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Our second cruise on this ship, we arrived at Southampton around 1.30 pm which we know is a busy time. Embarkation very straightforward and the queues were dealt with very efficiently (security checks, etc.) Terminal parking was very simple after offloading our cases for transfer to our staterooms. The Windjammer self-service cafe was already open with a very wide selection of hot & cold foods. The safety drill was carried out at the individual muster stations before sailing, so everyone knew where to assemble in an emergency. This was our first time staying in a promenade stateroom overlooking the Royal Promenade. This was very roomy and well equipped with plenty of storage space and a large comfortable bed, with the added bonus of an electric kettle. We opted for early fixed-time dining (6 pm) in the Romeo and Juliet Restaurant. This had lovely surroundings and we enjoyed wonderful service from our waiter and his new assistant who was just learning the ropes with much enthusiasm. We always received good advice on the extensive menu choice but there is always the alternative option of plain chicken, steak, fish or vegetarian available every night. The food was always good and well presented. We find RCI are expensive for wines and drinks but they did have a special offer on some quality wines and the cocktail of the day was always a reasonable price. Breakfast and lunchtime we tended to use the Windjammer where the food was always fresh and plentiful. It did get busy at times but with the serving period extending over 3.5 to 4 hours, we could always pick a quieter time to find a table and eat our meal. The main dining rooms were also open for waiter service/buffet service over a similar period. The Promenade Cafe was always open from early morning to late evening for free tea, coffee and snacks. The Royal Promenade does take up a large section of the centre of the ship so this limits the number of open seating areas but there are still a number of pubs/cafes with their own seating, plus other larger lounges and meeting areas, if you wanted somewhere quiet to sit. On nice days, the outside decks provide plenty of alternative seating and sun-loungers. On the plus side, the Royal Promenade offers space for a variety of shops and market type stalls plus it is a very good venue for street parties. Going onto the entertainment, the evening shows were always put on twice each night and a wide variety of of acts were presented. The Cruise Director, Joff Eaton was excellent, as was the Ice Show. There was always plenty to see and do, such as quizzes, game shows, destination lectures as well as well equipment sports activities. The destination lectures were presented by Howard Nicholls who gave a history of each port visited plus some very useful guidance on what to look out for. We were mostly very lucky with the weather with sunshine and relatively warm temperatures throughout. In the Canaries, it was up to the mid 20 degrees centigrade. We had plenty of time in port to explore the area except for Madeira where the ship had to leave at 2.30 pm due to the long journey ahead to La Coruna on the Spanish coast. We would have been better off stopping longer in Madeira as it was cloudy and drizzling in La Coruna when we arrived there. We did book a ships tour in Madeira to see as much of the island as possible. It was beautiful weather and we had a lovely time, especially enjoying the wine and cheese party. It was all very well organised. In the rest of the ports, we made our own way to look around and explore, although it was a mix of sunshine and showers in Tenerife so we stopped in Santa Cruz and it did brighten up later. Disembarkation was well organised as we elected to have our cases taken off board by the ships staff after being allocated a numbered luggage label. We chose what time we wanted to leave, as long as we had left the ship by approximately 9.15 am. After walking off with our hand luggage, our cases were found in the corresponding numbered area in the terminal. We were leaving the car park within 15 to 20 minutes. All in all, it was a very enjoyable cruise and very good value.

Winter Sunshine Holiday on the Independence

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by Chris - Derby

Trip Details
Our second cruise on this ship, we arrived at Southampton around 1.30 pm which we know is a busy time. Embarkation very straightforward and the queues were dealt with very efficiently (security checks, etc.) Terminal parking was very simple after offloading our cases for transfer to our staterooms.

The Windjammer self-service cafe was already open with a very wide selection of hot & cold foods. The safety drill was carried out at the individual muster stations before sailing, so everyone knew where to assemble in an emergency.

This was our first time staying in a promenade stateroom overlooking the Royal Promenade. This was very roomy and well equipped with plenty of storage space and a large comfortable bed, with the added bonus of an electric kettle.

We opted for early fixed-time dining (6 pm) in the Romeo and Juliet Restaurant. This had lovely surroundings and we enjoyed wonderful service from our waiter and his new assistant who was just learning the ropes with much enthusiasm. We always received good advice on the extensive menu choice but there is always the alternative option of plain chicken, steak, fish or vegetarian available every night. The food was always good and well presented.

We find RCI are expensive for wines and drinks but they did have a special offer on some quality wines and the cocktail of the day was always a reasonable price.

Breakfast and lunchtime we tended to use the Windjammer where the food was always fresh and plentiful. It did get busy at times but with the serving period extending over 3.5 to 4 hours, we could always pick a quieter time to find a table and eat our meal. The main dining rooms were also open for waiter service/buffet service over a similar period.
The Promenade Cafe was always open from early morning to late evening for free tea, coffee and snacks.

The Royal Promenade does take up a large section of the centre of the ship so this limits the number of open seating areas but there are still a number of pubs/cafes with their own seating, plus other larger lounges and meeting areas, if you wanted somewhere quiet to sit. On nice days, the outside decks provide plenty of alternative seating and sun-loungers.

On the plus side, the Royal Promenade offers space for a variety of shops and market type stalls plus it is a very good venue for street parties. Going onto the entertainment, the evening shows were always put on twice each night and a wide variety of of acts were presented. The Cruise Director, Joff Eaton was excellent, as was the Ice Show.

There was always plenty to see and do, such as quizzes, game shows, destination lectures as well as well equipment sports activities. The destination lectures were presented by Howard Nicholls who gave a history of each port visited plus some very useful guidance on what to look out for.

We were mostly very lucky with the weather with sunshine and relatively warm temperatures throughout. In the Canaries, it was up to the mid 20 degrees centigrade. We had plenty of time in port to explore the area except for Madeira where the ship had to leave at 2.30 pm due to the long journey ahead to La Coruna on the Spanish coast. We would have been better off stopping longer in Madeira as it was cloudy and drizzling in La Coruna when we arrived there.

We did book a ships tour in Madeira to see as much of the island as possible. It was beautiful weather and we had a lovely time, especially enjoying the wine and cheese party. It was all very well organised.

In the rest of the ports, we made our own way to look around and explore, although it was a mix of sunshine and showers in Tenerife so we stopped in Santa Cruz and it did brighten up later.

Disembarkation was well organised as we elected to have our cases taken off board by the ships staff after being allocated a numbered luggage label. We chose what time we wanted to leave, as long as we had left the ship by approximately 9.15 am. After walking off with our hand luggage, our cases were found in the corresponding numbered area in the terminal. We were leaving the car park within 15 to 20 minutes.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable cruise and very good value.
Chris - Derby’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8331
The promenade stateroom was very roomy and with plenty of seating having a chair and two settees, one in the bay window. However being at one end of the promenade meant we could not see the parades or shows as we were overlooking the bridge; we did realise this when we booked the stateroom.
  Independence of the Seas Deck Plans