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123 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

I found some of the negative reviews on this site really surprising and felt that I had to add my comments as my husband and I had such a good experience on the Independence of the Seas cruise round the Canaries for 11 nights from 22nd ... Read More
I found some of the negative reviews on this site really surprising and felt that I had to add my comments as my husband and I had such a good experience on the Independence of the Seas cruise round the Canaries for 11 nights from 22nd January. As we entered the dock at Southampton and saw the ship our first impression was "wow". The ship was absolutely stunning. The embarkation process was rather slow, but I understand there were technical problems with some of the scanners and with almost 4000 passengers to get on board it was always going to be a logistical problem. Cabin: We had a Promenade Room, with a bay window overlooking the Royal Promenade. Our initial concern was that there would be a lot of noise from the promendade, but this proved not to be the case as the soundproofing was superb. The cabin was spacious, spotlessly clean, and the best use had been made of the space available. Enough storage space and hangers, and adequate size shower/toilet facilities. Superb bed with plenty of space underneath to store empty suitcases. Tea making facilities, hairdryer and fridge provided. Cabin Attendant: Mola was very hardworking and friendly. She kept our cabin immaculate throughout the trip. Food: We opted for My Time Dining and ate most nights in King Lear. We never had a problem getting a table, and thought the standard of food was excellent. The waiters were all friendly (particularly Rocky) and we had some lovely table mates (95% of whom said they loved the ship and were having a fabulous time - you always get the odd moaner). We occasionally had breakfast or lunch in the Windjammer and, while it was always busy with people consuming mountains of food, we never once had to wait for a table, and again found the food to be of a very good standard. We ate once at each of the speciality restaurants (Chops Grill and Portofino) and didn't grudge a penny of the supplement paid as the food was superb. We also enjoyed the odd free snack or coffee at the Promenade Cafe or at Sorrentos, and the free ice-cream and coffees on the top decks. Drink: There were soft drinks, water and coffee available free with meals. So, no real need to buy a water or soda package. We bought a wine package for the dining room. Packages were available for 5, 7 or 11 bottles of wine. These worked in at around 33 dollars a bottle - about what you would expect to pay in a good restaurant at home. I often had the cocktail of the day which at 6.75 dollars was in line with cocktail prices at home. Entertainment: We went to shows in the Alhambra Theatre every night and have paid a lot of money to see worse shows in London Theatres. Really professional shows. The Ice Show was spectacular. I should also mention Joff, the Cruise Director, who did a superb job morning, noon and night. Fitness: We made good use of the walking/jogging track, and of the wonderful gym facilities, sauna, steam room and cantilever whirlpools. On Deck: On days when the sun was shining we sunbathed on the top deck. We never had a problem finding a sunlounger. Shore Trips: We did one organised trip (Lisbon/Estoril) and thought it was excellent value for money. At other stops we simply walked ashore and explored the area on foot, or paid around 12 euros for the city bus tour. Disembarkation: Left cases outside door on the night before departure and picked them up on shore. Very smooth operation. To summarise: Good value for money cruise, on a superb ship, which certainly exceeded our expectations. However, travelling in January there were not a lot of children on board and I think that at the ages of 63 and 69 we would have reservations about booking during the school holidays when the pool areas might be over-run by children. We would definitely cruise again with Royal Csribbean, and would be happy to choose Independence of the Seas. I must compliment RCI on their commitment to ensuring hygiene standards on board. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Having read other reviews we were a little uncertain of what to expect - luxury ship or holiday camp on sea ? Little had prepared us for our first sight of the ship which was absolutely enormous. Parking and check in were simple and ... Read More
Having read other reviews we were a little uncertain of what to expect - luxury ship or holiday camp on sea ? Little had prepared us for our first sight of the ship which was absolutely enormous. Parking and check in were simple and easy despite a short delay as the system was down and we were on board within an hour of arriving at the terminal, others however did speak of some delays later on. Once on-board we could have lunch and although the restaurant was a little crowded at that time we were easily seated and finished by 2.00pm. Rooms were available from mid afternoon and we spent a pleasant few hours exploring prior to sailing. As regards the rooms we had opted for a balcony as my partner smokes and were perfectly happy with our room - it was spacious, spotlessly clean and the bed was extremely comfortable. Throughout our stay the housekeeping staff were excellent, the room always clean and we wanted for nothing. There were tea & coffee making facilities and although they were paper cups this was no big deal as they could easily be disposed of leaving little clutter. On the point of smoking, it was advertised at the time of booking that there were a couple of indoor areas on-board for smoking but in fact by the time we sailed that was reduced to one and quite a few people were a bit miffed as they had booked specifically as they thought they could smoke in certain areas. There were quite a few outside areas though which were easily accessible. We had opted for the "my time" dining option whereby you are allocated a restaurant but can choose your own time (this option also included pre paid gratuities for staff which was handy). Although the dining room was beautifully decorated with great service we found the choice of food disappointing as there was no option for any plain or un-marinated dishes, although you could look at the following days menu and make special requests. As a result we only used this once, so taking that option at additional cost was really as waste of money for us - if you want the ambience of a formal dining room with waiter service at a time of your choice, then this is probably for you. We ate in the Windjammer cafe, which contrary to other reviews we found perfectly acceptable - there was plenty of choice, fast food like pizza, chips, etc. through to Asian / Indian, vegetarian, pasta and roasted meats. In fact most of what was on the menu from the main dining rooms was also available if you looked carefully. We were quite happy with the selection and quality of the food and both came home a few pounds heavier. Yes it was self service and yes, if you turned up for lunch at 1.30 pm every day it was crowded, but otherwise I could see no fault with it at all. There was as much or as little to do on-board as you wanted - entertainment ranged from some quite cheesy shows, through to classical music recitals and there was plenty of choices of activities throughout the day depending on your own preference. The spa was pretty pricey however and some of the talks were aimed at getting you to buy expensive creams or have additional treatments. Ice skating was free as were most other activities. There was a massive and well equipped gym which put most leisure centres and clubs to shame. The deck areas again were spotless with plenty of loungers available although it was not really sunbathing weather - I can imagine it may get a little crowded in high season and there were few children on board so it was generally quiet around the pool area, although there was an adults only area. There were plenty of bars to chose from, most with music of some form or another at various times. The prices of drinks were reasonably comparable to the UK, some a little more such as Baileys at $8 a time. We opted for the all inclusive drinks packages on day 1, which sounds a lot of money, but by the time you have had a few soft drinks throughout the day, a couple of drinks pre dinner, then a few after it soon adds up anyway. However this would be no good if a member of your party does not drink, as you are not allowed to have 1 alcoholic & 1 non alcoholic to avoid "sharing". Watch your account thought (easily done on the TV in your cabin", they tried to charge for drinks in 1 bar but we easily got this taken off the bill later. I can't say that we noticed many people drunk or rowdy, but we were not late night owls. Shops on board were pretty limited and pricey and each evening they had a "special" sale, again mostly overpriced stuff they seemed to need to shift. Duty free was not really that much cheaper than in some shops in the UK so was not really worth the bother. Overall the staff were polite, friendly and helpful, there was the occasional misery but you'll get that anywhere. We did not bother with any of the trips on shore - time at each port was pretty limited and "hop on, hop off" buses were available that took in most key sites at around 15-20 Euros each. Most trips were quite pricey and seemed to spend a lot of time on coaches. Madeira was probably the best stop but was the shortest which was a shame. Having never visited any of the others before we can't complain and sadly it was a little chilly on some days Overall I would recommend the ship and would happily travel on her again - I would not do the same route again, having done it once now, but would happily go to other destinations on the same ship or any other of Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Our second cruise on this ship, we arrived at Southampton around 1.30 pm which we know is a busy time. Embarkation very straightforward and the queues were dealt with very efficiently (security checks, etc.) Terminal parking was very ... Read More
