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303 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

This is the first Royal Caribbean cruise we have taken and definitely the last. The ship is beautiful and the cabin good although rather dated, needs updating rather like an old fashioned hotel, but very clean and plenty of room. ... Read More
This is the first Royal Caribbean cruise we have taken and definitely the last. The ship is beautiful and the cabin good although rather dated, needs updating rather like an old fashioned hotel, but very clean and plenty of room. We chose to have a balcony which was just as well as there is nowhere else to sit and read a book. We were very lucky with our neighbours as they did not smoke and were quiet, I think it could have been a different matter if they were noisy smokers. The main body of the ship is very good and the amount of glass and chrome makes it very attractive, however the people on board certainly are not. There were some very rude and loud people who seemed to think that everybody wanted to share their children. We chose to have My Time dining which works out a lot more expensive as you pay up front for your gratuities. I thought that by being able to pick a late dinner i.e. 8.30.p.m. there would be a nice peaceful atmosphere, how wrong I was the dining room was heaving with children, babies crying and pushchairs. One night my Husband and myself were seated at a table for two minding our own business when a woman parked a push chair next to my elbow, she was rummaging around in the attached bag and I thought she was just looking for something, how shocked was I when she put the brake on and started to walk to a table some way away from the pushchair. I called after her asking her to remove the pushchair (and it turns out there was a baby in it) to which she called me names which are unprintable. She eventually took the child and pushchair and we were left in peace, I was so upset that I really did not enjoy me dinner. We tried had to find a suitable area to sit and read, but there was only one place and that was a through corridor with a few upright seats where all the older people gathered. We are not old but just wanted somewhere to sit in peace and quiet. Even the library was packed with like minded people so unless you got there at the crack of dawn you stood no chance of getting a seat. The food was OK, not restaurant quality more like a good bistro/cafe, the meals themselves seemed to go downhill throughout the ten days aboard. The Windjammer was a joke not only could you not get a table but you were falling over pushchairs, highchairs and any other items needed for babies and the crying would drive anyone to leave as soon as they could. The parents of these children didn't seem to have any control and even worse didn't seem to care that they were screaming and bawling. Anyway enough of that on the plus side the staff were very polite and helpful and our cabin attendant, Clive was brilliant always cheerful and willing to be of any help he could. The ports of call were a bit hit and miss, but this is not the fault of the cruise line so I am not going to labour this point. All in all the ship is mostly lovely but leaning far too much towards children and their needs and certainly not enough for the older client. We did complain but the reply was that it was a ship aimed towards families and I got the impression that they were really not interested in my comments so we shall definitely NOT BE GOING ON ROYAL CARIBBEAN AGAIN!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We booked the Cruise fairly late, through a local trusted travel agent. Our flights, via Easy Jet were independent of the Cruise and were fine for what they were - no complaints.Upon arrival at Malaga, having collected our luggage we were ... Read More
We booked the Cruise fairly late, through a local trusted travel agent. Our flights, via Easy Jet were independent of the Cruise and were fine for what they were - no complaints.Upon arrival at Malaga, having collected our luggage we were met by two RCCL reps who directed us to the area to collect our inclusive transfer. As per usual, we did not see our luggage again until it was delivered to our State Room.We were lucky, in that the coach left the airport within 5 minutes of our boarding; however, one passenger was moaning that they had been waiting for ages. I guess that is the luck of the draw.The coach journey from the airport to the Cruise Port was approx. 20 minutes and was comfortable and uneventful.Upon arrival at the port two long lines had formed, one for those with luggage (independent travelers), the other, for those without luggage, such as us.Although appearing long, the lines moved very quickly, and within a few minutes we were within the terminal and were directed to an even shorter line, which moved even quicker to the check in staff.Be careful....the Spanish don't know the meaning of the word line, and if you give an inch, they will take a mile and push in where they can, this was experienced throughout the trip. We cant however, blame RCCL for this!As we had completed our Cruise questionnaire online and have printed the 'Sea Pass', if we were at the check in desk for longer than three minutes it was a long time. We were there just long enough for RCCL to take an imprint of my pre registered credit card, to be issued with our charge/key cards and to complete a health questionnaire.We then followed the signs and headed onto the ship via a welcome aboard photo. Being a Coke Drinker, as usual I signed up for the Soda package, which provided I had at least three soft drinks a day (which I did), worked out to be very good value.Being the 'foodie' that I am, upon embarkation we headed straight to the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11. As expected, it was busy, but again, lines moved quickly and we quickly found a table to sit at.I cant stress enough, that now having done a number of Cruises, I must say that the food served in the Windjammer was fantastic, probably, the freshest, hottest, well presented and variety that I have come across.Having fed my rotund stomach, we headed to our Room, 8226, which was port side virtually at the front with a balcony.The room was exactly as expected, being well proportioned, very clean, ample closet space, nice balcony ......in fact, no different than any other Cruise Line in size (although layout slightly different) and more than adequate. My only complaint, although again, not RCCLs fault, as we booked so late the position of this cabin was the only one available, therefore we had a long walk to get anywhere.Over the years, we have seen all Cruise lines cut back a little each year. On this Cruise we noted that no toiletries were provided except for soak and shampoo. Long gone are the days of robes and luxury toiletries being provided it would seem. The one disappointing item (which my Mrs. Wont be impressed with, with me mentioning) was that we did not receive a little chocolate on our pillow at night. When I casually enquired about this I was told that RCCL ceased this practice three years earlier.......which I'm not sure is actually the case.We had a walk around the ship. Full compliments to RCCL for what really is a beautiful vessel in excellent decorative order. The weather had a lot to be desired and therefore we were unable to make use of the Swimming Pools or Sun Decks, but they certainly matched every other ship we have been on.Although not for us, the external rock climbing wall was impressive as was the Ice Skating ring, which despite my wife's best intentions, she never actually got round to using.On a Cruise ship I normally spend half my time waiting for lifts. Strangely, on this ship the lifts were fast and we noticeably didn't have to wait long.Having Cruised with RCCL some 17 years previously, we failed to mention this when we booked. Whilst in the UK, through our travel agents RCCL acknowledged our previous cruise and therefore we were entered into the Crown and Anchor society. When on board, we identified that this had not been carried across to our room key (indication) and that no other benefits were provided. Upon visit the guest relations lady, who was more than helpful, she noted our previous cruise, applied labels to our room keys and issued us with the discount booklet and ensured we were invited to the welcome back party.The discount book was well worth having as it included discounts on the Internet packages, free drinks and discounts to onboard purchases.Having packed my laptop so that we could communicate with our Children via Skype and so that I could log into my office and check emails etc.....we purchased a 500 minute Internet Package, which, in the end was excessive which cost us $145.00 with discount from the discount book. I was disappointed that the data socket in our room did not work and we did not have Wi-Fi in our cabin. This left us using a few Wi-Fi Hotspots around the ship. RCCL - if anything, please enable the Data sockets in the cabins or provide Wi-Fi throughout!Internet Access throughout our trip, whilst not as fast as land based was more than adequate.Dinner time - we opted for first sitting at 6.45 and requested a table of 8. We got exactly what we asked for and were seated with 6 other people from the UK, all of whom were very pleasant. The choice of food would suit anyone's palette. Our Waiter was very attentive and polite, always offering his recommendation of the day having gone into great detail about each course. Equally, the assistant waiter was very efficient. On the first evening I requested a regular coke. From that moment on, every evening upon sitting down a regular coke would appear, and when that was finished, it was replaced as was my wife's water. Likewise, another member of our table had a taste for ketchup with everything, low and behold, a bottle of ketchup was by her seat each evening. The meal was three courses (most other Cruises have been 4 courses) and no petite pours afterwards (first cruise never to be offered these), but plenty of tea and coffee. Although not on the menu, I asked for Cheese and Biscuits in place of (or on occasion as well as) dessert which was forthcoming with a good selection of cheese.The Head Waiter came to our table each evening and spoke to each of us in turn ensuring that we were delivering what was expected....and it was.On three of the evenings the waiters did a song and dance routine, which was appreciated by all and were great photo opportunities.My wife and I took the opportunity of having breakfast in each of the locations offered on different days, this being the Windjammer, one of three restaurants which offered a buffet and another of the three restaurants which offered À la carte. The choice and quality of food in each was fantastic. The advantage of the A la carte menu was that I could have Kippers, a personal favorite of mine. In the end, the Windjammer was a personal favorite for variety with everything you would expect for a Full English Breakfast, to Continental Breakfast and everything in between. All served freshly, hot and tasty. As expected, an Omelet Station was also provided and there were no long lines for toast (of which there were several options available).Whilst lunch was available in one of the Dining Rooms we chose to lunch each day, except the final day in the Windjammer. For those that wanted them, they had hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza as well as full lunches with a different carvery each day with a variety of potatoes, vegetables and salads.On our last day on board we sampled Jonny Rockets which had a small surcharge for as much as you could eat. The restaurant is an American themed restaurant serving burgers, hotdogs, shakes, floats etc.....with the waiters performing a show and dancing every half an hour. Withy prior knowledge of what was on offer, due to our own dietary constraints we could not eat any of the meat products, however, everyone else was commenting on how great it all tasted.RCCL - Please note. We were very disappointed to note that unlike any other Cruise we have ever been on, the Windjammer Cafe closed each evening with no Midnight Buffet (acknowledged as being a thing of the past). Whilst a Cafe on the Promenade deck (deck 5) is open 24 hours, the only items available were slices of pizza, cakes and biscuits. I have come accustomed to visiting the 24 hour buffet, if only to look and not eat (well, I normally have something!) before bed, after all, with the first dining sitting being at 6.45 pm I can get hungry!Unusually for us, we only ordered room service once; this was for early morning coffee and tea to our room. It arrived earlier than expected, but in fairness, they telephoned us ahead to say it was on route. The Room service menu was comprehensive, although RCCL charged for room service between midnight and 05.00 - only approx $4, but still something we are not used to.The Cruise Director and his staff were excellent. There were three parades along the main 'Royal Promenade' during the Cruise which can be compared to a Disney Main Street Parade. Whilst we only attended the last one, we were told they were very enjoyable.The ship provided entertainment each evening with two shows included. Unfortunately, whilst they were to a high standard they were not to our personal liking. The shows did not have a story line as such with a few of us, despite the noise, dropping off