7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our first ever cruise. It was amazing. Right from the time of parking the car at Southampton until we actually boarded the ship everything was so organised and efficient. Food was plentiful and the presentation was first ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise. It was amazing. Right from the time of parking the car at Southampton until we actually boarded the ship everything was so organised and efficient. Food was plentiful and the presentation was first class. Accommodation was brilliant and so was the entertainment. The spa on the ship was wonderful with very professional staff and the gym was brilliant too. It was absolutely faultless. So much so we have booked again for next year with the same ship. Every time we docked everything was explained to us. It is not everso formal but you do get a chance to dress up if you feel the need. Very mixed age group and every age is catered for. There was always something to do and everywhere was so clean. Just couldn't believe it. Not one speck of dirt anywhere and all the crew members just wanted to help and assist you. They were very very friendly without being overpowering. When the cruise came to an end and we left the ship, there was no long wait and everything was made so easy. Never wanted it to end. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. Having cruised the eastern and western Mediterranean, the Baltic, and the Norway coast, I wanted to cruise the Atlantic coast of Spain and France. This cruise left from Southampton, and seemed to be ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. Having cruised the eastern and western Mediterranean, the Baltic, and the Norway coast, I wanted to cruise the Atlantic coast of Spain and France. This cruise left from Southampton, and seemed to be mostly Brits though there a good number of other nationalities mixed in. The Brits are pretty formal, and on formal night, most of the men were wearing tuxedos, which is something I hadn't experienced on earlier cruises, when I was often one of very few men wearing a tuxedo. Given my earlier experience, I didn't bring a tuxedo on this cruise so I ended up renting one for the second formal night. Embarkation was the best ever. I practically walked right onto the ship. This was the largest cruise ship I have ever been on, though it was more similar in basic design to the medium-sized ships than I expected. I liked the look and feel of the ship, and it was easy to get around. I use the gym a good amount, and it has a beautiful and large gym, with sweeping views out to sea. I was surprised to see a topless deck, though nobody was on it because the weather most of the trip was pretty chilly. I decided to try out a promenade cabin for this cruise. I was just curious about what it would be like to look down on the promenade. I am glad I tried it, though in the future I think I will go back to oceanview or balcony (depending on the climate/weather). It was nice to look down on the activities, but it was necessary to keep the drapes closed most of the time because otherwise, people not only from the promenade but also the rooms on the other side would be able to see into my room. The cabin itself was quite nice, with a sitting area and the shower had doors rather than curtains, and seemed a little bigger than other cruise ship showers I have experienced. My cabin steward was very nice and did an excellent job making up the room and helping me with laundry and tuxedo rental. There was a lot of talk on this cruise about how UK law requires the charging of a VAT (value added tax) on the good sold on the ship, and this really curtailed the shopping. That didn't matter much to me because I don't shop much on cruises. I really liked the decor of the dining room and the service there was very good. We had a great table right next to the window so we had a view of the water. I signed up for early dinner, thinking it would be at 6pm (one of the people in our group was older), but early dinner was moved to 5:30pm, which was really too early for me but we made it work. The food was mostly good. RCCL has very good soups and I sometimes get those. I tried a couple of Indian dishes, which were good. I have learned to stay away from pasta, since the pasta sauces are not great and I suspect the pasta is at least partly pre-cooked since it's pretty starchy. But the beauty of the cruise is that if you don't like your dish, you can easily get a different one. We were very happy with the dining room experience. I did tours in 3 of the 4 ports. It seemed that relatively few people were doing tours, since the theater was mostly empty when the crowds for the tours were gathered. But I really enjoyed the D-Day Landing Beaches Tour, the Gardens of Normandy Tour and the Gijon Bike Tour. At the beginning of the cruise, the public areas of the ship, particularly the promenade, were quite crowded. We got