42 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

this was our third time on the independence of the seas, we booked this cruise a few weeks later than we have before as it was going to be our 40th anniversary, whilst we was away and was really looking forward to it. however what a ... Read More
this was our third time on the independence of the seas, we booked this cruise a few weeks later than we have before as it was going to be our 40th anniversary, whilst we was away and was really looking forward to it. however what a difference four years makes, the ship was still as wonderful as ever . formal dinning room Romeo and Juliet was very nice and staff and food we could not wish for anything more it was perfect, windjammer I went in there three times in all it was my worst nightmare it was noisy hectic just awful. entertainment was very good. bar service extremely slow in some bars and it wouldn't hurt for some members of bar staff to smile a little more. the kids curfew is just far to late they were running around the ship till early hours of the morning. but then its down to bad parenting too. the excursions were on the expensive side. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was to celebrate our Golden wedding on 30th July. (football supporters will recognise the wedding date in 1966!) We pushed the boat out (excuse the pun) for this very special occasion & took the whole family of 12. The ... Read More
This was to celebrate our Golden wedding on 30th July. (football supporters will recognise the wedding date in 1966!) We pushed the boat out (excuse the pun) for this very special occasion & took the whole family of 12. The itinerary was important to us, as it included Corsica and Sardinia, which we had not been to before. We booked on this basis. Both were cancelled and replaced by Barcelona and Toulon. My representations resulted in explanations 'the port isn't ready' and in the case of the other 'we have been informed that the port will not accommodate a ship of our Freedom class'. Whilst it is fully accepted that Port cancellations are sometimes necessary for weather or other environmental reasons, but to advertise itineraries and then to cancel without, I believe, good reason 'outside their control', borders on the dishonest. Perhaps some recognition of the celebration occasion by say a cheap bottle of plonk in the cabin might have sweetened the bitter pill. But No nothing. However, now to the ship. Embarkation at Southampton was absolutely great. No delay and very soon in our cabin which was a D3 on 8 deck. Very impressed with the size and design of the cabin. My only slight complaint was that the double bed was two singles linked together. I doubt the mattresses have ever been turned as this resulted in a significant ridge down the centre of the bed - though after 50 years we didn't worry too much about rolling away from each other! Overall we found the ship impressive. Particularly liked the digital interactive display which provides guidance round this very large ship. I suppose the biggest complaint was the difficulty in finding a sunbed. Most reserved by families by towels from early morning. Nothing was done about it - difficult to enforce their 'no reserving' policy, but at least they should try. Going in school holidays, it will understandably involve lots of children of all ages. Many were teenagers and naturally tended to gather in packs as the cruise progressed. I know many find this unsettling, but as an acknowledged 'Mr Grumpy' I must say I did not experience the noise and rudeness some have mentioned. Food was acceptable without anything to significantly complain about. I thought the entertainment was pretty average, but the talks by the retired policeman were very interesting and the Ice Shows were outstanding. Some have suggested that RCI was expensive and in many respects I would not disagree. I thought the charge for Wifi was excessive. To find the replacement Port of Toulon was actually the neighbouring town and then find RCI charging $18 for a boat shuttle into the City was really rubbing salt in the wounds. Despite everything I am a relatively committed cruiser, but not in the future with RCI. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This is Fifth time i have sailed with RC and second on the Independence. It will definitely be my last especially from Southampton, Butlins on sea is a fair description of this cruise. Far too busy not enough staff., Rip off ... Read More
This is Fifth time i have sailed with RC and second on the Independence. It will definitely be my last especially from Southampton, Butlins on sea is a fair description of this cruise. Far too busy not enough staff., Rip off excursions they want to take your money in every opportunity. Food is definitely not fine dining in the main restaurants very basic and cold,no sunbeds on sea days something really has to be done about that one.. The windjammer buffet restaurant is like feeding time at the zoo no seats and a repetitive tannoy system telling you to move on as soon as you have ate not very relaxing. Entertainment was probably the best of the cruise but if you are not early you just cant get a seat. I do cruise yearly but this one has really made me rethink my next holiday and its not on a boat. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
OMG have cruised before but not with Royal Caribbean and never again. Spent my whole cruise in long ques for food, drinks, on and off ship, toilets, lifts, guest services and activities. What can I say, I can only describe it as the ... Read More
OMG have cruised before but not with Royal Caribbean and never again. Spent my whole cruise in long ques for food, drinks, on and off ship, toilets, lifts, guest services and activities. What can I say, I can only describe it as the cruise from hell and if I could have got off and gone home I would have. They were completely over capacity and not enough crew. Guest services really did not care what you complained about, food was dreadful (something you would get in a canteen in the windjammer) which was aptly named and it was always jam packed, unable to find table and constant tannoy asking people to get up and leave their table as soon as they had eaten, no relaxing then. Dinner was no better as qued constantly to get into Romeo and Juliet dining room sometime for one hour and having an autistic child this did not go down well. Were overcharging on the bills and double charging and yes, even though we had a drinks package we were still charged for all drinks we had in the dinning room. Even though we had paid all gratuities up front we were again still charged in the dinning room gratuities if we ordered something different from the main menu even though it was charged for extra. Kids could not get on the activities available as long ques, there were over 1,400 children on board, kids clubs could not cope and sometimes there was a ratio of 1 to 15 in the 3-5 clubs, which is totally unacceptable. Teen club had nothing much on until the evening, 8-11 appeared to just play dodge ball for a week so kids got bored with this quickly. Whilst I cannot hold them responsible for the weather which was dreadful and 11 degrees all cruise, this meant that people stayed on board yet they still proceeded to play the movies on the pool deck (deck 11) where you would freeze to death or get blown away, only on day 5 did they decide to change things and put the movies on in the pyramid lounge inside (where it was warm). Most staff appeared miserable and some were downright rude. I paid just under £4,000 for one room with 2 adults and 2 children, inside cabin and booked direct with Royal Caribbean and there appeared to be a very different price paid if you booked with anyone else. Prices per person were from £399 to £750 and only those who booked with them direct appeared to have been ripped off, with everything. Whilst I agree you only get what you pay for and if you had only paid £1,600 for 4 of you then you could not complain but when you have paid nearly £4,000 then you expect something better. I have previously cruised with Disney and if I had to rate both cruise lines and would say Disney are 5* and Royal Caribbean less than 1*. Even people who had cruised many times with them were complaining and saying they would not again, certainly on this ship. Normal ratio for crew to guests is 2 to 1, I would hazard a guess that it was probably half of this on this cruise. Bars were manned most of the time by one crew member and when ship was in port, even though it was so cold you could not get off they had one bar open with one member of staff on. Getting off was just as bad. I can honestly say that I must have spent half of my cruise queing and the other half complain with a could not care less attitude so for me I certainly would not cruise with Royal Caribbean again. To give you an idea of the amount of complaints, the service desk was never empty there were even ques at 2.00 am in the morning, I guess this tells a story, one that says don't cruise on Independence of the Seas unless you want a cruise from hell. Never seen so many people cancel their gratuities although customer service did not care as one told me "I get paid a salary so I don't care if they cancel it does not affect me" how disrespectful to all the other crew as I am sure it matters to them but then again if they provided the service and quality of food you expect having paid £4,000 then you don't mind tipping. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our second cruise previously sailing on the Celebrity Eclipse and although we enjoyed our holiday we won't return to this ship as it was an inferior experience. However let me start with the good points. Nearly all of the ... Read More
