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This was our fifteenth cruise. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean on five occasions and this was our third trip aboard this ship the others being Brilliance and Adventure of the Seas. We have also cruised with Cunard, Princess and Celebrity X. We very much enjoy life on board and although Independence of the Seas was visiting ports we have been to a few times before, we are happy just to relax and enjoy what the ship has to offer and hopefully a bit of sunshine. We had a Grand Suite which entitled us to a gold card with some extra privileges such as the concierge lounge and reserved theatre/ice show seats and also permission to use Chops Grille to eat our daytime meals instead of joining the scrum for a table in Windjammer. Together with the extra comfort of the room these little extras make life on board much more enjoyable. Obviously this comes at a cost but we feel it is worth paying the extra. Our room was always cleaned quickly and efficiently by our steward who was delightful as were all the staff. We always find the staff and crew to be smiling and pleasant but as a previous review so rightly states - it really is important to smile and treat them in a friendly and respectful manner rather than some of the surly attitudes that they certainly don't deserve. They are all so hard working in order to make our cruise pleasurable and they spend months away from their families so a little kindness and interest in them goes a long way. So to the actual brief .... We stayed in the Premier Inn in Winchester overnight and made our way to the port around 11am. Embarkation was a breeze and so slick. From parking the car to boarding the ship probably no more than 20 minutes. Absolutely excellent. Also disembarkation was similarly easy. Our stateroom was lovely and spacious with everything we needed. Bed was very comfy and balcony was roomy too. Dwi our room steward was excellent. The ship is still beautiful although looking a little tired in places. One gripe about it though would be that it isn't kept quite as spotless as a Celebrity Ship. Finger marks were apparent on screens and glass that had not been cleaned during the night, whereas on a Celebrity ship everything is absolutely spotlessly clean every morning although we never hear the actual cleaning process so I think it must be the fairies that come during the night!! Another small issue - again regarding tidiness and cleanliness ... we found the toilets in general, weren't up to the standard that we have come to expect when sailing with Celebrity. Brown paper towels (Celebrity provide individual flannel towels and the toilets are inspected very regularly and constantly attended every evening during the busiest periods and each cubicle is mopped between users). On the Independence I visited a cubicle at 6pm and again at 10.30pm. The same debris of cardboard roll holder and bits of tissue were littering the floor showing no cleaning had taken place in over four hours. The bins were overflowing with used brown paper towels and it was generally untidy. I felt this was substandard. We thought the food in general was good. Having read other reviews prior to our cruise we were sceptical as many said the food had really deteriorated. Windjammer always had a good selection although we didn't eat there in the evening. We ate in the Main dining room every evening and sat in the same section of Romeo and Juliet Dining Room. Our waiters were Jonathan and Dewa who were both fantastic and we always enjoyed chatting to them and looked forward to our evening meal. The menu was mostly good with a couple of evenings having less attractive choices but we ate some wonderful beef and we felt in general that the food was very acceptable and enjoyable. I have to say we are quite critical of food as both my husband and I are very capable in the kitchen, so I would go as far as to say that I think some previous reviews have been a bit harsh in their criticism of the food. Entertainment wise we enjoyed the shows. We loved the Queen tribute band "The Bohemians" and the ventriloquist was good although we have seen him before on board this ship but we still laughed a lot and he was very entertaining. The ice shows were brilliant even though they were same shows that we saw many years back. They are incredibly impressive - Freeze Frame is particularly good. The RC Singers and Dancers were putting on the same shows that we have seen too many times before so we did give these a miss this time. Our one grumble about the evening entertainment was the amount of children that were freely running around in the Pyramid lounge and taking over the dance floor. The band would start to play at 9.15pm and parents would not call their children off the dance floor. We wanted to dance but it became dangerous to do so and despite announcements being made and a mention of this in an edition of the Cruise Compass, nothing was done to enforce this. This issue needs to be addressed by Royal Caribbean before there is an injury. Also, adults want to be able to enjoy the live music and use the dance floor once the musicians start to play. The band "Pulse" played some excellent numbers and I think it is disrespectful to such talented musicians if parents allow their children to run riot whilst they are performing. We ended up going into The Labrynth nightclub where Paul made us feel very welcome and played some decent dance music so that we could do a bit of ballroom dancing though the dance floor in there is much smaller than in the Pyramid Lounge. We made the best of the situation anyway and still had a good time. (Thank you Paul !!) We didn't go ashore apart from in Vigo as we have visited all the ports on previous cruises and as previously mentioned we choose to cruise for what we enjoy on board the ship as much as for the destination. So all in all we had a good break although not our best cruise. We prefer Celebrity X as a cruise line but Royal Caribbean still have plenty on offer. Will we book again with RC? They need to sort out what is happening in The Pyramid Lounge with the kids running around and until there is some sort of curfew or rule made about children during the evenings ... No we won't be booking again. But perhaps Royal Caribbean are now trying to encourage a different type of cruiser in looking towards young families which isn't our scene and therefore we will choose a different cruise line in future.

