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Embarkation: We had an interesting experience during our embarkation process. The previous cruise had a large outbreak of the Norovirus. They delayed the boarding process until about 2:00 instead of the usual time. We had a transatlantic flight that landed in Heathrow at about 8:00 am. Our transit bus picked us up, dropped off our bags and then dropped us off at the local mall. We walked around the mall for about 4 hours before we were allowed to start the boarding process. We heard the WJ might not be available after boarding, so we ate at the mall. We then proceeded to the port. Once at the port, things progressed pretty close to normal. The WJ was open, but we didn't go because we had something at the mall. I think they over did the hand sanitizing. They had the "squirt" bottles everywhere and were reminded to wash our hands no less than 5 times before boarding the ship. There wasn't time to touch anything in between the washing stations, so we didn't see the point in so many washing stations. Once before we entered the check in area Once before proceeding up the escalator Once before having our picture taken Once at the top of the gangway Once before actually entering the ship. They did the same thing at the WJ. Even if you squirted the sanitizing lotion, they handed you a handy wipe.Public Rooms They were very clean. They were constantly wiping everything down (even if nobody previously sat at a table, chair, etc).Cabin: Very nice. Our cabin was always clean. Our cabin attendant even organized our little pile of clothes every time we left our cabin. The towel animals were there every evening. We were on the "back side" of the hump so we couldn't see to the front of the ship. It didn't really make a difference. We still had a good view aft. We liked the extra space between the balcony doors and the curtains. It was a good place to store our luggage. We don't remember if other ships had the same layout. We'll have to keep that in mind for our next cruise.Fitness & Recreation: Excellent equipment. Some of the equipment had TV options. You could watch the local TV stations, plug in your own IPod and even had a USB port.Dining: The menus in the MDR were "so-so". Some evenings the choices left something to be desired. One evening we went to the WJ. They had a very nice selection of choices for dinner. Breakfast & lunch were spent in the WJ. Good selection. Our table mates were very friendly. We all hit it off and had a very enjoyable dinner every night. We are from the US, as well as one other couple. The other couple was from Scotland. We missed the "after dinner shooters". The wait staff did not seem to know what I was talking about. When we inquired at one of the bars, they told us that was discontinued. We don't know if that is ship wide or just this market. We ordered the wine package. Halfway through the cruise some of our selections were not available. I would have thought they could stock up at the next port, but that was not the case. We had to take a few alternate choices. One evening we went to Portofino's. The food and service were excellent.Entertainment: The shows were pretty good. One night they had an Elton John impersonator. He was very good. The Ice Show was OK. A couple of nights we heard some of the performers took a few bad falls. Our night nobody fell. They also had a passenger talent show. Most of the performers were very good. We didn't see that at the last couple of cruises. It was nice to see they brought it back. We recognized the Activities Director from our previous cruise. Steve was very entertaining as was Joff the cruise director. Their morning show, although "corny", was OK. We watched it while getting ready in the morning before heading up for breakfast. Service: Service was exceptional. Everybody was always willing to please. We had no complaints.Shore Excursions: The shore excursions were too short. 4-5 hours is not a very long time to spend in port. You would no sooner get into port and take your tour, then you had to leave. If you are looking for a shopping Mecca, look elsewhere. The only port (in our opinion) that had good shopping was Madeira.Rates: The price of drinks were on the high side. Ben & Jerry's was also quite high. The shops are about what you expect. We did find some nice "bling" in the jewelry shop (better than some of the port shops).Overall: We enjoyed our trip. The few small things that were not "up to par" did not take away from the total experience.

Canary Islands

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by bikn4fn

Trip Details
Embarkation: We had an interesting experience during our embarkation process. The previous cruise had a large outbreak of the Norovirus. They delayed the boarding process until about 2:00 instead of the usual time. We had a transatlantic flight that landed in Heathrow at about 8:00 am. Our transit bus picked us up, dropped off our bags and then dropped us off at the local mall. We walked around the mall for about 4 hours before we were allowed to start the boarding process. We heard the WJ might not be available after boarding, so we ate at the mall. We then proceeded to the port. Once at the port, things progressed pretty close to normal. The WJ was open, but we didn't go because we had something at the mall. I think they over did the hand sanitizing. They had the "squirt" bottles everywhere and were reminded to wash our hands no less than 5 times before boarding the ship. There wasn't time to touch anything in between the washing stations, so we didn't see the point in so many washing stations. Once before we entered the check in area Once before proceeding up the escalator Once before having our picture taken Once at the top of the gangway Once before actually entering the ship. They did the same thing at the WJ. Even if you squirted the sanitizing lotion, they handed you a handy wipe.Public Rooms They were very clean. They were constantly wiping everything down (even if nobody previously sat at a table, chair, etc).Cabin: Very nice. Our cabin was always clean. Our cabin attendant even organized our little pile of clothes every time we left our cabin. The towel animals were there every evening. We were on the "back side" of the hump so we couldn't see to the front of the ship. It didn't really make a difference. We still had a good view aft. We liked the extra space between the balcony doors and the curtains. It was a good place to store our luggage. We don't remember if other ships had the same layout. We'll have to keep that in mind for our next cruise.Fitness & Recreation: Excellent equipment. Some of the equipment had TV options. You could watch the local TV stations, plug in your own IPod and even had a USB port.Dining: The menus in the MDR were "so-so". Some evenings the choices left something to be desired. One evening we went to the WJ. They had a very nice selection of choices for dinner. Breakfast & lunch were spent in the WJ. Good selection. Our table mates were very friendly. We all hit it off and had a very enjoyable dinner every night. We are from the US, as well as one other couple. The other couple was from Scotland. We missed the "after dinner shooters". The wait staff did not seem to know what I was talking about. When we inquired at one of the bars, they told us that was discontinued. We don't know if that is ship wide or just this market. We ordered the wine package. Halfway through the cruise some of our selections were not available. I would have thought they could stock up at the next port, but that was not the case. We had to take a few alternate choices. One evening we went to Portofino's. The food and service were excellent.Entertainment: The shows were pretty good. One night they had an Elton John impersonator. He was very good. The Ice Show was OK. A couple of nights we heard some of the performers took a few bad falls. Our night nobody fell. They also had a passenger talent show. Most of the performers were very good. We didn't see that at the last couple of cruises. It was nice to see they brought it back. We recognized the Activities Director from our previous cruise. Steve was very entertaining as was Joff the cruise director. Their morning show, although "corny", was OK. We watched it while getting ready in the morning before heading up for breakfast. Service: Service was exceptional. Everybody was always willing to please. We had no complaints.Shore Excursions: The shore excursions were too short. 4-5 hours is not a very long time to spend in port. You would no sooner get into port and take your tour, then you had to leave. If you are looking for a shopping Mecca, look elsewhere. The only port (in our opinion) that had good shopping was Madeira.Rates: The price of drinks were on the high side. Ben & Jerry's was also quite high. The shops are about what you expect. We did find some nice "bling" in the jewelry shop (better than some of the port shops).Overall: We enjoyed our trip. The few small things that were not "up to par" did not take away from the total experience.
bikn4fn’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin
We liked the extra space between the balcony doors and the curtains. It was a good place to store our luggage.
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