This was our second cruise previously sailing on the Celebrity Eclipse and although we enjoyed our holiday we won't return to this ship as it was an inferior experience. However let me start with the good points. Nearly all of the staff who served us were extremely polite and helpful a couple of grumpy staff in the Windjammer were the exception and a special mention to Helen who was our room attendant who was so lovely and happy. I am quite critical of the flavour of food if it is not seasoned correctly and I can honestly say that every mouthful of food I had from whichever restaurant was extremely tasty and cooked very very well. The ice shows were really professional with a very high standard of skating and lovely costumes. We spoke to quite a few people who were long term visitors of this ship and they were critical stating that they thought standards had dropped in both the food and service over the years. I must admit there did not seem to be as many staff as we have previously had clearing tables and taking drinks orders in the restaurant and around the pools. The food in Giovanni's, Chops Grille and Johnny Rockets was outstanding however I will point out some disappointments later. The ship is well laid out however we did have trouble finding places to sit some evenings and deck 5 could get very crowded. Now for my gripes we paid for an Ultimate drinks package which as not cheap by any means in my mind the title of Ultimate means the best/top package so imagine my surprise to find that some of the cocktails on the bar menus carried a sur charge if the price was over $12 so you might end up with a charge of $1.95 to your bill for a drink !!! Unbelievable surely this should be covered under this Ultimate package. If you have a fridge in your room do not drink anything from it even water as although the Ultimate package will cover water, soda and spirits from the bars you will have to pay for anything you take from your mini bar !! We paid for 5 speciality meals this was too many I would suggest 3 at the most as there are only 2 restaurants. As stated before both were very good but again they had supplements on their menu for items such as lobster and certain steaks (not the case on Celebrity what ever was on the menu you could have) so if you wanted lobster you had to pay a further supplement charge of $29 on top of the extra charge you have paid to eat there !!! Two shops on the promenade seemed a waste of time as they never had any customers one was the pie and cupcake shop and the other was Ben & Jerry's ice cream ( both charged for anything bought there ) seemed pointless when across was a free cafe serving sandwiches and cakes and next door free pizzas and salad until 3am and you could eat free ice cream at the pool side. We went on 2 organised trips one good one poor - the Gibraltar trip was very expensive for a short tour and the caverns I recommend you do this u dear your own steam and pay a private taxi driver. The other organised trip was to the Tio Pepe sherry vaults in Cadiz. Other ports were Barcelona which was beautiful you can do the open top hop on/off bus yourself which is good value €24 each the same in Nice. As you get off the boat for Chittavechia there are trips to Rome being offered for about €25 which is much cheaper than the boat trips but Rome is 1 1/2 hours each way and people did say they felt rushed to try to see everything. We stayed in Chittavechia which was a beautiful town and if you are there on a Saturday go to the market. Malaga was lovely too. Entertainment was good Darren Day was entertaining and the dance shows were quite entertaining. Overall we have given the holiday a 4 out of 5 but probably a 3.75. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After 15 cruises of various cruise lines including 4 previously on RCL I found the 14th March 2015 sailing on the Independence Of The Seas to be way below expectations in several areas. However the short comings did not curtail having a ... Read More
After 15 cruises of various cruise lines including 4 previously on RCL I found the 14th March 2015 sailing on the Independence Of The Seas to be way below expectations in several areas. However the short comings did not curtail having a great family vacation. My wife and I traveled with our two sons, daughter in law and 11 month old granddaughter. One son used Choice Air traveling from Wichita, KS, flying into Fort Lauderdale the night before the cruise. Second son, my wife and I drove to Fort Lauderdale from Orlando. We coordinated and arrived at the pier around 11:00, we all had JR. Suites (upgrade courtesy of RCL) and swiftly went through the embarkation process. We decided to hang out by the pool until the rooms opened up at 1:00 which was fine. Only negative on embarkation is the ship left from pier 29 and the closest parking is the mid port parking garage which was not very convenient. Our staterooms were on deck 10, 1356, 1360, and 1364, three adjoining Jr. Suites. We found the rooms to be spacious, clean and well appointed. I asked to have the balconies opened between the rooms which was accomplished but not until day two and asking several times. My room steward Herbert was very helpful and friendly throughout the cruise. I had several prolonged and interesting discussions with him. The room steward for the other two rooms was Naida who was also excellent and very helpful with the 11 month old. Only accolades for staterooms and room stewards. We enjoyed a total of three days at sea around the pool and ship. No issues finding chairs or lounges around the children’s pool area. We took advantage of the climbing wall and Flow Rider. In fact the Flow Rider was so much fun we decided to book it for a private one hour session. Unfortunately I suffered a bad fall on the rider, injuring my shoulder. The flow rider staff did not insist or suggest that I visit the infirmary to have it looked at which in retrospect I believe they should have. We enjoyed two fine meals, one in Chops Grill the other in Giovanni’s Table. We ate breakfast in both the Windjammer Café and the MDR. Lunch was either ashore or in the Windjammer. We utilized My Time Dining with reservations which resulted in having the same servers each evening at the same table on the window which we very much enjoyed. Both our main waiter Yasser and assistant waiter Wilmer were outstanding, particularly taking care of the needs of the 11 month old. Other than the meals in the two specialty restaurants we found the food below the standard of past RCL cruises and far below the quality of the food on their sister line Celebrity. The food was not bad just not the outstanding experience I have become accustomed to after 40 years of cruising. The choices were repetitive with the names of the dishes changing but the preparation of the meals changing little. Dessert choices were limited and portions small. The servers however were helpful and on occasion brought courses not ordered so they could be sampled by those at the table. Steak and Lobster was not offered as one meal but as separate meals requiring me to order both resulting in wasted side dishes. The breakfasts in the Windjammer were ok but we preferred the quiet breakfasts in the MDR. Lunch in the Windjammer Café was far below our expectations. Although there was a reasonable selection it changed little from day to day. The pasta sauce tasted as though it came out of a can rather than freshly made as did the soups. Bread for sandwiches was not fresh if not outright stale. However we did not go hungry at lunch and always found something marginally to our liking. I found the production shows to be boring and repetitive which I found out of the norm for RCL. The entertainers were talented but the productions gave them little to work with. The Invitation to Dance Show became very boring after the first 15 minutes although the singers and dancers did their best to keep the energy going but they simply lost the audience. Under The Big Top and Once Upon a Time had different themes but similar content. Unfortunately I missed what may have been the best show, Beatlemania “Live” which I heard several passengers commenting positively on. The one show my family and I enjoyed was A World Adventure On Ice, it was lively with a diversity of music. It even kept the 11 month olds attention for the whole show, a very good production on ice. We also enjoyed various other evening activities such as the karaoke events and the "Quest" event. Another disappointment was the casino. I enjoy playing a little Blackjack and on most ships tables are offered with a $5.00 minimum bet but not on this ship. Except for a very short 2 hours the minimum bet stood at $10.00. Since I play for entertainment this minimum did not allow me to play for a sufficient amount of time to engage in the activity at all. With many tables standing empty and others partially seated it makes no sense to me not to entice the clientele with a lower minimum as the cost of running the facility is fixed and I doubt the returns to the house would differ little with the lower minimum perhaps even increase due to a greater participation. We visited Maho beach and the Sunset Bar and Grill to watch the planes land in St. Maarten at an affordable cab ride. Ate at a restaurant along the boardwalk in Phillipsburg and had a good Caribbean lunch, again at a very affordable price. In St. Kitts we visited the Brimstone Hill again an affordable cab ride, but the cabbie only gave us an hour there as he wanted to get back for another fare. I suppose I could have paid him additional to stay longer but it didn’t occur to me at the time. I was underwhelmed by Basseterre, little to see and poor choice of restaurants for lunch. The best shopping is in the duty free area on the pier but all your standard Caribbean shops like Diamond International. The port enjoyed the most was Old San Juan; unfortunately we spent little time there. We did get to see the beach though; one son did a little surfing. A gentleman at the beach rented us his board for $15 asked simply that we not ding it up. We also got to visit the Del Morro fortress. Wish we had more time than the 5 hours we had there. Private beach in Labadee Haiti, not much to say other than it is another opportunity for RCL to transfer more of your vacation dollars to their coffers. Disembarking at Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) we chose to self disembark the ship around 9:00, carrying our bags, which took about 15 minutes from stateroom to car. Going through customs was painless with no lines. I summary it appears to me that RCL is cutting back in little ways across the various entities that comprise the cruise experience. I suspect that they are doing this to keep the basic cruise cost affordable while attempting to increase stockholder value. This seasoned cruiser would rather they retain the luxury cruise experience of the past even at the expense of slightly higher prices. Will I cruise RCL again probably but it is also as likely I will spend my limited vacation budget on the more luxurious lines either within the RCCL family or with their competition.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our 14th cruising experience. We had a delightful week. As Platinum members with RC, embarkation was a breeze in Ft. Lauderdale. We got there a day early and enjoyed a stroll down Seabreeze Blvd. Saturday morning along the beach. ... Read More
This was our 14th cruising experience. We had a delightful week. As Platinum members with RC, embarkation was a breeze in Ft. Lauderdale. We got there a day early and enjoyed a stroll down Seabreeze Blvd. Saturday morning along the beach. Had dinner at Coconut Waterside Grill Friday night - wonderful and we're sure to return. Love the Independence of the Seas. Size of ship offers enhanced amenities, Best fitness room ever. it seems so much easier to get around that on other ships over the years. Dinner room staff and room steward were certainly pleasant and adequate, no complaints, but didn't stand out in comparison. Had a few minor issues/encounters with staff, and they were superb in the attitude and ability to resolve issues. Food was good, entertainment was fun, at sea days were fun - no rain but a little too much wind, ports were very good - St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan, Labadee. Wasn't especially looking forward to San Juan or Labadee, but both proved to be enjoyable days. Walking around San Juan is very nice. Labadee feels like Disney Caribbean. Wish we had skipped the excursion in St. Maarten (Philipsburg) and just enjoyed the public beach by the water taxi depot. All ports had dock facilities, so we didn't have to suffer tenders. Bought the unlimited WIFI package which covers two devices and shared with friend. WIFI service gets better and better. We had a 10 bottle wine package we had bought pre-cruise, but apparently they are now doing away with those packages. Based on our cruising experience, RC is certainly our prefer cruise ship company in the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Me and 3 other family members sailed on RCI 'Independence of the Seas a couple of weeks ago. The best part of our cruse were all the excursions that we were able to book. I was fascinated by the sights in Rome. Im glad we didn't ... Read More
Me and 3 other family members sailed on RCI 'Independence of the Seas a couple of weeks ago. The best part of our cruse were all the excursions that we were able to book. I was fascinated by the sights in Rome. Im glad we didn't take our two young kids who usually travel with us because this was a more adult type cruise. We visited ports in Spain, Italy and France. As beautiful as these countries were, the people we met there were not so friendly. Especially towards us because were are black. I would love to go visit other ports in Europe like Greece. However, we are skeptical to do so because of all the racial overtones. Overall, I was extremely disappointed with the ship. I was told by RCI customer service rep when booking the reservations that gratuities were now mandatory by everyone and no longer optional. This was of course a lie. The ship advertised a new flowrider on board. But when we got on the ship, they were still in the process of completing the ride. The flowrider was not ready until the 6th day of cruising. I asked for a discount as a result but of course was turned down. The food on board was practically the same every single day. As a fan of RCI, I have to give Norwegian a big edge on this one. Towards the end of our cruise we saw a bunch of people on long lines. After investigating, we found out that we could get a tax refund from all our purchases on board the ship. This made us extremely angry of course because no one had informed us about this prior. Most of us had already discarded our receipts. When we tried going back to the stores that we purchased from there were long lines everywhere so we didn't even bother. I believe RCI neglected to inform us about this on purpose. I purchased a $175 CD of 10 photos. When I got home the disc couldn't work on my computer. I called RCI and they gave me the runaround. They informed me that all the stores on their ships are not part of RCI and are independent operators. This was a shock to me. I realized that once you are done cruising, the cruise companies couldn't care less about you because they already have your money. Lastly, when debarking the ship the crew was rude and rushed everyone off the ship so that they can bring in new money on board. PS, I don't think I will ever cruise with RCI again. Even though all the cruise lines basically share the same practices. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean five or six times now, and tend to like the layout of the ship, the size, and now we know where everything is. Well, almost. First the pros. The Independence is a beautiful ship, rooms were very clean, ... Read More
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean five or six times now, and tend to like the layout of the ship, the size, and now we know where everything is. Well, almost. First the pros. The Independence is a beautiful ship, rooms were very clean, and staff very friendly. I did feel they did as much as they could if we had a problem. The Ice Shows are very professional, you don't need to queue for tickets, there are always plenty of seats. However the cons. Quite a few. We did not appreciate the loud blaring 'music' when we were trying to relax around the pool, or on sunbeds, particularly around the Flow Rider. However there is one 'quite' pool area if you can get a sunbed early enough. Too many towels left on seats. And If you are not a smoker, avoid the Casino. Full of heavy smoke and cigarette butts stubbed out and unemptied in ashtrays. There were five tenders waiting to take us to Cannes, at two exits, but everyone was guided to the same exit point so at 10.30 in the morning the queue went from Level 1 to Level 4. Each tender took around 20 minutes there and back. We waited to disembark for over an hour. It was hot and stuffy inside on the stairs, and everyone was complaining. People were getting out of lifts as we were queueing and were being told by staff to get back in the lift and come back later. An absolute farce. No apology from staff. Coming back to the ship, we waiting on the dock in the boiling heat, in a queue, to embark for a good half hour. The same thing happened in Lisbon, not to get on a tender, just to get off the ship! A good half hour wait, again on the stairs. Again no apology from the Captain. At Vigo we disembarked at 10.30 and had to be back by 2.30. Why not all day in Vigo? Would it cost RC more money to stay at the Port longer? No explanations. We have noticed that RC has become much more money orientated over the years. We rushed to get to the 9pm show in the Alhambra Theatre. Then Mr Joff 'er,er,er' Eaton 'your wonderful Cruise Director' came onstage and proceeded to hold an Auction, albeit for charity, an auction which we did not enter the theatre to see. This happened on two occasions. It probably happened more often, but we didn't go to the theatre every night. My next point. Showtime. Who is Dain Cordean/Claire Maidin/Joanna Marie/Victor Michael/Diane Cousins/John Udry?? It was like watching Britains Got Talent – the bad auditions. One Welsh lady 'comedienne and singer' was a typical karaoke/pub entertainer. The violinist was really scraping the barrel, poor chap. Russian songs.Scottish songs.Irish songs.You get my gist. We walked out halfway through (along with several other guests). Bernie Flint.Winner of Opportunity Knocks all those years ago, as he kept telling us. And telling us. Because nobody knew who he was! No hypnotist, no magician. The RC 'Singers and Dancers'. Amateurish and Very Corny. Do we want to be Under The Big Top or seeing a show about Fairy Tales? Hello! Most of us are retired! Its not a creche!!! The best act of the cruise was comedian John Evans (who?I hear you ask) well, he was very very funny and had the audience in fits of laughter. And when the night's 'entertainment' eventually came to an end, and Joff 'Er,er,er' Eaton appeared on stage to tell everyone what we could all read in the Cruise Compass, half the audience walked out