34 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Holiday Cruise Reviews

This was our second Christmas cruise with RCCL with the first one being in 2015 on the Serenade of the Seas. This was just as good, if not better!! We were happy to see Christmas caroling and midnight mass being offered again as well. ... Read More
This was our second Christmas cruise with RCCL with the first one being in 2015 on the Serenade of the Seas. This was just as good, if not better!! We were happy to see Christmas caroling and midnight mass being offered again as well. What also pleasantly surprised us was the amount of people at midnight mass. The group that traveled was my family of 4 and my in laws. We had a total of three staterooms, two junior suites and one interior. Our cruise was the second after the big norovirus break out, and the staff was on top of making everything clean and safe for the passengers. However, you still had people not doing their part, "washy washy" and picking food up with their hands in the windjammer. Gross! We now have been on the Indy four times now, and we have LOVED every trip on her. Even though she will be going into dry dock in April for a major refurb, she is in excellent condition. RCCL really takes care of their ships and if more people would be aware of how poorly they treat public and stateroom areas you would never know she is 10 years old. People just don't care anymore. Ok, that's my only rant for this review. All of the staterooms in our group were pretty much Freedom class categories of Junior Suites and Interior. All of them had everything in working order, nothing had to be fixed or attended to during our voyage. We had two different stateroom attendants, one for the junior suites and one for the interior. THEY BOTH WERE AMAZING!!!! Not much more I can say about them. Ok, one more thing, Perfection For Dining, I truly am not going to sugarcoat anything in my reviews: MDR=Breakfast and Dinner, menu has had things we have not seen before, service was impeccable, food taste and temp was perfect. We only skipped dinner twice for the specialty restaurants. Chops= Our son was celebrating his 17th birthday on board, and he wanted to have a special dinner there. The experience was phenomenal from the start. We had an awesome waiter, who really made the occasion fun and special, and he covered the table with special decorations when we arrived. The Diamond Concierge even arranged for a special cake to be made for the occasion. And the food, as always, was amazing! This was our first time in Chops since the new menu was rolled out, and although some things were taken off (i.e. French onion soup, red velvet cake), there were some nice additions that changed the dining experience in a good way. Giovanni's= After ordering way to much food in times before, we finally did Giovanni's in way that allowed us to enjoy the whole experience. We focused on the apps and the pastas, and we didn't order a lot of them either. But what we did order was amazing, and the desserts did not disappoint either. The service was amazing, and were happy to see that Giovanni's will remain on the Indy post-refurb. Being a flow family, we gravitated towards the flowrider for most of the cruise. The sports staff made our time there enjoyable. It was our daughter's first cruise where she made the cut to do stand-up surfing, and the team was really helpful with her first few runs. Under their guidance, she was surfing like a pro by the end of the cruise. Ports= My only observation in regards to ports was St. Maarteen. As we were the second Royal Ship to return post hurricane season, the islanders were very happy to see us. I am glad we could bring back tourist dollars to one of the hardest hit ports. We traveled to Maho Beach and the devastation was seen everywhere. I only wish them the best as the recovery efforts will be a long journey. Summary=We enjoyed every bit of our cruise on the Indy, We can't wait to sail on her post refurb. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was my third cruise. The first two were on ships of about 2,300 passengers; this was much larger at around 4,300. In general, this ship seemed less crowded, because the increased number of venues. The promenade was awesome. But, when ... Read More
This was my third cruise. The first two were on ships of about 2,300 passengers; this was much larger at around 4,300. In general, this ship seemed less crowded, because the increased number of venues. The promenade was awesome. But, when events were scheduld on the promenade, everythying else was put on hold to seemingly force us into the promenade. This is the first ship that completely closes the buffet lines: between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner, and it completely closed at 9pm - that was a first! It seemed like those were the times I wanted to eat, so I was limited to the pizzarea if I wanted to eat for free: it is frozen pizza heated up. There was almost nobody viewing the movies on the outdoor screen, and they removed the movie theater inside the ship. I enjoyed the movie theater on the other 2 ships. Shows were great, but tickets for the ice shows were impossible to get, and they did not have enough ice shows for everybody that wanted to view one. And, everything shut down during those shows too. On and off boarding were quick and easy; state room and it's cleaning were magnificient; excursions were great; highlight was the Labadee private island. If you fly in on the same day, it is well worth buying the transfers: saves time, money, and they handle your luggage. It seems this cruise line has a very strong and rewarding loyalty program; join it. Overall value and experience were well worth it. If available when and where I want to go, I will use Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Embarkation: Embarkation, once we got off of our shuttle bus, was a breeze. However, we had to wait in our bus for about 1/2 hour as the drop off area was very disorganized. There is a lot of construction going on around Port Everglades ... Read More
Embarkation: Embarkation, once we got off of our shuttle bus, was a breeze. However, we had to wait in our bus for about 1/2 hour as the drop off area was very disorganized. There is a lot of construction going on around Port Everglades and the whole port is just a disorganized mess. RCCL's embarkation process was very painless as we were on the ship within 1/2 hour of getting off of the bus. There was some confusion which led to a potential financial impact that I will explain later. The ship- I believe the ship underwent an upgrade in the past year. We had been on the Freedom of the Seas and this ship is her identical twin for the most part. The only real signs of wear were the carpets in the stateroom hallways. The majority of the interior was spotless. We did see some external painting going on in one of the ports, but I believe that is just normal maintenance. She is a beautiful ship and well maintained. Our stateroom- We booked a balcony room on the starboard side near the front of the boat. The idea was to be as far from the engines as possible. I know there's different theories as to the best locations to avoid vibration and rocking. Our first two sea days were headlong into a 25-30 knot wind which created an apparent 50 know wind on the deck. The ship rocked more than I thought it would, but it was going into heavy wave action. I still find it funny that the refrigerators are stocked with soft drinks, waters, etc that are extra. We always bring water bottles and remove all the mini-bar items. The bed was not very comfortable, even with an egg crate topper. The shower was great as long as you didn't drop the soap. If you do, you have to open the shower doors to bend down. John, our room steward, was awesome and kept our room clean and fresh. We really enjoyed the balcony views of ports and the ability to sit and listen to the waves at night. I think we were fortunate that we did not have smokers on either side of us. Entertainment: This is where the trip shined. In addition to the excellent production shows, there was an ice show that was awesome. We were fortunate to have the Home Free vocal group perform twice. They had just won the "Sing Off" television show and to have them there was really great. Joff, the cruise director was very funny during all of the events. The comedian for the early shows was Phil Tag, who we had heard before. He was funny, but I missed the adult show since i was watching the BCS championship game that night. We also took advantage of the Mystery Dinner, which was probably the best food of the trip in addition to the entertaining storyline of a murder mystery. Food: I have mixed feelings on this. The Windjammer food was very bland. If you like scrambled eggs like I do, to be faced with runny scrambled eggs every morning was very disappointing. In addition, they didn't really have any pastries worth mentioning. And I didn't know you could butcher chocolate chip cookies, but they managed to do it. On the plus side, the food in the MDR was excellent. We were able to order more than one lobster on lobster night. I had steak one night but it was a little dry. We only took advantage of the upcharge Johnny Rockets once, but it didn't disappoint with the best fries on the open seas. If I had it to do again, I would eat in the MDR for all meals. We also used MyTime dining and ended up making some new friends each night. Smoking policy- This was probably the most disappointing part of the cruise. I wish RCL would institute the same no smoking policy as Princess. There were many times we had to get up and leave the casino when a smoker sat down next to one of us and lit up. Same thing on the pool deck or promenade deck. There's nothing worse than walking along that beautiful deck in the sunshine only to be assaulted by cigarette smoke. Ports: We chose this cruise because of the ports. They were places we had not been. St Maarten, St Kitts, and San Juan did not disappoint. I wish that we had stayed an extra 1/2 day in San Juan as we did not have near enough time there. After the 2 1/2 hr walking tour of the two forts, there was barely an hour for shopping before we had to get back on the ship. Labadee was ok, but we're not much for beach visits. Staff- The staff on the ship was first rate, from Joff the cruise director to the lowest level employee. Never were we greeted with anything but a smile and a good morning. Special shout out to Oxsana, for her really entertaining trivia games. While she may have not known how to pronounce all the words, she maintained a positive attitude throughout each game. Some of the people participating in the trivia games could have been much nicer....it's only a game, people. Back to the topic of the financial snafu. RCL mixed our booking with another couple such that they had our room assigned to them, even though the booking was in our name. whenever we looked at any of our pictures in the photo area, we also saw some of theirs. We finally met them one day and lamented about the mix up. It caused some delays disembarking on one of the ports as my sea pass card was invalidated because of the mix up. The customer service desk finally got everything straightened out, but we still saw some of their photos up until about 3 days left in the cruise. Disembarkation was very easy and not so early that we didn't have time for breakfast in the MDR. If I had to make one change, it would be a more defined smoking policy. Overall, though, I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We just returned our 8-day Holiday cruise on the Independence of the Seas. This was our first Christmas cruise and our first cruise without family and/or friends. We had a great time and ended up meeting some wonderful new friends. ... Read More
