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123 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

This was our 10th cruise and our 5th with RCI. Having read some of the reviews we were concerned that booking this might have been a mistake. The only similarity with Butlins is that it's nearly all Brits on holiday together. I ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise and our 5th with RCI. Having read some of the reviews we were concerned that booking this might have been a mistake. The only similarity with Butlins is that it's nearly all Brits on holiday together. I personally like a mix of nationalities but it's only a preference and not essential. Arrival and Check in 10 / 10 This was so easy, we drove to the port, arriving at around 10.45, dropped off our luggage and then parked the car. ABP had this part organised well and it only took a few mins to be at the check in desks. As we are Platinum we bypassed the queue but it wasn't a long queue anyway. The check in was quick and we were given a priority boarding pass. They called our number almost as soon as we got to the waiting area and we were at the Windjammer before it had even opened. Be sure to print out and attach your luggage labels. There was a long queue at a little tent to obtain the correct labels before the luggage could be dropped off. Lots of passengers were complaining about the time this took. Pre printing our own certainly saved a lot of time at the port. Cabin and Steward, 10 / 10 We had an inside on deck 9 Aft and this was a perfect location for us. Our Steward Hallana from Trinidad or Tobago was excellent and even took our souvenir cocktail glasses to be washed up before I had a chance to do it. Ship 10 / 10 This ship was in good condition (before crossing the Bay of Biscay -- more later on this). They are constantly cleaning, painting and repairing her. There was no sign of the dreaded Noro virus on board. Even though the Indy is the same as the Liberty we prefer the Indy. It's very difficult to say why but the staff seemed better. I had an issue on the Liberty with the coffee on the Promenade running out (more than onece) and being told "go up to the windjammer". On the Indy it ran out and they immediately replaced it. Dining, 8 / 10 Our waiter was Jeffrey and his assistant Nick. 10/10 for these two. They were excellent, friendly and nothing was too much trouble. The food was overall v good and the only thing that I was disappointed in was that the formal night menu didn't seem much different to any other night, no lobster, no baked alaska, just not an inspired choice on the menu. Twice we were offered a special menu at $14.95. This consisted of Prawn cocktail, Fillet Steak, crème Brule, a glass of wine and a glass of champagne. The steak was fabulous and was well worth the extra $. The windjammer was the same as always -- we ate breakfast here every day and its fine. I would prefer the toasted items to be toasted to order and not left to go crispy in a dish but thats about all that I could find fault with. Lunches were fine with a good selection. Johnny Rockets was good for the $ and the staff mostly seemed to be enjoying themselves dancing and performing for the diners. V enjoyable. Entertainment 7 / 10 Not as good as we have seen on other ships. The Rat Pack were excellent. Acromagic were more contortionists than magicians but were quite good. The mindreader was OK. Jay J someone was billed as "from the Benny Hill Show" but it turned out that he played the saxaphone music that Benny ran around to.... Not my kind of entertainment. Didn't get to see the production shows. The Ice Show was fantastic with a really good violinist (she must have been good because I don't like the violin at all!) The cruise director was Luke Aerosmith and he was good. There were lots of Quizzes which we enjoyed (scrabble tiles are NOT WHITE ) There was enough going on around the ship to keep us amused. Ports 8 / 10 We had not been to any of the ports on this cruise. We missed Madiera! Lots of upset passengers but at least the taxes and fees were promptly refunded onto our account (unlike a Princess Cruise where they only refunded to the Americans but the Brits got nothing back -- that was a Bye Bye to Princess from us!) Lanzarote, we took the tour to the Volcanos and enjoyed every minute. It was excellent. Tenerife. It rained (people said for the first time in 3 months! ) We took a tour to the Loro Parque. This was fantastic, I can see why its compared to Sea World. I feel that the tour could have been a little longer. Its impossible to see it all in the 5 hours allowed. The ship was in port long enough to extend this tour and it would have been nice to stay longer at the Parque. Gran Canaria Just wandered around Arricife shops and then went to the beach about 10 mins walk away. The beach was nice, but shortly after I arrived they cleared the water due to a lot of jellyfish being washed up. Vigo. Just another port and city. A nice shopping mall if you like that kind of thing. Weather 5 / 10 It was cold and drizzling when we left Southampton but things got much worse. We hit a big storm in the Bay of Biscay with winds up to Force 12 (Hurricane Force!!!!). This slowed us down a lot which meant that we missed Madeira. It was all very dramatic. All outside areas were off limits but no one would have wanted to go out anyway. The shops were closed for a while as things were falling. Bottles fell off shelves in the Schooner Bar while we were there. Lots of people were ill and it was announced that sea sick pills were available free of charge in Guest services and the Sick Bay. We were fine but the ship was very empty with lots of passengers staying in their rooms. The captain kept us informed and gave advice like not to wear high heels (Formal night I wore my evening dress with flip flops!) There was some damage done, we saw 2 empty spots where there had been large glass panels and there was a large section of metal missing on deck 11 with lots of wiring damaged. The Canary Islands were not as warm as I would like but it's just the luck of the draw when cruising at this time of year. Departure 10/10 Again very easy and efficient. Our number had already been called by the time we got to the lounge where we had planned to wait to get off even though we were early. We were off the ship and in the car about 20 mins earlier than we had expected to be. Cruise Overall 9 /10 Loved it, we met some lovely people and had a great time. We would definatley recommend this cruise although I'm not sure that I would want to go at a peak time when it's too busy. We were unlucky with the weather and the storm but it didn't effect our enjoyment of the cruise and we would love to do it all again even with a force 12 storm! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Not knowing just what to expect we were pleasantly surprised at the ease at which we were gently but efficiently led through check-in and passport checks -the staff were so welcoming and obliging. There was no pressure or stress ... Read More
Not knowing just what to expect we were pleasantly surprised at the ease at which we were gently but efficiently led through check-in and passport checks -the staff were so welcoming and obliging. There was no pressure or stress involved and it was a pleasurable experience - so easy compared to airport procedures! Once on board the if became apparent that we were going to have a great time. Exploring all the facilities and services - finding the restaurants etc. The storm! Oh yes the storm on the Bay of Biscay! Wow! We were lucky and were not sick in anyway but we made a concerted effort to keep ourselves occupied and moving about (other than staggering from the ship being tossed about that is!). The ship - Independence of the Seas was tossed about like a matchbox but it was built to withstand force 10-12 winds etc. It was a great experience and we were not worried at all. You go on the sea you must be prepared for things like this and accept it just may happen to you - if you didnt like it dont go on the seas! Once over this the cruise went well - we did miss Madera but it was not the end of the world - one of those things - there was plenty to keep you occupied on ship. The facilities offered on this ship are outstanding and accessible to all - there is no reason to be bored! The shows were fantastic and varied, the Ice show Strings was outstanding. The staff were so polite, charming and obliging - nothing was too much trouble. The formal nights were lovely - nice to see that people can meet a dress code and it made you feel good to make the effort - it wasnt compulsory but most joined in. There was something for everyone - the gym was outstanding and offered seminars on interesting subjects, the Spa offered a variety of excellant services.The towel animals left in your cabin at the end of the day by your cabin attendant was a nice touch and very clever. It made it just that bit special that someone would take the time to do it. Our cabin was kept spotless by our cabin attendant - very helpful - if you needed anything special she would assist us. Excellent service. The restaurant staff were excellent - always keen to please and knowledgeable about wines etc. They worked their socks off serving 4000 guests throughout the day - they seemed tireless. Talented - could sing well! The cruise director made sure that everyone enjoyed themselves - he was constantly conspicuous and made sure the variety of entertainment was available to everyone. I have two disappointments however - one being room service - we had two bad experiences with room service - cold food and not meeting our order, and the other was the Internet - it was terrible - especially as the advertising promotes the state-of-the art service - it certainly was not and very expensive to boot! But this did not interrupt our cruise and we still enjoyed every minute of it - would have and have done so recommend it to anyone, we will do another soon. YOU DONT KNOW TILL YOU GIVE IT A GO! Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Hi everyone this is my first review so bear with. I would like to start of by telling you that I am a solo traveller and a disabled one at that. Embarkation was easy the wheelchair service was excellent from the terminal to being in ... Read More
Hi everyone this is my first review so bear with. I would like to start of by telling you that I am a solo traveller and a disabled one at that. Embarkation was easy the wheelchair service was excellent from the terminal to being in the windjammer only took 30 mins. Food was excellent from the windjammer to the main dinning room. The service in the main dinning room was first class from the second day my waiter knew my name and was always chatty always had a smile for everyone. Eat in johnny rockets once food excellent there is a small charge but you can eat as much as you want and the waiters do a dance for everyone. Entertainment was brilliant always something to do for everyone. The shows that I saw were brilliant. The ice show is a must and the quest was very funny. Our cruise director Luke Aerosmith who took over from Joff eaton was brilliant he would always stop and chat and have banter with us. The ship was kept very clean with staff constantly cleaning and maintaining it. The ship is Hugh but once on it it didn't feel that big and it was full too capacity there were times when it felt busy ie after the shows had finished but other than that there was always some quiet areas. Ports we did miss out on Madeira because of the bay of biscay and going through hurricane force 12 the captain had to slow down he did a very good job there were no injurys or any damage so my resept to the crew. The weather wasn't that great but cant blame the ship the one good day we had was in gran canneries which is the only port that I got of at. When in port the ship was very quiet so I decided to stay on the ship for the rest of the ports. Disembarkation was very quick I had a allocated time and place which was the theatre I got at 8:30am and was allowed of straight away so was in the car for about 9:10am. Met some lovely people on this ship if your worried about going alone don't be everyone just talks with everyone I had the best time on this ship and will definatly be back. I would like to say the crew did a brilliant job through the bay of biscay and I would also like to thank the crazy cruisers gang they know who they are for making my first cruise and holiday by myself the best thanks guys. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We have just returned from our first ever cruise and thorough enjoyed it. Admittedly being first timers we are unable to make comparisons, but from our own experience and comments from our fellow passengers, I feel that the comments made ... Read More
