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303 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

We had a wonderful family holiday on this ship and here are the 10 things to know before cruising on "the Independence of the Seas" from a UK perspective! Its a big ship but when you get on it, there's plenty of room for ... Read More
We had a wonderful family holiday on this ship and here are the 10 things to know before cruising on "the Independence of the Seas" from a UK perspective! Its a big ship but when you get on it, there's plenty of room for everyone. Our cruise was a huge success and we'd recommend this ship. Its amazing and so is the service (then again, you'd expect it to be for the price!). 1. The plastic card you get given before boarding the ship is more useful than your passport.There is no money onboard, so the card acts as a credit card, an ID card, a reservation card and opens the door to your cabin. 2. The main restaurant is split between 3 floors and has two sittings at Dinner. For breakfast, its usually just the lower floor thats open and first come, first served. For lunch, its not open unless you are in port. For dinner, its three courses - great food, great service. There are 3 extra restaurants where you can pay an additional amount for something different, but why would you when the quality here is great? If you want casual dining, the buffet restaurant acts as an alternative and is called "The Windjammer". Its a bit of a free for all, and also has a small asian (mostly Indian vegetarian) themed area called "Jade". Its open from breakfast through til 9.30pm and is always busy for those who want a t shirt and shorts experience... 3. Even before you board the ship, you'll be asked to disinfect your hands with an alcohol gel. This continues on board with hand hygiene gels and wipes every where you go - at first its a bit strange then you realise that this obsesiveness keeps the stomach bug "norovirus" at bay and is actually very reassuring! 4. Dining tip two; If you have children, go for "My Time Dining" option and book each night for 6.30pm. This will be on Floor 5 which is the upper level of the 3 floor dining room. Generally they will try and allocate you the same table and the same waiters each evening. For the three formal evenings, suit or DJ is the norm and we had our children in suits too as did most others using the dining room.If you are not a fan of getting together in a smart environment - go to the informal buffet restaurant and enjoy that. 5. Dining tip three; buy a wine package before you travel - its much cheaper. When you dine, the waiter takes your card and keeps a record of how much of your pre-paid wine you have used up.The other drinks packages may be good too..depending upon your familiy's preferences. We had a bottled water package for our cabins. 6.The main thoroughfare is called "The Royal Promenade" which is about 100 metres long and runs through the centre of the ship. It has a five storey high ceiling and is overlooked by the central staterooms and lifts etc. It's here that is the internal heart of the public areas housing a coffee shop, shops, Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream parlour, hairdressers, jewellry, duty free etc. The main tip? The coffee shop provides "posh" coffee you can buy, or "no frills" coffee for free, along with free cookies, mini cakes and sandwiches. The pizza place further along does free pizza most of the day too. 7. When you go ashore at a port, your card is swiped, and again on return. Any purchases are scanned by x ray machine, and if you have any thoughts of bringing some cheap alcohol onto the ship to ease your wallet, think again. Its against the On board policy and you will have to hand any purchases in for the remaining days of your holiday! 8. Virtually everything costs apart from the food you consume, but because it goes on your "sea pass card" which is guaranteed by your credit card, you don't really feel the cash being used. Incidentally, every purchase on board is in dollars. 9. The shows in the theatre are fantastic and well worth seeing. Each night is something different and we didn't see a duff one... We had a comedian, broadway style shows, a ventriloquist, a comedy juggler, tribute bands etc. There is also one fab evening on the open decks with a live band and dancing which is really enjoyable from 10pm til midnight. But if you want peace and quiet, there are plenty of areas for that too. 10. The open air decks are 10, 11 and 12. There are plenty of sunloungers but not all are out of the wind, so choose carefully. There is a kids pool area, a mixed area and an adults pool area and in each there are pools and jacuzzis. Its all very palatial and very well catered for with a few bars, a complimentary ice cream machine and complimentary tea and coffee. The pools are warm and easily accessible. There are no official life guards so you need to be responsible for your children, though there are crew who keep an eye on proceedings...naturally, the pool area does get busy sometimes. I could add more, but that seems enough! Enjoy your trip on this amazing ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We've just returned from a family holiday on the 11 April Independence of Seas cruise to the Canary Islands and have to say that it was one of our most enjoyable family holidays yet! This was our second cruise, the first being with ... Read More
