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303 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

Well what can i say? After looking forward to our canary island cruise on Independence of the Seas, I have to say I was a tad disappointed. Okay, so perhaps my judgement is clouded by too many "rough" sea days - stabilisers ... Read More
Well what can i say? After looking forward to our canary island cruise on Independence of the Seas, I have to say I was a tad disappointed. Okay, so perhaps my judgement is clouded by too many "rough" sea days - stabilisers on the ship weren't great, and not enough sunshine - my fault for choosing to go in October I guess. But the ship itself is just too big. And dont get me wrong, I have cruised on Ventura and Ruby Princess recently but Independence just doesn't seem to be able to cope with the vast amount of passengers. Sun beds were plentifull, but typically people would lay towels out early on and then be nowhere to be seen for the most of the day. The 30 minute rule was not observed at all, and I think that should be up the cruise line. Food was good, and plenty of choice, but quite often a long wait in line for a table on the My Time Dining option if you turned up at 8pm - we ended up eating earlier to secure a table. The waiters are lovely and work very hard and soon get to know your preferences which is a nice touch. We only had inside cabins as I prefer it (not being woken by early morning daylight) and it was more than adequate, plenty of storage, standard shower cubicle etc. What I was upset about was being charged for a mini-bar purchase (on the first day), which I queried but was never refunded - I dont think it was stocked properly to start with - but they would not take my word for it!! Shops on board have all the basics and are reasonably priced. However, I was again overcharged in the shop on the last day, and because the till was busy the assistant assured me he would process the refund as soon as he got a change, suprise suprise it wasn't done - it was only $3 but it is the principle!!! More bars than you could possibly visit - and plenty of eating places. As well as the 3 main dining rooms, the Windjammer cafe always had a good selection of food whatever time of day you visit, and we always managed to find a table reasonably quickly. Johnny Rockets is a must if you have kids, they just keep bringing the food until you can't eat anymore and for $4.95 each surcharge was good value. Didn't try either Choppes or Portofinos so can't comment on them. Do your homework for any port visits as the local information they provide is very basic - on the grounds they want you to buy their trips. For example, on the port guide for Madeira they didn't even mention the cable car/toboggan ride which is what most people chose to do! My main gripe I guess is the amount of people that dont abide by the dress codes - on formal nights it is nice to make the effort and a lot of people just didn't bother which is a shame - and sticking my neck out here, but I do think Independence is indeed "butlins at sea" and is more downmarket than some of the other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Embarkation. This was a very easy process. We arrived at the Pier about 10:45 AM and were checked in and on board in under an hour. We proceeded to the Windjammer for lunch as the cabins were not ready until 1:30 PM. Cabin:9568 Jr. ... Read More
Embarkation. This was a very easy process. We arrived at the Pier about 10:45 AM and were checked in and on board in under an hour. We proceeded to the Windjammer for lunch as the cabins were not ready until 1:30 PM. Cabin:9568 Jr. Suite. This was our first time in a Junior Suite. It is not a Suite as we know it, it was just a nice large cabin with a large balcony, bathroom with a bathtub and a walk in closet. The cabin had a sofa and a chair with an ottoman. The vanity seemed larger than one in a Balcony Cabin. The bed was really comfortable. We did have one BIG problem in the cabin. We were resting in the late afternoon and heard a noise that sounded like water from a hose hitting some sort of metal. It lasted a few seconds, stopped and then returned again for a few seconds. We didn't think anything of it until a few minutes later when we opened the bathroom door, there was sewerage all over the bathroom and the smell was awful. I called Guest Services which didn't answer immediately so I called Maintainance. They told me they would be up shortly. We did find a Maintainance person on the floor and he said he would get on it. We went up to the Diamond Lounge (we are Diamond Members)because we couldn't stay in the cabin. We spoke to the Conceirge about the problem and she said she could follow up on it. About an hour later she told us that it was fixed and the bathroom was cleaned up. It was clean when we came back to the cabin. What upset me was that we never heard from Guest Services regarding this problem, following up that everything was o.k. now. On previous cruises we heard from Guest Services if something was missing from a Room Service tray. I thought this was something Major which should have been addressed. Now that I mentioned Room Service, we ordered Coffee and Juice every morning. I just called when we woke up and it was delivered withibn 15 minutes which I think was excellent. Also we are Diamond Members and went to the Diamond Lounge every evening. The service and drinks up there were excellent. The Bartender knew what we liked to drink and had it to us in a minute or two after we came into the Lounge. The appetizers were also wonderful, with different ones each evening. The Dining Room staff was also excellent. We were at a table for 10 which we enjoyed. We felt that the food and choices were also excellent. We had late seating which always works well for us. The Ports were wonderful. The weather was perfect, between 70 and 80 degrees once we got south of Southampton. There was no need to book an Excursion from the ship. There were plenty of taxi's at the pier as well as Sightseeing buses and Hop on and Off Buses. We found it was best to just hire a taxi as we were six in our group. This way we could do what we wanted, when we wanted. In some ports we just walked from the ship. Do not pay for the Ship Shuttle into the city because the sightseeing buses and taxi's are right there. The ship did rock quite a bit with seasick bags all around most days. This was not just in the Bay of Biscay which was only rocky on our return. One night it was so rocky that it actually woke me up. We did not get sick at all. The only unfortunate part for us was that it was a school holiday for the English kids and there were many on the ship. I do however have to say that they were well behaved. We are from the US and there were only 65 Americans on this trip. That was fun for us. We met wonderful people from the UK, Scotland and Wales and will remain friends with them. We would definately recommend this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I suppose that for every family of cruisers there must surely be a cruise that does not come up to par. Independence of the Seas, 20th October to the Canaries was ours. Only our eighth but this was one that we hope will not be repeated in ... Read More
I suppose that for every family of cruisers there must surely be a cruise that does not come up to par. Independence of the Seas, 20th October to the Canaries was ours. Only our eighth but this was one that we hope will not be repeated in the future. We had previously had two very happy times on Navigator, so were looking forward to a repeat performance on the bigger ship. I'll begin at the beginning. Arrival in our own car at Southampton was handled in as efficient manner as one can expect considering the volume of passengers. Check in, following that seemingly endless zig zag queuing system was quick and handled by a very friendly young lady. Once up the gangway we were accosted by what was to be eleven days of having a camera shoved in our faces by the over enthusiastic onboard photo staff. The Windjammer was, even at about 1pm, very busy but seating for five was effortlessly obtained, a feat never to be easily repeated thereafter. Cabins or staterooms as they are naively now called, were spotless, our luggage was already on site and our cabin attendant made himself known and said that if we needed anything at all, to let him know. He was true to his word, a very nice guy. We had picked first sitting for dinner, 6pm, hoping to do a bit of dancing and then go to the 10-30 theatre show. This plan was immediately shot to pieces as, some nights the theatre show was 8-45 and 10-30 and some nights 7pm and 8-45. We asked to change to second sitting and this was happily arranged without problem by the Head Waiter. This presented its own problems for us as the 7pm theatre show interfered with the ladies 'getting ready' time. Why there was a need to constantly change show times is unknown. We did most of the performances though, sometimes not being present quite at the start but what a disappointment they were. Only one dancing and singing show and we had enjoyed several on Navigator, mostly to set themes, you know what I mean. This time, with the exception of Bernie Flint, tears of laughter from us, and 'Kev' a very funny guy from Armenia (really?) and what a brilliant piano player he was. The rest of the performers were fourth rate. A Beatles 'tribute' band, a Scottish woman who screeched her way through her stage time, a guitar group who insisted that we all clapped our way through the act, to drown their appalling playing one assumes, and a juggler, fifty minutes of juggling, or so we were told, we left halfway. One night there was 'Mr & Mrs' and another 'The Quest'. Both were audience participation shows where guests were invited to 'make fools of themselves' basically. All for cheapness? We were told by a staff member that the entertainment was tailored to the type of client on each cruise and the Brits were people who liked to sit and booze. Fellow cruisers we spoke to had done the Carribean on Independence and they said the entertainment was remarkably different. Plenty of dancing and stunning stage shows, so perhaps there is some truth in what we were told. Certainly the few yanks on board this cruise were dissatisfied. A noticeable thing was the profusion of wheelchairs and motor buggies. There is some embarrasement in commenting on these as I know those who are wheelchair bound have as much right to a cruise as I. But there was rather a lot. Perhaps it was that they do not normally find themselves among such a large amount of other beings but they did barge their way through crowded areas at time. Toes were repeatedly run over especially in the lifts. In the theatre they were allowed to 'park' behind the back row of the auditorium apparently with disregard to their numbers. Should there have been an emergency, either they or the rest of us would have been in a panic situation. The Ice Show was something else. Only one show, performed several times to accommodate everybody. Spectacular, Stunning, Amazing, Extravagant we absolutely loved it. But no adherence to the rules. There was a specific request that nobody sat in the aisles, for safety reasons I suppose. So they sat in the aisles and no staff member intervened, yet there were empty seats. Who would believe that smoking is allowed in the Labyrinth disco? Of all places when you are gyrating about, breathing heavier than normal, smoking is in order. Except........that normally there is nobody dancing. The DJ plays what he thinks and not what the punters ask for. But the punters go in......and come out just as quickly because of that and the fug. The food on board was up to the standard we expect, as was the waitress service in the Macbeth Dining room. What an unfortunate name for a dining room, but all were Shakespeare themed. Nothing was too much trouble, if there was anything we disliked after trying, it was replaced with something else of our choice. The pre cruise literature informed us that there would be two formal nights on an eleven night cruise. There was in fact three. That caused some concern in the wardrobe department for sure. Same person organised that, who books the entertainment, I shouldn't wonder. Dress codes are not adhered to however. Scruffy turn out on informal nights, and only marginally tidy on formal nights. We spoke to several people who were upset that formal did not mean formal. As for no shorts and swim wear in the dining areas etc....forget it. Lots of youngsters dressing as they wished to. In Windjammers there was the expected excellent range of choices. Finding seating for five was near impossible. Why do couples always sit at tables for six I wonder? Our solution and well recommended to you dear reader, get up a bit early have breakfast and later lunch in the dining rooms. Much more civilised and refined. Waiter service. You get what you get. No piled high plates but you certainly don't starve. The talks/lectures were mainly aimed at selling us stuff. Jewellery, smellies, no 'bargains', all it seemed at shore prices and go to the spa if you dare. Tour selling and bingo mad. This puzzles me! Buy a Bingo ticket and get one free!! Is that a bargain or a gimmick? Strikes me you are working twice as hard for no extra advantage over the next guy. Overall; Fairly enjoyable. Food, good. All the staff, pleasant. Ship, clean. Organisation in general, iffy. Entertainment, not good. Sail with ship again, No! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Boarded ship at Southampton on 31 Oct 2011 for 11 night cruise to Spain and Canary Islands. The boarding was very easy with luggage being dropped off at the baggage hall prior to parking in the Cruise car park at the port. After parking ... Read More
Boarded ship at Southampton on 31 Oct 2011 for 11 night cruise to Spain and Canary Islands. The boarding was very easy with luggage being dropped off at the baggage hall prior to parking in the Cruise car park at the port. After parking car joined the queue at departures and waited to board. Face mapping pictures were taken for security. Given instructions to get to cabin and advised that the suitcases would be delivered to cabin. We had booked a stateroom with balcony and were not disappointed. there was a generous double bed, with a sofa bed if needed. The TV was a flat screen 32" which was interactive with guest services and gave information on GPS and also give information on guest account, this was wall mounted. The wardrobes were built in with a safe installed. The bathroom was toilet, washbasin in vanity unit and shower. There was a fridge which housed a mini bar, but has room to add personal items. The balcony had a small table, two deck chairs and a sun lounger. There was 24 hour room service if needed. The ships dining rooms were spacious and you were allocated a table for meals. We did not use our allocated dining room but used the Windjammer cafe for all meals. The Windjammer cafe was buffet style and served an enormous variety of meals to suit all tastes. The cafe took up the whole of the rear of the 11th deck of the ship with outstanding views to sea. The staff were courteous, helpful and friendly and did everything possible to assist. We were advised to buy the soft drinks package which gave unlimited soft drinks for the duration of the cruise, however I feel that in our experience it would have been more cost effective to purchase drinks as needed as it would be unlikely that we would drink enough to make the package worth while. The shows were excellent with a range of both on-board entertainers and entertainers who joined the ship for their performances only and departed afterwards. There were a range of activities and it would be worth while joining one of the forums if there is a specific question you need answering. Royal Caribbean forums are very informative but are not well advertised by the cruise line. The water park on deck 11 is excellent for small children, but there are no life guards in attendance and it is wholley the responsibility of the parents to monitor children. There are 5 hot tubs, and a fitness centre which would rival many subscription facilities. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our 1st cruise for our 15th wedding anniversary . We took the 4 children which were 14, 10, 10 and 8. I didn't do much the 1st 5 days as we hit a winter storm over the bay of bis quay. 110km/h winds the boat swayed from side ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise for our 15th wedding anniversary . We took the 4 children which were 14, 10, 10 and 8. I didn't do much the 1st 5 days as we hit a winter storm over the bay of bis quay. 110km/h winds the boat swayed from side to side as our room was at the front every time the boat dipped the wardrobes swung open then slammed shut it was awful. I had seasickness for 4 days slept most of the time , couldn't eat . When we did manage to eat the food was fabulous and plentiful. No shortage of food - be prepared to put on a stone. theirs pizza and sandwiches to snack on, buffet breakfast or ala carte and the main dining was excellent and the waiters are great. I quite enjoyed getting dressed up for the formal evenings and found most people did the same, Apart from the kids club which is open up to 10pm at night their wasn't much for the kids to do . The weather only got sunny at gran canaria so couldn't really use the pool.Open decks were closed for 2 days due to the weather, have to be 16 to use the gym. My kids don't like the kids club but very good if they like that sort of thing. no kids discos in the evening after the shows we found there was no were to go with them and ended up in bed at 10pm. the family discos were aimed at 3-7 age group to young for my lot. The shops were disappointing . We bought a watch for our 8 year old and she only had it a day went in the pool with it and it broke. Asked in the evening they said to come in the morning to exchange it. In the morning They would not exchange it and said they weren't waterproof ,our 8 year old was HEARTBROKEN as she spent her money on it. This put me off spending on the boat if they cant exchange a 10 dollar watch. All they want is money , money money similarly once the tips were given out we didn't see the room attendant and he didn't make us an animal on the last evening kids disappointed again. Overall we enjoyed it but will try a different company next time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Not what or who you would expect from a cruise... We are a professional couple in our early 30s and like to cruise to experience the 'better things in life'; beautiful ports, excellent dining options, great company, spacious ... Read More
Not what or who you would expect from a cruise... We are a professional couple in our early 30s and like to cruise to experience the 'better things in life'; beautiful ports, excellent dining options, great company, spacious ship and total relaxation. Having sailed Costa, MSC , Celebrity and P&O we have a good feel for what we like with Celebrity being by far our preference. We went with Royal Caribbean's Inde of the Seas as we believed it would be a good middle ground; younger contingency due to amenities on board, lots of dining options and who could resist trying 'The Nation of Why-Not'? In a nut-shell I believe that in RC's attempt to bring cruising to the wider market the finer side of the experience has been constrained to the fee-for Fine Dining restaurants and the Olive and Twist Lounge. The Royal Promenade, Jonny Rockets and even the Champagne Bar could have been mistaken for a cheap British holiday park with large contingents of beer-swilling Brits making themselves very much at home. With a fist-fight in the Champagne Bar, a passenger who every evening would go for a drink in his dressing gown and slippers, men at the formal evening dressed in track pants and women in skirts disguised as belts I did have to remind myself where I was and more-so why I had paid over £2300 for the privilege. By offering 'all-you-can drink' beer packages at very affordable prices, turning a blind eye to bad language and inappropriate dress along with stripping back quality of food and the niceties to lower base cabin prices, I believe RC are alienating the people who got them where they are today. Perhaps sailing from a non home port would have brought together a different mix of people however I did not expect to have to seek refuge in Chops and Portofino's just to be able to eat good quality food and converse with people in a more-civilised environment. Such was the amount of time we eat in the speciality restaurants the waiters asked all of the 'regular' tables if the food was really that bad downstairs! The cabin was fine and crew fantastic however cruising for me is a luxury and something I save up for and look forward too. Next year it is back to Celebrity for me! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Embarkation and Car Parking in Southampton excellent - we arrived at about 11.30 but I did hear there were long queue's later at around 1 p.m. Of course all passengers are told to embark at one o'clock - this may be a mistake as ... Read More
Embarkation and Car Parking in Southampton excellent - we arrived at about 11.30 but I did hear there were long queue's later at around 1 p.m. Of course all passengers are told to embark at one o'clock - this may be a mistake as most of the cruisers are from the UK and can time their arrival so "do as they are told" and all arrive at the same time. Ship is beautiful - our Junior Suite on deck 9 was the biggest one we have had. Staff mostly very good. Food in the MDR generally good - husband enjoyed the beef and had the steak from the part of the menu that is always available, on many evenings. Waiters excellent. Went for the 10 day gold wine package which suited us. The more expensive package seemed to offer generally the same European, New World and Chilean wines but also included more Californian Wines - and we do not particularly care for them. My daughter aged 18 does not drink wine and I do object to paying for soft drinks for her. Took breakfast in the Main Dining Room - buffet which was good. Windjammer also OK - ship was full but we could generally find a seat. As mentioned by others this ship is not really designed for the cool weather we had on the way south. The solarium area is open to the weather and the decks were often fairly empty. Some hardy children enjoyed the water park area on these days and the flowrider was busy - with spectators all in coats and shivering ! Bay of Biscay was relatively smooth but the ship certainly rocked and rolled down the coast of Spain and Portugal - sick bags on the stairs - but most people coped well. One night was quite bad, daughter was scared. Have had a couple of storms in the Med before but the motion of Independence did feel different from Splendour, Voyager and Celebrity Splendour. We disembarked at every port - but they really do not compare in interest and variety with a Med itinerary. Vigo OK, Lisbon good, Las Palmas - better than expected - lovely Old Town and Beach - get the local bus for one euro forty to the old town. Beach walking distance from the ship. Teneriffe - hired a minibus on the pier for one hundred and twenty euros for 7 of us - took us to Puerto de la Cruz - with a little added sightseeing - good value for 4 - 5 hours. Funchal very nice - pleasant few hours. But time on shore too short. La Coruna also pleasant but not exciting. It seemed that the shore days were all too short - the sailing distances are great and I guess that if your main destination is the ship then you might enjoy this itinerary. The Destination Talks with Thomas Judson were high on personal nostalgia and lots of photo's of what the locals, especially young ladies, look like. The history of the place was covered but the local sights poorly covered. No local port information regarding bus services etc. The talks on Vigo and La Coruna focused entirely on Santiago de Compestella some 60 miles away - only really viable on a Ship Shore Excursion. We had lots of photo's of the shops and shopkeepers. I wanted information about the actual destination - The destination talks on our Princess Cruise of the Baltics included local info, Hoho bus info - must see sights - local tips - which areas to visit and which to avoid i.e. things useful to a first time visitor with only a few hours available - but none of this information was given. This was compounded by the extremely poor Port Explorer guides However the Special Interest Theatre Lectures with Brian Daniels were excellent and even encouraged 3 passengers to write short personal stories. These were read out at the end of the last lecture and moved me to tears - definitely the best entertainment onboard. Entertainment was certainly the worst we have had. I believe a new cast had been taken on and therefore there were only two full shows plus the ice show. Headliners had been flown in instead - but they were completely geared to the UK. The Backbeat Beatles were good but then we had the Zoots again doing mainly 60's music especially Beatles numbers. The excellent band in the Lounge also focused on many 60's standards inc the Beatles. Then we had the Rock Britannia street party - guess what same old songs with an emphasis on the Beatles. I thought I liked the 60's and the Beatles but this was just too much - overkill and poor planning. I felt rather sorry for the small number of cruisers not of UK origin as the jokes etc were all aimed at those of us from the UK. The other headliners were largely ex winners or runners up in very old UK TV talent shows, Bernie Flint, Brenda Cochrane a singer, Phil Blackmore a juggler, who had lost his equipment en route, his original date was covered by a dreadful pianist, If you had 10 minutes from each of these on a variety bill - fair enough but none of them could hold a full theatre - I have never before seen people leaving the theatre in droves before the end of the show. Also had a hypnotist - not my cup of tea - made me rather uncomfortable. Cruise Director James Andrews worked hard but was often fighting a losing battle. Ice Show was however good. We enjoyed this cruise as we had friends on board and the facilities were good. However ship not really designed for this itinerary - surely more at home in the Caribbean. I would not cruise from Southampton again - it takes too long to get anywhere and the weather enroute is unreliable. Because we only had a short drive from home it was convenient and allowed us to take far too much luggage as no flying weight restrictions but next time we will fly to the origin port and enjoy a more port intensive itinerary.. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Aaah..The Independence of the Seas..what can one say apart from it is HUGE!It carries over 1,300(100 chefs) staff and over 3,600 passengers. Embarking the ship was very smooth apart from a "computer says no" glitch which held ... Read More
Aaah..The Independence of the Seas..what can one say apart from it is HUGE!It carries over 1,300(100 chefs) staff and over 3,600 passengers. Embarking the ship was very smooth apart from a "computer says no" glitch which held up the zig zag queue for 10 minutes. Once photos duly taken for sea pass(on board credit card and door opener!) we were soon stepping on to the floating village. The whole process taking no more than 45 minutes from dropping luggage at entrance to greetings from a member of the crew. We went to our balcony stateroom straight away which was spotlessly clean,had a queen size bed, sofa,wardrobe with safe,tv and shower bathroom. Our attendant soon introduced himself (Tarmono xx)Nothing too much trouble for him and what he can do with towels is mind boggling (swinging gorilla from a coat hanger)!!He was a diamond all through the holiday. All information regarding the ships activities (and there were lots!) were delivered every evening via the Cruise Compass leaflet. We chose the my-time dining option which I would highly recommend as it opens up much more flexibility surrounding other on board events. We dined in the King Lear dining room every evening bar 1 and the food was simply stunning (chocolate souflee..divine!). The service we had (Mimi and Rosario) was attentive, quick and extremely friendly without being overpowering. I wont spoil the surprise for other first timers on the ship, but lets just say the waiters do more than serve you..SURFS UP!! Unfortunatley the weather wasn't kind on the first four days..choppy doesn't quite describe what it was actually like..more rollercoaster.ish! However..as the captain says 'i advise to take a pill'..we did(abundance of free ones in medical centre deck 1)and they did the trick. Weather improved on route to Gran Canaria and to quote the captain again 'We've paid our dues now its time to cruise'..superb! The excursions were plentiful..advise to choose fairly soon as they get filled quite quickly. Recommended trip that we did would be the basket toboggan ride in Madeira..hilarious, scary but huge fun. Entertainment wise, very funny guy by the name of Richard Gaunlett had us laughing out loud and wish he could have been on longer. Ice skating was fantastic once the ship stopped rocking(1 show postponed)..quite hard to double salco on a swaying rink! The casino had oodles of fruit machines, roulette, card games, virtual horse racing (complimentary champagne one evening!). Again crew (Lydia xx) more than happy to assist in helping you learn the art of the casino games..win or lose! Up on the top decks the pools and hot tubs were clean and plenty of beds available..although not all by pool. Drinks on board were quite pricey so decide on first day if you want one of the packages on offer, as the price will include all days aboard even if you want to take it mid holiday. The photos were of a very high quality and the opportunity to have your photo taken was in abundance..stairs, bridge, port, embarkment, formal evenings..the list goes on...! All in all, great first cruise and will have many fond memories of people we met and places we saw. Fortunately, sitting in the Windjammer cafe on Deck 11 at 07.50 on the entrance into Lisbon didn't put me off!! To quote the captain one last time 'we have blue to the right,blue to the left,blue up above and below..beautiful, just how it was 40 million years ago!' Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My boyfriend and I, both 31, decided to go on a cruize because he does not like flying. This was both of our first time on a cruise. We were very impressed with the speed of the check in, it took us about ten minutes to check in and ... Read More
My boyfriend and I, both 31, decided to go on a cruize because he does not like flying. This was both of our first time on a cruise. We were very impressed with the speed of the check in, it took us about ten minutes to check in and get onto the boat. We did arrive at the boat at about 12.00pm. It was nice that our holiday started as soon as we got on the boat. There were notices to say that our roon would not be availabe until 1pm and that our luggage would not be available until up to 9.00pm. This was not a problem for us, as our luggage was in our room at 13.00pm. First impressions of the boat was very good, there was so much to take in that we kept on bumping into each other! We decided to go in September as there would be less children. There were lots of older people on the boat, and families with young children. It was unfortunate on our first evening that when sailing through the bay of biscay, we caught the tail end of a hurricane and it was a very rough crossing, i would say to take sea sickness tablets, although we did find out that the ship provided people with sea sickness tablets. We had an interior stateroom, the room was bigger then we were expecting and if we cruised again we would pay extra for a window or balcony. The downside to having no window, was that at times we didnt know what time of day it was! Dont let this put you off if you have already booked a room. Our attendant Christopher was very friendly, and knew our names and was very good at his job. There are no irons in the rooms, and if you want to have anything ironed, they offer a pressing service which you have to pay for. The issue we had with our room, was that there was a connecting door to another room and we could hear quite alot coming from the room. We spent longer in our room then we thought we would have done, this was due to us being quite tired in the evenings and going to bed really early! The food was really good, you can eat 24 hours a day if you wanted to. We always found seats in the Windjammer cafe, and there was water, cloudy lemonade, fruit punch, kiwi squash, tea, coffee and hot chocolate available, plus orange and apple juice at breakfast time. We had room service a couple of times, they do a light menu that you can choose from. There is a nominal charge between 12.00pm and 5.00am. You can have breakfast in bed as well. WE did my time dining and ate at 8.30pm, we varied between this and eating in the Windjammer. There are speciality restaurants that you can eat at, but we didnt. There are icecreams available for free, 'sprinkles' which is a self service machine by one of the pools. We were attracted to the boat because of the amount of activities that were available on board, such as the flo rida and the rock climbing wall, but we didnt us any of these in the end! We were lucky with the weather, and it was around 27 degrees each day. A downside from leaving from Southampton, is that its a couple of days before you see any sunshine. Some of the destinations we really liked and others we would not return to visit. We didn't like the fact that we had time restrictions in each of the places, for exampke, there is lots to see in Madeira and we were only there until 2.30pm. Royal Caribbean organise trips, but we found theses to be expensive and did not do them. We went on a couple of open top buses, which were good because you get to see the area and if there is anything that you are interested in you can hop on and off. Prices ranged from 16 - 12 euros for this. In the evenings, we did see a couple of shows. I had seen other reviews that said you are lucky to get tickets for the ice show, but there were enough tickets for everybody. The shows we did see were really good, but if there was a show that we didnt want to see, there wasn't anything else to do. There are plenty of bars to go to, but not ideal if you dont want to drink. We found ourselves going to bed about 10.30. Alcohol is quite expensive on board, two coronas cost 11 dollars and a glass of champagne was 12 dollars. They are selling drinks packages, but we worked out that this would have cost us around 700 pounds extra. We met a few people who got the packages and said it had saved them money, so i guess it depends on how much you like to drink. We had pre paid our gratuities, but I would not do this again, because at the end of the cruise you are given envelopes and 'vouchers' to put inside that already say on there ' to my head waither' etc. Our head waiter did not do much for our table, it was Vito and Felix our waiter and assistant waiter wh were brilliant, they suggested which food to eat and also let us know informations about the port we would be in the nex day, i would have preferred to have given him and Felix more money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Our only other cruise was 20 years ago so thought it was about time we sailed again. Embarkation - Very well organised as you would need to be with 4000 people to board. From dropping off our bags to having access to the cabin was less ... Read More
Our only other cruise was 20 years ago so thought it was about time we sailed again. Embarkation - Very well organised as you would need to be with 4000 people to board. From dropping off our bags to having access to the cabin was less than 1/2 an hour, good start to the cruise. Cabin - Balcony on deck 7, very happy with it, plenty of storage space and everything we needed (except of course the no iron rule). Cabin Steward - Nikolai was very friendly and helpful and kept the cabin very tidy with towel animals every other night; a nice touch. He always stopped for a chat whenever we saw him and we were very happy with the service. Facilities - Impressed with the many and varied facilities aboard and enjoyed reading the daily 'Compass' newsletter to check on the day's activities. Shows - Really enjoyed the 'Armenian' comedian, (sorry forgot his name), his was the stand-out show, closely followed by the ice-show, impressive with spectacular costumes. The ships Singers and Dancers shows were not to our taste so only saw the 1st one. The other shows were ok but no more than that. Casino - Very nice facility, never too crowded. Evening Dining - We were allocated a table in the Romeo and Juliet dining room and thought the food was very good, well presented and with a good choice, hence we never felt the need to try one of the pay restaurants. We were lucky to have tablemates that we got on with and pleasant professional service which made the whole dining experience enjoyable. Breakfasts - We had room service on all but the last day and a relaxed breakfast suited us as opposed to the more hectic Windjammer. On the few occasions we did uses the Windjammer for lunch we always found a table without too much trouble but picked our times to avoid peak-time. The food was plentiful and we had no complaints. Excursions - We booked an RCCI excursion in every port and they were a mixed bag, particularly enjoyed Madeira and Tenerife but think that Ferrol should be dropped from the itinerary, boring was the best way to describe it. Disembarkation - Even easier that embarkation, simply walked off the boat with our luggage. Most of my comments have been positive but there are always a few areas which can be improved. The Negatives - (Some of these were known before we cruised) Cost of Alcohol - Extortionate Alcohol policy - whereby you can't even buy a bottle of local wine to enjoy on board - unnecessary Ice-Show - Queueing for tickets should be eliminated and reserved through the TV screen. The organisation to get access to the venue was a shambles, this whole process needs a revamp. Bingo - A total rip-off, prices too expensive and prizes inadequate leaving a large profit for RCCI. I read numerous reviews before selecting this cruise so had a very good idea what to expect. We were restricted in timeframes and choose this cruise as we thought there wouldn't be lots of children or teenagers on board. This proved to be the case and apart from the pool area we rarely saw them. The majority of passengers were in the 60+ bracket, as we are, but so many of them must offer warning signs to the NHS as the incidence of obesity was at alarming levels. At first I thought the pool area was a beached whale sanctuary and then thought it must be a maternity facility as so many of the men appeared to be in the third trimester. We look forward to cruising again and would have no issues in cruising on the Independence of the Seas but will try another line next time in order try a different experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
If you are a disabled passenger on "Independence of the seas" you will find it nearly impossible to disembark from the ship when you are in a port as they do not provide safe ramps for mobility scooter/wheelchair users - I was ... Read More
If you are a disabled passenger on "Independence of the seas" you will find it nearly impossible to disembark from the ship when you are in a port as they do not provide safe ramps for mobility scooter/wheelchair users - I was nearly forced out of my scooter due to the extremely steep descent onto shore with no help given except to slow my scooter down but if it is slowed down it wont clear the ramps!! The room we had was an interior stateroom(n0 window) the bathroom was extremely small but the shower cubicle was adequate. The lifts on this vessel are large and you can get about easy enough. The sunbeds were plenty but too low to negotiate if you have arthritis like me! There were a few chairs but you had to fight for them. Also if your disabled it is very hard for you if dining in "Windjammer" trying to find a space to accommodate a scooter while your partner gets your meal is not easy. Trying to find where all the meal choices was located meant that you were walking round for ages while your meal got cold! Would recommend eating in the waiter serviced restaurants. Room service was 1st class but not enough choice although you get a good cooked breakfast in your room. There was not enough choice of entertainment during the day - quizzes, quizzes or quizzes. Shops close on port days! so if you cant go ashore -hard lines! Dont bother with the soda fountain package as the sodas are horrible! its post-mix you cant have tins of cola or sprite! The excursions offered do not allow for the majority of disabled passengers and they are expensive. All Royal Caribbean seem to want you to do is spend your money in their shops. The shows are very amateur with staff providing the entertainment! If you like talks about old music hall "has beens" you will enjoy your self. This ship is immaculate dont get me wrong - you couldnt find a speck of dust! they clean from morning to night and it is fantastic but with not enough to do it got very boring and we couldnt wait to get home which was a shame. We spent a lot of time in our claustraphobic cabin watching movies on tv to stave off boredom - it also has air con turned to cold all the time so it was often warmer on deck! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
As first time cruisers we had spent a lot of time talking to people about the ship and royal caribbean and had built up a picture in my mind. I think because of that we were not impressed with the size of the ship, there were people even ... Read More
As first time cruisers we had spent a lot of time talking to people about the ship and royal caribbean and had built up a picture in my mind. I think because of that we were not impressed with the size of the ship, there were people even on the last day that had not been to parts of the ship and were getting lost. I think we had covered the whole ship in 2 days. Our usual holidays are either 4/5 star AI holidays, cottages in the UK, theatre breaks in london or city breaks, this was our first cruise. Firstly the cabin was small as expected, but plenty of storage and the shower room big enough to navigate. Found it uncomfortable using the loo, as you can hear everything, so hubby had to go for a walk. Secondly the food is very good. We preferred the main dining room each night, although we tried portofino one night in which we experienced the only bit of bad service over the whole cruise. I complained about it to guest services and received a complimentary wine and dinner in Chops Grille the following evening which was fantastic. Crew are brilliant, all friendly, good morning and sir/madam as you would expect but more than that they engaged with you and would have a chat, remember your name and your drink the following night. We found this a great part of the experience and it show that royal caribbean work hard at what they call their gold anchor service i think. Hopefully this is representative of cruising generally and not just american style as we have booked on Thomson Dream later this yr as a cheap last minute deal. For us we enjoyed the whole experience, choice of bars, staff, other guests friendly and chatty, dressing up, casino and the fab entertainment. I think we will be hard pushed to find a better style of holiday, I really think this suits. Can't compare RC and Independance to other lines or ships but it was always immaculate and well kept. Finally the only thing we didn't like was the Windjammer, too busy, like a zoo and didn't feel it offered a good choice compared to AI resorts. We also expected this to be open 24 hrs but it closed at night, although a cafe and pizza place were open 24 hrs, the food we felt was not as good. We never go back to the same place twice, but we would gladly return to the same ship on the same itinerary and travel with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Our first time on a cruise and all i can say is wow wow wow it is that good. FOOD.the food is probably the best thing about the cruise.from the Windjameer to evening meal to pizza at 3 o clock in the morning it is just first class.Eating ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise and all i can say is wow wow wow it is that good. FOOD.the food is probably the best thing about the cruise.from the Windjameer to evening meal to pizza at 3 o clock in the morning it is just first class.Eating in the main dining room is like eating in the Hilton hotel.The staff cater to all your needs and would be offended if you didn't have a good time or had a meal you didn't like and you didn't tell them so they could rectify it. DRINKS:Me and the wife got two beer and wine packages it worked out around 550 English pounds for them both and we thought that was excellent value for money.any cocktails we just bought extra at a reasonable amount. ENTERTAINMENT:the entertainment is excellent and with the ship being so big you don't feel like you are crammed in just to see a performance.the highlight of the cruise was kev orkian of Britains got talent what a funny funny guy he is and also the main man korey simon in the schooner bar.he is a hidden gem on the boat and we found ourselves in the schooner bar most nights being entertained off him and some nights i would sing Elvis with him and it made our holiday. PORTS OF CALL:Being the canaries the ports of call our nearly all the same but because you can get on and off the ship during the day we just popped off for a couple of hours but really the ships that good you want to be back on and enjoying the what the ship has to offer. we cant wait to go next year you really have to go on the cruise to appreciate how good it is.roll on next September 2 weeks round the med.Awesome holiday thank you rci Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Easy check in despite it being busy.Our room was ready when we embarked at 1.30pm. Ship Lovely and clean as was our room. We had a great cabin steward who went over and above his duties --- thank you to Christian! Lovely BIG comfy bed and ... Read More
Easy check in despite it being busy.Our room was ready when we embarked at 1.30pm. Ship Lovely and clean as was our room. We had a great cabin steward who went over and above his duties --- thank you to Christian! Lovely BIG comfy bed and the balcony was the biggest we have ever had.I liked the shower cubicle,no water splashing on the bathroom floor! Not too far from the elevators. Great food with a good choice in Windjammer although occasionally it could have done with being hotter. It did get a bit busy at times although we always manged to find a table - I guess most ships are like that though. Restaurant food was great as well the meat was so tender and yummy puds! We enjoyed all of the ports and the weather was kind to us. Shows --- fantastic as was the Strings ice show. We had to be in the theatre for 8.30pm for the 9.00pm show or we couldn't get a seat! Very popular! Found the outdoor pools a bit cold and the hot tubs the opposite we boiled like lobsters! Enjoyed the indoor pool and hot tubs though. Drinks - yes they are a tad pricey unfortunately. Newspapers can be bought for $3 at the coffee shop in the promenade. We went with trepidation because of the ships size --- but have been won over and have booked again for next year --- same ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My partner and i have just returned from a 11 night cruise to the canary's on the IOS . Our embarkation was smooth at Southampton we arrived and as we had booked a junior suite we asked if we could use the priority check in ,at first ... Read More
My partner and i have just returned from a 11 night cruise to the canary's on the IOS . Our embarkation was smooth at Southampton we arrived and as we had booked a junior suite we asked if we could use the priority check in ,at first we were told no so joined the main line only to be pulled out 5 mins later and took to priority check in .We were on the ship in around 30 mins .Our junior suite was large huge bed /balcony /bath and shower/ walk in wardrobe/sofa bed . It was a very comfortable room on the very aft of the ship .Please be aware the ship is huge and gets very congested in all the public areas .The windjammer provides nice meals huge choice just very busy .You could of course use the main dining rooms for lunch /breakfast which is by far more relaxing .we also ate in Portofino $20 which is outstanding and the not so good Chops grill $25.Johnny Rockets is also very good and will make you want to burst there is so much food burgers fries onion rings dessert all for $4.95 .They bring the fries /onion rings ,you finish these then you are brought more ! The staff dance for you all good fun .The food in the main dining room for dinner is very good ,large portions .The service on the ship is outstanding think of the best service you have had and x it by ten .The ship is spotless you wont believe how clean until you witness it .I am afraid to report that the dress code is disrespected by a number of guests football shirts on formal nights is really poor form and looks quite silly we had three formal nights on this cruise and RCI have to address this problem .If you like to play bingo on your cruise as we do start saving as is $32 for six games .The gym on this ship is very big and is impressive .Also the casino is excellent and you do feel like being in vegas it is that good .The sports deck is also good fun full size court crazy golf table tennis climbing wall flow rider .Overall activities on the ship are limited though no cooking demo /computer course lectures .Cruise director James and sidekick Jason will make you laugh out load for sure .Shows are varied and to be fair not to bad .The ice show is special for sure .This is a huge ship and for some reason seems to move about to much many people were sea sick even in moderate seas .Also i am not a fan of paying $12 for a transfer from some ports to the town .this should be included .Would we use RCI again ? not sure ! ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Myself (33 yrs), my Husband (35yrs), our Daughter (6 yrs) and my Mum (67 yrs with walking stick).We sailed from Southampton. We used Cruise Parking Ltd to park our car. They took the suitcases from our car and we didn't touch or see ... Read More
Myself (33 yrs), my Husband (35yrs), our Daughter (6 yrs) and my Mum (67 yrs with walking stick).We sailed from Southampton. We used Cruise Parking Ltd to park our car. They took the suitcases from our car and we didn't touch or see them again until they were outside our stateroom at 7pm that evening. Check-in was fantastic. Yes there are a lot of people in Southampton but the queues move very quickly and we were onbaord within 30mins.Our cabin was on deck 6 (6364) with balcony. It was very spacious. The views throughout the cruise from the balcony was fantastic. Our stateroom attendent was excellent. He gave us an animal made from towels every evening....very talented. Our stateroom was cleaned 3 times daily. He was an absolutely fantastic guy.Food - Windjammer reminded me of Butlins x 1000!!! Not my cup of tea. We used it on our 1st 2 days as we hadn't realised where else to go. Breakfast, dinner and tea are best in your designated dining rooms. Food here is absolutely fantastic. The waiters cannot do enough for you. You are literally treated like Royalty.Kids Club - Fantastic. So much for the children to do. Staff genuinely like playing with the kids and my Daughter absolutely loved it.Ship - very, very clean. Prices high in shops. Drinks are not too bad. Bottle of Budweiser $4.95....cocktails between $7.00 and $9.50. We got a soda package (very worthwhile) for £42.00. This gives you unlimited coke, diet coke, sprite or fanta throughout your holiday. Free within the cost is tea, coffee, water, lemonade and fruit punch.The swimming pools were fab and my Daughter lived in them when she wasn't at kids club.We didn't get off at all the ports we visited. The docks are not in the public resorts (very indiustrial areas) and you have to pay to be transfered to where there is any life!!! This should be included. We got off at the Canary Islands which was good. Be aware that they want you to pay $12.00 for transfers but at some ports there was a free shuttle bus waiting which they didn't tell anyone about!!I absolutely LOVED this cruise. After reading loads of reviews before we went I was a little scared. I would definitely do this again and give it 10 out of 10. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We booked this cruise last october after a cruise on the freedom of the seas in september our first cruise,loved it so much that we went on the adventure of the seas in november.It was our first time going from southampton,and what a ... Read More
We booked this cruise last october after a cruise on the freedom of the seas in september our first cruise,loved it so much that we went on the adventure of the seas in november.It was our first time going from southampton,and what a pleasure it was,no airports and as much luggage as we could carry.we travelled down the night before and stayed in the holiday inn express at junction 7 on the M27 about 5 miles from the port,what a find,50 pounds with breakfast for the room and a great view overlooking the rosebowl cricket ground.EMBARCATION. We had free parking at the port,turned up at 10.40, porters took our bags and by 11.20 we were on the ship ,fantastic.STATEROOM. Booked a balcony,deck 8,room 8304,not disapointed with loads of room massive comfy bed,32in tv plenty of wardrobe and drawer space,good bathroom with a powerfull shower.DINING. Never used mdr,only windjammer,only because we dont like to be tied down when we eat and we like to do our own thing.Never a problem finding a seat,and food was varied,hot, and of good quality.The staff in the windjammer are excelent.EXCURSIONS. Did not book any trips,just did our own thing. BARS. Loads of bars to choose from,quiet to livley something for everyone,we liked bolleros on deck 4,thanks to hassan and alex,the barmen,who always remembered your name and always had a smile.ENTERTAINMENT. Ice shows,west end shows,singers,bands,quizzes talks on various subjects,even bingo,this ship caters for everyone.STAFF. All the staff on this ship are excellent,from our stateroom atendant ALBERT,who kept our room sparkling,to maintenance guys,who allways said hello and had a smile.OVERALL. My wife and I had a great cruise,yes you did have to wait for a lift sometimes and you had to queue for ice show tickets,but not for long we found it no problem.We met a lot of nice people from all walks of life,and we also met a lot of people who i can only describe as snobs.These people think anyone who wears a football shirt or has a tattoo are scum,p&o are better,cunard are better,to many kids,get a grip if david beckham was on the ship would you complain,no i dont think so.We are both in our 50s and have traveled all over the world for the past 20 years,both still work full time,our only regret is that we didnt cruise 20 years ago.Go on people give it a go youll love it....... Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Booking We booked this cruise on the Independence of the Sea about 3 months before we were due to sail and it was our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean. We wanted to try a new cruise line as we had been a little disappointed with ... Read More
Booking We booked this cruise on the Independence of the Sea about 3 months before we were due to sail and it was our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean. We wanted to try a new cruise line as we had been a little disappointed with our last cruise on P&O's Ventura. We took a chance by going for a guaranteed inside cabin at quite a good discounted price. About 4 weeks prior to embarkation we were allocated an inside cabin on deck 8 fairly near the front of the ship. We also opted for second sitting and had a linked booking with our friends who booked the same deal.Travel and Embarkation We pre-booked to leave the car at the quayside car park, which proved to be a good move as it was not far from the ship. The embarkation process went like clockwork, with just a few queues to contend with, and within an hour we were boarding the ship. We found our cabin (8517), freshened up and went up to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. Following lunch our cases arrived quite quickly; we unpacked and then went up to the promenade deck to watch as we sailed away from Southampton. Our first impressions of IOTS were that it was very clean and well looked after ship. Cabin Cabin 8517 is an inside cabin on deck 8. There was more than enough space for all of our clothes. The cabin was of a good size, larger than on most cruises I have been on, and the biggest bed I have ever seen at sea. The cabin contained all we needed - Interactive TV, Tea making facilities, Safe, Radio, Hairdryer, Telephone, etc. Our cabin steward was very thorough and the cabin was cleaned and tidied in the morning and the beds turned down in the evening. Dining and Drinks We ate in the main DR every evening, but were initially allocated a different deck and dining room table from our friends on our linked booking - strange but true! After a quick discussion with the head waited we were re-allocated a table for 10 on deck 3 which was in good position next to a window.The food was of a good standard and quality, with a good choice of starters, main course, and puddings each day. There was also the option of having Salmon, Steak or Salad if there was nothing you fancied on the main menu. Each evening there was also a light option for those watching their calories. We only had a bottle of wine a couple of times during the cruise as the cheapest house wine was 26 dollars per bottle. We would probably have ordered wine every evening if it had been cheaper. We got on well with our table companions on the few occasions they joined us, but more often than not it was just the four of us.We ate our breakfasts and lunches in the Windjammer Cafe each day where there was a very good selection on offer. Drinks were priced at around 6.50 dollars for a G&T and 5.50 to 7 dollars for a beer. Staff All the staff that we came across on the cruise were polite and smart. Our table waiter (Gerrill) was great and very helpful, as was our cabin steward. The drinks service at most of the bars and theatres was good, although it could sometimes take a while to get served. Entertainment We went along to see most of the theatre production shows which were all professional and of a high quality. The Beach Boys tribute band - West Coast was terrific and well worth seeing! We joined in a few quizzes and on the whole generally enjoyed the entertainment. We had a few visits to the casino and were pleased that they had a few "low stake" tables to play at as we are not big gamblers.Disembarkation We arrived back at Southampton at approx 6am and the first passengers started to disembark at 8am. We disembarked at 8.30am and were on our way home in the car by 9.15 - very slick!Overall A well run, clean ship which offers good value for money, good quality food & entertainment, and friendly & helpful staff. We visited great ports and had reasonably good weather. In comparison with other recent cruises we found the average age of passengers on IOTS lower than we expected.We were initially a little apprehensive before the cruise regarding the size of the ship, the number of passengers, the cost of drinks, and the style of cruising. Our concerns were unfounded as this was one of the best cruises that we have been on! Drink prices were a little higher but no more than you would pay in a good hotel. The ship is big but, in my opinion, well laid out and much better in design than other ships we have been on. Excellent! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Flew down from Edinburgh to S/hampton on morning of the cruise. Off the plane,shuttle bussed to port within an hour and a half.Arrived at port at 10.30am, ship boarding was at 12pm so not too long to wait. Boarding was overall pretty ... Read More
Flew down from Edinburgh to S/hampton on morning of the cruise. Off the plane,shuttle bussed to port within an hour and a half.Arrived at port at 10.30am, ship boarding was at 12pm so not too long to wait. Boarding was overall pretty smooth and organised.We did get stopped from boarding because of my husbands skean dubh,so if you're scotish and bringing one,I advise you bring a false one and carry it in hand luggage! Windjammer was open for buffet lunches,overwhelmed with the variety and immensity of food on offer! Very tasty too,something for every taste.The cabin was beautiful and very clean,and was kept so throughout the cruise by Daniel our stateroom attendant,who couldnt do enough to make our stay as comfortable as possible.Our son was also very impressed with the towel animals Daniel would make for us,though I think we were more impressed lol.Thumbs up to Daniel.Our 2 year old son loved this cruise,he was greeted by name by most of the staff all the time,who ALWAYS take time out from whatever they are doing to exchange greetings with you.The staff aboard this ship are outstanding.There was a fisher price playroom where we could take our son and stay with him while he played with all the toys and the other kids on board,it was a life saver having that room there as during sea days he would occassionally get bored.Thank god for the onboard shop that sells chocolate rabbits!!So,overall,we had a brilliant time.I could write this all day but i'll keep it brief.CABIN: SPOTLESS,GREAT SIZE BALCONYFOOD: DELICIOUS AND A HUGE SELECTION FOR EVERY TASTEROOM SERVICE: VERY EFFICIENT AND ON TIME ALWAYSSTAFF: OUTSTANDING,FIRST CLASSSPLASH ZONE: GOOD BUT AM UNSURE ABOUT THE BIG POOL IN THE KIDS AREA,A SANDPIT MIGHT HAVE BEEN BETTER!SHIP EXPERIENCE: WE LOVED IT,THE WEE ONE ADORED IT,IF YOU HAVE OLDER KIDS THEY WILL BE IN THEIR ELEMENT!MARKS OUT OF TEN FOR WHOLE HOLIDAY: 10/10 Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My parents booked this cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary and also took me,my husband and our two children,my brother and his girlfriend also joined us.My parents had only ever cruised with P&O before and after reading some ... Read More
My parents booked this cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary and also took me,my husband and our two children,my brother and his girlfriend also joined us.My parents had only ever cruised with P&O before and after reading some reviews on IOS we were a little bit apprehensive.We neednt have worried though everything was fantastic.The ship was spotless and everywhere you went somebody was cleaning,very plush interiors and friendly staff. my son has a serious nut allergy so i was concerned about how he would cope with the food,again i neednt have worried as the staff in the main dining room went out of there way to accomodate him and were extremely careful.Kids clubs were great ,i couldnt keep my boys out of them,which was a miracle as my eldest son doesnt like going anywhere without us but he was desperate to go to them! The staff were fantastic in the clubs and again were very careful about my sons nut allergy and even gave me a phone so they could contact me if anything happened,normally phones are only allocated to parents of younger children.Pools were great and the kids pool area was really entertaining for the kids but would get quite busy but you could escape from all the mayhem by going to the solarium pool area which was very relaxing and adults only.I would definately go on the IOS again and would recommend it to anybody it was just fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My wife and I did a back to back sailing the cork 4 day first and then staying on ship for the 10 day canary cruise.It was one of the best cruises ever may be because we have sailed her before it was like coming home. The weather ... Read More
My wife and I did a back to back sailing the cork 4 day first and then staying on ship for the 10 day canary cruise.It was one of the best cruises ever may be because we have sailed her before it was like coming home. The weather wasn't the best ever but that didn't spoil anything just meant we enjoyed the ship moreWe did My time dining in the evening as this suits our tastes and ensures a table for two antisocial may be but we like to spend time together.Diner was eaten in the MDR and the salad bar was great to server took a bowl and filled it with what you wanted and them placed it in a dish and you helped yourself to meat,cheese, prawns etc to make it your own special salad, many times this was enough with a selection of bread and coffee. Talking of the black nectar I'm not sure if towards the end of the cruise they where running short or they had a bad batch but the coffee was EVIL and resulted in me drinking Tea. RCI take note But to be fare this was the only problem we had.We met some nice people whilst sitting and people watching and talked to a number of first timers who seemed to enjoy the cruise. One such couple were grateful I told them to put there empty case under the bed to give them more room if you don't ask you don't know.The three formals were well attended and the dress code respected by the majorityThe children on board were well behaved and we didn't see any running around or misusing the lifts Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Our first time on the Independence and first time out of So'ton. Due to some noro issues on prior cruises we embarked late (as advised by RCI) - the luggage drop-off and check-in was very smooth. We expected to wait but actually ... Read More
Our first time on the Independence and first time out of So'ton. Due to some noro issues on prior cruises we embarked late (as advised by RCI) - the luggage drop-off and check-in was very smooth. We expected to wait but actually walked straight on. (We had sanitised our hands three times already).Sanitising hands was a theme for the trip. We did it hundreds of times. On the first few days we also used plastic gloves to serve ourselves in the Windjammer. I have never seen so many staff cleaning - hand rails, elevator buttons, everything!It seemed to work - other than a few green faces in the Bay of Biscay, there did not seem to be any widespread bug on-board.Overall this was one of our best trips on RCI. For previous RCI cruisers, everything you would expect - delivered with a touch of Britishness! Special mention to the CD, Joff Eaton, who did an amazing job.The entertainment was satisfactory. The singers and dancers aren't my taste and the guest performers were not exactly headliners (but at least the Boleros cocktail bar was quiet during the shows). Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
To start with the good points: the ship was clean, the cabin was spacious with a good balcony, the steward was excellent. the food available was of good but not cruise standard fare. But: be prepared they do not put ant toiletries in the ... Read More
To start with the good points: the ship was clean, the cabin was spacious with a good balcony, the steward was excellent. the food available was of good but not cruise standard fare. But: be prepared they do not put ant toiletries in the cabin this does seem very penny pinching as you get these at a 2 star hotel, the toilet paper is useful if you have children as it can substitute for tracing paper "good money saver there LOL". So best tip take your own toiletries as the are very expensive on the ship and the first day is at sea so no local shops for 2 nights. We had major issues with the dining though this was not universal, we were shown to a table for two (as we had booked this for ruby wedding celebration) on the first night we sat down ordered wine and food from a very attentive waiter, then after a short wait were told we were on the wrong table ( even though no one used it during the cruise) we were then moved to a table of 8. The waiter was very inept, we waited 45 minutes for him to take the order and that was only after we asked him to do so, we never got our wine and everyone on the table got the wrong order, all in all nearly 2 hours start to finish.We made a complaint to customer relations and we were moved to a table of 2, this looked like it had been pushed in between two others (the table number ended in A) so was an add on. Again the waiter was very slow taking as long as the first waiter. So back to customer relations, the reason given was that the waiter had just come back from holiday, I would had thought this would have refreshed him. Next day still on the same table being waited on by the head waiter, things did pick up but the food is only OK not the usual cruise standard Very few people had wine on the table so can only presume the the cruise line had priced there selves out of the marked, as with the cost of most drinks; this is false economy if they kept the prices realistic more people would use the service.Be careful with your expensive drinks, one night when we were dancing 2 full drinks were taken off the table by the waiter, when we approached him he just shrugged and walked away. So back to customer relations they started an enquiry (for $7.50)this took two days before we were given a refund.Feral kids abound on the ship, running wild in the entertainment venues until the early hours, they also seem to think the lifts are part of the entertainment making it very difficult to get one when you need it.The next thing you need to be aware of is the mobility scooters, there are a lot and you do have to keep you wits about you to avoid being hit by one.The shows on board were very good if a little short (45 Min's) the ice show is very good but you will need to get tickets at 8.30 on the first show day and be early for the show to get a decent seat. For the evening show people are saving seats as early as an hour before the show, even though you are not supposed to save seats. this also goes on with sun beds, people start saving beds early with towels, one in and one out of the sun and then just keep swapping. they make announcements about this but do seem to do anything. but having said all this still had a good holiday but need a rest to get over it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Boarding on 4th April was delayed as the ship needed to be deep cleaned following an outbreak of norovirus on the cruise before. We were advised of this in an email approx 4 days before departure, which was fine.We were very pleased to be ... Read More
Boarding on 4th April was delayed as the ship needed to be deep cleaned following an outbreak of norovirus on the cruise before. We were advised of this in an email approx 4 days before departure, which was fine.We were very pleased to be presented with our 'Diamond' status certificate by the cabin attendant on the first day. The formal acknowledgement was appreciated. Its a shame that was pretty much the only time our Diamond status was acknowledged.The ship sailed with 4,200 passengers, 700 of which were children - which I was surprised at as I has chosen the sailing prior to the Easter break - but I didnt realise that Scottish schools broke up early - oh well, we all live and learn ! Actually we were not troubled too much by the children, although the teenagers got a little bored towards the end of the cruise and were a pain in the lifts (pressing every button before exiting etc).The staff were constantly cleaning the ships public areas, which was great to see. All the public toilets and public areas were always spotless.Joff, the Cruise Director, who left the ship at the end of the cruise, was brilliant - multi talented and very funny. I hope he was only going on a well earned break and not leaving for good.The food was pretty good in the main dining restaurant, with a good choice and chicken, fish and steak as a standby if you didnt fancy anything on the menu. The Windjammer was just constantly too busy, with seats difficult to find, even outside 'normal dining times. An irritating recorded announcement reminded you to get out as soon as you had eaten...a necessary evil, I suppose, but irritating none the less.I was particularly annoyed at travelling on a state of the art cruise ship with a capt who refused to deploy the stabilizers - regardless of the weather / sea. Now dont get me wrong - hubby and I love bumpy seas - but on the outbound journey the Bay of Biscay was a little rough and a number of people we spoke to had been quite sea sick. I spoke to a number of staff members who told me (I am not sure if it is true, but it sounds feasible) that the Capt gets a bonus if he saves fuel - and stabilizers use more fuel!! A number of members of staff confirmed that the capt had not deployed the stabilizers whilst they had been on board - which I find completely unacceptable. A disgraceful cost cutting exercise, which is false economy as it means less people will cruise in the future. Sham on you RCI and shame on the capt.On departure, 'Top Tier' members were supposed to have continental breakfast served in a separate lounge, we we had used before and enjoyed. On arrival they was just some lukewarm coffee and no pastries. When I queried this with a member of staff, he said it was a 'last minute decision not to serve pastries, to avoid cross contamination' What a load of rubbish !! WE WERE GETTING OFF - where would the cross contamination have come in ???Yet another cost cutting exercise by RCI.Not once did the 'Loyalty Manager' make contact with us, or even a couple who were Diamond Plus with 37 cruises with RCI under their belt - they, nor we, were at all impressed.Previously when sailing with IOTS we were invited to a senior officers breakfast, where we all sat with various officers for breakfast - but none of that. Just one short 'Top Tier' meeting, were the Loyalty Manager gave us a hard sell on the next cruise and thanked us for being on board on behalf of the capt who couldn't be bothered to speak to anyone or say anything over the mike.Overall, we were disappointed as we saw so much cost cutting based on our experiences on previous cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
More than 2 hours to check in due to Norovirus clean - not good.Too many Rude/drunk passengers & Kids.Beer/wine.spirit packages lasted all of 2 prior cruises starting mid march 2011 because when I "finally" got to check in I ... Read More
More than 2 hours to check in due to Norovirus clean - not good.Too many Rude/drunk passengers & Kids.Beer/wine.spirit packages lasted all of 2 prior cruises starting mid march 2011 because when I "finally" got to check in I was told to arrange my Beer package at any Bar on the Ship & when I got to the Bars was told it was a "Trial" and was now not available ?? & there was NO alternative. Not Happy.The Drink prices were outrageous £4.60 for a pint (of watered down Lager)and £3.70 for a 330ml bottle of Becks,peroni,stella.Wine was £6.61 a GLASS and bottles were £23 & upwards,so how Some of the Scots got so drunk must mean they must be Rich or Lightwieghts.R.C. lost out as I modified my drinking on board & spent more time/money ashore on local CHEAP drinks & "smuggled" plenty of Hootch on board.Ship itself is great,Balcony rooms are bigger than most & very comfy,room service was fine if a bit slow at times & the food generally was good.Windjammer is a "No Go" area & would reccommend using the Restuarants on deck 3 & 4 for breakfast & Lunch. Waiter service top notch as was our Cabin Guy.Paper cups & wood stirrers in room for making tea (no coffee) were Naff so we kept our Room service china cups,spoons in the room.Too many (Scot) Kids unattended, using lifts as entertainment,running about everywhere while the parents were elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
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