We just returned our 8-day Holiday cruise on the Independence of the Seas. This was our first Christmas cruise and our first cruise without family and/or friends. We had a great time and ended up meeting some wonderful new friends. Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 11am and was one of the first groups of passengers on the ship. There were a couple glitches with the system, however, things are bound to happen. Stateroom: Deluxe Oceanview Balcony: Typical stateroom, although I think they removed some of the shelving on this ship. Also, there wasn’t much room in the closets. I suppose on this ship, when the renovated her, they took away some of the storage space. The Food: Average, we don’t really cruise for the food, a lot of it, but just average. The food in the main dining room and Windjammer were pretty standard. I was surprised however, escargot was available in the dining room every night. I love RCCI’s escargot so I was excited, however, it was cold every night….that was disappointing to me. The Windjammer is pretty standard I think on each ship. Nothing really different there. The activities: Plenty to do for everyone. The shows on this trip were not typical RCCI quality, in my opinion. We have always enjoyed the shows on RCCI ships, the entertainers just didn’t appear to be the same caliber we have experienced on other ships. The Cruise Director was pretty good on this ship. He at least had some personality. He and his staff were fun and pretty interactive. The highlight was one of our sail aways. It was not planned and it was incredible. They set up music on deck, facing a Princess Cruise ship and not only did they have a BIG group on our ship, the entire Princess ship was rocking and rolling with us. They were wanting to come aboard our ship. It was the best sail away I’ve ever experienced and it wasn’t planned. The VIP event that RCCI put on for Crown and Anchor members, a night under the stars was outstanding. They did a really nice job. Really enjoyed the gathering and getting to actually talk to the Captain was a real plus. We participated in a Wine event, worth what we paid for this event. It was outstanding and I would do it again. We have done other wine tastings and weren’t so impressed. This one was outstanding, the team presenting did an outstanding job, they were knowledgeable and entertaining at the same time. The wine was great. Service: Very Poor service. I was very upset with the lack of service on this ship and the lack of care they give it. The only positive was Guest Services, one person there was caring and did an outstanding job. I have contacted RCI about that. We saw our Stateroom attendant one time, on day one, we had to track him down and get a hand towel and floor mat for our bathroom. Our dining room staff, HORRIBLE. The head waiter was nice, but neither of them really cared about us…BAD marks RCCI. It’s the first time in 13 cruises that I can say that. Oh well, hope it’s the last time…They do wine a little different on this ship and the assistant waiter takes your wine order, one night, he charged us for 595 bottles of wine. We had a charge for $18,000.00, they said they were sorry, that was big of them. The ports: We have been to all these ports before, had a great time in St. Maarten, beach extravaganza was Great. . . The beach was beautiful, the tour guide was friendly and helpful, the food out delish. St. Kitts is one of my favorite ports, however, the beach trip was terrible. Never again… Puerto Rico, we just walked around. Labadeee is wonderful. RCCI does a pretty good job with the BBQ. We did the sandbar getaway, it was incredible. Will do that again. Loved it…. The ship: Love this size of ship, since there is so much for everyone to do. I typically enjoy the shopping, however, did not like the shops on Independence. Something do to with it’s owner or something, but the choices are lacking in the shops. Just my opinion. Their loss, didn’t spend any money on this ship. The people: There were many, many children on this cruise. While I love children, there were many spoiled children who have no respect for anyone and that was sad. Some of them were wonderful, however, there were way too many always running and hitting and just being rude. But, for the most part, it was okay. Many people from all places. We continued to run into the same folks, which was very nice. We did however, meet some incredible folks. There was one family we actually met on our shuttle bus on the way to the port and we continued to meet them throughout our trip. We just loved getting to know them (LadyLion_AP) and her family. What a neat family and we feel blessed to have gotten to spend some time with them. Hope we meet up again. Disembarkation: We utilized the early off, we took our own luggage. We both were happy with that. We didn’t have to sit around and wait to be called. I don’t want to remark too much on this as if the word gets out this was good, it will become a problem… Overall....We really enjoyed this cruise! Was really worried about taking a Holiday cruise, but…it ended up being one of our best yet. Service NOT….but can’t win them all. Hopefully, our next Christmas and New Year’s cruise will be even better.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We had a great time onboard the Independence of the Seas, although we did notice some changes onboard from the last time that we sailed on RCI over the summer. A little bit about myself I am nineteen years old, and this is my 27th cruise, ... Read More
We had a great time onboard the Independence of the Seas, although we did notice some changes onboard from the last time that we sailed on RCI over the summer. A little bit about myself I am nineteen years old, and this is my 27th cruise, and eighth on Royal Caribbean. I traveled with my grandmother who is in her 80's and who has been on 39 cruises, and my sixteen year old sister who has been on 25 cruises. We choose this cruise because the itinerary worked out perfectly with the many different school schedules at hand, and it gave a bunch of frozen New Yorkers, the perfect opportunity to escape the cold and the snow. Embarkation: This process could not have gone anymore perfect! I don't think that it took us more than ten minutes from the moment we stepped out of the taxi, to the moment we stepped onboard the ship. We got onboard nice and early because of our flight, and by the time we finished lunch all of our luggage was waiting for us at the room. Fantastic! The Ship: I thought the ship was absolutely beautiful! We had never gone on a ship this size before, and we were nervous about the crowds, but you would not even notice them. I absolutely loved the Flowrider (surfing at sea) it looks very intimidating, but it was really easy once you got up there. I could not believe that I was stand-up surfing, it was fun, and something that I never thought that I would be doing, although I could not have done it without the help from the pro's. We also loved Sorrento's Pizza, the Solarium, and the Royal Promenade as always. Overall the ship was very clean. Our Cabin: Our cabin was great! This cabin seemed to be a little bit bigger than ones we had before, having a bigger balcony, and more room around the edges. We loved our room steward Gede, who seemed to know everything that we needed, before we needed it. The Ports: Sint Maarten: We have been here many, many times so we stopped off at some of our favorite places in town, and then went back onboard because of both the rainy weather, and the fact that there were five other ships in port with us. Since we left my parents at home we had to get them honey at the Guavaberry store and chocolates at the Belgium Chocolate Factory. After that we took the water-taxi back to the pier, and unfortunately walked back to the ship with a Caribbean rain storm raining down onto our heads. St. Kitts: What a beautiful island! We had never been here before, but after talking to the people at the information desk on the island, we learned about Friar's beach. The taxi ride to Friar's beach was only four dollars a person ($12 total), and the drive there was such a beautiful one. Friar's beach is a public beach, but it has a beautiful beach club, with a great bar, restaurant, and lounge area. The beach had gorgeous green mountains surrounding the crystal clear water, it was really a postcard perfect beach. We rented a loveseat like chair-ish couch there for twenty dollars, and enjoyed the day that was predicted weather-wise to be a rainy one, but turned into a gorgeous one. I would definitely recommend this beach! Overall we loved St. Kitts, and think that this is the Caribbean's best kept secret. San Juan: We absolutely love San Juan, but unfortunately because of the itinerary we had no time to do anything while in port, we were there from 7AM-1PM (which was one of our complaints). Once again we went to the Coach Outlets in Old San Juan, and got some great deals on handbags. Later on, we sat in a park near the pier and ate empada's from a street food truck. Yum! Labadee, Haiti: We love Labadee! I have been to Labadee before, but never with another ship in port with us. We took the shuttle to Nellie's beach, where got ourselves a few beach chairs, and a labadoozie. They had a great beachside barbeque, which was very organized for having two ships in port. The food was great we had ribs and chicken. Overall great day, in a gorgeous place. Entertainment: We thought that the entertainment onboard was fantastic. My sister and I absolutely loved the singers and dancers, with their three shows: Invitation to Dance, Once Upon a Time, and Center Stage. They were absolutely great, especially the main male singer Warren. As for the guest entertainers there was a comedian who wasn't that funny, and a pop-opera good that was fantastic and made that type of music really entertaining. We had a fantastic cruise director, Joff Eaton, who was funny personable, and made the Love and Marriage game show fresh, new, and entertaining. Dining: Dining onboard was good, there were only a few standout meals, but there was not one thing on the menu that was bad. I would definitely recommend lamb chops on formal night, basically all of the soups, baked Alaska, and anything on the Italian night. Our waiters were Dennis and Rocklan, they were good, although I have to say that we were extremely spoiled by our waiters on our last cruise, and were kind of let down on this cruise. All in all they did a good job. Christmas: Although we don't celebrate Christmas, they did so many things that made the cruise extremely festive and fun. From the reggae Christmas carols by the pool, to all of the decorations, to the special Christmas dinner that we had, the staff made it extremely fun. We really enjoyed the Christmas variety show, which had both the singers and dancers, the comedian, and a juggler. The show really put you in the spirit. We also really loved the caroling that they had on them Royal Promenade, in which we all got our own little song books, as we caroled with the captain, cruise director, ships officers, and some of the singers and dancers and skaters from the ship. We missed seeing Santa because we were in St. Kitts. Overall the crew made this holiday cruise extremely festive. Disembarkation: This was a breeze! We choose to take our own luggage off the ship, because we had an extremely early flight. This could not have been easier, once again it took no more than ten minutes to get off the ship, and get out of the terminal. After that we got a taxi right away, and we were at the airport in under ten minutes. Royal made it a very easy process. Summary: All in all we had a great time onboard the Independence of the Seas, and will definitely be traveling on Royal Caribbean. We loved St. Kitts, the entertainment, and just being onboard. Bon Voyage Love and Cruises   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Only our second cruise (first for Hubbie and son). We are a family of four with older teenagers (16 and 17) and we were traveling with neighbors/friends who are older so we were a pretty diverse group. Embarkation was straightforward, ... Read More
Only our second cruise (first for Hubbie and son). We are a family of four with older teenagers (16 and 17) and we were traveling with neighbors/friends who are older so we were a pretty diverse group. Embarkation was straightforward, though the pier at Fort Lauderdale could not compare with the pier assigned to the Allure (previous and first cruise). Ship was very clean and orderly. Crew were attentive and friendly. Preferred that we were actually to report to a traditional mustering station where we actually stood where our assigned lifeboat would be launched, as opposed to aboard The Allure where we mustered in a cafe on the promenade and were shown a movie! Cabins were nicely appointed and everything was in good working order. Luggage arrived in a timely fashion. Stateroom attendant was great. We barely saw him. I think they only employ Ninja's. No complaints regarding staterooms at all. We had two ocean view rooms. Dining room assignments were smooth and we were given a table next to the window which was great. Food was good and waitstaff very efficient. We ate in the MDR every night and about three lunchtimes. All were good. I found desserts to be a little disappointing. They all looked delicious but were somehow missing the richness they promised. Fruit-based desserts seemed a better option than chocolate ones. Entertainment was excellent. Enough variety for everyone. Our teenagers seemed to find plenty of friends and plenty to do. We barely saw then until dinnertime and when we did run into them aboard, they were always with a group and seemed to be having fun. Cruise director Jos, and side-kick Matthew were great. Really seemed to enjoy their job and worked very well together. We enjoyed all the audience-interactive shows: Love and Marriage,The Quest etc. Christmas Eve aboard was special. It was a formal night so most people were dressed up and at 11:30 they had Carol singing on the promenade. The Orchestra played and they handed out lovely song books. it was quite beautiful . Ports were good. We had been to St Maarten on last cruise so went to French side this time. Wandered around the market and then took the water-taxi back. It is a nice island and a shoppers' paradise, if you like that. Highlight of our cruise was Christmas Day is St. Kitts. We disembarked, having not booked any shore excursions and wondered if anything would even be open. Most of the town was closed and quiet (their big festival starts on December 26th and lasts for days). However, we were approached by a very sweet local lady who asked us if we were interested in going on her tour. She was very polite and not at all pushy and we decided to try it. It turned out to be the best decision we could have made. All six of us climbed into their open air safari-style bus. 10 others joined us and we set off. We were offered unlimited cold drinks- Carib beer, sodas, water and her own home-made rum punch (trust me-try it! it was delicious) Her husband, Sir Walter (sirwalter@hotmail.com) took us all over the island, giving us a guided tour that gave just enough information to be interesting but not so much as to be boring. He showed us all the most beautiful spots and each time we stopped, we had a little more rum punch. he played Bob Marley which added to the atmosphere. He took us briefly through the rainforest and we stopped at the Batik factory for a demonstration.The tour was a little over two hours. Perfect. Since we were in an open-air vehicle, the local people all waved and shouted Merry Christmas to us. We felt sorry for the tourists crammed into their air-conditioned minivans, with the windows rolled up tightly. If you go to St. Kitts. look for Sir Walter Tours and taxis. You won't be disappointed. they wouldn't even take money from us until after we had finished and it was only $15 per person. Of course, we tipped them well and it was worth every penny. Christmas night on board was lovely. Next stop, San Juan was much nicer than I expected. Reminded me of many European cities only the streets were too small to have the tables and chairs out in the streets like Paris. Note: we did not book any shore excursions on board, preferring to go it alone and we felt that we did not lose out for it. Labadee was nice. We got off and pretty much grabbed some beach chairs close to the ship, but our son went exploring and said the beaches were much nicer a little farther afield. We shall try those out when we go this Christmas. Labadee is owned by Royal Caribbean and is quite commercial and I felt a little exploitative watching the "local" dancers. Food is brought off the ship and a bar B Q is set up (quite professionally) under cover, beach side. Not as good as on board but more than adequate. Disembarkation was a breeze. We chose self disembarkation. In summary, everyone in our party enjoyed the cruise so much that we have already booked for this Christmas. Also, teenagers that ours made friends with aboard, with who they have kept in contact, have also booked for this Christmas so others obviously feel the same way. No better recommendation.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Fun, laughter and more aboard the Indy to the Med...IF you mixed with your own age group. This 21st Sept sailing was my 4th cruise aboard. A few changes have made to the ship and the evening shows recently. An elderly demographic led ... Read More
Fun, laughter and more aboard the Indy to the Med...IF you mixed with your own age group. This 21st Sept sailing was my 4th cruise aboard. A few changes have made to the ship and the evening shows recently. An elderly demographic led this voyage, interspersed with younger families and middle aged couples. But wheelchairs, electric buggies and strollers ruled. (At other times it is children making up 1/3 of the passengers) Boarding at Southampton was slick for the Diamond/Suite check ins, aboard from parking and security in under half an hour just after 1pm. Junior Suite 9564 superbly appointed, close enough to the much less used forward elevators. The cabin was in very good condition. Large balcony with 2 upright loungers, 2 chairs and small table. Bed in middle of room, with sofa and chair/footstool by sliding door and separate window. Bath with shower curtain very clean and not showing age. On mini forward hump, just under the floating hot tubs but never noticed the overhang. When you sleep your head is at the aft, feet towards stern when travelling (you travel backwards!) Reynaldo was excellent, never once came back and room not done. There were some new shows, Rock the Boat band still aboard, Strings was the only ice show being performed to all passengers this 12 night voyage. However Freeze Frame (50s 60s 70s) which is a new show was offered as a private performance for certain levels of C&A. Nice touch and fantastic show. The tribute act this time was Soul Satisfaction, a Motown act and very entertaining. Mel was the Diamond Lounge Concierge again this voyage and had just come aboard. With around 280 guests of that C&A level she was kept busy. The overflow lounge across in Cloud 9 was used and it was busy every evening but had a nice quiet ambience in comparison to the rather crowded and noisy main DL. The two guys serving were excellent. A highlight for me in the Dining Room is the filet mignon option at $17. It is a superbly cooked 10oz fillet steak that melts like butter. Generally the menus were good and have been changed recently. The service from our waiter Bernard and his asst. Karla was fabulous in My Time Dining. A table for 2 by the window was perfect. The lines to be seated can be rather long at certain times and stretched back past Guest Relations. It made no difference whether you had a reservation or not, you still had to wait to be checked in by the two efficient guys. We tend to see what table we get and if it is good we stick with it around the same time. Rock the Boat were a again a highlight of our cruise. Classic rock music almost every evening in the Pyramid Lounge. They generally played from 930 till around 1230, with either a short interval on their nights or sometimes longer if interrupted by a game show. I still wonder why the cruise line insists on doing this, there have a packed house and a superb band. The night starts generally at 930 till 1015. Then the band has an enforced break, sometimes up to an hour, for a banal game show. Particuarly Battle of the Sexes which was the most awful, mind numbing wasted 45m of my life...led by weak cruise staff. On the nights that the band had the lounge to themselves all evening, they played 945-1045. 1100 till 1230. Packed out, and when they said there were on to play straight through with no game shows they got loud cheers of appreciation and many waited till the end of the set. A quality band that play a superb mix of material to suit an appreciative audience, very professional and entertaining and a real asset to the Indy. Some nights it felt like you had just been at a gig. The Schooner Bar had a piano man on most evenings, Derek Conlon, who was ok if you like that type of thing. Olive or Twist up in the sky lounge offered alternatives too. The Labyrinth Night Club had a DJ on late. And the casino was always popular. Apart from the ice shows and the rock band, I viewed the overall entertainment package to be poor. The big production shows were missing. Too many individual acts of the same type. The Prestige latin band in Boleros had an out of tune female lead singer. RCCL still include string quartets which don't quite match the "Get out there" advertising. Mike Hunnerup was a very poor cruise director, absent and weak, and not memorable in anyway. The production show, Once Upon a Time did feature as did a new dance show. There was no grande finale show highlighting the voyages entertainment. There were lots of single entertainment acts which no doubt cost less, but did not entice us into the theatre. The ports of call were good on this cruise. We mostly did our own thing. In Barcelona we took a cab to the Nou Camp, 30 euros, 23 euros admission for tour, 25 euros taxi from Nou Camp to Placa Catalunya, walked down Ramblas, 25 euros cab back to ship. They do charge port entry fees to the fare. It was a great day and was good to tour the football stadium at your own pace rather than follow a tour guide round. And the cost worked out quite similar. Lunch at the Hard Rock Café on the square. Gibraltar, Vigo, Cartagena and Cadiz were all easy walk offs with everything close by. In Lisbon we took a ships tour to Sintra and Cascais, lovely half day but unfortunately weather was wet. Palma probably needs a shuttle or a cab as the port is some way around the bay from the centre or resorts, but still a nice setting. Daytime entertainment aboard on sea days is severely lacking. No interesting activities, unless you want to see towel folding and napkin demos. The Flowrider is always a good watch though. The enrichment talks this time about the movies did not entice us although on past voyages some have been very entertaining. Celebrity Cruises enrichment programme is a big plus for us when the weather is bad. The seas were calm and we had another good crossing across the Bay of Biscay. Unfortunately not pool weather as the wind tends to linger around the upper decks on sea days. Disappointingly, the sun loungers at pool tied were tied together on upper decks for the entire voyage. This is an inconvenience to cruisers, as you can't turn to choose direction. You miss out on viewing the large screen or and cannot chose from wind/sunshine. This is a cost saving to cruise line as less staff to tidy up decks. I did ask if they would untie them in certain areas and was told no due to the wind, but in the past they always untied them during the day. Guess it takes less time and staff to tidy them away again. They did show a Tom Jones concert one afternoon on the screen and a bit of football but apart from that nothing of note. Wish they would stop the $25 towel thing, Celebrity doesn't do this. No great fuss at sail aways, the Caribbean cruises make this into an event. The Walk for Wishes event was very well supported again. The Elevators were hugely popular as usual. So much so that the cardigan brigade enjoyed being in them so much that that they felt the need to get on no matter what direction it was travelling. If you got on at deck 14 they would arrive full from deck 11, or if you returned from a trip and got on deck 1 there would be people already in them. The aft ones are always busy, but the forward elevators were more available. A tip, if you returned from a trip, simply walk around to the other side and avoid the queues. Overall a good cabin, nice food, some good entertainment. Still quite expensive considering there was no flights or hotels required in the package. This voyage was sold out and no discounts became available. I don't think $6.75 is that bad for a double gin and tonic. Or $2.50 for a diet coke. Wine is the most expensive. Coffee, tea and water by the glass is available free 24hrs a day from the promenade cafes. We are unlikely to cruise again from Southampton with Royal Caribbean for some considerable time. It is worth making the effort to travel out of Barcelona, Rome etc. The passenger demographics don't suit us out of the UK, the ship can be full of school kids at holiday times or packed with the elderly and incapacitated at others. If you are 45-55 you were in the minority on this 21st Sept sailing, wonder what the even younger couples thought ? Quite a few Alpha calls too... A fly cruise is definitely more appealing. SUMMARY Day 1 sea - welcome aboard show 745pm inc BMX bikes ? Day 2 sea - sounds of Grace (the Grace Trio) ? Formal. 80s Pop Party Promenade. Day 3 Gibraltar - shuttle independent pier €4 rtn, 20 min walk. Show Paul Adams, funny man ? Day 4 Cartagena - docks at pier in town, independent boat trip 45m at pier €8. Dance show ? Day 5 Barcelona , shuttle $10 each return. Cabs at pier. Mike Doyle, voice and comedy ? Day 6 Palma, shuttle $10 each rtn. Katy Setterfield, divas tribute act from 2008 BBC show ? Day 7 sea. Mind of Kennedy , mind blowing impossibilities? Day 8, Cadiz, walk off. Pete Matthews, comedy juggler ? Day 9, Lisbon, shuttle $12. Soul Satisfaction motown tribute. Excellent. Day 10, vigo, walk off. Once Upon a Time production show, Rock Britannia. Day 11 sea. Andy James, comedy and magic ?   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Being our first Diamond Member cruise we were looking forward to what the upgraded status had to offer and we were not disappointed. We stayed pre-cruise at the Dania Beach Sleep Inn which we have used a number of times. We always come ... Read More
Being our first Diamond Member cruise we were looking forward to what the upgraded status had to offer and we were not disappointed. We stayed pre-cruise at the Dania Beach Sleep Inn which we have used a number of times. We always come in a day or two early in case the weather is bad and stay a few days after so we aren't rushed to get a flight and to linger a few days longer in the Florida sunshine before heading north. The staff at the Sleep Inn are always friendly and the rooms well kept. They added a port transfer charge this year which was a bit of a surprise but the airport p/u and drop-off is still complimentary. We tend to arrive at the port mid-morning and boarding the Independence of the Seas was efficient as usual. The terminal the IOS docks at is under construction and a bit congested, so arrive early to avoid the rush. Once on board we checked our seating assignments (we still prefer traditional late seating as we have heard numerous complaints with 'my time' dining). Traditional seating also gives you a chance to get to know a few of the staff a little better which always helps when looking for advice on different venues. The fact they will be anticipating a tip from YOU rather than drawing from a pool often results in better service. Although the IOS has other dining options, we prefer the Dining Room as as the quality of the food is pretty consistent...don't be afraid to send something back if it is not to your liking. We did find some of the Dining Room staff a little green which was a bit of annoyance but I suppose they have to learn somewhere. As for the Head Waiter we had...he never came around once, not even to introduce himself or lend a hand to the often overworked waiters! They have obviously cut back on Dining Room staff as they tend more tables than they use. We have always pre-paid our gratuities but this time we gave cash to those in the Dining Room who actually 'earned' it rather than those who 'expected' it. Our biggest complaint is they always seem to run out of the same selections of wine and then try and pass off a lesser priced one as a substitute. A ship on a 7 or 8 day cruise should not run out of selected wines. If you are going to hit the Windjammer for lunch on Day 1 it is best to do it as soon as you get on board before it gets busy. We normally sit down afterwards and plan our day from the Cruise Compass. Having been on Adventure/Freedom/Oasis class ships before, we didn't need much directional orientation so we took a leisurely stroll after lunch acquainting ourselves with the beautiful artwork on the ship. I always take my swimwear in my carry-on and head up to Flow-rider before it gets busy. Most cruises I have been the 1st one on it but this year the outside air was a little cooler so I let a teenager go ahead of me to test the water...surprisingly the water was warmer than the air so I stuck with it for a while. I was a little disappointed they wouldn't let me do some of the tricks (rolling over) on the boogie board I have done in the past. I suspect they have had some issues as the water flow rate seemed to be down as well. I didn't hang around for surfing this time as with it being a cruise over New Years, Flow-rider was packed after my first session. We headed to the Solarium next which tends to be a quieter pool area. Although the pool and hot tubs are adult only that didn't stop kids from testing the rules. Staff were constantly reminding kids about the age restriction and by mid-week the area seemed under control. They could do with better signage around the pool and hot tub in this area as families would sometime come in, wait for lounge chairs to come free and get settled in only to find out their kids weren't welcome in the pool. We hit one new port we hadn't been to before, St. Kitts. We did our own tour of the island and went to a beach for the afternoon. On St. Maarten we went to Orient Beach which was crowded as usual particularly with 4 ships being in port. We often rent a car on this island, however I checked the cruise ship schedule for the port before we left home and knew with 4 ships in port it would be easier to just take a taxi. The stop in San Juan was too short but we have been there a number of times so we just went to few of our favourite places in town. Labadee, one of RCI's private islands has undergone a huge transformation since we were there on the Freedom in 2006. This was a New Years cruise and RCI really put on a show for New Years eve. We have never seen the Promenade so packed with people so late in the evening. Our only disappointment of the evening was the music venues closing so early. This was also a formal night and many people were looking for music and dancing. At 1 am the Schooner Bar was still packed with people waiting to find a seat when the piano player decided to finish for the night...he said his contract only allowed him to go till 1! We went to other venues and the musicians were leaving as well. On New Years eve they should have the musicians start later in the evening so they can go later. The Freeze Frame Ice Show was the best we have seen yet. It was well choreographed, the costumes were awesome and there was an excellent selection of music to appeal to all age groups. This show is not to be missed but you need to get your tickets early as the number of performances is limited. Quest is always fun but they really need to enforce the age restriction. At one point there was a 13 year old up on the floor during one of the more adult-oriented quests. Love and Marriage is another good show but they changed the way in which couples were chosen. I felt the old format of having a newlywed couple, a couple who have been married for a number of years and the oldest married couple provided a little more variety. The Diamond Lounge was the highlight for us on this trip and gave us an opportunity to meet with other seasoned cruisers and share experiences...both bad and good but mostly good. The staff in the Diamond Lounge were fantastic. All in all the cruise was much as we expected although staff often seem tired, overworked and inattentive. They have a new 'WOW' program to recognize excellent service so hopefully things will get back to where they were a few years ago. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We anxiously set said out of Port Everglades on December 30th 2012. This was a highly anticipated trip for the entire family as we had a couple of celebrations planned. Plus, it was going to be our third year in a row spent out at sea with ... Read More
We anxiously set said out of Port Everglades on December 30th 2012. This was a highly anticipated trip for the entire family as we had a couple of celebrations planned. Plus, it was going to be our third year in a row spent out at sea with Royal Caribbean. Eight glorious nights were awaiting us. As we left port following a convoy of other cruise ships, we hit the Atlantic Ocean. Mother nature was a little intense the first couple of nights. We are experienced cruisers and the wife had her trusted patch on. She was still a little queasy as were a number of other guests. All of the meals were typical Royal Caribbean meals. If you've been on one ship, then you've eaten the food. This doesn't bother me, but, the wife is a little more harder to please. It's not that the food is bad, it's just the same thing each year. Like I said, it doesn't stop me from ordering a couple of these and a couple of those. The food is good, not great. We don't believe in eating in the pay for service restaurants when there is food for free at every corner. Before embarking on the ship I had read how the ship looked tired or wasn't well maintained. I can honestly say that I didn't come across any of that. There were crew members cleaning all over the ship and were quite visible. The crew was very insistent on sanitizing (Purell dispensers) and handing out wipes. At first it was a whee bit alarming. There were no outbreaks that we know about and after awhile, we found it refreshing. The ship has all the amenities you could ask for. The kids never even got to the flowrider. Upon the second to last day, they finally put their jeans and long socks on and went ice skating. Both of these are favorite activities for them and they were just to busy. That is a major key!!! Keep the kids happy and busy. My wife and I participated in many trivia challenges (lost most of them) and other activities. They were all enjoyable. The New Year's Eve celebration was awesome. This being our third cruise of this nature, we knew to get to our spot early and camp out. We got down to the promenade deck around eleven and found an open area by the Christmas tree. Thirty minutes later, you couldn't move. It was interesting that there wasn't a party by the pool (the rough seas might have had something to do with it). The midnight celebration was a lot of fun as kisses and handshakes were handed out. I was waist high in balloons and graffiti. The one thing I never had was a champagne. There are usually crew members walking around with complementary glasses. We were told they were at the other end of the deck. This really annoyed me as there was a station setup to sell bottles of champagne. Royal really needs to get their priorities straight here. You shouldn't be peddling high price champagne on a cruise you are charging a premium on. This just seemed very cheesy to me this year. We got to take advantage of the diamond lounge this cruise and found it a nice escape. Love the coffee maker, although the crew should be taught that when cups are building up with unused coffee, something is wrong with it. The view from this lounge was beautiful and we enjoyed watching each port sail away from there. Cruise Director Joff Eaton was incredible. He really knew his job and how to entertain. From the Welcome Aboard show til the End of Cruise Finale, he was there to entertain and make sure you enjoyed the cruise. The entire cruise directory staff did an outstanding job. The shows were also very entertaining. If you've never seen a Royal Caribbean Ice show then you are missing out. Those stunts are hard enough on a normal skating surface. So get your tickets and don't miss the ice show!!! We did a couple of excursions and they were new experiences. New as in good. We have been to these ports a few times now and are hoping that new itinerary comes available. We like the longer then seven day cruise. We also enjoy going to different ports. As with going on any cruise, we met new people from all over. That's the most enjoyable thing about cruising. The people. Where else can you meet people from South Africa, United Kingdom, Brazil and Mexico among other places then the USA? As for the above mentioned possibly ugly. I didn't get into that bathing suit until day six! So the ugly was hidden for most of the cruise. I would like to give a huge thank you and bon voyage to the entire crew of the Independence of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
The New Year's Eve cruise had been booked for some time when my husband and I booked the 3 day Bahamas last minute to give the ship a "trial run". After the bad experience on the 3 day, I had tried to change our plans but ... Read More