Very good but could be better (Celebrity X has the edge)

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by BestGuessed

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2016
  • Destination: Canary Islands
  • Cabin Type: Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
This was our fifteenth cruise. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean on five occasions and this was our third trip aboard this ship the others being Brilliance and Adventure of the Seas. We have also cruised with Cunard, Princess and Celebrity X. We very much enjoy life on board and although Independence of the Seas was visiting ports we have been to a few times before, we are happy just to relax and enjoy what the ship has to offer and hopefully a bit of sunshine. We had a Grand Suite which entitled us to a gold card with some extra privileges such as the concierge lounge and reserved theatre/ice show seats and also permission to use Chops Grille to eat our daytime meals instead of joining the scrum for a table in Windjammer. Together with the extra comfort of the room these little extras make life on board much more enjoyable. Obviously this comes at a cost but we feel it is worth paying the extra. Our room was always cleaned quickly and efficiently by our steward who was delightful as were all the staff. We always find the staff and crew to be smiling and pleasant but as a previous review so rightly states - it really is important to smile and treat them in a friendly and respectful manner rather than some of the surly attitudes that they certainly don't deserve. They are all so hard working in order to make our cruise pleasurable and they spend months away from their families so a little kindness and interest in them goes a long way.

So to the actual brief ....

We stayed in the Premier Inn in Winchester overnight and made our way to the port around 11am. Embarkation was a breeze and so slick. From parking the car to boarding the ship probably no more than 20 minutes. Absolutely excellent. Also disembarkation was similarly easy.

Our stateroom was lovely and spacious with everything we needed. Bed was very comfy and balcony was roomy too. Dwi our room steward was excellent.

The ship is still beautiful although looking a little tired in places. One gripe about it though would be that it isn't kept quite as spotless as a Celebrity Ship. Finger marks were apparent on screens and glass that had not been cleaned during the night, whereas on a Celebrity ship everything is absolutely spotlessly clean every morning although we never hear the actual cleaning process so I think it must be the fairies that come during the night!! Another small issue - again regarding tidiness and cleanliness ... we found the toilets in general, weren't up to the standard that we have come to expect when sailing with Celebrity. Brown paper towels (Celebrity provide individual flannel towels and the toilets are inspected very regularly and constantly attended every evening during the busiest periods and each cubicle is mopped between users). On the Independence I visited a cubicle at 6pm and again at 10.30pm. The same debris of cardboard roll holder and bits of tissue were littering the floor showing no cleaning had taken place in over four hours. The bins were overflowing with used brown paper towels and it was generally untidy. I felt this was substandard.

We thought the food in general was good. Having read other reviews prior to our cruise we were sceptical as many said the food had really deteriorated. Windjammer always had a good selection although we didn't eat there in the evening. We ate in the Main dining room every evening and sat in the same section of Romeo and Juliet Dining Room. Our waiters were Jonathan and Dewa who were both fantastic and we always enjoyed chatting to them and looked forward to our evening meal. The menu was mostly good with a couple of evenings having less attractive choices but we ate some wonderful beef and we felt in general that the food was very acceptable and enjoyable. I have to say we are quite critical of food as both my husband and I are very capable in the kitchen, so I would go as far as to say that I think some previous reviews have been a bit harsh in their criticism of the food.

Entertainment wise we enjoyed the shows. We loved the Queen tribute band "The Bohemians" and the ventriloquist was good although we have seen him before on board this ship but we still laughed a lot and he was very entertaining. The ice shows were brilliant even though they were same shows that we saw many years back. They are incredibly impressive - Freeze Frame is particularly good. The RC Singers and Dancers were putting on the same shows that we have seen too many times before so we did give these a miss this time. Our one grumble about the evening entertainment was the amount of children that were freely running around in the Pyramid lounge and taking over the dance floor. The band would start to play at 9.15pm and parents would not call their children off the dance floor. We wanted to dance but it became dangerous to do so and despite announcements being made and a mention of this in an edition of the Cruise Compass, nothing was done to enforce this. This issue needs to be addressed by Royal Caribbean before there is an injury. Also, adults want to be able to enjoy the live music and use the dance floor once the musicians start to play. The band "Pulse" played some excellent numbers and I think it is disrespectful to such talented musicians if parents allow their children to run riot whilst they are performing. We ended up going into The Labrynth nightclub where Paul made us feel very welcome and played some decent dance music so that we could do a bit of ballroom dancing though the dance floor in there is much smaller than in the Pyramid Lounge. We made the best of the situation anyway and still had a good time. (Thank you Paul !!)

We didn't go ashore apart from in Vigo as we have visited all the ports on previous cruises and as previously mentioned we choose to cruise for what we enjoy on board the ship as much as for the destination.

So all in all we had a good break although not our best cruise. We prefer Celebrity X as a cruise line but Royal Caribbean still have plenty on offer. Will we book again with RC? They need to sort out what is happening in The Pyramid Lounge with the kids running around and until there is some sort of curfew or rule made about children during the evenings ... No we won't be booking again. But perhaps Royal Caribbean are now trying to encourage a different type of cruiser in looking towards young families which isn't our scene and therefore we will choose a different cruise line in future.
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Cabin Review

Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
Cabin GS 1598
Lovely cabin, kept spotless by Dwi. Plenty of space and very comfortable.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews