Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by nw_man
- Sail Date: January 2012
- Destination: Canary Islands
We have never done a UK cruise before and so were apprehensive over a number of things, namely the weather and the traffic getting to Southampton.
Neither were a problem.
Day one we were picked up by coach and taken to Southampton were we arrived at roughly 1PM to a MASSIVE queue of embarking passengers. Embarkation however was pretty smooth considering the size of Indy and the amount of passengers.
THE SHIP :
Wow, what a ship ! Its large. 14 decks high, very long and very wide. We docked next to NCL Jade one day ( we have travelled on her also ) and Indy makes Jade look small, even though she is not.
Royal Promenade is packed full of shops, dining venues and drinking dens... the latter of which were constantly full day and night ! Well, that's the Brits for you....
The pool area has a real wow factor, it was fantastic and amongst the best we have seen onboard a ship. Certainly a great pool for kiddies.
The theatre is the Alhambra, seating for 1400 on 2 levels, mostly good views but they do have some supports holding up the upper level that block the views in a fair number of the seats.
Bars etc, well there are a lot.
Casino was very big, I failed to win anything ( again !! ), but we did see a few people winning good amounts on the slots.
Ice Rink, climbing wall, 'Flowrider' , mini golf, basketball, games arcade, kids clubs for all ages, various lounges, helicopter landing pad, jogging track, table tennis, photography area, art auction area, a massive gym with boxing ring ( !! ), the list really does go on and on... Indy has a LOT of facilities.
As usual we had an inside cabin. It was totally fine for our needs, not really spending any time in there except for sleeping. It was well appointed, the usual TV, King sized bed,, sofa, etc etc... bathroom a little on the small size but good enough. Safe in the room which is always handy plus a kettle and tea and coffee ! That was a first !
We had most evenings in the main dining room, ours was the Macbeth on level 4. We dropped very lucky with our dining companions being really nice and friendly, always a bonus. Staff in the dining room could not have been more helpful, absolutely superb. I am a notoriously fussy eater and I must say everything I requested, I got.
The Windjammer is the buffet, we pretty much had breakfast there every day.
We also ate one night at Johnny Rockets, a 50's type diner. Unfortunately it has a cover charge of $4.95 per person and that gets you in there, but does not get you a drink ! Thought that was a bit poor, but I could live with it as it was possibly the best dining experience we had onboard. The Johnny Rockets staff are fantastic, they have mini jukeboxes at each table ( which are free ) and if you trigger the 'right' song the staff all charge out and do a dance.... Hilarious !!!
FORMAL NIGHTS :
3 on our 12 day cruise. Most people observed the formal nights, tuxedos for men and evening gowns for the ladies. Some did not but seemed to eat in the Windjammer. All good.
2 comedians, one better than the other, a Motown tribute act who were superb, comedy juggler ( very good ! ) an awesome mind reader, a brilliantly talented lady singer / piano player and a strange but intriguing act from the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
Then there were the cast production shows...... now there is no doubt that the cast are talented singers and dancers. But talk about upsetting an audience with poor and boring content. Unbelievable. Whoever advised them to sing the songs they chose wants a good talking to ! For example, after half an hour of songs NO-ONE had ever heard before they tell us they are going to do an Elton John number, great I think , he has done a load of excellent songs.... What do they choose ? Saturday night is alright for fighting !!! Arghhhhhhhhh one of his worst EVER !!!! The they come on stage in Beatles outfits, I am sat there thinking, brilliant, I like the Beatles.. which classic do they choose? Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, basically an INTRO to an album ! I repeat.. Arghhhhhhhhhhhh
Moving on..... some great entertainment elsewhere onboard, we loved the Rock N Roll band in the Pyramid lounge, superb. Also some brilliant and hilarious quizzes in there.
The Ice show was not to be missed.
SHORE EXCURSIONS :
We did 3 with Royal Caribbean. Didn't think two of them were very good at all. We mainly spent most of the time on the bus, desperate to get off. Usually we do our own thing, this time we tried their excursions, lesson learned.
I have posted reviews of ports of call in their own sections, apart from La Coruna as I cannot locate it, so here goes :
We did one of the aforementioned 3 ships tours to Santiago De Compostela, to be fair it was reasonably priced and a good distance from port so we didn't want to risk D-I-Y. The town is the 3rd most visited Catholic pilgrimage site worldwide, after Jerusalem and Rome. Magnificent medieval buildings and a cathedral that ' allegedly ' has the bones of St James. Not for me to say anymore on that. Well worth the visit.