The New Year's Eve cruise had been booked for some time when my husband and I booked the 3 day Bahamas last minute to give the ship a "trial run". After the bad experience on the 3 day, I had tried to change our plans but learned that the change would have been too costly. Since we like the islands we were to visit, we decided to suck it up, keep an open mind and set sail. We arrived to the port at 11am, and saw that people were already boarding. Being DP members, we were able to jump in line and check in. Okay, next up for check in and the computers went down. This has been a constant problem at the terminal, and we were thinking strike one. The computers were booted back up within 10 minutes and we were checked in and on board within a half hour. We have been DP members for 4 years now, and the card my husband received stated "Diamond". Strike 2! Our first stop was at guest services and they told us that they could give him a new card, but couldn't re-key it until their computers were up and running. Next stop Windjammer - same mediocre food but plentiful. On to the cabin. It was immaculate and all was in place. We had a D1 balcony on deck 10. Small but spacious in storage and we unpacked for the trip. First night's dinner was Portofino's. Excellent service and food. We heard that reservations were tight throughout the cruise, but we were only one of 4 parties in there the first night. Next day, New Year's Eve, was a sea day. Pool chairs were at a premium, however we never saw many people. Really, saving a chair with a plastic flip flop laced in the chairs webbing? Dinner was promising - a special menu with party hats, headbands and noise makers on the table. The festivities were underway but couldn't say the same for staff. The order was wrong from the start and we walked out of the meal before receiving the main course. The next morning we went and saw the head waiter and were changed to another area. New Year's day was a quiet sea day. We went to our new dining room table and the waiter Larry was great. He couldn't have been better. No other complaints from us. Menus are the same as always and the service was exceptional - no problems for the rest of the cruise. On Saturday we went to Chops. My husband said that his steak was a little tough, but my filet was awesome. Too much food, we took dessert to go. Concierge lounge and Diamond lounges were much better than the 3 day. They did have overflow in the diamond lounge to another area but we never felt crowded. The bar tendingg staff was excellent. By the second day, the bartenders knew the orders in advance and were there with your drink a minute from arrival. Our stateroom attendant, Reynaldo, was excellent. He came in the first day and asked for any special requests. He took notes and we never needed to ask again. The room stayed immaculate and he took every consideration to keep us happy. We never saw him except in the hallways, where it was always a race to see who could get to the door first to open. Always a smile and a willingness to please. We have been to several ice shows, but Freeze Frame was one of the better ones we've seen. It was enjoyable and the level of skill on these skaters seems to excel even those from Oasis. The original Drifters were the headlining show. We had seen them 3 years ago on a cruise out of Puerto Rico. They are still very good. They didn't seem to sing as much as the first time we had seen them, but the songs they do sing are still the same golden oldies we love. Yes, there were a few bumps in the cruise, but overall, it was a much better experience than our first on this ship at the beginning of the month. I'm glad we were able to see the better side of IOS and would now possible cruise it again and recommend it to friends. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 girls aged 16 & 12. Embarkation was good we were on board 20 minutes after handing over our luggage. We did speak to others on board who took longer due to several coaches turning up at once. ... Read More
We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 girls aged 16 & 12. Embarkation was good we were on board 20 minutes after handing over our luggage. We did speak to others on board who took longer due to several coaches turning up at once. Windjammer food was overall good but breakfast items like bacon, sausages etc were only ever warm and cold after 5/10 minutes on the plate. Several days I opted for a freshly cooked omelette which was always piping hot. Variety at other mealtimes was very good I found the chicken coconut curry especially nice. We used the main dining room most nights where the food was fine but lacked much variety perhaps we expected too much. The staff were nice, friendly great with the girls but not as professional as we had encountered on Adventure and Voyager. Cutlery for different courses had to be asked for a couple of times, we weren't always told what the recommended dishes were and they were unable to answer fairly basic questions about the ports despite being on board for a few months. They announced during the cruise that our dining room staff had won the best in company award for 2011 so we may have just been unlucky or spoiled previously. I opted for the basic beer package which included house wines for $39 per day, it also allows 20% discount on any other drinks purchased so I used it as a way to buy reduced priced drinks for my wife who was in our second cabin. No additional tip is added. Overall it was good value and I will use it again. Our children had soda fountain packages. Room stewards were very good and worked around our erratic timings. The mini bars were emptied on request and fresh ice was supplied every day. The entertainment was good not great apart from the ice show which was very good.We tried mystery theatre and that was good fun. New year Eve was very busy especially on the promenade but was no different from most town centres at this time of year. Countdown had everyone joining in, decked out in the hats, beads and rattles supplied by RCI. Our children loved the Living Room and made many new friends doing all the activities arranged by the staff. Living room staff do a difficult job dealing with teenagers remarkably well. We didn't pay much attention to the Lisbon or Vigo preferring to spend time off ship at the Canaries and Madeira. We did get off at La Curuna for a wonder round. Madeira was our favourite port probably due to tobogganing. The mix of passengers was overwhelmingly British with a sprinkling of American, European and few South Americans. Overall an enjoyable cruise were we met lots of friendly folk including a few from our home town! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My husband booked this cruise to celebrate my 65th birthday and we had reservations about cruising with RCI before we booked. We could not fault the ship it was beautiful and our cabin steward one of the best we have encountered. Our ... Read More
My husband booked this cruise to celebrate my 65th birthday and we had reservations about cruising with RCI before we booked. We could not fault the ship it was beautiful and our cabin steward one of the best we have encountered. Our only real complaint was that we had asked for a special menu as I am diabetic and also have raised cholesterol. In spite of asking several times no special menu was forthcoming and I was told by the waiter to choose from the Vitality menu. This rather spoilt the cruise as I wasn't sure what the ingredients were in the dishes. Before we cruised my children tried to arrange a Celebration package for me and early in December rang RCI office in England. The member of staff didn't seem to know much about this and told them to ring again after Xmas. They did and were told it was too late now to arrange anything. Unless you were very keen on quizzing there was very little in the way of daytime entertainment except for some excellent lectures on the Ports of Call. The evening entertainment was a but hit and miss the comedy magician was awful as was one of the comedians and the Productions shows were tedious. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our first experience with an American ship.We expected it to be large, but it didn't seem to be when we went to embark. We were forward, and the dining room was aft, so there was always quite a walk there and back,either ... Read More
This was our first experience with an American ship.We expected it to be large, but it didn't seem to be when we went to embark. We were forward, and the dining room was aft, so there was always quite a walk there and back,either along the corridor then up 2 decks, or going up then walking through the pool areas. We had no problems finding a table, and there was a varied choice in the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch.The downside was that there were no trays to carry the food to a table. We chose first sitting and were placed in Romeo and Juliet, on deck 3. On the whole we both said that P&O dinners were better.Independence served a set amount on the plate; if you wanted extra vegetables you have to ask for them.The dining room crew were really great, doing everything possible, and very friendly.There wasn't always much variety in the dishes offered.The evening shows weren't bad, though one "comedy" act was shades of Norman Wisdom/Tommy Cooper,but not really funny. Prices in the bars were very expensive, having 15% added as tips.Quite a lot of people talked about the way the options for tipping were continually advertised.Much was said about pre- paid tips, which took a set amount from each passenger.Vouchers were given to cabin steward and dining room waiters and head waiter at the last night. It was suggested that the amount those crew received was not the whole amount that had been quoted. Some staff said it was important that they were described as "excellent" in the questionnaires, otherwise they might not be taken on again for a future voyage.The whole subject of tipping was controversial. If it is expected, and deducted from the passengers' accounts, then it is not a discretionary amount given as a mark of appreciation for exemplary service; rather it could be construed as a subsidy to the crew's wages. There is a jogging/walking track on deck 12, though the distance of 3 laps making 1 kilometre and 5 laps making a mile doesn't equate.5 miles equals 8kms.Sometimes in the early mornings it was very windy, but the fitness centre has plenty of treadmills to use without a fee, so it was still possible to get some exercise. P&O give more information in their daily programme of events. We didn't find any list of channels for the cabin TV.You had to scroll down to find out what there was. The lifeboat drill wasn't really much use. Some P&O ships had the drill outside with lifebelts and you were shown how to put them on. On the Independence, you went to the designated station, but didn't have to take the lifebelt with you.If you want to look round the galley, you have to pay. There were some events in the Royal Promenade running the length of deck 5,and they were colourful.New Year's Eve was fun.However, with such a large crowd an emergency could have been chaotic.All entrances to public rooms have hand sanitisers. In the lifts the voice is English, but in the toilets, the reminder to wash your hands is American.Under 21s aren't allowed alcohol, and there is a 1.0am curfew for young people. We hope to use P&O again,but aren't too sure about Royal Caribbean, but that is just our opinion. We had done this destination some years ago, so we just explored the ports of Vigo, Lisbon and La Corunna. Lisbon on New year's Day and being a Sunday, nearly everywhere was closed.surprisingly the previous evening's revellry left the streets in a mess, rather like it often is at home.If using a shuttle at the ports expect to pay 10 dollars round trip.La Coruna Spain This was the final port. It was built on an isthmus, and is sheltered. We had a walk round some of the streets. One or two shops were open on a Sunday, but most were cafes and restaurants. There was quite a large marina, and there was a very large square with some imposing buildings. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
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
just back from 18 smashing days on the independence of the seas sailing the western med. this is our 2nd time aboard,the first being 2008 when she was new.i just wonder if she,s already getting a bit tired and needs a tonic. embarkation ... Read More
