1,785 Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We sailed from southampton on May 31st after arriving on the coach transfer from Heathrow. The coach trip down was very pleasant and boarding was quick and uncomplicated. Our cabin was not ready when we got on board so we had a quick lunch ... Read More
We sailed from southampton on May 31st after arriving on the coach transfer from Heathrow. The coach trip down was very pleasant and boarding was quick and uncomplicated. Our cabin was not ready when we got on board so we had a quick lunch and made our way to the pool. We had 2 young children with us and they enjoyed splashing in the pool in their underwear while we waited for our bags with swimwear to be delivered to our cabin. Luckily this was the first bag delivered. We had a table for 4 in romeo and juliet on deck 3 and we lasted 2 nights in the dining room. Our complaint here was, understandably they set the table with a full set of cutlery but the opportunity to play with 3 knifes and forks was too much to resist and they all ended up on the floor, the kids menu was not pointed out to us and it was limited and when it did arrive the plates were too hot for an adult to handle and yet it was placed in front of a 2 year old!! We ate in the windjammer every other night and it was much more relaxed with kids and the staff were so much more friendlier there. Our cabin was an inside one with 2 bunk beds that were pulled down from the ceiling. I had requested a cot but it never arrived and I don't know where they would have put it anyway. The cabin was a bit of a squeeze with 4 of us but we managed. Beds are really comfy, but the bunks weren't so and the blanket on the bunk was really light not a proper duvet. Showers were lovely and plenty of towels which were constantly changed. Our stateroom attendant was very nice and helpful. A wash and fold laundry service was provided after the first week for $20. I asked could I give in 2 bags of laundry for $40 but was told no that they would be doing this service again but this didn't happen. Our kids went to the kids clubs every day. The aquanauts was brilliant for our 4 year old and she loved every second of it. The royal babies and tots was good too but our 2and half year old wanted to be in with her big sister in the aquanauts. Before I left I enquired and was led to believe that if our 2 year old was mature enough and fully toilet trained she could be upgraded to a higher aged kids club. She goes to montessori with her big sister so she is mature enough and is fully trained but when we got on board we were told no. She could go to the aquanauts room with her sister if it was quiet and one parent had to stay at all times. We didn't avail of the babysitting service but from speaking to other parents it was very good once your child is 12 months plus. The entertainment on board was excellent. We went to both ice shows but people started queuing up to an hour before hand for seats and they definitely give out too many tickets to the amount of seats available. I was left standing for the entire show because we were not allowed sit on the steps. Normally not a problem but I was 5 months pregnant and was holding a 2 year old who had fallen asleep in my arms. You can't blame royal caribbean for uncaring ignorant people who choose to save seats for others rather than offer them up. Any of the stops were had were lovely. We bought tickets for the shuttle buses into the ports but in malaga it was a joke. We were on the bus for 4 minutes. They brought us from the ship to the port terminal and then you made your way into malaga. About a 20/30 minute walk and charged $6 each for this. We didn't even use the bus on the way back. Disembarkation was quick and painless even if it was early. Our bags were waiting and so was the coach. All in all we had a fantastic time on this cruise. This was our second with RC. We honeymooned on Voyager 6 years ago. We found the facilities for children on freedom class fantastic for children but the staff and food was of a much higher standard on voyager. We are definitely going to go on a cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Around 1500 dignitaries and travel trade representatives were invited on board the Independence of The Seas to attend the naming ceremony and spend two nights on board, to experience what this ship offers. The first impression was WOW! A ... Read More
Around 1500 dignitaries and travel trade representatives were invited on board the Independence of The Seas to attend the naming ceremony and spend two nights on board, to experience what this ship offers. The first impression was WOW! A brand new ship in pristine condition. Check in security and boarding was very slick, with numerous smiling shoreside staff and crew to welcome us aboard and help us find our stateroom. The D2 room assigned was less spacious than for the same grade on other Royal Caribbean ships, but the balcony was a good size. Fittings throughout were to the usual Royal Caribbean standard. A nice innovation for British guests was the kettle, tea, and coffee-making tray. Our cabin steward was friendly and helpful. We were welcomed to the naming ceremony in the theatre with glasses of champagne. Sadly, the organizers had missed the fact that guests out numbered the available seats, so it was standing room only at the back. After the naming, we went to very good ice show, then dinner. The dinning room is spectacular, spread over three decks connected by curving internal staircases. At such a prestigious event, we were surprised that not all guests had been allocated table numbers, so, on both evenings, large numbers were required follow waiters wandering through the room looking for places to sit. The food was good, but not memorably so, the service adequate, but, disappointingly, without the polish experienced on other cruise ships. Headwaiters were conspicuous by their absence. After dinner, we set sail for trip across the channel to Guernsey and back, with a full day to enjoy all the on board facilities. The unique attraction of this ship is the flow rider. The very competent sports staff demonstrated some very tricky surfing moves, and it is sure to prove a hit with future passengers. The rock-climbing wall is terrifyingly steep and definitely not for the faint hearted, although staff are always on hand to ensure safety criteria are met. Our burger lunch in the fifties style diner was excellent. The very efficient waiting staff doubled up as entertainers, bopping along to music from the juke box. After dark the grand promenade on deck is the place to be. A range of shops, cafe, pizzeria, wine bar, and even a pub. This ship adds a new dimension to cruising, spoilt for us only by the poor dining experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS 31 MAY - 14 JUNE 2008 Captain Teo Ship Facts Passenger Capacity: 3,634 double occupancy Gross Tonnage: 160,000 Length: 1,112' Max Beam: 184' Draft: 28' Cruising Speed: 21.6 knots 2610 My wife and I ... Read More