We have just returned from our first ever cruise and thorough enjoyed it. Admittedly being first timers we are unable to make comparisons, but from our own experience and comments from our fellow passengers, I feel that the comments made here are very unfair. Embarkation OK so this bit was not enjoyable. Due to previous Norovirus problems, we were given a later boarding time and there were queues. This was compounded by IT/Scanner problems which meant queuing for around 2 hours. However these things happen and this was far less stressful than many previous airport experiences. Stateroom We had an inside stateroom on Deck 9. The room was compact but had everything you need, including plenty of storage space (in both bedroom and bathroom) and certainly many more clothes hangers than you'd get in a 5* hotel! What surprised me was how quiet the stateroom was, we rarely heard anyone else and slept like babies in the very comfortable King size bed. The room was always spotless and our attendant was wonderful. Dining We were on my time dining in the King Lear restaurant and found the food to be of a very high standard. The waiting staff were pleasant and attentive. We were always able to get a table for a time we wanted. We had buffet breakfast in the Romeo & Juliet restaurant - again a very good selection and good service. On our first evening we dined in the Windjammer, which should have been self-service but was staffed to prevent infection. This did cause queues, but with a full ship and most people choosing this option I'm not sure what people expect! The food however offered plenty of choice and was hot and replenished quickly. We very rarely bothered with lunch, but enjoyed A La Carte in Romeo & Juliet on one occasion. On others we would grab something from the Windjammer, or just a cake/sandwich from the Cafe on Royal Promenade. We also ate in Johnny Rockets twice, which was a fun experience. All the food on the ship was fresh and of a very good standard - particularly the seafood. Activities The gym is the best equipped I've ever used and the choice of classes was superb. The instructors are very good and ensure you get the most from your workout - I joined a Pilates class most days and also endured my first Spin Class for a while. The Spa offers an excellent range of treatments and although not cheap they are first rate. We also enjoyed table tennis and basketball and took part in several quizzes. The adult only Solarium was always very busy on sea days although staff ensured that people kept to the 1/2 hour rule when leaving towels on sunbeds to ensure there were enough to go around. Unfortunately it was generally impossible to actually swim in the pool due to the number of larger people bobbing about/standing around - I think you'll find that's what the huge hot tubs are for. Entertainment Generally of a good standard, although the guest performers were far better than the ships own. The orchestra are excellent and we enjoyed their Big Band show. The Rat Pack were also superb and the much touted Ice Show was fantastic. Excursions Vigo - stayed on board and made most of excellent weather/half empty ship Lisbon - booked through independent tour company Gran Canaria - again stayed on board to relax, although did comtemplate the whale watching trip Tenerife - took ship's excursion to Pyramids of Guimar for something different - did not disappoint - lovely little old man was our guide for the day Madeira - just used the shuttle bus into town La Coruna - again stayed on board but did consider trip to Santiago de Compestela. Overall the ship offered a broad range of well priced excursions but it is just as easy to do something yourself Downsides Alcohol was more expensive than we'd imagined but the wine in the restaurant and the cocktails in the Champagne bar were of high quality and overall you get what you pay for. Other passengers - there was a very high number of elderley and disabled passengers on this cruise (suspect due to time of year and ease of embarkation) which made getting around sometimes a bit fraught - especially on sea days. There were also a large number of people who would have been better suited to an all inclusive holiday in Benidorm, but as they tended to congregate in the Windjammer or Dog & Badger (Irish Pub) were easily avoided. SUMMARY We really enjoyed our time on IOTS and would definitely cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our third Royal Caribbean cruise out of about 30 cruises in total with various lines - I should say that the other two were both transatlantic and the most recent (albeit several years ago) was blighted by bad weather and missed ... Read More
This was our third Royal Caribbean cruise out of about 30 cruises in total with various lines - I should say that the other two were both transatlantic and the most recent (albeit several years ago) was blighted by bad weather and missed ports. We had intended to try RC again ever since and a good value Canaries itinerary in March looked to be a good one to try - and it was. We were notified a few days before sailing that embarcation would be delayed by a few hours because norovirus was present and the ship was having a deep clean. The notice also informed us that, due to my husband's pre-existing medical conditions, we could have transferred onto a later cruise on request, but we were looking forward to it, had kept the dates clear and decided to go. Full marks to RC for giving us honest information and the choice, though. For the first 4 days the usual norovirus precautions were in place, so staff served both food and drinks at the buffet and everything unnecessary that could be touched was removed (salt and pepper, bar menus etc)and hand shaking was banned. It seemed that the ship had experienced several outbreaks over the last few months so the staff were well versed in the procedures so there was no real inconvenience but it was nice when the buffet went back to self service on day 5. The food throughout in the main dining room and windjammer buffet was very good, in fact better than our previous RC experiences. Not gourmet, we did not expect that for the price paid, but the majority of food served was very good. The menus seemed to have been Anglicised to some extent, eg there was a version of roast beef (under slightly varying descriptions) most evenings. We were in the minority in having signed up for 'My Time' dining and it worked well. We always asked to share a table and only waited a couple of times and then not for many minutes.All the waiters we encountered were exceptionally friendly, helpful and efficient. In fact the crew in general were fantastic - I know cruise ship staff are always great, but we felt the atmosphere among the crew on board Indie was exceptional. The entertainment was pretty good overall with the ice show being the highlight. A lot has been written about wheelchairs and mobility scooters on the Independence and my husband was one of the many scooter users. The ship is fantastically accessible and for that reason is rightly popular with travellers with mobility issues. I hope he did not spoil anyone else's enjoyment by using his scooter, but if any one has a problem with others using scooters they should consider looking at the less accessible ships that they are lucky enough to be able to enjoy - those of us using scooters and wheelchairs have less choice. Likewise the ship is very child friendly, so naturally there were quite a few children on board, no doubt there would be many more during school holidays. We had no problem with the children and the layout of the pool deck, in particular, is perfect. The H2O zone is a lovely colouorful aquapark perfect for the younger children, which tends to keep them out of the two large main pools which, along with three huge whirlpools, occupy an adjoining area in the middle of the ship. Beyond that is the adults only 'solarium' pool with comfortable padded sunbeds and the 2 whirlpools that jut out over the side of the ship (but the solarium is not covered). This would be a lovely area to escape if there were too many kids in the summer but it is mostly shaded and the weather, although lovely, really was not hot enough to sit in the shade all the time so we did not use it as much as we would have done on a different itinerary. I should add that the solarium pool had perfect access for the disabled - gently sloping nonslip steps with good firm handrails, excellent. The ports: Vigo, Spain Not the most exciting port and we had been there several times before so just wandered into town and had a look at the new shopping centre close to the port. Lisbon, Portugal We know the city centre of Lisbon is very difficuly with a wheelchair or scooter so avoided it and walked/scooted along the river to Belem, which is about 2 miles each way. It's a flat and accessible path all the way but the surface varied from bumpy cobbles near the port to tarmac further along. We saw the Monument to the Discoveries and the pretty little Belem Tower but access to the monastery and other attractions is via a steps-only underpass unfortunately. There are several nice cafes along the path to stop for a drink and a rest on the way back. Las Palmas, Gran Canaria As expected this was the best day of the cruise. Arriving on a Sunday a lot of the shops were closed but we found a huge Sunday market just outside the port which more than compensated for the lack of shops. From there it is an easy walk to the beach of Las Canterenas on the other side of the town. There is really no need to pay for a transfer to a beach resort in Gran Canaria as this lovely golden sand city beach has everything you could need. At regular intevals along the 3km promenade you find free toilets, showers and changing facilities and there are showers on the beach too. There was even a disabled access point with wooden decking on an area of beach - excellent ! Being the first hot weekend of the year, apparently,(27C) the beach and restaurants were packed and the whole place felt lively without being crowded. The sea was cold but clean and clear with lovely waves and the bottom was solid sand. Santa Cruz, Tenerife We had been promised a free shuttle bus here and were pleasantly surprised to find an accessible van for wheelchairs and scooters as well as the standard bus. The driver was most helpful, dropping us on the other side of the port where there were lifts up to a footbridge across to the town centre. It was our first time in Santa Cruz and I would not be sorry if we never go again, there were a lot of shops but we did not find them terribly interesting but we enjoyed the sunshine, we also found the African Market, an orange building you can see off to the left about a third of the way up the main street, which was very attractive but go in the morning as by the time we arrived shortly after midday nearly all the shops were closed. Funchal, Madeira It's a shame we only had until 2.30pm in port as it meant that everybody left the ship and arrived back at about the same time making for long queues both ways. Having been to Funchal just a few months ago we passed on the $7 shuttle bus and walked the mile or so into town, wandered around the market and the lovely park and back again. La Coruna, Spain This port was a very pleasant surprise. The layout is similar to Gran Canaria in that the town straddles a narrow peninsula with the port on one side and a nice beach on the other. It was not warm enough to use the beach at this time of year (although we watched a lot of surfers properly (equipped with wetsuits) but it would be beautiful in the summer. We walked a mile or so to the right along the promenade until we were able to see the town's most famous landmark, the Tower of Hercules - Roman, apparently, although it does not look that old. Don't miss the Maria Pita square either, it's slightly to the right as you come off the ship and a couple of blocks back, really quite attractive and there are several pedestrianised narrow shopping streets leading off it. La Coruna is such a nice port that we wondered why itinerary planners usually favour nearby nearby Vigo ? Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We were on IOS sailing on 6thMarch2012 to Spain&Canaries,we had done this same itinerary last March.We were informed by email followed up by a phonecall from Virgin travel (who we booked with)about the later embarkation due to thorough ... Read More
We were on IOS sailing on 6thMarch2012 to Spain&Canaries,we had done this same itinerary last March.We were informed by email followed up by a phonecall from Virgin travel (who we booked with)about the later embarkation due to thorough deep clean of ship.We travelled by train to Southampton and were surprised to find a very helpful man who was to take our luggage to the ship so we could then have a wander around shops&have some lunch.We then made our way to the ship courtesy of shuttle bus to start embarkation. It didn't take too long to get people onboard and we made our way to our stateroom to find luggage already there.After unpacking we made our way to muster station for lifeboat drill.This was carried out professionally and as quickly as was possible.We went back inside to change for dinner,we ate in Macbethh dining room 6pm sitting.We had a table for 6 people which was great as it gave us chance to chat without having the feeling someone was being neglected.Our waiters were Hilal and Carlos who were most attentive,Hilal taking our christian names and using them for the rest of our cruise.The food was of very good quality,and if you chose something you didn't like Hilal would let you select another choice.The desserts were to die for,some night's our dining companion's had two! We had breakfast in our stateroom everyday bar the last one,this arrived usually on the dot of our time slot and was always hot. Our steward was Iawayan who was superb,nothing was too much trouble making sure we had a filled ice bucket everyday.He also brought us towelling robes as we had forgotten to pack our's. We went ashore at every port but under our own steam,apart from using shuttle bus at Lisbon.Having done the trip last March we knew what to expect,only this time the weather was superb.The last port of call La Coruna,the weather was about 16c which was cooler than the other's at 23c-26c.We went in a small cafe and had a couple of beer's which was brought to us with a dish of mussel's in a vinagrette with some bread.This cost 3-70(less than £3-50) The show's onboard that we went to were very good,the headliner show's were the one's we went to.We did the ice show last year so did'nt go again. We enjoyed the casino,where we played blackjack&roullette and managed to keep enough back to pay off most of our onboard spend's at the end off the cruise. We tend to take dollars onboard so we can keep a check on what we spend,rather than use our seapass card to take money for gambling. All in all we had a great time,so much so we have just booked to go in May this year on a western Med 14 night cruise! Hope this put's some positive vibe on the IOS and RCL in general. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our 1st time on the IOTS but we have cruised on RCI several times before. We usually opt for a Deluxe Balcony Cabin but thought we would try a Junior Suite for this cruise ...Cabin 9626 (Port Side) We were really pleasantly ... Read More
This was our 1st time on the IOTS but we have cruised on RCI several times before. We usually opt for a Deluxe Balcony Cabin but thought we would try a Junior Suite for this cruise ...Cabin 9626 (Port Side) We were really pleasantly surprised at the size of the Suite as it was very spacious. Another PLUS was the Walk In wardrobe ...every girls dream!!! My DH loved the fact that we also had a Bath as well as a Shower..good to have the choice. It was also nice to have a kettle & coffee maker in the cabin.The balcony was a super size and accommodated a Sun Bed + comfy lounger chair with leg rest + 2 chairs & a table. Needless to say we are now Junior Suite converts!! The staff were really friendly & keen to help. They were also very vigilant in their cleaning due to the previous cruises having the Norovirus - their hard work paid off as only 10 people came down with it on our cruise. We found the Entertainment on board to be the best we have experienced and the Stars v Stripes quiz show was hilarious. It involves charades ..the Stripes being the Captain & some Officers versus the Stars being the Cruise Director and some entertainment staff ....it is a MUST to see! We had never got around to going to the Ice Shows on previous cruises so we made sure we did this time & it was amazing and well worth it. We chose 2nd seating for dinner (8.30) and found the quality of the food to be of a high standard and the dining room staff were very efficient and eager to please. The Windjammer Cafe for Breakfast & Lunch was always busy and sometimes it was a struggle to find seats but we always got a seat after a few circuits. The quality/choice of the food was very Hit & Miss but then again we always found something we could eat. All in All we had a wonderful cruise and were very impressed by the staff, Cabin etc. ..probably the BEST so far. We did find the ship just a little bit too big for us but that is our personal choice and as there were lots of repeat cruisers and loyal followers of the IOTS I think we may be in the minority. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We travelled from Newcastle to Southampton by train direct and my partner works for the train company so this was a breeze and free ! long journey but comfortable and hitch free with Cross Country. arriving at Southampton we stayed in the ... Read More
We travelled from Newcastle to Southampton by train direct and my partner works for the train company so this was a breeze and free ! long journey but comfortable and hitch free with Cross Country. arriving at Southampton we stayed in the brand new Premier Travel inn which was perfect and beats most 4 star hotels in my view and is right next to a mall for some last minute spending ! check inn the next day with RC was a breeze, well organised and fast, and this was around 12 midday, we were allowed straight on board although the room was not ready, the Windjammer buffet was open for lunch. well what an amazing ship this is ! it is huge and there were around 3800 gusts on board, the ship was full for this cruise but you would never think it, plenty of areas people free and it never felt busy or crammed unless there was a focal event on such as the parade in the promenade. We had an inside promenade view cabin which was fine, nice inside, comfortable, plenty of room for clothes, shoes and cosmetics and even to put the cases away, nice bathroom with a good shower, nothing wrong at all however we have already booked our next cruise and it will always be a superior balcony in future as these rooms are more airy and fresh with a good view of ports, sunsets etc. the ship has everything you could want or need, great pools, activities in fact I think something for every age and preference. The spa is OK, a bit expensive and in my opinion the treatments weren't great really so I would give that a miss next time. Great casino and special times with half price best so you don't break the bank, the theatre is huge but I wasn't keen on the show, a bit cheesy for me and nothing I would go see at home, there is a big ice rink and the ice skating shows are very very good ! the dining room is amazing and I couldn't fault any aspect, the service was 100% spot on as was the food and we had a 8.30pm sitting and a table for 2 ! breakfast is great anywhere you go, again faultless. the entertainment team are OK but a bit too 'reppy' for me, the type you'd get on a Thomson holiday :-( and mainly English. the rest of the teams and crew were fantastic, couldn't do enough for you and we were acknowledged by a few of them everywhere we were even off the ship in cities etc, we were of course really nice to them and took time to chat, boy do they work hard !! so all in all a perfect cruise and Royal Caribbean are a great company who go the extra mile to ensure you have an amazing experience. we did do a romance package and it was worth every penny ! definitely recommend this ship this cruise and this company however....we were the youngest on the ship i think and at times it felt like a geriatric care home, also some of the passengers were a bit snobby for me or thought they were something special, its a cruise, your not the queen !!! lots of wheelchairs and buggy things on here for this cruise to which is fine with me but not when they run you over ha x just so you know Alpha Alpha Alpha is a medical emergency code and we heard it all the time with the passengers on here, in fact aim sure a few that got on board had there 'very last cruise' by the way, the ship is spotless, the clean and clean and clean and if anyone gets norovirus I blame the passengers as we constantly notice men using the toilet then walking straight out without washing there hands !!! we booked transatlantic Southampton to fort laudable in november this year we loved it so much and this was booked on board by the lovely Phillipa Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We have sailed with RCI previously on a smaller ship and we were slightly concerned about going on the Indie having read some of the previous reviews. We went with our two older children in their very early 20s and our 12 year old. Check ... Read More
