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303 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

EmbarkingWe had received an email not to arrive before 2pm. When we did arrive at port, just after 2, we queued altogether for about two hours before finally stepping aboard . We spent a lot of time chatting to other passengers in the ... Read More
EmbarkingWe had received an email not to arrive before 2pm. When we did arrive at port, just after 2, we queued altogether for about two hours before finally stepping aboard . We spent a lot of time chatting to other passengers in the queues. I liken it to the trauma of giving birth, once we'd finally arrived and stepped onto the ship, it was worth the wait, the queuing instantly forgotten.I realised that there would be great attention to cleanliness and this was the reason for the delay. Throughout the cruise, there was evidence everywhere of careful cleaning and attention to hygiene.CabinOur cabin, 6330, was a balcony for four, that is, the sofa converted into a double bed...for small people. My son (6'1") found it a struggle to fit, his feet dangling off the end if he lay straight. I had assumed that the sofa bed would be a standard double bed size. However, he got used to it and we had no complaints. We were happy with our room. There was plenty of room for our stuff, with a small bathroom with shower doors rather than curtain, and hidden storage. The huge telly had a good selection of free films to watch, as well as pay per view films currently on the cinema. Very comfy huge bed which had a great view of the sea. We could also view our expenses, order room service, or order pay-per-view films using the tv.I was one of those people who said that inside cabins were "fine because we only use them to sleep in". That's true if you have an inside cabin. However, adding a balcony does add a special dimension which turns the cabin into a retreat, a place of peace to enjoy the sea, and oh boy, I loved it.Food and diningThe promenade deck (5) has the Cafe Promenade which is open 24 hours and provides sandwiches, baguettes, biscuits and cakes, teas and coffees, and hot chocolate. Tip: you have to ask for the sachets of hot chocolate, in the past this was freely available. Also on the promenade was Sorrentos, generally open late morning until 3am and serving pizzas, salads, desserts, teas coffees, hot chocolate.We visited Jonny Rockets (deck 12) once, just for the experience. There is a $4.95 charge. It was busy and we were given a pager and put on the waiting list. We did not have to wait long and soon were sitting down at a booth and being served crispy onion rings and fries. We had between us chilli dogs, chicken salad, BLT sandwich, cheeseburger plus four Oreo ice cream sundaes. Milk shakes and other drinks were an extra charge, unless you had a soda package in which case the soda was free.On Deck 11 was the Squeeze Bar, just by the family pool area. There you could get light snacks including burgers and hot dogs. This was open approx 11 - 4 most days. Also on deck 11 was the frozen yoghurt stand. Lovely on a hot day.The Windjammer on deck 11 was often busy but we always found somewhere to sit together. I think timing is important though. Waiting staff had their own areas to manage and made sure that tables were cleared and cleaned quickly. They also asked for tea or coffee orders, which I found really helpful. At the entrance to the Windjammer a member of staff was always on duty with anti-viral wipes plus the gel stands. She insisted that everyone use one or the other. Additionally, for the first four days each passenger was given a clear plastic disposable glove to use when handling tongs etc. We opted for mytime dining because we wanted to try something different and thought we'd like the flexibility of choosing when to eat. This turned out to be simple to achieve. All we needed to do was phone down to book a time. On the one occasion that the time we wanted was not available, we were asked to come along anyway and they'd try to fit us in. They did. This option is great if you want a table for two because there were plenty available. Another plus was that we sat in many different parts of the dining room and got to see different aspects of it. We were served iced water and the children used their soda package cards without problems. Indeed they were usually given two glasses of their choice of soda at a time. On the whole the food was ok, occasionally great, occasionally disappointing. I can see that this is an area were costs have been cut. My husband was disappointed that there was no lobster and when he asked, was told that it was only served on 14 night plus cruises now. Having said this, I still feel that our holiday was excellent value for the price we paid.Room ServicePreviously we have had inside cabins. They tend to be cramped for four so we have never used room service opting to eat in public areas, in daylight and comfort. Room service was used every day this time, for breakfast (for me). I ordered using the tv the night before, really easy. I could also fill in the form and hang it on the door before 3am. We always received a phone call just before our allotted time, to confirm our order, then we could then add anything we'd forgotten. The food was always consistently presented, hot, lovely. The staff were very polite and pleasant and usually surprised to receive a tip . We ordered mid afternoon snacks too, from a large selection on the tv.EntertainmentThere were several shows and we particularly enjoyed An Invitation to Dance, Once upon a Time, and Under the Big Top. There were two shows and generally, the later one was the most popular (though not always). This meant that we usually went to the early show and ate later. It is worth getting advice from entertainment staff about which will be the busy show and if you can, go to the other one. You won't need to get there ridiculously early.Captain's cocktail party on the evening of the first sea day, a formal night, was held on the promenade and there was plenty of 'champagne' (some of it blue to match my dress lol), and fruit punch going around. There was a great atmosphere and most passengers were dressed to the nines, which was lovely to see and made for a great atmosphere. Later in the cruise was Rock Britannia on the promenade, also good fun.Things to Do. A large and varied number of things to do covering physical sports (team games, individual and competitions), daily quizzes, seminars about healthy lifestyle, etc., art and craft (jewellery making, scrapbooking etc). We had a whiteboard on our cabin which we fixed to the wall with magnets. This was really useful to listing all the things we wanted to do each day, times etc. We went along to a debate at the Schooner Bar. This is something new that the company are trialling. Any interested passengers can take the mike and give their views about subjects such as the paranormal, are footballers paid too much, capital punishment, or euthanasia. It only works if people join in with interesting and considered points. Fascinating.One high point for us, and totally unexpected, was the karaoke booth on deck 3, next to the ice rink. We found it by chance and spent many happy moment (as a family) singing along to great songs in private. Our piece de resistance was Bohemiam Rhapsody on the last night. Sublime lol.A tip: it's not necessary to get up early and queue for ice show tickets. These are available on a certain morning and on our cruise there were five showings of the same show over three different days. We forgot about it completely and went the next day to reception to ask if there were any tickets left. It turns out that there were plenty for the final three shows. We just took the tickets for the show we wanted. No queuing.VigoShip's information suggests getting a $15 shuttle bus into town because it is '4 miles' to the centre. It is not necessary. A short walk takes you to the shopping area, and slightly further, up a number of steps takes you to a panoramic view over the bay. LisbonWe took a ship's tour while in Lisbon ($34 each), " Medieval Obidos", a half day tour which took an hour in the coach, north past the busy city of Lisbon, to the conurbations outside the city, filled with high rise apartments, then on to rolling hillsides and beautiful scenery. Obidos is a charming town surrounded by castle walls. We were dropped off at the edge of the town and walked in with our guide Phillip. He took us inside the church and talked about the building and town. It is a beautiful church with tiled walls and wooden painted ceiling. After this we were free to wander the town. We decided to walk around the castle walls. I recommend this tour. We only booked it the evening before too.TenerifeWe docked centrally and could see a City Sightseeing Red Bus from the ship. For 15 euros we could have done a tour of the city. However, we walked into town up the San Sebastian and saw a Tourist Information booth. The man was really helpful and circled the market, museum, a couple of churches and other places of interest. He also told us that the museums were free on a Sunday. Useful. Right next to the ship was a large shopping centre, Muelle Sur. Worth a visit before boarding.Las PalmasAgain, we stopped right in the centre of things. Again a City Sightseeing Red Bus was visible from near the ship. This time we boarded (15 euros) and went on the tour. The beach is a ten minute walk away, really close by. However it was cold and cloudy (the only day with no sun), so we didn't visit. We visited another huge Muelle shopping centre right at the port before boarding.MadeiraThis time we went on a Yellow Bus Tour for 12 euros (there are Red Bus tours too). There are two circuits; a blue and a yellow. We started at stop 1, yellow tour and got off at stop 10, crossing the road and waiting for the blue tour (stop 9) which took us up to Camara de Lobos, a lovely fishing village. The blue tour replicates the yellow tour later on so we missed very little. A word of warning, on the way into the fishing village a pesky child threw a water bomb onto the open topped bus (from a high vantage point). It didn't hit anyone because the bus was not full, however be vigilant. On the way out of the village (same road) we were watching and shouted to the child not to throw the new water bomb. He gazed at us in surprise and did not throw it, thankfully. We also had a peg thrown at us from an apartment nearer the city. I guess that locals get annoyed at being stared at all the time by nosy tourists.La CorunaA charming city with extremely helpful tourist information right at the port. Just tell them what you want to do, be it beach, museums, shopping, and they will give you a map with all the relevant info pencilled in for you. A short walk will take you to a long beach, or you may prefer to visit the Praza de Maria Pita, a large open square. The old town is off here and I spent an hour or so wandering the streets. There is also a large shopping street, Rue de Galera, which is popular.To sum up, we had a great cruise. The balcony helped to make it relaxing for me. I spent a lot of time either on it, or laying on the bed with the door open watching the sea in extreme comfort. The kids did not spend any time at the kids club after the first day, they didn't feel comfortable. It's a pity because this happens every time we got with RCCI. With P&O it is a totally different thing, then we never see them at all because they love the kids club. Not sure what's going on here. Son wished he was back on Aurora. Having said that, myself and husband loved spending time with our teens (and them with us). We did lots of family things, rock climbing, swimming, skating, golf, singing (karaoke), eating, quizzes etc., and had lots of fun together. They are 16 and 17 now, so these times will become fewer and fewer, so we will have precious memories.We elected to take our own luggage of the ship and this was easy and much better than leaving at the pre-arranged time and picking up luggage in a vast and crowded hall. We were in our car very quickly and away home.Although the food was (in my opinion) average, the staff were excellent, and relly tried hard to please everyone. Entertainment was varied and good, ports - we'd been to all of them before, it just nice to be in sunshine really. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I have just come back from an 11 night cruise on The Independence of the Seas. I went for my 40th birthdy, along with my husband and 2 boys, aged 12 and 6. the ship was fantastic. The children's club for my 6 year old was very good, ... Read More
