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Independence of the Seas Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,776 Reviews

Busy, dirty and not the holiday we expected

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by scottinglis

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2019
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony

Ahhh this is so disappointing for us to have to write a bad review but it seems to follow a current trend of recent Indy reviews and we felt this would be useful for other young couples thinking of booking. We have raised our issues with RCI and are awaiting a response to their thoughts on the matter.

Bit of background, this is my 5th cruise (2nd with RCI, last cruise being with them and was 4/5 years ago) and this was my partners 1st cruise, and 1st holiday in 13 years so needless to say we were both very excited for this and had high hopes. We are both young and wanted to get away for a while, saw the itinerary for Italian Med and jumped at the chance to go. We went big, drunks package, excursions, balcony room etc as we wanted the best experience we would get and not have to worry about money or other costs.

On that last note, 'other costs'. RC seem to love charging you for everything. They are like the EA of cruises. Room service, $8, 2 coke's with your room service order, $8 ( I am not kidding it was $8 for 2 cans of coke), go to Jonny Rockets, just under $10 a head, fish & ships, playmakers etc, charges for any food. If you do not want to spend anything extra THIS IS NOT THE CRUISE LINER FOR YOU as you will not enjoy it as much! Then of course the specialty restaurants which are standard across most big liners.

For the length of the cruise we were not able to get a seat at any bar after dinner (8.30pm sitting), or in any of the shows/productions etc either which meant we had to stand for hours or retire back to our room at about 11pm/12am every night as we were fed up with how busy it was. We missed out on some exciting shows like Grease, as if we were able to get a seat during the evening we were stuck there otherwise we would loose it, leaving most of the content of the of the cruise compass obsolete for us.

No matter what time we went to the windjammer or on what day, we would have to do numerous laps to find a table (we are only a party of 2) which I have never seen before on any cruise liner. When we managed to get a seat, it was only to have sub par overcooked food that wasn't worth the wait.

Sun loungers are like gold dust, no matter where we went. One morning we got up at 7.45am to go and get a lounger in a good spot only to find EVERY SINGLE ONE on the boat had been 'reserved' ie there were personal belongings or towels on the beds even though there was an apparent strict 'no reserving' policy enforced which we never saw being implemented once.

When you are unable to get a sun lounger on a sea day, or get a table in the windjammer for lunch there is very little to do during the day for a young couple that just wish to relax.

We booked 4 excursions, all of which were a total waste of time and money. In Gibraltar we waited for 45 minutes in 30 degree sun for the bus to decide to pick us up after the meeting time, and spend a further 45 in traffic which resulted in being burnt.

In Pisa for Portovenre this was not as described, being a public use boat for 45 minutes

that was over-packed to reach the town with rude locals and other tourists and a lengthy walk with a group of people should have been advised this is not accessible for wheelchairs etc and lots of lines and waiting.

When waiting for the above as well as 2 other excursions, none of the coaches were ready so we were called to leave the ship only to wait beside the boat for 20/30 minutes for our coach to turn up and for us to get on which is a small thing but makes a massive impact on how we enjoyed the excursions. When it came to our last one, Pompeii, we didn't even want to go as we were that fed up and disappointed with the last 3 all being a total disaster.

To top it all off, I had food poisoning the 2nd last night of the cruise, and was confined to my room from the night of day 13, through the whole day of day 14 unable to eat or drink along with a lot of other travelers that dined in the main dining room so a great way to end things.

Most of the staff were brilliant, especially in the dining room so this managed to salvage our overall experience for the 2 weeks.

It's clear they have not adjusted the social spaces since the refurb as there is just not enough space for everyone to really enjoy themselves. This would probably be a more enjoyable cruise for children and couples with children as it seems well catered for them so this would be our bad for booking this liner as a nice relaxing getaway but live and learn.

There have been rumors of Indy trying to extort the UK market this season before it repositions over to the Carribbean where it will then sail from, and sadly I would believe this. The spa, art and gym staff all were very pushy to make an extra sale which rivaled with the looky looky men plaguing Rome.

Most public areas were not cleaned, we saw plasters next to pools for a few days and dirty table cloths not being changed with a thick layer of dust in lost of common areas.

We will in the future look to try RC again, but definitely not this ship.

As I said, this is our experience and others have had a good time so I am in no way trying to say avoid, but please think carefully about the party you are traveling and what you are looking for with your holiday before booking on this ship.

scottinglis's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 6D 9242

Our cabin was spacious and got the sun for a few hours every day which is really the reason we wanted a balcony. Our attendant was good, always made sure we had towels, fresh sheets and everything was made up for us twice a day.

We did experience noise from both sides of neighbors, if this was a loud TV or talking so it wasn't very well soundproofed from either side.

We didn't have any bother with anything happening elsewhere on the ship which was nice but for some reason every night between 12am and 1am there were people having what sounded like a race up and down the corridors!

Didn't feel much of the ship movement either unless we were in the English channel so again another positive to the cabin. Close to a lift as well as the pool deck on 11.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


An industrial post as well as cruise terminal so nothing fancy. Port staff were so rude and grumpy, not a great start

Stood waiting for the bus for 45 minutes to pick us up in 30 degree heat, to then sit in gridlock traffic and delayed the ship departure by 2 hours. Beach was great but the transfer service we paid for was awful.

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Lovely port, sunny and like something from a postcard

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