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

Just a cruise -- not the best

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by TABG

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2019
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Spacious Ocean View Balcony

Overall the cruise was a cruise, a time away from our everyday lives to relax in order to continue with the demands normal life lends our way. That said let me tell you we have been on over 25 cruises, on several different cruise lines, and this has to be one of the most unique and challenging thus far. Here are my pros and cons from this cruise:

1. The pros for entertainment was all good with costumes appropriate for all family members. This modest dress was surprising and appreciated since many lines have gone to risque attire making the cast and production cheap and unrefined and an insult to the talented cast. The production of "Grease" was a nice addition; however, the show is very long so placing a 10-15 minute intermission or shortening the production would have been beneficial. The con for the entertainment was the lack of consistency for show time, Some times were set to early and 2nd showing was too late to 1st seating diners making attending some shows challenging but could be sorted out in the end. The second con was the comedians who either made excuses about their lack of talent, claimed they were unable to perform because they only tell inappropriate jokes, or some other excuse. This should never occur.

2. The pros for dining has to be for the main dining room that created wonderful meals each day. While some of the combinations were not what we desired the staff was eager to make the selection to our liking. Our table servers, Naptali and Birendra, were attentive to ensure a top-of-the-line experience. However, one con also involved our table servers who when asked for a small amount of extra vegetables the amounts continued to increase each day to being excessive. In addition, Naptali told us each day that we needed to complete the survey providing excellent ratings which resulted in lower ratings. Another con was the wastefulness in the Windjammer which threw away tons of food several times a day. Finally, any other ship we have traveled on a variety of food items can be found throughout the day and is continuous until at least midnight. Not on this cruise the only food available after 9:00 was pizza with the Windjammer closing for the night making guests on option for food or beverages on deck 5.

3. The extra charge items should be avoided at all cost. We did the mystery dinner that was ill produced and definitely not worth the $79/person extra charge. The cast were from the main stage and it was clear, early on, they are not actors. This was a waste of time and money. Second was the escape room which after we tried and failed (only could solve 1 of the 6 puzzles within the hour) we discovered that no one has ever been able to complete the challenge the first time. They try to convince guests to book multiple times at $19.99/each person with the knowledge it is impossible. Other lines have an escape room and is solvable within the time limit making it a fun activity to share with family and new friends.

Even with the challenges the cruise fulfilled its purpose of a relaxing time away from home and work. But it added information about thinking twice prior to booking another Royal cruise in the future.

TABG's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
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Cabin Review

Spacious Ocean View Balcony

The cabin was very nice providing enough space for three people for an extended amount of time. The movie channels could use a better selection of movies but most people do not come on a cruise to sit in the cabin watching movies. The shower door never closed completely but after the first day we figured out how to resolve the issue. The cabin steward was attentive and friendly making the cruise very enjoyable and relaxing.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

The tour was extremely long taking us from Southampton to Brighton, Bath, and Lowes. We were a party of 6 and at the time of booking we were told this would not be an issue. However, after arriving 20 minutes late for pick-up he arrives in a run down small dirty RV that had a very high step to get in and out, no step stool provided, window not able to close completely, three people had to sit backwards and no one being able to see clearly, in a vehicle he borrowed from a friend's business. James Mortimer had little to no knowledge of the locations or the ability to get there easily. The tour was scheduled to conclude at 7:00; however, we did not get dropped off until almost 9:30 with many locations missed because James did not know how to get to them or did not express the inability to achieve our wishes at the time of booking. This was not worth the money and with an old vehicle he disgraced the Tours by Locals organization.

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La Coruna

We toured with Cruising Excursions on a private La Coruna panoramic tour. While at the time of booking we were told this would be a private tour with a driver/guide; however, we discovered the driver was not very knowledgeable but took us to the points of interest we wanted to see and we made it back to the ship in plenty of time to walk around a bit prior to boarding. This tour was worth it and recommended if traveling with several people.

This tour run by Nicolau Camara provided many wonderful sights of the area and knowledge of the history and region. He told us at the time of booking we would be able to complete the desired locations but when we met we soon discovered we had to choice only one area. While this was acceptable he left us for extended periods, longer than necessary, and not making several locations we would have liked to see. All in all we were able to see many wonderful sights making his tour perfect for a private experience.

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Our guide, John Reid, was knowledgeable but mostly about the floral and fauna over presenting the historical aspects of the region. His idea of providing insight into this area was excessive climbing of the mountains to get a view of the coast was an appropriate addition to the tour. And this was not just one small stop but several even when we stated we were not hikers nor were we wearing hiking shoes. His idea of a easy trek was very steep over uneven dangerous areas. I attempted one short walk and after nearly falling several times opted to remain by the car with another one of the group while the rest made the second trek. After 45 minutes they returned quite upset that the end result was a view of the coast. Due to the excessive amount of time to get to this area John was unable to show us all the historical sights which we had wanted to see in this region. Unless you are a hiker who packed hiking boots I would not recommend using John for a tour.

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This was a semi-private bus tour with 15 people from the different ships. Having a private tour we did have to wait on others who were late arriving and had issues trying to determine what bus we were on when several buses were located in the same area with no signage available. The guide was very friendly and knowledgeable providing the history and folklore desired from a tour. We saw the high points of the area and beat all the other tour buses allowing us the ability to get our pictures prior to the crowds arriving.

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This was a semi-private bus tour and though some guests did not follow the directions for meeting the tour itself did not suffer from the delay. The guide provided good insight into the area with the ability to see the sights we were interested in visiting.

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