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Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first trip to Europe and a cruise is a great way to see new places. While there were no empty rooms, the ship never felt crowded. No long lines anywhere. The ship itself is starting to show some age, the carpets in the hall ... Read More
This was our first trip to Europe and a cruise is a great way to see new places. While there were no empty rooms, the ship never felt crowded. No long lines anywhere. The ship itself is starting to show some age, the carpets in the hall having clear signs of wear. The food was not as good as we received on other trips, not sure if that is a RC thing or a difference between American and European food preferences. The good far outweighed the bad! We are already considering taking it again to try different excursions. The Jr Suite is the way to go. Since it was October we didn’t spend a lot of time on the balcony but absolutely would on a warm weather cruise. With stops every day we always had things to do which we enjoy. Immigration came on board twice which may annoy others.....but we were excited to get more stamps in our passports. The entire process was quick and painless. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise as a good way to introduce our adopted children (4 and 6) to cruising. Apart from some niggles over the limited menu in the main dining room the kids absolutely loved their trip. I on the other hand enjoyed the trip ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a good way to introduce our adopted children (4 and 6) to cruising. Apart from some niggles over the limited menu in the main dining room the kids absolutely loved their trip. I on the other hand enjoyed the trip which included grandparents but noticed some cut backs that to me was penny pinching over our original visit to IOTS five years ago. I'm not precious about chocolates on pillows and that sort of thing, but surely a reasonable standard hotel room should have tissues and a pen, for example? We were also disappointed at the staffing level in the lounges and some bars, eg Pyramid Lounge, Olive & Twist and Dog & Badger (we didn't have a drinks package). It took a very long time to get a drink, and that was getting up to get them ourselves as they often had a single server for the whole lounge. It was also very difficult to get anything child friendly to eat when they got out of their kids club in the evening (and we didn't keep them up to the full extent of what was possible)! One eve around 11pm the grown ups had nothing but pizza available even though the café promenade is allegedly open 24hrs, so cut backs very evident on food service too (Windjammer closed at 9pm which wasn't the case a year ago on another Royal Caribbean vessel). The staff on the whole were very nice but seemed stretched, ie doing their utmost with the resources at their disposal. The kids club people were wonderful and our room attendant very accommodating too. There were sufficient activities on board and movies etc to keep everyone entertained, the ice shows were terrific and Grease professionally done too. We'll return to RCCL as they're a solid family option for us at the age of our children but hope that some notice is taken of the frustrations people seem to be experiencing with bar and food service. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Hello, thanks for reading! A return to Indy for us (we visited in 2012)... and it was so lovely to return to the first ship I cruised on - "where it all started"! This WAS the first time I've returned to a ship and it was the ... Read More
Hello, thanks for reading! A return to Indy for us (we visited in 2012)... and it was so lovely to return to the first ship I cruised on - "where it all started"! This WAS the first time I've returned to a ship and it was the first 5 night cruise we've been on. Have you been on Independence yet? You may understand what I mean when I say that she isn't too big, and isn't too small either. The size is just right to give that WOW factor without being too much. ( 8 night Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Dec 16) Departure was a breeze, and by breeze I mean the usual anarchy at the check in desks, with every line vying to be next like greyhounds in the traps. For us, a no-fly cruise which was great. Cruising within the EU however so VAT applies at all times. We were onboard nice and early so predictably up to the Windjammer for a lovely lunch. The announcement for access to the cabins was early and was exciting - for the first time we had a Deck 8 Promenade View cabin. They've largely passed under my radar but they're an interior with a large size window at one end looking down onto the Promenade. Amusingly my partner was very concerned that we wouldn't be able to sleep with the noise, but we were never overly disturbed by goings-on in the Promenade. Normally, a cruise is an "experience" holiday for us, but this time we just needed a holiday. With every day a "port" day we only booked two excursions giving us a great balance between time on and off the ship. We had second sitting dining which meant we were lucky enough to meet a great couple and frequently went on a bar crawl together afterwards. The waiters were as usual absolutely superb and truly looked after us creating a wonderful vibe for us to relax and enjoy the dining experience to the point where dinner was something you looked forward to. 5 Night cruises are pretty much ideal - they're cheaper and less popular but still give a "proper" break. The ports of call - Rotterdam, what an amazing city to look at as you drive through to Amsterdam. Enjoy walking through the city, explore the culture, more museums per square km than any other city in Europe, along with bicycles and trams it's a beautiful place. Bruges - always so beautiful and so much to look at, well worth taking a tour if you haven't been there before, and if you have, take time to enjoy walking round the city. And please do a canal tour at least once. Along with chocolate purchases! Cherbourg - Nuclear Submarine. The end. Le Havre - perfect for Paris or if you're wanting to visit WW2 sites, a great opportunity to go to several from this port. The entertainment laid on was as always superb, the show, Grease... well this leads me on to my main complaint and I'm not sure it's justified. It seemed that every time anything good was happening, we were at dinner (2nd sitting, 8:30pm). We missed the Grease shows due to either being at dinner or at a competition where we completely failed to win a marker pen. Consequently we are returning to MyTime dining for our next cruises so we can work around what we want to take part in. While onboard we accidentally booked to go back onboard next May just after the refurb is completed. And this was without visiting any speciality restaurants ... we normally make a point of Chops Grille at least but we didn't miss it at all. The room was kept brilliantly, the waiters were great fun, everything was so good about this cruise that we thoroughly enjoyed returning to the Indy. Can't wait to get back! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I travelled in a group of 8. This was my 6th cruise. My 1st Royal Caribbean Ship. I don't think I will be travelling on any other ship until I have done all the Royal Caribbean ships. Embarkation and disembarkation was so quick and ... Read More
I travelled in a group of 8. This was my 6th cruise. My 1st Royal Caribbean Ship. I don't think I will be travelling on any other ship until I have done all the Royal Caribbean ships. Embarkation and disembarkation was so quick and smoothly. everything about the ship was wonderful. The stateroom (I like that name instead of cabin) sound posh. There was everything that you needed was in the room.It was clean and spacious. The dining room was a luxury. Food was wonderful. Our waiters Zainal and Sivakumar were such gentlemen. They were so polite and courteous toward us. Entertainment and activities. There were lots of entertainment going on around the ship. the heater shows were exceptional. The service was exceptional all around. on this cruise there were only 2 port of call which we took the shuttle bus into the town area. I find the excursions price very expensive. I would most definitely do this again. my only disappointment was that shops on board was very poorly stocked. I could no find a bathing suit to buy on board and I so to have wanted to have a sauna. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise after sampling a PandO cruise in May. we liked that so much that we wanted to go again soon - having a small child meant that we have to stick to school holidays and this cruise was the only one available. Even though ... Read More
We chose this cruise after sampling a PandO cruise in May. we liked that so much that we wanted to go again soon - having a small child meant that we have to stick to school holidays and this cruise was the only one available. Even though it was October we thought there would be enough to do on board to make it enjoyable. How wrong we were. There was hardly anything to do away from the elements which did not cost large amounts of money. The cabin - compared to P and O - was shabby- a stained, tatty settee, scuffed furniture, lots of dust under the bed, tatty shower room. the rooms were not sound proofed sufficiently and there were constant tannoys encouraging you to come along and spend yet more money! compared to P and O we could not believe the cost of things on board - I do not mind spending money but I object to being fleeced. The restaurants: the main dining room was poor - luke warm food with little taste. The "cafeteria" was little better - and it was nearly impossible to find a table regardless of when you turned up. finally I became seriously ill with food poisoning on the second night and I am still suffering now - despite several staff being aware of this no one followed up on how I was. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
A good 2nd RC cruise, generally. The ship is lovely; there's lots to do. The food is great, the staterooms nice and the staff/service are amazing. Sadly it's getting quite Butlins. For the price, it's less swish and luxurious than ... Read More
A good 2nd RC cruise, generally. The ship is lovely; there's lots to do. The food is great, the staterooms nice and the staff/service are amazing. Sadly it's getting quite Butlins. For the price, it's less swish and luxurious than you'd imagine, especially compared to other lines. Whilst it was fun, it was over-crowded, and quite ropey in-parts, where activities/entertainment were aimed at families/young children. It was quite low-brow and populist; endless Bingo and Karaoke, people going to dinner in hoodies/tracksuits. There were children everywhere, and this was encouraged by nature of the activities/entertainment. It felt more like a holiday-camp than a nice, posh cruise, which seems a shame, given it's marketed as a luxury. Also, facilities couldn't accommodate the number of passengers. The Windjammer was over-capacity, bars were full; you couldn't find a seat anywhere. Too many people packed-on without thought of how they would spend their time on-board. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
half-term holiday with the grandchildren (9&11). unfortunately as the children have a different surname (they are our daughter's children) we had to pay £109 to get a notarised letter giving parental permission) the ... Read More
half-term holiday with the grandchildren (9&11). unfortunately as the children have a different surname (they are our daughter's children) we had to pay £109 to get a notarised letter giving parental permission) the flow-rider and swimming pools and whirlpools kept them occupied most of the time. big queues at the flow rider. not enough time at the skating rink - very difficult to get tickets as there was only a 10 minute window between the sessions being released and being sold out. and this window was during formal dinner in the main dining room. as it was half term it would have been nice to have a children's entertainer. the juggler on the first night was superb. very funny but the rest was very mediocre. large queues to get them registered and then we never used the playrooms because they were surrounded by arcade games machines demanding money. a wonderful way to teach the kids to gamble good family scavenger hunt. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
R ecommended by others! They are cruiser experts! Entertainment and activities were great for our extended family! The staff were always friendly and happy whoever and wherever you went! The ship as clean and bright. Stateroom had a high ... Read More
R ecommended by others! They are cruiser experts! Entertainment and activities were great for our extended family! The staff were always friendly and happy whoever and wherever you went! The ship as clean and bright. Stateroom had a high standard of cleanliness. Food amazing with great selection whether canteen style or fine dining, can personally recommend The Chefs Table £63 each extra. Going across The Bay of Biscay was exciting but none of the party were seasick and we had the opportunity to see amazing seabirds and loads of dolphins! The shows were professional and a great variety from juggling to singing and the brilliant Ice Show. Our trip to Bilbao was absolutely fabulous the on shore staff were very helpful and there was lots to see, The Guggenheim and the Fenicular especially, Le Havre less so but the residents were very friendly. I would suggest a balcony stateroom, ours was right at the front of the ship which was exciting when watching for land day or night, and the people who needed to do their Titanic moment! Book and enjoy! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our second cruise, both of which have been with Royal Caribbean. Although overall it was good, I was slightly disappointed and don't think we'll sail with them again. Embarkation was good - it was very quick and easy and so ... Read More
This was our second cruise, both of which have been with Royal Caribbean. Although overall it was good, I was slightly disappointed and don't think we'll sail with them again. Embarkation was good - it was very quick and easy and so much nicer than an airport - and the ship is nice. There is so much on board with so many bars and activities that there is something for everyone to do almost all the time. We had sailed on the Independence of the Seas last time and the Navigator is almost identical - the only difference was it doesn't have a nightclub and has one fewer bar, and the whirlpools aren't cantilevered out on the sides of the ship. Other than that it's the same. That said, it's so identical I think it made it slightly less special for us as all the bar decor and everything is exactly the same and you didn't feel the need to explore as much. Our cabin was very nice (ocean view with balcony) and our stateroom attendant was excellent. Food was generally all very good, and we really enjoyed the ice show and the two shows we saw in the main theatre. Bilbao was also a really nice city to visit and it was very easy to get to without doing a paid excursion - you can just walk 15 minutes into very pretty Getxo and get the metro for €1.80 and then you're there. The beach at Getxo was also great in the sunshine if you don't want to go all the way into Bilbao. Le Havre is OK but there isn't much there. It's fine for a walk around though. I honestly don't know why anyone would want to get a 2-3 hour coach to Paris from there on a paid excursion. So those are the positives. On a more negative note - I think you get what you pay for and I think Royal Caribbean's standards are really slipping from what I've read of others' experiences. It wasn't really as much of a luxury holiday as I wanted, and at times it was much more Butlins-at-sea than I'd like. Dress codes are not particularly enforced in general and that made it feel like you could be sat on the strip at Benidorm when people were wandering around in joggers and football shirts. Royal Caribbean seems to be going much more for the mass market now, or at least it is for it's UK sailings, and that's a shame when you expect cruising to be a special treat. Also, our ship was fully booked and that made it VERY crowded at times. Breakfast was a nightmare if you weren't really early and it was very hard even to get a table. On the one sunny day the deck was so crowded you couldn't find a lounger anywhere, and in the evenings you could do a circuit of the bars a couple of times before you found a seat anywhere. We had quite strong winds sailing down the Bay of Biscay and back, and on a ship this size it meant there was a lot of movement from side to side and that made me and a lot of other people feel very nauseous. It's a hazard for the Bay of Biscay in October, but it made me think I would avoid any sailings now where there are whole days at sea because it just meant the day was wasted - I couldn't eat or do anything really and just had to wait until we'd passed the weather. It wasn't even that bad weather, but the ship is so huge that cross-winds really affect it so be aware of that. Overall, it was good but not as good as our first cruise (3 days to Bruges and Le Havre). It was over-crowded and not as fancy as I wanted, and for the money you could have a much nicer conventional holiday. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I'm going to attempt to make this review brief and with as much detail as possible in the points I make. based on my account travelling with my partner and 2 young children aged 6 and 2. Embarkation: Overall the embarkation was a ... Read More
