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+ The vessel exceeded expectations. Everything was well organised with staff carrying out cleaning and maintenance duties 24/7. Accommodation, food options and diversity of entertainment could not be faulted. Movies are regularly shown, an impressive ice show to be enjoyed and an outstanding theatre where various variety events were held. Throughout the day numerous activities are organised across the vessel to ensure there is something for everyone. + Apparently there is one member of staff to every three passengers. It seemed to be the case. All were positive, engaging with nothing being too much trouble. Some staff members indicated they have returned to work on the vessel (for 7-months at a time) over many years. There does appear to be a good team spirt amongst crew members. - For a company promoting its self as a high end holiday provider many of their profit seeking activities were not in keeping. Other than official excursions there is poor information on local transport and sighting opportunities. The vessel has some of the best gym facilities and yet staff were more focussed on selling range of products rather than supporting gym users (during one vitality presentation staff were witnessed making inaccurate information to the audience). Alcohol purchased at the on board duty free shop was retained until the end of the cruise. ‘All Inclusive Drinks Packages’ were not all inclusive and the children's drinks package did not allow them to have still water (fizzy drinks only). Most services and goods being sold on the vessel were more expensive that on shore, e.g. food products, perfumes and gym classes. There were presentations on botox, teeth whitening and regular art auctions that in my mind were morally lacking. - Passengers were given envelops to provide staff gratuities, which having pre-paid the gratuity package was a surprise to us. It was mentioned that pre-paid passenger gratuities are used to pay the core wages for some crew members. I would expect all gratuities to be an addition to employees basic wages.

Our first cruise... only disappointment was the company's pursuit of profit

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by Steve W 123

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
+ The vessel exceeded expectations. Everything was well organised with staff carrying out cleaning and maintenance duties 24/7. Accommodation, food options and diversity of entertainment could not be faulted. Movies are regularly shown, an impressive ice show to be enjoyed and an outstanding theatre where various variety events were held. Throughout the day numerous activities are organised across the vessel to ensure there is something for everyone.

+ Apparently there is one member of staff to every three passengers. It seemed to be the case. All were positive, engaging with nothing being too much trouble. Some staff members indicated they have returned to work on the vessel (for 7-months at a time) over many years. There does appear to be a good team spirt amongst crew members.

- For a company promoting its self as a high end holiday provider many of their profit seeking activities were not in keeping. Other than official excursions there is poor information on local transport and sighting opportunities. The vessel has some of the best gym facilities and yet staff were more focussed on selling range of products rather than supporting gym users (during one vitality presentation staff were witnessed making inaccurate information to the audience). Alcohol purchased at the on board duty free shop was retained until the end of the cruise. ‘All Inclusive Drinks Packages’ were not all inclusive and the children's drinks package did not allow them to have still water (fizzy drinks only). Most services and goods being sold on the vessel were more expensive that on shore, e.g. food products, perfumes and gym classes. There were presentations on botox, teeth whitening and regular art auctions that in my mind were morally lacking.

- Passengers were given envelops to provide staff gratuities, which having pre-paid the gratuity package was a surprise to us. It was mentioned that pre-paid passenger gratuities are used to pay the core wages for some crew members. I would expect all gratuities to be an addition to employees basic wages.
Steve W 123’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Shore Excursions
Ages 16+
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Good specification. Plenty of room.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Brugge (Bruges)
    Using a local taxi for 4 was cheaper than the vessels shuttle service. A great town to explore. We enjoyed the canel trip. Clearly an area that relies on tourists... Hope you like chocolate and beer!
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  • Hamburg
    We did use the vessel shuttle to get into town. The downside is that you have to leave the vessel and return at a set time. There were long queues and I understand some people gave up waiting and used a local taxi. It did rain all day that we were in Hamburg but it was not a disappointment. Great shops. A really clean and modern city. It was a local public holiday and so there were long queues to entry some local attractions.
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  • Oslo
    Walked off the boat and straight into the City centre. Even went back on the boat for lunch. The Nobel Peace Prize Foundation was the highlight for the whole family. You can visit the City Hall (where the Nobel Peace Price is presented) for free. A real gem. We got the boat to the Viking Museum (really small and can be explored in under an hour). The final treat was a visit to the Ice bar. About £17 for entrance and a drink but a great experience for the whole family.
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  • Paris
    The vessel docked in Le Harve on Bastille Day. The thought of a 9-hour excursion into Paris, which was closed down in many areas due to National Celebrations, was too much for us! That said the cost of the excursions were very high - especially when one did not include lunch. I suspect we could get the train from London to paris cheaper. Therefore we stayed on the boat which was pretty empty. Had the run of the place and really enjoyed a relaxing day before departing for home.
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