We sailed on the Independence six years ago and had a great time which prompted us to re-book for the 14 night Italian Mediterranean cruise in July. The coach journey to the port was perfect and embarkation was quick and friendly. When we boarded the ship we sat on the top deck with a drink in the sun as we left Southampton looking forward to our fortnights break. Around four o'clock we decided to check out our rooms, as a party of five we booked two superior balcony staterooms on deck 7. First impressions were how tired the rooms were. Picture frames had chunks out of them, bedding had dirty marks on it, pillows were stained, the list went on. The worst issue in one room was the tea tray which was filthy and had somebody's false eyelash stuck to tray. We complained twice asking for a replacement tray (for obvious hygiene reasons) the gentlemen at customer services was very apologetic both times but this never happened and we ended up washing it in the bathroom sink ourselves.
As the cruise went on we noticed how packed the ship was. It was a constant struggle to find a table for five most evenings in any of the bars and I likened getting a meal in Windjammers to shopping at a supermarket at Christmas, not a pleasurable experience. We opted for anytime dining but on three occasions were told that there were no tables available (hence Windjammers) on the times we did dine in the main dining room the food and service were excellent.
The ship was roamed by gangs of teenagers who on two occasions we saw getting amorous with each other (much to the horror of some of the passengers) and young children running around chasing each other around the lifts and promenade.
Our one fine dining experience was at the 'Murder Mystery' night at Giovanni's Table. The whole experience for $60 a head was terrible. We had to wipe food off two chairs before sitting down, some of the cutlery wasn't clean and the food and acting was very bad. As soon as we were told that the ordeal was over the restaurant emptied in about five seconds. On a positive note service from all of the staff on board was excellent especially from the waiters in Schooners bar and Made our room attendant who was always really friendly and helpful. All of the excursions we went on were great especially Rome with our guide Judy and Seville with Iesus who was fantastic.
In conclusion, we found the ship run down and very disappointing. It was over crowded and there were too many children running around un-supervised which could be quite dangerous for the older passengers. Without the excellent shore excursions we would have had a very poor holiday. Sorry Royal Caribbean but I think we'll be choosing a different cruise line next time which is a real shame.
Tired, shabby, not very clean. The balcony had hair from the last occupant all over it and the glass was really dirty to see through. The only redeeming feature was our room attendant who was great.
Quick embarkation, very friendly, no problems.
Nice excursion but the driver was quite rude with a few of the guests who were a few minutes late getting back on the coach (which arrived back at the ship 30 minutes early).View All 103 Rock of Gibraltar Reviews
Daphne was a fantastic guide, very funny and informative. We saw some great sites and had a great time.View All 11 Area Tour Reviews
A fantastic tour. Our second time in Florence, an absolutely beautiful city.
Judy our guide was fantastic. Informative and friendly. We particularly enjoyed it when she shamed a group of tourists for jumping the queue for the Vatican which was hilarious. Rome is beautiful and would highly recommend.View All undefined undefined Reviews
First time in Naples. Pompeii was packed and we couldn't hear the guide most of the time. A nice place but not the best excursion.View All 504 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
Sardinia is beautiful and we had a great time. We couldn't hear the tour guide as there were no headsets but the scenery made up for it.View All 24 Cagliari City Tour Reviews
We swapped our excursion for Seville on your own at the last minute and were told that there would be no commentary on the coach as it was a transfer only. Our coach guide was Jesus (apologies for the spelling) who was one of the nicest and informative guides we had. Seville was stunning and we went to the Cathedral and Palace. It was 43 degrees so not for the faint hearted. The only thing we would have liked was more time !View All 27 Seville on Your Own Reviews