I have just come back from an 11 night cruise on The Independence of the Seas. I went for my 40th birthdy, along with my husband and 2 boys, aged 12 and 6. the ship was fantastic. The children's club for my 6 year old was very good, however for my 12 year old, the club wasn't very structured,though he soon made friends, that he spent most evenings with. We had my time dining, and never had to wait for a table, we enjoyed the food, but felt it wasn't up to P and O, standards. We had the wine package 12 bottles, of wine for $312, which worked out cheaper.We always found a table at the Windjammer, even during peak times. The children loved the flow-rider and climbing wall, and even on days at sea there was never really any long queues. - This was the highlight of their holiday. The promenade was stunning, and provided entertainment for a few evenings. To round off, we had a fantastic time, and can't wait to go back again. For the quality, value, food and entertainment, you would not get all this on a spanish beach holiday for the same money as we paid!!To counter the claim that too many children were on-board, there is always a choice for them to go on adult only cruises!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Our first cruise was Freedom of the Sea's in 2008 when we sailed the Caribbean with our (then) 15 year old daughter. We've since taken another 4 cruises all with RCI because we enjoy their format and until they do something to ... Read More
Our first cruise was Freedom of the Sea's in 2008 when we sailed the Caribbean with our (then) 15 year old daughter. We've since taken another 4 cruises all with RCI because we enjoy their format and until they do something to upset us, we will continue to sail with them.We booked the Spain/Canary Island cruise last September thinking that the Canary Islands would be warm this time of year, however the weather was pretty disappointing but that's ok, we're from the North East and we're a hardy crop up here!! The cost of the excursions through RCI are usually on the expensive side so we normally jump on the City Tour buses and get an overview of the place because sometimes you only have 4 hours in a Port of Call. We were advised by RCI to purchase shuttle bus tickets at $15 each to get to the centre of Lisbon. We stepped off the ship and there were the City Tour buses right in front of the ship. Moral of the story; go up on deck to see what's out there ... $30 for absolutely nothing.We visited Vigo, Lisbon, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Madeira and Ferrol. We don't understand why RCI chose Ferrol as a port of call because it's basically an old Spanish naval town with nothing but tatty shops and a museum. It's a sign of the times, I know, but most of the shops had closed down. There were, however a proliferation of cafes and restaurants but when you've got a 5 star facility sitting at the dock why would you waste your time? Someone said that they chose Ferrol because it was cheaper to refuel there but I guess we'll never know. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Well we returned last week and I have mixed feelings, somethings were fantastic, some were great and some were poor. We chose Royal Caribbean as we thought it was 'family friendly' but actually the main activity for the kids was ... Read More
Well we returned last week and I have mixed feelings, somethings were fantastic, some were great and some were poor. We chose Royal Caribbean as we thought it was 'family friendly' but actually the main activity for the kids was the kids program that revolved around the parents leaving them for many hours in the club, ok this suits some parents but not us. For example my daughter wanted to see the film toy story 3 which was showing one night, I was happy to go and sit with her but I wasn't aloud?! She didn't enjoy the kids club, not sure why so we didn't use it after the 2nd day, it appeared well run but with no child to staff ratio I didn't feel 100% about leaving her. Many of the indoor activities on board were aimed at the 60+ age group and trust me there were many of them!! Far too many bars as well, what about a soft play area for the kids?! Our cabin and the room attendant were fantastic, the weather was poor apart from a couple of sunny days. We visited Vigo, Lisbon, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Madeira and Ferrol, Ferrol was the worst, there was nothing there and the whole town looked quite run down. We didn't get a lot of time in any of the ports of call and I felt like I was constantly looking at my watch, not very relaxing! Food in the buffet was excellent, good choice and staff very friendly. I think the food in the main dining room was poor, the curry evening was by far the best, the rest was average, our waitress was different each evening as we had my time dining. The royal promenade was good, although the shops stocked over-priced rubbish, especially the photo frames and 'gold by the inch', I don't know why so many people thought it was decent stuff!! The spa was good but the treatment was followed by a hard sell to buy products and to book a further treatment! Well on board I heard a staff member saying that Disney was their main competition for family holidays. We have been to Disney and as soon as I returned home I wanted to book another one, sorry Royal Caribbean but we won't be booking with you again, Disney in Florida is where we are going next year! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
One knew as soon as one saw the queue at Soton to Board this ship, that one had to keep an open mind. I was not disappointed in my early assessment of my fellow passengers when without warning I was asked if wigan were playing Blackpool or ... Read More
One knew as soon as one saw the queue at Soton to Board this ship, that one had to keep an open mind. I was not disappointed in my early assessment of my fellow passengers when without warning I was asked if wigan were playing Blackpool or birmingham. After a moment of awkward silence "my new best friend" decided I was not going to kill the next hour talking football and proceeded to ask his wife what she had packed for him for the cruise. Eventually we were aboard and heading for deck 10 and our cabin, I have to say that the cabin itself was of a high standard with a balcony(although not cleaned) that was indeed very impressive for size, the TV looked like a minature cinema screen and the sofa although tired was adequate for the kids to kip on.there was a dining table with four chairs and the bathroom was well appointed with unbelievably a bidet, so 1970s. We decide to have a look round the ship and headed off the spa to see if it was going to be somewhere where we would spend some time,the answer exuse the pun hit us as soon as we entered the place, a full size boxing ring, no pool, no jacuzzis just row upon row of battery hen like running machines and a boxing ring, I never set foot in the place again. The restaurants were quite good but My time dining meant anything but.... one had to book a day or so in advance. The following morning we discovered whipsnade Zoo, others called it windjammers cafe either way it was jaw droppingly horrible with loads of people from the same family Rooney, terry, and van persie's jostling for position around the egg frying dept.This readers, is where the "Golden ticket" came into it's own, there was sanctuary in the concierge room, with a decent coffee making machine and snacks. only pax with grand suite and above were lucky enough to have a golden ticket, and it was worth it's weight in gold for the little things it afforded the holder, reserved seating in the theatre was one advantage along with a concierge who could get things done without having to queue downstairs at customer relations, I have to say though that the reserved seating on the deck was horrendous but provided you were happy sitting in a force ten gale where your book was likely to be ripped out of your grasp let alone loosing a page, it was fine.The ship unfortunately for me at least is not so much of a ship, but more of a floating blackpool or skegness, bingo, ice skating, Boxing booth, guess the weight of the woman and motorised chair, donkey rides, etc are all available along with baring your tattoos, Manchester utd shirts and three quarter length camouflaged combat trousers, some of the Men dressed just as tackily as well. The dog and badger as you can imagine did a roaring trade only closing briefly to clear up the vomit and broken glass at about 10-30 each morning.Formal nights were a people watchers heaven, most of the women thought formal meant short and I lost count of the pairs of 8" heels in lattice work like a roman centurion would wear that I saw. I dressed up once but found myself at dinner sat next to somebody who on dry land would normally steal my car, I watched him struggle with his cutlery for five minutes then left, I didn't bother again. The Moral of this story is don't sail out of southampton on a cruise, one has to assume that the clientele on this Horror show aren't able to fly or are not allowed to.My abiding memory of this cruise was being cornered in a lift at 4-40 in the morning,( I was going to the internet cafe) by a grown man in a full wolverhampton wanders strip including socks and trainers, who asked me if I knew the fulham result.Never again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I feel compelled to write a review about the cruise.May I say the previous review by Mr Wonka is absolutely spot on.This cruise has nicely filled the hole that Ocean Village left by moving to sunnier climes. The entertainment was pretty ... Read More
I feel compelled to write a review about the cruise.May I say the previous review by Mr Wonka is absolutely spot on.This cruise has nicely filled the hole that Ocean Village left by moving to sunnier climes. The entertainment was pretty dire, although hats off to the ice team for putting shows on in choppy seas. The early comedian was so bad we would have walked out had we not been sat near the front. Mike Doyle was marginally better but maybe should concentrate on his act and not dropping names on who he had met...yawn!!The magician towards the end was as charismatic as Ferrol-(not a compliment).Captain Ahab took great delight in announcing to all that we had docked-irrespective of the time in the morning.The ship:We had a room overlooking the promenade; we have sailed many times before and thought this would be novel. It was certainly that! We lost count of how many times we failed to get to sleep in the early hours due to the relentless groundhog day tune of 'hi ho silver lining' coming from the Dog and Badger pub. Why people spend money to get away then spend their time trying to be at home is beyond me.The lifts were an absolute joy- we lost count of the people waiting ages to get in a lift to go down one floor. Kids playing day, night and dawn in the lifts was a treat for all.The 1am curfew was non existent. Windjammer was a great place to people watch-pile it high and leave most of it was the general rule of thumb here. Food was good in its defence though.Main Dining was ok.The shops were hugely overpriced-I suggest to RCI they lose the Barbers and replace it with a Football shirt shop, far more trade this way!The ports-shut!!! (that could also be a typing error and be accurate)Ferrol???? Did a brown envelope change hands for us to go there?Regards the weather, we should have packed a kite in hindsight, although RCI cannot be blamed for that! All in all, if you want a family holiday and Blackpool is fully booked then this is the place to go.If like us, you like the cruise experience then I recommend something completely different. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I was a little nervous beforehand as I didnt know what to expect on our first cruise but need not have worried as everything was fantastic. We parked right next to the terminal at Southampton and the check in process was so quick and easy ... Read More
I was a little nervous beforehand as I didnt know what to expect on our first cruise but need not have worried as everything was fantastic. We parked right next to the terminal at Southampton and the check in process was so quick and easy it puts airports to shame. Within little over an hour we were on board and another hour later we checked into our cabin. The suitcases arrived soon after so we could unpack and start our holiday. We hadnt realised that by taking our cruise over Easter a number of the shops in the Ports of call would be closed but we just enjoyed a short walk around each port. We went with our 11 year old son so we ate informally in the Windjammer cafe. There was always a great choice at all meals although it sometimes got busy at breakfast and lunch. By dressing informally we did feel a little underdressed later in the evening when mixing with people who were dressed up for the formal nights in the main restaurant. The entertainments team were great, expecially James the Cruise Director and his sidekick Jason. Treatments in the Spa proved quite expensive and they did try and sell extra services/products whilst doing the treatment. There were 4300 on board including 1200 children but it never seemed really busy or crowded at any time. Although our son did not join in with the kids clubs there was plenty to do with a varied daily programme. Our stateroom attendant was first class and every evening he laid out an animal made from towels which our son was always keen to rush back after dinner to see what was waiting for us. We were very lucky that for the majority of the cruise we had really good weather and only had one bad day with rough seas. The most offputting thing was that evening they had put sickbags in various locations around the ship so were obviously expecting a problem!! Departure was as easy as arrival with a well planned timescale. We opted to take our own bags off to save leaving them out the night before. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and would certainly do another. I think we were spoilt with RCCL as there was so much to do so any other liner will not seem as good. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I'm afraid I'm not really much of a writer, but I thought I would impart our experience aboard the Independence of the Seas. My wife has suffered quite poor health over the last 12 months or so and could not face the thought ... Read More
I'm afraid I'm not really much of a writer, but I thought I would impart our experience aboard the Independence of the Seas. My wife has suffered quite poor health over the last 12 months or so and could not face the thought of travelling to an airport and sitting in a plane seat for 10 hours so we decided to try cruising from Southampton. We were taking our 7 year old daughter so I spent some time deciding on a family friendly cruise ship that went from Southampton and narrowed the choice down to the IotS and the Ventura. Having read MANY reviews I opted for the IotS as it seemed to have received less poor reviews than the Ventura, although both had received a mixed response. So, we paid our money and waited until the 14th March to start our adventure. Then came the reports of the dreaded Noro virus! 4 days before we were due to depart we recieved notification that our embarkation would be delayed while they gave the ship another 'Deep Clean'. We were concerned but undeterred by these events. Unfortunately the delay caused by the cleaning meant a massive queue at Southampton. This was disappointing, I had heard tales of legendary queues on this ship and feared that this was sign of things to come. We managed to get onboard after approximately 45 minutes in the queue and were immediately met by a couple of staff from the excellent Cruise Directors department, notably Chris. My daughter had taken her toy dog 'Wolfie' on holiday with her and he was introduced to Chris. Throughout the holiday Chris always spoke to both my daughter and Wolfie and never forgot either of their names. With this many passengers on board that is no mean feat! A very nice touch that made my daughter feel very special. Anyway, moving on..... We found a booth at Sorrento's and had a couple of slices of Pizza and a tiramasu - start as you mean to go on! All washed down with a cup of tea. At about 3:30 the announcement came that the staterooms were ready so there was a mad dash from everyone to settle into their accommodation. We found our cabin, with our cases waiting outside, down in Steerage and entered with trepidation.... only to be pleasantly surprised at how bright and spacious it was. Don't get me wrong, it's no suite at the Savoy, but it was certainly no cupboard either. Unfortunately there was no time to relax as it was time for muster stations. This legal requirement is a real pain, and far more onerous than the flight safety announcements, but I suppose it could save your life so it could be important. I didn't get the feeling that the staff's hearts were really in it though, but I guess that's no surprise as they do it so often. I stayed 'top side' (getting all nautical now) to watch us depart from Southampton. It was dry, but rather cold but I have to admit to a tingle of excitement as we pulled away from the quay. I was disappointed, but not surprised. that there was no band playing and no ticker tape to see us off. Those films from the 60s don't reflect the realities of today. Back in the cabin we managed to unpack and find homes for most of our things, and then came the next pleasant surprise. Our steward popped in to welcome us aboard and informed us that our room had bunk beds not a sofa bed. My daughter was delighted by this news! She was up the ladder as soon as it was in place. We visited the kids club to register and then made our way to Bolero's for a pre-dinner cocktail. We are not real drinkers but when on holiday my wife and I enjoy a cocktail or two. Given the oft discussed price of beer and wine on board it was just as well we don;t partake too much. I did, however, think that the price of the Cocktail of the day was reasonable at $6.95. Dinner followed, where we met our very pleasant dinner companions and our excellent waiter. He made sure that our daughter was properly cared for and after dinner showed us the first of many 'tricks' to entertain us. The service was excellent and we all thought the food was good too, although I have read different opinions on this. Following dinner it was off to the Alhambra Theatre for our entertainment. It was a very good singer/comedian from Wales, whose name unfortunately escapes me. I hadn't heard of him before but, as I say, he was very good. This was also the first time we experienced Joff, the Cruise director. We all found him very entertaining throughout the cruise. Sorry, this is rambling quite a bit, so I will now get far more brief.. I had taken a number of magazines and other things to occupy myself with when there were 'down' periods. These never got looked at. There were never any 'down' periods. I always managed to find plenty to do. I can't find (L)A Corunna listed so will say this about it - The surprise destination of the trip. A lovely little town. Very pretty and very welcoming. We hope to return here again as well. A couple of other points to mention. We took our daughter to the kids club on the first day and although she said she enjoyed it she didn't want to return. When I went to pick her up, it didn't feel like the happiest place to be. Just an impression that I got. Queues: I heard people before the cruise and on the cruise complain about queues. We encountered queues on embarkation, presumably made worse by the delayed boarding, and again at Vigo. It seemed everyone wanted to get back on for lunch! Other than that we didn't experience a queue worthy of the name. I believe we queued for breakfast at Macbeth when we went at 9 am, but we were seated within a couple of minutes. I also heard of queues for tickets to the ice show 'strings' when they were made available but as we didn't mind which performance we went to, I just went to the desk 5 minutes before they were due to close and there was no queue whatsoever. I know there was more I wanted to write, but I can't think of it now. In summary as first time cruisers the IotS was great fun, great value and a great holiday. Would we do it again? Definitely. Oh, I almost forgot. During this cruise my daughter learned to Ice Skate.....kind of! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Embarkation: We had an interesting experience during our embarkation process. The previous cruise had a large outbreak of the Norovirus. They delayed the boarding process until about 2:00 instead of the usual time. We had a ... Read More
Embarkation: We had an interesting experience during our embarkation process. The previous cruise had a large outbreak of the Norovirus. They delayed the boarding process until about 2:00 instead of the usual time. We had a transatlantic flight that landed in Heathrow at about 8:00 am. Our transit bus picked us up, dropped off our bags and then dropped us off at the local mall. We walked around the mall for about 4 hours before we were allowed to start the boarding process. We heard the WJ might not be available after boarding, so we ate at the mall. We then proceeded to the port. Once at the port, things progressed pretty close to normal. The WJ was open, but we didn't go because we had something at the mall. I think they over did the hand sanitizing. They had the "squirt" bottles everywhere and were reminded to wash our hands no less than 5 times before boarding the ship. There wasn't time to touch anything in between the washing stations, so we didn't see the point in so many washing stations. Once before we entered the check in area Once before proceeding up the escalator Once before having our picture taken Once at the top of the gangway Once before actually entering the ship. They did the same thing at the WJ. Even if you squirted the sanitizing lotion, they handed you a handy wipe.Public Rooms They were very clean. They were constantly wiping everything down (even if nobody previously sat at a table, chair, etc).Cabin: Very nice. Our cabin was always clean. Our cabin attendant even organized our little pile of clothes every time we left our cabin. The towel animals were there every evening. We were on the "back side" of the hump so we couldn't see to the front of the ship. It didn't really make a difference. We still had a good view aft. We liked the extra space between the balcony doors and the curtains. It was a good place to store our luggage. We don't remember if other ships had the same layout. We'll have to keep that in mind for our next cruise.Fitness & Recreation: Excellent equipment. Some of the equipment had TV options. You could watch the local TV stations, plug in your own IPod and even had a USB port.Dining: The menus in the MDR were "so-so". Some evenings the choices left something to be desired. One evening we went to the WJ. They had a very nice selection of choices for dinner. Breakfast & lunch were spent in the WJ. Good selection. Our table mates were very friendly. We all hit it off and had a very enjoyable dinner every night. We are from the US, as well as one other couple. The other couple was from Scotland. We missed the "after dinner shooters". The wait staff did not seem to know what I was talking about. When we inquired at one of the bars, they told us that was discontinued. We don't know if that is ship wide or just this market. We ordered the wine package. Halfway through the cruise some of our selections were not available. I would have thought they could stock up at the next port, but that was not the case. We had to take a few alternate choices. One evening we went to Portofino's. The food and service were excellent.Entertainment: The shows were pretty good. One night they had an Elton John impersonator. He was very good. The Ice Show was OK. A couple of nights we heard some of the performers took a few bad falls. Our night nobody fell. They also had a passenger talent show. Most of the performers were very good. We didn't see that at the last couple of cruises. It was nice to see they brought it back. We recognized the Activities Director from our previous cruise. Steve was very entertaining as was Joff the cruise director. Their morning show, although "corny", was OK. We watched it while getting ready in the morning before heading up for breakfast. Service: Service was exceptional. Everybody was always willing to please. We had no complaints.Shore Excursions: The shore excursions were too short. 4-5 hours is not a very long time to spend in port. You would no sooner get into port and take your tour, then you had to leave. If you are looking for a shopping Mecca, look elsewhere. The only port (in our opinion) that had good shopping was Madeira.Rates: The price of drinks were on the high side. Ben & Jerry's was also quite high. The shops are about what you expect. We did find some nice "bling" in the jewelry shop (better than some of the port shops).Overall: We enjoyed our trip. The few small things that were not "up to par" did not take away from the total experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
As first time cruisers we were more than impressed with all that the Independence had to offer. Our suite was very spacious with 2 double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a large living room with a sofa bed and a balcony with a table and ... Read More
As first time cruisers we were more than impressed with all that the Independence had to offer. Our suite was very spacious with 2 double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a large living room with a sofa bed and a balcony with a table and 4 chairs with 2 sun beds. Our 2 eldest children went to the Adventure Ocean club and had a fantastic time, the staff were incredible and the itinerary varied.The staff were very friendly and helpful and could not do enough to please, Kenneth the concierge deserves a special mention for all his help and advice. We all found the food to be exceptional as was the service. The only thing I would say is that some drinks are overpriced, such as bottled water at about £3, which we were drinking about 3 a day.Entertainment on board again was varied and of a good quality, there was always something to do, the only problem being there was never enough time to do it all. We are already looking at booking our next cruise and would happily go on the Indy again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
IOS is probably the cleanest ship on the oceans currently. The staff are constantly cleaning the tables and chairs in the buffet after each guest has vacated them.They spray all the sunbeds at the end of the day.There are no salt and ... Read More
IOS is probably the cleanest ship on the oceans currently. The staff are constantly cleaning the tables and chairs in the buffet after each guest has vacated them.They spray all the sunbeds at the end of the day.There are no salt and pepper pots on the tables in the buffet and restaurant to prevent any cross contamination and there are no cocktail menus in the bars. However if you request one, you can view it and then it is sprayed again.Unfortunately there are still some people who will not wash their hands after using the toilet, and you will never change that.I feel IOS has too many passengers for the public seating spaces, i.e. theatre, ice rink etc. particularly when at sea and the weather is not too good. People are wandering around just looking for somewhere to sit.Overall it is a decent ship, but I wouldn't like to be on it in school holidays when all the cabins are full to capacity. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was our 4th cruise but first on Royal Caribbean. We traveled with our 2 teenagers and 10 yr old. We flew from Hawaii to London 3 days before sailing, and saw the local sites. Booked transit to Southampton through a local travel agency ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise but first on Royal Caribbean. We traveled with our 2 teenagers and 10 yr old. We flew from Hawaii to London 3 days before sailing, and saw the local sites. Booked transit to Southampton through a local travel agency for a good price. The cruise before us was hit hard with norovirus so no one knew quite what to expect at embarkation as everything had been delayed a bit. As it turned out, I think we boarded maybe 2 hours later than normal without problem. Went right to the Windjammer and found a table, did the obligatory first day on board lunch with the honey stung chicken (which wasn't quite my thing after all)then set out to explore the ship. Along the way we were waylayed by a bar person with a bucket of drinks who was selling the new all inclusive drink packages. Doing the math in our heads, we quickly snatched them up- $29 per day for beer and wine for my husband, $39 for beer, wine and liquor for me. This was a smart investment, and we greatly enjoyed our "magic cards" all cruise long.The ship was *beautiful*, it was decorated wonderfully and everything was spick and span clean. The crew was hyper vigilant about the noro threat and had hand sanitizing stations at each doorway in public areas and they would ask each passenger upon entry if they had sanitized. Efforts paid off, as we had no outbreak on our cruise.We really enjoyed all of the entertainment venues- especially "Rock The Boat" singing rock n roll songs in the Pyramid lounge nightly, and Kory the piano man after hours. The main theatre shows were beautifully done, if a bit short lived. The ice show was *magnificent*, we saw "Strings" and the violinist was wonderful!Food- here is a mixed review. We found the main dining room food to be very disappointing compared to previous cruises. Menus seemed limited and seemedto repeat similar dishes nightly, the meat was over or under done each time we ate in there, the plates were not garnished and presentation greatly lacked. No complaints with the servers- just the food itself. We ate there the 3 formal nights (and were disappointed, no lobster??) but stuck to Windjammer or speciality restaurants the other nights. The Windjammer was very pleasing- with a large selection, I especially enjoyed the Jade side with its various Indian and Asian dishes. Johnny Rockets was fun, quite hat we expected... we also did the Murder Mystery Dinner in Portofino- our opinion was the show was lacking, and not worth the cost- but the company we met was great and the meat we had was the best of our cruise.Amazing filet and that tiramisu in a white chocolate cup... delicious!!!Quizzes on board varied in fun factor- some staff were wonderful at making everyone laugh and others not so much. Cruise Director Joff was wonderful- and hilarious!! We really enjoyed when he hosted events. My husband was one of the team leaders for The Quest and that was the most fun game of the cruise.Drinks were generally very well made. Coffee exceeded expectations based on former complaints. We brought 2 cases of bottled water on board with luggage tags and they made it fine- the ids enjoyed their soda packages and we sure enjoyed our alcohol packages so no complaints at all.Kids clubs- the 10 yr old LOVED hers, we dragged her away kicking an screaming nightly. The 17/18 yr old loved his- he was gone from embarkation until debarkation! The 13 yr old on the other hand-she was disappointed they did not keep the teens segregated as advertised, but instead the older and younger kids shared the living room space most of the time- she is a YOUNG 13, and to boot she didn't want to be around her 17/18 yr old brother. As a result she shied away from so many activities. I felt bad for her. She did enjoy ice skating, and ping pong, and the arcade and the free ice cream *a lot*!All in all we had a FABULOUS time, and we would not hesitate to sail Indy again!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Just got back from a Canaries cruise aboard the Independence of the seas.Accomodation was fine and overall appearence was good.Biggest let down was the evening meal in the main dining hall.Food was bland and limited, lacking any sort of ... Read More
Just got back from a Canaries cruise aboard the Independence of the seas.Accomodation was fine and overall appearence was good.Biggest let down was the evening meal in the main dining hall.Food was bland and limited, lacking any sort of imagination especially for a cruise line.The service in the dining room was dreadful again when comparing with other cruise companies.On my eleven night cruise my guests and I spent three nights only because of how bad it was.It says everything when you see how busy the buffet actually was, speaks volumes. This was a big dissapointment as its normally a big part of most peoples cruises.The entertainment was very good especially the shows in the theatre of an evening.The ports of call were fine apart from the fact that sometimes we departed from some ports as early as 3pm when we didnt get there until 11am,(not much time ashore) You read loads about how dear it is onboard from various websites, but its not until you board do you realise just how expensive it actually is, for example to buy a simple no frills glass of wine you would pay £12.00 to £13.00 (no not a bottle but a glass) my wife was after a simple blow dry in the salon onboard, wait for it...$69.00 about £45.00 for A BLOW DRY. Ridiculous but true, just be aware of these mind blowing costs before you book.I have sailed on Disney and P&0 a number of times but have never come across so much bad value for money.I probably wont use RC again due to the poor value for money aspect and especially wouldn't travel on the Independence of the sea's purely because of its large size and very different inside layout if feels very little like a cruise ship which I suppose is the reason you go on cruises in the first place.I never did understand it when people have said that "the ship" was too big and prefer something a little bit smaller. I can now though.I did however have a really great time although this was down mostly to the people I travelled with. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
we sailed on the Independence on the 14th March and glad to say we had a fantastic time from start to end.The sheer size of the ship makes you think how something this big can stay afloat, there is so much to do on this cruise ship. It was ... Read More
we sailed on the Independence on the 14th March and glad to say we had a fantastic time from start to end.The sheer size of the ship makes you think how something this big can stay afloat, there is so much to do on this cruise ship. It was our first time cruising and we were a bit apprehensive being only 25 & 26 years of age of what the age groups were going to be like, we were surprised that there was a good variety of all ages on board and not just your silver surfers!The Food was my favourite as i do like to indulge when on holiday and boy could you indulge! there was so much choice in the windjammer from Asian, Indian, sushi, salads, carvery, desserts i must stop now i am getting hungry! we sat in the main dinning room King Lear on 3 of our 11 nights which was also delicious.The ship is spotlessly clean and the staff are forever cleaning and sanitizing everything! Being a personal trainer i spent a lot of time in the gym, it's a top of the range state of the art gym with state of the art cardio equipment as well as free weight dumbells going up to 80lb, they also have excellent fixed weight machines and have classes running from 7am throughout the day my only criticism is that there was little air conditioning and did get a little stuffy especially when doing cardio.I could go on for ever raving about how good the ship is but don't take my word for it, book a holiday on hear you will not be disappointed a special thanks must go out to Joff the cruise Director who was superb at his job and made us laugh so much also The Welsh Wizard Neil who was great fun and always happy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We received an e mail 2 days before the cruise informing us that due to the "Novirus" we wouldn't start boarding before 2-00pm in fact the gates would be locked so it was pointless turning up until after that time. When we ... Read More
We received an e mail 2 days before the cruise informing us that due to the "Novirus" we wouldn't start boarding before 2-00pm in fact the gates would be locked so it was pointless turning up until after that time. When we arrived at 1-30 the queues were just building up and true to their word they didn't start unloading the cars until 2-00. Nevertheless we were parked up by 2-30 and joined the queue waiting to enter the terminal building this took about 30 mins. Once inside it took another hour to get past security where we were directed to the priority checkin desk and was in our suite within 15 minutes, very impressive. The IOTS is certainly big, and there's a lot to do, especially for families, but of course, big isn't always best. First the positives: Our junior suite was remarkably spacious with a full bathroom and walk-in wardrobe. Located at the aft of the ship it also had a larger than normal balcony with open views, (I mention this because we were told it had 60% restricted views, but this is simply not the case,) Our steward "Rommel" tended to our every need with a ready smile. We had a table for 6 in the Macbeth restaurant, four great dining companions, good food and friendly professional service, only three courses but one could order two or more starters, if required. We went to the Chops restaurant one night but found it quite disappointing so didn't use any more of the specialist restaurants.We unortunately also found the level of service below standard in other parts of the ship. As has been said by others the ship is being kept scrupulously clean. All times of the day and night, the staff can be seen rubbing chemical cleaner over the walls, staircases and doors throughout the ship and in the Windjammer especially, the table tops and chairs are cleaned within seconds of the table being vacated and still wet with the stuff ready for the next person to get it all over their hands and food. The same in the bars, this in addition to the hand cleaner dispensers and hand wipes at every entrance, policed diligently by Rosa Kleb and her sisters. In addition to this, a recorded voice in the lavatories reminds everyone, 'please now, wash your hands', there are even notices encouraging you to report anyone not complying. Although it would be a brave man who would report some of the 'Gentlemen' I saw not washing. Clearly RCI have finally realised that the hygiene education of around 50% of their guests falls well below that which they and we, the other 50% consider normal practice. It was also noticeable that these same 50% think the difference between formal and casual dress is whether to wear a short or long sleeved shirt with their jeans. Still, everyone to their own? Forgive me if I seem a little critical, but the chemicals RCI are using caused an allergic reaction and a Doctors bill for $178 for an injection, eight tablets, a tube of anti itching cream and a letter allowing me to refrain from using the hand gel. (The day after I got home, the rash, which was all over my body, totally disappeared.) Was anyone else affected in this way? Would I go on the IOTS again? I think for the time being at least. I'll stick to Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
I don't know where to start with this (my 2nd) cruise, the ship is truly amazing, looks fab and is spotlessly clean tho staff were trying to eradicate an outbreak of the dreaded norovirus, i heard of no sickness so due the constant ... Read More
I don't know where to start with this (my 2nd) cruise, the ship is truly amazing, looks fab and is spotlessly clean tho staff were trying to eradicate an outbreak of the dreaded norovirus, i heard of no sickness so due the constant cleaning they seemed to have successfully sanitised the ship. I travelled with my wife and two children aged 11 and 2 (in school time naughty i know), there are many restaurants on board most you do have to pay a service charge of around $20.00 pp to dine in. The main buffet restaurant up on deck 11 (free) we found was awful. On times the Que for a table was 6 deep then once you get a table you have to Que for the food which all i can say resembled school dinners.We chose to dine in romeo and juliet's 6.00 sitting, most evenings which was the waiter service restaurant on deck 3 (also free)the food was a lot nicer down there, though still not as nice as i was expecting. The service i received each evening was great, Andrew and Curtis made us feel special and couldn't do enough for my two children. as we travelled in school time the ship consisted of mainly over 70's, i am very keen on the elderly but i could not wait to leave them as omg they cracked me up. also a few of them very rude. no sorry very very rude. I did sample the flow rider and must say loved it tho i did have to que for each 30 sec surf i would imagine in non school time would be a huge Que. also qued for rock climbing which was great though i was not good at it but my daughter got to the top twice ggrrrr. also did the ice skating which was good. We found the days at sea was mind numbingly boring and we would just find ourselves strolling up and down the royal promenade endlessly pulling our hair out. we spoke to some yanks who were crown and anchor members who assured us that we shouldnt rate royal carribean by this ship and they to were dissapointed. the royal prominade on arrival looked amazing but on leaving made me sick. the royal prominade consisted of a barbers at quite a cost, ben and jerrys icecream parlour nice around $3,00 for a tub, an artist who will scetch one of your holiday pictures at around $50.00 which would of been nice but the price put us off from having this done $70.00 for my two children.a british pub which was great but again expensive (around 5.00 pounds a pint wow) we bought a beer package at $29.00 a day which i shared with my wife so would imagine saved us a lot. There is constantly a photographer snapping away which provided us with some great shots and memorys again at a cost from $15.00 upto $25.00 per photo. expensive but i did buy a couple as they were lush.Would i do a cruise again hummmm, probably tho not for a long time as i missed the sun and pool yes this ship had a pool but it just wasnt the same. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
How do you start to describe an experience which was a nightmare from start to finish!!My advice to future travellers don't waste your money.The Royal Caribbean company is all about making as much money out of their guests has ... Read More
How do you start to describe an experience which was a nightmare from start to finish!!My advice to future travellers don't waste your money.The Royal Caribbean company is all about making as much money out of their guests has possible ie photographs, drinks, shuttle bus charges, spa treatments,INTERNET CHARGES (TOTAL JOKE)and many more items which add to your final sea pass bill.My daughter was bored throughout the cruise because once you have done every activity what else is there to do. The swimming pools if you can call them that because to be honest i have paddled in bigger rock pools on a beach.Food OK but much the same every night just in a different sauce. Staff service again average nothing outstanding.Beware to all travellers that intend to bring cigarettes back to UK don't fall for the discounts offered on board ship with their 15% sale because customs are out in force and they will be seized. My advice is to buy them in mainland Spain so you abide by the correct amounts allowed.My view it was BORING BORING BORING ETC Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Sailed on the 25Th March the ship which we have travelled on several times before was well kept & although the ship was undergoing a deep clean we left on time.The big production shows were great although the same ones as when Indy was ... Read More
Sailed on the 25Th March the ship which we have travelled on several times before was well kept & although the ship was undergoing a deep clean we left on time.The big production shows were great although the same ones as when Indy was launched but apart Elton John the guest acts were poor.The food in the main dining room as gone down in standard along with the windjammer cafe & the fight to get near the place was a joke (windjammer) & what is it with Johnny Rockets no atmosphere & lots of things missing off the menu.The drink package was causing problems with drunks carried into lifts, bar staff been threatened & sick bags everywhere what a awful atmosphere along with children out of control running up & down the corridors & playing on the stairs in the dining room not a relaxing cruise.We booked shore excursions before leaving & not one did what it claimed on the RCCL site,we enjoyed it far better when we did our own thing.The food was excellent in Chops & the crew were worked hard cleaning & serving drinks.Will we cruise with RCCL again!!! we will have to think long & hard we love the ship,but the drink package & low prices attract problems. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We are first time cruisers, both retired.Overall ship very clean, well decorated, staff attentive and friendly.Cabin: our interior stateroom was small but very well designed with lots of mirrors and storage space. We were more comfortable ... Read More
We are first time cruisers, both retired.Overall ship very clean, well decorated, staff attentive and friendly.Cabin: our interior stateroom was small but very well designed with lots of mirrors and storage space. We were more comfortable than in many hotel rooms twice the size. Suitcases slid neatly under the bed. Why don't hotels do this? Shower was excellent - pressure good, temperature hot, controls easy to use, sliding doors effective. Shampoo and towels provided, as was kettle and tea (but no coffee). Attendant very friendly, made cute little animals out of the towels every night.Meals: we went to Macbeth restaurant (deck 4) for breakfast and dinner (8:30pm sitting) - waiter service. Service always good in evening, good at breakfast if you got there before 8:30am. Food good, four or five choices each evening. We were meant to be on a table for six, but only four were assigned and the other couple never turned up. So if you want companions at dinner, pick a table of 8 or 10. For lunch we liked the rolls in the cafe on the Royal Promenade and the pizza at Sorrentos. Went to Windjammer/Jade (same place really) three times, great choice of food. Got a table fairly quickly each time, but reckon we were lucky. Never tried the restaurants you paid for (Portfinos, Chops Grill or Johnny Rockets).Drinks: yes, they are expensive compared with pubs ($6.95 a pint, $26 minimum for a bottle of wine), but not compared with four/five star hotels. We bought a wine package (Gold) which brought the average price of a bottle of wine down to around £18, which is what we would pay in a restaurant. Out for your money? Sure, Royal Caribbean are out to make as much money as possible: charges for shuttle buses, internet, casinos, fruit machines, photographers, sketch artists, Spa, shops...but what do you expect? They are a company not a charity, just exercise some self discipline and say no to anything you don't want. I would however recommend you check your receipts and bill carefully. We weren't big spenders and we found two mistakes. Mojitos were advertised as 25% off in Boleros between 9pm and 11pm. First night, no problem, bill for $10.56. Second night, I was asked to sign a till receipt for $13. I said what about the offer, the barman said "what offer?" - I then pointed it out in Cruise Compass. He said sorry and gave me a second receipt for $10.56, which I signed. Next day however we checked our account on the stateroom TV (very useful feature) and saw both receipts had been applied! Mistake two: two bottles of gin advertised for $20, but receipt showed $24. Salesman said sorry but tills aren't programmed with the offers, however I'll write out a docket for $4. However next day account showed $24 but not the $4. Both mistakes were corrected by Guest Relations.Shows: never had any problem getting a seat if you arrived 5-10 minutes before the start. Thought the shows were good, especially the ice show. Distribution of ice show tickets was very well organised.Dancing: we went to dance classes - waltz, cha-cha-cha, salsa, foxtrot, rumba. Very good. We are salsa dancers and were disappointed at the music played in Boleros -apparently there was a Latin band on previous cruises, but they have been replaced by ballroom music. Our main complaint is that there was never anywhere to sit in the bars. (Maybe better if you went to 6:30pm dinner?).Other activities: we did crazy golf (no queue), gym (excellent facilities) and jacuzzi (surprisingly not too crowded). Free soft ice cream (called frozen yoghurt) was great! Didn't seem too long a queue for the flowrider or the climbing wall (not that we tried it), but maybe worse during school holidays. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We had been on two fantastic cruises previously one on NCL and the other RCI Voyager. So were really looking forward to the trip to the Canary Islands from Southampton. The day before we received an email saying as the ship needed deep ... Read More
We had been on two fantastic cruises previously one on NCL and the other RCI Voyager. So were really looking forward to the trip to the Canary Islands from Southampton. The day before we received an email saying as the ship needed deep clean we should not arrive until after 2pm. So 3,500 + people arrived at the same time to book in! The queues went on forever but they did move quite quickly. We were all ushered towards the Windjammer which is a lovely area with great views. Unfortunately it was so packed it was difficult to find a seat. We were glad that we had booked My time dining, until we went for our meal at 6pm. We had booked the 6pm seating for four, 3 month previously. There was no table for four when we arrived, after a few words a table was made up for us in the corner of the room at a door entrance, not satisfactory. We were promised a table for the following evening but not until 8pm. As the service was not exceptional and the menu was similar to the Windjammer we decided to eat at of peak times there. On sea days when it is really packed you are asked to vacate your table. Sanitizing through out the ship is pretty evident especially in the Windjammer.The ship is ideal if you have any disabilities. The lifts are often full but if you are not disabled why not use the stairs. The mall is busy at the best of times but with wheelchairs, electric buggies and pushchairs it makes it quite a squeeze. On sea days it resembles a jumble sale.The pool area is not great. Pool to small. Quite a few Jacuzzis which were having a thorough clean in the evenings. We booked in term time before the Easter holidays to avoid the family rush but there seemed to be plenty of children of school age around.We tried the theatre a few times but found it to crowded and ended up standing at the back.The itinerary left a lot to be desired. Two stops were on a Sunday (closing) The length of stop over time was far to short to arrange anything. If there are just a couple of cruise ships in the same port the area is just saturated and not a pleasant experience.Departure. We were told that we were to leave the ship at 7:15am not given any choice.(our taxi booked for 10am) Our cases were taken the night before so we decided to leave when we were ready in the morning. If you want to experience an expensive holiday camp at sea, this is the cruise for you. If this had been my first cruise I would definitely not be cruising again. The ship is far to big and overcrowded. RCI, for the sake of quantity has forsaken quality Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
The good .... We booked for the sailing on 13th February , we travelled by train on the Sunday to Southampton Central, a ten minute walk from the dock and stayed at the Premier Inn ( A five minute walk from the dock ) , we would ... Read More
The good .... We booked for the sailing on 13th February , we travelled by train on the Sunday to Southampton Central, a ten minute walk from the dock and stayed at the Premier Inn ( A five minute walk from the dock ) , we would definitely recommend the Premier Inn, it was a great hotel, nice rooms with a lovely bar and restaurant area, and the staff were fantastic, definitely got us all in the relaxed mood for our sailing the next day , and if you book early enough , the rooms cost £39.00. I'm pretty fussy, and even I was impressed . We walked to the port the following morning, check in says arrive at 1.pm, but we got there at eleven and check in had just opened as we knew it was going to be busy, and it was, but within the hour, we had checked in, and were on board and in the Windjammer Cafe, which was jam packed ! My initial feeling was if it was like this for eleven nights , it was going to be hell for me ... it didn't stay that way often . Our rooms would be ready for 1.pm, and they were, I have seen elsewhere on here about no directions to rooms etc and no assistance to them etc , there are maps everywhere, and they pin point exactly where you are , and if you are on the wrong corridor, it will take you minutes to find where you should be, I think the problem is that this ship is huge, and the corridors to cabins seem very very long , but we didn't find this a problem . Luggage can take up to 10pm to arrive at your cabin ( stateroom ) , ours arrived around 7 ish, where we also met our room attendant Yogi, he was lovely , he gave us the times he was available should we need him, but we didn't need to call on him once during the days on ship, he would attend the rooms in the morning, then attend them again in the evening, to soften the cabin lighting, close the curtains etc, it was nice . Our Staterooms, My husband and I opted for a balcony room , it was my 40th birthday, so we decided to splash out a little more , was it value for money .... I'm not sure, maybe if you are a lone couple, or several older couples possibly, we were a party of eleven , 3 families with five children between us ( three teenagers and two under 10's) , our children were busy on the decks and we were with them, so our use of balcony was very limited , our children had an inside cabin directly opposite us, and it was perfectly nice, except that waking up in the morning, you have no concept of what time it is because its pitch black, a minor thing, which wouldn't put me off if I got a really good deal on another cruise, our balcony became useful for all the wrong reasons, but more of that later .. DRINKS PACKAGES .... we read many things about the drinks packages and really changed our minds on whether we would buy them several times, $49 for beer and wine package, and $59 for complete package ( including frozen cocktails and spirits ) , in the end we decided to buy the Wine package for dinner , and this suited us, now we are not tee total by any means, but had we bought either one of these other packages, we would not have even broke even , had we been on board with no children , then quite possibly , we read that drinks were very expensive, we didn't think they were that bad and we are northerners !! The bottom line is, this cruise will cost you as much as you want it too, if you like a glass of wine in the evening but are not fussed in the day, then you probably wont get your moneys worth from any other package other than the wine one, the soda package was well worth it for my two children, and also they could get a drink wherever they wanted without us having to be there . FOOD ...We opted for My time dining, this was great for our family as we didn't have to rush, and as there were eleven of us, we met around 8 for a drink and sat down each evening together, we were on table 522 in the king Lear dining room , and what a wonderful experience that was , our waiters Menchie and Vergel were just fantastic, if you have a big party, ask if they are working at this number table and book it, they were wonderful . Breakfast in the buffet areas, was acceptable, nothing to write home about, but it was ok, we liked the waiter service breakfast, the breakfast was much nicer as food is also freshly cooked for you, but you do have to be there early, with many people on board, the buffet breakfast gets very very busy, and if you have a family with the morning grumps like mine, it can be hard work, best to let everyone have a sit down, cup of coffee and relax and wake up a bit. Lunch, we spent most times having lunch at Sorrento's, having the anti pasti which was changed each day, this was nice if you didn't want something full on, the windjammer we only used once on holiday, but when we did , the food was good, Evening dining was just wonderful, we had lovely food, lovely service and is one of the things that made for a wonderful holiday, the food is not repeated twice when on board apart from the steak and chicken , the food really was excellent, and we didn't find it bland at all, I think you would have to be extremely picky to find fault, and I'm the pickiest person going when it comes to food and how its cooked etc, I had no complaints whatsoever, it was excellent. On board .... If you have a family, you cant go wrong, with it being my first cruise, I was worried about pleasing members of my family, a 17 year old son, and a 10 year old, I was worried about the safety with so many people on board etc etc, I needn't have, I was assured and felt secure ( as I could be ) that my children were safe, you cannot walk more than 10 seconds without bumping into a member of staff on board , there are no dark corners , corridors to speak off where my children could disappear ( being dramatic, but you understand what I mean ) and although there were over 3000 people on board, it never feels like that, this ship is huge, and there are areas for children, for teenagers, and Adults, which are for these ages only, basically if your names not on the door, you aint coming in !! ( and they mean it !!) Entertainment and On board activities ....... You can chill, or you can get busy, My 17 year old had an absolute ball on this holiday, he did rock climbing, surfing, had his own zone which he was adamant he was never going to visit before we got on board, kids clubs were not for him .... but its not a kids club as such , its an area to hang out without the "oldies" where he made friends, granted he was with his cousins, which helped but still, I would be very surprised if a teenager didn't make a friend to hang out with . We watched fantastic shows, Ice shows, all to excellent standard . There really is something for everyone . There is a huge indoor promenade, which has fantastic street parties in the evening, if you have a groove in your shoes, this is the place to come to, fantastic fun, where people of all ages, came together, had a good dance, and really good fun , even if you didn't like the music, you couldn't help but soak up the atmosphere, its brilliant . Staff .... Just wonderful, for those travelling, you will meet Wayne who cleans the promenade, he boogies on down with everyone, and sings in the Dog and Badger pub at eleven, give him a mention on your end of cruise questionnaire, he is trying to move up in the ranks, and he so much deserves it :) Clientele ....... I read a review about guests being " football shirt wearing , chip eating guzzlers " ..... nonsense , there is a real mix of people on board, it would be an absolute minority who I spotted wearing a footy shirts ( to stereotype a person ) , plus there are so many different areas on board, piano bars, cocktail bars, champagne bars, sky bars etc that you end up where you want to with the type of people who enjoy the same things, there is room for everyone :) ....... or so you would think, but more of that in a minute In general, it was an amazing ship, but we did have a blip, so now onto that ... The Bad ..... And its only a little bad point, and to me, this is a ship that is for everyone, if you want an adult version cruise, with no children, then choose another ship ( I believe celebrity cruises are the same company but adult only ) , or travel when it is not half term which is when we were on , a few, and it really is a few people complained that there was too many children ( there were just over 400 in total, so a minority) , and one person even pointed out that children should not be on a cruise, and should not have a seat of their own, and should be on parents knees, and should not be heard , she was about 60 on holiday with her mother ..... and probably ( although I should not assume) that she does not have children ..... I mean, to book a ship that has a rock climbing wall, a surf simulator , an ice skating rink is going to right up her adults only street, I mean would a family with children want to take part in any of these activities or book a cruise with these facilities on board ..... NOOOOOO I hear you shout ( sarcasm is the lowest form of Wit, I shall tell myself off :):) ...) I'm having a vision of her on the flow rider by herself , yelling at the children to back off .... its hers !! ( hee hee ) The Ugly ...... Norovirus :(:( .... Enough said, what else is there to say about that, apart from some members of my family were struck down with it on board, but were treated extremely well by the hospital facility on board which is excellent , but this is where our balcony was a god send, fresh air when you are feeling ill is a must, its winter vomiting season in the UK, and hard as they try, and they really do try to control it, it got us, and its not pleasant , also our compensation for spending two days in isolation in the cabin .... Money of our next RCI cruise, not good enough in my opinion, another member was taken ill with an unrelated illness and had hospital treatment, make sure you have good medical insurance cover if you have any pre existing conditions, as believe me the tills were shouting kerching when it came to the bill ( but still, excellent care was given) . Overall ..... Apart from the sickness blip, we could not fault it, Norovirus is one of them things , it spreads like wildfire ... would it put us off another cruise, honest opinion, No, ... its unpleasant, but for all the wonderful things we did on board and the wonderful places we saw, the good, and fantastic stuff far out ways the bad and the ugly :):) Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
After 6 consecutive cruises onboard the great Ocean Village and Ocean Village 2 I decided to try some alternative cruise lines to see if any would be my new choice. NCL next May was my first choice however this winter cruise popped up and ... Read More
After 6 consecutive cruises onboard the great Ocean Village and Ocean Village 2 I decided to try some alternative cruise lines to see if any would be my new choice. NCL next May was my first choice however this winter cruise popped up and I decided to give it a try. Booking/pre-cruise. The first thing I noted as a single cruiser is the 100% single supplement but fortunately the per person price was so cheap paying for 2 in a Promenade view stateroom was cheaper than a 1 week fly-cruise I had done earlier in the year. The 2nd difference is that excursions have to be paid upfront, before I have been able to reserve and then chop and change up to departure day when they get charged to my onboard account. I'm not really into the whole traditional dining bit but thought I'd give it a try and bought a Tux etc.. The first problem was that for a 11 night cruise the ticket/RCI website says 2 Formal, 2 smart-casual and 7 casual so I packed accordingly. The actual cruise had 3 Formal nights, 4 Smart Casual and 4 Casual nights. Check-in/departure: From Southampton so you drive up drop luggage with the porters and then go to the departure lounge. Loads of check-in desks, however after getting your sea pass (which is also your room key!!) we then had to wait in the departure lounge for about 1.5hrs and started boarding at 12:30. Photo taken as we entered the ship, no welcome staff, no newsletter etc given to you on arrival which was a bit poor as didn't no times etc for muster drill until an hour before when I got to my stateroom. Room: Available at about 2-3PM the rooms are smaller than OV as all modern ships are, especially the Bathroom which is about half the size of OVs! No double shower here.. The Bed though was massive, bigger than the two pushed together on OV. Also in my room PR grade had two seating areas. The room has a lot less storage space than OV, very few drawers! but a nice big LCD TV. Kettle in the room but only tea and milk, safe in the wardrobe, minibar fridge which I asked the room steward to clear which she did, a nice ice bucket topped up each day. The Ship: The Royal Promenade is great to walk down and the ship despite its size is so easy to find everything. Back of the two centrums is all your eating areas, 3-5 main dining, 11 Windjammer, front of the forward centrum main ents lounges theatre/lounge and upstairs gym/spa. Loads of empty deck space, loads of bars.. The Food/dining experience: I've merged these into one. I was allocated a table of 6 trad dining. First night no one else turned up and for desert a lady on next table said I should join them after eating starter alone. 