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This is our fourth trip on the Indy and first since the new refit of 2018. It was also our first cruise ship we traveled on back in 2008. It is our favourite ship along with the Navigator and Splendor (now gone to TUI). When I planned this holiday for my wife's birthday I chose a Southampton cruiise to avoid flights as Brexit was blowing up at the time of booking and I did not want to do flights due to possible cancellations or additional costs such as visas etc. This is the first time my wife has driven to Southampton (as we normally would take the train and/or bus via London but these are becoming long and expensive) and we parked in the Yellow car park very close to the ship for £89 for the week. We stayed over the night before in Winchester as we had come from Nottingham and needed to be close to the port the following morning in case of any accidents or delays on the roads. As it happens, the roads were clear and we arrived at the port at 10am. The road near the docks had a digital sign that displayed "gate 8 for the Independence" which was very helpful as 2 other ships were also in that morning. It was also our first cruise with RCI as Diamond Plus members so we were right at the front of the queue for boarding and were in the Champagne Bar at 11am as we had the Deluxe Drinks package. This was well worth the extra money as there was 3 sea days and I knew I would not be outside much during them due to the location. One strange thing is that the "plus" on the seapass card is a + and not the word "plus" which would surely had made it easier to see for inspection where is was required (like for the reserved seating in the theatre and ice shows). The ship left on time and there were no issues. The Diamond Lounge is still on Deck 14 and they also used the Viking Crown Lounge as a overspill, so that area was closed off during the late afternoons. The chairs in the Diamond Lounge are not very comfortable and it was very busy and the nice settee chairs had gone (and there is no Concierge lounge for D+ members on this ship anymore so they all had to use the lounge as well). Also the coffee machine in the Diamond Lounge was broken for the first 4 days of the cruise as we normally nip up there after breakfast and lunch for a nice coffee and to get a better view of where we are. Now for the first bad thing - once again (as this happened 8 weeks ago on the Anthem), A single drink was added to our bill for $8.25 in the restaurant - even though we had the Deluxe Drinks Package (which is printed on the Seapass card and which covered beverages by the glass up to $14) and we both only had sparkling wine in there with our dinner and nothing else. Again we had not signed for anything and again Guest relations removed the fee and again, (like before on the Anthem) I asked Guest Relations how this had happened and again they could not answer why or how. I always thought that to incur a bill you had to sign a slip of paper at the time of purchase. The food in the main dining room was excellent and we dined there every night just after 6pm and had the same table and waiters throughout via My Time Dining. Also went in there for lunch on the 3 sea days and again enjoyed the fish and chips and also the salad from the middle of the room. Used the Windjammer a few times too. The food a really good and there was nothing to complain about. It was, however, a little full at certain times. The bars made us some nice drinks (had a few Kraken Coladas). The champagne bar was the place to be at night with a drinks package as there were all sorts of cocktails the barstaff would make you. Now the second and last problem was on my wife's birthday in Vintages where some very rude people pushed up to the bar and got served before my wife even though the staff had seen her waiting there for 10 minutes. It was a shame that the people who did this were British and this behaviour really lets us down especially when it is witnessed by Americans and Canadians. I think that since the refit some extra 500 plus cabin spaces have been created and therefore at certain times the bars and shows got really full really quickly. The shows were good. Got to see Grease again (last saw it in 2016). One showing was cancelled at the last minute for medical reasons but was put on 2 nights later. There was also the Take That Experience onboard and we got front row seats for it. It may be worth noting that the Diamond Plus and Pinnacle seats in both the Theatre and Ice Rink are only reserved and guarded by staff until 5 minutes before the show starts, so if you wait, you may get to sit in these seats at the last minute if no-one else takes them. The comedian on the first night told the same old jokes and seems a bit nervous and paced all over the stage. On the last night we got Mick Miller who had me in stitches with his jokes. The ice show was also excellent even though I have seen it many times before, I still enjoy it and this time we had 2 skaters off the TV in it. There were 2 large new waterslides that looked awesome, but I never got around to doing them (due to too many Kraken Coladas). The golf course has been moved from the back (where is was well sheltered from the elements) to the front where you get battered by the wind (although not too bad after a Kraken Colada or two!). It is a nicer course than before, but a shame it could not have been left where is was. Got my first Bridge tour with turning D+ so got to speak to Caption Teo. All I can say is that he is a very good Captain, but don't ask him if he will turn around and look for you if you fall overboard. Also, you get a bottle of wine in your stateroom upon arrival and they also offered is a free $34 laundry wash and fold. There were only 3 places to visit on this cruise. First was Hamburg. The ship sailed down the Elbe (effectively becoming our first river cruise) and docked right in the city centre. It was approx a 20 minute walk to the town hall and it was very well sign-posted. The return to the ship was not sign-posted and we had to remember which way we had come. Shame some "to the cruise terminal" signs could not be put up nearer to it. Next was Oslo. Again docked in the city and again a 20 minute walk to the cathedral. It was warmer than I was expecting as the north sea crossing was cold. Lastly, we docked at Zeebrugge and took the RCI trip for a sightseeing and canal trip of Bruges. Worth every penny. Well we had a onboard spend so used that to pay for most of the trip. The city was lovely and the weather was hot. One word of warning here is that there is a long walk involved and although it is flat, it takes a couple of hours and is more than the 2 miles RCI say it is and there is nowhere to stop if you are part of a guided tour. After the boat trip that lasted about 20 minutes, you did get about 45 minutes of your own time to get some chocolates and something to eat, but the city is very busy. This was the only trip we did via RCI as Bruges is quiet hard to get to in the time limit although there were some shuttle buses put on at the dock which were not advertised onboard beforehand other than "shuttle to the beach". Another strange thing here is that we were told we must take our actual passports off with us and not photocopies (as I have done elsewhere), but upon boarding only out seapass cards were inspected. I was told that Cruise Director Jamie Fentiman has left RCI. Marc (who I last saw on the Navigator) took over and did a very good job of filling in. The rest of the cruise director's staff were very entertaining but some did not speak good english which made it even funnier during some of the questions at the schooner bar quizzes. Yes there were still come very competitive people winning key chains and pens. It was a shame that the great "Name That Tune" from the Anthem had not been ported over as the prize on that was $300 of bed sheets (which I won back in march). The quest was also good, but they seem to have censored it down from years ago (if you know what I mean). Sadly the Indy is going to do the newly vamped Coco Cay run next year and may not be coming back to the UK. The Anthem is coming over as her replacement, and god help anyone going on it through the Bay Of Biscay to the Canneries!

Independence of the Seas Good and Bad

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by Mick B

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Interior
This is our fourth trip on the Indy and first since the new refit of 2018. It was also our first cruise ship we traveled on back in 2008. It is our favourite ship along with the Navigator and Splendor (now gone to TUI).

When I planned this holiday for my wife's birthday I chose a Southampton cruiise to avoid flights as Brexit was blowing up at the time of booking and I did not want to do flights due to possible cancellations or additional costs such as visas etc.

This is the first time my wife has driven to Southampton (as we normally would take the train and/or bus via London but these are becoming long and expensive) and we parked in the Yellow car park very close to the ship for £89 for the week.

We stayed over the night before in Winchester as we had come from Nottingham and needed to be close to the port the following morning in case of any accidents or delays on the roads.

As it happens, the roads were clear and we arrived at the port at 10am. The road near the docks had a digital sign that displayed "gate 8 for the Independence" which was very helpful as 2 other ships were also in that morning.

It was also our first cruise with RCI as Diamond Plus members so we were right at the front of the queue for boarding and were in the Champagne Bar at 11am as we had the Deluxe Drinks package. This was well worth the extra money as there was 3 sea days and I knew I would not be outside much during them due to the location.

One strange thing is that the "plus" on the seapass card is a + and not the word "plus" which would surely had made it easier to see for inspection where is was required (like for the reserved seating in the theatre and ice shows).

The ship left on time and there were no issues.

The Diamond Lounge is still on Deck 14 and they also used the Viking Crown Lounge as a overspill, so that area was closed off during the late afternoons. The chairs in the Diamond Lounge are not very comfortable and it was very busy and the nice settee chairs had gone (and there is no Concierge lounge for D+ members on this ship anymore so they all had to use the lounge as well). Also the coffee machine in the Diamond Lounge was broken for the first 4 days of the cruise as we normally nip up there after breakfast and lunch for a nice coffee and to get a better view of where we are.

Now for the first bad thing - once again (as this happened 8 weeks ago on the Anthem), A single drink was added to our bill for $8.25 in the restaurant - even though we had the Deluxe Drinks Package (which is printed on the Seapass card and which covered beverages by the glass up to $14) and we both only had sparkling wine in there with our dinner and nothing else. Again we had not signed for anything and again Guest relations removed the fee and again, (like before on the Anthem) I asked Guest Relations how this had happened and again they could not answer why or how. I always thought that to incur a bill you had to sign a slip of paper at the time of purchase.