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS 31 MAY - 14 JUNE 2008 Captain Teo Ship Facts Passenger Capacity: 3,634 double occupancy Gross Tonnage: 160,000 Length: 1,112' Max Beam: 184' Draft: 28' Cruising Speed: 21.6 knots 2610 My wife and I have just returned from two weeks on independence of the Seas and this was our 11th cruise and out 2nd cruise with RCCI and we enjoyed the experience. We stayed in Southampton, DeVere Hotel on the way out and this made a nice start to our cruise as the outlook was to see other ships in that day and when we got up next morning we could see our ship. Our check in was very quick as we ate breakfast in hotel then a ride around docks to see other ships in and then about 10:30 am we headed in to gate 10 and as we had free car park a tag put on the car and up to unload cases and the across road to the car park and only a short walk back and we were on the ship by 11 am. The rooms had lots of space and were very well designed. The staff were all very helpful and friendly and the shopping mall was just spectacular. The size of the whole ship was for us a bit awesome. The main dining areas was split over 3 floors and a more stunning setting we have never seen. On the down side, we were a bit disappoint with the standard and the presentation of the food. The plates were hot. The service in the dining areas was first class but the food did not live up to expectations. Ports of Call: FRI 30 MAY HOTEL FOR OVERNIGHT SHIPS IN PORT 30 MAY ARTEMIS, NORWEGIAN JADE, VENTURA ARRIVE DEPART SAT 31 MAY Southampton Casual Attire 1700 SHIP IN PORT ORIANA, SEA PRINCESS Day one entertainment was John Evans (comedian) and featuring the Balancing act of Fulcrum in the Alhambra Theatre on deck 3 & 4. After show their was the Showband called "Rock the Boat" in the Pyramid Lounge on Deck 5. Very good band. SUN 01 JUNE CRUISING Formal Attire -- -- Day Two entertainment was The American Drifters and the are as good as ever even only 2 of the original group. We also had the Captain's Welcome Reception at 7:30 - 8:05 in the Pyramid Lounge. You could also have your photo taken with Captain Teo Also their was a time change at 3:00 am MON 02 JUNE CRUISING Casual Attire or '70s Attire -- -- Day Three entertainment was the ships group called Centre Stage as all their show were as god as you going to get. We also went to the first ICE SPECTACULAR which was a International Ice Cast and it was so good we booked another night for same show. At 10:40 they did Dancin' in the Street - '70s style. And the was down the Royal Promenade on deck 5. TUE 03 JUNE Gibraltar Smart Casual Attire 0900 1600 Day Four entertainment was the ships crew and called Once upon a Time. Also was the start of the dance competition with Greg Carger and Orchestra and Professional Ballroom couple Ashley and Ryan Di Lello. On our cruise on the Jewel last year a couple on our table were from Gibraltar and we said we were doing this cruise so the said they would meet us and give us the grant tour of Gibraltar. They meet us off ship about 9:30 and we got back to ship about 3.20 as we were due back by 3:30. We seen on much that we would not have seen on a ship tour. WED 04 JUNE Barcelona, Spain Smart Casual 1900 OVERNIGHT SHIPS IN PORT Norwegian JADE, CELEBRITY SUMMIT We did not get off ship when we arrived. Day Five entertainment was Andy Leach, Comedy, Mayhem, Magic and Madness. THUR 05 JUNE Barcelona, Spain Formal Attire 1700 SHIPS IN PORT SEA PRINCESS, VENTURA We made our way off ship and got the shuttle bus as we docked farther away than last time in Barcelona. Then we got the open top bus and spent 2 hours on it and the to the Rambles for a bit of lunch and a drink. Day Six entertainment was Jonathan Kane, The only tribute act endorsed by Elton John. The repeat Ice show was very good. FRI 06 JUNE Villefranche , France Casual/Tropical Attire 0830 2000 At 9am we went on the ships tour to Nice, Eze for lunch and then to Monaco and Lunch This was a lot of walking but we enjoyed it. Day Seven They showed a Mo vie in the Theatre as we were in port till 8 pm. SAT 07 JUNE Livorno (for Florence/Pisa), Italy Smart Casual 0700 1900 SHIPS IN PORT MSC MELODY, SUMMIT Again a early start on the ships tour at 7:35 to Florence and Pisa. Again it was a lot of walking but the wife loved it as I had been before I still liked it. Day Eight entertainment was Hilary O'Neil a Comedy Vocal Impressionist. SUN 08 JUNE Cagliari, Sardinia Casual Attire 1200 1900 We got off the ship a found a taxi who gave us a good ride with another couple around the area, this was RCCI first time in port. It a very nice place to go again. Day Nine entertainment Crew Show Under the Big Top, This was a very good show. MON 09 JUNE CRUISING Formal Attire -- -- Day Ten entertainment Gary Lovini who I have seen twice but hes does a very good show. We also went to a new Ice Show, some say it was better than the other one but I think both were very good. TUE 10 JUNE Malaga, Spain Casual Attire 0700 1600 We were going to do a walk about as we have been a few times but we booked a ship tour to go to the Caves at Nerja. It was a very hot day but the caves keep the same temperature all the time. Day Eleven entertainment The Mr. & Mrs Game Show staring Cruise Director Graham Seymour also Mad Hatter's Ball Parade down Promenade Deck 5 WED 11 JUNE Lisbon, Portugal Casual Attire 1130 1630 SHIPS IN PORT ROYAL PRINCESS The ships tour was 12:30 Panoramic Lisbon , we think this was the best ship tour we had and we got back to the ship at 4:30.. Day twelve entertainment Starring Blackbeat Beatles which was very good show for my age as I can remember the start of the Beatles. Graham the Cruise Director did a 12:15 Adult show. THUR 12 JUNE Vigo, Spain Smart Casual Attire 1000 1700 We walked around the town and up a lot of hills and steps. Then we stopped for a drink the the square. Day