Our second cruise on this ship, we arrived at Southampton around 1.30 pm which we know is a busy time. Embarkation very straightforward and the queues were dealt with very efficiently (security checks, etc.) Terminal parking was very simple after offloading our cases for transfer to our staterooms. The Windjammer self-service cafe was already open with a very wide selection of hot & cold foods. The safety drill was carried out at the individual muster stations before sailing, so everyone knew where to assemble in an emergency. This was our first time staying in a promenade stateroom overlooking the Royal Promenade. This was very roomy and well equipped with plenty of storage space and a large comfortable bed, with the added bonus of an electric kettle. We opted for early fixed-time dining (6 pm) in the Romeo and Juliet Restaurant. This had lovely surroundings and we enjoyed wonderful service from our waiter and his new assistant who was just learning the ropes with much enthusiasm. We always received good advice on the extensive menu choice but there is always the alternative option of plain chicken, steak, fish or vegetarian available every night. The food was always good and well presented. We find RCI are expensive for wines and drinks but they did have a special offer on some quality wines and the cocktail of the day was always a reasonable price. Breakfast and lunchtime we tended to use the Windjammer where the food was always fresh and plentiful. It did get busy at times but with the serving period extending over 3.5 to 4 hours, we could always pick a quieter time to find a table and eat our meal. The main dining rooms were also open for waiter service/buffet service over a similar period. The Promenade Cafe was always open from early morning to late evening for free tea, coffee and snacks. The Royal Promenade does take up a large section of the centre of the ship so this limits the number of open seating areas but there are still a number of pubs/cafes with their own seating, plus other larger lounges and meeting areas, if you wanted somewhere quiet to sit. On nice days, the outside decks provide plenty of alternative seating and sun-loungers. On the plus side, the Royal Promenade offers space for a variety of shops and market type stalls plus it is a very good venue for street parties. Going onto the entertainment, the evening shows were always put on twice each night and a wide variety of of acts were presented. The Cruise Director, Joff Eaton was excellent, as was the Ice Show. There was always plenty to see and do, such as quizzes, game shows, destination lectures as well as well equipment sports activities. The destination lectures were presented by Howard Nicholls who gave a history of each port visited plus some very useful guidance on what to look out for. We were mostly very lucky with the weather with sunshine and relatively warm temperatures throughout. In the Canaries, it was up to the mid 20 degrees centigrade. We had plenty of time in port to explore the area except for Madeira where the ship had to leave at 2.30 pm due to the long journey ahead to La Coruna on the Spanish coast. We would have been better off stopping longer in Madeira as it was cloudy and drizzling in La Coruna when we arrived there. We did book a ships tour in Madeira to see as much of the island as possible. It was beautiful weather and we had a lovely time, especially enjoying the wine and cheese party. It was all very well organised. In the rest of the ports, we made our own way to look around and explore, although it was a mix of sunshine and showers in Tenerife so we stopped in Santa Cruz and it did brighten up later. Disembarkation was well organised as we elected to have our cases taken off board by the ships staff after being allocated a numbered luggage label. We chose what time we wanted to leave, as long as we had left the ship by approximately 9.15 am. After walking off with our hand luggage, our cases were found in the corresponding numbered area in the terminal. We were leaving the car park within 15 to 20 minutes. All in all, it was a very enjoyable cruise and very good value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Fantastic time. Crew and fellow holiday makers very friendly. Wonderful facilities for all family. Shows mainly very good although 1 with resident singers and dancers didn't have a theme and was very disjointed. Comedian Tommy Boyd ... Read More
Fantastic time. Crew and fellow holiday makers very friendly. Wonderful facilities for all family. Shows mainly very good although 1 with resident singers and dancers didn't have a theme and was very disjointed. Comedian Tommy Boyd was brilliant and also had a wonderful voice. Hypnotist Christopher Caress also very good.Ice show was amazing and well worth seeing. Balcony cabin was very comfortable, bed was huge and again very comfortable. Tea and coffee making was supplied. Unfortunately we were right at the rear and the balcony got covered in soot, especially on sailawy. It was a very quiet position though and we had no noise from surrounding cabins or corridor. Swimming pool was like a warm bath and the jacuzzi was even hotter. We were able to swim everyday, even leaving and returning to Southampton in Dec/Jan. Food was varied and of good quality generally. Not impressed with menu on New Year's Eve and ate in the informal Windjammer buffet. Drinks expensive $6.95 for pint and cheapest glass of wine. Not worth getting drinks package unless you are heavy drinker. Enjoyed mini golf and climbing wall. Casino had loads of slot machines and some were only 1 cent play so kept us amused for long time with little loss - did win once or twice. Would have liked more enrichment lectures. Most of the ones I attended were just sales talks for the spa treatments. Screening room very tiny and didn't manage to get in to see films. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We made a point of reading all the reviews for IOS before we sailed and I have to say that the majority were poor so we were expecting the worst. However, we were pleasantly surprised and will attempt to give you an honest and fair review ... Read More
We made a point of reading all the reviews for IOS before we sailed and I have to say that the majority were poor so we were expecting the worst. However, we were pleasantly surprised and will attempt to give you an honest and fair review o our holiday. We joined the ship with my brother and sister in Law age range 59-65. We were asked to arrive at Southampton at 1pm but circumstances dictated that we arrived at 10am, we were booked in and was on the ship by 1130 hrs the process was painless. We had a cabin with balcony and my brother had an ocean view, both cabins were spotless and for such a relative small space storage was amazing. The beds have to be the most comfortable we have all ever slept in. The steward could not do enough for you. MEALS: Most reviews we read stated that the Windjammer Cafe (Breakfast/lunch) was always chaotic and finding a table was near impossible. Rubbish...we never waited more than 3/4 minutes for a table the whole cruise. The food was fantastic with every taste catered for. We chose my time dining for evening meal so could eat when we wanted, again food quality and service immaculate. SOCIAL: Loads of bars on the ship, prices were a little high a beer $5 spirits $8 but that equates to around £3.50/ £5 and hey...your on holiday. Theatres and Ice Rink on board with shows every night either West End style or comedian/singer/magician/illusionist all top drawer also other bars with entertainment and regular shows/parades along the length of the promenade impossible to get bored on ship. SMOKING: We were smokers, we could smoke on our balcony and one side on decks 4,11 and 12, we could also smoke upstairs in the labyrinth disco which was quite enjoyable at night as there was always music playing and not to loud or head banging. Cigarettes on board very cheap £50 for 400, you can only bring 200 each of the ship but customs were non existent when we disembarked, if you visit Spanish ports you can bring back 6000 each but keep your receipts. EXCURSIONS/PORTS: We didn't do any excursions or port transfers prices expensive with the cheapest excursion being $49 per person, port transfers were also expensive but every port had taxis on the dock and cost no more than 5/6 euros for four of us to get int town, most ports you could walk. Taxis also did tours for around 100 euros per taxi. PHOTOS: Biggest rip off of all, photographers everywhere and pics cost $24 each, we stuck to two 'formal' pics but did purchase the cruise DVD at the end well worth the $14.99. PAYMENT; We charged all on board expenses to credit card which saved joining huge ques on the final day, everything is bought using your ship card and is automatically debited when you leave the ship. CHILREN/WHEELCHAIRS: Our cruise had full capacity with lots of children and elderly people with motorised scooters, non of them were a problem we never once found a corridor blocked with scooters and the children we saw were all well behaved. All in all an excellent cruise and holiday we would definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again and look forward to booking our next cruise. Hope this helped. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Six of us had this cruise booked for a long time and were very excited as it grew nearer. My mum has parkinsons, so a wheel chair was need, which we took with us. The flight to Malaga was great and very easy instructions to find out ... Read More
Six of us had this cruise booked for a long time and were very excited as it grew nearer. My mum has parkinsons, so a wheel chair was need, which we took with us. The flight to Malaga was great and very easy instructions to find out coach to take us to the port. On arrival the ship was massive, check in was fast and we boarded very quickly. We had two balcony suites and up-graded my mum and dad to a junior suite, the cabins, especially my mums was bigger than i thought they would be, the only problem was that the junior suite had a bath with a shower which my mum and dad couldn't use due to the fact that the bath sides were quite high so they couldn't get in, however this was resolved as our suite had a walk in shower so they used our room. When we first boarded we had a coffee and took in all the surroundings, theres so much to take in and the ship was lovely and very clean. When we went to our cabins our cases were there outside, very quick service. We deaprted Malaga at 5pm so were up on the 12th deck taking everything in. Once we were ready for our evening meal, we went to the main restaurant and we had my time and had a table booked everynight for us. The staff were very friendly and went out of their way to help you and were always smiling, the service was excellent. However during our first night the sea was extremely rough and we were rocking everyway possible, the following morning all six of us just couldn't get out of bed you felt like you were on a roller coaster ride, we weren't actually sick, but the movement from the ship was nothing i have ever experienced we were on deck 9 but the waves were splashing onto our balcony. We spent the first 36 hrs on hour cruise in our cabins, although I have to say room service was excellent, they were rushed off their feet, the whole corridor when you looked out was full of room service trays, so we weren't the only ones Once docked in Teneriffe we felt fine and were able to go on the 11th deck and sit and chill although weather wasn't very good, we left there at 5pm and set sail again the Lanzarote again we decided just to chill, weather again not very good. We weren't looking to sailing back to Malaga but wasn't as bad. Your could not fault the ship in any way, the cabin sizes were good, the buffet for breakfast and lunch catered for everyone's needs and staff were always helpful were ever you were on board. The ship had everything on it that you could possibly need and was outstanding, my friend had a very good win the the casino. The shows were ok we couldn't get tickets to see the ice show as they were sold out, and the last show tickets were given as priority to the people who were too ill to see the first one due to the crossing. We booked this cruise as a trial because our friends want to do a Caribbean cruise next year and i'm so glad that we did, because we were so ill it has unfortunately really put us off and don't think we will ever do another cruise. People I spoke to who have done many cruises did say that if that had been their first one they would have been put off, its a shame but after two days of being home I still haven't got my land legs back. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This was our first cruise and all in all a great experience. We (for some reason) chose early November as cruise date, we aren't too bothered about hot weather, obviously this is a gamble though and we experienced some pretty rough ... Read More
This was our first cruise and all in all a great experience. We (for some reason) chose early November as cruise date, we aren't too bothered about hot weather, obviously this is a gamble though and we experienced some pretty rough seas on the way there as a result. 27 deg C was the maximum experienced and that was in Madeira We got gale force 7-8 in the Bay of Biscay according to the captains announcement and that was easy to believe given the extreme winds on deck, the whiteness of the sea and the 4-5 mtr waves in the pool. On entry to Lisbon we crossed over shallow water, the waves there hit the ship and many bottles of duty free were broken in the hold, we were sat in the Windjammer at the time and several people and pretty much everything on every table hit the deck. Egg shells orange juice and water everywhere. Neither of use suffered any sea sickness but others did, personally I've never slept so well. We had a great time on board some annoyances but overall very good, not to many children and the entertainment was very good James Andrews is a very good cruise director. We had a Junior suite and were not disappointed by the size of the cabin or the attendant service. Room service breakfast was a mistake though maybe ordering Bacon was a bit optimistic, it was cold as was the scrambled egg, but the food in all of the restaurants was amazing and with very few exceptions cooked extremely well. The staff were really great and work extremely hard to make your time a good one. The down side is the cost of everything on board don't know why but we more or less assumed that bottled water would be free and that wine prices etc would be reasonable. Water is charged for and wine is expensive. We took out a Diamond wine package (the top one) for 7 bottles that came in at $270 and the wines were not really great. The people that were selling the booze packages on the first day had quite poor English skills and that made the whole thing really hard to understand as a first timer. If you take out a beer package at $39 every one in that stateroom must also take it out meaning you would each have to drink 5+ pints a day to even break even, that made it out of the question for us. They don't allow you to bring on and consume alcohol from the ports obviously this to make you drink the ships stock but I think that is very mean, our cruise wasn't cheap anyway. The Internet costs .65 cents per minute! you can take out an hour package and save .4 cents a min (gosh) but the net was so unreliable "limited connectivity" I am pleased that I didn't do it, in fact in spite of trying several times a day I only got on 3 times. Holidays aren't about the net but it was our agreed way of communicating with home.... Smoking on the balconies was a real pain in the neck of course people have to smoke somewhere but if the wind is not blowing it hangs around and seeps into the none smokers space and neither of us could cope with it, also the Labyrinth Disco was a no go area for us because of the thick smoke in there. But all in all our experience was a good one made more entertaining by the rough weather, some didn't find it so though. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We had been on quite a few cruises before this, but this was our first formal cruise, and we've been on many others since and it hasn't come anywhere near as close in any way. The staff are amazing, so accommodating, helpful ... Read More
We had been on quite a few cruises before this, but this was our first formal cruise, and we've been on many others since and it hasn't come anywhere near as close in any way. The staff are amazing, so accommodating, helpful and friendly, the food is incredible, wow, from breakfast through lunch dinner and the other diners and pizzerias fabulous, you certainly wouldn't go hungry at any time and the food was amazing, it really has made us see how it should be done. We really enjoyed the fact that if you didn't want to dress up and wear Black Tie/Evening dress/Cocktail dress you could dine elsewhere, and those who really wanted to dress up could do so with like minded people, this does make a big difference as on other ships they allow you in even if you're still in t shirt and shorts, it really can make you feel " what's the point". The entertainment was fantastic, we found something different to do every night and really had a good time. Everything on this cruise was brilliant, we had one little hiccup with lunch one day and nothing was too much trouble trying to get it fixed, it was brilliant, the food, service, attitude, cabin, destinations, everything was perfect and to top it off, we met our best friends on this ship. Thanks Royal Caribbean for doing things the way all cruise ships should. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My sister and I travelled together for the first time and these are our memories: Day 1. Malaga. Flew into Malaga from Yorkshire that morning; flights booked independently through Jet 2. No problem, good flight which arrived early. ... Read More
My sister and I travelled together for the first time and these are our memories: Day 1. Malaga. Flew into Malaga from Yorkshire that morning; flights booked independently through Jet 2. No problem, good flight which arrived early. Had booked airport to port transfers through Royal Caribbean. Staff from RC waiting at airport and was easily able to transfer onto coach and a hasty transfer to the port. Very efficient. Check in for the ship was easy as we had completed the set sail passes on line so it literally took about 5 minutes to get our on board spend credit cards which also open your room. The queueing for the check in was organised and the queue moved very quickly as there were many desk clerks on duty so the experience was very good. After embarking we headed for the Windjammer cafe for lunch. As it was about 1pm the ship was relatively quiet still and the food in the cafe was very good for a self service facility. We then headed for our room. The ship is lovely but more importantly the staff on board took trouble to speak to us in corridors etc and were on hand to help if needed. Our room did not disappoint. It was the cheapest interior stateroom but spotlessly clean and well tended. The bed was hastily made up into 2 single beds as opposed to a double and it was a spacious home for the week. Next day was spent on the ship. Lovely facilities A La Carte breakfast or buffet in a different restaurant were available and the standard was very high. Again, staff were so pleasant and seemed genuinely happy to serve and oblige. Madeira. Our first day on land was a visit to Madeira. We decided to go alone as had visited Madeira before. A shuttle bus was available along the prom for 6 euros per person each way but we decided to walk (about 25 minutes from one end to the other) We went on the cable car to Monte then on the baskets down the mountain but be aware, those baskets go quite quickly - my sister loved it! We had a nice lunch at the port end of Madeira at The Beer House sandwich and a pot of tea, high standard and very reasonable; it is then 10 minutes walk from here to the ship. Day 2 was Tenerife - There was a free shuttle bus into Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is nice, there is an old town apparently which we missed but we walked around the streets and bought a few things then had a sandwich lunch near the port at Olympia then back on the ship. A nice place to visit for a day. Grand Canaria We had booked a trip (through RC) on Grand Canaria called Ageata Valley tour - I can really recommend this trip we went to a family farm and the farmer produces many fruits and lovely wine - the hospitality there was great and we then had some photo stops and a stop for 45 minutes by the sea which was also lovely. A thoroughly enjoyable day and the farm will stay in our memory for a long time. Lanzarote another trip through RC which I can definitely recommend entitled "Yesterday and Today in Lanzarote" the tour guide was fantastic. We visited a lovely site where there was a museum based on previous life in Lanzarote. We then visited a most spectacular cactus garden which was stunning the colours were beautiful. Lastly we visited the home of the famous Lanzarote designer from the 60s who had an unusual home carved out from volcanic eruptions. The home was part of a visitor centre and was interesting and reflected life in 60s and 70s. I can recommend this trip. The next day was spent at sea and we really relaxed before returning home. I can definitely recommend this cruise it was wonderful and I cannot be more complimentary of the staff on board the Adventure of the Seas or of the organisation and quality of the ship. Easily four star. Disembarkation was good up to the point of getting our cases. It was a bit of a crush for the RC buses to get us onto the airport transport but frankly this is our only gripe; the rest of the trip was wonderful. Happy memories to take us through the winter. I have been with RC twice now and found them first class. Thank you Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Our first time with RCI and with trepidation we viewed the gargantuan ship in Southampton dock, then the snaking endless queues to board, oh how our hearts sank BUT once on board we loved the stateroom (balcony, v. spacious), bathroom good ... Read More
Our first time with RCI and with trepidation we viewed the gargantuan ship in Southampton dock, then the snaking endless queues to board, oh how our hearts sank BUT once on board we loved the stateroom (balcony, v. spacious), bathroom good sized we thought, shower fine. ENTERTAINMENT Ice show superb, Mike Doyle very good, the main dancers and singers put their heart and soul into the acts and it showed - but without a doubt the best was Jimmy James - as a lover of soul music he was obviously always going to be my first choice - yes, even above the ice show which was fantastic. ACTIVITIES My husband did the ice skating, Flowrider and climbed the wall - all great fun and not available on any other ships we have been on so a first again for him - I was happy to watch but these are great activities for teens and younger children, and Royal Caribbean should be commended for taking care of them - after all if they are happy then so are the parents. DINING We dined in Macbeth, table of eight - our waiters Tayfun and Lancelot were outstanding in their helpfulness - could not fault them in any way. Also the fish dishes were all good, apart from sea bass on the first night which was awful, but tiger prawns, lobster, sole, crayfish - all tender and large portions. We also ate in Portofino one night which was good, but not sure it was worth the extra $20pp surcharge in my opinion. One tip I would recommend is the Romeo & Juliet dining room - you can eat buffet style in here for breakfast (they seat you and bring orange juice and tea/coffee, then you can simply help yourself to cereal or eggs, bacon etc.) this is a great way to avoid the Windjammer crush. Also they do a guaranteed 30 minute meal in there at lunchtime, with a salad cart in the centre to help yourself - again a nice touch if you don't want to linger too long over meals and thoroughly recommended. SERVICE Waiters were excellent, our cabin steward was just OK, but seemed to spend most of her time telling me how tired she was, or I had woken her up to ask housekeeping for the towels she omitted to leave in the morning (!) and was off ill for a couple of days with a sore throat (again I heard all about her symptoms) however, we still tipped up - after all, no cleaning for me for 11 days so happy to do this. Had room service breakfast a couple of times - prompt service and nice fruit platter, croissants and fresh tea/coffee. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS Vigo - Caught a ferry (30 minute ride) to one of the small islands nearby, lovely beach and a great way to spend the day. Lisbon - visited the old elevator off the main street and had a drink at the top, lovely church here too. Gran Canaria - Tenerife - we caught the tram from Fundacion to the old village in the mountains, you could spend all day here if you wished but the ship left at 3.30 so we had to come back - also visited (Terisitas?) beach which was lovely. Madeira,cable car ride La Coruna - nothing of note but nice enough - and we had sunshine. We found the dockside staff from the ship to be most unhelpful when trying to find tram stations etc., as obviously they wanted us to do trips but even so no information was given to independent travellers - they simply said they did not know where anything was. SUMMARY Glitzy, blowsy, in your face American style but give her a go and be open minded - she will grow on you - honestly! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We booked our cruise direct with Royal Caribbean 18months before we sailed and got a brilliant deal for the Royal Family Suite. There were 7 in our party including our 13 year old son, my parents, both 75years old and our daughter and her ... Read More
We booked our cruise direct with Royal Caribbean 18months before we sailed and got a brilliant deal for the Royal Family Suite. There were 7 in our party including our 13 year old son, my parents, both 75years old and our daughter and her boyfriend who booked a separate stateroom. Our first impression of the ship as we drove up to the docks was WOW! It is simply enormous. The check in was smooth and quick. The only thing I would advise people of is the baggage handlers will not take suit bags along with your suitcases and we had to carry our suit bags on board. We had around 10 between us and it was a bit awkward. That said we were on board for 12.45pm and only had a 15min wait to get into our suite, which was simply perfect. All staterooms can be accessed at 1.00pm. My wife had pre-ordered a wine/fruit and cheese package for when we arrived. This was delivered to the suite shortly after our arrival. It cost £28 and was well worth the money. It really put is in the holiday mood. She also pre-ordered the romance package (£63) which again I thought was good value for money. First impressions> The ship is huge, it was spotlessly clean. The Royal Promenade is spectacular and the way we were greeted by members of the crew was brilliant. Throughout the cruise the crew were outstanding. Dining and eating> We had my-time dining, but after the first night we opted for the same time and same table. This was purely down to the waiting staff who served us (Leoncia and Allan). They were attentive, helpful, knowledgeable and charming. After the first evening they remembered our names and our preferences. The food was of a very high standard. The escargot were to die for. The food was plentiful and there was adequate choice. The wine was of a good quality and not extortionate at £17 a bottle, if you buy a package. The dining room was splendid and beautifully furnished. I would recommend to take your breakfast in the main dining room as well. Breakfast was all you could eat buffet style with your drinks served by your waiter. You could go a-la-carte and be waited on, but the choice of food was reduced. We lunched in the Wind Jammer, again a help yourself buffet. The array of food on offer was mind boggling and you could eat as much as you wanted. If you fancied a snack the Promenade Cafe had pastries and sandwiches 24/7 and Sorentos pizza cafe was always open. We also ate at Jonny Rockets, well worth the $4.95 cover charge. You could eat as much as you wanted for that amount. The staff were also good fun, dancing at certain times to entertain the diners. Drinks and beverages> Tea, coffee, iced water and squash was available f.o.c. My wife and son had soda packages which were great value. The choice was a bit limited only Coke and Sprite and ginger beer were on offer but you could drink gallons of it for a few pounds a day with your soda package. Beer on board was about £5 a pint, not overly expensive considering you are a captive audience. Cocktails were good and not over priced. I can thoroughly recommend the Summer Breeze which was about £4.50. Spirits were around the same price but you did get generous measures. Entertainment> My wife and I never went to the main theatre, choosing instead to use the Pyramid Lounge during the evening. The bands that played were all very good, with Wavelength being outstanding. There were competitions in there most evenings hosted by CHRIS, who is a natural entertainer and great compare. My parents went to one of the shows in the theatre and said it was brilliant. We did not use the night club or the casino. We did have a drink at the Dog and Badger Pub, where the staff were very good. We only experienced a limited amount of the nightlife and bars on offer, but those we did use were very good. Activities and sports> The Flow Rider!!!!! Outstanding. I am 43 and should know better. I am still sore and stiff 2 weeks on, but it was the most fun I have had in years. There were kids as young as seven and people a lot older than me having a go. The staff were fantastic, so patient and so encouraging. After a few days you had the usual suspects all trying to out do each other and it was a great atmosphere. There was no ridiculing or mocking, everyone was encouraging each other to do better. A note of caution, make sure your shorts are done up very tightly! The climbing wall was a lot tougher than it looked and is not for the faint hearted. But again the staff there were great. We also went ice skating, this was not so easy when the boat was rolling! All of these activities were f.o.c. AMAZING. There were lots other things to do, but we never got round to them. Ports of call> The outstanding port of call was Madeira. I would recommend hiring a taxi and doing a tour. We paid 20 euros each for a 3 hour taxi tour and it was great value. The other ports were ok, Vigo was good for shopping as was Tenerife. La Coruna was very pretty, but the shops all closed for siesta which curtailed any shopping. Gran Canaria was fine as there was a very good beech in the town. We did not get off the ship in Lisbon, choosing to stay on board and enjoy the ship while it was a bit quieter.(I would recommend doing this). Overall> The staff and crew were brilliant, helpful and courteous, our suite attendant (Edwin) was truly exceptional. Nothing was too much trouble. Every member of staff we encountered were only too happy to help. The ship was magnificent and the pool deck great for relaxing and having fun. The midnight pool party and buffet was one of the highlights, dancing under the stars was a dream come true. Our concierge (Kenneth)was a true gentlemen and very kind. He up-graded our daughter and her boyfriend, who were travelling with us in a balcony stateroom, to suite status when we told him they had become engaged on the first day of the cruise. This gave them all the privileges of suite guests at no extra cost. Although there were 3600 people on board the ship did not seem over crowded. At times certain areas got busy, like the Wind Jammer during lunch, the lifts occasionally were full, the Promenade when there was a parade on, also the pool areas on sea days, but this never bothered us or spoiled our holiday in the slightest. Despite some bars being open from 7.00am we never saw any drunkenness on board. We had a fantastic experience with Royal Caribbean and would recommend them to anyone. We all thought it was extremely good value for money. We found if you treated the crew and staff with the respect they richly deserve they could not do enough for you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS OCT 9TH- OCT 20TH 2011 This was our first cruise and also our first holiday for over 5 years, so a perfect holiday was well needed. RCI have ticked every box, I cannot complain or give a negative feedback on ... Read More