The food in the main dining room was excellent and we dined there every night just after 6pm and had the same table and waiters throughout via My Time Dining.

Also went in there for lunch on the 3 sea days and again enjoyed the fish and chips and also the salad from the middle of the room.

Used the Windjammer a few times too. The food a really good and there was nothing to complain about. It was, however, a little full at certain times.

The bars made us some nice drinks (had a few Kraken Coladas). The champagne bar was the place to be at night with a drinks package as there were all sorts of cocktails the barstaff would make you.

Now the second and last problem was on my wife's birthday in Vintages where some very rude people pushed up to the bar and got served before my wife even though the staff had seen her waiting there for 10 minutes. It was a shame that the people who did this were British and this behaviour really lets us down especially when it is witnessed by Americans and Canadians.

I think that since the refit some extra 500 plus cabin spaces have been created and therefore at certain times the bars and shows got really full really quickly.

The shows were good. Got to see Grease again (last saw it in 2016). One showing was cancelled at the last minute for medical reasons but was put on 2 nights later. There was also the Take That Experience onboard and we got front row seats for it.

It may be worth noting that the Diamond Plus and Pinnacle seats in both the Theatre and Ice Rink are only reserved and guarded by staff until 5 minutes before the show starts, so if you wait, you may get to sit in these seats at the last minute if no-one else takes them.

The comedian on the first night told the same old jokes and seems a bit nervous and paced all over the stage. On the last night we got Mick Miller who had me in stitches with his jokes.

The ice show was also excellent even though I have seen it many times before, I still enjoy it and this time we had 2 skaters off the TV in it.

There were 2 large new waterslides that looked awesome, but I never got around to doing them (due to too many Kraken Coladas).

The golf course has been moved from the back (where is was well sheltered from the elements) to the front where you get battered by the wind (although not too bad after a Kraken Colada or two!). It is a nicer course than before, but a shame it could not have been left where is was.

Got my first Bridge tour with turning D+ so got to speak to Caption Teo. All I can say is that he is a very good Captain, but don't ask him if he will turn around and look for you if you fall overboard. Also, you get a bottle of wine in your stateroom upon arrival and they also offered is a free $34 laundry wash and fold.

There were only 3 places to visit on this cruise.

First was Hamburg. The ship sailed down the Elbe (effectively becoming our first river cruise) and docked right in the city centre. It was approx a 20 minute walk to the town hall and it was very well sign-posted. The return to the ship was not sign-posted and we had to remember which way we had come. Shame some "to the cruise terminal" signs could not be put up nearer to it.

Next was Oslo. Again docked in the city and again a 20 minute walk to the cathedral. It was warmer than I was expecting as the north sea crossing was cold.

Lastly, we docked at Zeebrugge and took the RCI trip for a sightseeing and canal trip of Bruges. Worth every penny. Well we had a onboard spend so used that to pay for most of the trip. The city was lovely and the weather was hot. One word of warning here is that there is a long walk involved and although it is flat, it takes a couple of hours and is more than the 2 miles RCI say it is and there is nowhere to stop if you are part of a guided tour.

After the boat trip that lasted about 20 minutes, you did get about 45 minutes of your own time to get some chocolates and something to eat, but the city is very busy.

This was the only trip we did via RCI as Bruges is quiet hard to get to in the time limit although there were some shuttle buses put on at the dock which were not advertised onboard beforehand other than "shuttle to the beach". Another strange thing here is that we were told we must take our actual passports off with us and not photocopies (as I have done elsewhere), but upon boarding only out seapass cards were inspected.

I was told that Cruise Director Jamie Fentiman has left RCI. Marc (who I last saw on the Navigator) took over and did a very good job of filling in. The rest of the cruise director's staff were very entertaining but some did not speak good english which made it even funnier during some of the questions at the schooner bar quizzes. Yes there were still come very competitive people winning key chains and pens.

It was a shame that the great "Name That Tune" from the Anthem had not been ported over as the prize on that was $300 of bed sheets (which I won back in march).

The quest was also good, but they seem to have censored it down from years ago (if you know what I mean).

Sadly the Indy is going to do the newly vamped Coco Cay run next year and may not be coming back to the UK. The Anthem is coming over as her replacement, and god help anyone going on it through the Bay Of Biscay to the Canneries!
Mick B’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 6V 6257
The cabin was located just above Sorentos Pizza so was very quiet at night. It was just far enough away from the stairs/lifts to be off the noisy circuit.
Only grip is the lack of coat hangers. Luckily, we were only doing 7 nights from the UK, but if we had been doing longer, then more coat hangers would have been required.
Deck 6 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews