Canary Islands 14 night cruise: Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by AllaGeorge

Independence of the Seas 5
Member Since 2012
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Overall Member Rating

Canary Islands 14 night cruise

Sail Date: May 2013
Destination: Canary Islands
Embarkation: Southampton
This was our third cruise, all with Royal Caribbean. We previously cruised on the Serenade of the Seas, Radiance class, and the Splendor of the Seas, Vision class. We were very much looking forward to sailing on a Freedom class and had very high expectations. If you are only reading this to see if there were any problems or complaints then you can go on to the next review. We found all of our expectations exceeded with absolutely no complaints at all with the ship, crew or service. Later in the review we will comment on one idiot and one moron.
We had a junior suite on deck ten. There was a slight bit of noise from above, main pool and H2O area during the day which was to be expected. But it was not distracting and we did take mid afternoon naps a couple of days without being bothered. We chose this cabin as it was approximately in the middle of the ship and we are glad we did. The room was always clean and there was no evidence of any wear and tear more than what can be expected. More We had two chairs, a small table and two lounge chairs on our balcony. There was plenty of space for storage with the drawers provided in the vanity unit and the walk in closet. The closet had floor to ceiling shelves at one end and a clothes rod that ran the length of the closet. We found that we had as much storage as we did in the Grand Suite on the Serenade of the Seas. Bring a power strip, 110v or 220v, as there is a limited number of power plugs in the cabin. We forgot our power strip but purchased one on the first port for three euros that had five connections and a five meter long cord.
I won't critique the ports as there is an extensive amount of reviews for all of the eight ports visited in other Cruise Critic sections. All ports were docked as opposed to tendering. That may have been why there were so many special needs people on board.
As there is so much negative views about wheelchair and mobility scooter users elsewhere we will comment on that. We found no problems during the two week cruise with any of the chairs or scooters. Occasionally there was a chair in the hallway but there was still room for another chair or scooter to manuever around it. This was for deck ten as we did not explore other cabin decks to see if the same was true for them. I did feel sorry for people who needed them as only one at a time could fit into the elevators. Many times we saw people having to wait for another elevator as there was already a chair or scooter on the elevator. Now let me comment on the only idiot we ran into aboard ship. We were on a full elevator, probably twelve or thirteen people, when a woman with a baby stroller tried to force her way in. There absolutely was no room but she insisted everyone should crunch further together so she could get on. It was only after two people, frustrated over her stupidity, left the elevator was there room for her and her stroller. That was the only incident of inconsideration for others that we saw. When you consider there were four thousand passengers aboard, that says a lot for mutual respect.
Now I guess we should mention the moron. Someone put two very large dents in the hood of the car outside of Vintages. Meaningless vandalism and we hope that they were caught and removed from the ship with a bill for repair to follow.
If you are looking for a ship with almost endless things to see and do while on board look no further. The passengers were decidedly an older crowd and the shows and entertainment geared towards that. The Ice Shows and Royal Caribbean productions were great. Still there was a lot for the younger set to do with lounges and venues geared towards them also. Service in all restaurants, complimentary or special, was top notch. Food in the main dining room did not repeat except for the selection offered in the special section. The waiters always asked if everything was okay and offered to bring another selection if your plate was empty or if you did not finish what was on the plate. The Windjammer offered something for everyone. I could not imagine the food being better when you consider the amount of people being served. The recent addition of the Cupcake Cupboard did not seem to be a big venue for the passengers on our cruise. The Caribbean cruises will probably find a larger number of customers. Ben and Jerry's also seemed to not be very busy but again the Caribbean cruises would see more customers. I did sample a selection in Ben and Jerry's and found the quality to be excellent.
The activity decks were well laid out and we had no problem finding chairs or lounges on any day. The showers on the pool deck are chilly so brace yourself. The hot tubs were not crowded and all were very warm and functional aeration. On the days when it was chilly it was great to relax in them. The solarium is not covered and if I could find fault with the ship then I would suggest they cover it to provide a wind free space. The various lounges are too many to comment on individually, but put a plus beside each in the like column! The fitness center has everything you could want and the Spa was fantastic. The quirky art bits around the ship like the rabbits, birds and large dog puts a smile on your face.
We did have discount books in our cabin so they haven't put them onto the sailpass yet on this ship. Also in passing we would have loved to have had the freestyle coke machine on board but it hasn't arrived on this ship. I would have purchased a soda package solely to have the fun of experimenting with the combinations. In closing I would suggest having a unique way to identify your bags on departure. The tags provided were torn off of three of our bags and we had to search for quite a while to find them in the terminal.
We would definitely sail on this ship again and probably will in the future. Our suggestion is to book a cruise on her and prepare to be Wow'd. Less

Published 05/22/13

Cabin review: JS1312 Junior Suite

Excellent choice for more space. Walk in closet provides enough space for any amount of luggage and items. Bathroom is good sized. Cabin large enough to entertain friends. Balcony had two chairs, small table and two loungers, again large enough to entertain friends. Small amount of noise during the day from pool area above. We were able to have an afternoon nap without it being a problem. No noise at night from upper deck or hallway. Cabin in good shape, slight amount of normal wear and tear. Excellent position to access either end of the ship. Bring a power extension, either 220v or 110v, as power outlets are limited. Good value for money and we would select this room again with no hesitations.

Read All Junior Suite (JS) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

You could walk into the town from the ship. However free transport is offered. We did not take a tour in this port and we feel we should have. The town is typical of those found in the Canaries. It is nice but after several ports before this one it all starts to run together. We were mainly on the cruise for the cruise and not to sight see. Our objective was to get an overall view of all the islands and then return to individual ones that interested us. To be fair a short number of hours in port does not allow you to really get a feel for anyone place over another. The exception was Lanzarote where if you love natural surrounding and a place that values keeping it that way you will love it. All others are somewhat the same when you only have a couple of hours. We think La Palma has a lot to see and offer. A longer stay and getting away from the port and major city is the way to go here.

Easy walking from the ship into the city. We did not take a tour but opted to use the Hop on Hop off bus to tour the city itself. Plenty of stores if you want to shop for bargains. Restaurants are good and you can find one that offers what you like. Seafood throughout the Canary's is excellent and fresh.

I love Lisbon but get there in spring or fall as summer temperatures can be hot! Unless you love walking long distances count on using a mode of transportation to the main part of the city. The ship offers a shuttle. There are taxis right at the dock and the Hop on Hop off bus stops at the dock also. There are loads of attractions and many historical sites. Find a local restaurant and sample the local wines and seafood.
Read 640 Lisbon Reviews

We like Madeira the best of all the Canary Islands we visited. This is based on it having more greenery, the other islands tend to be more barren. You can walk into Funchal from the ship if you are fit. Take the shuttle otherwise. The Hop on Hop off bus provides a great way to see the city. There are again, as in all the ports on this cruise, restaurants that offer a wide variety of fresh fish dishes. Try some of the local items on the menu and being pleasantly surprised. We found some very good prices on hand crafted tablecloths and lace. This was a destination we will definitely return to only next time for a week or more. Next time we will leisurely explore the island.

Incredibly easy procedures to embark and debark. On return Port workers were very helpful in locating our missing luggage as three of the bags had tags torn off. We were in a suite so processing in we had no lines and were let on to the ship after waiting ten minutes after check in. We got to the terminal at 1100 and the lines may have been longer later. We stayed at the DeVere hotel near the harbor and found a lot of things to do close by. There is a large shopping area within walking distance as well as a street full of different restaurants.

Easy access to the city from the ship. Plenty of shopping and restaurants. We would recommend taking a tour, many various options available. Tours from the ship are typically more pricey and have more people on the buses than independent tours. The advantage to a tour from the ship is that they are responsible to get you back on time. Independent tours have less people, typically four to fifteen, and cost less. However if they don't get you back on time you are on your own! We were mainly on the cruise for the cruise and not to sight see. Our objective was to get an overall view of all the islands and then return to individual ones that interested us. To be fair a short number of hours in port does not allow you to really get a feel for anyone place over another. All are somewhat the same when you only have a couple of hours. We think Tenerife has a lot to see and to offer. A longer stay and getting away from the port and major city is the way to go here.
Read 392 Tenerife Reviews

Easy access to the town and all the main stores of Europe represented. A perfect place to purchase those forgotten items that didn't make it into your suitcases for the cruise. Plenty of sales going on and many bargains to be found.
Read 385 Vigo Reviews

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Member Since 2012
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