to sleep. It is clear that when a Cruise has many non English guests, such as this Cruise had, the feasibility of having comics is unlikely and a decent proportion of the guests would not be able to understand the humor or the language. It was very interesting and important to note that during the behind the scenes tour we were told that a show lasts on a ship for up to 5 years, therefore, depending on when you travel, if you were to travel on this vessel again in the near future you would more than likely see the same entertainment, excepting guest entertainers of course.The Ice show was particularly good, repeated twice a day on each of the two sea days. However, the Ice Skaters did fall over a few times during each show! Until the end of the show it was difficult to guess what the theme of the show was...it turned out to be fashion.As expected, the onboard Orchestra was excellent as was the Pianist in the Schooner Bar and other music provided at various bars around the ship.The Bingo was well attended and presented well, unfortunately, we didn't win anything but the cash prizes were decent amounts.Being old and tired we didn't venture into the Disco.Like so many other ships, this cruise included an art auction, which is something my wife and I particularly enjoy. As usual, despite my wife holding my arm down so I couldn't bid, I won and we ended up purchasing two items of art at fantastic value. The auctioneer was excellent in his delivery and knowledge of the works of art and his team was very professional. It has to be acknowledged that the Spanish generally don't purchase art at sea and the contingent of the guests was not the type that would ordinarily purchase art. I therefore doubt that despite his best efforts if the auctioneer met his target! The free champagne was flowing at each auction.RCCL Please note - we were very disappointed with the goods sold within your on board shops. RCCL missed lots of opportunity to sell branded goods such as photo albums and RCCL branded chocolate etc... which would have made ideal gifts; unfortunately we had to purchase gifts on land. Our Cruise included two ports of call, Tenerife and Madeira, whilst a Varity of Ship Excursions were available none of them appealed to us, so we got off the ship and made our own arrangements.Disembarkation was simple and unhurried, unlike previous cruises we did not feel that we were being pushed off the ship.Value for money - In my opinion excellent value for money. Whilst know one ever pays brochure price I can tell you that the price we paid in total, which included the flights (and one suitcase each), plus transfer to and from the ship was exceptional. There was talk around the ship that some passengers paid £150.00! Each (for an inside cabin)...if true, £150.00 for a 5 night inclusive cruise is unbelievable. Whilst I am not crying for RCCL, even with the quantity of scales involved (over 3000 passengers and 1,200 crew) it is difficult to see how RCCL made any money, maybe this is why the little things that I have picked up on that we expected and weren't in place, were indeed, not included. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We found boarding the ship at Southampton speedy and efficient. This only took 15 mins and was helped by plenty of very friendly staff who gave clear directions. Having never sailed with Royal Caribbean before, we felt that the ... Read More
We found boarding the ship at Southampton speedy and efficient. This only took 15 mins and was helped by plenty of very friendly staff who gave clear directions. Having never sailed with Royal Caribbean before, we felt that the ship itself certainly has the 'wow' factor. The public areas were bright, gleaming and well designed. Our cabin was on Deck 7 and had a balcony, which was large enough for 2 chairs and a small table. The cabin was airy and spacious compared to other cruise lines we have sailed with. The beds were large and very comfortable, there was plenty of wardrobe space, storage for luggage and the cabin was well sound proved. The bathroom was perfectly adequate and the shower was powerful.Our cabin steward was exceptional and nothing was too much trouble for her. We ordered room service several times and I would definitely recommend it, although it did have a slightly limited menu. The food in the main restaurants were excellent, as were the waiting staff. Each evening there was a varied choice and the waiters were happy to make amendments, or bring extra gravy, etc. We ate in Portofino's, one of the speciality restaurants, which was outstanding and one of the nicest meals we have ever had. We ate lunch occasionally in the Windjammer, buffet style restaurant; the standard of food was always very good. The downside was that it was always very busy and difficult to get a table at peak times. The theatre was large and we always managed to find a seat. The shows were very entertaining, catering for all different tastes. Our favourite was the Ice Show which was spectacular and a definite 'must see'. There were plenty of things to do and this ship is perfect for families, especially those with teenagers. The Flow rider, Climbing wall, and the things to do on the outside decks are perfect for good weather, but for our itinerary and more importantly the time of year we did not use them. The ship would work better in the summer months, and was maybe not the right choice for a winter cruise from Southampton. We had 3 days at sea (missing out on Madeira) due to bad weather. The pools had to be drained as the Capt confirmed we had waves over 50ft high. We only took one excursion - from Vigo. We thought the price to be comparable to other cruise lines. We enjoyed the trip, although it was not well organised. We were late leaving the ship as the meeting point was incorrect on the ticket and then we had to go back to the ship as we had left 6 people behind. The only minus points were the price of the drinks, which were expensive and the lack of seating in the bar/public areas. We were second seating for dinner and afterwards found it very difficult to find a seat in any of the bars. This appeared to be confirmed by other guest. Overall we had a very enjoyable holiday and I would definitely recommend this ship. The customer service was fantastic and all the staff were professional, friendly and very keen for us to 'join the Royal Caribean Family'. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
we embarked the adventure of the seas at approx 10.30 am on 13th november. i found the process very efficient and fast as we had already printed our sea pass.within 10 mins we aboard and exploring this beautiful ship.it is very beautiful ... Read More
we embarked the adventure of the seas at approx 10.30 am on 13th november. i found the process very efficient and fast as we had already printed our sea pass.within 10 mins we aboard and exploring this beautiful ship.it is very beautiful and well looked after.the cabin was a standard inside but was more than adequate with a large bed,very comfortable, and small sitting area. the storage was more than adequate and well thought out.it was well cared for by our efficient and helpful attendant meryleena,thank you. i queued for approx 15 mins to have our dining time and restaurant altered, we travelled with another 2 couples. this was done with great efficiency by a very helpful australian girl. the main dining room was lovely and our waiters daniel and ephraim were helpful and entertaining during the trip.the food was good and well presented. we had room service for breakfast the two days in port as the island restaurant could be jam packed at times with difficulty in getting a table. romm service breakfast was lovely. the food in the island restaurant was lovely with lots o choice ,especially the desserts as my expanded waistline will testify. we enjoyed the schooner bar in the evening but get there early as seats are limited,the ice show was great and i enjoyed the casino. the only critisism was the price of drinks with the house wine at six dollars a glass plus tax and gratuities but with what i paid for the cruise i was very happy. this was my first cruise with rci but i hope not the last Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
*The Windjammer is absolutely chaotic if you happen to go at the wrong time of day, and some of the lounges/bars seem overcrowded at certain times too. I can't understand people wanting to eat in the Windjammer every evening off ... Read More
*The Windjammer is absolutely chaotic if you happen to go at the wrong time of day, and some of the lounges/bars seem overcrowded at certain times too. I can't understand people wanting to eat in the Windjammer every evening off plasic plates overloaded with frozen chips, pizza and Mashed Potatoes...? *Some guests just can't seem to grasp how to use elevators never fail to amaze me, situated on a lower deck it was sometimes a pain to use them especially at peak times of the day... *Every single port of call at least 1 guest was late back for the ships departure for no apparent reason other than they didn't respect the rules that 3500 had obeyed that day... why wait for them!? *The jury is out on how the ship handles... often in only moderate seas it seemed very turbulent? Which I've not experienced on some ships that are only a fraction of the size. *Sometimes alcoholic drinks weren't always served ice-cold, which considering the amount white wine & lager costs onboard- is very disappointing. *Very little 'value' to be had in the way of alcoholic drinks - massively overpriced, watch out for some cheaper than listed wines in the Windjammer (still $21+) and the drink of the day (purely for the chance to take home a nice souveneer glass supposedly worth $4.95) *ESPN is a great tool for English Football fans, you'll end up seeing more premier league matches than you would at home (if you so wish)! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Hotel Info We chose to stay at The DeVere Grand Harbour Hotel before sailing - found it easy for carparking - we did not book this with RCCL though. Ship Info All I can say is wow! This ship really does have the wow factor. ... Read More
Hotel Info We chose to stay at The DeVere Grand Harbour Hotel before sailing - found it easy for carparking - we did not book this with RCCL though. Ship Info All I can say is wow! This ship really does have the wow factor. The Royal Promenade looks like something out of a new shopping centre! For smokers there are a number of locations to choose from; There is the open deck on decks 4, 11 and 12; The Labyrinth (night club on deck 4) and Connoisseur Club on deck 5 as well as your balcony if you have one. Activities There was always a lot going on - check your cruise compass every day to make sure you don't miss anything! Steve the activity's manager was a little to "PG" for our liking - some of the game shows (starting after 10) had children in them so some of the fun was lost. Make sure you don't miss "The Quest" and "The love and marriage" game shows. Service In one word - Fantastic! I have to mention a 2 people here. 1. G (Gunwan) who was the bar man in The Connoisseur Club - the best service I have ever had anywhere in the world ever! 2. Stephanie one of the photographers - Took some amazing photos and we had a lot of fun. All the crew I spoke to were amazing! Port & Shore Excursions This is one of few bad comments I have. We booked an excursion in Madeira which was advertised has having 40 - 50 steps. It had over 300! We were still able to take the tour but a few people on our bus weren't - My advised is if you must book an excursion just double check the number of steps with them before you book. Stateroom Our stateroom was more spacious that I expected. It was always clean and our cabin attendant always made the animals our of towels. Dining We only ate in the main dining room a few times - not because it was bad but because we were a little full from lunch! The food quality was good but isn't as good as it was a few years ago. Chops Grill I recommend but be sure not to eat for a day before had - the steaks they do are massive! Make sure you have room for the chocolate mud cake - I'd pay $25 just to eat that! The Windjammer or as some of our fellow guests called in the people jammer also offered good food. The only complaint I have is that the order in which the food is placed in - i.e battered fish on one stand and the chips and mussy peas on another. Also the food was sometimes incorrectly labeled. Entertainment Mixed. Some of the guest entertainers were amazing - some were average. One of the "comedians" was just not funny! The production shows with the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers were fantastic. The Ice show was not to our liking - we had to que for around an hour one morning to get tickets and we ended up walking out part way through as we found the show repetitive and the skaters did fall a lot. Some other guests did enjoy the show a lot though. Disembarkation Seamed organised enough although a lot earlier than previous cruises I have done. We were in the last group to leave and did so at 09.15. There was a long que at customs. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Altogether we had an excellent cruise starting from check-in at Southampton which was quick and easy, the only issue here being that our suitcases didn't arrive at the cabin till after 4 p.m. Our cabin was clean and spacious and we ... Read More
Altogether we had an excellent cruise starting from check-in at Southampton which was quick and easy, the only issue here being that our suitcases didn't arrive at the cabin till after 4 p.m. Our cabin was clean and spacious and we had treated ourselves to a balcony which was lovely but only really worthwhile during the warmer days. 'Independence' certainly has the wow factor and we walked down the Royal promenade for the first time. However because this was a winter cruise it became very crowded at peak times being the major inside space. The dining room is a magnificent 3 floor area with each floor having its own entrance. We were travelling with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson and at first they were placed on a different table. However a visit to the head waiter soon sorted this out. We were not able to change sittings though, as the first sitting was very full. If this is your preferred choice make sure to book it early enough. The only disappointing part of the cruise was the entertainment. During the evenings there were a number of good cabaret artists but a couple were poor and there were only 2 big production shows during the eleven nights. The highlight of the cruise was the Ice show which was terrific and the fact that we had to get tickets meant everyone could get to see it. The day entertainment was let badly down because most of it was aimed around the outside spaces, a problem because we only had 3 good days. The entertainment team either were not able or did not have the imagination to provide alternatives. The staff were fantastic; we were looked after at dinner by Hazel and Maria and Alfina did a magnificent job keeping our cabin ship-shape. We had a great time but 'Independence' is probably better suited to summer cruising when you can make more use of the wonderful outside space. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was my 9th cruise 8th with RCI. We were on the Independence of the Seas sailing from Southampton 29/11/2010 for an 11 night cruise to the Canaries. We stayed in Southampton the night before joining the ship and saw the ship come into ... Read More
This was my 9th cruise 8th with RCI. We were on the Independence of the Seas sailing from Southampton 29/11/2010 for an 11 night cruise to the Canaries. We stayed in Southampton the night before joining the ship and saw the ship come into port from our bedroom window. Getting on-board was extremely painless. car-parking was booked and our bags taken. Short walk (follow the yellow line) to the lounge. We were very quickly processed and were on the ship by 12 enjoying complementary food and drinks. The ship is amazing. We have travelled on the Freedom when it was first launched so new what to expect from the ship. I have no argument with the ship/staff/food/entertainment. My main quibble is with the on-board prices. I have travelled with RCI before and have never experienced such a hike in on-board pricing that in some areas can only demonstrate a total rip off of the passenger. At dinner they did try only once to get us to buy bottled water at $4.95/litre. We actually bought the same water at one of the stops for 45 cents.. Drinks prices were very expensive compared to previous trips and other cruise lines. ($6.95 per pint $6.25 per half!!). Just as well we do not drink that much. The entertainment was very good and the cruise director and his helper were terrific. I like the ships and would still probably go one one again... but my next cruise is with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We travelled as a party of 4 for the first time with Royal Caribbean just before Christmas. It was a wonderful experience, from check in to departure our every need was met. We were very spoilt by all the lovely staff especially our Cabin ... Read More
We travelled as a party of 4 for the first time with Royal Caribbean just before Christmas. It was a wonderful experience, from check in to departure our every need was met. We were very spoilt by all the lovely staff especially our Cabin steward Agus who kept our cabin spotless and our waiters Ivan and Angel who kept us well fed . The food was lovely whether you ate in the buffet restaurant or main dining. The evening shows were fabulous especially Kev the Armenian he made us laugh until we cried. There was something for everyone the gym was excellent very well equipped (i undertook a little light exercise, well i was on holiday). It was lovely to have all the little cafes and shops on the Royal Promenade you. would never know you were at sea Unfortunately the weather was not great travelling to the Canaries so was unable to make use of the beautiful pools and Jacuzzi on top deck (well it was late November early December) I would definitely travel again with Royal Caribbean, and i would urge anyone to try it once but be careful it's addictive... Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Hi folks,I had high expectations of going on this cruise ship and i wasn't dissapointed!I had booked it over a year previously and i plenty of time for research and to avoid the pitfalls that all first-time cruiser's dread!like a ... Read More
Hi folks,I had high expectations of going on this cruise ship and i wasn't dissapointed!I had booked it over a year previously and i plenty of time for research and to avoid the pitfalls that all first-time cruiser's dread!like a huge on board spend bill and getting ripped off !haha but no such event occured so breath in and relax!It's all good in the world of R.C.C.I!We flew Air Lingus from Gatwick,U.K(a change from B.A,heathrow we felt was warranted by the strikes,etc)a nice flight,met a nice chap at the airport bus depot who had cruised before and whom we met on board afterwards,one face we felt familiar with after 2o mins.on the plane some lovely welch girls who were cruise addicts and all going on Adventure so we were getting excited.the sun shone and we had arrived at Malaga,Spain.A quick ten minute or so coach trip later and we were in Malaga's Cruise terminal where Adventure greeted us towering above us,a white bemoth of windows and Lifeboat's.It really needs to be seen to be believed.In the reception area were a few curiously dressed 'party girls'(Blokes!)who turned out to be entertainer's and set the theme for the many Spanish guests who were obviously of a differnt persuasion,shall we say,from my wife and I.No problem,we just joined the throng,had our pictures taken for the i.d cards and on we went,aboard at last.we went straight up to our cabin,a small but perfectly formed mini-masterpiece of design,bed,t.v couch and shower etc,no window but i had taken the truoble of a few on-line spice-up's in the form of the 'bon voyage!' banner,balloon,door poster and a champagne-on ice chocolate strawbs,well worth the money and a nice touch to jazz it up a little.the room service was fantastic,very prompt,nice food,presented perfectly and all free!(before midnight-05.00).We had just got our bearing's when it was time for the 'Muster station's call' which meant a shuffle for all to the lifeboat station assigned to our room,sorry cabin!this excercise was mainly treated by a joke by the guests so we went along ,the only two wearing our life jackets!D'oh!thank the good Lord that we didn't have to use them!We had opted to pay our on-board spends in cash(dollars)rather than by card a facility our travel-agents were suprized we were able to do.we felt this was better than running up a tab we might not be able to pay for!In the end i have to say the prices were a little inflated but we spent #530 dollars all told.We were not big drinker's and that included 2 coach trips we booked from our room on the T.V!Cruising doesn't have to break the bank if your carefull.We had booked my-time dining and being naive i had booked a variety of times for our 'slot'.it was obvious that these were all in the wrong time either too early or late to get a show,or film etc.We found the nice young ladies at the Dinner booking booth very helpfull to change our times with no fuss.The first few days were Smart Casual then the feared 'formal night'was on us.In the end it was a great experience to be in our best and the whole crew and guest's gleaming from Bow to Stern.Our table was a 2-person all week as my wife felt a little uncomfortable sharing a table with peopleshe didn't know!this is meant to to be the point but i wasn't going to make a thing of it,after getting her this far from home!The food and choice on adventure was fantastic!the waiter's and waitresses do a fantastic job,bearing in mind the numbers involved.ten/ten here for the service.you will be impressed with the freindly staff who no doubt are seeking that tip but who treated us with dignity and respect at all time's.We met a young chap from Brazil in the dog and duck pub onboard,charming.The cocktail waiter from Jamaica,Dean equally charming.These guys are having a blast,working the ships and travelling they will make your trip special by making you feel special,thanks R.C.C.I for introducing us to some nice people from all around the world,that what makes a cruise so personal!The business side of things on the promenade was omni-present,the sales promotion's etc but on the whole the atmosphere is nice and relaxed.We caught the ice-show one evening,apart froma couple of slips(this was on a ship!)the show was amazingThe juggler and hoop show we had seen in the Lyric theatre earlier was first class!I enjoyed the Spanish lessons that repeated all the announcement's and we met all nationalities on-board,those gay Spanish chap's seem to congregate in the whirl-pools and i even braved that for a posed Motorcycle news reader meets Spanish men at sea stunt,much to wife's amusement.the guys were nice really,just looked a little different!Weather on this trip wasn't great,mostly overcast and few sunny skies but we hardly noticed as we zoomed up and down in the greast glass lifts,rushing here ,going there just loving the ship and the fantastic experiences on offer.the wind jammer cafe was a nice big motorway service station of free food!whilst cakes and snack's could all be found on deck 5,whre tea and coffee mixed with soft drink's were free to enjoy at will.one day we were still in our room when my wife strangely began to slide down the bed!this turned out to be a technical problem with one of the ship's stabalizer's!the ship had leaned right over with no warning!a quick look out of the cabin allayed my initial fear that we were going to become some horrible 'Titanic' like nightmare,disconcerting you must agree.No future problems here so that's a relief.Tenerife and maderia came and went in a blur of trips and experience's i will add later and before we knew it it was the last night on board-party night where all the crew sang,danced and waved us off to our home shore's making us all a little sad that it was over but giving us hope for new beginning's now that our Cruise virgin's tag has gone,REGARDS TO ALL HAPPY Cruising,Roger T Bikerboy32 Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Not cruised before....You will love it Got kids...They will love it Enjoy Butlins....You will love it Looking for a quality cruise with all the touches...forget it In comparison to the many other cruises we have taken ... Read More
Not cruised before....You will love it Got kids...They will love it Enjoy Butlins....You will love it Looking for a quality cruise with all the touches...forget it In comparison to the many other cruises we have taken (including 3 this year with Princess and P&O) what's on offer here is sadly lacking. 1. No launderette. Were told by guest services they preferred to use the space for an ice rink and other facilities. No irons permitted in the cabin but of course I could get clothes pressed up at the laundry, for a fee. . 2. No formal afternoon tea in the dining room. Only afternoon snacks in the self-service canteen. 3. No chocolates on the pillows at night (petty I know, but always adds to the ambiance) 4. No full range of toiletries in the stateroom, only tablet soap and shampoo from a dispenser...no shower gel,no shower cap, no body lotion as on other cruise lines. 5. Meals: The self service Windjammer (Canteen)on deck 11 had a good selection of well cooked food, breakfast, lunch and dinner - although the menu was repetitive. The Dining Rooms on decks 3 & 4 were a let down. They served a la Carte breakfast on deck 4 from 7.30 - 9.30 - very minimal selection. Deck 3 self service buffet also very limited selection until 10 30. Reconstituted orange juice served free - if you wanted freshly squeezed then you had to pay for it. Didn't try the restaurant lunch menu, but we have never had such mediocre dinners on any cruise ship. The Dining Room evening meal was a basic 3 courses (even on the night of the Captains Gala Diner). Each course was very ordinary with starters being such things as Prawn cocktail, melon or soup. Main dishes were unimaginative and on the whole not attractively presented. Never offered lobster once, except in bisque soup! Sweets were probably the best part of the meal. The whole experience was comparable to a general English pub menu. 6. Entertainment on board during the day was limited unless you wanted to spend money in the spa, play bingo or the casino. No cookery demos, fruit carving demos, ice carving demos, tour of the galley, computer classes etc . They had a liking for trivia quizzes though, averaging up to 5 per day! Could it be because they were held in the bars encouraging passengers to part with more cash in return for drinks??. Drink prices were inclusive, none of the plus 15% nonsense. 