room early, as he knew we were early risers. Jacki, Ralph & Antonio in the Concierge lounge, were delightful people, helpful, efficient & engaging. This lounge was a haven to which we could retreat from the masses, in the late afternoon & early evening. We met some lovely people here & enjoyed their company in the evening. We did not attend many events, although enjoyed the Bohemians, as did all the audience. The two ice shows were spectacular, especially Freeze Frame. We have seen both shows before, but thought that FF was the best ever, with experienced, energetic performers. The violinist in Strings, was, as usual, very good, & it was a joy to listen to some classical music, instead of a modern, loud cacophony of noise ! Captain Ted McCourt, enrichment lecturer on aviation, was outstanding. We have heard him on a previous cruise, when he gave many lectures, but on this cruise, he was limited to only four. His knowledge & delivery was superb, and we could have listened to him for much longer than the allocated hour. The only criticism,which had nothing to do with him, was the venue. Goodness knows why he was allocated the Conference Room, a small, hot, airless place, but maybe RCCL thought the majority of the cruisers would not be interested in attending a lecture.....by the last day, we were in the theatre. The last time we heard him, we were moved to the theatre after a couple of lectures, as the numbers wishing to listen to him grew rapidly. I hasten to add, on that cruise, we did not sail from Southampton. The best news we heard was that smoking, at long last, has been banned from the casino. We have been complaining, as have others, for many years, about the smoke in that venue, which permeates through to other areas. Alas, some people smoked on their balcony, but even that ceased after a few days, so maybe their anti smoking policy is working. We suspect that the people concerned were advised about going against the rules, or at least we hope so ! We ate our breakfast in the Diamond Lounge, as it was very civilised to have a plate of fruit, followed by coffee, looking out over the sea, in quiet surroundings. Normally, we were the only ones in the lounge,apart from Laura, Diamond Concierge & John, Giovanni's waiter, who looked after the food & coffee machine, as we stated, we are early risers. Both these people were again, friendly & helpful. Lunch, if taken, was a light snack in the Windjammer, which was adequate, or a slice of pizza on the Promenade. Dinner was either in the MDR on deck 5, or again in the Windjammer. We have sailed quite a few times, so know the restaurant menu intimately, thus our choice of alternating venues. Dining in the speciality restaurants was not worthwhile, as we are not big eaters, preferring to have one course of various items. In the MDR, we had a light starter & only a main course, forgoing anything else. Normally we have never found fault with the food, but this time, oh dear, we had a couple of culinary disasters, most notably, the Duck leg confit. This dish was disgusting....dripping in fat, tasteless, totally unhealthy and in fact, inedible. The other dish, which my husband chose, on a different night, was mince & onion...far too salty, and again not appealing. The aged Manhattan steak, which is normally a good standby, was not very good and again I was unable to finish it. I hope that the company is not trying to cut cost by purchasing inferior quality food, as that would be false economy,causing much waste. We enjoyed the ship, but we will never again sail from Southampton during the summer months, as the standard of clientele was much lower than we have ever experienced during our years of cruising. Many people were obviously on the drinks package, either purchased, or included in their fare, and were determined to make full use, & more of it. Regardless of what time we walked along the Promenade, the seats were full of people drinking alcohol, talking loudly & not caring about fellow cruisers. Unfortunately, the majority appeared to be unaware of others, as their behaviour & language was most unacceptable. On port days, sun loungers were occupied by people not interested in experiencing new places & cultures. The reason for many to be on board appeared to be able to go home sunburned,looking like a cooked lobster. Many of the older children became feral by the end of the cruise, going around in packs, being rude, and trying to outdo each other in being offensive to others. One night in the Concierge lounge, three boys stood in the doorway of the lounge when the door opened, making remarks & eventually swearing, before running away....totally uncalled for. We are going on this ship again, when she makes her return transatlantic crossing in April, so we hope we shall have a better experience than this cruise ! Finally, we must congratulate the crew for being so upbeat & friendly, in circumstances which must have been very trying for them. I certainly would not like to whistled to, or having to respond to finger snapping, in order to serve them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Cruised with RCI last year on Explorer and enjoyed it so much we booked to sail on the impressive Independence this year. Great food and plenty of it.AMAZING waiting staff in the Romeo and Juliet dining room. May we mention Pedro and ... Read More
Cruised with RCI last year on Explorer and enjoyed it so much we booked to sail on the impressive Independence this year. Great food and plenty of it.AMAZING waiting staff in the Romeo and Juliet dining room. May we mention Pedro and Nicolae .First class service. Easy boarding and embarkation. Our cabin attendant kept our room spotlessly clean and tidy. Thoroughly enjoyed the shows . The Queen tribute act has us all clapping and singing (Freddie Mercury is a hard act to follow but this guy did him justice ) .West End show Grease was also good ..once again we were all singing along! Very funny comedian. Ice shows very good although we thought they were better last year. pool party under the stars with cocktails and hot sunny weather in the Canaries ..Dolphins swimming alongside our ship. A wonderful sight!..couldn't ask for more . See you next year !!