Thirteen entertainment by the cruise people called Invitation to Dance also another street party but not as good as the other ones. FRI 13 JUNE CRUISING Casual Attire -- -- Day Fourteen entertainment Farewell Variety Show staring The Magic of Jamie Allen and guest stars Fulcrum. SAT 14 JUNE Southampton 0515 SHIPS IN PORT ORIANA, SEA PRINCESS We got up early and had breakfast and went to the bar and waited for our call, we were called at 7:15 then off ship and found our cases and out to the car by 7:30. We arrived home just after noon. The cruise and the stops were very good. The food could have been better and the layout of the menu could have been better but you can choose what you like from it in any order as it not laid out as 1,23,+ courses. Walking from dinner to the show you walked or tried to through the casino. All rooms of the ship were very nice and the cabins were great and found very quite and room for everything. Yes we would go on her again and I think most would say that. james/sheila June 2008 Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
My family of four...2 forty somethings and 2 teen boys took the Mediterranean Treasures cruise that embarked on May 31. We arrived in London Gatwick 3 days early so that we could tour London. We stayed at a Best Western hotel near ... Read More
My family of four...2 forty somethings and 2 teen boys took the Mediterranean Treasures cruise that embarked on May 31. We arrived in London Gatwick 3 days early so that we could tour London. We stayed at a Best Western hotel near Victoria Station. Nice clean economical hotel in a good location. London is very expensive for Americans right now. We covered a lot of London using hop on hop off bus and tube and lots of walking. Wonderful place! We hired a private driver to Southampton who was late. I think we were nearly the last ones on the ship! Check in: Smooth and fast. We were the only ones checking at at 3:45! Cabin: For the first time ever we got an inside cabin. Previously we have had balconies, and outside (pothole) rooms. We loved it! I may never go back. We liked how dark and quiet the room was. I was afraid I would wake up disoriented or claustrophobic with no light but this was not the case. Our 7th floor aft location was very good...easy access to dining rooms. Ship: Gorgeous! I loved having 2 sea days to explore. We have never been on a mega ship before and we were impressed. Though large and full to capacity it didn't feel crowded and the layout made it fairly easy to get around. There are ship diagrams everywhere so you can't get turned around. We used the fitness center every day and it was great. Excellent equipment, fab views. My kids loved the flow rider, rock wall and ice skating and got a lot of use of these as there were not too many kids on board. They also loved the DJ class. I used the spa for hair services a couple times and was satisfied, though the services are wildly overpriced! I paid 75 dollars for a wash and blowdry! We spent some time in the casino..very nice. Dining: We had late dining (8:30) and loved it even though we are early diners at home. We never had to rush after port days. Service and food were good to very good in the Windjammer and beautiful dining room. Sorrentos and Cafe Promenade were open when you needed a snack. Worth mentioning is that this ship serves real coffee everywhere!!!! This has always been a complaint of mine that ship coffee is so terrible..not here! Kudos to RCI for this. Gibraltar: We walked to the cable car (15 minutes) took the ride up (bought the ride plus entries to caves, tunnels, and moorish castle for about 20 euro)There was no line early for the cable car. The views from the top were magnificent. We walked back down to town (moderately strenuous)and saw the very charming apes (they do not approach you unless you make the first move..they had plenty of food available to them and we saw no aggressiveness)One of our party wanted to hold one and the younger monkeys are very amenable to this. We somehow took a wrong turn after the caves (the map provided is not detailed)and have to get creative to get back to town. Unfortunately we missed the siege tunnels which I heard were very interesting. We walked around town then back to the ship. Barcelona: We docked at 7 p.m. and walked to La Rambla. It turned out to be at least two miles! Take the shuttle or a cab! We took a cab into town in the morning to meet our privately arranged Segway tour that never showed up!!! That was OK. We had a nice time walking around. Our kids enjoyed the market the best with all the exotic fruit, fish and meat. We have been to Barcelona before and have seen all the Gaudi sights..which are worth seeing. Nice: We walked to town and took the public bus from VF to Nice and then to Eze. The bus was cheap and easy to use, but very hot. It was a gorgeous, cool day out but here was no ventilation or open windows. I don't understand that. Anyway, Eze was fabulous and we spent a couple hours there, then back to Nice where we looked around the Old Town and had lunch and gelato, then took the bus back to VF where we walked around and had a nice glass of wine. VF is very pretty and less crowded than Nice. Livorno: We took the shop tour to Cinque Terre. We enjoyed this very much. Our tour guide was funny and informative (Andrea)and the scenery there was splendid. We arrived at the first island and took a boat shuttle to next two. At the last we had some free time. Though there are lots of tourists here, it still felt pretty authentic. I imagine if your could stay overnight when all the cruise people are god you would get a better feel for the area. Sardina: We arranged a private bike tour for the 12 in our party. We rode about 8 miles around town and to the beach and back through town. Cute town...I'm not sure I need to go back anytime soon...The bike leader went quite fast and this pace was too fast for our group...who wanted a more leisurely ride. We stopped for lunch at a seaside tent like restaurant. Our guides ordered seafood pasta for us, which was OK, but we saw lots of wonderful looking food that other tables had ordered that we would have preferred. Malaga: We took the shop shuttle into town and walked around. We really spent a lot of time at the fortress. It was huge and very impressive. The town was very lovely and we went to a sherry bar and tried the local wine. We had intended to go to Alhambra, but my teens staged a revolt