As for the actual trip, well Royal Caribbean for reasons unknown decided to leave for Santiago at 12.30pm, all aboard was 5.30pm. The ship docked at 11AM and was cleared almost immediately by customs. We did not make it back to the ship on time, we only got back at 5.45pm. Of course this being a ships excursion it wasn't a problem, but why did they go so late ? We didn't have much free time there at all, the hour and a half in the morning could have done so much good.
Would we sail Royal Caribbean again ? Definitely. We already put down a small deposit on a future sailing with them. Its an excellent system they have, you pay the deposit, don't have to tell them which cruise you want to go on, the deposit sits there indefinitely until you choose and then they give you a stack of free onboard credit. Brilliant.
Cruise Director, Joff Eaton was pretty good, his sidekick, Rob the Scouser, definitely future cruise director material. Listen up Royal Caribbean... don't lose Rob !
Staff, always smiling, eager to please. Overall a fantastic time was had by all.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
LanzaroteI am rating Lanzarote a 3/5 as the port itself, Arrecife, is not much to write home about. It's a bit of a walk from port to town centre and so having been there a lot before we took a very cheap cab to Costa Teguise, the next town down the coast.View All 222 Lanzarote Cruise Port Reviews
Cab cost 7 Euro one way.
Costa Teguise is absolutely idyllic, pedestrianised sea front, gorgeous beach, excellent weather and cheap beer ! What more could you ask for ?
Possibly our best day of the entire cruise.
View Cruise Critic's Lanzarote Cruise Port Review
Las PalmasAgain, been here before so decided to take a ships excursion round the island for the morning. Not very good.View All 197 Las Palmas Cruise Port Reviews
Got back to Las Lamas lunchtime, and walked into town, it has a nice long beach area, shops and bars etc.
Also an amazing science museum type place :)
View Cruise Critic's Las Palmas Cruise Port Review
LisbonWe took a ships excursion in the morning, it started well with a visit to the wonderful Belem Tower, then a drive to Estoril, which totally underwhelmed us. Not really worth the money to be honest.View All 684 Lisbon Cruise Port Reviews
In the afternoon we took a FREE walking tour with a guy called Uwe, and it was brilliant. Uwe took us all over Lisbon, showing us sights and telling us information we would never have got for ourselves.
The downside of Lisbon was the distance from dock to centre. A fair way indeed, NOT walkable at all. We took a cab there for 10 Euros but the tram return for about 3 Euro, much better !
View Cruise Critic's Lisbon Cruise Port Review
Madeira (Funchal)Madeira, what a beautiful island.View All 573 Madeira (Funchal) Cruise Port Reviews
Gorgeous, stunning, exceptional.
Once again we did our usual and haggled a taxi driver who gave us the most brilliant island tour. For 100 Euro Gabriel the driver took 4 of us on an extensive trip, we even tipped generously.
Saw the 2nd highest cliff in Europe, and hung off its edge... an amazing fishing village, a medieval church, some crazy people hurtling down the streets in wicker baskets ( one crashed into a car lol ) and still had time for the fish market and some shopping before we reluctantly set sail.
We will be back.
View Cruise Critic's Madeira (Funchal) Cruise Port Review
TenerifeAhhh, Tenerife, one of the most driest and pleasant places on earth.View All 418 Tenerife Cruise Port Reviews
IT RAINED. HARD. All day !
Hired a cab driver to take us on a tour of the north and west sides of the island, got to La Laguna, a world heritage site supposedly and was totally under whelmed, mind you it was bucketing down with rain and I was dressed suitably for the occasion in t-shirt and shorts..... it was sunny when I got off the boat !
Then we went to Puerto De La Cruz ( with several stops along the way such as La Oratava ) and had a really good afternoon watching massive waves crash against the sea defences.
Wandered the town, had a little drink, people watched.
A good day despite the rain.
View Cruise Critic's Tenerife Cruise Port Review
VigoNot much in Vigo really, a nice fort at the top of a large hill with spectacular views. Its not walk able if you aren't fit, trust me. A lot of steps. They have also made a reconstruction of an Iron / Bronze Age settlement that they have unearthed at the site. The usual shops etc. We have seen it now, we probably wouldn't return.View All 399 Vigo Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Vigo Cruise Port Review