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our seventh cruise on the independence, our second this year, and having previously experienced and registered our many complaints about the deterioration in the standard of food in the main dining rooms, we were shocked to find ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise on the independence, our second this year, and having previously experienced and registered our many complaints about the deterioration in the standard of food in the main dining rooms, we were shocked to find nothing had been done to improve this. Other passengers were also very critical. We spoke to the Executive Chef in June and are very disappointed that nothing has changed. Do RCI really care?. We also found the on deck service to be painfully slow, the result of further staff cuts, and it really is time that Royal Caribbean insisted on standards of dress in the dining rooms. On the plus side we found the staff were , as always, extremely courteous and helpful and some,not all, of the entertainment well worth support. Embarking and disembarking from Southampton was slick. In summary, however, the Independence experience continues to slip and invite criticism. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our fifteenth cruise. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean on five occasions and this was our third trip aboard this ship the others being Brilliance and Adventure of the Seas. We have also cruised with Cunard, Princess and ... Read More
This was our fifteenth cruise. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean on five occasions and this was our third trip aboard this ship the others being Brilliance and Adventure of the Seas. We have also cruised with Cunard, Princess and Celebrity X. We very much enjoy life on board and although Independence of the Seas was visiting ports we have been to a few times before, we are happy just to relax and enjoy what the ship has to offer and hopefully a bit of sunshine. We had a Grand Suite which entitled us to a gold card with some extra privileges such as the concierge lounge and reserved theatre/ice show seats and also permission to use Chops Grille to eat our daytime meals instead of joining the scrum for a table in Windjammer. Together with the extra comfort of the room these little extras make life on board much more enjoyable. Obviously this comes at a cost but we feel it is worth paying the extra. Our room was always cleaned quickly and efficiently by our steward who was delightful as were all the staff. We always find the staff and crew to be smiling and pleasant but as a previous review so rightly states - it really is important to smile and treat them in a friendly and respectful manner rather than some of the surly attitudes that they certainly don't deserve. They are all so hard working in order to make our cruise pleasurable and they spend months away from their families so a little kindness and interest in them goes a long way. So to the actual brief .... We stayed in the Premier Inn in Winchester overnight and made our way to the port around 11am. Embarkation was a breeze and so slick. From parking the car to boarding the ship probably no more than 20 minutes. Absolutely excellent. Also disembarkation was similarly easy. Our stateroom was lovely and spacious with everything we needed. Bed was very comfy and balcony was roomy too. Dwi our room steward was excellent. The ship is still beautiful although looking a little tired in places. One gripe about it though would be that it isn't kept quite as spotless as a Celebrity Ship. Finger marks were apparent on screens and glass that had not been cleaned during the night, whereas on a Celebrity ship everything is absolutely spotlessly clean every morning although we never hear the actual cleaning process so I think it must be the fairies that come during the night!! Another small issue - again regarding tidiness and cleanliness ... we found the toilets in general, weren't up to the standard that we have come to expect when sailing with Celebrity. Brown paper towels (Celebrity provide individual flannel towels and the toilets are inspected very regularly and constantly attended every evening during the busiest periods and each cubicle is mopped between users). On the Independence I visited a cubicle at 6pm and again at 10.30pm. The same debris of cardboard roll holder and bits of tissue were littering the floor showing no cleaning had taken place in over four hours. The bins were overflowing with used brown paper towels and it was generally untidy. I felt this was substandard. We thought the food in general was good. Having read other reviews prior to our cruise we were sceptical as many said the food had really deteriorated. Windjammer always had a good selection although we didn't eat there in the evening. We ate in the Main dining room every evening and sat in the same section of Romeo and Juliet Dining Room. Our waiters were Jonathan and Dewa who were both fantastic and we always enjoyed chatting to them and looked forward to our evening meal. The menu was mostly good with a couple of evenings having less attractive choices but we ate some wonderful beef and we felt in general that the food was very acceptable and enjoyable. I have to say we are quite critical of food as both my husband and I are very capable in the kitchen, so I would go as far as to say that I think some previous reviews have been a bit harsh in their criticism of the food. Entertainment wise we enjoyed the shows. We loved the Queen tribute band "The Bohemians" and the ventriloquist was good although we have seen him before on board this ship but we still laughed a lot and he was very entertaining. The ice shows were brilliant even though they were same shows that we saw many years back. They are incredibly impressive - Freeze Frame is particularly good. The RC Singers and Dancers were putting on the same shows that we have seen too many times before so we did give these a miss this time. Our one grumble about the evening entertainment was the amount of children that were freely running around in the Pyramid lounge and taking over the dance floor. The band would start to play at 9.15pm and parents would not call their children off the dance floor. We wanted to dance but it became dangerous to do so and despite announcements being made and a mention of this in an edition of the Cruise Compass, nothing was done to enforce this. This issue needs to be addressed by Royal Caribbean before there is an injury. Also, adults want to be able to enjoy the live music and use the dance floor once the musicians start to play. The band "Pulse" played some excellent numbers and I think it is disrespectful to such talented musicians if parents allow their children to run riot whilst they are performing. We ended up going into The Labrynth nightclub where Paul made us feel very welcome and played some decent dance music so that we