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This review covers the 7 night Northern Europe sailing on May 18th from Southampton. This is our 9th Royal Caribbean cruise and first on the Independence. Accommodation: Inside cabin, 9487. This cabin was off the main corridor so noise was never an issue. It’s a nice quiet location and close to Windjammer and Adventure Ocean. The room was setup as a double and a Pullman bed (bed from ceiling). It states that this should not be used by children under 6 but there is no indication of this when we make the booking with a 4 year old. So I guess they expect the child to sleep with one of the parents and one of the parents up high! Needless to say we ignored that and our daughter slept in the Pullman bed. There is a railing to the side so it’s safe enough. The beds were very comfortable and being an inside cabin it’s nice and dark at night so a good sleep was had all week. The cabin is small and storage is a bit tight but we managed. For the savings I’d probably choose inside again. Food: Windjammers was its usual chaos but the food overall was good. The last night was great up there for dinner with an amazing selection of desserts and nice fresh pasta. Main dining room was fine (we used it just once). As normal, food is never that hot. We had a 4 night dining package and did Giovannis and Chops twice each. Starters weren’t that hot in Giovannis the first night and the carbonnara wasn’t good at all. The prawn and mash dish was lovely and the desserts were amazing especially the chocolate cake. On the second visit the Alfredo pasta was to die for. Service was excellent in there too. Chops is our go to speciality restaurant. As always the food and service is top class. The filet mignon is always worth it. Bars: Bar service was OK. It seems a little under staffed and maybe service doesn’t seem as good since most people are on a drinks package? Playmakers, which I loved on the Symphony isn’t the same here at all. It’s more of a walk through bar on the way to the casino rather than a walk in bar on the boardwalk of other ships. They didn’t have the games such as connect 4 either. We didn’t spend much time here. The Olive and Twist on deck 14 which is another favourite was closed every day from 5:30 – 8:30 for diamond members so we couldn’t go in. Places to relax and have a drink were limited. Entertainment: This was mixed. Some of the singers were ok, if not great in some instances. The Ice show is the best show and well worth it. Grease, is not my cup of tea but my wife and daughter enjoyed. The comedian was also good. Adventure Ocean: The staff here make the place and are always great with the kids. It’s not as fancy as is on the new ships but there’s enough to keep the kids happy. So overall everything mentioned above is pretty good. But the killer of all of that and the reason it isn’t rated higher is the crowds. I’ve been on the Harmony, Ovation, Symphony and each time before I cruised on each of these I read reviews about crowds and lack of space. However I never really had an issue with any of them except for Windjammers. There was always a place to sit and have a drink or watch the world go by. But on the Independence I completely agree with the complaints about the number of people on this ship. There was several times during this cruise where you would walk the promenade and have no chance of finding a seat. For most of the time it just seemed crowded and it became a frustration on this cruise. We spoke with a couple who were on it before the refit and they couldn’t figure out why it felt so much busier than before but it made sense to them when I explained about the extra cabins (500 people extra I believe) since the refit. Royal Caribbean is our most used cruise line. I love their ships, their innovation and their service. But their increased costs of cruising, increased in gratuities ($14.50 p/d, pp including our 4 year old) is making it harder to stick with them. I will probably go on of the bigger ships again, but I will never sail on the Independence of the Seas again.

Overcrowding complaints are justified

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by aidansargent

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Interior
This review covers the 7 night Northern Europe sailing on May 18th from Southampton. This is our 9th Royal Caribbean cruise and first on the Independence.

Accommodation:

Inside cabin, 9487. This cabin was off the main corridor so noise was never an issue. It’s a nice quiet location and close to Windjammer and Adventure Ocean. The room was setup as a double and a Pullman bed (bed from ceiling). It states that this should not be used by children under 6 but there is no indication of this when we make the booking with a 4 year old. So I guess they expect the child to sleep with one of the parents and one of the parents up high! Needless to say we ignored that and our daughter slept in the Pullman bed. There is a railing to the side so it’s safe enough. The beds were very comfortable and being an inside cabin it’s nice and dark at night so a good sleep was had all week. The cabin is small and storage is a bit tight but we managed. For the savings I’d probably choose inside again.

Food:

Windjammers was its usual chaos but the food overall was good. The last night was great up there for dinner with an amazing selection of desserts and nice fresh pasta. Main dining room was fine (we used it just once). As normal, food is never that hot. We had a 4 night dining package and did Giovannis and Chops twice each. Starters weren’t that hot in Giovannis the first night and the carbonnara wasn’t good at all. The prawn and mash dish was lovely and the desserts were amazing especially the chocolate cake. On the second visit the Alfredo pasta was to die for. Service was excellent in there too. Chops is our go to speciality restaurant. As always the food and service is top class. The filet mignon is always worth it.

Bars:

Bar service was OK. It seems a little under staffed and maybe service doesn’t seem as good since most people are on a drinks package?

Playmakers, which I loved on the Symphony isn’t the same here at all. It’s more of a walk through bar on the way to the casino rather than a walk in bar on the boardwalk of other ships. They didn’t have the games such as connect 4 either. We didn’t spend much time here. The Olive and Twist on deck 14 which is another favourite was closed every day from 5:30 – 8:30 for diamond members so we couldn’t go in. Places to relax and have a drink were limited.


Entertainment:

This was mixed. Some of the singers were ok, if not great in some instances. The Ice show is the best show and well worth it. Grease, is not my cup of tea but my wife and daughter enjoyed. The comedian was also good.


Adventure Ocean:

The staff here make the place and are always great with the kids. It’s not as fancy as is on the new ships but there’s enough to keep the kids happy.

So overall everything mentioned above is pretty good. But the killer of all of that and the reason it isn’t rated higher is the crowds. I’ve been on the Harmony, Ovation, Symphony and each time before I cruised on each of these I read reviews about crowds and lack of space. However I never really had an issue with any of them except for Windjammers. There was always a place to sit and have a drink or watch the world go by. But on the Independence I completely agree with the complaints about the number of people on this ship. There was several times during this cruise where you would walk the promenade and have no chance of finding a seat. For most of the time it just seemed crowded and it became a frustration on this cruise. We spoke with a couple who were on it before the refit and they couldn’t figure out why it felt so much busier than before but it made sense to them when I explained about the extra cabins (500 people extra I believe) since the refit. Royal Caribbean is our most used cruise line. I love their ships, their innovation and their service. But their increased costs of cruising, increased in gratuities ($14.50 p/d, pp including our 4 year old) is making it harder to stick with them. I will probably go on of the bigger ships again, but I will never sail on the Independence of the Seas again.
aidansargent’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Ages 3 to 6
Service
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 3V 9487
Inside cabin, 9487. This cabin was off the main corridor so noise was never an issue. It’s a nice quiet location and close to Windjammer and Adventure Ocean. The room was setup as a double and a Pullman bed (bed from ceiling). It states that this should not be used by children under 6 but there is no indication of this when we make the booking with a 4 year old. So I guess they expect the child to sleep with one of the parents and one of the parents up high! Needless to say we ignored that and our daughter slept in the Pullman bed. There is a railing to the side so it’s safe enough. The beds were very comfortable and being an inside cabin it’s nice and dark at night so a good sleep was had all week. The cabin is small and storage is a bit tight but we managed. For the savings I’d probably choose inside again.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

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