7. The main street - Royal Promenade ran half the length of the ship and was lined either side with shops and bars and a general jumble sale of the usual stuff on stalls down the middle. A nice idea and quite pleasant for walking during the day, but totally unsuitable as a venue for functions, such as the Captains welcome party. It was so full you couldn't move. The champagne had finished by the time we got through the sea of people and there were no canapEs offered. They also held a 70s street party and a Britannia party there. It was a crowded free for all. There were 2 evening parades along the promenade- reminiscent of Disney. 8. Their Quest show was more suited to a Club 18/30 holiday. In a nutshell, the audience was divided into teams for a treasure hunt which started off with mundane items such as a pair of shoes, ties, excursion ticket etc. and then sank into the realms of collecting trousers, shirts and bras (minus their owners of course). 9. Their stage shows were very colourful and the scenery was good, but when I tell you that they Were called "Once upon a time" and "Under the big top" you know they were geared to younger audiences. You also may not wish to go back on IOTS for some considerable time as we were told that because of their complex scenery etc. to change the show costs between 1.3 and 2m dollars and they were expected to run for up to 8 years on the same ship, that is until it is re-fitted!!! The resident 9 piece band were good. 10.No alcohol was to be brought on board (not that we had much chance to buy anything in port as the timings were dreadful). In Madeira and Vigo we didn't arrive until lunchtime and set sail again late afternoon. House wine was $5 a glass in the self-service canteen and wine bar on the Royal Parade and $7 everywhere else.Draught beer, Boddingtons or Speckled Hen about $7 a pint 11.There were no nibbles produced with bar drinks until after the first week and then only if you asked for them. 12.No art auctions (not even an art gallery). We missed the entertainment value, even if you didn't buy anything! 13. Inside cabin appeared narrower or could have just been badly laid out. To get round one side of our double bed was impossible as the bed end was against the edge of the fridge. 14.Tea making facilities supplied in the cabin - but no coffee sachets. Very odd! Cabin breakfast service excellent and free. 15. No champagne fountain - always good for a photo opportunity. Talking of which there were 22 photographers on board. That's obviously a good money spinner at up to $29.95 per photo. The spot lighting and IT equipment around the ship was first class. 16. Most unusual place we found to eat was Johnny Rockets - a 1950s style milk bar. There was a supplement (of course) but worth the extra $4.95 each. They had remote juke box selectors on every table. Unfortunately they were only for display and the music was canned but all of the right era. Food was fun. Typically burgers, fish and chips, onion rings and dip and bowls of chilli and chips. I really loved the chocolate sundae. The waiters entertained diners by sporadic dancing to the music!!Everyone was applauded by all present upon entering and leaving the facility! 17.The morning TV show was mainly taken up by the Cruise Director and his sidekick reading out jokes and the odd dedication, that had been sent in by passengers. Their time might have been put to better use giving more general info about the ship and facilities ashore. On Lanzarote we were offered a shuttle bus at $6 per passenger each way into town. We were given no intimation of how far it was but fancied a walk. After 30 minutes we reached IKEA and still couldn't see the town. So we went into the store for a drink, turned round and walked back to the ship! There were a lot of children on board. It was the Scottish school half term holiday (something we didn't know when I booked.). However, it is obvious they are pitching to the family market. It felt like an upmarket Butlins on the sea. Provokes a question - what families wouldn't want laundrettes????????? Oh yes - for amusement value only. I had a problem with the hardwired hairdryer in my cabin. It cut out 3 times when I was drying my hair on a formal night. We were visited by 2 electricians (how many men does it take to repair a hairdryer??) who proceeded to explain to me how to operate it properly! Just so that you know for future reference, apparently one should only switch it on for about 3 seconds then switch it off for 2!! Fortunately by the time they passed on their words of wisdom, my hair was done. I did however make it clear to them that I had never heard such rubbish in all my life!!! I have to say that the ship was spotless. When we arrived at the port we were handed a piece of paper that said there had been an outbreak of the norovirus on the previous voyage and that our embarkation would be delayed due to a deep clean. Thankfully, I didn't hear of any such problems on our trip. On the plus side - the ice show was very good but it didn't make up for all that was lacking. Good choice of room service menu - although tea/coffee sometimes arrived lukewarm. Our cabin steward -Edmund - was a good ambassador for his ship. Always cheerful, polite and attentive. If you are over 45, travelling without children, or used to cruising with fine dining and the frills that make the experience extra special then THIS IS NOT FOR YOU - DON'T GO THERE Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Met some fabulous people who we hope will remain friends for a long time. Independence of the Seas is fabulous, as a structure. She is also fabulously clean and the Staff, who we came across daily, were magnificent. ... Read More
Met some fabulous people who we hope will remain friends for a long time. Independence of the Seas is fabulous, as a structure. She is also fabulously clean and the Staff, who we came across daily, were magnificent. But...... There was an awful lot wrong with this cruise, when compared to Voyager and Indy's sister ship Liberty. It became apparent very early that the customer that Independence wanted was not the "Cruiser" but people from the mass-market and I don't mean that in any disparaging way whatsoever. Standards were way below other RCCL ships and in my humble opinion this was a deliberate ploy. Jeans and T Shirts in the dining room on formal nights? How about a pair of flip-flops? Signs stating the opposite being blatantly ignored and not challenged. If we had been pre-warned that the dress code was to be so relaxed we wouldn't have spent £££££'s on new clothes and outfits for the cruise. Dining room food: - Well cooked and well presented but dated. We were eating the same menu from 3yrs ago and nothing had changed. Disappointed. Windjammer: - Chaotic Bars EXPENSIVE $6-95 for a beer or £4-54 is an outrageous RIP-OFF. Entertainment Hit & Miss Ports Very disappointing. $6-00 to get you to the port gates? Another RIP OFF. Vigo shut Tenerife shut Gran Canaria ok Lanzarote never even bothered getting off Madeira RIP OFF-see above Stateroom Attendant Michael was superb. Waiter and Second Waiter Owen & Joey both superb Head Waiter Wouldn't pay him in washers Maitre de Who is this elusive person? Staff other than mentioned were extremely pleasant and worked very hard. Paying the Bill After returning from the cruise I checked my Bank Statement and the Bill from Indy had been paid. I found however, a huge £524-05 Black-Hole in my account. I phoned my bank who told me that RCCL were holding the monies, even though my bill had been paid!! I didn't even owe them the money yet they had taken it from my account. Not a happy bunny. You got an awful lot wrong on this RCCL and I will certainly not be returning to Independence and likely as not, not from Southampton again. I doubt very much if I will return to RCCL after this experience which is a shame as prior to this I sang their praises from the rooftops. It's a further disappointment as we were looking forward to going on Oasis or Allure in the next couple of years. Yours, A former customer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We were a family of five which included 16, 13 & 11 year old children. First things first, the cleanliness.... if the NHS had RCI staff to clean, MRSA and such like would be irradicated within days. I have never experienced such ... Read More
We were a family of five which included 16, 13 & 11 year old children. First things first, the cleanliness.... if the NHS had RCI staff to clean, MRSA and such like would be irradicated within days. I have never experienced such obsession with hygiene. We had antibac gel dispensers at every turn, the staff wore gloves continually, the handrails and other surfaces were constantly being cleaned with sanitising spray, and the amount of glass and chrome onboard, and we never saw one finger print. Even the lift buttons were covered in a blue plastic film which was replaced each day to prevent germs, along with carpets being cleaned, and we even had a notice to say we should keep our balcony doors locked one day as they were going to be carrying out a "deep clean and sanitisation" of the balconies. Rooms were cleaned at least twice a day, and this attention to cleanliness really spoke highly of the care that they take of their passengers health and wellbeing. The staff were fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble, there was always a smile, and hello at least and that was from staff who were engine room mechanics, bar staff, waiters, etc could not do enough for you. We loved them, and Lenor who cleaned our room was an angel, along with James at customer relations, and Pablo in the photography shop. Food...well we found that the formal dining room was too stuffy for the kids taste, so we spent our meal times at the Windjammer. Yes it was busy at peak times, but never any longer than 5 mins to get a seat. The food was lovely, although quite basic, but you didnt have to eat chips every night to get a meal, there was plenty of choice, but watch ot for the greedy ones, you would be suprised how much food you can fit on a plate before it topples, and this was one thing that infuriated me, GREED, I cant bare it. Drinks....we ordered a 12 bottle wine package before we went but only drank 4 on board but they gave us the other 8 to take home so no complaints, but for us personally I wouldn't buy this again as it would have been cheaper to buy the odd glass. In an evening we would have a couple of drinks in the bar, and these ranged from $4.95 for an ameretto and coke to $7.95 for a cocktail, but as we only had a couple each it wasnt that expensive overall, besides the size of the shots you didnt need many to knock you out!! lol. Soft drinks package... worth its weight in gold!! For us it was fantastic value for money and would highly recommend it to anyone with kids. Stateroom....Immaculate! We had a balcony, and would not choose to do anything other than this. We heard people grumbling that they saw no point in "paying extra for a balcony" and thats fine, but our kids had an interior room, and we hated it. I felt instantly claustraphobic with no windows, and you had no way of knowing if it was day or night, sunny or raining until you got on deck, and besides, the sight of dolphins, and the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets were priceless to us, as was the luxury of going to our room and sunbathing in our own space when the deck chairs were full on deck. Kids club.....if you have kids then they will LOVE these. My daughter was very tongue in cheek when we booked and told her about these, typical "i'm too old for kids clubs" but she made great friends with all the kids as did the other two and they had an amazing holiday in their words, and cried when they said goodbye. Pre-paid gratuaties.....never again for us. We never saw the same waiter twice and felt quite agreived that we had pre paid £69 each person (over £350 in all) for services that we never received. We have decided next time that we will pay the room attendant and then each staff member that we met individually as it seemed a shame that those that we had received service from never got a tip. Excursions....mmmm, mixed bag. Highlight tour for us was fire mountain and camel ride at lanzarote, and a close second was the cable car and toboggans at madeira, although the cable car was terryfying!! We also booked easy gran canaria, which was anything but! Easy as in sitting on a coach and get off for 10 mins at a time for a toilet stop and nothing else as we were told, but for us, it was full of the (P*ss and blue rinse brigade) as we called them. No disrespect, but this age group fast became the holiday group from hell. The ship was full of them. They were ignorant, had no manners, couldnt hold their bowel movements and thought nothing of shoving in front of you, pushing you out the way, passing wind at every oportunity,and stunk from not showering from one day to the next. On a coach this is not funny and they didnt want the air con on as they were "getting too cold" so we spent the day with our noses in jumpers, spraying deodorant and being shoved off the bus and pushed in front of in the queues, and red hot. If you are alive and have a pulse, go for something else, avoid this trip! Ports....shame the stops were so short