We have sailed with RCI previously on a smaller ship and we were slightly concerned about going on the Indie having read some of the previous reviews. We went with our two older children in their very early 20s and our 12 year old. Check in and check out was a breeze. We had inside staterooms which were small but very well designed. We knew what we were getting from our last cruise and quite honestly you get what you pay for. We did not intend to spend much time in the rooms. I know that if you want to spend more the standard of rooms is very good. This was a cruise over Easter and during the school holidays and the ship was full. Yes it was busy and yes it is a very big ship BUT within a day or two you do not feel the size of the ship and you do not feel crowded. We always managed to find a table for 5 at the Windjammer; we always managed a seat at the shows and although we sometimes had to wait a while for a lift we usually got round it by getting on one and riding it until it went in the direction we were going! The ship was absolutely spotless and was continually being cleaned. The staff were always very friendly and very helpful. The entertainment programme works mainly because of the cruise director Joff Eaton who is an absolute gem in the RCI crown and many of the things we went to were because he was running them. We found the rest of the cruise director staff a little bit 'hi-de-hi'. The theatre shows on the whole were very good and the RCI orchestra were fab. The ice show was stunning. Even if the shows aren't your cup of tea, you have to admire the professionalism, effort and creative thinking that goes into them. The stage set up and outfits are amazing when you think where you are. Sports facilities are excellent and the range of sports activities is very good. The pools are all outdoors and there is little room for any actual adult swimming. If you are not into sport or beauty treatments then the 'enrichment' activities are a bit lacking in quality and quantity. My older kids also felt that there could have been more for them to help them to meet other young adults of the same age. There is no shortage of food and there is a wide range in the windjammer which attempts to cover most dietary requirements (we are veggie). However the menu in the dining room in the evening was not as varied as we thought it might be and it wasn't particularly spectacular either. The salad bar in the dining room at lunchtime is well worth a visit. Yes improvements could be made; alcohol is very expensive; waivers for the children's activities could be signed at the start of the cruise; tickets for the ice shows could be more fairly distributed; a better 'enrichment' programme but these are all small points. I have to comment on the other reviews about rude people and buggies etc. The access on the ship for people with mobility problems is very good and there were many people with walking aids. There were also a lot of children. At no time did we come across any rudeness or unpleasantness or any trouble at all from anyone with regards buggies, children, queues or lifts. I had also heard many reviews about drunken hordes of people trying to drink their way through their drinks packages. Again we saw none of this at all. We had gone with some concerns about the ship but overall we had a great time.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
An open and honest review of our first ever cruise (Sorry if it is long). We, mum (44) dad (53) and two daughters (17) had never cruised before and chose the Independence of the Seas for what is likely to be our last family holiday before ... Read More
An open and honest review of our first ever cruise (Sorry if it is long). We, mum (44) dad (53) and two daughters (17) had never cruised before and chose the Independence of the Seas for what is likely to be our last family holiday before University for the girls. Hence this was a very important holiday to us and lots of memories would be created. No worries needed, we have a lifetimes of very happy ones. We travelled from Cambridge to Southampton by train which was easy and a very cheap option. A taxi from the station to the dock completed the journey. As we turned a corner, gasps could be heard, there she was, huge and glistening in the sunshine. Excitement levels rose even further. Arrival at the departure lounge about 1000 am and sat waiting to board. Not long. Check in was slick and fast and we were walking on board at 1100. WOW, WOW, WOW. The ship was fairly empty and gave us time to wander and try to take it all in. A coffee in the Prom Cafe and dad and the girls went exploring further whilst I was on hand luggage watch! Went to Windjammer for lunch, not too busy and wide variety of food. Cabins were ready at 1330. The girls had an inside cabin which suited them. We were across the corridor with a slightly larger room with a balcony. Both rooms were spotless and suited our needs. The girls came across for fresh air and views as and when they wanted (Lisbon Bridge was one of them).We had My Time Dining and ate each night in King Lear. We decided to eat each night at 1800 hrs and were lucky to be assigned a window table. Food was excellent and a variety to choose from each night. The deconstructed Beef Wellington was divine and highly recommended. Waiter was attentive and nothing too much trouble. They even pointed out dolphins who were racing the boat. Saw the shows every night and also took part in the nightly quiz (Pyramid Lounge at 2000 hrs). Shows were excellent. Saw the Ice Show, again excellent despite such a small rink. Didn't book any excursions, just got off at each port and wandered about. No chance of not being able to find your way back. The ship can be seen for miles around, just point and the locals will help you back! A highlight was Lisbon and the bridge. Departure on the top deck shows just how tight it is to get under. Well worth watching. The ship is spotless and staff constantly cleaning. Nothing was too much trouble for any members of staff. Even managed to get a lounger on the balcony which was brilliant for a spot of quiet reading. Any negative points - none whatsoever. The ship was fully to capacity and had over 1100 children. They were all well behaved and never found any problems.All in all an excellent holiday and a very successful first cruise. Would we book again - YES, but perhaps not so early in the year, not much sun about!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
The boarding process for such a large ship couldn't have been any easier. The knocks given the ship in a few reviews speak volumes about those who leave them and little to do with the reality we found on this wonderful ship. The ... Read More
The boarding process for such a large ship couldn't have been any easier. The knocks given the ship in a few reviews speak volumes about those who leave them and little to do with the reality we found on this wonderful ship. The Windjammer food was of great quality with many fresh fruit selections, a continuous variety of comfort food, fast food and various ethnic dishes. The staff were quick to clear and clean a table of those who had departed. The main dining room experience was second to none. Each night we had delicious meals and a variety of healthy alternatives as well. The salmon and lamb dishes were terrific. The vegetable lasagna was tasty and each night there were offerings of hot and chilled soups that were properly prepared. For snacks and light offerings of sandwiches, the two spots on the Promenade were great, even the room service was not only punctual but good food. Our stateroom attendant Marco was jovial and did a good job. Our waiter Luis and assistant waiter Ramon were the consummate staffers committed to good service and friendly treatment. The shows were fun and professional, we enjoyed the juggler comedian Pete Matthews and the singer. The size of the ship was amazing considering how many children were on board, but they all seem very well supervised and had a great array of activities to keep them busy. This is the ship a family should take a trip on. The excursions were of good value, especially the trip from La Coruna to Campisto Santiago to see the Cathedral where St. James is buried. We were lucky enough to walk into Tenerife right at the time that a Good Friday procession complete with music was marching through the streets in memory of the Stations of the Cross. We enjoyed having Mass on the ship on both Palm Sunday and Easter with Father Tim. Those who find fault with this ship should skip the next sailing and leave the seas happy for the rest of us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our first ever cruise, we spent a fair bit of time researching different cruise company's and reading reviews on here, we are a family with 3 teenagers and my wife is in a wheelchair so we needed a range of activities, once ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, we spent a fair bit of time researching different cruise company's and reading reviews on here, we are a family with 3 teenagers and my wife is in a wheelchair so we needed a range of activities, once we settled on Royal Caribbean and the Independence of the seas we then had to choose a stateroom we were offered the family ocean view on deck 9 which sleeps 6 so we booked it, but after some more research we discovered the same stateroom on deck 8 was much bigger so we switched. We traveled to Southampton the day before and stayed in a travelogde, on embarkation day we arrived at 10am after ten minutes we were unloaded, parked and in departures and onboard by 11am, we headed for the top deck to start our excited first look and we were not disappointed it was huge and spotless clean, soon after we headed for the windjammer which was a little busy but nothing like others have stated.!! My wife and I love the London west-end shows so we went to everyone onboard and all were very good infact we would have paid to see any one of them even our sons started to go. Our youngest joined the teens club so we never saw him he loved it there was always something for them to do, we spent most evenings in the pyramid lounge as the rock band (Rock the Boat) were just great and the quiz in between there performance was good fun for all. There was so much to do you should never be bored. My wife went to the spa she had three treatments and was never pressured into buying anything. The service throughout was second to non the staff always spoke and in the MDR it was better than most restrunarnts I've been in the UK the food throughout this ship is far far better than any all-inclusive holiday out there we never had chips once, our stateroom attendant was always on hand if I wanted to know or want anything and kept our room clean and tidy. Dining we had room service every morning they are very prompt on time always within the 30 minutes to ask for, used the two cafes on the promanard for lunch and the MDR most evenings with the occasional visit to the windjammer. Prices, there seems to be a big difference in reviews about this, a 1 litre can of fosters $7.99 = £5.20, cocktail of the day $6.75 = £4.30, bottle of Stella $5.50 = £3.50 and a glass of house white €7 = £4.40 these are what you would pay in any hotel or night club so I don't understand why people complain..! We also got the soda package well worth it at £4.80 per day for over 18s and £2.50 for under 18s We brought two watches and my wife got 3 new handbags, ring, gold neckless, and other stuff all of which were very well priced. Ports we planned to do our own thing we did the sightseeing bus in Lisbon €15 each, Gran Canaria we headed to the beach it's only a 10 minute walk and in Madeira we prebooked a whale and dolphin cattermarn trip online €30 each this turned out to be a highlight for my wife she loved it, all of these trip were all very wheelchair friendly. Our stateroom 8200 was just fantastic it's located at the front overlooking the helipad, it's got two bedrooms a living area and bathroom the 2 TVs were handy especially with kids and a big plus was the electric wheelchair fitted through the door without folding it down. Disembarkation we choose the last time 9.15 all very smooth until we got into the baggage hall someone had taken one of our cases by mistake, there was one case left that looked like ours without a tag on, but yet again the staff were great I filled a form out and they said the person who took ours will have to get it to us before they can get there's, later that day a phone call from the offender all very polite and sorted next day. Would we cruise again.? Yes yes yes we all loved it, we will cruise on any of the Royal Carribean ships, please bear in mind me and my wife worked at Butlins back in the 80s and believe me this ship is not (butlins at sea) like someone stated it's more like West end Hilton at sea. For more info on our cruise have a look at my blog http://the-independence-of-the-seas.blogspot.com/ Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Booked online - 11 nights for £699 - great price! Parked right opposite ship, 2 minutes walk to check in. As a previous Royal caribbean cruiser we could use the priority check-in queue so it took us all of 10 minutes from start to ... Read More