to go to bed or find the next entertainment at their nearest bar. Mr Eaton had no audience appeal and didn't seem to have a lot of confidence.The live bands in the bars were very good but two weeks of Latin American and Caribbean music, the same songs, almost in the same order are great for a few days and after two weeks you cannot get the songs out of your head. RC were plugging plenty of Beauty Treatments around the Pool, outside the Windjammer, just about everywhere. No I did not want an Eyelash Lift, a Spa Treatment, St Tropez Tanning or Acupuncture. No I did not want my teeth whitened, have an Elemis Collagen Facial or find out how to banish my under-eyebags. I did not want to buy a Work of Art, a Digital Camera or a Watch. I did not want to buy a plastic handbag, have a $23 photograph taken or have a 'complimentary' Good Feet analysis. Enough already! We tended to eat in the Windjammer most evenings as we find the dining room very formal, stuffy, being fawned over by waiters who 'recommend' a dish that's on the menu. Does that make you order it? No. Not enough choice on the menu, ridiculously tiny starters and desserts. I would say 20% of cruisers agreed with us, at the Windjammer there was plenty of food, choice, seats, view, sitting with whom you want where you want, at what time you want. I must admit though, on the last three evenings there was No Meat at the Carvery. Every time we asked where it was we were told 'It will be seven minutes'... but it didn't really matter. Earlier on the cruise most nights, the carvery meat was very tough. I ate a lot of salad and the salad bar was same, same, same every lunch and evening. Food is not as varied as it used to be. We couldn't hear the announcements on the tannoy, either in the cabin or on deck. Thank goodness it wasn't 'Man the Lifeboats'. Just a few tips. The price for the RC shuttle into Lisbon at the terminal was $19 each. The price of the open top bus at the terminal is $15 each. Do the maths. Don't take up the $60 Daily Plan for Internet access. Wait until you are on shore and use a cafe for your Wi-Fi. Always check your account on the TV screen. We were charged $22 for items out of the Mini Bar which we did not use and eventually the charge was refunded. No apology. Perhaps we will try P&O next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was my third cruise and second cruise with RC. My previous cruise with RC was ten years ago and that cruise was fantastic with absolutely no complaints. However, this cruise the problems included: 1) The level of the quality of food ... Read More
This was my third cruise and second cruise with RC. My previous cruise with RC was ten years ago and that cruise was fantastic with absolutely no complaints. However, this cruise the problems included: 1) The level of the quality of food has dropped, although the food was ok in the main restaurants it was not at all special and miles off the standard that I remember from ten years ago. This is what made the cruise so special ten years ago. Some of the steaks you could not cut and they had to be returned, but apart from keeping away from the steaks the other food was ok. 2) The food was similar throughout the ship (well in the non paying dinning areas) 3) If you miss a dinning time then there was not much choice on what you can get to eat, perhaps a sandwich or a pizza (these did not change much from day to day), it has moved from 24 hour dinning to more like a full board style hotel 4) The Windjammer - you need to give this a miss, although the food is ok it is like a mad house at food times or feeding time at the zoo. Things are not in any order, for example don't expect to find butter near the toast and when you finally find the butter the toast has really passed it's best. Not only cold but hard. I found the whole experience at the Windjammer horriable, I am on holiday and want to relax and dinning in the windjammer is just not relaxing. This is not completely RC thought as I think that the quality of the guests have dropped in ten years (not being snobbish) and people enter the Winderjammer and simply forget their manners, que jumping, fighting for food etc etc. However, the reason for the frenzy is probably because their is not 24 hour dinning anymore as discussed above so if RC changed from full board back to the way they were 10 years ago then there would be less panic or perhaps simply extend the dinning times. 5) We selected the 8.30pm dinning time and if you come back on the ship from a day out early afternoon there was no food available other than some crap sandwiches or pizza which had little taste. 6) Overall, RC seem to be penny pinching in that they have taken lots of small things away that made the cruise special such as less choice with food, availability of food, chocs on your pillar at night, midnight feast, afternoon tea 7) RC are constantly trying to sell you something and although the food may no longer be 24/7 their selling is. Just when you are relaxing at the pool the PA system announces that they they have an art auction, pampering in the spa, cheap watches, plastic handbags or any other crap that they are trying to sell you. I am on holiday/vacation and I want to relax and don't want to buy RC's over priced cheap crap and especially don't want to be constantly sold to. 8) As a smoker I found the casino a horriable place to be as this is a smoking area and it got very smoky and smelly. My wife as a non smoker hated being anywhere near the casino which was a shame as we both enjoy a small gamble while on a ship. Spoke to some staff and they said that they tried making the casino non smoking but the profits went down so they reverted back to smoking! 9) As a businessman, it looks like to me that RC have changed management/directors in the last ten years and they have become more focused on profit making than providing their guests a great holiday/cruise experience. Well a message to the Board is that you have lost my business for the future so put that in your pipe and smoke that! 10) Paid extra to go in the Italian Restaurant on Board and once seated was immediately attacked by the wine waiter, firstly he asked if we wanted water, that was easy as we both had drinks packages. He responded sorry we dont have that water that is included in the drinks package in this restaurant and the water available costs $8, so we agreed to order this over priced water only to find out later that the table behind us was offered tap water! He then come back with his suggested bottles of wine, I declined as I only wanted a glass of red with my meal, at that point he was almost rude and walked away. I order a glass of red within my drinks package and my wife ordered a glass of white. We waited ages for these glasses of wine, guess because we upset him for not ordering his suggested wine that he no doubt gets commission on. When I looked at the wine menu he was trying to sell us $200-300 bottles of wine. 11) Jonny Rockets - what is all the fuss about. The staff were great and entertaining but the food was crap, frozen food and our burgers were dripping in grease, we did not got back. It would make Macdonalds a five star when JR achieving only a 1-2 star and I am not a big fan of MacDonalds. 12) If they are advertising a formal night with guidance on what you need to wear which we both looked forward to I was very disappointed when I am wearing a DJ and wife is in a cocktail dress and two tables away the chap was wearing shorts, t-shirt and flip flops and this was in the main restaurant and not the Windjammer, we also notices chaps wearing jeans. RC you need to grow a set of balls and decline guests not wearing the right clothing into the main restaurants otherwise what is the point of having a formal night. I could not see any difference between smart casual to casual and this is probably a sign that in a few years the formal nights will be a thing of the past. My holiday cost over stg£6,000 for two people for two weeks which is not a cheap holiday and really expected a little more from the holiday and a lot less RC hard selling. On the plus notes, the cabin was a good size and clean, staff were helpful and friendly although some of them struggle with English which is odd given that most of the guests are either English or Amercian. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Having cruised on the Adventure of the Seas a number of times I assumed that the Independence would just be the same but larger. Alas no. Our party of 6 six were second sitting i.e 8.30. When we left the dining room it was impossible to ... Read More
Having cruised on the Adventure of the Seas a number of times I assumed that the Independence would just be the same but larger. Alas no. Our party of 6 six were second sitting i.e 8.30. When we left the dining room it was impossible to find a seating area in any of the bars they were just too full. It would appear that an increase in space and passengers doesn't mean an increase in bar areas. Regarding the entertainment. The guest acts that we watched were excellent, however the shows put on by the entertainments team were really poor. Notably the two parades were amateur to say the least. Having seen them on Adventure which were great you would have thought that given the number of times that the shows must have been performed in the past that performers would have a better idea of what they were supposed to be doing and have some co-ordination between them. On the plus side sailing from Southampton was very efficient both for departure and arrival back. As per usual Royal Caribbean drinks are expensive. Food overall was fine, Johnny Rockets being the high point but you are paying extra. Booked on two cruises next year on Oasis , given its increased size hopefully not a repeat problem   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was our first cruise and probably the last. It had some real highlights that made it a special holiday but let's go through the negatives first: 1. Tipping. Once upon a time, cruising was the privilege of the rich and famous and ... Read More
This was our first cruise and probably the last. It had some real highlights that made it a special holiday but let's go through the negatives first: 1. Tipping. Once upon a time, cruising was the privilege of the rich and famous and they left a trail of large tips behind them as the staff pampered to their every need. Now Jo Bloggs can go cruising but the tipping culture has remained. In fact the tipping expectancy is out of control. For a family of 4, the cruise line will automatically add over 600 dollars to your bill for tips. Even if you have opted out when you make the booking it will still happen. So you have to go to customer services on-board and get these 'gratuities' removed. When have you ever stayed at a hotel for 2 weeks and left 600 dollars in tips? It is better to make the tips yourselves in cash at the end of the cruise. The staff appreciate 'cash in hand' but I'm sure you won't leave them 600 dollars! 2. Smokers. There are dedicated smoking areas on deck for smokers but of course I should have known that smokers would choose rooms with balconies so they could light up as close to their cabin as possible. We had smokers either side of us and we had the pleasure of their exhaled smoke and chesty coughs every time we used the balcony. Thanks. 3. Number of fellow guests. The ship is BIG. In fact there are over 4,000 guests on-board. Think about that number for a second because they all want to do roughly the same thing at the same time. This can make for a bit of a scrum at break-fast and lunch, along with a lot of Germanic towel behaviour around the swimming pools (despite there being a no hogging policy for sun loungers it is never enforced). Some of the port trips were a bit painful because of the shear number of people going to the same place at the same time. There were days when it felt like you did nothing but queue. 4. Drinks Prices. As you would expect, the price of beer and wine is high because you are a captive audience. However what really grated was that the price for the same wine/beer varied tremendously between the on-board restaurants. In my view, one tip for keeping costs down is to stick with the excellent Windjammer restaurant on Deck 11 and avoid the formal dining rooms. It's relaxed and self-service but you can get a carafe of wine for 9.95 - compare that to 40 for a bottle in one of the restaurants! If you want to drink Coke or other soft drinks you need to pay 75 dollars per person for a soft drinks pass for the trip (seriously). 5. Water. There is no free water outside of the restaurants. Come on! Have you ever stayed in a hotel where there wasn't a free bottle of water in the fridge? On board it will cost you $4.50 so get in the habit of carrying water back to your cabin (sorry - 'stateroom'). 6. Internet. Can't live without WiFi these days but on-board it is VERY expensive. Top tip is to wait until you get into port and use the free WiFi that is available in almost every cafe. 7. You WILL put on weight. Now for the positives: 1. The crew are very helpful, knowledgeable and provide great service. 2. The cruise gets you out to a number of countries and cities which was a great experience for the kids. In fact, our youngest said it was 'the best holiday ever'. However I can't help but throw in another little negative here because these trips are at additional cost: approx 200 dollars for a family of four (now multiply that by 8). These city visits made the holiday for us so do plan for them. Another tip is to simply get off the ship and head for the near red tourist bus which give you an excellent tour / taxi service around the city, which you can take at your own pace. NB: for Florence and Rome you have no choice but to take a 30 minute bus ride to get into the city because the ports of Livorno and Civitavecchia are so far away. 3. Our eyes were also opened to some place that we would not have previously considered for a holiday e.g. Cadiz with its excellent beaches, and Corsica with it's crystal-clear water. Overall, it was a memorable holiday which the kids will never forget. However, I just can't get the total cost vs value out of my head. For what we spent we could have hired a nice villa in Spain or Italy THREE TIMES. In fact, that's my final recommendation: don't cruise - hire a villa with a private pool in the summer and go on some city breaks during the rest of the year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We have just got back from a 14 night cruise of the Med. I have cruised a lot of times over the last 25 years and want to share my thoughts of how cruising has changed and my time on the independence of the seas. First of all I want to ... Read More
We have just got back from a 14 night cruise of the Med. I have cruised a lot of times over the last 25 years and want to share my thoughts of how cruising has changed and my time on the independence of the seas. First of all I want to stop people moaning about how expensive things are when you get on board. The first thing you don't have to buy anything u less you want to, also drinks are what you would expect to pay if you go to a good hotel which a cruise ship is. Just wanted to get this off my chest. Embarkation: Very quick and we were on the ship within 30mins of walking into the terminal. Cabin: Are cabin was adequate for us, myself my wife and 6 month year old son. It was clean at all times and the bed was of a good size and comfortable. In the bathroom we could of done with more soaps being diamond members we got on small bottle of shampoo and body wash. You use to get a nice range of soaps and things but not anymore. Ship: As always very clean and well presented kept well sanitised. She is very impressive words don't do just for her design. Dinning: This has changed massively over the years and not always for the better. The food is good plenty of choice in the windjammer, sometimes food is left to long in the hot plates and needs changing more often. The dinning room has a good menu but not always executed to perfection but the food is good. Service is excellent we were well look after and really had fun with the dinning room staff. This is the biggest change to cruising you use to get lobster and lovely steaks. But now to get this you have to pay extra in the speciality restaurants. Also no big buffets with great ice carvings and fruit carvings, this is a real shame you use to have a midnight buffet every night not anymore. They really could look at doing more with the food and making it more special. Dress Code: Why don't the cruise company's enforce there dress code it looks really odd people in DJ and then you get someone in there tank top and shorts. It takes the shine of the evening. You would not be allowed to wear this in top hotels so why on ships. Casino: Well I like flutter in the casino but the staff in the casino are the rudest I have ever met. They just could not give a damm.... Entertainment Well it's a good thing I don't care much about this. But if you do we'll be ready for HI-DE-hi. They have not changed the shows in the last few years. And the acts they brought on well cheap cabaret is they only way I can describe this. Also the amount of announcements enough to drive you mad. They send you a cruise compass with everything go on time place why do they need to keep telling us as well. Bring back Graham Seymour..... Ports of call: Weather was not great but that's know ones fault but we loved the ports and had a great time ashore. Overall: We came back relaxed and had a good time. The ship is amazing and we will keep sailing Royal Caribbean. But when you go over the Atlantic why is cruising so different and even better? It could be to do with how British people want the ship to be. If you want that go P&O or Cunard leave Royal Caribbean alone. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
As a family of 10, 6 adults and 4 children all I can say is how great this holiday was. I had read a few recent reviews, one saying it was like a floating Butlins, NOT AT ALL. On arrival it was a quick well organized on board for us ... Read More
As a family of 10, 6 adults and 4 children all I can say is how great this holiday was. I had read a few recent reviews, one saying it was like a floating Butlins, NOT AT ALL. On arrival it was a quick well organized on board for us all. The size of the ship is overwhelming and takes your breath away. Everywhere is so clean and tidy and being slightly OCD myself found this a great help. What can I say about the food, just there is so much and so many different places to eat. We did not go in any of the special restaurants where a fee was required, as all our requirements were met in the main evening restaurant, ours being "King Lear". The staff in this restaurant were very friendly, quick to meet your every need and after the first night knew all our names. The food in this restaurant catered for all our needs including my very fussy child, if it was not on the menu they would simply provide it for him, so no need to worry on that part. The children's clubs and outdoor activities for them were great. Met them for Breakfast, sometimes lunch and then after evening meal were gone again to make new friends, so left the adult's time to chill and enjoy the evening entertainment. Evening entertainment was varied with some very good acts, especially the Juggler. The cast all had fantastic singing voices and really made the shows. Another show to see is the Ice Skating, which all though the rink is not large the dancers were all very professional. There is not enough that can be said about this ship, other than this will not be our last trip on this amazing ship of the seas, well done ROYAL CARIBBEAN Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Parking in Southampton was easy, and boarding the Ship was far easier than last year. Our rooms were not ready when we boarded, so we were advised we could go and watch a film, go to windjammers or head to a bar. We decided to go to the ... Read More
Parking in Southampton was easy, and boarding the Ship was far easier than last year. Our rooms were not ready when we boarded, so we were advised we could go and watch a film, go to windjammers or head to a bar. We decided to go to the bar and purchase a drinks package, at $39 for my partner and $49 for me. This I feel is quite reasonable. We are not very big drinkers however it was best knowing exactly what we were spending. My time dining in the King Lear was fantastic, we had two wonderful waiters Rohinton (Rocky) and Caiton. These guys are a credit to the Royal Caribbean. Nothing was too much trouble, the service was first class and as you would expect there was a wide range of selection for meals. We visited many bars whilst on board, and tended to visit the Vintage Bar on most occasions. The staff (Claire, Christine and Christopher) were free friendly and ran their bar well. Six of us tended to meet up there most nights and the staff remembered our names and our drinks order without having to be reminded. Our stateroom was kept clean by our stateroom attendant Leo, however this was not to the standard of our stateroom last year. Often it looked as if he had rushed around and not paid too much attention to detail. I was disgusted by some of the passengers in the way they spoke to the staff and to fellow passengers. Some can be described as nothing but snobs - its such a shame how judgmental people can be. I pity them for their outlook on life and that they feel they should constantly complain about the most trivial things. Trying to get our cases in Southampton was not the best experience as it was havoc. This does need to be improved, as it took over 15 mins to locate our luggage. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I chose the Independence of the Seas as I had previously been on the Freedom and liberty and was wowed by the choice on the menu and the staff. However although I found the staff to be wonderful and the ship being just as amazing as I ... Read More
I chose the Independence of the Seas as I had previously been on the Freedom and liberty and was wowed by the choice on the menu and the staff. However although I found the staff to be wonderful and the ship being just as amazing as I remember when it came to the evening menu I was disapointed as there seem to be just a choice of approx four main meals and the same for starter and desert and even though we only went on the mini Cruise at least one of each was repeated. My other niggle was the drinks and spa prices, I don't live in London and so I'm not use to paying £9 for a cocktail plus 15% service charge - although gorgeous I was not willing to spend a fortune on enjoying cocktails. Therefore the three of us all chose to buy the soft drinks package at approx $5 a day to supplement this. Also I laughed out land at the spa treatments - where else on earth would you pay £70 for a 1 hour massage!!! Now onto the good points - the ship really does have the WOW WOW WOW factor. The staff will fall over themselves to help. The gym (which is free) was highly useful for burning off the buffet breakfast. Plenty of sun loungers to catch some rays. A spectacular dancing on ice show with Olympic skaters that took my breath away. Overall I would go again but I'd remember how much extra the drinks cost. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My partner and I have just returned from our first cruise with Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas. Our check in was quick, easy and efficient. When we got on board we found the ship to be very impressive. It's a massive ... Read More
My partner and I have just returned from our first cruise with Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas. Our check in was quick, easy and efficient. When we got on board we found the ship to be very impressive. It's a massive ship, with plenty of space and lots of amenities. We had a lovely cabin on deck eight with plenty of room and a balcony. The Balcony was decent size and we used daily especially early evening after a shower it was lovely to sit and watch the world go round so to speak!! We'd only booked three weeks before therefore and think we found ourselves pretty lucky that they had a cabin like that left. We had our evening meal in the Strauss restaurant at 6-45 and were lucky enough to be seated with six other great people we chatted and laughed all through the week, two of the couples had done previous cruises which helped us when we needed to find things out, especially when it came to the trips. The food was exceptional I'm a very fussy eater, but found something at each sitting to eat especially the desserts an oooooo the trifle was delicious and well worth the extra portion. People who moan about the food at the windjammer must be barmy we found it excellent. Who can moan about a good old English breakfast with bacon, sausages, baked beans, black pudding etc so very very tasty. The food was always hot and plentiful I sat and watched the staff go in and out of the kitchen on numerous occasions with fresh produce. A special mention must go to Ivan and Nilesh our waiters in the Strauss dining room both of them were very attentive and nothing was too much for them. All the staff were very very friendly and nothing was too much trouble. We asked a passing member of staff if they wouldn't mind taking a photo of my partner and me on a long winding staircase and without any hesitation he took the camera from us and took the photo. Four of the people who sat on out table on an evening went to the Ice Show which was excellent, had no problems getting tickets. We went to see the Beatles and Bee Gee's tribute shows and they were fabulous. Having read other peoples review I can honestly agree about what they say about the Spanish people who must be the rudest people we have ever come across in my entire life. We found them very hostile, bad mannered, bad-tempered and very loud. They push was only and shove when it comes to getting in into the lifts. Two of the people on our table were in a room next to a Spanish family who it appeared went to wherever and left tons and tons of children alone, they did ask the children to stop making so much noise, but eventually had to call security. It was only then that the children shut up. At the moment I have a disability so we decided we would watch the excursions on the television the night before deciding which one to go on, although the leaflets do have a guide as to how physically mobile you are as to which trip you go on. We did the coach tours when we went to Rome and Florence and wasn't disappointed we saw all we had to see and enough to want to go back to especially Florence. One thing to watch out for is the price of these trips some of them can be very expensive. My favourite port of call was Ajaccio - Corsica. The ship docked only a 5 minute stroll from the centre of town which was great as it was only a short walk into the town centre and the Cathedral where Neapolitan Bonaparte was baptised was so easy to find, plus there was a little French market on the day we docked and it was fascinating to look at the different foods etc we bought some biscuits to take home and have been told since that they were delightful. On all the trips you are given a voucher for a free bottle of water which when in Rome came in very handy as it was mega hot. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable and relaxing I would recommend this cruise for any first timers like us. We enjoyed it so much that we've already booked next year's cruise. We are going on the Independence of the Seas 14 night Mediterranean Treasures Cruise. Let me just say once you have been on a cruise you WILL want to do more and more. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Left Southhampton after 3 marvelous days in London. We had heard via cruisecritic that the ship was boarding late due to extra cleaning required. I think the port was overwhelmed with People as it a a bit chaotic but to be fare, we moved ... Read More