could do a bit of ballroom dancing though the dance floor in there is much smaller than in the Pyramid Lounge. We made the best of the situation anyway and still had a good time. (Thank you Paul !!) We didn't go ashore apart from in Vigo as we have visited all the ports on previous cruises and as previously mentioned we choose to cruise for what we enjoy on board the ship as much as for the destination. So all in all we had a good break although not our best cruise. We prefer Celebrity X as a cruise line but Royal Caribbean still have plenty on offer. Will we book again with RC? They need to sort out what is happening in The Pyramid Lounge with the kids running around and until there is some sort of curfew or rule made about children during the evenings ... No we won't be booking again. But perhaps Royal Caribbean are now trying to encourage a different type of cruiser in looking towards young families which isn't our scene and therefore we will choose a different cruise line in future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Canary Islands. We liked the boat and our disabled cabin was excellent as was our cabin steward. The waiters also gave good service however we found the food disappointing. For example ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Canary Islands. We liked the boat and our disabled cabin was excellent as was our cabin steward. The waiters also gave good service however we found the food disappointing. For example on one night there was salmon done three different ways with no salmon for the next few nights. Also a honey and orange glazed chicken was served with ordinary gravy. One day our cabin had a terrible smell in it - people in the corridor were holding their noses. We reported it and came back after an hour but it was just as bad. Fortunately a member of staff was going along the corridor, we asked her to smell it and she said that she would have something done. So after about three hours we were able to go into our cabin which from then on had a chemical smell in it. This was difficult for me as I am disabled and need to lie down every so often. Guest services then delivered a beautiful orchid as an apology which I thought very kind. We assumed that it must be artificial as you are not allowed to take plants into the U.K. However on unwrapping it at home we found it to be living!! We found that there was not a lot to do on 'sea days' if you did not like quizzes or bingo, the air craft talks were interesting but not enough of stimulating things like that. Lastly it would be good if you were able to offer disabled excursions. We had to go everywhere by taxi on the islands and put my fold up scooter in the boot. There were a lot of disabled people on the boat and unless they could climb into a coach there was nothing for them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Sailed on 10 night cruise including Madeira, main three Canary Islands and Vigo. Our slot for embarkation was 11.00 am to 12.00 am. Embarkation went very smoothly, very few queues at check in and we were onboard by 11.15. From parking ... Read More
Sailed on 10 night cruise including Madeira, main three Canary Islands and Vigo. Our slot for embarkation was 11.00 am to 12.00 am. Embarkation went very smoothly, very few queues at check in and we were onboard by 11.15. From parking car to getting on took no more than 20 minutes. Whether this was the same for later times I am unsure but certainly looking from our cabin around 2.00 pm there were no queues for the car park we could see. Also heard no complaints from fellow passengers about embarkation. We ate in the MDR all cruise and the standard seemed very much as it was three years ago when we last cruised with Royal Caribbean. We did My Time dining and although there were queues at 8.00 pm when we tended to go for dinner they moved fairly quickly. I suppose one down side there seemed to be mashed potato with everything. Waiting staff were excellent as ever and we never had a problem with drink orders after the first night. Once the waiters understood our preferences they made sure that our wine was topped up and even asked if we needed top ups without us asking. The wine package seems awfully expensive and cost over £1,000 (bad exchange rate). However with a decent bottle of wine $53 including tip and water at $4 it did not take long for to be worthwhile. Basically five drinks a day. (yes I do drink a lot). Cabin was well maintained and the cabin staff, as always, excellent. Always a smile and even a couple of towel animals. Not had those for a few years. The production shows were ones that we had seen before and probably need new ones as I believe they have been the same for the last five years. Early seating was never full whereas the second seating seemed to be always full with problems getting seats. Seen some comments about the Queen act. I must disagree with fellow critics and say it was probably in the top ten best acts that I have seen on 15 cruises. Could have seen it again. The two ice shows were excellent but again they were the same as 3/5 years ago. The ship seemed quite crowded on the first two days but probably due to the weather being too cold to be outside. The ship probably needs to be refitted soon and we did notice that it was not as clean as a Celebrity X ship. However much better than Princess. The street parties were fun as always but very crowded. Ports of call seemed very short and I cannot understand visiting Madeira on a Sunday when everything is closed. Now for the moan and hence the title of the review. My wife and I have fairly specific reasons for going on a cruise. They are good food, live entertainment and dancing. Part of the reason for choosing Royal Caribbean/Independence is that it has a fairly large dance floor in the Pyramid Lounge and a live band where we can dance. Unfortunately on this cruise a small minority of passengers with young children (under 7) decided to turn it into a children's play area which not only made it impossible to dance until around 11.30 pm but was downright dangerous. One evening (9.45) whilst dancing we ended up with a child between our legs which could have been dangerous to the child (stiletto heel through hand) or us falling on them. The parents/grandparents could not have cared a less. Although there were some efforts by the band and a short notice in the Cruise Compass stating that unaccompanied child were not allowed on the dance floor this was not enforced. I also asked one of the parents of two children who persistently were running on the dance floor to