just back from 18 smashing days on the independence of the seas sailing the western med. this is our 2nd time aboard,the first being 2008 when she was new.i just wonder if she,s already getting a bit tired and needs a tonic. embarkation .as always with RC,was first class. on board by 11.30 and taking refreshments in the windjammer.as we had been on her before no need to chase around looking for things.in the cabin by about 1.30 and unpacked by 4pm.ready to cruise.i thought the lifeboat drill was very matter of fact and certainly not up to standard.no instructions ,in fact i,m not sure the crew knew what to do. the food.overall, was very good.well cooked and to my liking. i especially liked the variety of soups on offer each day.plenty of dishes in the windjammer and first class service in the king Lear restaurant when we used it. the waiters always very attentive and very helpful.(i got my prawn cocktail even when not on the menu) our cabin was a mistake for us. we thought the weather would be unkind so booked an inside ,atrium view,cabin,when i would have preferred a balcony.(our fault certainly)we had fantastic weather most of the time considering the time of year. although our cabin steward ,ANAND,DID A GREAT JOB. WELL DONE THAT MAN. the entertainment lacked style as far as the visitors were concerned.the highlight for us was BERNIE FLINT.he had us rolling about laughing.the rc. dancers and singers were excellent and the best band of all was "ROCK THE BOAT) they were on last time we were there and we we not disappointed. i also rated the ships orchestra,very very good,especially the john barry medley. jonny rockets.as usual was a whole lot of fun. joff eaton and his side kick ,robbie, did an excellent job of keeping us up to speed. and the bar staff,especially MARIE in the dog and patridge really made us welcome at each visit.the entertainer in the dog.robbie mcnay,was also very good. we had issues it this bar one night when an outright snob thought he was going to treat the staff like they were dirt on his shoes,i was not going to put up with this and put myself and that of my wife in fear of being turfed off the boat for sticking up for the staff,as it happens we never saw him again after i asked him very kindly to use another bar(or even another ship).why [people like that need to travel with the likes of us commoners i will never understand. so.i haven't said too much against the old girl overall but feel as a last thought that maybe she has lost a bit of the glamour we encountered on our first trip in 2008.i think next time ,we will probably try something a little smaller but still with royal caribbean.they know how to look after us and we are delighted. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
me and my 3 sisters booked an 11 night cruise to canaries .we all over 50 so looking for a good break and plenty of entertainment . well we were disappointed .on entering the ship we made our way to the windjammer cafe for ... Read More
me and my 3 sisters booked an 11 night cruise to canaries .we all over 50 so looking for a good break and plenty of entertainment . well we were disappointed .on entering the ship we made our way to the windjammer cafe for something to eat it was packed we wondered around for 40 Min's looking for somewhere to sit .it was like a free for all people eating like they had not been fed it was a scramble to get to the food .. the entertainment was so bad on an evening . the ship had 4000 passengers and the theatre housed 1100 . so no luck their getting in. we turned away and managed to get a seat in the piano bar zzzz is all i can say. when we did manage to get a seat in the theatre it was 1 turn only for 1 hour every night . and we managed to pick Mr and Mrs quiz .come on royal caribbean i was watching turns like this in the 70.s then the next night a hypnotist boring ...watching 4 people on a stage pretending to be chickens.. again for 1 hour . we got lucky i night we managed to see 2 comedians wow wee...the price of the drink was very very expensive $8 dollars a pint. hardly anything on during the day no games nothing. except sunbathe but hardly any nice sunny days we did manage to get in the pyramid lounge a few night to watch a rock band . but the same group every night ....then to cap it all my holdall was broken into on the last night when we were told to put out our cases outside the cabin at 11 pm. when i got to luggage pick up i never noticed my bag was tampered with when i got home 4 bottles of new perfume i bought had been stolen my lock was hanging on by a thread take my advice take your luggage off the ship yourself . not an enjoyable holiday very disappointed with the royal caribbean experience .. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I suppose that for every family of cruisers there must surely be a cruise that does not come up to par. Independence of the Seas, 20th October to the Canaries was ours. Only our eighth but this was one that we hope will not be repeated in ... Read More
I suppose that for every family of cruisers there must surely be a cruise that does not come up to par. Independence of the Seas, 20th October to the Canaries was ours. Only our eighth but this was one that we hope will not be repeated in the future. We had previously had two very happy times on Navigator, so were looking forward to a repeat performance on the bigger ship. I'll begin at the beginning. Arrival in our own car at Southampton was handled in as efficient manner as one can expect considering the volume of passengers. Check in, following that seemingly endless zig zag queuing system was quick and handled by a very friendly young lady. Once up the gangway we were accosted by what was to be eleven days of having a camera shoved in our faces by the over enthusiastic onboard photo staff. The Windjammer was, even at about 1pm, very busy but seating for five was effortlessly obtained, a feat never to be easily repeated thereafter. Cabins or staterooms as they are naively now called, were spotless, our luggage was already on site and our cabin attendant made himself known and said that if we needed anything at all, to let him know. He was true to his word, a very nice guy. We had picked first sitting for dinner, 6pm, hoping to do a bit of dancing and then go to the 10-30 theatre show. This plan was immediately shot to pieces as, some nights the theatre show was 8-45 and 10-30 and some nights 7pm and 8-45. We asked to change to second sitting and this was happily arranged without problem by the Head Waiter. This presented its own problems for us as the 7pm theatre show interfered with the ladies 'getting ready' time. Why there was a need to constantly change show times is unknown. We did most of the performances though, sometimes not being present quite at the start but what a disappointment they were. Only one dancing and singing show and we had enjoyed several on Navigator, mostly to set themes, you know what I mean. This time, with the exception of Bernie Flint, tears of laughter from us, and 'Kev' a very funny guy from Armenia (really?) and what a brilliant piano player he was. The rest of the performers were fourth rate. A Beatles 'tribute' band, a Scottish woman who screeched her way through her stage time, a guitar group who insisted that we all clapped our way through the act, to drown their appalling playing one assumes, and a juggler, fifty minutes of juggling, or so we were told, we left halfway. One night there was 'Mr & Mrs' and another 'The Quest'. Both were audience participation shows where guests were invited to 'make fools of themselves' basically. All for cheapness? We were told by a staff member that the entertainment was tailored to the type of client on each cruise and the Brits were people who liked to sit and booze. Fellow cruisers we spoke to had done the Carribean on Independence and they said the entertainment was remarkably different. Plenty of dancing and stunning stage shows, so perhaps there is some truth in what we were told. Certainly the few yanks on board this cruise were dissatisfied. A noticeable thing was the profusion of wheelchairs and motor buggies. There is some embarrasement in commenting on these as I know those who are wheelchair bound have as much right to a cruise as I. But there was rather a lot. Perhaps it was that they do not normally find themselves among such a large amount of other beings but they did barge their way through crowded areas at time. Toes were repeatedly run over especially in the lifts. In the theatre they were allowed to 'park' behind the back row of the auditorium apparently with disregard to their numbers. Should there have been an emergency, either they or the rest of us would have been in a panic situation. The Ice Show was something else. Only one show, performed several times to accommodate everybody. Spectacular, Stunning, Amazing, Extravagant we absolutely loved it. But no adherence to the rules. There was a specific request that nobody sat in the aisles, for safety reasons I suppose. So they sat in the aisles and no staff member intervened, yet there were empty seats. Who would believe that smoking is allowed in the Labyrinth disco? Of all places when you are gyrating about, breathing heavier than normal, smoking is in order. Except........that normally there is nobody dancing. The DJ plays what he thinks and not what the punters ask for. But the punters go in......and come out just as quickly because of that and the fug. The food on board was up to the standard we expect, as was the waitress service in the Macbeth Dining room. What an unfortunate name for a dining room, but all were Shakespeare themed. Nothing was too much trouble, if there was anything we disliked after trying, it was replaced with something else of our choice. The pre cruise literature informed us that there would be two formal nights on an eleven night cruise. There was in fact three. That caused some concern in the wardrobe department for sure. Same person organised that, who books the entertainment, I shouldn't wonder. Dress codes are not adhered to however. Scruffy turn out on informal nights, and only marginally tidy on formal nights. We spoke to several people who were upset that formal did not mean formal. As for no shorts and swim wear in the dining areas etc....forget it. Lots of youngsters dressing as they wished to. In Windjammers there was the expected excellent range of choices. Finding seating for five was near impossible. Why do couples always sit at tables for six I wonder? Our solution and well recommended to you dear reader, get up a bit early have breakfast and later lunch in the dining rooms. Much more civilised and refined. Waiter service. You get what you get. No piled high plates but you certainly don't starve. The talks/lectures were mainly aimed at selling us stuff. Jewellery, smellies, no 'bargains', all it seemed at shore prices and go to the spa if you dare. Tour selling and bingo mad. This puzzles me! Buy a Bingo ticket and get one free!! Is that a bargain or a gimmick? Strikes me you are working twice as hard for no extra advantage over the next guy. Overall; Fairly enjoyable. Food, good. All the staff, pleasant. Ship, clean. Organisation in general, iffy. Entertainment, not good. Sail with ship again, No! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS OCT 9TH- OCT 20TH 2011 This was our first cruise and also our first holiday for over 5 years, so a perfect holiday was well needed. RCI have ticked every box, I cannot complain or give a negative feedback on ... Read More