against getting on another bus (the ones in Nice had made a bad impression! and the ride to Cinque Terre was long)It turned out fine as we had a great day in Malaga. Lisbon: We walked off the ship to Belem. It was about 2.5 miles. Saw the discovery monument, the monastery and the coach museum (very interesting). We also bought a sack of Belem Pastries (custard)...delicious! We took a cab to Lisbon Cathedral (about 6 euro) and walked around the town some. It was very pretty and we wished we had more time. We thought to take a cab back to the ship, but the cabbie wanted 15 euro for the 1.5 miles! We took the ship shuttle ($5 per person..I had prebought the tickets fortunately). Our friends took a cab tour they picked up right off the boat and they saw a LOT. I would do that next time. Vigo: We did the ship's white water rafting trip...highly recommended. It was an hour or so bus ride (again, a hot, uncomfortable bus with windows that apparently do not open!!! What's up with that???)We had to carry our inflatable rafts to the river. we wore life vests and helmets. Our group had four 8 man rafts with a guide on each. We went about 8 miles through very scenic country and some very exciting rapids. the guides said they were class 1 and 2 but they were enough for me. There were many splash fights among the boats and great fun was had. I recommend you not do this one unless you are quite physically fit. Carrying the rafts was challenging. Disembarkation: A breeze. We had a 12:30 flight so we wanted to be off early to meet our driver at 6:30 a.m. We did express check out where we managed our own bags and we could have gotten off at 6 if we wanted. Off to gatwick (2 hours) and home! It was a great trip. No complaints at all. OHHHH!!!! the shows...I almost forgot!!! They were GREAT! We went to two ice shows and 2 production shows and the magician at the end . All were fabulous. Very professional. I have never been too impressed with ships entertainment before til now! I can't recommend seeing these shows enough. I was on my feet at the end cheering. The ships orchestra is so good too. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This was myself and my BF's third cruise. We are in our late 30's/early 40's and took our first cruise 3 years ago and are now hooked! This was our second time on Royal Caribbean and we have also sailed with Princess. We ... Read More
This was myself and my BF's third cruise. We are in our late 30's/early 40's and took our first cruise 3 years ago and are now hooked! This was our second time on Royal Caribbean and we have also sailed with Princess. We live just outside of London so the journey down to Southampton didn't take us too long. We arrived early so drove straight in to Mayflower Park where we caught our first glimpse of the ship - WOW! It is huge and looks fantastic - we were so excited to get on! We parked at the port at 11:30 - we had pre booked a parking space. Embarkation could not have been better - we dropped our luggage off with the porters, parked and were on the ship by about 11:45. I went and checked our table assignment in the main dining room and as per our request had been given a table for 2. We went up to the Windjammer for some lunch and relaxed until our room was ready at 13:00. Stateroom - We had a cabin with a balcony on deck 9. It was great! Balcony was roomy. Bed was wonderful. The mattress topper and bedding made it so comfortable. Having the tea and coffee making facilities was a big plus! I had read about this just before we left so we took a jar of our favorite coffee with us so we could have a cup whenever we wanted. The bathroom was fine, shower really good, the fact that it had the wrap around doors rather than a shower curtain is so much better. Just a note, there is no body lotion or conditioner in the bathroom - I always take my own but thought I would let others know just incase! They do provide shampoo and bars of soap though. It was also nice to have a flat screen tv - it took up less room. Our stateroom attendant was OK and if we needed anything he would get it for us. Dining - the food in the Windjammer was fine. I always really enjoy the breakfasts and there was a good selection. We ate lunch in the Windjammer most days and Dinner a couple of times. Having the Jade section there was really good as I had some lovely rice and curry dishes from there! As always in the buffet, peak times are really heaving and it is quite difficult to get a seat - we always located somewhere to sit first so that our food wasn't cold by the time we got to a table! We ate in Johnny Rockets once - we really enjoyed it - burgers,fries and onion rings were all good. It was a fun atmosphere and they play music and dance for you! We were in the Macbeth level of the dining room on deck four. Our Waiters were fine. The food in the dining room although good, and I certainly have no complaints, was not quite as good as our first time with RCI - although there were a couple of main courses that we thought were exceptional. We did not book the speciality restaurants on this cruise. We had room service a couple of times - used the TV to order and the service and food were both good. Entertainment - The shows that we went to were mostly very good and the theatre itself is lovely - we particularly enjoyed the Motown Band and David Copperfield (not the illusionist!) The Ice Skating shows were fantastic - much better than I had imagined they would be. Also, the parades down the Royal Promenade were a lot of fun. There were so many bars and lounges to choose from that we did not manage to get to all of them! The Pyramid Lounge was really nice and the live band that they had there most nights were very good. They played a varied selection of music and had a different theme each night - 50's and 60's, Blues, Country, 70's etc. They also had a Big Band night one night. We went in to the Labyrinth nightclub and I loved the decor! It was really gothic with big crushed velvet chairs, dark booths with curtains, gargoyles etc. The music was quite a good selection as well although I never saw it really busy in there. I think that this may be have been because the average age on this cruise was a little higher than the last two that I have been on? In various other bars around the ship they had Jazz, Latin American music - the Bar with the Pianist seemed particularly popular and there was also an entertainer in the dog and badger pub who was