New Year Cruise: Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by Marie Robson (Murfee33)

Independence of the Seas 4
Marie Robson (Murfee33)

Overall Member Rating

New Year Cruise

Sail Date: December 2011
Destination: Canary Islands
Embarkation: Southampton
This was our first experience with an American ship.We expected it to be large, but it didn't seem to be when we went to embark. We were forward, and the dining room was aft, so there was always quite a walk there and back,either along the corridor then up 2 decks, or going up then walking through the pool areas. We had no problems finding a table, and there was a varied choice in the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch.The downside was that there were no trays to carry the food to a table.
We chose first sitting and were placed in Romeo and Juliet, on deck 3. On the whole we both said that P&O dinners were better.Independence served a set amount on the plate; if you wanted extra vegetables you have to ask for them.The dining room crew were really great, doing everything possible, and very friendly.There wasn't always much variety in the dishes offered.The evening shows weren't bad, though one "comedy" act was shades of Norman Wisdom/Tommy Cooper,but not really funny.
Prices in More the bars were very expensive, having 15% added as tips.Quite a lot of people talked about the way the options for tipping were continually advertised.Much was said about pre- paid tips, which took a set amount from each passenger.Vouchers were given to cabin steward and dining room waiters and head waiter at the last night. It was suggested that the amount those crew received was not the whole amount that had been quoted. Some staff said it was important that they were described as "excellent" in the questionnaires, otherwise they might not be taken on again for a future voyage.The whole subject of tipping was controversial. If it is expected, and deducted from the passengers' accounts, then it is not a discretionary amount given as a mark of appreciation for exemplary service; rather it could be construed as a subsidy to the crew's wages.
There is a jogging/walking track on deck 12, though the distance of 3 laps making 1 kilometre and 5 laps making a mile doesn't equate.5 miles equals 8kms.Sometimes in the early mornings it was very windy, but the fitness centre has plenty of treadmills to use without a fee, so it was still possible to get some exercise.
P&O give more information in their daily programme of events. We didn't find any list of channels for the cabin TV.You had to scroll down to find out what there was. The lifeboat drill wasn't really much use. Some P&O ships had the drill outside with lifebelts and you were shown how to put them on. On the Independence, you went to the designated station, but didn't have to take the lifebelt with you.If you want to look round the galley, you have to pay.
There were some events in the Royal Promenade running the length of deck 5,and they were colourful.New Year's Eve was fun.However, with such a large crowd an emergency could have been chaotic.All entrances to public rooms have hand sanitisers. In the lifts the voice is English, but in the toilets, the reminder to wash your hands is American.Under 21s aren't allowed alcohol, and there is a 1.0am curfew for young people.
We hope to use P&O again,but aren't too sure about Royal Caribbean, but that is just our opinion.
We had done this destination some years ago, so we just explored the ports of Vigo, Lisbon and La Corunna. Lisbon on New year's Day and being a Sunday, nearly everywhere was closed.surprisingly the previous evening's revellry left the streets in a mess, rather like it often is at home.If using a shuttle at the ports expect to pay 10 dollars round trip.La Coruna Spain
This was the final port. It was built on an isthmus, and is sheltered. We had a walk round some of the streets. One or two shops were open on a Sunday, but most were cafes and restaurants. There was quite a large marina, and there was a very large square with some imposing buildings. Less

Published 01/14/12

Cabin review: D19222 Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony

The cabin was quite long from door to balcony. That was a fair size. The shower was on the small side, luckily we are not large people. the bed can be separated,into 2 singles and we found them comfortable. We had a kettle, with tea and coffee. We drank the water in the shower and had no problem. The water was always hot, and the shower was simple to use.Plenty of hangers for clothes, and there are two rails that can be pulled down from the wall for hanging short items. There's a safe inside the cupboard, and shelves. Also plenty of drawer space along the wall. We had a sofa, which was probably an extra bed.

Read All Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony (D1) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

There are several excursions, and if you choose the Grand Highlights, it combines different shorter ones. The National Park has the Fire Mountain within it; at the top of the volcano is a large restaurant. The land is like a lunar landscape. Some of the lava contains semi precious stones like the green peridot. You can have a dromedary ride,which is an experience,though you won't see Omar Shariff.There was a lunch included of typical Canarian food.

The port is not reckoned to be of much interest to tourists, so it's best to go on an excursion. We drove near the coast for part of the trip, to a fishing village.There was some chances to take photos.We stopped in Puerto de Mogan for a time, then continued to Puerto Rico before returning to the ship.Some areas of land are no longer cultivated, as much of the produce is now grown in greenhouses.

We went into the city on a shuttle, which cost 10 dollars each.It makes 2 stops; the first is near the shops and many streets with outside restaurants. The other stop is nearer to the place where the monument to the Discoveries stands and also the Belem Tower.There are various excursions available, so it might be worth doing some homework to find out what you'd like to see,then booking a trip which may be suitable.
Read 626 Lisbon Reviews

There is a lot to see in Funchal; apart from the toboggan ride through the steep streets, there is a cable car, which stops halfway up to see some gardens. At the top of the mountain is a cafe, and there are some lovely views. down in the capital, you can take a local bus along the front from Reids hotel at one end, to the shopping centre with its large indoor market with meat, vegetables, flowers and all sorts of things on two floors. There is a choice of excursions, but we didn't have as long to look round there as we had on the other islands.

The north of the island is much greener than in the south. Our excursion took us along mountain roads and when the clouds cleared we could see the top of Mount Teide. We stopped for a snack at a village restaurant,and tried some wine, goats cheese and olives. then continued for more scenic views and narrow mountain roads on the way down to the ship
Read 390 Tenerife Reviews

As the weather was rather damp, we didn't venture far afield, but the areas we walked were clean and nicely laid out.There is a fortress and a park further in from the dock.there is a fishiong quarter, which was once the main city of the area. a favourite tourist spot.
Read 383 Vigo Reviews

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Marie Robson (Murfee33)
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