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS OCT 9TH- OCT 20TH 2011 This was our first cruise and also our first holiday for over 5 years, so a perfect holiday was well needed. RCI have ticked every box, I cannot complain or give a negative feedback on anything. It was PERFECT! I booked this cruise over 18mths ago direct with RCI. I pre-registered online for 2011 before the dates of the cruises were released. In March 2010 RCI phoned and asked if we were still serious about a cruise as they had now got the dates for October 2011. I told them yes and was offered an unbelievable cruise package, which consisted of a suite for the 5 of us, onboard spend, free parking for 2 cars plus other benefits that you get when you book a suite. As the months passed and the cruise date finally arrived we all left for Southampton, directions are easy and the parking a doddle. (Word of advice make sure your luggage labels are attached before you leave and get to Southampton as the porters unload your car as soon as you get through the gates, and don't take suite/dress bags as you have to carry these on. We had put all our evening wear into the specialist bags but ended up having to carry them onboard ourselves as the coat hangers won't go through the scanning machine. This was not really a problem as we boarded at 12.45pm and we were allowed into the suite at 1pm. If we had of boarded earlier which you can, we would of had to of carried them around until 1pm which would of been a pain) Boarding was stress free and very easy, then it hits you just how huge this ship really is. You cannot comprehend the magnitude of the sheer size and how spectacular she looks; she really does give you the WOW factor. We went straight to our deck and waited until 1pm then an announcement was made that all passengers could go to their staterooms. Again we had the WOW factor; the suite was beautiful and very spacious for the 5 of us. We had ordered a fruit, cheese and wine basket to be delivered for the start of the cruise for an incredible £28. The sparkling wine cheese and fruit were delicious. I had also ordered for my husband a Romance Package, which consisted of Sparkling Wine, Breakfast in Bed (or on the balcony), a silver frame for a photo taken on a formal night and pre dinner nibbles this cost £63. I think both of these items were value for money. Our suit cases were delivered, in my opinion quite quickly, the first one arrived within 15 mins of us being in the suite, the last one to arrive, which was mine, arrived an hour and half later. This did not cause us a problem, but when we were walking down the corridor to go to Muster Station, at 4pm some passengers were complaining that they had not yet had their luggage. RCI do inform you that it can sometimes take up to 9pm until you get your luggage and to carry on a small bag with a change of clothes and medication. My son and I had taken out the soda package on line. The queue for the soda package when you boarded was very busy, with fraught parents and kids wanted drinks right away. My advice, do it on line it saves so much hassle and your soda cups will be waiting for you in your stateroom. That way you have more time to explore and find were things are. We also took out the wine package which you can do at the table on the first evening your waiter will sort this out for you. We chose the "My Time" Dining option; we found this really worked for us. We found the food to be wonderful and plenty of choice, my mother in law as food allergies but was catered for without any problems at all. The one thing that was worrying both my husband and I were the beds. I have M.E. and I need a comfortable bed. I don't like staying away from home as I can never get comfortable in any other bed. I have to say the beds were fabulous. There was no need to worry. The bedding was soft and there was a memory foam topper on the mattress. I never had any trouble sleeping. On our first morning we all went to breakfast, you have several choices, Windjammer, Al le carte on deck 4, buffet in the restaurant on deck 3 and then the promenade cafe which serves drinks and freshly baked pastries or room service. Over the cruise we tried all the options, and we found the self service on deck 3 the best option for us. The Windjammer is brilliant and as mountains of choice (more than the restaurant on deck 3) but if you are not a morning person and you don't like crowds stay away, it gets very crowded and can be difficult to find a table. There is less choice on deck 3, but you are shown to a table and juice, tea and coffee are served to you. The first day is a sea day and it can be quite cold and rough on deck in October so make sure you pack a fleece or something warm. The kids on board don't seem to feel the cold and were in and out of the pools for most of the day. I booked myself a manicure as a treat, also this is the first formal night as well. The manicure was very pleasant and the young lady, Natalie, soon put me at ease. I booked to have a massage further into the week which was not a pleasant experience; it was a Swedish massage which is a very deep manipulation of the muscle tissue. I was advised by one of the girls on the desk to have this treatment and it was totally the wrong treatment for me. It was extremely painful. However this did not put me off as I had 2 different treatments which were very relaxing and most enjoyable. Do not book on the internet before you leave, the Spa runs some deals on certain days at a fraction of the cost that's advertised on the webpage. Look out in your cruise Compass leaflet that your cabin attendant leaves for you every evening. Word of warning all the spa treatments have a 15% surcharge and you do get subjected to some hard sell after your treatment. Be polite but firm, and then you don't get pestered after that. Before we booked our cruise we had spoken to several people that had cruised before, and every one of them had advised us that if you don't feel like getting off the ship Don't! Enjoy the ship and its facilities. So with that in mind we had already decided that we would not get off at every port. The first port of call was Vigo which to my surprise was a very nice city. The shops etc are a 5 min walk from the ship, there is a lovely square as you walk through the town and we stopped at a cafe/bistro for a beer. Vigo was very easy to get to and very clean. We did a bit of window shopping then went back onboard. We did not book any trips from the ship for any port of call. Next port was Lisbon. We had already decided not to get off the ship here. Where the ship docks (just under the bridge) it's not a very nice place and there is a 35min transfer into the city from the ship. We enjoyed the sundeck and pools as it was 31c and the ship was very quiet. We later found out that several passengers had been victims of pick-pockets and had several items stolen. So if you do decide to get off the ship, do not take any valuables with you and be extremely careful. Gran Can aria was next on the agenda; we got off the ship here and spent an hour at the beach. There is a beach which you can see from the ship, but we walked for approx 10mins into town and found a much nicer beach. There are sun beds you can hire for a fee, or take a towel with you and lie on the beach. Worth seeing are the sand sculptures they are quite remarkable. Tenerife was next, and on the day we went the local market was on. It's quite a walk so if you are going it alone and not doing the organised trips get a taxi or bus, we regret not doing this. Madeira for me was the highlight of all the ports of call. It's a beautiful place to visit. Again we did not do the organised trips, we paid 6 dollars return for a coach to take you into the town then we got a yellow taxi. What a bargain this trip was. We paid 20euro each to go where the organised trips were going which were $89 each on ship. The taxi driver was very informative and spoke excellent English. The taxi trip lasted approx 3hrs. This was by far the best way to see Madeira. The sledge ride was an extra 15euro each, which when you got to the bottom they had your photo waiting for you which they had taken at the start. To purchase this it was 10euro which if did not want to you did not have to buy. Final destination before Southampton was La Coruna. Easy place to get to shopping centre next port to do your final present buying. This is a nice town with some beautiful old buildings. The organised trips are expensive, and if you don't mind sitting on a hot coach for a few hrs and you like to be shown around, then organised trips are your best option. We went on this cruise to relax and to enjoy the ship and what it had to offer. The ports of call to us were not important. The ship is just a fantastic place to be and to be honest I would of spent all my time onboard. The food is to die for, the crew treat you like royalty, they are always smiling and nothing is too much trouble. Every minute of the day the ship is being cleaned and maintained. Our suite attendant Edwin was so helpful and obliging nothing was too much trouble. Our waiters Leoncia and Alan made our dining experience so enjoyable; to the extent we actually cancelled our booking at Portofino's. We did not attend any shows as we enjoyed the entertainment that was being offered in the Pyramid Lounge and again the staff in there were very attentive. I think value for money you will not beat this cruise, get the soda packages, wine packages etc and you won't go wrong. The duty free shop is cheaper than the ports. Royal Caribbean International have got this format perfect, I don't see how they can perfect it any further. Enjoy your experience. We did, we are hooked and can't wait for the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Our only other cruise was 20 years ago so thought it was about time we sailed again. Embarkation - Very well organised as you would need to be with 4000 people to board. From dropping off our bags to having access to the cabin was less ... Read More
Our only other cruise was 20 years ago so thought it was about time we sailed again. Embarkation - Very well organised as you would need to be with 4000 people to board. From dropping off our bags to having access to the cabin was less than 1/2 an hour, good start to the cruise. Cabin - Balcony on deck 7, very happy with it, plenty of storage space and everything we needed (except of course the no iron rule). Cabin Steward - Nikolai was very friendly and helpful and kept the cabin very tidy with towel animals every other night; a nice touch. He always stopped for a chat whenever we saw him and we were very happy with the service. Facilities - Impressed with the many and varied facilities aboard and enjoyed reading the daily 'Compass' newsletter to check on the day's activities. Shows - Really enjoyed the 'Armenian' comedian, (sorry forgot his name), his was the stand-out show, closely followed by the ice-show, impressive with spectacular costumes. The ships Singers and Dancers shows were not to our taste so only saw the 1st one. The other shows were ok but no more than that. Casino - Very nice facility, never too crowded. Evening Dining - We were allocated a table in the Romeo and Juliet dining room and thought the food was very good, well presented and with a good choice, hence we never felt the need to try one of the pay restaurants. We were lucky to have tablemates that we got on with and pleasant professional service which made the whole dining experience enjoyable. Breakfasts - We had room service on all but the last day and a relaxed breakfast suited us as opposed to the more hectic Windjammer. On the few occasions we did uses the Windjammer for lunch we always found a table without too much trouble but picked our times to avoid peak-time. The food was plentiful and we had no complaints. Excursions - We booked an RCCI excursion in every port and they were a mixed bag, particularly enjoyed Madeira and Tenerife but think that Ferrol should be dropped from the itinerary, boring was the best way to describe it. Disembarkation - Even easier that embarkation, simply walked off the boat with our luggage. Most of my comments have been positive but there are always a few areas which can be improved. The Negatives - (Some of these were known before we cruised) Cost of Alcohol - Extortionate Alcohol policy - whereby you can't even buy a bottle of local wine to enjoy on board - unnecessary Ice-Show - Queueing for tickets should be eliminated and reserved through the TV screen. The organisation to get access to the venue was a shambles, this whole process needs a revamp. Bingo - A total rip-off, prices too expensive and prizes inadequate leaving a large profit for RCCI. I read numerous reviews before selecting this cruise so had a very good idea what to expect. We were restricted in timeframes and choose this cruise as we thought there wouldn't be lots of children or teenagers on board. This proved to be the case and apart from the pool area we rarely saw them. The majority of passengers were in the 60+ bracket, as we are, but so many of them must offer warning signs to the NHS as the incidence of obesity was at alarming levels. At first I thought the pool area was a beached whale sanctuary and then thought it must be a maternity facility as so many of the men appeared to be in the third trimester. We look forward to cruising again and would have no issues in cruising on the Independence of the Seas but will try another line next time in order try a different experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Our first time on a cruise and all i can say is wow wow wow it is that good. FOOD.the food is probably the best thing about the cruise.from the Windjameer to evening meal to pizza at 3 o clock in the morning it is just first class.Eating ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise and all i can say is wow wow wow it is that good. FOOD.the food is probably the best thing about the cruise.from the Windjameer to evening meal to pizza at 3 o clock in the morning it is just first class.Eating in the main dining room is like eating in the Hilton hotel.The staff cater to all your needs and would be offended if you didn't have a good time or had a meal you didn't like and you didn't tell them so they could rectify it. DRINKS:Me and the wife got two beer and wine packages it worked out around 550 English pounds for them both and we thought that was excellent value for money.any cocktails we just bought extra at a reasonable amount. ENTERTAINMENT:the entertainment is excellent and with the ship being so big you don't feel like you are crammed in just to see a performance.the highlight of the cruise was kev orkian of Britains got talent what a funny funny guy he is and also the main man korey simon in the schooner bar.he is a hidden gem on the boat and we found ourselves in the schooner bar most nights being entertained off him and some nights i would sing Elvis with him and it made our holiday. PORTS OF CALL:Being the canaries the ports of call our nearly all the same but because you can get on and off the ship during the day we just popped off for a couple of hours but really the ships that good you want to be back on and enjoying the what the ship has to offer. we cant wait to go next year you really have to go on the cruise to appreciate how good it is.roll on next September 2 weeks round the med.Awesome holiday thank you rci Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Easy check in despite it being busy.Our room was ready when we embarked at 1.30pm. Ship Lovely and clean as was our room. We had a great cabin steward who went over and above his duties --- thank you to Christian! Lovely BIG comfy bed and ... Read More