I'm going to attempt to make this review brief and with as much detail as possible in the points I make. based on my account travelling with my partner and 2 young children aged 6 and 2. Embarkation: Overall the embarkation was a breeze from the moment I parked the car to on-board the ship: 30 minutes. Have boarded the ship faster, but totally understand the longer timeframe due to the amount of passengers trying to get on at the same time. The overall condition of the ship: As you would expect with any Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Independence lives up to the company's rep. Immaculate and you will always see a crew member walking around polishing or giving the carpets a quick once over with a vacuum. However considering the ship is now 9 years old, she is showing her age and its clear that works may have already started around the ship before her well deserved overhaul next April. My only little complaint might be the works going on with the funnels. The scrubber project which was started over a year ago now is finally coming to an end (before the ships transatlantic crossing to Florida. There was scaffolding on new sections of the funnel but the most obvious things was the smell of the hot works from this project (Welding and cutting). Like I say just a little complaint but I suppose with new regulations for emissions brought in a ships around the world, I understand the need for the works. Cabin: We had a basic Interior stateroom for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids). Comprising of 1 royal king double bed and 2 Pullman "bunk" beds. The room was perfect for what we wanted it for. After all the plan was not to spend that much time in it. So we weren't fussed about a balcony or even a suite. The room was clean and fresh like the day the ship was delivered. Despite the room looking exactly the same as 9 years ago when the ship was launched, I think anyone who didn't know that fact would be fooled into thinking it was a brand new room. The toilet and shower, once again absolutely immaculate down to the last detail. Dining: Firstly the food in the Windjammer was excellent, with a great variety during each meal of the day. I think any fellow traveller on their first cruise would spend more time thinking about what to choose rather than eating. One complaint about the windjammer on this class of ship is this, Indy is part or Royal Caribbean's Freedom Class ships which is an enlarged version of the earlier Voyager Class Cruise ships. Most of the public areas on these ships are exactly the same size on either class. This means that Freedom Class accommodates more passengers and with venues like Windjammer the same size, its a lot busier, packed and harder to get a seat to enjoy your meals. Onto the main dining room, only went on 2 nights of the cruise for dinner, despite not remembering exactly what dished I had, its safe to say the food was 5 stars. Desserts, not a great selection and it was the same deserts to choose from each night. However could not fault the food and the service from the waiters still has the good old "Gold Anchor service that Royal Caribbean pride themselves on. On day 3 we visited Johnny Rockets for lunch, the American 50's/60's themed burger restaurant. Both service and the food was outstanding the burger was juicy and melt in the mouth, and the milkshakes are always to die for! I don't think I'll never have another milkshake like it until I return to a Johnny Rockets on board one of these ships in the future. Entertainment: There's something for everyone when its come to these ships and the cruise director Marc "Bing Bong" Walker was doing a fantastic job as always. Even though I can only speak for myself in the fact that I don't really take part in the entertainment on the ships these day, I'm more of do nothing and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the ship. The feedback I was getting back was faultless. Grease the Musical in the Alhambra theatre was getting top rate reviews from fellow passengers even though the show was performing the songs in the wrong order of the original film. Service: The crew do a fantastic job to provide the best service at sea. You have to admire the effort and hours they put in to make our vacations one to remember each and every time. If you haven't done a cruise before, you wont believe how many times you will walk down a corridor and say hello! Our stateroom attendant however was the star of the show on this cruise. He was exceptionally friendly and worked hard on every room he cleaned and prepared twice daily, every day. Any problems or questions we had, he would be there to answer for us and if he couldn't provide the answer, Frederic would endeavour to get the answer as soon as possible. Ports: Well as this is my 19th cruise (of which all have been with Royal Caribbean), I don't do excursions anymore. Both ports (Bruges, Belgium and Le Havre, France) we had tp docked basically in cargo ports. This meant getting shuttle buses in and out of the port each time. (At 4 euros PP in France and free bus service in Bruges). Le Havre was a let down to be honest, we went to the city centre and took a walk around. Not many shops or attractions that appealed in this town. I recommend taking an excursion to Paris at this port. I think that one is the value for money. In Belgium we were basically docked in Zebrugge and once again this has nothing to offer but trams. The taxi service is dire in this town they are only interested in the cruise passengers willing to pay 80 euros to go into the town of Bruges itself. If you think they'll take you elsewhere, then you're in for a shock with the response they will give, there were complaints about this. Recommend taking the coached put on by the ship to Bruges only for this port only. I travelled with my partner and 2 daughters for this cruise, for my partner, this was her 3rd cruise (all on Independence). Both my children this was their first cruise. It was apparent my 6 year old was overwhelmed by the ship itself, as all kids are. They just cant believe how something like this floats on the water. My 6 and 2 year old didn't take part in adventure ocean on this cruise but decided they wanted to stay with us and enjoy what amenities the ship had to offer, such as games of mini golf and the random entertainment the staff would throw at them. They enjoyed the cruise a lot and my partner was more than happy like me to just sit back relax and not do much at all on this short break. Overall conclusion: This cruise was far from a let down, as always when the end of the cruise comes you leave depressed with the classic cruise blues syndrome. We would all go on the ship again tomorrow if we could. We are considering returning in summer 2018. The ship is getting a multi million dollar makeover and the ship will come out again like a new ship with even more innovations. Even if she wasn't, I would not hesitate booking again on Indy! She's a beautiful ship with great staff and fantastic amenities. Perfect for families in particular but perfect for every type of cruiser new or old. Read Less
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