control them and was told it was their cruise as well so go poke it. Although there were only a few people who did dance when there was a good attempt to rid the floor of children there was a loud applause. I fully understand that my wife and I have specific ideas on why we want to cruise which need not apply to many people but in our view there should be a curfew in the Pyramid Lounge after 9.30 for children under 10. We certainly will not be cruising with Royal Caribbean again whilst this continues. After speaking to other members of the entertainment staff it would appear that this problem is becoming more prevalent. However if your idea of a fun night out is watching kids doing cartwheels to music and crawling all over the dance floor then this could be the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We were a little apprehensive as this was our first cruise and because my dad is paraplegic we were unsure how we would manage. From parking the car to getting on board was easier than an airport and the inside of the ship from our ... Read More
We were a little apprehensive as this was our first cruise and because my dad is paraplegic we were unsure how we would manage. From parking the car to getting on board was easier than an airport and the inside of the ship from our cabin to all communal areas were lovely and spotless clean. We were really looked after by our stateroom attendants Ayi and in accessible room nothing going was too much for Jack. We loved romeo & Juliet restaurant as Maria, Misael and Juan Carlos treated us with such kindness always smiling great service and even found time to talk to us when they were busy they really made our 1st cruise so special We present paid our drinks package and found it easy to get served at most bars and enjoyed the waiter service in the theatre. Our favourite act on stage was Gareth Oliver(not being biased cause he's a Yorkshire man at all) Both ice skating shows were brilliant too. Would we all go again? Without hesitation The ship all the staff........ WOW Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
1st cruise and I was not disappointed! Arrived at the port at around 10am and got parked up and checked in immediately. We only had a 30 minute wait in the terminal before we were called to embark. We were on the ship within an hour of ... Read More
1st cruise and I was not disappointed! Arrived at the port at around 10am and got parked up and checked in immediately. We only had a 30 minute wait in the terminal before we were called to embark. We were on the ship within an hour of parking! The ship is huge! I was so glad we got on early so we had a few hours to explore before the staterooms are available at 1pm. We had a Promenade Stateroom. As you enter, the bathroom was on the left and the wardrobe on the right. In the bathroom there was the toilet, shower and sink. There was a huge mirror with lights either side which was great for doing make up. There was a corner cabinet with 3 shelves. There was also ample room around the sink area for toiletries and a shelf under the sink. In the wardrobe was one high rail and 2 lower rails for hanging clothes and there was 5 shelves, one of which had the safe on. The safe was very easy to use. Outside the wardrobe was 4 drawers and 3 more shelves. The bed was huge, the size of 2 singles together and it had a foam topper which was so comfy! Between the bed and the window was a small sitting area with 2 sofas and a dressing table/desk and chair. There was another huge mirror with lights and 2 small shelving areas either side of the mirror. The window looked out onto the Royal Promenade. We were on deck 8 so the window was at an angle looking down. We had chosen 'My Time Dining' which meant we could have dinner in the Romeo & Juliet dining room on deck 3 whenever we liked between 6pm and 9.30pm. You didn't have to reserve a table but we did on the 3 occasions we ate in there, twice reserving a table at the dining room earlier in the day and once by calling the reservations line. We had a table for 2 each time, but the tables are very close together so it was more like a table for 6! The menus are displayed on interactive monitors around the ship so each morning we took photos of the menus to take away and decide if we wanted to eat in the dining room. The food in the dining room was very nice. I had Beef Tenderloin one night and it just melted in my mouth! The service was good with just one little blip that wasn't worth complaining about. There isn't much of a view in the Romeo & Juliet dining room, there are no large windows like in the Macbeth & King Lear dining rooms on decks 4 & 5. The other nights we ate in the Windjammer Cafe, as we did breakfast and lunch. Buffet style food but very tasty and plenty of variety. The entertainment was excellent. We went to several shows both in the Alhambra Theatre and Studio B Ice Rink. I would particularly recommend Grease and the Ice shows. I would also recommend you go to the game show Quest, that was hilarious! Our cruise direct Jamie was great fun and made the cruise very entertaining. The service we received everywhere on the ship was great, most of the crew were exceptionally friendly and in particular, our stateroom attendant Joseph Anthony. He was such a blessing throughout the cruise. I would absolutely go again and am already planning the next one! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My review is from perspective an American who has been on several other Royal Caribbean cruises. I was surprised that only about 5% of the passengers were from the US; my experience with the earlier cruises was that the majority of ... Read More