great fun! There really is something to suit everyones taste. The Ship itself is beautiful. I know that it helps that it is brand new, but really, we thought the way that it has been designed and furnished is just lovely. For us it was the perfect blend of being fun with lots to do without being tacky. i loved the Royal Promenade. The fact that you can just go and get a coffee and a slice of pizza or pastry or a drink in the pub and look round the shops is brilliant. They had free coffee/hot chocolate and tea in both the Cafe and Sorrentos as well as the for fee lattes etc. The Casino had a good selection of slots and I did go in there a few times - I tried to limit myself to the low 1c bets though! The pool areas are great and I thought it was good that there is a whole separate area where kids can have fun. The solarium pool was nice and looked great lit up at night. It is a shame that we could not make more use of the pool deck at night but unfortunately it was a bit cold! I loved the cantilevered whirlpools. We played mini golf - great fun and also shot a few hoops in the basket ball court. My BF wanted to have a go on the flowrider, but we just never got a chance - it did look good though. Itinerary - we liked Madeira - it was very pretty. We didn't care much for either Tenerife or Gran Canaria - as we had never been to either of these places we just opted to get off the ship and walk around - if I ever did go back I think I would opt for a shore excursion. In Lanzarote we went on a camel ride and then a drive through the Timanfaya national park - we really enjoyed this! I just wish that we could have got off the coach a bit more and actually had a walk through the park as it was stunning! We had been to Lisbon and Vigo before and like both of these ports. The weather wasn't that great, but that was the only downside. Disembarking was just as easy as embarking. All in all we both loved this ship! I remember the first time that my BF said that he had booked us a cruise - I was really worried and thought it would be a big mistake and that I would hate it -how wrong I was - I am addicted, and am now busy trying to persuade him to book the short break to Cork for later in the year! If any one has any questions that I can help with please let me know. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Myself and a colleague flew from Dublin to London and were met by Royal Caribbean reps on arrival. We were coached down to Southampton and this only took around 1 hour 40 minutes. On arrival we were checked in right away and were able to ... Read More
Myself and a colleague flew from Dublin to London and were met by Royal Caribbean reps on arrival. We were coached down to Southampton and this only took around 1 hour 40 minutes. On arrival we were checked in right away and were able to board the ship at 1145am. This was great as we just wanted to get to our stateroom and drop our bags to explore the ship. We started at deck 14 and worked our way down. I have been on the Liberty of the Seas last year and the Independence is a carbon copy with a few minor changes. The flowrider is alot of fun and a guy was demonstrating how it works. Some of the guest then tried and its not as easy as it looks. Its nice to be able to sit and watch and always makes people laugh. A stop for a Pina Colada at 'Wipe out' bar next to the flowrider was a welcome break. No changes to deck 13. The basket ball court/Mini golf and the Wall are all the same. Down to deck 12 and a visit to the day spa. As we walked in the smell of essential oils was very nice. We were greeted by the staff and given a tour of the treatment rooms and advised about the treatments on offer. Down the glass steps to the boxing ring and sauna areas everything shiny and brand new. My colleague being a girl went to look at the ladies sauna area and I went to the mens area. After that we met outside and showed eachother the photos of the sauna's. The ladies sauna is half the size of the mens. I don't know why this is . We then went to look at the kids area 'Ocean Adventure' and Johnny Rockets. I was looking forward to having a milk shake but it was closed and remained closed for the whole time we were onboard. The kids area has so many facilities to keep any child happy for a 14 day cruise. Deck 11 and we loved the H2o zone for kids. Its a great idea and looks very impressive. The Solarium and whirlpools are a really nice area to relax in. I always prefer this area than the main pool area as its quiet. Down the other end of the deck and we were at the Windjammer. We decided to stop here for lunch. So much on offer and it was hard to decide what to eat. I decided to go for a a mix. The sweet and sour chicken was amazing. I decided not to go for a dessert although they were very tempting. We then proceeded to the stateroom decks and various types were available for viewing. I have to say my favorite was the Royal Suite. The owners suite follows. They are so spacious and nicely furnished. We then saw a reduced mobility stateroom and it really is great to have all of the handrails and wider doors for people with wheelchairs. Everything is tailor made to make life easier. The Promenade stateroom is an ideal choice for those who cant afford a outside but don't want to be boxed in with an inside. Alot of people actually prefer the PR staterooms as you can see all thats going on in the Royal Promenade. I have stayed in one on a Trans Atlantic cruise on the Voyager and it was ideal as a solo traveller. The outside stateroom was nice but to be honest Id prefer a PR. I love the showers onboard in the staterooms. They are very powerful and the curved doors give you extra room so you don't keep bashing your arms whilst showering. There was a dispenser for shampoo but I prefer to take my own products that I use at home. The towels were lovely and soft and made from 100% Egyptian cotton. The beds were so comfortable it was hard to get out of them the next morning. They get 100% for that. The powerpoints in the stateroom are one European 2 pin and 2 USA flatpin so for all UK cruisers take adapters!!! All staterooms have a Data socket to plug your laptop into. Time to take a stroll along the Royal Promenade. I love the Freedom class as the longer Promenade really makes a difference. The Cafe is great and you have to try the 'Rustica' vegetarian Pizza! Its to die for . Free Tea and Coffee from the self service area are always available. Speciality