General overview for us....we wouldnt cruise from southampton again without stopping sooner as it seemed a long haul from saturday afternoon to monday lunchtime with no escape, but in fainess the weather was poor and you couldn't even sit outside but the ship was great. The above mentioned P*ss and blue rinse brigade...the holiday makers from hell. It seemed funny that people walked on yet within a couple of days our corridor was like the parking lot for IOTS whhelchairs and scooters. I think that they had switched on to the fact that the theatre had a "wheelchair users only" area and this therefore guaranteed them a seat. They also had a bad attitude when it came to driving the piggin things. My son has come home with whacking bruises where some old codger of a man with manners that stretched as far as "MOVE" rammed his legs and as couple of other peoples. They seemed hell bent on shoving in front of the que in the lifts, and and far as able bodied elderly go, well they were worse. Shoving and pushing and on more than a couple of occassions we were queing for food and the oldies just walked to the front and over filled their plates without a hint of apology or awareness for those of us queing. One lady said to me, I dont know why I bother to teach my children manners, cause they obviously dont need them on here! Can i add though, that we also met a couple of amazing oldies, who were kind, considerate and had manners, and helped us to restore our faith in OAPs, and by no means was everyone rude and thought the world owed them a living. Must dos....Ice show, amazing, chocolate fudge cookies from the promenade cafe at 4ish in the afternoon with a cup of tea, breakfast room service, massage on port day special. $99 for head, neck, foot, ankle massage and facial, midnight buffet, soda package, and if likely to use windjammer lots, dont pre pay your gratuaties. Tips...wait till nearly last night of cruise and they bring out $10 & $15 watches, pashminas?, and other bits which are great for everyday wear or gifts to take back, cigarettes..I smoke silk cut and these work out to £1 pack! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Firstly, I would like to point out that my review may not apply to those without kids under the age of 3. We booked what we thought was going to be a holiday of a lifetime back in March. My wife, daughter and I booked along with the ... Read More
Firstly, I would like to point out that my review may not apply to those without kids under the age of 3. We booked what we thought was going to be a holiday of a lifetime back in March. My wife, daughter and I booked along with the in-laws. Our problems started from the moment we checked in. Dining Room: We were told by RCCL that we had a round table which would acommodate my joint booking and would be a private table for us. When we checked in however, it appeared that my wife, daughter and I were sat at a different table from the in-laws. When we complained to guest services, they wern't interested and pointed us to the Dining Room Manager, who was not in the slightest bit interested either. After spending a good 90 minutes trying to sort out the problem, I got on the phone to the travel agent and asked them to sort out the problem. Much to my amazement, the travel agent said that Royal Caribbean admitted they made a mistake and would try to put us back to one table - Which amazingly they actually done. The food in the dining room was far to 'posh' for my liking and they didn't have a kids menu, so the waiter kept having to check if the deserts had a liquor through the sauce and that sort of carry on. The assistent waiter at the table next to us ('Marcel' was her name), kept telling our daughter to SHHHHH and saying 'You're very noisy, aren't you' which I thought was totally out of order. My daughter was 17 months at the time of travel, what do you expect? She wasn't even that noisy, thats the thing! We stopped using the main dining room and instead decided to have our dinner in the Windjammer, because we clearly were below 'Royal Caribbean Standards' to eat in the main dining room! Another point - I believe tipping should only be for those who done a job well - I didn't tip the waiters because of the absolutely shocking service we received in the main dining room. Activities: There was only two things for my daughter to do - Go to the play session, between 15:00 and 16:00 or go in the pool, which was usually closed for cleaning! When we booked, we were told that our daughter would have a fantastic time, because the ship has an on board waterpark... What we weren't told is that my daughter was too young to use the waterpark! Other Points: We bought the unlimited soda package. Despite having the Coca Cola logo on the seapass, it definitely wasn't genuine coke we were being served. The fresh orange juice in the windjammer was very watered down. The stateroom attendant kept rushing us out of our rooms to get it cleaned. To sum up my experience, I think its fair to say that I had an 'ok' time, but would have enjoyed a holiday in Florida better as Royal Caribbean ships are NOT for down to earth people, or those with very young kids. The captain (Teo) didn't tell us that we were leaving Southampton early, so by the time I went out to watch us leaving, we were already about a mile away from the port! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Southampton Port is easily accessible by road and rail. We arrived at the port car park gates at almost the exact time recommended in the cruise joining instructions. However it then took a further 40 minutes to finally park - it may be ... Read More
Southampton Port is easily accessible by road and rail. We arrived at the port car park gates at almost the exact time recommended in the cruise joining instructions. However it then took a further 40 minutes to finally park - it may be that the flow of vehicles had to be regulated to avoid the porters being overwhelmed but we were not told why there was a delay. This large ship is not really a conventional cruise liner. It would appeal to anyone who has enjoyed the facilities and entertainment packages provided by a large holiday camp complex but with the additional benefits of a vastly superior food and restaurant provision; impressive staterooms and service; and different destinations in generally sunny and warm locations. This is a family oriented ship - on this particular cruise there were 600 children of all ages on board but these numbers can increase considerably in the summer during school holidays. The ship is huge but there were plenty of staff to support its 4000+ passengers. Even with this many passengers the ship only felt crowded on a few occasions such as formal evening photograph opportunities; watch and jewelry sale events or when special shows were taking place or had just finished. However if all passengers were obliged to remain inside the ship due to adverse weather conditions, say, then things could be different. Without exception ALL of the staff on board were always helpful, friendly and polite. The stateroom/cabin service was first class with rooms always being kept immaculate. Rooms and furniture were all really comfortable and well organized and the shower/ toilets were very well designed and laid out. The storage facilities in the cabins were excellent. The food was good both in terms of quality, quantity and availability. As well as a main restaurant offering an a la carte menu there was a large buffet style restaurant/cafe providing a range of meals throughout the day and well into the evening - the most popular food counter seemed to be the Burgerama Station. In addition there were two specialty restaurants providing a more intimate atmosphere with different menus although at an additional cost of $20 -$25 per person. However it was a pity that anything other than a regular coffee to finish a meal came at a poorly advertised extra cost. There were also a variety of other cafes and snack bars open for most of the day throughout the ship - although some did incur an additional cover charge cost. Drinks were available throughout the ship in a variety bars but be careful about prices - the drinks in some bars were twice the cost compared with other bars. Spirits and cocktails were relatively inexpensive with generous measures; however beer prices were closer to London city bar prices. Wine was particularly expensive with prices in the range $45-$50 per bottle being not unusual. Passengers who enjoy wine with their meals would certainly benefit from purchasing one of the wine packages which cost around $25 - $30 per bottle The evening entertainment theatre shows; live music lounges and disco type clubs were varied and of a pretty good standard but for adults things could get a bit repetitive during the day if you always stayed on the ship although there was some attempt at providing a varied programme of events during the day. The ship had a well equipped gymnasium/fitness centre and on this cruise it was never crowded. However it was disappointing that most group exercises all seemed to come at an additional cost The shore excursions were satisfactory and well organized but by necessity they were a bit rushed because of the limited time at most ports of call. In Maderia it is worthwhile, albeit a bit pricey, to try to book afternoon tea at Reids Palace overlooking the harbour which then leaves a relatively short downhill walk back to the ship. In Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, the local open top double-decker tourist bus probably offers best value for money for a town tour. In Anceriffe, Lanzarote there is a tourist mini-train from the bus station but there was not much to see. Vigo provided a tour to Santiago di Compostela but because of the distance it was time constrained - however this visit is not to be recommended for anyone in a wheelchair or with limited mobility whatever the trip description might suggest. Where simple shore transfers ($6.00 per person) are offered from ship to town centre it probably make sense to use local taxi services if your party has three or more guests. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
OH and I had a nightmare journey to Southampton by train,so were looking forward to our first cruise with RCI on Independence of the Seas.We spent the night before the cruise at the city centre Premier Inn which was great value for money. ... Read More
OH and I had a nightmare journey to Southampton by train,so were looking forward to our first cruise with RCI on Independence of the Seas.We spent the night before the cruise at the city centre Premier Inn which was great value for money. On arrival at the pier we had to join a long queue to get our luggage tags as oiur tickets had arrived too late for us to apply for them from RCI.We had to enquire from other passengers as to where this had to be done as there were no signs and no porters as is normal with other cruise lines we have sailed with.The whole check in process took us 2 hours and was quite an unpleasant experience.Thank goodness we weren't travelling with young children or elderley relatives. We went to the Windjammer buffet for lunch,and our cabin was ready at 4pm.We were on Deck 2 in an oceanview stateroom right in the centre of the ship.Something we would be very grateful for a couple of nights later. We shared our dining table with 7 other people,and they turned out to be a great bunch,we enjoyed their company a great deal. The food in the King Lear dining room was quite acceptable,but nothing to get excited about. The choice of food in the Windjammer was good,but got a bit samey after a few days.We tried breakfast there,also breakfast a la carte in the Macbeth and the buffet breakfast in the Romeo and Juliet.The Windjammer offered a vast choice,the Romeo and Juliet less of a choice,and the one time we ate breakfast in the Macbeth mine was nearly cold and OH didn't get what he ordered. We were on second sitting for dinner at 8.30 and by the time we came out we found it quite difficult to find somewhere to sit to have a drink. The entertainment was excellent and we went to see a show every night either before or after dinner. We found most things on board to be over priced,especially the drinks,and most times we were paying around $16 for 2 drinks which over 10 days certainly mounts up. Without exception we found the crew members to be pleasant,friendly and very helpful.Our stateroom attendant kept the place immaculate and provided us with a towel animal each evening.Our waiter and assistant waiter were first rate always providing extras for us and whipping away any dishes that we didn't care for,and providing us with another choice. Unfortunately we can't order the weather and on the second night we were hit by a force 12 storm in the Bay of Biscay.A force 12 is a category 1 hurricane and caused some of the lower deck cabins to flood and their occupants having to be moved.The 10 foot waves did some damage to a lifeboat on deck 4 and caused merchandise in the shops to be thrown about.Thank goodness for the situation of our cabin as we knew nothing of the rough night until we were informed about it by other passengers at breakfast.We heard that some passengers were confined to bed for 3 days as we headed south through the rolling seas. We had to miss out one port of call,and that was Madeira because the IOTS had to travel a great deal slower than had been intended. To sum up our cruise I would say the IOTS is a beautiful ship,we've been there,done it,but won't be doing it again.There were far too many people for our liking and the best description I can give it is a floating Butlins.Maybe OH and I are more of the traditional type cruisers and better suited to Cunard or P&O.We did make the most of it and enjoyed it as much as we could,but sorry,we won't be back. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Left Southampton on the Friday knowing bad weather on way . PO cruises Azure decided not to sail and I believe Fred Olsen ship left but turned back.Got worse during Sat and night into Sunday Hurricane level winds with 30 ft waves. Ship ... Read More