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS OCT 9TH- OCT 20TH 2011 This was our first cruise and also our first holiday for over 5 years, so a perfect holiday was well needed. RCI have ticked every box, I cannot complain or give a negative feedback on anything. It was PERFECT! I booked this cruise over 18mths ago direct with RCI. I pre-registered online for 2011 before the dates of the cruises were released. In March 2010 RCI phoned and asked if we were still serious about a cruise as they had now got the dates for October 2011. I told them yes and was offered an unbelievable cruise package, which consisted of a suite for the 5 of us, onboard spend, free parking for 2 cars plus other benefits that you get when you book a suite. As the months passed and the cruise date finally arrived we all left for Southampton, directions are easy and the parking a doddle. (Word of advice make sure your luggage labels are attached before you leave and get to Southampton as the porters unload your car as soon as you get through the gates, and don't take suite/dress bags as you have to carry these on. We had put all our evening wear into the specialist bags but ended up having to carry them onboard ourselves as the coat hangers won't go through the scanning machine. This was not really a problem as we boarded at 12.45pm and we were allowed into the suite at 1pm. If we had of boarded earlier which you can, we would of had to of carried them around until 1pm which would of been a pain) Boarding was stress free and very easy, then it hits you just how huge this ship really is. You cannot comprehend the magnitude of the sheer size and how spectacular she looks; she really does give you the WOW factor. We went straight to our deck and waited until 1pm then an announcement was made that all passengers could go to their staterooms. Again we had the WOW factor; the suite was beautiful and very spacious for the 5 of us. We had ordered a fruit, cheese and wine basket to be delivered for the start of the cruise for an incredible £28. The sparkling wine cheese and fruit were delicious. I had also ordered for my husband a Romance Package, which consisted of Sparkling Wine, Breakfast in Bed (or on the balcony), a silver frame for a photo taken on a formal night and pre dinner nibbles this cost £63. I think both of these items were value for money. Our suit cases were delivered, in my opinion quite quickly, the first one arrived within 15 mins of us being in the suite, the last one to arrive, which was mine, arrived an hour and half later. This did not cause us a problem, but when we were walking down the corridor to go to Muster Station, at 4pm some passengers were complaining that they had not yet had their luggage. RCI do inform you that it can sometimes take up to 9pm until you get your luggage and to carry on a small bag with a change of clothes and medication. My son and I had taken out the soda package on line. The queue for the soda package when you boarded was very busy, with fraught parents and kids wanted drinks right away. My advice, do it on line it saves so much hassle and your soda cups will be waiting for you in your stateroom. That way you have more time to explore and find were things are. We also took out the wine package which you can do at the table on the first evening your waiter will sort this out for you. We chose the "My Time" Dining option; we found this really worked for us. We found the food to be wonderful and plenty of choice, my mother in law as food allergies but was catered for without any problems at all. The one thing that was worrying both my husband and I were the beds. I have M.E. and I need a comfortable bed. I don't like staying away from home as I can never get comfortable in any other bed. I have to say the beds were fabulous. There was no need to worry. The bedding was soft and there was a memory foam topper on the mattress. I never had any trouble sleeping. On our first morning we all went to breakfast, you have several choices, Windjammer, Al le carte on deck 4, buffet in the restaurant on deck 3 and then the promenade cafe which serves drinks and freshly baked pastries or room service. Over the cruise we tried all the options, and we found the self service on deck 3 the best option for us. The Windjammer is brilliant and as mountains of choice (more than the restaurant on deck 3) but if you are not a morning person and you don't like crowds stay away, it gets very crowded and can be difficult to find a table. There is less choice on deck 3, but you are shown to a table and juice, tea and coffee are served to you. The first day is a sea day and it can be quite cold and rough on deck in October so make sure you pack a fleece or something warm. The kids on board don't seem to feel the cold and were in and out of the pools for most of the day. I booked myself a manicure as a treat, also this is the first formal night as well. The manicure was very pleasant and the young lady, Natalie, soon put me at ease. I booked to have a massage further into the week which was not a pleasant experience; it was a Swedish massage which is a very deep manipulation of the muscle tissue. I was advised by one of the girls on the desk to have this treatment and it was totally the wrong treatment for me. It was extremely painful. However this did not put me off as I had 2 different treatments which were very relaxing and most enjoyable. Do not book on the internet before you leave, the Spa runs some deals on certain days at a fraction of the cost that's advertised on the webpage. Look out in your cruise Compass leaflet that your cabin attendant leaves for you every evening. Word of warning all the spa treatments have a 15% surcharge and you do get subjected to some hard sell after your treatment. Be polite but firm, and then you don't get pestered after that. Before we booked our cruise we had spoken to several people that had cruised before, and every one of them had advised us that if you don't feel like getting off the ship Don't! Enjoy the ship and its facilities. So with that in mind we had already decided that we would not get off at every port. The first port of call was Vigo which to my surprise was a very nice city. The shops etc are a 5 min walk from the ship, there is a lovely square as you walk through the town and we stopped at a cafe/bistro for a beer. Vigo was very easy to get to and very clean. We did a bit of window shopping then went back onboard. We did not book any trips from the ship for any port of call. Next port was Lisbon. We had already decided not to get off the ship here. Where the ship docks (just under the bridge) it's not a very nice place and there is a 35min transfer into the city from the ship. We enjoyed the sundeck and pools as it was 31c and the ship was very quiet. We later found out that several passengers had been victims of pick-pockets and had several items stolen. So if you do decide to get off the ship, do not take any valuables with you and be extremely careful. Gran Can aria was next on the agenda; we got off the ship here and spent an hour at the beach. There is a beach which you can see from the ship, but we walked for approx 10mins into town and found a much nicer beach. There are sun beds you can hire for a fee, or take a towel with you and lie on the beach. Worth seeing are the sand sculptures they are quite remarkable. Tenerife was next, and on the day we went the local market was on. It's quite a walk so if you are going it alone and not doing the organised trips get a taxi or bus, we regret not doing this. Madeira for me was the highlight of all the ports of call. It's a beautiful place to visit. Again we did not do the organised trips, we paid 6 dollars return for a coach to take you into the town then we got a yellow taxi. What a bargain this trip was. We paid 20euro each to go where the organised trips were going which were $89 each on ship. The taxi driver was very informative and spoke excellent English. The taxi trip lasted approx 3hrs. This was by far the best way to see Madeira. The sledge ride was an extra 15euro each, which when you got to the bottom they had your photo waiting for you which they had taken at the start. To purchase this it was 10euro which if did not want to you did not have to buy. Final destination before Southampton was La Coruna. Easy place to get to shopping centre next port to do your final present buying. This is a nice town with some beautiful old buildings. The organised trips are expensive, and if you don't mind sitting on a hot coach for a few hrs and you like to be shown around, then organised trips are your best option. We went on this cruise to relax and to enjoy the ship and what it had to offer. The ports of call to us were not important. The ship is just a fantastic place to be and to be honest I would of spent all my time onboard. The food is to die for, the crew treat you like royalty, they are always smiling and nothing is too much trouble. Every minute of the day the ship is being cleaned and maintained. Our suite attendant Edwin was so helpful and obliging nothing was too much trouble. Our waiters Leoncia and Alan made our dining experience so enjoyable; to the extent we actually cancelled our booking at Portofino's. We did not attend any shows as we enjoyed the entertainment that was being offered in the Pyramid Lounge and again the staff in there were very attentive. I think value for money you will not beat this cruise, get the soda packages, wine packages etc and you won't go wrong. The duty free shop is cheaper than the ports. Royal Caribbean International have got this format perfect, I don't see how they can perfect it any further. Enjoy your experience. We did, we are hooked and can't wait for the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Embarkation. This was a very easy process. We arrived at the Pier about 10:45 AM and were checked in and on board in under an hour. We proceeded to the Windjammer for lunch as the cabins were not ready until 1:30 PM. Cabin:9568 Jr. ... Read More
Embarkation. This was a very easy process. We arrived at the Pier about 10:45 AM and were checked in and on board in under an hour. We proceeded to the Windjammer for lunch as the cabins were not ready until 1:30 PM. Cabin:9568 Jr. Suite. This was our first time in a Junior Suite. It is not a Suite as we know it, it was just a nice large cabin with a large balcony, bathroom with a bathtub and a walk in closet. The cabin had a sofa and a chair with an ottoman. The vanity seemed larger than one in a Balcony Cabin. The bed was really comfortable. We did have one BIG problem in the cabin. We were resting in the late afternoon and heard a noise that sounded like water from a hose hitting some sort of metal. It lasted a few seconds, stopped and then returned again for a few seconds. We didn't think anything of it until a few minutes later when we opened the bathroom door, there was sewerage all over the bathroom and the smell was awful. I called Guest Services which didn't answer immediately so I called Maintainance. They told me they would be up shortly. We did find a Maintainance person on the floor and he said he would get on it. We went up to the Diamond Lounge (we are Diamond Members)because we couldn't stay in the cabin. We spoke to the Conceirge about the problem and she said she could follow up on it. About an hour later she told us that it was fixed and the bathroom was cleaned up. It was clean when we came back to the cabin. What upset me was that we never heard from Guest Services regarding this problem, following up that everything was o.k. now. On previous cruises we heard from Guest Services if something was missing from a Room Service tray. I thought this was something Major which should have been addressed. Now that I mentioned Room Service, we ordered Coffee and Juice every morning. I just called when we woke up and it was delivered withibn 15 minutes which I think was excellent. Also we are Diamond Members and went to the Diamond Lounge every evening. The service and drinks up there were excellent. The Bartender knew what we liked to drink and had it to us in a minute or two after we came into the Lounge. The appetizers were also wonderful, with different ones each evening. The Dining Room staff was also excellent. We were at a table for 10 which we enjoyed. We felt that the food and choices were also excellent. We had late seating which always works well for us. The Ports were wonderful. The weather was perfect, between 70 and 80 degrees once we got south of Southampton. There was no need to book an Excursion from the ship. There were plenty of taxi's at the pier as well as Sightseeing buses and Hop on and Off Buses. We found it was best to just hire a taxi as we were six in our group. This way we could do what we wanted, when we wanted. In some ports we just walked from the ship. Do not pay for the Ship Shuttle into the city because the sightseeing buses and taxi's are right there. The ship did rock quite a bit with seasick bags all around most days. This was not just in the Bay of Biscay which was only rocky on our return. One night it was so rocky that it actually woke me up. We did not get sick at all. The only unfortunate part for us was that it was a school holiday for the English kids and there were many on the ship. I do however have to say that they were well behaved. We are from the US and there were only 65 Americans on this trip. That was fun for us. We met wonderful people from the UK, Scotland and Wales and will remain friends with them. We would definately recommend this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Boarded ship at Southampton on 31 Oct 2011 for 11 night cruise to Spain and Canary Islands. The boarding was very easy with luggage being dropped off at the baggage hall prior to parking in the Cruise car park at the port. After parking ... Read More