some pizza at Sorrento's on the first day, and had to eat it standing up because there was no place to sit. Sorrento's pizza was reasonably good, though far from the best I have had, even at sea. It took until late in the cruise until I was able to get into the Dog & Badger, an English style pub with a singer along the promenade. The singer there was great and did a lot of songs from the late 1960s and early 1970s and some from the '80s and '90s. We found that table service in the bars was spotty, and we often had to get up and get our own drinks. These complaints about the public areas and bar service were my only real issues with the cruise. For some reason, the public areas seemed less crowded as the cruise went on. Maybe people found other less obvious venues, or maybe they just stayed in their rooms more. I really wanted to see Grease but missed it because I had a minor stomach bug and needed to rest. I heard it was excellent. All in all, it was a great cruise. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our second cruise ever, the first having been with carnival. I was pretty excited to check out all the fun stuff on the ship (flowrider, rock climbing wall, ice rink), but my main purpose for this trip was to relax and unwind. I ... Read More
This was our second cruise ever, the first having been with carnival. I was pretty excited to check out all the fun stuff on the ship (flowrider, rock climbing wall, ice rink), but my main purpose for this trip was to relax and unwind. I was impressed that despite the ship being sold out, it rarely felt crowded (except for the windjammer at breakfast and lunch). The cabin was nice and clean. We had balcony room 7248. Our stateroom attendant (Naning) was very friendly and always put a smile on our face. I liked that there was an abundance of chairs available for laying out in the sun, it was never hard to find somewhere to relax on deck which was very convenient. I do wish there was tables or designated collection point where people could leave empty glasses, there were random glasses rolling on the ground in the less busy areas of the ship (St. Tropez) where I usually hung out which was annoying. The adult pool was great, not very big, but it was usually pretty empty making it easy to swim around. I did find the random groups of teenage girls at the adult pool and on the sundecks a bit annoying though. It would have been nice is they made the forward St. Tropez area adults only as well. I was pretty excited to try the rock climbing wall and flowrider. For the wall, they only allowed 2 people to climb at a time, and because of the long line they would not allow people to go a second time until the line cleared and others were able to try it. Considering the limited times the wall was open, I only got to climb once which was disappointing. The flowrider line was also pretty long, I tried it once and gave myself a mild concussion. We never did get a chance to try the rink, again because of limited timings. The spa was pretty good, however there was a loud ice machine which turned on randomly in the relaxation room that was very distracting. The hair salon was great! And surprisingly not busy on formal night. The gym was also pretty good, however there are only a few benches available for lifting free weights that tended to be well used. The main disappointment with this cruise was the food. The windjammer was always busy and breakfast and lunch, which is to be expected. However the choices in the buffet was disappointing for a fitness conscious vegetarian. There were really no vegetarian protein options at lunch. There was one day when they had paneer at lunch, and one other day where there was a veggie burger. It would have been nice if there was at least one vegeatrian protein option everyday, but that wasn't the case. The main dining room was okay as well, the best meal we had was our last night when they specially prepared a 3 course vegetarian indian meal for us, and also had the soy chunks main meal. Most night we left the main dining room and had to go to the windjammer for a little something more to fill our tummies. Overall, this cruise served its purpose for some R&R. However, I do wish there was better dining options. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
Six of us traveled on a five day cruise on the Independence. We had our two granddaughters ages 5 and 10 and they had a terrific time especially in the children's program, The entertainment was outstanding and we even went to see ... Read More