Easy check in despite it being busy.Our room was ready when we embarked at 1.30pm. Ship Lovely and clean as was our room. We had a great cabin steward who went over and above his duties --- thank you to Christian! Lovely BIG comfy bed and the balcony was the biggest we have ever had.I liked the shower cubicle,no water splashing on the bathroom floor! Not too far from the elevators. Great food with a good choice in Windjammer although occasionally it could have done with being hotter. It did get a bit busy at times although we always manged to find a table - I guess most ships are like that though. Restaurant food was great as well the meat was so tender and yummy puds! We enjoyed all of the ports and the weather was kind to us. Shows --- fantastic as was the Strings ice show. We had to be in the theatre for 8.30pm for the 9.00pm show or we couldn't get a seat! Very popular! Found the outdoor pools a bit cold and the hot tubs the opposite we boiled like lobsters! Enjoyed the indoor pool and hot tubs though. Drinks - yes they are a tad pricey unfortunately. Newspapers can be bought for $3 at the coffee shop in the promenade. We went with trepidation because of the ships size --- but have been won over and have booked again for next year --- same ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
The Independence of the Seas is truly a fantastic ship. From first boarding at Southampton we were nothing less than impressed with the size, cleanliness and friendly crew. Nothing was too much trouble for the crew and many went out of ... Read More
The Independence of the Seas is truly a fantastic ship. From first boarding at Southampton we were nothing less than impressed with the size, cleanliness and friendly crew. Nothing was too much trouble for the crew and many went out of their way to assist and ensure that the whole experience was second to none. However we were certainly not prepared for the astronomically expensive price of alcohol in the bars. Lager was the equivalent of over £5.00 per pint and even if you took advantage of a drinks package, you would need to drink five pints every day just to break even, and the package had to be purchased by everyone sharing the stateroom as single packages were not allowed were not allowed.The on board entertainment provided in the Alhambra theater was well below the standard of that previously experienced on the Grand Princess. The so called headline acts were second rate and the resident singers/dancers were very amateurish and could best be described as 'why sing when you can shout'. However the ship did have a very good band named 'Rock the Boat' who performed in the Pyramid bar most evenings.The bar was full on the nights this band played, and probably provided the best entertainment available. They should have been performing in the main theater as they would have no doubt filled that one too. Overall we enjoyed the cruise but will have to consider very carefully before we book with Royal Caribbean International unless they have a change of price policy. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I was a little nervous beforehand as I didnt know what to expect on our first cruise but need not have worried as everything was fantastic. We parked right next to the terminal at Southampton and the check in process was so quick and easy ... Read More
I was a little nervous beforehand as I didnt know what to expect on our first cruise but need not have worried as everything was fantastic. We parked right next to the terminal at Southampton and the check in process was so quick and easy it puts airports to shame. Within little over an hour we were on board and another hour later we checked into our cabin. The suitcases arrived soon after so we could unpack and start our holiday. We hadnt realised that by taking our cruise over Easter a number of the shops in the Ports of call would be closed but we just enjoyed a short walk around each port. We went with our 11 year old son so we ate informally in the Windjammer cafe. There was always a great choice at all meals although it sometimes got busy at breakfast and lunch. By dressing informally we did feel a little underdressed later in the evening when mixing with people who were dressed up for the formal nights in the main restaurant. The entertainments team were great, expecially James the Cruise Director and his sidekick Jason. Treatments in the Spa proved quite expensive and they did try and sell extra services/products whilst doing the treatment. There were 4300 on board including 1200 children but it never seemed really busy or crowded at any time. Although our son did not join in with the kids clubs there was plenty to do with a varied daily programme. Our stateroom attendant was first class and every evening he laid out an animal made from towels which our son was always keen to rush back after dinner to see what was waiting for us. We were very lucky that for the majority of the cruise we had really good weather and only had one bad day with rough seas. The most offputting thing was that evening they had put sickbags in various locations around the ship so were obviously expecting a problem!! Departure was as easy as arrival with a well planned timescale. We opted to take our own bags off to save leaving them out the night before. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and would certainly do another. I think we were spoilt with RCCL as there was so much to do so any other liner will not seem as good. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We came back the 8th january had a lovely smooth cruise, I thought 18 nights would be to much, we didnt want to leave the ship! When we did it was chaos getting our suitcases..No organisation at all, every one pushing trolleys one way when ... Read More
We came back the 8th january had a lovely smooth cruise, I thought 18 nights would be to much, we didnt want to leave the ship! When we did it was chaos getting our suitcases..No organisation at all, every one pushing trolleys one way when they found cases, They had to turn around & come back the same way.. It took 25 minutes to find our cases as we were "pink no 1" Then there was pink lables up to 9 all over the place... Then my car had a flat battery. My grandaughter had sickness on there i called the medical centre & had to take her in a lift with a sickbag & other people sharing the lift..I thought a visit to the room would have been best..Quarantened 48 hours. She had an injection, as she was sleeping in a bunk above our heads..We were told to move the mattress on the floor so she could get to the bathroom.. "I didnt fancy a sick bed"She is 19 years old as well, i was not happy i kept banging my head on the bunk..I can recommend I bought 20 glowsticks from the £ shop for new years eve,We snapped open 3 of them put 1 along side of the dressing table 1 by the toilet & 1 inside a glass in the loo so we didnt need to put a light on, although we had a balcony we dont like the light shinning in the room they last for 8 to 12 hours..even longer some of them.. Unfortunatly we didnt go out new years eve, as that was the night she was sick had a wonderful firework display from Naples bay it went on for hours.. RC were doing there best, we had free movies, drinks from the mini bar, were all free.also she has a discount of another holiday this year.In all it was a good holiday.Looking now for another one as my hubby had a byopsy before we went, good news he was clear.Still has to go into hospital to have a lump removed..We will enjoy this one more maybe get a bit of sun as well..happy Holidays Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Lets start with the basics, THE BOARDING PROCEDURE was the usual efficient RCCL boarding, I have never had any real problems with the RCCL boarding and this was no exception. It was as smooth and fast as usual, but then again we ... Read More
Lets start with the basics, THE BOARDING PROCEDURE was the usual efficient RCCL boarding, I have never had any real problems with the RCCL boarding and this was no exception. It was as smooth and fast as usual, but then again we are Diamond members and the queue for boarding is normally shorter than the other queues. The main complaint about the boarding was not being told about the Norovirus before we boarded, and given the chance to cancel and rebook on another cruise, which was what happened to the cruise following us. CABIN was clean and tidy, if a tad badly laid out, we had a Promenade View cabin. This was a free upgrade, so it was ok, but I would not book one again. Not much could be seen from the window except for the cabins on the opposite side. It was quiet except for the bloke next door coughing all night... lol DINING we only used the Windjammer for various reasons, one being that the Norovirus was on board, so we kept away from the main restaurant's and just ate in the windjammer at quiet times. The food was as usual in the windjammer, quite good if a bit samey it never changes from cruise to cruise. Also other guests who used the main restaurant's said the food was always cold, but as I said we never used them so can't really comment. THE PORTS were good, although I only got off at a few, because I'd been before many times. But the ports were not the reason for the cruise. Being away from home at Christmas & New Year was the main reason, we had planned to stay on board and enjoy the ship. But with the Norovirus this was not really possible. ENTERTAINMENT was again ok, we didn't go to any of the RCCL singers and dancers production shows, not because they were bad in fact they are very good. But we've seen them all before, they have not been changed for years. There were some good guest artistes on ie. Jersey boys tribute Beatles tribute, and a zany comedian who we've seen a few times before but he's still funny...just wish I could remember his name. The cruise director Joff Eaton is one of the best cruise directors we've had and his progressive quiz is something to behold...just about the best quiz on the seas. BARS & DRINK PRICES were as usual on RCCL quite expensive, we were one of the lucky ones, in that being Diamond members we got free drinks in the Diamond lounge every evening between 5 & 8.30pm. OVERALL it was a good cruise and RCCL did all they could about the Norovirus, the staff were continually cleaning and disinfecting. It was some of the passengers who were the problem, a lot of them didn't was their hands regularly and quite a few complained about using the hand gel provided. THE VERY BEST THING about the cruise was the people we met, especially in the Diamond lounge, we have cruised lots of times before with a lot of different companies. But we have NEVER met so many really nice people on one cruise before. IN CONCLUSION I would give the cruise 7 out of 10 and will be sailing with RCCL again and sailing on the Indy again, just hope they change the shows by then. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.2
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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