Boarded ship at Southampton on 31 Oct 2011 for 11 night cruise to Spain and Canary Islands. The boarding was very easy with luggage being dropped off at the baggage hall prior to parking in the Cruise car park at the port. After parking car joined the queue at departures and waited to board. Face mapping pictures were taken for security. Given instructions to get to cabin and advised that the suitcases would be delivered to cabin. We had booked a stateroom with balcony and were not disappointed. there was a generous double bed, with a sofa bed if needed. The TV was a flat screen 32" which was interactive with guest services and gave information on GPS and also give information on guest account, this was wall mounted. The wardrobes were built in with a safe installed. The bathroom was toilet, washbasin in vanity unit and shower. There was a fridge which housed a mini bar, but has room to add personal items. The balcony had a small table, two deck chairs and a sun lounger. There was 24 hour room service if needed. The ships dining rooms were spacious and you were allocated a table for meals. We did not use our allocated dining room but used the Windjammer cafe for all meals. The Windjammer cafe was buffet style and served an enormous variety of meals to suit all tastes. The cafe took up the whole of the rear of the 11th deck of the ship with outstanding views to sea. The staff were courteous, helpful and friendly and did everything possible to assist. We were advised to buy the soft drinks package which gave unlimited soft drinks for the duration of the cruise, however I feel that in our experience it would have been more cost effective to purchase drinks as needed as it would be unlikely that we would drink enough to make the package worth while. The shows were excellent with a range of both on-board entertainers and entertainers who joined the ship for their performances only and departed afterwards. There were a range of activities and it would be worth while joining one of the forums if there is a specific question you need answering. Royal Caribbean forums are very informative but are not well advertised by the cruise line. The water park on deck 11 is excellent for small children, but there are no life guards in attendance and it is wholley the responsibility of the parents to monitor children. There are 5 hot tubs, and a fitness centre which would rival many subscription facilities. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our 1st cruise for our 15th wedding anniversary . We took the 4 children which were 14, 10, 10 and 8. I didn't do much the 1st 5 days as we hit a winter storm over the bay of bis quay. 110km/h winds the boat swayed from side ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise for our 15th wedding anniversary . We took the 4 children which were 14, 10, 10 and 8. I didn't do much the 1st 5 days as we hit a winter storm over the bay of bis quay. 110km/h winds the boat swayed from side to side as our room was at the front every time the boat dipped the wardrobes swung open then slammed shut it was awful. I had seasickness for 4 days slept most of the time , couldn't eat . When we did manage to eat the food was fabulous and plentiful. No shortage of food - be prepared to put on a stone. theirs pizza and sandwiches to snack on, buffet breakfast or ala carte and the main dining was excellent and the waiters are great. I quite enjoyed getting dressed up for the formal evenings and found most people did the same, Apart from the kids club which is open up to 10pm at night their wasn't much for the kids to do . The weather only got sunny at gran canaria so couldn't really use the pool.Open decks were closed for 2 days due to the weather, have to be 16 to use the gym. My kids don't like the kids club but very good if they like that sort of thing. no kids discos in the evening after the shows we found there was no were to go with them and ended up in bed at 10pm. the family discos were aimed at 3-7 age group to young for my lot. The shops were disappointing . We bought a watch for our 8 year old and she only had it a day went in the pool with it and it broke. Asked in the evening they said to come in the morning to exchange it. In the morning They would not exchange it and said they weren't waterproof ,our 8 year old was HEARTBROKEN as she spent her money on it. This put me off spending on the boat if they cant exchange a 10 dollar watch. All they want is money , money money similarly once the tips were given out we didn't see the room attendant and he didn't make us an animal on the last evening kids disappointed again. Overall we enjoyed it but will try a different company next time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Aaah..The Independence of the Seas..what can one say apart from it is HUGE!It carries over 1,300(100 chefs) staff and over 3,600 passengers. Embarking the ship was very smooth apart from a "computer says no" glitch which held ... Read More
Aaah..The Independence of the Seas..what can one say apart from it is HUGE!It carries over 1,300(100 chefs) staff and over 3,600 passengers. Embarking the ship was very smooth apart from a "computer says no" glitch which held up the zig zag queue for 10 minutes. Once photos duly taken for sea pass(on board credit card and door opener!) we were soon stepping on to the floating village. The whole process taking no more than 45 minutes from dropping luggage at entrance to greetings from a member of the crew. We went to our balcony stateroom straight away which was spotlessly clean,had a queen size bed, sofa,wardrobe with safe,tv and shower bathroom. Our attendant soon introduced himself (Tarmono xx)Nothing too much trouble for him and what he can do with towels is mind boggling (swinging gorilla from a coat hanger)!!He was a diamond all through the holiday. All information regarding the ships activities (and there were lots!) were delivered every evening via the Cruise Compass leaflet. We chose the my-time dining option which I would highly recommend as it opens up much more flexibility surrounding other on board events. We dined in the King Lear dining room every evening bar 1 and the food was simply stunning (chocolate souflee..divine!). The service we had (Mimi and Rosario) was attentive, quick and extremely friendly without being overpowering. I wont spoil the surprise for other first timers on the ship, but lets just say the waiters do more than serve you..SURFS UP!! Unfortunatley the weather wasn't kind on the first four days..choppy doesn't quite describe what it was actually like..more rollercoaster.ish! However..as the captain says 'i advise to take a pill'..we did(abundance of free ones in medical centre deck 1)and they did the trick. Weather improved on route to Gran Canaria and to quote the captain again 'We've paid our dues now its time to cruise'..superb! The excursions were plentiful..advise to choose fairly soon as they get filled quite quickly. Recommended trip that we did would be the basket toboggan ride in Madeira..hilarious, scary but huge fun. Entertainment wise, very funny guy by the name of Richard Gaunlett had us laughing out loud and wish he could have been on longer. Ice skating was fantastic once the ship stopped rocking(1 show postponed)..quite hard to double salco on a swaying rink! The casino had oodles of fruit machines, roulette, card games, virtual horse racing (complimentary champagne one evening!). Again crew (Lydia xx) more than happy to assist in helping you learn the art of the casino games..win or lose! Up on the top decks the pools and hot tubs were clean and plenty of beds available..although not all by pool. Drinks on board were quite pricey so decide on first day if you want one of the packages on offer, as the price will include all days aboard even if you want to take it mid holiday. The photos were of a very high quality and the opportunity to have your photo taken was in abundance..stairs, bridge, port, embarkment, formal evenings..the list goes on...! All in all, great first cruise and will have many fond memories of people we met and places we saw. Fortunately, sitting in the Windjammer cafe on Deck 11 at 07.50 on the entrance into Lisbon didn't put me off!! To quote the captain one last time 'we have blue to the right,blue to the left,blue up above and below..beautiful, just how it was 40 million years ago!' Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Our only other cruise was 20 years ago so thought it was about time we sailed again. Embarkation - Very well organised as you would need to be with 4000 people to board. From dropping off our bags to having access to the cabin was less ... Read More