Six of us traveled on a five day cruise on the Independence. We had our two granddaughters ages 5 and 10 and they had a terrific time especially in the children's program, The entertainment was outstanding and we even went to see the ice show twice. We had been on the Independence two years ago and were not happy with the meals but I think they have greatly improved the menu, The meals in the dinging room were consistently good breakfast, lunch and dinner. I didn't feel nickeled and dimed by constant selling of spa treatments, bingo games, art auctions and jewelry sales presentations. The Diamond Lounge Jackie was the best and the larger Lounge was appreciated as the one two years ago was cramped. The head waiter was fantastic (Ben) and very accommodating to the two family members with food allergies. He even took time to entertain the 5 year old with an origami bird made out of the children's menu.Our room attendant, Joe did a great good and left towel animals for the kids every night. It was a very relaxing vacation and we were very pleased with the helpfulness and pleasantness of the staff, They went out of their way to make our vacation a great experience. WE are diamond members but I have to say they did a fantastic job for a five day cruise and the family had a great time. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
It's really sad how far the Royal Caribbean brand has fallen in 10 years. It's now pretty much a low end cruise. This is our second cruise on Royal Caribbean this year. We took this exact same New Years Eve cruise ten years ... Read More
It's really sad how far the Royal Caribbean brand has fallen in 10 years. It's now pretty much a low end cruise. This is our second cruise on Royal Caribbean this year. We took this exact same New Years Eve cruise ten years ago. It was very disappointing. Gone is the awesome food, dancing waiters, sculptured butter, midnight buffet and true formal night. The best thing about cruises is the food. Royal Caribbean was the best for my parents generation. On this cruise, there wasn't one dinner that was decent. Seriously, If you were in a nice restaurant at home and were served the "filet mignon" that you got on this cruise, you would have called over the waiter and said, "Something's wrong with this. It's REALLY tough.". Same with the fish plates, lobster and shrimps. We opted for the safe pasta one night. It was very undercooked. The famous lobster night offered very small and mushy lobsters (on two RC cruises this year). You had to ask for butter and lemon. Caesar Salad came with no dressing; just some oil and a dusting of cheese. I asked and was given a small cup of Caesar dressing which was fairly tasteless. It just seems that the lowest quality meats, fish and other items are now being used. Few sauces or condiments are included. You have to ask for every basic add on you would expect. Even if cooked well, the food would be tasteless. The breakfast and lunch buffet was equally low quality. If you've eaten at a "Golden Corral" you know that these low end buffet restaurants offer you all you can eat of fairly low quality foods but generally it's a great place to take the kids and you can always find a few really good items. This cruise ship offering wasn't half as good. I don't know what's going on at RC. It's pretty much a low quality floating Golden Corral. This cruise and the previous RC, there wasn't one dinner that was memorable (well... not in a good way.) Really sad. Every meal on an RC cruise use to be such a treat. It seems that they no longer have any interest in the food. I don't know why. The service was really good and the waiters were constantly apologizing for the food. (Same thing on the other RC cruise we took this year.) I mentioned to the staff a few time, politely, that the food quality seem to be poor. They all agreed that it had dropped off without saying much. Funny, when the waiter came to ask about my steak, I wasn't going to say anything but he read it on my face. "A little tough?". Really sad, because I have fond memories of my parents and in-laws taking us on RC cruises ten years about and earlier. All we talked about was the food. As "older adults" we decided to start cruising on our own. We started with low end Carnival Cruises and now a couple of Royal Carib. Frankly, the Carnival experience was much better. The RC cruises ships are superior, especially the cabins, but the total experience was far better on Carnival. Any recommendations? Higher quality, food to rave about? Other stuff - This cruise line really stinks at people flow. Embarking was a breeze but every other time they try to move people it's a cluster. For example, after the muster drill, people want to flow back off the deck to their rooms or the pools. For some reason, the only way out is through revolving doors. It slowed everything. Simple things like coffee don't flow well. You expect to walk up to the table pick up a cup, get your coffee, tea or decaf and then go to the sugar, milk, spoons etc. No. You walk up to sugar and milk. There are then coffee urns. Where are the coffee cups? Behind the Urns. Literally. Every station is like that. Bagel? By the breads right? No. Off by the sweets. Cream cheese? Back by the coffee. Salmon? Got to go ask for that. Most of their big parties are in the promenade which is basically a mall in a hallway