My review is from perspective an American who has been on several other Royal Caribbean cruises. I was surprised that only about 5% of the passengers were from the US; my experience with the earlier cruises was that the majority of passengers were Americans even for cruises in Europe. In any case, the time on the cruise ship a lot like being in Britain, which certainly was an interesting change of pace. I especially enjoyed the British tea (not Lipton) and Guinness on tap. Embarkation: We took a National Express bus from Heathrow to Southampton after an overnight flight from the US and then spent a night at a B&B before the cruise. Boarding was smooth although we were surprised to receive an email with boarding times based on deck level. The lowest decks were not supposed to board until a little over an hour before the scheduled departure. Fortunately we cruised enough times that we were allowed to board earlier. One difference from cruises from the US is that the ship held our passports for the duration of the cruise. I am not sure what would happen if you missed the boat since air travel to the next cruise port or back to the UK would probably require a passport. I was not interested in personally testing that question, which meant we generally took the Royal Caribbean excursions with guaranteed return to the ship rather than doing a lot of exploring on our own. The passport rule applies to anyone who is not from the European Union, so I guess people from the UK may have to deal with a similar issue in a few years. Vigo, Spain: We took the extended excursion to Santiago de Compostela, which is a Christian pilgrimage site that dates back to the Middle Ages. The countryside between Vigo and Santiago is green and hilly and reminded me of Ireland. After a walking tour of the center of town, we had time for lunch and sampled some local special dishes at restaurant that was a block from the cathedral. The French fries were remarkably tasty; I think it was the combination of new potatoes and olive oil. Lisbon, Portugal: The ship docked right next to the old section of Lisbon. We walked to the cathedral and took a short tour on a tuk-tuk (a small open vehicle) in the morning. In the afternoon we took an excursion to Cascais, which is pleasant coastal town west of Lisbon. The trip out was along the coast with some nice views. Unfortunately the trip was extremely slow because of heavy traffic. It happened to be a national holiday in Portugal and the weather was unusually warm and sunny. Gran Canaria: We took the hidden valley hiking excursion. The hike was a one-way trip with a drop off near a hilltop and pickup at the bottom of a valley. The trip started with hiking along a concrete irrigation channel that had a narrow walkway between the water and a drop off of up to about 15 feet. It also included hiking down a steep rocky slope with switchbacks before finally getting to a wooded valley with a flowing creek. The hike is not for people with any balance problems or with fear of heights. While the excursion is labeled strenuous, the nature of the hike was not very clear from the description. A suggested improvement would be a round trip hike along the valley bottom and up a portion of the hill side, which would allow for people to stop at any point and return with the group. After the hike there was an excellent lunch with a sampling of local wine. Tenerife: We took the volcanoes of Tenerife excursion which explored the mountainous center of the island. I had been concerned about cold temperatures at the higher altitudes (~7000 ft), but the bright sun kept things surprisingly warm. The climate and vegetation of Tenerife and Gran Canaria reminded me of that of southern California, with arid lowlands and forests of pine and eucalyptus on the moist slopes that face the prevailing winds. Funchal (Madeira): We went to mass the cathedral and enjoyed a leisurely seafood lunch at a local restaurant. The island is much greener than the Canaries. Sunset over the ocean as we left Funchal was beautiful. La Coruña: We took the excursion to Betanzos and the tower of Hercules. Betanzos is an interesting medieval town. The guide was excellent. Days at Sea: There were a total of four days at sea, including a day each way between England and Spain. The ocean between England and Spain is notorious stormy conditions, but the ship was surprisingly stable in spite of seas over 10 feet. The return trip to Southampton was especially windy with a 55 mph wind on the deck from the combination of the ship’s speed and a stiff headwind. The trip between the Iberian mainland and the islands had pleasantly warm air temperatures that allowed for pool activities. Entertainment: The entertainment was impressive. We enjoyed three different ice shows, the musical Grease, and a ventriloquist act. We also made several visits to the pub on the promenade to sing along with Stephen Burke, whom we had seen on an earlier cruise in Canada. Food and cabin: We had the 8:30 pm seating for the dining room, which was surprisingly uncrowded. I guess most people preferred either the earlier seating or the buffet. The service was very good and we enjoyed the food, which was similar that of other Royal Caribbean cruises. The cabin was typical of cabins we’ve had on previous cruises with good use of all available space. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We have cruised RC several times. Little things make the difference and this time the little things were missing. My Time dining was fantastic, especially the service. (table 241).The stateroom attendant was equally professional. However, ... Read More
We have cruised RC several times. Little things make the difference and this time the little things were missing. My Time dining was fantastic, especially the service. (table 241).The stateroom attendant was equally professional. However, the price of beer and wine was outrageous-8.00/ beer and 13.00 for a wine. I really resent the 18% charge on the booze, especially when your already charged 13.50/ day/per person for mandatory tips.The booze package was 58.00/ day/per person. Who can drink that much. Schooners used to have bar snacks to enjoy - no more. A $ was applied to riding a bike in the gym as well as numerous other charges for special venues on the ship. It seems more and more that the dollar is the ultimate goal instead of fair value for the customer. We were on RC cruise about 2 years ago and the difference was mind boggleing. I will rethink our next cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
First time on Indy have sailed from Southampton before after flying in from Australia. Embankment was fast and easy no wait only 15min from start till on ship. Room was ready by 2pm at time we boarded. Ship was clean and Ready for ... Read More