Our only other cruise was 20 years ago so thought it was about time we sailed again. Embarkation - Very well organised as you would need to be with 4000 people to board. From dropping off our bags to having access to the cabin was less than 1/2 an hour, good start to the cruise. Cabin - Balcony on deck 7, very happy with it, plenty of storage space and everything we needed (except of course the no iron rule). Cabin Steward - Nikolai was very friendly and helpful and kept the cabin very tidy with towel animals every other night; a nice touch. He always stopped for a chat whenever we saw him and we were very happy with the service. Facilities - Impressed with the many and varied facilities aboard and enjoyed reading the daily 'Compass' newsletter to check on the day's activities. Shows - Really enjoyed the 'Armenian' comedian, (sorry forgot his name), his was the stand-out show, closely followed by the ice-show, impressive with spectacular costumes. The ships Singers and Dancers shows were not to our taste so only saw the 1st one. The other shows were ok but no more than that. Casino - Very nice facility, never too crowded. Evening Dining - We were allocated a table in the Romeo and Juliet dining room and thought the food was very good, well presented and with a good choice, hence we never felt the need to try one of the pay restaurants. We were lucky to have tablemates that we got on with and pleasant professional service which made the whole dining experience enjoyable. Breakfasts - We had room service on all but the last day and a relaxed breakfast suited us as opposed to the more hectic Windjammer. On the few occasions we did uses the Windjammer for lunch we always found a table without too much trouble but picked our times to avoid peak-time. The food was plentiful and we had no complaints. Excursions - We booked an RCCI excursion in every port and they were a mixed bag, particularly enjoyed Madeira and Tenerife but think that Ferrol should be dropped from the itinerary, boring was the best way to describe it. Disembarkation - Even easier that embarkation, simply walked off the boat with our luggage. Most of my comments have been positive but there are always a few areas which can be improved. The Negatives - (Some of these were known before we cruised) Cost of Alcohol - Extortionate Alcohol policy - whereby you can't even buy a bottle of local wine to enjoy on board - unnecessary Ice-Show - Queueing for tickets should be eliminated and reserved through the TV screen. The organisation to get access to the venue was a shambles, this whole process needs a revamp. Bingo - A total rip-off, prices too expensive and prizes inadequate leaving a large profit for RCCI. I read numerous reviews before selecting this cruise so had a very good idea what to expect. We were restricted in timeframes and choose this cruise as we thought there wouldn't be lots of children or teenagers on board. This proved to be the case and apart from the pool area we rarely saw them. The majority of passengers were in the 60+ bracket, as we are, but so many of them must offer warning signs to the NHS as the incidence of obesity was at alarming levels. At first I thought the pool area was a beached whale sanctuary and then thought it must be a maternity facility as so many of the men appeared to be in the third trimester. We look forward to cruising again and would have no issues in cruising on the Independence of the Seas but will try another line next time in order try a different experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
As first time cruisers we had spent a lot of time talking to people about the ship and royal caribbean and had built up a picture in my mind. I think because of that we were not impressed with the size of the ship, there were people even ... Read More
As first time cruisers we had spent a lot of time talking to people about the ship and royal caribbean and had built up a picture in my mind. I think because of that we were not impressed with the size of the ship, there were people even on the last day that had not been to parts of the ship and were getting lost. I think we had covered the whole ship in 2 days. Our usual holidays are either 4/5 star AI holidays, cottages in the UK, theatre breaks in london or city breaks, this was our first cruise. Firstly the cabin was small as expected, but plenty of storage and the shower room big enough to navigate. Found it uncomfortable using the loo, as you can hear everything, so hubby had to go for a walk. Secondly the food is very good. We preferred the main dining room each night, although we tried portofino one night in which we experienced the only bit of bad service over the whole cruise. I complained about it to guest services and received a complimentary wine and dinner in Chops Grille the following evening which was fantastic. Crew are brilliant, all friendly, good morning and sir/madam as you would expect but more than that they engaged with you and would have a chat, remember your name and your drink the following night. We found this a great part of the experience and it show that royal caribbean work hard at what they call their gold anchor service i think. Hopefully this is representative of cruising generally and not just american style as we have booked on Thomson Dream later this yr as a cheap last minute deal. For us we enjoyed the whole experience, choice of bars, staff, other guests friendly and chatty, dressing up, casino and the fab entertainment. I think we will be hard pushed to find a better style of holiday, I really think this suits. Can't compare RC and Independance to other lines or ships but it was always immaculate and well kept. Finally the only thing we didn't like was the Windjammer, too busy, like a zoo and didn't feel it offered a good choice compared to AI resorts. We also expected this to be open 24 hrs but it closed at night, although a cafe and pizza place were open 24 hrs, the food we felt was not as good. We never go back to the same place twice, but we would gladly return to the same ship on the same itinerary and travel with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Our first time on a cruise and all i can say is wow wow wow it is that good. FOOD.the food is probably the best thing about the cruise.from the Windjameer to evening meal to pizza at 3 o clock in the morning it is just first class.Eating ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise and all i can say is wow wow wow it is that good. FOOD.the food is probably the best thing about the cruise.from the Windjameer to evening meal to pizza at 3 o clock in the morning it is just first class.Eating in the main dining room is like eating in the Hilton hotel.The staff cater to all your needs and would be offended if you didn't have a good time or had a meal you didn't like and you didn't tell them so they could rectify it. DRINKS:Me and the wife got two beer and wine packages it worked out around 550 English pounds for them both and we thought that was excellent value for money.any cocktails we just bought extra at a reasonable amount. ENTERTAINMENT:the entertainment is excellent and with the ship being so big you don't feel like you are crammed in just to see a performance.the highlight of the cruise was kev orkian of Britains got talent what a funny funny guy he is and also the main man korey simon in the schooner bar.he is a hidden gem on the boat and we found ourselves in the schooner bar most nights being entertained off him and some nights i would sing Elvis with him and it made our holiday. PORTS OF CALL:Being the canaries the ports of call our nearly all the same but because you can get on and off the ship during the day we just popped off for a couple of hours but really the ships that good you want to be back on and enjoying the what the ship has to offer. we cant wait to go next year you really have to go on the cruise to appreciate how good it is.roll on next September 2 weeks round the med.Awesome holiday thank you rci Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Easy check in despite it being busy.Our room was ready when we embarked at 1.30pm. Ship Lovely and clean as was our room. We had a great cabin steward who went over and above his duties --- thank you to Christian! Lovely BIG comfy bed and ... Read More
Easy check in despite it being busy.Our room was ready when we embarked at 1.30pm. Ship Lovely and clean as was our room. We had a great cabin steward who went over and above his duties --- thank you to Christian! Lovely BIG comfy bed and the balcony was the biggest we have ever had.I liked the shower cubicle,no water splashing on the bathroom floor! Not too far from the elevators. Great food with a good choice in Windjammer although occasionally it could have done with being hotter. It did get a bit busy at times although we always manged to find a table - I guess most ships are like that though. Restaurant food was great as well the meat was so tender and yummy puds! We enjoyed all of the ports and the weather was kind to us. Shows --- fantastic as was the Strings ice show. We had to be in the theatre for 8.30pm for the 9.00pm show or we couldn't get a seat! Very popular! Found the outdoor pools a bit cold and the hot tubs the opposite we boiled like lobsters! Enjoyed the indoor pool and hot tubs though. Drinks - yes they are a tad pricey unfortunately. Newspapers can be bought for $3 at the coffee shop in the promenade. We went with trepidation because of the ships size --- but have been won over and have booked again for next year --- same ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Myself (33 yrs), my Husband (35yrs), our Daughter (6 yrs) and my Mum (67 yrs with walking stick).We sailed from Southampton. We used Cruise Parking Ltd to park our car. They took the suitcases from our car and we didn't touch or see ... Read More
Myself (33 yrs), my Husband (35yrs), our Daughter (6 yrs) and my Mum (67 yrs with walking stick).We sailed from Southampton. We used Cruise Parking Ltd to park our car. They took the suitcases from our car and we didn't touch or see them again until they were outside our stateroom at 7pm that evening. Check-in was fantastic. Yes there are a lot of people in Southampton but the queues move very quickly and we were onbaord within 30mins.Our cabin was on deck 6 (6364) with balcony. It was very spacious. The views throughout the cruise from the balcony was fantastic. Our stateroom attendent was excellent. He gave us an animal made from towels every evening....very talented. Our stateroom was cleaned 3 times daily. He was an absolutely fantastic guy.Food - Windjammer reminded me of Butlins x 1000!!! Not my cup of tea. We used it on our 1st 2 days as we hadn't realised where else to go. Breakfast, dinner and tea are best in your designated dining rooms. Food here is absolutely fantastic. The waiters cannot do enough for you. You are literally treated like Royalty.Kids Club - Fantastic. So much for the children to do. Staff genuinely like playing with the kids and my Daughter absolutely loved it.Ship - very, very clean. Prices high in shops. Drinks are not too bad. Bottle of Budweiser $4.95....cocktails between $7.00 and $9.50. We got a soda package (very worthwhile) for £42.00. This gives you unlimited coke, diet coke, sprite or fanta throughout your holiday. Free within the cost is tea, coffee, water, lemonade and fruit punch.The swimming pools were fab and my Daughter lived in them when she wasn't at kids club.We didn't get off at all the ports we visited. The docks are not in the public resorts (very indiustrial areas) and you have to pay to be transfered to where there is any life!!! This should be included. We got off at the Canary Islands which was good. Be aware that they want you to pay $12.00 for transfers but at some ports there was a free shuttle bus waiting which they didn't tell anyone about!!I absolutely LOVED this cruise. After reading loads of reviews before we went I was a little scared. I would definitely do this again and give it 10 out of 10. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We booked this cruise last october after a cruise on the freedom of the seas in september our first cruise,loved it so much that we went on the adventure of the seas in november.It was our first time going from southampton,and what a ... Read More