Coffee from Seattles finest is charged but very nice for a proper brew. The pub is called the Dog and Badger and is nice to have a pint. Im sure it will be popular with the Brits this season. The Champagne bar is as good as ever. I tried the Pomegranate one and it was very nice. All of the normal logo wear and perfume shops are there. The guest relations area is also the same. It was then time to check out the nightclub and its called the 'Labyrinth'. All quite gothic but also Tower of London themed with Beefeaters and ravens !!! Quite a mix but I have to say I loved the British influence for a UK based ship. Studio B and the Theatre are the same . We did look in on a show that night but to be honest I didn't like it and we left after 15 minutes. This is quite unusual as I normally enjoy them. Im sure they will improve on the proper cruises. I thought they would have done something related to productions in London's West end theatres but this seemed to be clowns or something. The main dining room is as glitzy as ever and it really looks the part. Dinner that evening was amazing and the food was top class. I went for my favorite shrimp cocktail and then we shared the Eggplant and Mozzarella dish which was equally as nice. I then went for the beef fillet and it was 100%. The food on the whole ship was 100% so a big thumbs up to Royal Caribbean for that. The dedicated terminal and great itineraries from Southampton should prove a success for Royal Caribbean. It certainly is a ship packed full of amenities and there is something for everyone onboard.... With the arrival of Genesis not far behind I can only dream what Central Park will look like. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
Independence of the Seas - April 30 - May 2, 2008 Pre-Inaugural Cruise Pre-Cruise We were contest winners! It's an amazing feeling to have someone call you to tell you you've won a trip to England and a trip on the biggest, ... Read More
Independence of the Seas - April 30 - May 2, 2008 Pre-Inaugural Cruise Pre-Cruise We were contest winners! It's an amazing feeling to have someone call you to tell you you've won a trip to England and a trip on the biggest, newest cruise ship in the world! We are avid cruisers and I couldn't have been more excited. Royal Caribbean was generous in allowing us to fly out early. We left on Friday, April 25th and spent 3 days touring London at our own expense. We flew on Virgin Atlantic and I'd recommend this airline to anyone. They were great. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum. It was a great hotel; the location was perfect, just one block from the Gloucester Road Tube Station. We took the Big Bus tour the first day and saw all the classic sights from the bus. This is a Hop On/Hop Off bus and the ticket is good for 24 hours. On day 2 we toured the Tower of London and took a Thames River cruise. On our last day in London we walked to Kensington Palace and toured the gardens there. Then off to our flight on the London Eye and a visit to Harrods. That evening we went to the Lyric Theatre, one of the oldest theatres in London, to see Cabaret. It was a wonderful show and quite an experience. On Tuesday morning, Royal Caribbean arranged a car service to pick us up at the hotel and drive us to the Hilton in Southampton to wait our boarding the Independence of the Seas on Wednesday. The Hilton was a nice hotel, but too far out of the cruise port for our liking. Food here was very expensive! That afternoon, we met up with the other contestants as they came in. Some of us went out to dinner that evening at the Chilworth Arms, a lovely pub near the hotel. Wednesday, we were shuttled together to the port in Southampton for our first look at this beautiful ship. The check in process was smooth enough. There were a few kinks, but that is to be expected on a shakedown cruise. We were all given Priority boarding passes and sent to wait in a comfortable lounge where they were serving cookies, coffee and tea. There is a bar in the waiting area as well. At 11:30 AM, we were able to board the Indy. This was definitely not your typical cruise experience. We brought our own luggage aboard, our photos were taken for the Sign & Sail card and off we went to our cabins. There was open bar for the whole cruise too. ? We were in cabin 7600, designated as Deluxe Ocean View, Cat E1. The balcony was very large at 74 sq feet, the deepest balcony we've ever had. The cabin was wonderfully appointed, even had a tea kettle. I really liked having this to make coffee every morning. The beds were pillow top mattresses and were very comfy! We were off to wander the ship and I combed the whole ship taking a LOT of pictures. It was overwhelming.....just such a beautiful ship with so many spaces and things to do. The Royal Promenade was so cool. There you will find the shops, Sorrento's Pizza, the Dog and Badger Pub and a Champagne Bar to name a few things. It was really amazing! There is also a LOT of artwork on board the ship. Something I really appreciated. We were given a booklet identifying all the pieces, the artist and the location. The three level dining room was spectacular as well. Most had open seating for dinner, but we contestants had reserved tables on deck 4 in the Macbeth Dining Room. Deck 5 has the King Lear dining room and Deck3 has the Romeo and Juliet dining room. Next, we were off to the Windjammer for lunch. The windjammer is huge with lots of tables and window seats. The food was delicious! Chops is located at the entrance to the Windjammer. It's a really beautiful space. After lunch, we did some more exploring, checking out the Flow Rider, Johnny Rockets and the Solarium area. The cantilevered whirlpools were open and although it was a chilly, rainy day, they were just so inviting we couldn't resist a dip. It was wonderful! There are two of these whirlpools on either side of the ship. It was nice to relax for a bit. After that we headed back to our rooms to dress early for dinner and attend the Naming Ceremony held at 4:30 in the Alhambra Theatre. Everyone was presented a glass of champagne upon entering. The ceremony was done very well, so moving. The Godmother, Elizabeth Hill we presented in a procession with the Highlander Players following and the International Highlanders and Celtic Feet, a River Dance type troupe. Richard Fain announced the Godmother and Captain Strazicic spoke. Elizabeth was presented with a huge bouquet by some