2nd night (first formal night) one other couple turned up and said they only did the formal nights and ate at the casual buffet (Windjammer) the other nights. 3rd night another couple turned up but the ones on the 2nd night didn't. This couple was plain to see were not used to a formal dining experience. Not surprising to say I never saw them again! Getting a bit cheesed off with this I dined in the buffet the 4th night, quite reasonable but a bit busy and hard to get a table just for one so a family would struggle. 5th night was another formal night so thought as I was dressing up that I'd return to the trad dining as the couple would turn up but no they didn't so I was moved to a table with some elderly couples who were very pleasant but small-talk and dressed as a penguin I decided that this was the last time and nights 6-11 would be in the windjammer buffet, including the 3rd (yes third) formal night - the website says for 11 days its 2 formal, its not its 3! So in summary. The food in the main dining room was faultless, meat would drop off the bone and melt in your mouth, I did find the whole experience very drawn out, we are talking 1.5-2hrs from seating at 8:30 to finishing! The buffet was not as good as Ocean Village and didn't have the same amount of choice, very samey each night. Elsewhere Sorrentos Pizzas and also did in the day pies (not in the evening?) and shuts at 3AM. Try and get any chips etc after 11:30PM when the windjammer shuts, only pizzas or pastries from cafe Promenade! I don't normally eat pizzas but I seemed to have ate quite a lot on this cruise post drinking . Only ate in one speciality Johnny Rockets which for the small cover charge was great, milkshakes, burgers, onion rings. Shame it shut at midnight else that would have been the venue each night! Entertainment: Now this was a big bag of mix from Great to Terrible.. The parades and the shows on the Royal Promenade, 70s night, Rule Britannia etc.. were great, The cruise director and his staff really get involved and work for it.. .. through to one (yes only one) Comedy night in 11 nights!! One comedian, he was Ok but he was on at midnight in the theatre which was 2/3rds empty. The production shows were OK, very formal/west-end like and you didn't feel as involved as with an OV show. The "headliners" which they call the guest singers were dire.. All old fashioned, I think it was some four-tops or something and another golden oldies type one. In other bars like Boleros and Olive and Twist Jazz and "old-fashioned" type music. They did show all the live premier games in the Dog and Badger and on-air. The ice-show was good and Joff did some daytime quiz-show type ents. But other than that loads and loads of quizzes and Bingo and quizzes and Bingo and quizzes... The Labyrinth nightclub was a great venue but suffered with acheiving double figures most nights and also upstairs was indoor smoking area and you could smell it downstairs! Given the average age of the ship was nearer 70 I guess they tailor the ents to the bulk of the passengers. The problem is winter cruising from Southampton means at least 4 days, two out and two back where you are inside, the small cinema only repeated the same film at different times each day. Maybe could have mixed them up more. The service: All the bar/wait staff were great as ever and helped make the cruise, not met one bad member all cruise. With the $/£ exchange rate the drinks onboard are approx 2* that on a P&O/OV vessel once the 15% is included (which it is) which meant a very big bar bill for me, especially when day ents were somewhat limited. Indy is definitely a Summer ship, when they can run the flow-rider every day and maybe have events on open decks, but combined with the dining policy and the 100% supplement for singles probably means I wont be on her again.. Fingers crossed for NCL Epic in May. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We cruised on Voyager last November and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. So much so that within a week of returning home we booked this Canaries Cruise in Dec 2010. Having booked the cruise we were told of this critic site and read some of ... Read More
We cruised on Voyager last November and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. So much so that within a week of returning home we booked this Canaries Cruise in Dec 2010. Having booked the cruise we were told of this critic site and read some of the reviews which nearly put us off going. However, having just returned home we cannot understand 99% of the objections. Yes, the ship is very large and has a lot of passengers but we knew that before we booked. Check in at Southampton was very quick and the staff extremely helpful. The inside cabin was very spacious with everything we could hope for at our fingertips, and if it wasn't our steward was more than happy to supply anything we needed. Because there were so many passengers, the Windjammer self service was somewhat crowded but there were several other eating places on board and we never had to wait very long. Food was excellent with plenty of choice satisfying most peoples needs. Being Diabetic I was pleased to see "Sugar Free" Deserts. Entertainment all day was very good. Joff, the cruise director had a superb sense of humour and his assistant Steve(Jimmy Osmond II) was a great partner for him. The quiz questions that they set were sometimes very dry in their humour but good fun. The ice show was superb but you have to be very early to get good seats. The main shows are a matter of personal choice but were all excellent as far as we were concerned although we did hear some complaints from other passengers, each to their own. There was always a sun lounger available near the adults pool which was used on several occasions. All facilities were excellent, cleanliness and hygiene was outstanding with hand sanitisers available everywhere. On the whole an excellent cruises, well enjoyed by us both and we are looking forward to next years 18 night cruise with eager anticipation. Well Done Royal Caribbean. WE WILL BE BACK P.S. The toast was very very hard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My husband was the lucky winner of this cruise after winning a poker tournamanet earlier this year when on the Independance of the Seas!! We had to pay for our flights to Malaga, and for taxes and gratuities....and of course we upgraded so ... Read More
My husband was the lucky winner of this cruise after winning a poker tournamanet earlier this year when on the Independance of the Seas!! We had to pay for our flights to Malaga, and for taxes and gratuities....and of course we upgraded so it started to be not as "free" as we first imagined!!! Anyway we embarked on 3/11/10......without any problems,,,,the staff as friendly as always. To be honest we were very impressed with the Adventure of The Sea and how like the Independance she was....just a little tired and worn! As ever the food was superb both in the main dining and the Windjammer. We were on a table for eight and were seated with others who had "won" places in the poker final! We were blessed with really good company and this was a great bonus to the holiday. The atmosphere onboard this ship was outstanding. This was visible in the Schooner Bar with the superb pianist who had everyone singing!!!! We joined in a few quizzes, and went to a couple of shows...always a great time. There were 28 finalists in the poker tournamanet and Pete managed 7th place aqnd a very respectable $500!!!! the casino was very kind to us- especially the roulette! Overall this was a perfect break HOWEVER...... I do feel that we should mention smoking onboard......!!! This ship stinks of smoke. There are far too many areas where people are allowed to smoke without restrictions. We are not anti-smoking and very much agree with designated smoking areas. But for us everywhere we went people were smoking ...and this should not be allowed!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
When we arrived at Malaga airport, we had disabled assistance from the plane to the couch for our transfer to the port. When we got to the coach it was two thirds full and we thought we had held it up as all of the passengers seemed a bit ... Read More
When we arrived at Malaga airport, we had disabled assistance from the plane to the couch for our transfer to the port. When we got to the coach it was two thirds full and we thought we had held it up as all of the passengers seemed a bit cranky... an hour later, still on the coach and waiting to fill 4 seats we realised why they were cranky as they had been on the coach for 2 hours now and the staff just kept saying "we need to wait for more passengers and fill the bus before we go to the port"... this was our first complaint as the company appeared very inefficient! So on we went to the ship, embarkation was good... no problems, fairly straight forward. Once onboard we made our way straight to our cabin to see if it was ready, which it was. First impression was great, good size, double balcony... large enough room, nice bathroom and clean beds... On closer inspection of our room we found that the balcony was never cleaned, the furniture was marked by dirty shoes and pen marks, and the toilet seat had been scrubbed so hard the white lacquer had come off!! We had left Glasgow at 4.30am and it was now 1pm, so neadless to say we were starving... only eatery open was the windjammer buffet, which was packed with a queue of about 200 people squeezing into the entrance... so we decided to retreat to our room and order room service. unfortunately room service was not available until after 5.30pm when we would be leaving port, so that was another dead end. we had a look in our fridge/cooler to have some nibbles as we were absolutely starving!!... and found that everything edible in our fridge was out of date by months! shocked, we told our suite attendant who said it wasnt her job to fix it, but she would tell her superior. okay we thought... but by day 3 our fridge was still stocked with expired food stuffs... so we phoned reception who had our fridge emptied but never re-stocked... such a simple task but we fought a losing battle to have it done. staff all appeared to be bored and unhappy and wouldnt say hello to you if you walked past them on the ship. the BEST part of our cruise was going for dinner in the evening... our waiters Daniel and Ephriam were exceptional! also bar man Neville was a pleasure... they remembered everything you said to them, what we ordered form the bar, if we took pepper and if we drank coffee... little things like this made it a better holiday. however, i dont think i would go on another royal caribbean cruise as they just lacked a certain spark... a spark that i find to be present on NCL cruise's 100% of the time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
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