4 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Spa Cruise Reviews

We have been cruising on and off for 12 years and most of it has been done with RCI or Celebrity, though this cruise was the first Royal trip since 2005. I'd read a lot before booking and was a bit concerned that the emphasis with the ... Read More
We have been cruising on and off for 12 years and most of it has been done with RCI or Celebrity, though this cruise was the first Royal trip since 2005. I'd read a lot before booking and was a bit concerned that the emphasis with the line had changed and I wasnt sure that it was going to still suit us, but the dates were good for the half term holiday in the UK so we booked anyway. With 6 of us in total we booked interconnecting Superior Ocean View staterooms (online, which you can no longer do which is a pain, multiple staterooms can now only be booked by phone or a TA) on Deck 9 mid ships. Our party was us, our two kids aged 2 and 6 and my wifes parents who are retired. Imention this only as it gaves us a wide age range and an experience of most services. Embarkation: Very quick and very easy. Despite getting to southampton very early our C&A membership level meant we could get on board as soon as the gates opened. We actually boarded sooner which we thought was a boon but be warned - though you can get on at 11.00am, you cant access your cabin at all until 13.30pm so you have to lug any carry on luggage with you for two and a half hours! That aside, no real complaints and the staff were all efficient and friendly. Cabin: How best to describe the cabin. Tired i think sums it up. Generally it was a good size, with plenty of room for our stuff plus the travelling effects of a fashion concious 6 year old. The furniture, despite a recent refit was looking a bit tired though but the worst thing was the bed. The matresses need replacing but they have just added a foam topper. It all looks like a bad 1970's seaside B&B with the sheets off. Not really impressed at all. Balcony is nice and an ok size and the bathroom is a big improvement - mainly because there is no cold, dank curtain but a proper sliding door screen. About time too. Position was good, quiet and not much passing traffic. Food: MDR: on the whole OK, but not as good as I remember it. And when did Lobster become a $35 suppliment? Thats more than the price on shore and do I not get a discount for not eating the comp main course? This is penny pinching too far in my book. Service was generally good, but the waiter rang the cabin late on the last night since we skipped dinner to insist we scored him well on the post cruise survey. Ive never had that before and it earnt him a zero score and a reduced tip. RCI need to let their staff know they have to give good service for good marks, not bother the guests directly. MDR is the place to eat breakfast and for me. lunch. Problem is they only open for lunch on sea days which means in port you are stuck with the food fight that is the Wind Jammer (see below) Giovanni's Table: Excellent. Worth every penny of the supplement and more. In fact, had it just been the two of us we may well have eaten here every night. It was the one time that I felt the old RCI had been maintained. I was sad to see Portofino go but this is an excellent replacement. Our dinner here was the stand out evening of the cruise but in many ways that is to RCI's detrement, as it highlighted just how down market the rest of the services had gone. Windjammer: OK, time to try and stay objective. The food was generally good. The buffets were kept well stocked and *most* of the time we got a seat fairly easily. They didnt have any American Bacon out for breakfast though (perhaps because of an English centic cruise) but some arrived when asked. The worst thing about the WJ is the other guests. Im sure they are on the whole lovely people but I really dont know what comes over some guests when they walk through the doors of the buffet. By day two we'd had enough and only set foot in the place well outside of 'popular' time. 'Feeding time at the zoo' is about right. sadly. Im not sure I managed the objective thing there... Johnny Rockets: Proper cherry coke! For those that dont know what i mean by this try it. As good as it always was but now a $5 dollar cover just makes RCI seem mean. nice burger, great fries and a good atmosphere but hidden away and full of teens during the day as its right next to their hang out. Others: Sorrentos made for a nice late night snack, with pizza to a good standard and some interesting Quesedia's. The coffee shop did some nice sandwhiches and the coffee was to a very good standard. Cupcake cupboard is a waste of space for me, but if you like cakes they looked nice. Shame they dont do the pub grub in the pub any more - I used to like that a quiet venue but I guess thats why they stopped it - too quiet. Bars and Drinks: Usual selection of drinkeries. Apparently free pooring is going to end soon, or so a couple of the bar chaps told me. Viking Crown Lounge is nice and always head plenty of space. Schooner Bar is a bit cramped and on indy and acts a bit like a thoroughfair rather than a cosy bar it should be. Had a piano, but no-one ever played it. Only thing that ever happened in the nigh club was an art auction. Drink prices havent really changed in 6-7 years, so I suppose thats a plus. We had the non-alcholic drinks package which, if you like coffee, is worth it. A couple of premium coffees a day and your up. The cigar and brandy room is still underused and my favourite little hide away but one waonders how long that will be retained. Kids: Have to say the kids club was excellent and the nursery for our 2 year old was a boon. No.1 Daughter was trrested ti the Barbie at Sea package which, now they have droped the price to a much more palatable $149 is actually pretty good value. Lots of stuff to keep and a dedicated activity every day. Entertainment: Saw one show - Queen tribute act. Was entertaining. The rest of it is a bit like a 1960s holiday camp. Maybe other people like shouty in your face cruise directors but I swear we were one conga line away from a knobbly knees competition at the pool side hotly followed by