First time on Indy have sailed from Southampton before after flying in from Australia. Embankment was fast and easy no wait only 15min from start till on ship. Room was ready by 2pm at time we boarded. Ship was clean and Ready for the cruisers. Room 6331 prominade was kept spotless the whole cruise. We ate in buffet breakfast deck 3 and food was ample cereal fruit hot food pastries toast. MyTime dining booked same time and table each night. Food was outstanding and seamed larger serves than previous sailings Wait staff excellent. Lunch was had in dining room but after breakfast only had salad bar freshly made by waiters you could order from menu to. Shows were excellent Grease Commedian The Beatles show. Was lacklustre and singing was mediocre. 70s night in prominade was a blast even though we have seen it on other ships it's still fun. Day trips Madeira, booked tour cable car and wicker basket ride outstanding 5 hrs. Tenerife did our own thing hop on bus Las Palmas did hop on bus Lanzarote booked tour camel ride and fir mountain what a fun day and the mountains are unbelievable. Vigo walk straight off ship into old town plenty to see and restaurants The only thing we would say is due to the wind all outdoor activities were cancelled on sports deck while sailing so not to much to do indoors other than sit in a bar. The days with sun and in port day spa was set up in adults pool area and 15min massage was a treat. We always sail with RC the service is outstanding and clean fresh decor. You must try the flow rider Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was my first experience at cruising and I am so pleased I chose Royal Caribbean to go with, I will never go with anyone else as no other company could come close to matching this magical holiday. The ease of boarding surprised us ... Read More
This was my first experience at cruising and I am so pleased I chose Royal Caribbean to go with, I will never go with anyone else as no other company could come close to matching this magical holiday. The ease of boarding surprised us as we expected hours of waiting around, this didn't happen and we were onboard and in our stateroom before 1pm. The stateroom was comfortable and pristinely clean, the beds were so comfy. Our room attendant (Yanne) was lovely and always available if we needed her, the fact that she didn't have a brilliant grasp of our English accents didn't stop her trying to converse with us and we loved her. We ate in the King Lear dining room and we had delicious food every day served to us by our assigned waiters (Timothy and Maureen). Both were attentive and eager to chat to us, we were so impressed that we asked for a soft drink on our first night and they remembered what we had and every night there after, our drinks were there waiting for us when we got there. The dining room manager (Carmen) was equally lovely and always made the time to chat to us, she even got the chef to create us lobster thermodore on our last evening and gave us 40% off. We dined in Giovanne's on my 50th birthday and they made the whole evening so very special for me, made even more magical by some dolphins that decided to swim right by us out in the sea. The food was presented beautifully and was so delicious, we were able to pick several dishes as we couldn't decide what to have as it was all so yummy. The waiters then came out singing happy birthday to me and gave me and cake with a candle in it, such a lovely thought. The food in the Windjammer café was always delicious too and it was so easy to eat too much in there. The staff in there worked so hard to clear tables and make sure you always had a drink. The entertainment was fantastic every night. We went to see Grease twice as it was just so brilliant. The acapella band were awesome as was the comedian Paul Eastwood and the ventriloquist Gareth Oliver. All in all the trip was a total success and if there was anything to find fault with, it would be the trip across the Bay of Biscay which was not pleasant on the way out. The staff did all they could to make me feel abit better. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
A review of Independence through the eyes of our 3½ year old granddaughter Jessica. Very excited sleep countdown to our departure on 9th September 2016, travelling with my Nanna and Granfer. After quick hugs with mummy who we were ... Read More
A review of Independence through the eyes of our 3½ year old granddaughter Jessica. Very excited sleep countdown to our departure on 9th September 2016, travelling with my Nanna and Granfer. After quick hugs with mummy who we were leaving behind to “look after the cats”, we boarded and it only took 15 minutes before we were on and my fun started. All of the crew and staff made me feel very special. Lots of the guests talked to me too. OK so there were a few who seemed to think I shouldn’t go on holiday on a cruise ship, but my Granfer said we were best off ignoring them. Deck 11 ......the water facilities. It wasn’t warm enough for me to get stuck in until we arrived in the Canaries, but I still pestered on the cooler windy days through the BoB. The H2O area was a bit of a waste of time and space and wasn’t really used much. Much better is the main pool and hot tub area, which was surrounded by sun loungers with all sorts of people laying on them changing colour by the hour. Some of the sun loungers only had towels on them, but we only shared one for the 3 of us, so I think that was OK. By the towel stand, they let you borrow a buoyancy jacket, which comes in lots of children’s sizes, to keep us kids safe. The self serve ice cream stand was used lots on this deck .....I could just about reach up to pull the leaver myself, when I hadn’t had enough to eat everywhere else on the ship that is. Deck 3 .....My Time Dining, where we ate between 6 and 6.30 each night. I was treated like a princess every single night of the cruise, from the second I walked into the room. Our waiters had our table ready, with a booster seat in place for me, and folded up paper animals. I could choose from the kids menu or the adults one, and if I didn’t like it, they went off and found me something else. Deck 12.....Aquanauts (kids club for 3-5 year olds). Brilliant place to visit and spend some time with lots of new friends that I made. I could go there anytime between 9-12, 2-5, 6.45-10, or for all of it. I could even go from 10pm to 1am, but I was too busy dancing. On port days I could have stayed to lunch too, but I didn’t need to. They do lots of activities and I made some things that Nanna had to pack to bring home for mummy. Our stateroom....we had an inside one, which Nanna said we had to try and keep tidy cos there wasn’t a lot of room. When I woke up I didn’t know if it was night or day, so most of the time I just went back to sleep and had to be woken up. I missed lots of breakfasts, but Nanna had cereal ready for me anyway and said thank you to me for giving her a lay-in. I slept in a Pullman bed over the top of Granfer....he said I should have been at least 6 years old to be up there, but I thought it was cool climbing the ladder each night, and it had a bed guard so I couldn't fall out (and he said he didn’t want to sleep up there himself anyway). Entertainment: The Ice Shows were amazing. 