We booked this cruise last october after a cruise on the freedom of the seas in september our first cruise,loved it so much that we went on the adventure of the seas in november.It was our first time going from southampton,and what a pleasure it was,no airports and as much luggage as we could carry.we travelled down the night before and stayed in the holiday inn express at junction 7 on the M27 about 5 miles from the port,what a find,50 pounds with breakfast for the room and a great view overlooking the rosebowl cricket ground.EMBARCATION. We had free parking at the port,turned up at 10.40, porters took our bags and by 11.20 we were on the ship ,fantastic.STATEROOM. Booked a balcony,deck 8,room 8304,not disapointed with loads of room massive comfy bed,32in tv plenty of wardrobe and drawer space,good bathroom with a powerfull shower.DINING. Never used mdr,only windjammer,only because we dont like to be tied down when we eat and we like to do our own thing.Never a problem finding a seat,and food was varied,hot, and of good quality.The staff in the windjammer are excelent.EXCURSIONS. Did not book any trips,just did our own thing. BARS. Loads of bars to choose from,quiet to livley something for everyone,we liked bolleros on deck 4,thanks to hassan and alex,the barmen,who always remembered your name and always had a smile.ENTERTAINMENT. Ice shows,west end shows,singers,bands,quizzes talks on various subjects,even bingo,this ship caters for everyone.STAFF. All the staff on this ship are excellent,from our stateroom atendant ALBERT,who kept our room sparkling,to maintenance guys,who allways said hello and had a smile.OVERALL. My wife and I had a great cruise,yes you did have to wait for a lift sometimes and you had to queue for ice show tickets,but not for long we found it no problem.We met a lot of nice people from all walks of life,and we also met a lot of people who i can only describe as snobs.These people think anyone who wears a football shirt or has a tattoo are scum,p&o are better,cunard are better,to many kids,get a grip if david beckham was on the ship would you complain,no i dont think so.We are both in our 50s and have traveled all over the world for the past 20 years,both still work full time,our only regret is that we didnt cruise 20 years ago.Go on people give it a go youll love it....... Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Booking We booked this cruise on the Independence of the Sea about 3 months before we were due to sail and it was our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean. We wanted to try a new cruise line as we had been a little disappointed with ... Read More
Booking We booked this cruise on the Independence of the Sea about 3 months before we were due to sail and it was our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean. We wanted to try a new cruise line as we had been a little disappointed with our last cruise on P&O's Ventura. We took a chance by going for a guaranteed inside cabin at quite a good discounted price. About 4 weeks prior to embarkation we were allocated an inside cabin on deck 8 fairly near the front of the ship. We also opted for second sitting and had a linked booking with our friends who booked the same deal.Travel and Embarkation We pre-booked to leave the car at the quayside car park, which proved to be a good move as it was not far from the ship. The embarkation process went like clockwork, with just a few queues to contend with, and within an hour we were boarding the ship. We found our cabin (8517), freshened up and went up to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. Following lunch our cases arrived quite quickly; we unpacked and then went up to the promenade deck to watch as we sailed away from Southampton. Our first impressions of IOTS were that it was very clean and well looked after ship. Cabin Cabin 8517 is an inside cabin on deck 8. There was more than enough space for all of our clothes. The cabin was of a good size, larger than on most cruises I have been on, and the biggest bed I have ever seen at sea. The cabin contained all we needed - Interactive TV, Tea making facilities, Safe, Radio, Hairdryer, Telephone, etc. Our cabin steward was very thorough and the cabin was cleaned and tidied in the morning and the beds turned down in the evening. Dining and Drinks We ate in the main DR every evening, but were initially allocated a different deck and dining room table from our friends on our linked booking - strange but true! After a quick discussion with the head waited we were re-allocated a table for 10 on deck 3 which was in good position next to a window.The food was of a good standard and quality, with a good choice of starters, main course, and puddings each day. There was also the option of having Salmon, Steak or Salad if there was nothing you fancied on the main menu. Each evening there was also a light option for those watching their calories. We only had a bottle of wine a couple of times during the cruise as the cheapest house wine was 26 dollars per bottle. We would probably have ordered wine every evening if it had been cheaper. We got on well with our table companions on the few occasions they joined us, but more often than not it was just the four of us.We ate our breakfasts and lunches in the Windjammer Cafe each day where there was a very good selection on offer. Drinks were priced at around 6.50 dollars for a G&T and 5.50 to 7 dollars for a beer. Staff All the staff that we came across on the cruise were polite and smart. Our table waiter (Gerrill) was great and very helpful, as was our cabin steward. The drinks service at most of the bars and theatres was good, although it could sometimes take a while to get served. Entertainment We went along to see most of the theatre production shows which were all professional and of a high quality. The Beach Boys tribute band - West Coast was terrific and well worth seeing! We joined in a few quizzes and on the whole generally enjoyed the entertainment. We had a few visits to the casino and were pleased that they had a few "low stake" tables to play at as we are not big gamblers.Disembarkation We arrived back at Southampton at approx 6am and the first passengers started to disembark at 8am. We disembarked at 8.30am and were on our way home in the car by 9.15 - very slick!Overall A well run, clean ship which offers good value for money, good quality food & entertainment, and friendly & helpful staff. We visited great ports and had reasonably good weather. In comparison with other recent cruises we found the average age of passengers on IOTS lower than we expected.We were initially a little apprehensive before the cruise regarding the size of the ship, the number of passengers, the cost of drinks, and the style of cruising. Our concerns were unfounded as this was one of the best cruises that we have been on! Drink prices were a little higher but no more than you would pay in a good hotel. The ship is big but, in my opinion, well laid out and much better in design than other ships we have been on. Excellent! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Flew down from Edinburgh to S/hampton on morning of the cruise. Off the plane,shuttle bussed to port within an hour and a half.Arrived at port at 10.30am, ship boarding was at 12pm so not too long to wait. Boarding was overall pretty ... Read More
Flew down from Edinburgh to S/hampton on morning of the cruise. Off the plane,shuttle bussed to port within an hour and a half.Arrived at port at 10.30am, ship boarding was at 12pm so not too long to wait. Boarding was overall pretty smooth and organised.We did get stopped from boarding because of my husbands skean dubh,so if you're scotish and bringing one,I advise you bring a false one and carry it in hand luggage! Windjammer was open for buffet lunches,overwhelmed with the variety and immensity of food on offer! Very tasty too,something for every taste.The cabin was beautiful and very clean,and was kept so throughout the cruise by Daniel our stateroom attendant,who couldnt do enough to make our stay as comfortable as possible.Our son was also very impressed with the towel animals Daniel would make for us,though I think we were more impressed lol.Thumbs up to Daniel.Our 2 year old son loved this cruise,he was greeted by name by most of the staff all the time,who ALWAYS take time out from whatever they are doing to exchange greetings with you.The staff aboard this ship are outstanding.There was a fisher price playroom where we could take our son and stay with him while he played with all the toys and the other kids on board,it was a life saver having that room there as during sea days he would occassionally get bored.Thank god for the onboard shop that sells chocolate rabbits!!So,overall,we had a brilliant time.I could write this all day but i'll keep it brief.CABIN: SPOTLESS,GREAT SIZE BALCONYFOOD: DELICIOUS AND A HUGE SELECTION FOR EVERY TASTEROOM SERVICE: VERY EFFICIENT AND ON TIME ALWAYSSTAFF: OUTSTANDING,FIRST CLASSSPLASH ZONE: GOOD BUT AM UNSURE ABOUT THE BIG POOL IN THE KIDS AREA,A SANDPIT MIGHT HAVE BEEN BETTER!SHIP EXPERIENCE: WE LOVED IT,THE WEE ONE ADORED IT,IF YOU HAVE OLDER KIDS THEY WILL BE IN THEIR ELEMENT!MARKS OUT OF TEN FOR WHOLE HOLIDAY: 10/10 Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My parents booked this cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary and also took me,my husband and our two children,my brother and his girlfriend also joined us.My parents had only ever cruised with P&O before and after reading some ... Read More
My parents booked this cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary and also took me,my husband and our two children,my brother and his girlfriend also joined us.My parents had only ever cruised with P&O before and after reading some reviews on IOS we were a little bit apprehensive.We neednt have worried though everything was fantastic.The ship was spotless and everywhere you went somebody was cleaning,very plush interiors and friendly staff. my son has a serious nut allergy so i was concerned about how he would cope with the food,again i neednt have worried as the staff in the main dining room went out of there way to accomodate him and were extremely careful.Kids clubs were great ,i couldnt keep my boys out of them,which was a miracle as my eldest son doesnt like going anywhere without us but he was desperate to go to them! The staff were fantastic in the clubs and again were very careful about my sons nut allergy and even gave me a phone so they could contact me if anything happened,normally phones are only allocated to parents of younger children.Pools were great and the kids pool area was really entertaining for the kids but would get quite busy but you could escape from all the mayhem by going to the solarium pool area which was very relaxing and adults only.I would definately go on the IOS again and would recommend it to anybody it was just fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
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