Left Southampton on the Friday knowing bad weather on way . PO cruises Azure decided not to sail and I believe Fred Olsen ship left but turned back.Got worse during Sat and night into Sunday Hurricane level winds with 30 ft waves. Ship certainly thrown about and many first time cruisers [seemed to be a lot] were not too happy. Due to weather Captain had to slow ship down and go towards coast of Portugal. Stopping at Madeira was cancelled My wife and I have not sailed with RCI for about 3 years as recent cruises have been with Celebrity. We are Diamond Level in Crown and Anchor Loyalty Programme [saved this cruise]. Went on this cruise due to dates. We were renewing our wedding vows [ Ruby] . Will not repeat all about ship as really lovely clean ship. LOWS: Ship too big with too many passengers for us. I do not do queues, As an example went for breakfast one morning in main dining room as I fancied Eggs Benedict [Only place they serve same]. Got told I would have to wait for 15 /20 minutes - went to Windjammer. Queues for getting off at the ports and getting back on. Queues for getting ice show tickets for most plus the actual events. Massive queue down the promenade the first day the cigarette price dropped by 15%, but price dropped again 3 days later and again on last sea day. Took the shuttle into Arrecife [ don't - take taxi] and when arrived back at pickup point the queue was massive, and in the usual British spirit all standing complaining!!! Took couple of pictures of queue, and then took taxi to ship for 7 euros. Went with unused shuttle tickets to Guest Relations, got price refunded and also my taxi fare. Totally accept that this ship is for families but should older children not be at school? I have no problems with children as we have 2 of our own. The problem was not with them but the parents who seemed not to care how their children were behaving. Some of the lounges for obvious reasons do not allow children after say 10/11pm . One night I was standing on Promenade just before midnight and I counted 14 children in buggies either sleeping or crying whilst 9 others were running about.In Ben and Jerrys ice cream they have high stools to sit on. Father sat watching his 2 sons about 7/8 continually pushing the stools over and the waiter having to place upright. Never said a word to them. Seemed to be everywhere including casino. I cannot stress enough that I am not a snob. I am a normal working guy, who has been lucky enough to go on a few cruises . There seemed to be a high number of people on board who I would describe as 'non cruisers'. At lunch time one day sitting at table when couple were boasting that they got cruise for under £400 comparing it to Benidorm. Seemed to be that loads of passengers got last minute deals to fill ship up. A lot of males in football tops. One night on way to dinner,outside Schooner bar 2 'football tops' could hardly stand as so drunk. In disco, smoking area, before we went to lunch on last sea day bar staff ejected male at 11.45am as so drunk! Food quality has dropped on this ship and has been altered for UK market , a point I do not agree with. Couple at our dining table were on identical sister ship Freedom of Seas end of last year sailing out of Miami and food was tremendous, with good choice of steaks, lobster etc as the US customers would insist on. We were offered roast beef and Yorkshire pudding 3 of first 5 nights, and on final night on menu was mixed grill with sausage and bacon. I chose NY strip steak one night as usually excellent .What arrived was very poor sirloin. [waiter agreed] HIGHS: Although our Renewal of Vows was expensive, it was excellent and well organised by RCI and on board. Impressive. Initially thought that the photograph package for the renewal was expensive at $199 but actually was cheapest. That price included 5 large 8x10 and approx 20 of 5x7 pics. Buying the pictures individually ranged from $15 - $30 PER PHOTOGRAPH- bit steep . We in D2 balcony cabin and size and cleanliness excellent , and room steward performed duties fine. Had room service brekkie in our room most mornings. Although as mentioned in my opinion the standard of food in main dining room has dropped , I believe in Windjammer it has in fact improved but problem with numbers and finding table. Went to specialty restaurants, Chops and Portofino and service and food is excellent - ate too much. The Diamond Level Loyalty Programme is really worthwhile and certainly would encourage cruisers to remain with RCI. Briefly, on Ind there is a Diamond Members Lounge on deck 14. The Diamond level seapass card opens the door to allow entry . It is open for cereal/ continental breakfast from 8-10 am, good quality speciality coffee 24 hours and from 5-8 pm on offer is hot and cold savoury and sweet canapes and free drinks including wine and spirits. Basically each night before dinner we had about 3 drinks either gin/ton or wine worth approx $500. Also is free photographs, welcome reception, disembark when you want at your leisure, special lunch with champagne etc. Other points: I took Gold drinks package that worked out at approx £19 per bottle and you can ask for some of your wine in any of the restaurants and they keep any unused till following night. Most of the Headliner shows were before our 2nd dinner seating and we were in Diam lounge, but seen some on tv. Comedian seemed fine . Heard better Abba Tribute and magician seemed poor. Entertainers in lounges were of good standard. If event like a quiz was in lounge, it was too small for numbers attending. Did not go but seemed to have bingo every day at least once. You now have the choice of carrying your own cases from ship. Seemed to be chaotic with people dragging cases and taking up most of space in lifts, holding up the process. Finally, this cruise will be remembered as we had a wonderful day renewing our vows, meeting many nice, decent people, especially at our dining table, and the Diamond Experience, but the overall impression is the numbers of people on the ship and the behaviour of a few. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
3 days into our 10 day canary island cruise on the Independence and my wife wanted to go home. I managed to talk her round with the promise of better times when the ship landed at the first port of call (Tenerife) but I really wish now ... Read More
3 days into our 10 day canary island cruise on the Independence and my wife wanted to go home. I managed to talk her round with the promise of better times when the ship landed at the first port of call (Tenerife) but I really wish now that I had listened to her. It is certainly not possible to please everyone but we will not be cruising again with Royal Caribbean or most probably any other cruise line. Royal Caribbean do so many things right that I feel a little guilty about complaining. Our deluxe sea view cabin with balcony was lovely and our cabin steward was excellent. The food is very good and plenty of it and this is catering on a big scale and on this point one wonders why so many small establishments in the UK do it so badly. The service cannot be faulted and one is acknowledged by every member of staff usually with a smile and there is always someone at hand to help. The shows were very good and often as high a standard as any we have seen in the West End of London. The ship is spotless and hygiene is stressed wherever you go in the ship. So what are we disappointed with? Well, probably the lack of anything intelligent to do on sea days and because the Independence is a big ship there are a lot of people on board and we felt that it was crowded and full to capacity. O.K. there were trivia games and suchlike but so brief and the seating arrangements in the bar areas where they were held was woefully inadequate. Invariably there was not a seat to be had which brings me to the complaint that it was usually impossible to get a seat in any of the main bars as there is insufficient seating. The same applied to the windjammer buffet restaurant and on one occasion we gave up on having breakfast there. Fortunately we had a very nice cabin to retreat to and we made full use of it! However we did not expect to spend so much time in our cabin. Perhaps it is us as we do not play bridge, hate the swimming pool areas as the many children there are not ours and we cannot stand Bingo. We did book the holiday to avoid half-term but it would appear that many parents do not worry about taking their children out of school and so there were many children on board and rules about their presence in bar areas such as the champagne lounge or dining rooms were ignored. The lectures on photography both of which were very short were also very mediocre. The half hour talk given by the chief engineer was very well attended but the visual aids were poor, which was a shame as so many people were interested in how such an enormous ship functions. If one were to be cynical one could say that the lack of intelligent entertainment is perhaps down to the fact that the RCI 'bean counters' wish every aspect of ship life to generate money. I accept that they are running a business but you cannot walk in a straight line through the Casino as it is designed to make you stop and gamble and it is surprising how often in ones travels through the ship that you need to pass through it. We like playing slots and accept that we will lose all ggour money but 'what the heck' we are at sea and want to enjoy ourselves. These machines are there to entertain and if set up correctly will do so and take all your money. The slots in the casino seemed only designed to take our money as fast as possible and that takes any fun out of it and so we did not gamble very often. A lot has been written about the drinks prices but I am sure that the bar profits might be even higher if the prices were more reasonable. I paid $10 for a small glass of wine at lunch one day and did not repeat that on other days. In our younger days we went to the beach at Benidorm and the people on board reminded me very much of those days and in fact we sent texts to our friends from 'S.S. Benidorm'. Royal Caribbean have brought cruising to the masses and do it very well but their philosophy seems to me to be 'pile it high and sell it cheap', apart from the drinks! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our 1st cruise with RCI and having watched many TV programs and reading almost every weekend newspaper praising this wonderful ship that sails from Southampton we decided to give it a go! The ship although very large is ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise with RCI and having watched many TV programs and reading almost every weekend newspaper praising this wonderful ship that sails from Southampton we decided to give it a go! The ship although very large is fantastic, in 10 days you cannot possibly take advantage of everything on board. There are allot of people on this ship and you cannot always get a seat in the lounge or bar of your choice, this could be helped a little if some, not all, parents would control there children and not let them run around the ship at all times of the day or night. The food in the main dining room is OK but is dining room food rather than restaurant quality, the food in the Windjammer is very good but you have to be prepared to queue for food and a table. The food in the specialist restaurant Portofino's was excellent, we both ate far to much. We did not use the other specialist restaurant Chops & Grill but were told by some of our fellow cruisers who had dined there that it was excellent. The drinks are very expensive and priced in US Dollars so for the first few days it was a little confusing, how they justify $10 to $15 for a medium glass of wine and $6 to $7.50 for a beer i don't know. If you have children the soft drink package seemed good value for money. We had an outside stateroom which was excellent, I have never seen or slept in such a large bed. our stateroom was cleaned and served twice a day by our excellent stateroom attendant. All the staff on board were excellent with the exception of the staff on the customer relations desk. On the three occasions I found myself wanting their help i found them extremely rude and very unhelpful. As i mentioned above at times it was stormy both inside and outside the ship. We left Southampton heading for bad weather while other ships stayed in port, so we sailed into a Hurricane with the captain telling us next day that it was the worst seas he had sailed through for the last 10 years. We had lost 10 hours sailing in the wrong direction to try to avoid the worst of the storm therefore we would not now be calling at Madeira, a great disappointment for us, so we now had an extra day at see, putting more money into the RCI purse. The other ports of call are good and the excursions on the whole were value for money. To sum up then the ship is excellent but RCI is a money making machine. Would I recommend RCI to friends a definite NO Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Arrived at Southampton 11.30.am....ABS car parks were very efficient and helpful? check in aboard ship no problem ! We were having a meal in the windjammer by 12.30.pm.. In our cabin by .1.20.pm.we had one suit case missing which arrived a ... Read More
Arrived at Southampton 11.30.am....ABS car parks were very efficient and helpful? check in aboard ship no problem ! We were having a meal in the windjammer by 12.30.pm.. In our cabin by .1.20.pm.we had one suit case missing which arrived a few hours later,Cabin was well looked after and kept very clean throughout our trip.Went to dinner at 6.00.that evening in the romeo and Juliet restaurant, Meals and waiter service were as good as we had ever had.?.Don't forget we are first time cruisers and nothing to compare with...Breakfast time we went to the Macbeth's restaurant which we found to be equally as good.The only thing we did not like was the hardness of the toast around the edges (It was like concrete) !.One gentleman on our table broke a tooth..!...This tough toast was served every breakfast throughout the trip..I think it must have been some hardtack left over from Lord Nelsons days lol..Entertainment in the evenings we thought was very very good especially the ice shows.! After watching the evening shows we would go for a few drinks If we could find some comfortable chairs it was a bonus.There was loads to do for all age groups! A few kids were left to run wild,and this did make things a bit unpleasant!but we have grandchildren of our own and know its difficult when they are exited ,apparently there was about 400 on board and not the usual contingent of about 1000 during school holidays.. ..Another little moan for us oldies, was the buggies and the mobility scooters although not a big problem .And O yes,the price of drinks ..Anyone who was a member of alcoholics anonymous would be cured in a month.?.Now all jokes aside and On a more serious note ..We did enjoy the trip apart from the hurricane and the 30 foot waves and having to miss Madeira as a result.lol. The cruise was great and everybody on board were very very friendly .Would we go again,?..YES Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Our first cruise but probably the last on IOS. Ship probably too big and crowded, 1800 cabins , over 4,000 peeps. Great for families. On the positive side the food, staff, attendant, evening entertainment, and ice show was superb. Some ... Read More
Our first cruise but probably the last on IOS. Ship probably too big and crowded, 1800 cabins , over 4,000 peeps. Great for families. On the positive side the food, staff, attendant, evening entertainment, and ice show was superb. Some guests were a bit noisy/rude during a few shows, juggling comedian excellent. Cabin very clean , very comfy bed. Pre-paid gratuities were expensive. About 50% of guests were pensioners, most didn't seem to be enjoying themselves. About 10% kids, around 400. The force 12 hurricane and 40ft.waves west of Spain/Portugal meant we had to miss Madeira, which was disappointing. Glad to disemnbark at Tenerife after 88 hours aboard. We liked Gran Canaria, one of only 2 days of sunshine though. Could do with an indoor pool or cover over pool area. Too many kids running around unsupervised, saw 2 girls wandering around Royal promenade on their own after midnight. Not enough seats at Royal Prom pub, good food at Sorrentos(especially steak n' kidney pies and desserts), good cakes, and 24-hour Cafe Prom.Evening room service poor but breakfast good. Plenty of quizzes during day, but got a bit bored at times. Board game/card room was fine and quiet. Drinks were expensive, around £5 for a cider. Had good fun at The Quest Scavenger Hunt, was team captain. Probably wouldn't go on IOS agaain, prefer smaller ship and warmer weather. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Parking was not included as part of the cruise fare and so we had to book parking separately from www.abparking.co.uk . We booked shuttle parking, which means you park within the dock area and a shuttle transports you and your luggage from ... Read More
Parking was not included as part of the cruise fare and so we had to book parking separately from www.abparking.co.uk . We booked shuttle parking, which means you park within the dock area and a shuttle transports you and your luggage from the car park to the terminal. The terminal is about 3 minutes drive from the car park. Your luggage is carried in a trailer towed by the shuttle bus. The shuttle buses take about 10 people at a time. Although a boarding time of 1345 was shown on our travel document, we arrived at the car park at 1130 and after 30 minutes we were having a meal in the Windjammer cafe. You are issued with a SeaPass card on production of your credit card. You use the SeaPass card for all payments on board, and to disembark / embark at ports. Once the document checks were completed we went through the xray scanner and then on to the ship. We were directed to the Windjammer cafe for meals. The Windjammer was jam packed. It seems that most people, like us, turned up earlier than the allocated boarding time. We were able to get a table within a couple of minutes of searching for one. No one seems to check whether you are boarding at the allocated time. It is a magnificent ship and it was spotlessly clean. The staff were all polite and helpful. We had the first sitting for all our meals in the Romeo & Juliet dining room on deck 3. The first dinner sitting is from 6.00 to 6.30 but there are always some people who still stroll in at 7.00 or later, which is inconsiderate when you are sharing a table with others. It also disrupts the service provided by the waiters. The second dinner seating is from 8.00 to 8.30. During the first and second seating for dinner you sit at the same table, with the same people and have the same waiter and assistant waiter. You don't have to eat here every night . If you want a change you can go to the Windjammer cafe (included in the fare) for a buffet or other restaurants for a nominal cover charge. You can have lunch on one of the dining rooms where you could be seated on any table with other passengers. We chose to have lunch in the Windjammer cafe where you can sit anywhere if there is a vacant table. There is a vast selection of food to suit all tastes. We enjoyed the food in the dining rooms in the evenings and the Windjammer cafe for breakfast and lunch, and never felt the need to go to one of the other speciality restaurants. The Jade and Windjammer cafe are buffet restaurants where you help yourself to what you fancy. There will always be people with eyes bigger than their stomachs, who load their plates and waste food whenever they come across serve yourself restaurants. The Jade is a part of the Windjammer cafe where you get Asian/Oriental dishes Three of the speciality restaurants require a nominal charge (gratuities included in the charge) per person and you have to make a booking. Speciality restaurants: Portofino - Italian - US$20 per person Chops Grille - Steaks - US$25 per person Johnny Rockets - Burgers, fries, milkshakes - US$4.95 per person Seating can be a problem in the Windjammer cafe which is buffet restaurant. Most people stay up late at night and get up later in the morning. Therefore it would be very crowded and would be difficult to find seating for breakfast around 9.00 am or later when most people turn up for breakfast. We avoided this by going to the Windjammer around 7.30 am when there would be very few people for breakfast most tables were empty. We also had early lunch around noon in order to avoid the crowds Even though there were over 4000 people on board we never had more than one or two people in front of us at any of the buffet counters in the Windjammer. The service in the main dining rooms was excellent and the staff in the Windjammer cafe were all polite and helpful. We were disappointed by the fact that coffee was not provided in the staterooms. Only tea , milk and sugar was available in the staterooms. If you want free coffee you have to go to deck 5 where it is available in Sorrentos, Cafe Promenade and in the Casino. Tea and chocolate is also available here. If you want cappuccino, latte or other drinks you will have to pay for them. Seating is limited but you can use plastic cups to collect your takeaway tea , coffee, chocolate and hot water. The entertainment on board mostly ranged form good to excellent, although we did not care for the magician with his pack of cards on the last night. The ice show was excellent. You will have to collect free tickets for the ice show. The day on which you can collect tickets will be announced and the show is repeated several times during the cruise. When you turn up to collect the tickets you will have to indicate the day (and time) you want to see the show. The Alhambra theatre has 1350 seats which means you will not be able to see a show unless you get there early. As we were on first sitting for dinner, we would finish dinner around 7.30 pm. As the shows start at 9 pm we would get to our seats by 8.20 pm and people watch until the start of the show. There are many entertainment venues on board but we only went to the Alhambra theatre. We avoided all the photographers on board who seem to pop up at every opportunity. I would not be surprised if RCCL make more money on photos than on all the other merchandise sold on board. It would seem that some families spend a small fortune on photos. Towards the latter part of the cruise some passengers seem to be suffering from photo overdose or photo fatigue, and refuse the to pose for the soliciting photographers on board. We never went on any of the ships's excursions. We preferred to walk into the town when it was possible. The ship had shuttles to take passengers to the nearest town/shopping area in Madeira and Lanzarote. The fee was US$6 per person each way. Shuttle transport was available in Madeira and Lanzarote. A couple could pay US$24 (£16) for a 20-30 minute walk into town. We chose to walk in Funchal (Maderia) and it took 30 minutes to get into the main shopping area. Half the time you were walking on a 3 feet wide raise pavement along a busy road. Just image hundreds of cruise passengers along this narrow pavement . Fortunately it was one way traffic as it was only the cruise passengers walking from the dockside to the town. In Tenerfie, Gran Canaria and Vigo you could walk into town in about 10-15 minutes. The worst outlook from the ship is at Lanzarote. Not a pretty view like the other ports on this trip. Some people tried to walk into town at Lanzarote and gave up part way because of the distance and the grotty surroundings. This is one place to consider the shuttle or a local taxi. We prepaid the gratuities when we booked. The amount is US$9.75 per person per day based on $3.50 for room attendant, £3.50 Waiter, $2.00 Asst Waiter, $ 0.75 Head Waiter. The head waiter oversees a large number of table but he doe not do the serving or clearing, hence the lower rate. On the day before the cruise ends, 4 envelopes and vouchers are provided in your stateroom. The envelopes are addressed to the Stateroom Attendant, Head Waiter and Assistant Waiter. Each person in the stateroom who has prepaid the gratuities receives the vouchers in the form of an A4 sheet of paper from which you cut out the 4 printed vouchers addressed to each of the job functions.