of the children helped by the Steve Redgrave Fund, a charitable organization that helps disabled and mentally challenged children. The Norwegian, American and United Kingdom anthems were sung as well. We went to the Ice Skating show before dinner, Strings! - A world Adventure on Ice. It was really good. After the show it was time to get ready for dinner. Dinner was at 7:30. It was a more limited menu than is usual at dinner, but it was delicious none the less. We met the Royal Caribbean Marketing representative, Harry Liu and Gene Sloan from USA Today. We were also introduced to the reps from the marketing firm Weber & Shandwick who worked in conjunction with RCI and USA Today on the Name that Ship Genesis contest. Everyone was so nice. They made us feel very special. Sail away was at 10 PM and we enjoyed it with a great view in the Royal Crown Lounge. Later, there was a 70's dance party in the Royal Promenade. What a blast that was with the dancers in costume, the disco balls sparkling and the music thumping. We danced and drank the night away. After a visit to the Karaoke bar and some laughs there, we headed to bed. We missed the main show tonight, just too much to do! The was titled Abbacadabra, the Ultimate Abba Concert. Thursday morning, we were up early and had breakfast again in the Windjammer. Then we were off to a meeting with some reps for RCI and Gene Sloan. After the meeting, we headed up to the top decks for our photo shoot with the group of other contestants. We had lunch at Johnny Rockets after that, which is a great place to enjoy a burger and a shake. The waiters and waitresses did the singing and dancing. It was a lot of fun. We were lucky enough to be invited on a Bridge tour. It was very interesting to see all the computers and other equipment that keeps us safe while sailing. The views from up on the bridge were amazing. After the bridge tour we went on a Galley tour as well. It was informative and interesting to see how they make so much food! Dinner Thursday night was a more typical menu, with many options. I had the steak and it was done to perfection. The Grand Marnier soufflE for dessert was perfect. We attended the show on Thursday night, Under the Big Top. We enjoyed that a lot. After the show, was yet another dance party, the Rock Britannia Street Party on the Royal Promenade. After the party, we headed to bed, thoroughly exhausted and happy. On Friday morning, disembarkation was a breeze. We took our own luggage off the ship, climbed onto the waiting bus and headed to Heathrow to fly home. Photos of Independence can be see on my Webshots page here: http://good-times.webshots.com/album/563288702TpMeic Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
From beginning to end, this trip was perfect! No snags or unhappy events! I can't wait to go again. Before embarkation we spent 3 days in Daytona Beach with my husband's uncle. They are great people and we were happy to see ... Read More
From beginning to end, this trip was perfect! No snags or unhappy events! I can't wait to go again. Before embarkation we spent 3 days in Daytona Beach with my husband's uncle. They are great people and we were happy to see them. It was my first visit to Daytona Beach, and we really liked the town. If you have an uncle in Daytona Beach, you should go visit them! We drove down on Sunday and arrived at the port about 1pm. From the moment we stepped into the check in building until we were on the ship finding our room was just 15 minutes!!!! I timed it. I couldn't believe it! Smooth, smooth smooth!!! Our luggage arrived in a reasonable time. When we went to dinner that night we were pleased with out seatmates. One couple was from Denmark and were great to chat with. The other couple lived about 2 hours from us, so we had a great time discussing local stuff when the Danes were at the specialty dining. The dining staff were top notch and provided outstanding service. We did a lot of resting and drinking on this trip. I recommend a yellow bird and a mojito. Every drink was expertly poured and every bar staff was friendly and chatty. Every lounge chair was comfy and so inviting.... Johnny rockets was deelish, The dining room food was superb and even the snacky stuff on the promenade was so so yummy. We never ordered room service or went to chops/Portofino's because there were so many other things that we wanted. I love dessert, and I had many. We were second dinner seating, so were spent time at the pool and hot tub while half the ship was at dinner. This was great, and we never had trouble getting a chair or finding a spot in the hot tub. We spent a great afternoon on the flowrider and had a blast. Lots of great pictures! Most of the crowd were teenage boys, and I was worried. But, they were so supportive, and cheered loudly for everyone, which was a nice feeling. I had two small complaints about this trip which i tried to address, but never got anywhere. First, the hours for the ice skating rink were very limited and we ended up not going at all. The rink was not open every day, and the times it was open were short. This was something I was really looking forward to, and i was told that the professional skaters needed time to practice and rest. OK, but this was so popular and then to only have it open here and there was disappointing. The other issue was the scrapbooking classes. They were advertised for 50 participants, and every time they had the class they had about 20-30 people. They would hand out supplies to about the first 20 people, then turn everyone else away and say there wasn't enough stuff. If they only intended to have 20 people participate, then the Compass should have reflected that. I guess that the moral to the story is that try to do what you are most interested in on the first few days and arrive early as it may fill up or not have an opportunity later in the week. I never really felt crowded on the ship except while shopping the $10 sale on the promenade with really pushy people and when trying to find a seat in the Windjammer during high traffic times. Both of these were manageable. We decorated our door to celebrate my graduation from nursing school. "Soon I'll fix your boo-boo, but this week I need drinks that are foo-foo!!" It was fun to hear the other passengers comments, and it made finding our room so much easier. Disembarkation was OK, but not great. Hubby and I were fine, but MANY older folks were really struggling with out anyone to help. These were people who were not disabled, but were not capable of hauling their carry ons up and down stairs and down hallways and standing for long periods of time. This process needs some tweaking. I can't say enough wonderful things about this trip. I wish I could do it again very soon. But now it's 23 degrees here in Pennsylvania and it will be a long time until i am tropical again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