Left Southhampton after 3 marvelous days in London. We had heard via cruisecritic that the ship was boarding late due to extra cleaning required. I think the port was overwhelmed with People as it a a bit chaotic but to be fare, we moved reasonable quickly. We had to give up our Passports as were not European Union citizens. What disappointed me was that the RCI staff could not tell us why. Next day did get a letter explaining so.Biggest disappointment was our room as we found out that nite that we were over the pub. Complained about the music and moved the next day however it was down to the 2nd floor where we could hear the engine. This was the biggest disappointment though we did manage to get a $2000 future cruise certificate as a result. I thought the food was good overall. No complaints. Only disappointment for me personally is that in Portofino's have stopped serving pasta with the meal. I probably will not go back. Staff was excellent, no complaints. The ice shows are excellent. For the most part, the shows were good however I wish that there was less broadway tunes in the shows. Our cruise director (Josh) was excellent. Ports were outstanding however we were the targets of pickpockets twice. Be aware in Spain. Barcelona and Lisbon were excellent and recommened highly to use private tours so you maximize your visit time. Seas were fairly calm and the ships pool area was well used. It was fun to be in the pool with my kids. One of my 11 year old ( I have twins ) could not get enough of the kids clubs. My other 11 year old has tourettes so he did not go as often but enjoyed it when he went. One advice I did pick up from cruise critic was to ask for a deck phone as a result of my one son. They did let me use a phone for free which great for checking in on my son or getting back information. ALso handy to call other quest rooms as well. I had read a lot of negatives about the ships service and guest behaviour. I did not find that at all. I was looking for it but the staff was excellent. As were the quests. Very polite and personable. WOuld go on independence again. Port:  Allicante. Second encounter with a pickpocket. Did not know at the time but a hop on/hop off bus really close to the pier. People selling tickets there as well. Also very close is a really big beach. Would visit again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Yes Ms June has cruised and conquered the Italian Mediterranean cruise (set sail on 11th June for 2 weeks). The ship is beautiful and an amazing feat of engineering and service onboard. The staff were wonderful especially Ana, Liviu ... Read More
Yes Ms June has cruised and conquered the Italian Mediterranean cruise (set sail on 11th June for 2 weeks). The ship is beautiful and an amazing feat of engineering and service onboard. The staff were wonderful especially Ana, Liviu (waiters in the my time dining - highly recommend you get this option .... try for table 40 !!) and Oleg (on deck barman). Couldn't fault their professionalism, style and fun. If you like the idea of being dropped off in 8 locations for a mosey round and a boozy lunch, its a must!! Also, if you happen to have a balcony stateroom (wonderful superking sized beds by the way)and your at the back of the ship, dont worry, you get 2 sunloungers and a wonderful view. Many a night I would sit naked side out and hear the sea and gaze at the stars. Im so jealous if your setting sail a week tomorrow, would love to do it all again. If you have any questions, by all means email me junebuggy71@yahoo.co.uk XXX Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
As it turned out I needn't have worried. First embarkation . A remarkably straightforward procedure, especially to anyone used to air travel these days. Bearing in mind that we managed to turn up at what appeared to be the peak ... Read More
As it turned out I needn't have worried. First embarkation . A remarkably straightforward procedure, especially to anyone used to air travel these days. Bearing in mind that we managed to turn up at what appeared to be the peak time it went pretty smoothly. Took about 40 minutes all together, probably less. We did notice pretty early on that my wife and I were at the lower end of the age range. Anyone expecting anything else really hasn't done their homework though. That said there were a large proportion of folk in their 50s. One thing is certain though. In an emergency, there were some passengers who just weren't getting off the ship in a hurry. If I wanted to hang out with a younger set, I'd have headed for Ibiza. Our room was on the 3rd deck. An ocean view with no balcony. Not a bad compromise as it turned out. The room was quiet (apart from the air conditioning hum) and as it was on a dead-end corridor there was no passing traffic. It was also very convenient for the amenities on decks 3, 4 and 5. You will no doubt have noticed from the other reviews that people invariably head straight for the 'Wind Jammer'. The buffet style restaurant. This place does indeed get busy but there this is a big ship so what do you actually expect? In the 2 weeks we were aboard, we as a party of 4, always managed to sit together when we wanted. Maybe we just managed to turn up when everyone else was busy elsewhere. The food was again, very much what you would expect in any hotel of this size. Bulk catering but really not bad at all. Certainly didn't lack choice. What I did notice was that, as we tended to go to the buffet in 'shifts', it wasn't so relaxing. The more formal restaurants are more relaxed. I found the portions ideally sized. Satisfying but not too large (I should point out that I am 6'1" and 200lbs though). The restaurant operates on a more restricted menu but the choice on offer most nights was very good, but generally if it sits still, I'll eat it! The staff were very helpful without being too intrusive, until of-course at the end of the week when the tips are due and the managers made their rounds. I had heard that people regularly turn up to formal dinner in football shirts so was interested to see what would actually happen. I suspect I'm from a slightly younger generation that finds it odd to dress formally on holiday, but happily entered into the spirit of it all. My friends thought this aspect of cruising particularly amusing. Bearing in mind that this is Royal Caribbean and I gather, slightly more relaxed than Cunnard, I was impressed that everyone else joined in too. Of course, anyone who didn't want to dress up could eat in the buffet. We did eat one night in Chops Grill. I can heartily recommend it, though it was an extra $25 per-head. I'd save it for a special occasion. The meals here are cooked to order, and as you would expect, were very good. The shows in the theatre each night weren't always to my taste, but I suspect that cruises are some years away from hosting Ramones tribute acts. The other passengers loved them though and you can't please all of the people all of the time. We attended the shows most evenings and never had problems getting seats. I did find the quality of the shows astonishing and a nowhere near as 'holiday camp' as I'd expected. We also attended the ice shows. We had absolutely no trouble getting tickets. All the tickets are made available a couple of days into the cruise. An awful lot of people appeared to get up at dawn and queue. We went for a very relaxed breakfast and then went for tickets. Much more civilised way of doing things. I think that's a good lesson. For those that are interested there were several quizzes, games and activities every day. We took part in several and it was pretty good fun. There was no excuse for being bored if you don't want to be. One thing I have to mention is the lifts. Quite a few of the passengers are getting on a bit so not up to sprinting up several flights of stairs. There allot of lifts but they tend to get busy at breakfast and dinner and particularly when everyone gets back from excursions. Then again, I'm on holiday so really not in a hurry to be anywhere. Some of the bars can get busy in the evening. If there was a particular event that you wanted to see, it was usually worth getting there early. Speaking of bars, the beer was reasonably expensive, but no more expensive than a beer in most of the UK and increasingly, much of Europe. If your planning to get drunk-as-a-lord, there are cheaper alternative than a cruise ship. All-in-all I enjoyed the experience much more than I expected. The size and number of people on board wasn't the issue I thought it would be. It would obviously be a mistake to expect the level of quiet and relaxation you would get 20 room hotel. We enjoyed it so much, we've booked again for next year! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Having wanted to try out a Royal Caribbean ship, we chose a Holy land cruise,but asked if I would go with them again I would say possibly.1. Embarkation was very good at Civittavechia, although the queue looked long it moved briskly and we ... Read More
Having wanted to try out a Royal Caribbean ship, we chose a Holy land cruise,but asked if I would go with them again I would say possibly.1. Embarkation was very good at Civittavechia, although the queue looked long it moved briskly and we were soon on board. Had a brief look around this awesome ship(It is indeed one of the most fantastic ships around)before deciding after a very long day, to eat. Bearing in mind that there was only one small promenade cafe open and not the huge Windjammer, we were extremely disappointed, it took nearly an hour to get something.2. Cabin was bigger than other ships and although slightly dated was clean and immaculately presented, with a reasonable balcony. Beds were comfy and a pleasing amount of storage space.3. Dining. Having specifically requested a 2 seat table on a 9pm, we found we were on a 12 seat! However after further requests we were able to dine at 9.30 on a table for two. It really annoys me how these cruise ships promise a 2 seat and then come up with the goods. The food (3course not the 7/8 course extravaganza that is provided with MSC and Discovery) was fairly good although minute portions, Not a problem as our waiter was always apologising and bringing extra taster courses that he would recommend. The large buffet style Windjammer restaurant (used for daytime eating and snacks) was brilliant; with a fantastic choice of food all extremely tasty. We could have eaten here at night but preferred the waiter service and portion limitation( think waistline) 4. Entertainment. The Ice Show titled under the Big Top was superb a true gathering of very very talented people and the costumes stunning. The bar