Booked online - 11 nights for £699 - great price! Parked right opposite ship, 2 minutes walk to check in. As a previous Royal caribbean cruiser we could use the priority check-in queue so it took us all of 10 minutes from start to boarding. Eating lunch in the windjammer at 12.15 Huge ship, plenty to do and see. Main shows excellent. All musicians excellent, from orchestra, to rock the boat, to the violinist in the ice show. Food better then previous cruise with Royal caribbean. If you cannot find something you like every meal time you must be a very hard to please person! Drnks prices better than expected, ships tours cheaper than expected. Windjammer buffet always busy, but the same on ANY buffet on ANY ship. We could alwayds find somewhere to sit as we do not mind sharing a table, unlike others who wandered round and round trying to find an empty table...if you want to eat alone then perhaps a cruise is not for you. The only real downside is, as others have said about this particular cruise is that when the weather was not that great it was busy indoors, with seating spce at a premium - but then again, if the weather was fantastic, people would be saying that the decks were too busy with not enough sunbeds... There was an outbreak of norivirus onboard, but we did not really notice anything, except that you then could not self-serve in the buffet, something which shuld not be allowed anyway, as is the norm on other cruise lines. Staff just inceased the cleaning and hand gel and handed out sterile wipes before entering any eating area - certainly NOT soap gestapo as the idiot johnepdep stated further down the reviews - how can you complain about cleaning your hands before eating? people like that started the virus in the first place... Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
The good .... We booked for the sailing on 13th February , we travelled by train on the Sunday to Southampton Central, a ten minute walk from the dock and stayed at the Premier Inn ( A five minute walk from the dock ) , we would ... Read More
The good .... We booked for the sailing on 13th February , we travelled by train on the Sunday to Southampton Central, a ten minute walk from the dock and stayed at the Premier Inn ( A five minute walk from the dock ) , we would definitely recommend the Premier Inn, it was a great hotel, nice rooms with a lovely bar and restaurant area, and the staff were fantastic, definitely got us all in the relaxed mood for our sailing the next day , and if you book early enough , the rooms cost £39.00. I'm pretty fussy, and even I was impressed . We walked to the port the following morning, check in says arrive at 1.pm, but we got there at eleven and check in had just opened as we knew it was going to be busy, and it was, but within the hour, we had checked in, and were on board and in the Windjammer Cafe, which was jam packed ! My initial feeling was if it was like this for eleven nights , it was going to be hell for me ... it didn't stay that way often . Our rooms would be ready for 1.pm, and they were, I have seen elsewhere on here about no directions to rooms etc and no assistance to them etc , there are maps everywhere, and they pin point exactly where you are , and if you are on the wrong corridor, it will take you minutes to find where you should be, I think the problem is that this ship is huge, and the corridors to cabins seem very very long , but we didn't find this a problem . Luggage can take up to 10pm to arrive at your cabin ( stateroom ) , ours arrived around 7 ish, where we also met our room attendant Yogi, he was lovely , he gave us the times he was available should we need him, but we didn't need to call on him once during the days on ship, he would attend the rooms in the morning, then attend them again in the evening, to soften the cabin lighting, close the curtains etc, it was nice . Our Staterooms, My husband and I opted for a balcony room , it was my 40th birthday, so we decided to splash out a little more , was it value for money .... I'm not sure, maybe if you are a lone couple, or several older couples possibly, we were a party of eleven , 3 families with five children between us ( three teenagers and two under 10's) , our children were busy on the decks and we were with them, so our use of balcony was very limited , our children had an inside cabin directly opposite us, and it was perfectly nice, except that waking up in the morning, you have no concept of what time it is because its pitch black, a minor thing, which wouldn't put me off if I got a really good deal on another cruise, our balcony became useful for all the wrong reasons, but more of that later .. DRINKS PACKAGES .... we read many things about the drinks packages and really changed our minds on whether we would buy them several times, $49 for beer and wine package, and $59 for complete package ( including frozen cocktails and spirits ) , in the end we decided to buy the Wine package for dinner , and this suited us, now we are not tee total by any means, but had we bought either one of these other packages, we would not have even broke even , had we been on board with no children , then quite possibly , we read that drinks were very expensive, we didn't think they were that bad and we are northerners !! The bottom line is, this cruise will cost you as much as you want it too, if you like a glass of wine in the evening but are not fussed in the day, then you probably wont get your moneys worth from any other package other than the wine one, the soda package was well worth it for my two children, and also they could get a drink wherever they wanted without us having to be there . FOOD ...We opted for My time dining, this was great for our family as we didn't have to rush, and as there were eleven of us, we met around 8 for a drink and sat down each evening together, we were on table 522 in the king Lear dining room , and what a wonderful experience that was , our waiters Menchie and Vergel were just fantastic, if you have a big party, ask if they are working at this number table and book it, they were wonderful . Breakfast in the buffet areas, was acceptable, nothing to write home about, but it was ok, we liked the waiter service breakfast, the breakfast was much nicer as food is also freshly cooked for you, but you do have to be there early, with many people on board, the buffet breakfast gets very very busy, and if you have a family with the morning grumps like mine, it can be hard work, best to let everyone have a sit down, cup of coffee and relax and wake up a bit. Lunch, we spent most times having lunch at Sorrento's, having the anti pasti which was changed each day, this was nice if you didn't want something full on, the windjammer we only used once on holiday, but when we did , the food was good, Evening dining was just wonderful, we had lovely food, lovely service and is one of the things that made for a wonderful holiday, the food is not repeated twice when on board apart from the steak and chicken , the food really was excellent, and we didn't find it bland at all, I think you would have to be extremely picky to find fault, and I'm the pickiest person going when it comes to food and how its cooked etc, I had no complaints whatsoever, it was excellent. On board .... If you have a family, you cant go wrong, with it being my first cruise, I was worried about pleasing members of my family, a 17 year old son, and a 10 year old, I was worried about the safety with so many people on board etc etc, I needn't have, I was assured and felt secure ( as I could be ) that my children were safe, you cannot walk more than 10 seconds without bumping into a member of staff on board , there are no dark corners , corridors to speak off where my children could disappear ( being dramatic, but you understand what I mean ) and although there were over 3000 people on board, it never feels like that, this ship is huge, and there are areas for children, for teenagers, and Adults, which are for these ages only, basically if your names not on the door, you aint coming in !! ( and they mean it !!) Entertainment and On board activities ....... You can chill, or you can get busy, My 17 year old had an absolute ball on this holiday, he did rock climbing, surfing, had his own zone which he was adamant he was never going to visit before we got on board, kids clubs were not for him .... but its not a kids club as such , its an area to hang out without the "oldies" where he made friends, granted he was with his cousins, which helped but still, I would be very surprised if a teenager didn't make a friend to hang out with . We watched fantastic shows, Ice shows, all to excellent standard . There really is something for everyone . There is a huge indoor promenade, which has fantastic street parties in the evening, if you have a groove in your shoes, this is the place to come to, fantastic fun, where people of all ages, came together, had a good dance, and really good fun , even if you didn't like the music, you couldn't help but soak up the atmosphere, its brilliant . Staff .... Just wonderful, for those travelling, you will meet Wayne who cleans the promenade, he boogies on down with everyone, and sings in the Dog and Badger pub at eleven, give him a mention on your end of cruise questionnaire, he is trying to move up in the ranks, and he so much deserves it :) Clientele ....... I read a review about guests being " football shirt wearing , chip eating guzzlers " ..... nonsense , there is a real mix of people on board, it would be an absolute minority who I spotted wearing a footy shirts ( to stereotype a person ) , plus there are so many different areas on board, piano bars, cocktail bars, champagne bars, sky bars etc that you end up where you want to with the type of people who enjoy the same things, there is room for everyone :) ....... or so you would think, but more of that in a minute In general, it was an amazing ship, but we did have a blip, so now onto that ... The Bad ..... And its only a little bad point, and to me, this is a ship that is for everyone, if you want an adult version cruise, with no children, then choose another ship ( I believe celebrity cruises are the same company but adult only ) , or travel when it is not half term which is when we were on , a few, and it really is a few people complained that there was too many children ( there were just over 400 in total, so a minority) , and one person even pointed out that children should not be on a cruise, and should not have a seat of their own, and should be on parents knees, and should not be heard , she was about 60 on holiday with her mother ..... and probably ( although I should not assume) that she does not have children ..... I mean, to book a ship that has a rock climbing wall, a surf simulator , an ice skating rink is going to right up her adults only street, I mean would a family with children want to take part in any of these activities or book a cruise with these facilities on board ..... NOOOOOO I hear you shout ( sarcasm is the lowest form of Wit, I shall tell myself off :):) ...) I'm having a vision of her on the flow rider by herself , yelling at the children to back off .... its hers !! ( hee hee ) The Ugly ...... Norovirus :(:( .... Enough said, what else is there to say about that, apart from some members of my family were struck down with it on board, but were treated extremely well by the hospital facility on board which is excellent , but this is where our balcony was a god send, fresh air when you are feeling ill is a must, its winter vomiting season in the UK, and hard as they try, and they really do try to control it, it got us, and its not pleasant , also our compensation for spending two days in isolation in the cabin .... Money of our next RCI cruise, not good enough in my opinion, another member was taken ill with an unrelated illness and had hospital treatment, make sure you have good medical insurance cover if you have any pre existing conditions, as believe me the tills were shouting kerching when it came to the bill ( but still, excellent care was given) . Overall ..... Apart from the sickness blip, we could not fault it, Norovirus is one of them things , it spreads like wildfire ... would it put us off another cruise, honest opinion, No, ... its unpleasant, but for all the wonderful things we did on board and the wonderful places we saw, the good, and fantastic stuff far out ways the bad and the ugly :):) Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Just got back from 11 nights on the Independence and all 11 of us had a wonderful time, in spite of being ill for a few days with the "Novo". The ships medical team were very busy, but the hospital was well staffed to deal with ... Read More