2 shows each lasting about an hour. Make sure you get your mummies or daddies to collect your tickets from Guest Relations and get there half an hour before the show starts, so you can get a front row seat. Deck 5.... The Pyramid Lounge is a great place to let loose and have a run around, a dance and generally let off steam (as long as the sad folks that don't think you should be on the ship, are not there). I was a good girl though and made people laugh with my dancing, and Granfer got me special lemonade with a cherry in it every night, like Nanna's, though I only had one, she had more!! The Main Shows in the Theatre.....some were a bit late for me, but I tried hard to sit still. Lots of music and dancing, but very loud for my little ears. Getting dressed up.....I had lots of pretty dresses to wear each evening and lots of people wanted to take my photo, though Granfer said that would cost him lots of money. Mummy packed me far too many clothes for 10 days, so I had to make sure I got changed at least 3 times a day, some times more. Excursions: Madeira was the best. Nanna and Granfer took me up the cable car and then we came down the hill in the 'basket' taboggan. In Gran Canaria we visited the beach which is only about 10 minutes walk away. Nanna said it wasn't as calm and safe as she hoped it would be, but I still enjoyed myself eating the sand, having a shower on the beach, then eating chips watching the waves crash in. In Tenerife Nanna said we HAD to go shopping, so I'm glad they brought a buggy for me to relax in....it would have been very tiring if I hadn't and not very nice for Granfer to have had to carry me. If you want to ask my Nanna any more questions, then that’s OK. She might remember more than I did about all the fun things I did and places I visited. So, if Nanna and Granfer ask me if I want to go on a crusing holiday again, I think I would have to say yes, but I think I might need some new pretty dresses, cos the ones I came home with are now a little tight xxx Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Sorry Royals but cant give you a good review this time went with my Brother and his wife to the cannaries on the Independence realy looked forward to it my husband and myself go every 2yrs this was the 3rd time on this ship and we were ... Read More
Sorry Royals but cant give you a good review this time went with my Brother and his wife to the cannaries on the Independence realy looked forward to it my husband and myself go every 2yrs this was the 3rd time on this ship and we were very disapointed.To start with 5 days at sea we felt that we had been robbed of our holiday as it was only ten days to start with .That was rediculous and all the entertainmant was all the same as we had seen the past 2 times we had sailed we were very disapointed with the staff there atitudes were terrible was like they did not want to be there the only person that was great and always polite and happy was the girl at the windjammer called Janet but i must say that the food and the staff there were always great Janet she was a lovely person and greated everybody with a smile . We did hope to have something different on the ship as we thought it had been given a revamp.The cabin was always clean 6365 nothing changed there .The ports that we stopped at were always at the back of the sights but that was our exsperience.We are hopping to go back 2018 september and want to take all my family and grandchildren we always go in september so we will have to do our home work first as it will be a lot of money and dont want to waste it . i Idont want to sound all negative as the past 2 times on this ship to the spanish med was Fantastic and this has not put us off going back on the independence we are just putting it as a bad exspereince and hope next time will be better. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our third cruise with RCI, and the first on Independence. First impressions were good, the stateroom was lovely and the ship looked great. But oh dear how things have slipped at RCI. While the quality overall of the food was ok, ... Read More
This was our third cruise with RCI, and the first on Independence. First impressions were good, the stateroom was lovely and the ship looked great. But oh dear how things have slipped at RCI. While the quality overall of the food was ok, the choice was abysmal and almost wholly "British" - we are Brits ourselves but if we'd wanted this we'd have chosen P & O! I mean seriously one night there were fish fingers on the menu in the main dining room! Other choices like shepherds pie, roast dinners, mixed grill - felt more like we were eating in a Harvester! And we noticed in the Windjammer that whereas before there would be different choices at each food station now they were all the same. The only high point in the food experience was Johnny Rockets - great fun (although of course with RCI if you want anything good you have to pay extra for it). And I'm afraid there's more. Like many others on board that we spoke to in our age group (mid 50s) we found that sadly there was almost nothing to do during the day. All the activities were very heavily sports and young family related and while we are not ready for SAGA just yet these just weren't for us. I would echo the comments of others on here that it was very much Butlins on Sea, really dumbed down and poor. The entertainment in the evening was good on the face of it, but we had seen the comedy juggler three times before, the hypnotist twice before etc etc - how about some actual variety maybe? And to emphasise the focus on families on the last night in the main theatre the entertainment was a young lad on the stage doing tricks on a BMX bike. Great if you are 15 I suppose. Unfortunately due to bad weather we had to miss Lisbon from the itinerary, which was understandable for the safety of the ship, passengers and crew. Did we get our port taxes back? No. All we got was another tedious day at sea with nothing extra put on by way of entertainment to make up for it. They knew 5 days before (ie before the ship left Southampton) that Lisbon was dodgy. Could we have gone somewhere else such as Gibraltar, Tangier, or Casablanca? Maybe, but that might have cost RCI money so we took the cheap way out and sailed on. So much is missing from previous cruises. They may only be little touches such as chocs on pillows, port explorer leaflets delivered to your room (or being available at all) fruit carvings (ok we did get that as an afterthought on the last day) and SO much more. The accountants at RCI are shaving your cruise experience down and we won't be going back I'm afraid. Oh and if they are going to build ships this big it might be an idea to provide enough seats for everyone indoors. Every evening at every bar there was a constant hunt for seats, and woe betide you if you weren't in the theatre at least 45 minutes before the show started - not a chance of a seat. One of things we noticed most was the lack of cleaning. Where on previous cruises the staff were always cleaning on this trip that wasn't the case, and we found dirty toilets and lots of sticky handrails. Once they had a little outbreak of norovirus on board the cleaning did pick up a bit, strangely enough. And can someone explain please what is this curious fascination with vastly overpriced artwork? Its a shame because it could have been a great cruise, and if you had a young family it probably was. But NEVER again for us with RCI. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Have just returned from cruise on this lovely ship with its wonderful staff who cant do enough to make your holiday a success. Regarding noise, there is a quiet area in the library if you require quiet moments. Embarkation was so easy and ... Read More
Have just returned from cruise on this lovely ship with its wonderful staff who cant do enough to make your holiday a success. Regarding noise, there is a quiet area in the library if you require quiet moments. Embarkation was so easy and fast and getting into cabins was just about 1.30pm. Personally I felt there was a variety of entertainment for everyone, could have been speakers, there was a chap who did speak on Gardens throughout UK which I found interesting and wax well attended, however, a jewellery making demonstration was listed but on arrival there were too many people and due to poor preparations for the numbers attending, it was postponed till last sea day didnt attend myself. Entertainment was excellent and Joff one of best Cruise Directors Ive seen. Ice show was first class too. Food in MD excellent and if menu didnt suit your taste there was no problem you could always get something else or if you got your meal and didnt like it the waiter would soon get you something else. Nothing was too much trouble for these guys. The Windjammer is like any self service buffet on any other ship, busy and certainly not relaxed! But it is a choice and a great selection of meals. The young trainee waiters are very attentive, clearing tables as quickly as they can and asking if you require drinks. Always plenty of officers presence too here, supervising when necessary. Cabin stewards work very hard in making the cabins clean and Noel on Deck 7 thank you very much in supplying me with ice when I had knee injury and keeping our cabin tip top. Like all cruise companies shore excursions are too expensive and not good value for money BUT we have a choice go or not, you can of course do the trips independently, only problem is making sure you are back on time for ship leaving. Also re gangways, there are lots of older people on board and I realise tides play a big part on where gangways are placed but some were pretty steep and many people were struggling to get on and off. Diembarkation was very well organised and went smoothly. Just mention few people who made the cruise so enjoyable, Noel our cabin steward, Joao and Wayne our waiters in MD, Andrew trainee waiter in Windjammer and MD and Aaron wine waiter in MD. Must mention Fernando and Noel and Jennnie in Boleros for moving all the tables and chairs to get everyone a seat, thanks to you all. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My Husband and I chose this cruise as he is a dialysis patient. We found a travel agent called who organised cruising holidays with several companies. Royal Caribbean being one. We boarded the cruise at Southampton and the embarkation ... Read More
My Husband and I chose this cruise as he is a dialysis patient. We found a travel agent called who organised cruising holidays with several companies. Royal Caribbean being one. We boarded the cruise at Southampton and the embarkation went really well. Before we knew it we were in our stateroom. No 6270. Having read bad reports, we were really shocked, as we were very pleased with it. The shower was big enough for one person and very good. Always hot water. The hair dryer is to be found in the little drawer under the kettle. Its a small drawer and Its quite hard to find.You only have to ask, as we, did. Our room attendant his name was Archilees (we called him Archie) who came and introduced himself when we boarded.What a lovely man. That was the start of our cruise so far so good. As we were on the dialysis program we were invited to a meet and greet the doctors and nurses that evening. They put every ones minds at rest. It was lovely. Yes I agree it was quite crowded but what would you expect on such a large ship. We ate in the Romeo and Juliet restaurant 8.30 each night table 316 and had very lovely table companions. A young couple from Canada and another couple on the dialysis program from Bristol.. This was fine dinning to a tee. Beautiful food and if you did not like the meal the waiters would change it and were genuinely sorry that wasn't to your taste. If you wanted two starters or main meals you could have them - no questions. Our waiters Celeno and Yulius were absolutely fantastic. No 1. Yes both of them. Entertainment. Not 100% but they tried to meet every ones expectations. Ice show was fantastic. . Jonny Rockets was a fun place to eat for lunch with waiters enjoying dancing to 60's music.Very enjoyable and the onion rings were to die for .(didn't mind paying the extra charge) We tried the Windjammer and found it a "BUN FIGHT". Yes there was a lot of choice though how long it had been sitting there is any ones guess A lot of people liked this area but if you want to have rugby scrum before you eat then that is the place. It was hard to find a place to sunbathe on deck 11. But again if you are a real sun worshipper then you do go out early and not leave to chance. The quiet bars are lovely. One thing I have to mention is that the only friendly people (apart from a few other passengers) are the staff but we were not going to let that spoil our holiday. If the truth be known there is something for everyone on this ship. We will certainly be going again. If not this ship but another of the royal Caribbean as we feel they have got it right.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates N/A 3.8

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