    We were not impressed. This was our sixth Cruise but the first from a UK port. Whether this was the reason or not we are not sure.     The Balcony Cabin was very good and very clean. The staff were all very good and ... Read More
    We were not impressed. This was our sixth Cruise but the first from a UK port. Whether this was the reason or not we are not sure.     The Balcony Cabin was very good and very clean. The staff were all very good and attentive.The food was overall abysmal, certainly the worst we have had on any cruise ship. It is the very first time I have been on a cruise and not had a decent steak in the restaurant. The Windjammer Buffet was not very good either. The presentation of the food was pathetic and the same every day very little variation.      They seem to do some very strange things. Although there were nearly four passengers they closed half the Winjammer and only used one side most of the time, consequently there was a shortage of tables. Why ? no one seemed to know.       One day whilst in the Med they stopped the use of balconies so they could be cleaned.......why not do this in cooler climes when the balconies were not being used ?       Also while in the Med on a beautiful day the closed part of the pool area for CLEANING and Varnishing !!!!!       The cost of everything was very expensive ( $6.50 for a can of Buds...almost a fiver)$29.99 for 1 hour on the internet.       They must actually have got embarrassed at on stage as they were charging $12 for a trip into Livorno town and decided to refund $4 and charge only $8.       We only met one couple on the ship that were satisfied customers ( and we strongly suspected that was because they had a relative working onboard)       We were on the Grand Princess last year wnd the difference was remarkable it would have been difficult to fault anything on that ship.        By the way we agree with the Daily Telegraph reviewer, there are only lifts at the front and rear of the ship and it is a hell of a long walk to get your meals if you are not situated near the rear.        Maybe just too big !!!!!!!              Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
I am not going to go into naming every lunge and describing every detail but I intend to give an informative realistic review. First off to get to all the negative thing I read on other reviews. 1. nobody was sick 2. the rooms were ... Read More
I am not going to go into naming every lunge and describing every detail but I intend to give an informative realistic review. First off to get to all the negative thing I read on other reviews. 1. nobody was sick 2. the rooms were spotless not messy 3. there were plenty of seats to eat at the buffet 4. There were always lounge chairs available (yes some day it was harder to get a prime spot) Getting on the ship was quick and easy. I read 1PM boarding...I jumped out of my can and went right through the empty line at 1130AM. I stood in line for a few minutes and was on the ship. Very easy, get on line as early as possible and don't wait for the "posted" boarding time. We were able to explore the ship, eat and do whatever we wanted until the room was ready at 1PM. There were always plenty of options to eat at different locations. Make reservations for Portofino's and Choppe Grille the First day. Anything else you do not need a reservation for. I suggest trying to get the later second seating time for the main dining rooms. We had 6PM reserved. We only made it there two nights. After spending all day at the ports or swimming outside, to waste a few hours of sun getting showered and ready for the 6PM meal. There was always so much to do. We tried to do 3-4 different things a night and there was still stuff we missed. Every night there are so many shows, musicians, special occasions (outside buffet/ closing off an area to turn it into another style club, gameshows, spa,gym, etc..there was always something to do every night! We saw A singer/impersonator.. he was great! the juggling comedian was super talented, funny and entertaining, we missed the ice show because we were on an incredible roll at the big casino the night we had tickets. There are plenty of areas for smokers so do not be afraid of that. Outside decks 4,11, 12 and numerous inside lounges allowed smoking. There was an internet room which would have been more convenient if they didn't charge by the minute. There is plenty of sporty activities, flow rider, mountain climbing, basketball/soccer court, mini golf, golf simulator, ping pong, arcade, etc..if that is your thing. There was always free coffee, pizza and room service daily. The atmosphere was amazing, the food was served fast, If I really had to dig deep for a complaint it would only involve getting off the boat at the end of the trip and at one port. I am punctual and an early bird so I was at the gangway 10 minutes before it was scheduled to let us off the boat at 10 A.M. and they were not ready fro 40 minutes. The other ports were pretty smooth. I would suggest going leaving the boat a half hour after the earliest scheduled time. This way you do not stand there on line if they are running late and you avoid the big crowd. Getting off the ship was a little unorganized, they tell you to go to a certain area and wait , They were not close to being ontime because they had to wait for customs. Everyone like myself who were there early ended up being 200 people behind because after they hold you in the theatre they exit by a door right by the elevators. Sooo..You are actually better off again coming a few minutes later then the posted time right down the elevator to the gangway and just skip being shuffled off into the waiting room behind everyone else. Two minor waits on line was the only negative stuff. everything was great! Staff was friendly and there was so much to do! I would definitely go back again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates N/A 3.8

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