Just got back from 11 nights on the Independence and all 11 of us had a wonderful time, in spite of being ill for a few days with the "Novo". The ships medical team were very busy, but the hospital was well staffed to deal with the minor crises, although not pleasant for the sufferers. The food was wonderful with a wide a varied menu to suit most tastes and second or large servings of the Steaks and lobsters and seafood and mmmmmm, the snails en gratin (sorry escargot with scallop) out of this world. We took the Gold wine package with my time dinner, no more pricey than a top class restaurant, very enjoyable and the table service was excellent. The stateroom with balcony was lovely with a small en-suite but a good powerful shower, Our Steward Janet (6584) was delightful and helpful. I am pretty hard to please as far as entertainment goes, but I found a good mixture to suit all ages and taste. The atmosphere on board was great, a few miserable so and so's about who seemed determined not to enjoy themselves. All in all a great ship giving what it advertises and I am looking forward to my next cruise with RCL, perhaps I might try another ship Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Let start with day one, yes we were made to wait in Southampton 7 hours, but that was because 450 people on the previous sailing got ill not because the ship was not clean but because it was brought in from outside when the passengers got ... Read More
Let start with day one, yes we were made to wait in Southampton 7 hours, but that was because 450 people on the previous sailing got ill not because the ship was not clean but because it was brought in from outside when the passengers got off, so they were cleaning so the next 4000 passenger did not get ill, and to be fare there we only a few people that got the virus on our trip. previous review make out the the ship was full of sick people not true. don't be put off by the negative review this ship is amazing and a total joy to be on, rooms very good standard entertainment good, joff was great and the sports team were great, my daughter is 11 and she went onto the wall and flowrider and the staff did not rush her and showed her how to do it. The children's club are the best you will every find, they have everything in the children's room, and do load of activities with them, my daughter always enjoyed kids club. Food wow it was amazing, the winjammer restaurant has food from all over the world, or you can have roast every day burger salads traditional English fare, its great and always hot and plenty of it, also cater for veggies well always plenty of veg dishes. fine dinning, totally spoilt its amazing and cooked to perfection, and the waiting staff cannot do enough for you. please if you want a total wow holiday book to go on this cruise, its wonderful Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
The only down part of the whole experience was the long wait at Southampton, due to an outbreak of Norovirus where they had to sanitize the ship. When you see the size of her you can see this is no easy task.We arrived early at about ... Read More
The only down part of the whole experience was the long wait at Southampton, due to an outbreak of Norovirus where they had to sanitize the ship. When you see the size of her you can see this is no easy task.We arrived early at about 11.00am our luggage was unloaded and we parked up.They put on shuttle buses into town, we took the first bus back at about 2.30pm,they opened check in at about 3.00pm although boarding didn't start until 5.30.pm all 3000 + passengers were on board by 8.00 pm.We set sail at 8.30pm 4 hours late. even with the constant cleaning and sanitizing and hard work of all the staff we had an outbreak of the virus. We went for the 6.00pm seating time in Macbeth's restaurant, a big thank you to Beverly and Ashley for their service, we were also lucky to have great eating companions.The food was of a good standard and a good choice of menu. Johnny Rockets is a must. Great experience not to be missed. We ate in the windjammer for breakfast and snacks, we never had a problem with finding a seats although it was busy at times. Entertainment was good, party nights along the prom well worth watching Keep an eye on the floating bridge. We had a state room with a balcony Mid Ship we always find mid ships to be best as we find this has less motion as sea. Although this ship has a good stabilizing system. Don't be put off by some negative reviews, we were well impressed with the service of the crew from the waiting staff to the room attendant. This ship has the WOW! factor Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Hi there everyone, We just got back on 6th March and have had an amazing time! The ship is spectacular, the food wonderful and the entertainment is so varied and there is truly something for everybody going on from dawn til after midnight ... Read More
Hi there everyone, We just got back on 6th March and have had an amazing time! The ship is spectacular, the food wonderful and the entertainment is so varied and there is truly something for everybody going on from dawn til after midnight every day. Each day you get the onboard newspaper 'The Cruise Compass'delivered to your stateroom and it has EVERYTHING you need to know...all the schedule for that day with all the locations of events and details about ports of call etc. Very impressive. We used it as our 'bible', referring to it constantly so we didn't miss anything. Some days we couldn't quite fit in everything we wanted to do! Generally, we tend to choose quiet holidays on our own so joining a ship with nearly 4000 guests on board had been a bit of a worry of mine prior to boarding. Yes, there were huge queues at Southampton prior to boarding, but we all know the reasons why and it couldn't be helped. It was totally for all our benefits that the ship be cleaned thoroughly & I think the majority of passengers fully understood and accepted it. We were some of the unlucky ones who were outdoors the whole time from 3pm until gone 7pm and it was very chilly to say the least, but we were supplied with hot drinks & kept informed by RC staff. Once onboard the ship absorbed everyone and massive crowds were seldom seen again. Yes, it was busy in the Windjammer at peak times and on the Royal Promenade on party nights but it was absolutely fine and didn't bother us at all.We always got a seat for the shows although you do need to get to the theatre a bit earlier for the popular shows. The quizzes in the Schooner Bar were very popular and we almost missed out on getting a seat a couple of times. We spent a lot of time in the Pyramid Lounge which was home to the resident rock band, Rock the Boat who were EXCELLENT. They played most evenings til late & specialised in 60's & 70's rock music. The venue was always full. They also played for The Party under the Stars on the Pool Deck one night which was great. The Cruise Director, Joff and his sidekick, Rob were very entertaining. If you get the chance to do the Quiz with a Twist, please do go to it. It was hilarious. Also the Ultimate Music Quiz, with the chance to win a car was also really good and very funny! Ports of call were almost secondary to our enjoyment of the ship really, but here is a brief summary of what we did. VIGO: we did our own thing; walked through the town and up to the castle (lovely views) & back via some gardens. LISBON: us & 2 other couples we'd made friends with in the queue at Southampton shared a large taxi & had a private tour of the city, the Old Town & all the main touristy things for 30 euros each. we had numerous photo stops, a full history lesson & time to shop at the end.GRAN CANARIA: We took the Number 1 bus to the Old Town for just 1 euro each way. Had a wander round the main town when we got back and found the beach and prom area. Very nice. TENERIFFE: We took one of the ship's tours to Taganana. Very good. Through the mountains from one side of the island to the other, seeing rich forests and ending up at La Laguna. Very nice. Had a guided tour on foot. MADEIRA: THE BEST PORT OF CALL. Took the cable car up to Monte & did the toboggan run back down. Very exhilarating! 10 euros for the cable car (15 return)& 12.5 euros for the toboggan run. Also sampled some Madeira wine and brandy whilst exploring the very arty old town. Lovely market. LA CORUNA: Very nice. Did our own thing. Wandered around the touristy bit then along the sea front to the castle and small harbours. Back on board tea, coffee, hot choc, water, milk & ship's own juices were free. Alcoholic drinks a bit pricy. London Pride Ale $6.50=£4.12 per pint. Brandy $8, cocktail of the day $6.75. Speciality coffee $7 at Cafe Promenade but was fantastic. It had Grand Marnier, Tuaca, Baileys and Kuhala for $7.The cakes & sandwiches here were also gorgeous for afternoon tea!! Dinner at night wonderful. Always a good choice & well cooked & presented. All in all a wonderful experience & we'll certainly be cruising again Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Boarding from Southampton - unfortunately there had been a previous cruise with Norovirus so the ship had to be deep cleaned, but this was for our benefit and everyone got $20 credit. We were late getting on board but this could not really ... Read More
Boarding from Southampton - unfortunately there had been a previous cruise with Norovirus so the ship had to be deep cleaned, but this was for our benefit and everyone got $20 credit. We were late getting on board but this could not really be helped. Our cabin was clean and comfortable with a balcony. (In case you are wondering it is the flat two pin adaptors you need) We are diamond members and were able to use the diamond lounge and met some wonderful people. The entertainment was good with the exception of one comedian, who was a bit boring. There was no trouble getting seats. The production shows and the ice show were really good. We also liked the films that were shown on the cinema (repeated several times a day). We particularly liked the guitar player in the Dog and Badger, and this had a really nice atmosphere. We were so lucky with the weather and although we did not book any tours as we had done most of the ports before, most ports had good walks not far from the ship. Because of the issues with Norovirus on the previous ship you were unable to help yourself to the buffet but this was in our own interest. There was always someone there to serve and you did not have to wait. Also you were constantly being given anti bacterial wipes or asked to use the gel there was even a message played in the loos when you left to remind you "had you washed your hands". It was quite reassuring and amusing in a way (I think we had to do our hands 4 times before we could get on the ship and head to the Windjammer, but then so had everyone else, and it was so important to keep the ship healthy. There was constant cleaning and I really think they did everything they could, so well done RCI, I felt very safe in your hands. We had a lovely relaxing time, met some lovely people and will definitely go again with our favourite cruise liner. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