(no names) . After dinner on the last evening you hand out the envelopes containing the vouchers to the relevant individuals. If you so desire. you can put cash in the envelopes in addition to the vouchers. Prepaid gratuities is optional for Traditional Dining (same table and same waiters) but My Time Dining requires payment of gratuities at the time of booking your cruise. My Time Dining means you turn up at the time you want to eat at a particular section of the dining rooms, but pre-booking your table for the time you want to eat is recommended. We wondered if we made the right decision by booking a cruise on such as large ship as particularly with regard to over-crowding. Overcrowding was not a problem except if you went to the Windjammer cafe, (buffet dining), at the "wrong" time for meals , or to the Royal Promenade (deck 5) on parade nights or for the Captain's cocktails. We were always early for the Windjammer and never had a problem, but due to the overcrowding we missed out on the parades and the cocktails. Nonetheless we had a great cruise. Arrangement for disembarkation went with military precision. We got of the ship at the nominated time, and within 30 minutes of leaving the ship we had collected our luggage and we were dropped off by shuttle at the car park. The formalities involved in cruising from Southampton is like a dose of salts compared to airport formalities. Ports visited: Madeira, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Vigo Warning 1 Check you invoice which is delivered to you room on the last morning of your cruise. You can see your account on the television in your room. I was happy with what was shown on the screen on the afternoon prior to disembarkation day.. When I received the invoice the following morning I saw a charge of US$20. for pool towel. My wife and I have never used the pools or the deckchairs, and we have never let our SeaPass cards out of our possession. An item can only be charged to your account when a SeaPass card is presented. When I went to reception to make a complaint I was told that the matter will be sorted out and the charge would be removed. No apology for this error. I was not given a revised invoice. I will wait to see what is shown on my credit card statement. As there were only 5 charges on our account it was easy to spot. Some people who consume a lot of drinks and buy a lot of present may have a very long list of times on their SeaPass statement and may miss a charge that they did not incur. Warning 2 I attended a fitness seminar where the subject of detoxification for good health was presented . No one offers a free health seminar without trying to sell you a product. A herbal bath product for detoxification was promoted, and I was told that it would be cheaper on board than buying it on line. The product is Elemis Cellutox Herbal Bath Synergy. I bought 2 packets with 10 sachets in each packet. The cost of each packet of 10 sachets was US$176 or £117.33 when using an exchange rate of £1=$1.50. When I returned home I went to the website for Elemis and found that the same product was available at £52 in the UK , less than half of what I paid on board. I have emailed Royal Caribbean using the website form about this. I bought the product because I was told that it was cheaper on board. The product I bought is a British product from a British company (Elemis). You can buy the product from www.timetospa.co.uk for £52 and also from Amazon UK or Debenhams. Other websites charge lower prices. In effect RCCL is selling a british product to the British and charging what the Americans would be in the USA. In fact the timetospa US website sells them for the same price as I was charged on board. I think it is an unethical practice to say that it is cheaper to buy on board than online, particularly as most of the passengers on board were British. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
All we can say is - thank goodness it was only 10 days. We have never been on such a disorganised, overcrowded and genrally "un relaxing" Ship. There are too many wheelchairs and electric buggies on board to meet any sort of ... Read More
All we can say is - thank goodness it was only 10 days. We have never been on such a disorganised, overcrowded and genrally "un relaxing" Ship. There are too many wheelchairs and electric buggies on board to meet any sort of Health and safety requirements relating to space and clear passges - god only knows what wold happen if there was a real ememrgency on board. Most passengers we spoke to felt the same and did not feel too safe at lack of space and free movement about the ship and had not experienced this before on other ships. Too many children running around unsupervised by parents and no control exercised by crew/staff on their behaviours. Not enough seating in public areas to sit and enjoy teh entertainment or chat to other guests. Not enough seating/staff in Windjammer to ensure a relaxed and efficient meal at breakfat or lunch. All in all not very relaxing at all. On a positive note - Embarkation and disembarkation was quite smooth though! Hopefully our trip on Spendour later in eh year will help rstore some faith in RC. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was our first cruise so I have no basis for comparison. I could not understand why the reviews for this ship were so mixed prior to sailing on it. Having spent ten nights on it. I can now fully understand why some love it and it is ... Read More
This was our first cruise so I have no basis for comparison. I could not understand why the reviews for this ship were so mixed prior to sailing on it. Having spent ten nights on it. I can now fully understand why some love it and it is anathema to others, especially traditional cruisers. To make this review vaguely logical I've divided it up into sections. The Good The staff were fabulous we had nothing other than polite and friendly service in every aspect. Of course this boat is American and works on a a 'service not included basis' so whether staff are trying extra hard to get their salary up to a decent level is hard to know. But if they were you couldn't tell it was all very professional. The food was good, even in a constantly running big buffet restaurant like the Windjammer the quality was good and the foot hot. The speciality restaurants were both exceptional in both terms of food and service. Well worth the supplement. The main restuarant food was good though a lot plainer than I had anticipated. Think middle of the road family run Italian restaurant rather than hoping for haute cuising. There is a Ben and Jerry's cafe and a 50's diner we did not try either as we were trying not to completely ruin our waistlines. We liked the flexibility of 'My Time' dining but it can be very chaotic waiting to be seated. The cabin was fine; despite being an interior it was spacious enough for two and kept clean by our cabin boy. The sheets weren't changed during the 10 nights, which I thought was a little long to leave them. The ice show, fabulous. Don't miss it. The bad There is a real issue with the size of this boat. I had thought a big boat equals more space for the passengers but this isn't the case. There is simply not enough public space on this boat. Especially when cruising from Southampton, there are likely to be a few cold days either end of the cruise. Unfortunately this means on the cold days 3500 people want to be inside going to the games room or the library or the trivia quiz in the Schooner bar. Well there simply isn't room for them. Neither is there room for everyone outside on a hot day. There are no quiet spaces or lounges where you can just chill out. Even the champagne bar which overlooks the promenade is not enclosed and you are forced to listen to pop music from below whilst trying to elegantly sip your $12 cocktail and strain your ears to try and hear the piano music playing but failing as it gets drowned out! We never did get a seat at a quiz in the whole 10 days. The Windjammer is frequently like a rugby scrum. Even if we got there at 7am for breakfast it was busy by the time we finished our breakfast. The promenade is a nightmare except on a sunny day it is a battle to get from end to end. I can understand the urge to build bigger ships and make big revenues but I think Royal Caribbean have unfortunately gone a step too far in the number of passengers crammed into this boat. Service charge policy. Because this is an american boat you have to constantly remind yourself that service is not included. The cash you give the waiting staff and your cabin boy forms a part of their wages. There is a 15% charge automatically added to drinks which are already pricey. Now I'm sure you could ask for this back but it's like asking for part of their salary back. Plus if you want to reward good service you should really add more on as this 15% is the very basic rate. So my small glass of wine with lunch cost 9 dollars plus the 15% servive charge, then maybe a dollar for the waiter. So you're paying over $11 for a glass of wine at lunch. Ouch. Now I'm not a drinker and frankly it's a good job. I think for European holidays from European ports Royal Caribbean would be better served by publishing the prices already including service. You must remember to make an allowance for this when budgeting your holiday. We chose RC as opposed to Cunard (same cruise going out of Southampton one night later) on the basis of cost. We then worked out that with the cost of drinks etc. being so high that the Cunard cruise would only have cost £20 per night extra per person, whereas the difference in the headline prices looked a lot bigger. Furthermore the pre-paid gratuities are crackers. You are obliged to have them for 'My Time' dining and this very much makes sense as you will move table and waiter possibly every night. However on the last night you recieve paper vouchers to give to your waiting staff. Now what exactly is the point of that, it defeats the object? Who do you give them to? You've had a different person every night! I suspect a lot of people in confusion don't hand them over at all, and given that they are prepaid it makes me wonder what happens to them. Perhaps RC bank them. This issue really needs sorting. The Ugly Well you can call me a snob (because I am) but the worst thing about this cruise was the caliber of some of the other passengers. Rude people, people who pushed, people who ignored the dress code, people who let their kids run wild. They were all there. People who got plates full of food from the cafe and then left them in the corridor hardly touched outside their cabins. The family who sat belching in the main dining room at lunchtime whilst getting a huge salad starter, then leaving it, then ordering a turkey burger, then complaining that it wasn't beef because they had misread the menu. Then ordering two courses for two kids who were clearly far too tiny to need that amount of food and leaving it all untouched. They were there. Or the charming cockney family who monopolised one end of the Oliver or Twist bar with their raucous noise and their bad language and inappropriate conversations about sex. All the while trying to shut up their kids who had obviously been penned in there for half the day. Obviously this isn't purely the fault of RC but they could mitigate it, they don't and are in danger of seriusly damaging their reputation in the UK at least. On a black tie night don't let people into dinner if they are wearing open necked shirts and no jacket. Plus the pile it high sell it cheap mentality RC have adopted (while trying to make the money back onboard) obviously attracts a non traditional cruise crowd. As one lady who was a regular RC cruiser put it, 'it's like they've let all the Butlin's people in'. Now I think that's unfair to Butlins, but the word chav was too good for some of the people on board. I mean seriously if you have to sneak alcohol on board because you can't afford the drinks then maybe a difrerent holiday is what you need. I am cruising on the IOTS again in Dec 2011. This is specifically because my teenage son will be cruising with us and I think the facilities for teenagers are excellent. However next time I cruise with just my spouse I will look at another ship and possibly another cruiseline Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
boarding quick and easy arrived 11-30 lunch by noon and cabin by 1-30pm with luggage at 3-pm food think rccl are lacking on the big ships what you get on small ships everything has to be pre ordered if you want something special even a ... Read More
boarding quick and easy arrived 11-30 lunch by noon and cabin by 1-30pm with luggage at 3-pm food think rccl are lacking on the big ships what you get on small ships everything has to be pre ordered if you want something special even a dressing for your salad , fried onions for your steak when always available in windjammer 24/7, food never hot enough nor plates except on desert bar in windjammer plates scolding ( who wants hot plate with cream on ? ) restaurants dinner changed after discussion with pursers from romeo and juliet to king lear as think they must have slotted table in and we had to pass plates round the table ourselves also in rj you could not get the wine you wanted ( said out of stock on many of our choices but in king lear all were available ), restaurant great for breakfast and also has buffet style in there if you want to serve yourself drinks alcohol is getting expensive but also water so when in port buy water and take it aboard $9 a litre charge in restaurant cabin junior suite deck 10 cabin 1366, lovely and spacious with 2 chairs and 2 loungers on balcony only prob you have to go to pool deck to get towels for chairs and charged $20 to ship account(reimbursed back when you take the towels back port transfers do your own to keep cost down rccl charge $10 return pp to town but taxis on dock were only charging this per taxi dislikes as a diamond member found the ship lacking the personal touches of little things that have disappeared now, also had issues about the street as with a few sea days you could not move for people never mind the electric scooters and wheelchairs personally think rccl should address this problem also when the stalls were set out selling goods it made it even worse god help us in an emergency ice show fantastic this is a must to see okay for us as dp members got tickets through concierge but felt sorry for fellow passengers having to q for ages to get them bars and lounges all very nice but sea days very crowded, plenty of bingo but again $35 a strip of 5 for 4 game pool area clean and tidy with nice little free ice cream trolley, but no quiet area with 3,500 people, even kids had there own area but did seen to be in adult areas flow rider this is a must to go and watch if you don't fancy a go yourself hygiene ship well cleaned with plenty of hand sanitisers if food areas ( most people used them) we did have any issue with guests/ travel agents rccl had invited on whilst in port and reported it to windjammer manager whilst picking there food the majority were handling it with their hands and putting it back we didn't want noro virus Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
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