the glamerous granny show. Honestly, they still try to convince you its a luxury holiday and then drag individuals out who wouldnt be allowed in the average butlins. I find all of the above best avoided. Fun (for some) it might be but uxury it isnt. General: For me RCI has lost its shine and its way. OK, so the cruise prices are the same as they were 10 years ago and that real money cost saving has to come from somewhere but they have cut too deep. Too much charging for extras that on a 'luxury' holiday (or just a holiday that costs over £5k for a week) should be standard. Im fine paying for Giovanni's etc, but extras in the MDR, or just a burger for lunch? I am also sad to say that perhaps sailing out of Southampton during English school holidays was a mistake. RCI have definitly shifted their target demographic. It really isnt a lucury holiday. Its more akin to a floating Costa Brava (Spanisj resort, not Italian cruise line) or an upscale holiday park. the service has gone and as has the feeling of being special, or looked after. Should we care? If it was a couple of thousand pounds then perhaps not, but for £5-6K for 6 nights I want a bit more. And you can get it, just not with RCI. Which is a shame. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Embarkation was very smooth, as we stayed in the Presidential Suite, and had priority boarding.the room was ready when we got on board, and luggage was delivered soon after. We were part of the concierge club, which was a great bonus, as ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth, as we stayed in the Presidential Suite, and had priority boarding.the room was ready when we got on board, and luggage was delivered soon after. We were part of the concierge club, which was a great bonus, as we had access to exclusive services and evening access to appetizers and beverages. The boat was beautiful, well maintained and the staff were very friendly. The food was delicious in all venues, especially Giovanni's the Italian family style restaurant. We had access to the dining room menu for room service which was great, since traveling with small children. The pools were great, and the h2o zone was awesome for adults and kids, as it had the only heated pool on the ship. The adults only solarium was very relaxing and had the cantilevered hot tub-awesome! The shows were great, had very talented performers and the ice shows were great as well. Our room was 6414 the presidential suite. It has 2 master bedrooms, one slightly larger than the other, both with bathrooms including tubs. Also had 2 regular bedrooms with 2 upper bunks in each and hall bathrooms as well. All rooms were very spacious and comfortable. The living room had plenty of seating and dining table. The balcony was very large with a huge table and several lounge chairs and regular chairs with side tables. There was a bar with sink and sub zero fridge as well as a 6 person hot tub - amazing!!! Our steward Eunice was amazing and our concierge Raj was so helpful. In all, we had a great time with 6 adults and 3 kids in this suite, plenty of room and things to do! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
First off We have cruised a lot with Royal, we have been on this class before as well. we are curently Diamond members. The positive side of this cruise where ...the ports all nice, St Martin,St Kitts, Puerto Rico,and Labadee. the ships ... Read More
First off We have cruised a lot with Royal, we have been on this class before as well. we are curently Diamond members. The positive side of this cruise where ...the ports all nice, St Martin,St Kitts, Puerto Rico,and Labadee. the ships touch screen info center was a really helpful and neat new addition. St Martin we went to the Sea Trek underwater excursion, Very nice. St Kitts, we went on an open air taxi for a tour of the island, Very nice. P.R. Bacarrdi tour, Really nice! Labadee... my 1st time there and there is not enough time in the day for this stop, Very nice. Problems started at the Pursers Desk, all of the Women there seemed to be in a really bad mood! terrible customer service! My wife used the Wi-Fi perk they have on the ship and could not log off and had trouble with those "Happy People" at the pursers desk trying to log off with no help, until my wife brought her I- Pad to them for them to log it off, Wehn they told her they didin't know how to work the I-Pad. She said "its costing me .75 cents a minute you need to turn it off!" Convienatly they fiqured it out with a few taps on the screen and after my free time was all used up..there goes my internet connection for the week, yes I could purchase more time but if I had any more problems I would have to go to see that Happy bunch all over again..No Thanks. This one really burned me up...I was at a Movie trivia game with my wife...I went to the bar to get a drink...this particular drink, I want very little ice in my glass, I asked the bartender to "kick out some ice" he did but is was still to much I asked him to "kick out some more" he then pour all of the ice out grabbed a single cube of ice dropped it into my glass and poured my drink. I asked him what his problem was but he left (I should of asked for the supervisor, but I was in shock). the bar back that was there got me a glass of ice so that I may fill it up to my specifications, But then that set the mood for the rest of my Vacation. We sat for Dinner right near the Captains table I thought "wow what a treat" we get to finally have dinner with the Captain (sort of) no Captain for the entire cruise! I fiqure he thinks he's to good to sit with the regular folks..to eat.. there where other times during the cruise that I felt like I was bothering some of the crew for a question so I quit asking. will I stop cruising on Royal I dont think so but it does make you think.... maybe they are a little nicer at NCL? will I be back on this class? nope! because of this cruise I will not even think about allure or oasis. they are even bigger!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
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
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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