My partner and I sailed on the 11 night Canary Islands cruise on the Independence Of The Seas (IOTS) from Southampton on 24Th Feb 2012. Enough has been said already about the check;in problems that day due to the virus on board and a ... Read More
My partner and I sailed on the 11 night Canary Islands cruise on the Independence Of The Seas (IOTS) from Southampton on 24Th Feb 2012. Enough has been said already about the check;in problems that day due to the virus on board and a member of the crew later told us that the shore side health authorities didn't eventually clear the ship for boarding till shortly after 5pm. The ship finally sailed around 8.30pm at which time we had the boat drill just as the ship was leaving her berth. Stateroom: Ours was a cat D1 on deck 7 no 7390 towards the stern of the ship. It was quite spacious with mini-bar and tea/coffee making facilities and a nice large very comfortable king sized bed with memory foam mattress topper. We had a separate seating area with large settee, separated from the bed area by a curtain. We also had a nice sized balcony with 2 chairs and a table, which although comfortable enough, looked a bit on the small size in regard to the space available on the balcony. The bathroom although on the small size, which is not unusual on these modern cruise ships, was perfectly serviceable and had a very good and powerful shower cubicle instead of the normal shower curtain that sticks to you when wet ! Only small criticism of the stateroom is it was a bit short of closet space. Lifts: The ship was full and quite often we had to wait quite a long time for a lift, for the size of the ship and the numbers of persons it carries, we thought it could have done with a few more lifts. Public Rooms: We did not visit all the public rooms/bars but the ones we did visit frequently (Boleros, Schooner and Casino Bar) were comfortable but didn't have enough seats and could have been a bit better laid out. All the public spaces as well as our stateroom were kept absolutely spotless by a very hard working crew. Tables and chairs were constantly being wiped down with anti germ/bacteria solutions. Every where we went on the ship there were anti bacterial hand wash dispensers or hand wipes being handed out by the crew. Royal Promenade/Boardwalk: Full of various coffee shops/bars including an Irish themed pub. The usual logo/souvenir shops, clothes shop, jewelry and watches and even a men's barbers shop to name just a few. Windjammer: Plenty choices of food every day but could be very busy and short of seats especially when people just sat for ages after they had finished eating instead of moving on so someone else could use the tables. Macbeth Restaurant Deck 4: We had a table for 2 on the second sitting at 8.30pm. Have no complaints about the menus always seemed to have plenty choices/variations and the food was always piping hot when it reached the table. Our waiter was Remus from Romania and he was one of the best waiters we have ever had on a cruise ship. We used the restaurant on deck 3 on sea days for lunch instead of the windjammer and it also had very good menus and very good service. Guest Relations Deck 5: Cant believe I'm saying this but have no complaints about them they were always very friendly and cheerful and couldn't do enough to help. Shore Excursions: Didn't take part in any, just used the shuttle bus a few times. Casino: Quite a large casino, plenty choice of slot machines and tables. Amenities: There seemed to be plenty choices including a water park, climbing wall, skating rink, swimming pools, sauna etc etc, absolutely brilliant for families. Entertainment: The usual singers/musicians in the bars/ lounges. Did not go to any of the shows in the theatre but did here very good reviews from fellow passengers. Staff: All were very hard working polite and friendly only criticism is there seemed to be a shortage of bar waiters especially between 7pm and 8.30pm. Room Service: We had breakfast in our stateroom every morning and the food was always on time and nice and hot, we often used room service for tea/coffee and an afternoon snack they were always very good. Summary: On the whole we enjoyed ourselves and cant really find anything major to find fault with. The most annoying things were disabled scooters who would just mow you down to either force their way into a lift or beat the ques to the gang ways when getting on or off the ship. I'm disabled my self due to strokes etc and am 80% deaf and 85% blind so have problems walking but don't use a scooter but I hate having to say a large number of the disabled guests on this cruise had the worst manners I have ever seen ! Would we sail on the Independence again ? Yes but only if we couldn't get another cruise that we liked. The Independence is a great ship and I would recommend her especially to families, but I think she is just too big for me, I prefer a ship a bit smaller like the radiance class, as we have sailed the Brilliance Of the Seas before so we have booked her sister ship the Serenade for Christmas. I apologise if I have droned on too long ! If someone would like to edit this for me I wont refuse ! ha ha. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
As first time cruisers we have little to compare our experiences aboard the Indy to, but the cruise was, in our opinion, one of the best family holidays that we have ever had. We booked the transfer package from the Hilton Southampton ... Read More
As first time cruisers we have little to compare our experiences aboard the Indy to, but the cruise was, in our opinion, one of the best family holidays that we have ever had. We booked the transfer package from the Hilton Southampton which really set our holiday off with a bang. We spent a night in one of their deluxe rooms and they organised transfers to the port. They were very efficient and certainly allowed us to make a good start to our holiday. The next day we transferred to the ship at Southampton (or maybe more suitably "on top of Southampton" - you can see the ship above all of the buildings!). When we arrived we went into the terminal to find some rather long queues - but I'm happy to say that we managed to get through them very quickly! The staff at the port were not the friendliest of people - ranging from the bored to the rather rude. Being first time cruisers we were not at all familiar with the process and being hollered at for stepping an inch into the wrong line is not the way that we would have expected to be treated. Once we got on board we explored the ship and all that I can say is WOW. The facilities and scale of the ship is something that has to be seen to be believed and, given that she is a few years old now, she still looks as good as new! Our cabin appeared on the first day to be rather smaller than what we expected but as other members of our family were staying in the cabin next door the steward kindly opened up the doors between the balconies and this made a significant difference to the space available for us. As a treat for other family members we arranged for their cabins to be decorated and gifts to be delivered on the first day - all of which were in the cabin before we arrived, something which we thought to be rather impressive. At this point we could think no better of the ship until we came to look at our SeaPass cards and discovered that we had been seated separately for dinner. We went to the Seating Change Requests session and had a long wait but eventually were placed on a table together at a later dining sitting - something that actually turned out to be more preferable. We enjoyed dinner in the main dining room and then retired due to it being an extraordinarily hectic day! Following the first day the cruise just got better and better. We ate in the Main Dining Room and our waiters were always excellent each night. Johnny Rockets, The Windjammer, Jade and Room Service also all proved to be excellent, as did the Lunch service in the Main Dining Room. As the cruise went on we began to take part in more of the on board activities and have to say that we found the quiz's to be fantastic. The Cruise Directors Staff were really a credit to the Royal Caribbean brand and they all seemed to be jolly and surprisingly wide awake, even though many of them were hosting events that sometimes went on into the early hours! One thing that we have to say was amazing on board the Indy is the crew. We experienced an outbreak of the Norovirus on board and this is when the crew showed complete and utter dedication to their job. We were told that many of them were working double or triple shifts because of the massive sanitisation that was necessary , and every single crew member still had a smile on their face and was a pleasure to be in the company of. Some of the guest service staff were, unfortunately, an exception to this rule (something which was surprising given their role). To be honest the crew working in the dining room and in the bars went above and beyond and all were really friendly - something which could not be said about certain members of the guest services staff. Having said that, the GS manager was fantastic and she almost made up for the awful service and manner in which some of her staff conducted themselves. During the trip we took one major shore excursion in Maderia which was amazing and allowed you to see the old and the new - as well as experiencing a ride on the toboggan and the cable cars. We also took advantage of a number of transfer options arranged through Explorations. We would definitely recommend this in Lisbon as it is not ideal to cart around shopping as the ship is a fair distance from the shops. On disembarkation day everything was arranged relatively well and we were transferred back to the Hilton to collect our car for the long journey home. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Independence Of The Seas January 10th 2012 We have never done a UK cruise before and so were apprehensive over a number of things, namely the weather and the traffic getting to Southampton. Neither were a problem. Day one we were ... Read More
Independence Of The Seas January 10th 2012 We have never done a UK cruise before and so were apprehensive over a number of things, namely the weather and the traffic getting to Southampton. Neither were a problem. Day one we were picked up by coach and taken to Southampton were we arrived at roughly 1PM to a MASSIVE queue of embarking passengers. Embarkation however was pretty smooth considering the size of Indy and the amount of passengers. THE SHIP : Wow, what a ship ! Its large. 14 decks high, very long and very wide. We docked next to NCL Jade one day ( we have travelled on her also ) and Indy makes Jade look small, even though she is not. Royal Promenade is packed full of shops, dining venues and drinking dens... the latter of which were constantly full day and night ! Well, that's the Brits for you.... The pool area has a real wow factor, it was fantastic and amongst the best we have seen onboard a ship. Certainly a great pool for kiddies. The theatre is the Alhambra, seating for 1400 on 2 levels, mostly good views but they do have some supports holding up the upper level that block the views in a fair number of the seats. Bars etc, well there are a lot. Casino was very big, I failed to win anything ( again !! ), but we did see a few people winning good amounts on the slots. Ice Rink, climbing wall, 'Flowrider' , mini golf, basketball, games arcade, kids clubs for all ages, various lounges, helicopter landing pad, jogging track, table tennis, photography area, art auction area, a massive gym with boxing ring ( !! ), the list really does go on and on... Indy has a LOT of facilities. CABIN : As usual we had an inside cabin. It was totally fine for our needs, not really spending any time in there except for sleeping. It was well appointed, the usual TV, King sized bed,, sofa, etc etc... bathroom a little on the small size but good enough. Safe in the room which is always handy plus a kettle and tea and coffee ! That was a first ! DINING : We had most evenings in the main dining room, ours was the Macbeth on level 4. We dropped very lucky with our dining companions being really nice and friendly, always a bonus. Staff in the dining room could not have been more helpful, absolutely superb. I am a notoriously fussy eater and I must say everything I requested, I got. The Windjammer is the buffet, we pretty much had breakfast there every day. We also ate one night at Johnny Rockets, a 50's type diner. Unfortunately it has a cover charge of $4.95 per person and that gets you in there, but does not get you a drink ! Thought that was a bit poor, but I could live with it as it was possibly the best dining experience we had onboard. The Johnny Rockets staff are fantastic, they have mini jukeboxes at each table ( which are free ) and if you trigger the 'right' song the staff all charge out and do a dance.... Hilarious !!! FORMAL NIGHTS : 3 on our 12 day cruise. Most people observed the formal nights, tuxedos for men and evening gowns for the ladies. Some did not but seemed to eat in the Windjammer. All good. ENTERTAINMENT : 2 comedians, one better than the other, a Motown tribute act who were superb, comedy juggler ( very good ! ) an awesome mind reader, a brilliantly talented lady singer / piano player and a strange but intriguing act from the Moulin Rouge in Paris. Then there were the cast production shows...... now there is no doubt that the cast are talented singers and dancers. But talk about upsetting an audience with poor and boring content. Unbelievable. Whoever advised them to sing the songs they chose wants a good talking to ! For example, after half an hour of songs NO-ONE had ever heard before they tell us they are going to do an Elton John number, great I think , he has done a load of excellent songs.... What do they choose ? Saturday night is alright for fighting !!! Arghhhhhhhhh one of his worst EVER !!!! The they come on stage in Beatles outfits, I am sat there thinking, brilliant, I like the Beatles.. which classic do they choose? Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, basically an INTRO to an album ! I repeat.. Arghhhhhhhhhhhh Moving on..... some great entertainment elsewhere onboard, we loved the Rock N Roll band in the Pyramid lounge, superb. Also some brilliant and hilarious quizzes in there. The Ice show was not to be missed. SHORE EXCURSIONS : We did 3 with Royal Caribbean. Didn't think two of them were very good at all. We mainly spent most of the time on the bus, desperate to get off. Usually we do our own thing, this time we tried their excursions, lesson learned. I have posted reviews of ports of call in their own sections, apart from La Coruna as I cannot locate it, so here goes : We did one of the aforementioned 3 ships tours to Santiago De Compostela, to be fair it was reasonably priced and a good distance from port so we didn't want to risk D-I-Y. The town is the 3rd most visited Catholic pilgrimage site worldwide, after Jerusalem and Rome. Magnificent medieval buildings and a cathedral that ' allegedly ' has the bones of St James. Not for me to say anymore on that. Well worth the visit. As for the actual trip, well Royal Caribbean for reasons unknown decided to leave for Santiago at 12.30pm, all aboard was 5.30pm. The ship docked at 11AM and was cleared almost immediately by customs. We did not make it back to the ship on time, we only got back at 5.45pm. Of course this being a ships excursion it wasn't a problem, but why did they go so late ? We didn't have much free time there at all, the hour and a half in the morning could have done so much good. CONCLUSION : Would we sail Royal Caribbean again ? Definitely. We already put down a small deposit on a future sailing with them. Its an excellent system they have, you pay the deposit, don't have to tell them which cruise you want to go on, the deposit sits there indefinitely until you choose and then they give you a stack of free onboard credit. Brilliant. Cruise Director, Joff Eaton was pretty good, his sidekick, Rob the Scouser, definitely future cruise director material. Listen up Royal Caribbean... don't lose Rob ! Staff, always smiling, eager to please. Overall a fantastic time was had by all. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We just returned from a wonderful 12 night cruise from Southampton on Independence of the Seas. We are a family of four from Australia, 2 adults with a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son. Here is a summary of our cruise: ... Read More
We just returned from a wonderful 12 night cruise from Southampton on Independence of the Seas. We are a family of four from Australia, 2 adults with a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son. Here is a summary of our cruise: Embarkation: Long line but moved quite quickly. Enjoyed lunch straight away at Windjammers and cabins were ready immediately. 2 of us had luggage right away but 2 had to wait until much later. Cabins: We had 2 balcony cabins with interconnecting doors (which was very handy to have!). The cabins were really lovely, quite spacious and spotlessly clean. Ship: HUGE and beautiful. The Royal Promenade is very impressive and is well used for extra events/parades etc. Nice to have a coffee shop/pub etc to visit whenever you feel like it. Shops are nice but no great bargains there. Food: Wonderful and plentiful, we ate too much! The dining room is beautiful and the waiters are SO helpful and nice. Windjammers has a great variety, some things better than others, but more than adequate. It gets very busy for breakfast after 9am and on Port days for lunch, but we never waited more than a few mins to get a table. Highly recommend the dining room on Sea days with the salad buffet. Entertainment: Mostly excellent. We loved the individual performers such as the comics and jugglers and the violinist (Gary Lavini) was also great. Joff was the Cruise Director and he was terrific-very professional with a great sense of humour. We went to many Trivia quizzes and they were well run. The nightclub, Labyrinth, was far too smoky to even go in for a minute! (not sure why the allow smoking in there??) Ports: We did tours in Vigo (Border Country) and Lisbon (City of Lisbon) and both were very good. We were lucky that at that tome of the year the weather was so nice. My son and husband did a camel ride and tour of Fire Mountain in Lanzerote which they also loved. Otherwise, the ports were nothing special, OK just to have a walk around and bit of shopping. Fellow Passengers: This cruise was not in Britain's school holidays (we are from Australia) so most passengers were much older than us. Our 20 year old daughter did not have a great time as there were really no singles her age to mix with at all. Our son eventually found just a few teenagers and then had a great time, although the staff mostly didn't bother with the planned, organised teen activities as there were not enough kids to warrant it. There were MANY wheelchairs and scooters so the lifts were extremely busy. Despite being younger than most other passengers we still enjoyed many nice conversations with the mature British crowd. Overall: A lovely, smooth sailing. Royal Caribbean do it well! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
we booked this cruise with slight apprehension having read some negative reviews.however thought we'd give it a go and we neednt have worried at all.this was our 4th cruise and i must say the best we have been on,(previously been on ... Read More
we booked this cruise with slight apprehension having read some negative reviews.however thought we'd give it a go and we neednt have worried at all.this was our 4th cruise and i must say the best we have been on,(previously been on the grand princess,sea princess and P&O ventura). the ship....the ship itself is massive,and we have to say beautiful.kept spick and span by the hardworking crew.the pool areas were lovelly and we could always find a sunbed,even on sea days.the ship inside was stunning .the promenade area was great,a real focal point of the ship,lined with shops and restaurants.there was the hard sell for duty free etc but nobody is forced to buy anything.there was also plenty of quiet areas to sit in. food....we had first sitting in the romeo and juliet dining room.could not fault the food plenty of choice and always very good.i have wheat and dairy intolerance and the wait staff were brilliant.i ordered my food the night before for the next night so that it was prepared specially and could not fault it.the windjammer was also good and again with very helpful staff i could always find something to eat.also had gluten free pizza in sorrentos pizza bar, again fine.my husband can eat anything and he was spoilt for choice.there was also plenty of juices and squashes freely available at mealtimes. entertainment.....could not be faulted.loved the parties on the promenade deck.plenty of shows and entertainment.also regular quizzes,talks,casino etc etc. cabin.....had a inside cabin,plenty of storage space,good shower.not loads of room,but we were never very long in the cabin anyway. staff.....all were brilliant.very friendly and helpful.all of the staff were hardworking but always had a smile. other passengers....heard lots of moans from other passengers,'the ship is too big''too many people'to'the weather is bad'.....hello........you were on a winter cruise on the largest cruise ship in europe...what do you expect!!! believe me there was nothing at all to moan about. great cruise,great ship,great staff,great food,great entertainment...nothing else to say. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
This was are first cruise so we were very apprehensive. After reading many reviews regarding this ship size and stability (ie. cant feel any motion while sailing) we decided it was for us. After a nightmare two and a half hour queue to ... Read More
This was are first cruise so we were very apprehensive. After reading many reviews regarding this ship size and stability (ie. cant feel any motion while sailing) we decided it was for us. After a nightmare two and a half hour queue to board, although we were told this was due to a new system being put in place we boarded. On board we found the ship and facilities to be fantastic. Also the room was great with a fantastic attendant (room 8630) In fact all the staff were great. And then the ship started to sail omg !!!!! We didn't have bad weather but could feel every single wave ! The bay of biscay we had been warned was the worst bit and that didn't disappoint , obviously everyone is different and motion sickness affects people in different ways but we did think a boat of the size of the independence would have better stabilisers. The food in both the windjammer cafe and the main dining room (macbeth) was excellent along with the waiters. The bars were also good although extremely busy with the older generation occupying all seats. The entertainment was mostly geared for this age group as well, quizzes, bingo and piano music being the most popular. The shows were ok , nothing spectacular and the ice show which we were looking forward to was on the whole boring although the skaters were excellent. The shows on the main royal promenade were good although very crowded and unfortunately the motion of the boat seemed worse on this leval. We obviously knew we were on a winter cruise but had a few good weather days round the canaries, which we thought would be spent round the pool, but again seats were limited and the 30 minute rule for unoccupied sunbeds was not adhered to. Bars excellent though and excellent staff. On the whole we had a good cruise, apart from the motion sickness and unfortunately the amount of elderly people on board with mobility scooters!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
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