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This was our first cruise holiday so unable to give comparisons with other companies but will give what I regard as a fair review. The cabin overall was very good with Ricardo our attendant keeping it clean twice daily. The cabin with balcony was a good size for 2 people and comfortable. There were a couple of niggly points that prevented an excellent score but not really worth mentioning. The jewel in the crown for Royal Caribbean are their staff. From the managers down to the general cleaners, everyone was friendly and went out of their way to be helpful and cheerful. So an excellent score for service. We had my time dining on deck 3 for dinner and always asked for sharing tables so we could meet other guests. I don’t recognise the queues other people mention never having to wait more than a couple of minutes to be seated but then again we went when all the kids were back to school, so the amount of guests was probably far fewer. All the waiters and assistants were attentive and gave great service. Apart from one evening the food was also excellent. We used windjammer for breakfast and lunch (when onboard) and although not up to the dinning room standard, the food was of a good standard. Boarding and disembarkation was also first rate and far far easier than an airport. Some of the excursions were poor value for money. With up to 2 hours ‘free time’ on a 4.5 hour trip we felt the guides not doing a good job. On one trip the main reason for going was a visit to a volcano, after setting off we were told we could not go there with no explanation, only to find on returning to the ship that another tour with disabled guests had visited it as planned. On another trip we arrived back to the meeting point after some more ‘free time’ 5 minutes early to find the coach doors closed and about to drive off without us. Had we been on time we would have been left stranded. The shows were either good or excellent although difficult to get a seat unless you were at least half an hour early. The entertainment and activities on ‘at sea days’ was very limited for older (not elderly) guests. Now the reason for a 3 star rating rather than a 5. Practically everything on board was geared to squeezing more money out of you, even some of the shopping promotions were listed as entertainment. Far and away our biggest disappointment was the overcrowded feel of the ship. It was difficult at best and impossible most times to get a seat at any of the bars of an evening when you want to just sit and have a drink. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the only places you could get a seat at times was in the restaurants where you have to pay or in the casino. The sun loungers are packed tightly together and it is practically impossible to get near the pool for a dip so we gave that a miss. In peak season with over a thousand additional kids on board it must be a nightmare. Overall the cruise left us feeling that we couldn’t understand why people rave about cruise holidays, it was good but could have been a lot better had the passenger / facility ratio been a lot better.

Slightly disappointing first cruise

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by BobHD

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Spacious Ocean View Balcony
This was our first cruise holiday so unable to give comparisons with other companies but will give what I regard as a fair review.

The cabin overall was very good with Ricardo our attendant keeping it clean twice daily. The cabin with balcony was a good size for 2 people and comfortable. There were a couple of niggly points that prevented an excellent score but not really worth mentioning.

The jewel in the crown for Royal Caribbean are their staff. From the managers down to the general cleaners, everyone was friendly and went out of their way to be helpful and cheerful. So an excellent score for service.

We had my time dining on deck 3 for dinner and always asked for sharing tables so we could meet other guests. I don’t recognise the queues other people mention never having to wait more than a couple of minutes to be seated but then again we went when all the kids were back to school, so the amount of guests was probably far fewer.

All the waiters and assistants were attentive and gave great service. Apart from one evening the food was also excellent.

We used windjammer for breakfast and lunch (when onboard) and although not up to the dinning room standard, the food was of a good standard.

Boarding and disembarkation was also first rate and far far easier than an airport.

Some of the excursions were poor value for money. With up to 2 hours ‘free time’ on a 4.5 hour trip we felt the guides not doing a good job.

On one trip the main reason for going was a visit to a volcano, after setting off we were told we could not go there with no explanation, only to find on returning to the ship that another tour with disabled guests had visited it as planned.

On another trip we arrived back to the meeting point after some more ‘free time’ 5 minutes early to find the coach doors closed and about to drive off without us. Had we been on time we would have been left stranded.

The shows were either good or excellent although difficult to get a seat unless you were at least half an hour early. The entertainment and activities on ‘at sea days’ was very limited for older (not elderly) guests.

Now the reason for a 3 star rating rather than a 5.

Practically everything on board was geared to squeezing more money out of you, even some of the shopping promotions were listed as entertainment.

Far and away our biggest disappointment was the overcrowded feel of the ship. It was difficult at best and impossible most times to get a seat at any of the bars of an evening when you want to just sit and have a drink. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the only places you could get a seat at times was in the restaurants where you have to pay or in the casino.

The sun loungers are packed tightly together and it is practically impossible to get near the pool for a dip so we gave that a miss. In peak season with over a thousand additional kids on board it must be a nightmare.

Overall the cruise left us feeling that we couldn’t understand why people rave about cruise holidays, it was good but could have been a lot better had the passenger / facility ratio been a lot better.
BobHD’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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