that runs the length of the ship. Elevators at each end. So basically there are only two ways out and then that stops because people want to go up in elevators. Scary part was near midnight a lady was trying to get her ill husband out of this long hall and back to his room. She was about mid way down this big hall stuck in the crowd. We helped clear a path till she got to the elevators, but it wasn't easy. Never saw a staff member in the crowd who could help. Last time I did a Royal Carb New Years cruise, it was done on the top deck with big screens for the count down. Plenty of room to party and move and if someone got ill it would be easy to get them out of there. Speaking of the deck, the nice thing was there was an "adults only" section, a "kids section" and the usual party section. Nice but they put the noisy party section in the middle so the "solarium" (quiet adults only section) was not. Lastly - If it's electronic it doesn't work well. That includes the internet, cabin TV, treadmills in the gym, fridge in room and interactive menus in your cabin. This is no longer in the "Luxury Cruise" category. Switch this to "Low end cruising". Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I have been a loyal cruiser, I have been summer cruises with Royal Caribbean, but I wanted to experience an Autumn cruise. As I am an emerald member, the embarkation process was quick, smooth and easy, it had taken 10-15 minutes from ... Read More
I have been a loyal cruiser, I have been summer cruises with Royal Caribbean, but I wanted to experience an Autumn cruise. As I am an emerald member, the embarkation process was quick, smooth and easy, it had taken 10-15 minutes from the pier check in to walking on the cruise ship. My advice is to get down to the Southampton terminal early, by doing this, you will avoid large queues. The disembarkation was very easy using my card to get off the ship, the luggage was easy to get to, you find the number, take your suitcases/luggage and leave the terminal. The Independence Of The Seas is a big ship in the Freedom Class band of the Royal Caribbean Cruise line, the ship has lots of choice, when you get on board from sports to entertainment, spa and beauty and the Gym. I was lucky to be in a balcony stateroom, I was at the back of the ship on deck 7. It was straight forward to get to the stateroom, our luggage arrived outside our stateroom at 1pm. The cabin was clean and beautiful. The views from the back of the ship were breathtaking to watch when I opened the balcony door. The Main Dining Room on Decks 3, 4 and 5 had a shakesperian theme to them as they were named Romeo & Juliet (Deck 3) Macbeth (Deck 4) and King Lear (Deck 5). I was in the King Lear Dining Room and the meals and drink were 1st Class. The Entertainment was absolutely sensational, the headliner shows such as Grease and The Magnets was West End Quality! The service was very good. The negatives in my opinion was that the food in the windjammer was under par, the desserts were sensational, but the meats such as the chicken was fatty, dark and oily. It felt to me that the standards of food in the windjammer lacked in quality, the positives about the windjammer is that there is a variety of food to choose from, from Asian, American to British and French cuisine. I and my Family visited Bruges, Paris and Cherbourg they were all stunning. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
Embarkation was fast and easy. Had a great time on a wonderful ship. Dining was great as always and the Diamond Lounge staff were fantastic. Ports were beautiful. we only did 4 shore excursions, Santiago de Compostela, Fatima, sailed the ... Read More
Embarkation was fast and easy. Had a great time on a wonderful ship. Dining was great as always and the Diamond Lounge staff were fantastic. Ports were beautiful. we only did 4 shore excursions, Santiago de Compostela, Fatima, sailed the Santa Maria and Windsor Castle. Ice shows were great, and the few entertainment shows we went to were also great. We spent a lot of time in the gym and it was always clean and easy to use. Good equipment and way better than Anthem's. We also rarely used the elevators and it was a great help when you are trying to keep the weight off with all that good food! Disembarking was easy as pie, but it was a nightmare when it came to the crew doing there job getting us to the right bus for our excursion transfer to the airport. There was only one guy trying to give directions in the Alhambra Lounge. He finally said just go, and look for your bus, there should be someone outside with a sign, there was not, but we made it. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
My comments are for the Independence Of the Seas Sept 2016 Southampton to Barcelona 13 Day cruise Our thoughts on what was good 1. The Service on the ship was good 2. the Entertainment was good 3. the State Room was good ... Read More
My comments are for the Independence Of the Seas Sept 2016 Southampton to Barcelona 13 Day cruise Our thoughts on what was good 1. The Service on the ship was good 2. the Entertainment was good 3. the State Room was good 4. The food was good Our thoughts on what was not good 1. Deck 4 ( the walking Deck) The one side of this Deck was occupied by the smokers. it was like taking a walk through an ashtray. Some smokers congregated near the access doors to the deck, consequently the non smoker got a lung full of smoke as they accessed deck 4. 2. Main dining room wine charges, 1 bottle of wine CLOS du BOIS was $55.04, this bottle in California would cost $11, this is overcharging. People like to have bottle water in there room at night and during the day not just to drink but to swallow pills 3. A small bottle of water $2:90,this is overcharging, the same bottle on shore 1€ or $1.22 this cost is more expensive than 1 gallon of gasoline in California. 4. I beer $7.00, this was too expensive 5. Afternoon tea in the Windjammer was good except the chef had no idea how to make scones, the scones they had were not good, the rest of the food for afternoon tea was good 6. The offshore trip recommended by Royal Carribean in Cartagena which included a trip past the old mines was a joke I would not recommend this trip ashore , the highlight of the trip was the Roman amphitheatre which is right in the middle of town and within walking distance from the ship Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Had 2 previous Royal Caribbean cruises on smaller ships which were very good but this one Butlins on sea. Very good boarding but food in restaurant very average to poor husband could not even get his fork into the chicken it was so tough ... Read More
Had 2 previous Royal Caribbean cruises on smaller ships which were very good but this one Butlins on sea. Very good boarding but food in restaurant very average to poor husband could not even get his fork into the chicken it was so tough sent it back but as usual not replaced and no explanation as to why so poor so no main course that night He should have known as chicken was not good on any dish served also no dish was served hot all at best just warm. Windjammer food was definitely nicer. Became a joke not to have waiters recommendations as they were all bad. Saw a fist fight between two families at reception we had to call for security with some other passengers elsewhere as no staff intervening it took around 10 mins to turn up then they stood and watched. Asked why security so slow coming was advised they were dealing with a more serious incident upstairs !! In all heard a lot of people were thrown off during the course of the cruise (approx 70). Not enough sun beds had to be quick to get one. Not all but some fellow passengers rude. Excursions generally ok but please ask for feedback as one excursion everyone trying to get away from the guide who we couldn't stop talking also could do with more free time at the end of the tours. Could mention other negatives but Probably best not too. Agree with other reviews market goods etc On a good note Room attendant Carlton was a joy always happy and helpful. Bar staff particularly the champagne bar and the olive and twist were very good I'm sure all the others were as well but these were the 2 bars we drank in. Cleaners were all polite and cheerful. As booze is available all day and cheap deals available cruising is not special anymore it would appear that RC attract the wrong people just to fill cabins and do not enforce their own rules ie dress codes in dining rooms and reserving sun beds. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first RC cruise - previously we were die hard Prinxcess fans. So pleased we switched. More luxurious, more variant, more options for food, activities, venues, entertainment, pubs and clubs. The IOS had just about ... Read More
This was our first RC cruise - previously we were die hard Prinxcess fans. So pleased we switched. More luxurious, more variant, more options for food, activities, venues, entertainment, pubs and clubs. The IOS had just about everything. And in grand scale, grand quality, grand luxury. We were returning for a two week cruise in 2017 - can't wait. Although in a cheap inner cabin we never felt like the steerage customers. We also had a drinks package and we were so pleased we did. We had elderly, middle aged, teenagers and children on the cruise but nbody was lfet kicking their heels so to speak. Plenty of quiet sopts to laze for the elderly, education options galore, activities for teens and young adults, and our child loved the climbing wall, the skating rick, the basketball court and the flowrider. My wife and I thoroughlky enjoyed the theatre productions, the ice show spectacular, and the main dining room. Royal it was, Royal we felt, and Royally treated too. Read Less
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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