entertainment varied from the very good to the really dreadful. The main shows were extremely disappointing, a ship this size should really know better.5. Bars. Now where do I start? The wine package offered could only be consumed in the restaurant and presumably your room, so this made for a very expensive time. We gravitated to cocktails, deciding that a fair wine was over $50 a bottle (they had run out of the $35 cheap one after 2 hours). The bars were varied and pleasant and of course what makes them more appealing is the unsurpassed level of service. We opted for soda package($89 unlimited fills) and got a good deal as we tend to drink a lot of soft drinks6 Shops were a joke. Most of them charging extortionate amounts for not very exciting merchandise.7.Exploration/ Excursions. WOW how do they reach those figures. We were very upset to realise that it was going to be a small fortune to get anywhere. We decided to just visit ports if we could and get local excursions of our own...This worked out very well.Some of them were nearly $1000 dollars each.8 Fitness suite was very good, lots of equipment and pleasant surroundings9. On board entertainment was varied and you could fill the whole day. 10. Service. Always a treat to see staff smiling all the time, nothing too much trouble and going beyond their remit each and every time. R C have the most committed people I have ever met and indeed this is what made a mediocre experience very much better.Would I go again, having reflected and hoping that Royal Caribbean can do an inclusive package for excursions and drinks at a reasonable price I would say YES. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We thought it would be a good idea to book the night before in a hotel due to recent weather conditions, so we stayed in the Devere Hotel which is only a few minutes away from the dock gates, which was very good nice breakfast too. We were ... Read More
We thought it would be a good idea to book the night before in a hotel due to recent weather conditions, so we stayed in the Devere Hotel which is only a few minutes away from the dock gates, which was very good nice breakfast too. We were advised that boarding the ship would not take place till 13.00 as deep clean was being performed, we waited around 20 minutes, then dropped off the cases and parked the car. We booked the royal suite as a honeymoon treat for us both, but before I go any futher, NO, WE DID NOT WIN THIS AT BINGO (a couple asked if we did, made me laugh though he he)... After checking in which is always such a breeze at Southampton, the concierge James came and greeted us and escorted us straight to the suite, (which was really nice as cabins/suites were not ready until 15.00pm).As you open the double fronted doors, you are met by marble and carpeted entrance, with a cloakroom to your left complete with a shower and basin. Futher into the suite is the beautiful baby grand piano that plays itself, and seating for at least 8 people, one of the sofa's converts into a bed, complete with marbled bar area and sink, main tv and dvd, with tea and coffee facilities. Onto the balcony, which consists of a hot tub for two, two sun loungers and a large table and chairs to seat 4 people, the balcony is roughly four balcony lenghs deep. Back one set of double doors close to the massive bedroom with king size bed, a further tv and dvd player, loads of drawers and walk in wardrobe, with four full length windows allowing a sheer drop view of the sea, its amazing to see. Then onto the bathroom, double gold sinks, double walk in shower, toilet and small sink in the second area of the bathroom. We choose my time dinning and really suited us, the food has improved slightly since last August, also we tried an evening meal within the suite but all three courses arrived together and thus was cold, but breakfast room service was great with a full suite menu choice too. Visted chops grille several times, amazing steaks and mushroom soup as always, wonderful food and great service. We find booking a suite is a great way to relax for us both, we really love and enjoy the concierge lounge of an evening, few drinks, nibbles, meeting old friends and making new ones, so worth paying for the extra benefits. We had seen most the shows a few times previously, elton john, ice shows, all very good, but we don't mind. Port days, well had visited most of the ports previously several times so stayed on mostly and enjoyed the ship, its so quiet onboard, we are finding the ship is the destination more than the ports these days. On the first of the last 3 sea days through the help of James the concierge we thought it would be great to organise a soire within the suite, over 25 attended, with plenty of room for more never felt crowded. Conclusion... we had an amazing holiday on a wonderful ship, staying in a superb suite, met up with some great friends and made new ones to, infact we have rebooked this cruise for next year in a grand suite which is our favourite suite... Happy Cruising to you all !... Mark & Dave x Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
sailed out for 18 days from southampton,check in was very quick, later than normal boarding due to health clean of the ship which they carried on doing all 18 days which did leave a bit of a smell on the cabin corridors but plenty of ... Read More
sailed out for 18 days from southampton,check in was very quick, later than normal boarding due to health clean of the ship which they carried on doing all 18 days which did leave a bit of a smell on the cabin corridors but plenty of wiping going on to try to prevent more outbreak of noro virus the food in the windjammer / resturant / cafe / sorrento`s pizza was fantastic compared to previous times on this ship it was hot and fresh cabin steward ezzra was brill straight in when we left and job done dining room waiter very good and fantastic maitre d who if you ordered day before (and sometimes same night) brought that extra special thing you wanted shows / street entertainment were good but seen most of them previously drinks are getting on the expensive side $21 for 3 large beers with the 15% tip charge but shorts are very good measures but my advice is buy your water ashore and bring it back on as ships bottled water is very expensive ports of call good but organised trips expensive and lot cheaper to go on local bus or train weather was good for time of year and only one rough windy sea day over the bay on way home embarkation very quick Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Cruised with my 15 yr old son . Never cruised before but wanted to experience something different and what an experience from the moment we stepped on board. Didn't know what to expect but were never disappointed - staff friendly ... Read More
Cruised with my 15 yr old son . Never cruised before but wanted to experience something different and what an experience from the moment we stepped on board. Didn't know what to expect but were never disappointed - staff friendly and helpful - they couldn't do enough for you. The ship was so vast we were still getting disorientated on our 2nd week. Shows were excellent along with the food and street parties were out of this world. As for Joff the cruise director and his side kick Steve - you couldn't get a better duo anywhere - they made everyone feel at home , made you laugh and kept everything going ( even when joff injured his knee during the 70's street party - it didn't stop him ). Fantastic job guys !! Cabins, decks and resturants were spotless - too much food everywhere. Flowrider a must but you'll ache afterwards. Would definately sail with RC again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We were a family of 8 (4 adults and 4 children aged 13, 12, 9 and 2 years) looking for a cruise that would suit 3 generations - myself, my husband, my daughter, my son-in-law and 4 grandchildren. Independence of the Seas certainly catered ... Read More
We were a family of 8 (4 adults and 4 children aged 13, 12, 9 and 2 years) looking for a cruise that would suit 3 generations - myself, my husband, my daughter, my son-in-law and 4 grandchildren. Independence of the Seas certainly catered for all of us, whether relaxing on deck, having fun at the Aqua Park/swimming pools with the kids, watching people on the Flow-rider, mini-golf or Ice-skating for the kids with the superb Ice-shows for all the family and also the wonderful shows in the Theatre. We took a flight from Edinburgh to Southampton (all booked for us) was met by the Rep at Southampton and taken by coach to the Dock. As soon as we got on board we headed for the Windjammer Buffet for a lovely lunch with lots of choice to suit everybody but in the evening we ate in the Dining Room where our Table for 8 was booked for us each evening and served to us by our very attentive Waiters (2) - breakfast or other meals could be served in the Cabin if you wished. The service by all the crew was great and our Cabin (which was of good size) was kept spotless by our Cabin steward - each evening it was lovely to come back to find a different "Animal Towel" on our bed! There are children's Club for children of all ages - toys available for the little ones. We very much enjoyed all the Ports of call and visiting the local markets. We all enjoyed the whole cruise - one piece of advice - go for the tickets for the Ice-shows at 8am on the day available. Disembarking was no problem with the coach back to Southampton and our onward flight to Edinburgh all arranged for us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
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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