We've just returned from a family holiday on the 11 April Independence of Seas cruise to the Canary Islands and have to say that it was one of our most enjoyable family holidays yet! This was our second cruise, the first being with Princess Cruises to Norway last year which we also really enjoyed. We found the Independence of the Seas a very well equipped ship with nothing but friendly staff and excellent activities. We particularly enjoyed the Ice Skating, climbing wall and Flowrider (surf simulator), all of which are available at no extra charge. The entertainment on-board was also excellent and ranged from typical theatre musical and comedy shows show to musical street parties in the 'Royal Promenade' and an ice skating show. The Cruise Director, Luke Aerowsmith, was excellent and had endless energy and enthusiasm for his job. The Dining on-board was excellent with options ranging from 24-hour cafes on the Royal Promenade, the Sprinkles 'help yourself' ice cream machine (which the kids soon found!), through to the Windjammer breakfast, lunch and dinner cafe and formal dining rooms. The food was largely excellent with all tastes being catered for from daily 'Sunday' roasts through to some excellent curry options. Hot drinks (tea and coffee) were available at any time from the Windjammer, Royal Promenade cafes and there were also tea making facilities in the stateroom. Other than for the Captain's champagne reception, alcohol had to be purchased and certainly wasn't cheap, though I felt a 500ml bottle of London Pride beer for $6.50 was tolerable. Our children are aged 5 and 7 and thoroughly enjoyed the ship, so much so that they didn't want to get off on the shore days! They particularly liked the kids' club (Adventure Ocean) which had activities planned throughout every day. The staff in the kids club were excellent and again very friendly and helpful. Particular highlights were the two kids' performances which were put on in the Royal Promenade. There were also some family activities ranging from art projects through to a scavenger hunt and family bingo. Service throughout the ship was generally excellent and I don't recall meeting anyone who wasn't polite and helpful. There were a few areas for improvement on the cruise, but all were the result of the ship being full on our particular cruise. Sometimes the Windjammer cafe got very busy and the staff struggled to keep tables clear. Also there was sometimes a shortage of seats in the Alhambra Theatre for evening performances (even though it seats 1,500!). Furthermore the embarkation process involved some lengthy queuing (1.5 hours), which was tedious to say the least. However, it should be said that overall these were minor issues and even though the cruise was fully booked, the above times were the only times it felt crowded in any way. Disembarkation went very smoothly with allocated times for everyone to leave the ship. Our Stateroom was very comfortable with everyone having a good night's sleep on every night of the cruise. The kids slept in bunk beds that the room attendant lowered each evening. Royal Caribbean shore excursions were expensive, so we made our own arrangements on each occasion. To give some ideas, below is what we ended up doing: - - Vigo -- walk up the hill to the Castro Park for excellent views over the city and then a walk around the shops (there is a good C&A in town). - Lisbon -- train into city (station a few minutes walk due north from ship), though the tram or bus would also have been an option. Walk around old town, then tram out to Belem and then back to ship. - Gran Canaria -- Taxi from ship to see extinct volcano crater Caldera de Bandama (€35), then look around old town before bus back to beach and ship. - Tenerife -- Walk into city then bus to Pyramids of Guimar (45 mins -- every 30 mins). 20 min walk from bus station at Guimar. - Funchal -- walk into town -- then bus up to Botanical Gardens for excellent walk around and view over town and harbour. - La Corua -- walk out to lighthouse (30 mins) and bus back into town. Where the ship docked out of town in Lisbon and Funchal, shuttle buses were laid on, but we felt these were expensive, particularly for a family of four and Royal Caribbean should consider including these within the cost of the cruise. Overall we really enjoyed the cruise and there were so many activities on board that we never had a dull moment. In our opinion it would be hard to beat the Independence of the Seas for family holidays. If anyone from Royal Caribbean is reading we'd like to thank them for an excellent holiday and we'll certainly be cruising with Royal Caribbean again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We deliberately booked Indy again just to see if our first experience of cruising was as good as we thought it was. We weren't disappointed!!! We arrived at the docks at 10.30am fully expecting to be in a big queue to check in. ... Read More
We deliberately booked Indy again just to see if our first experience of cruising was as good as we thought it was. We weren't disappointed!!! We arrived at the docks at 10.30am fully expecting to be in a big queue to check in. As we had cruised before and are Crown and Anchor Gold Members we were pleasantly surprised to have our own dedicated check in area that we were swept through. Within 20 mins we were sat in the Departure lounge, and within an hour we were boarding the ship. Indy's interior has not changed a bit since we last sailed on on her in November 2009, so we were able to find our way around her with no problems. In the departure lounge, they announced the staterooms would be ready at 1 o'clock, but on boarding they put that back an hour blaming a British Coastguard Inspection. A little niggle but nothing too serious as we could go to Windjammer to get some lunch. Only problem there was that everyone else had the same idea and you couldn't get a table for love nor money, The stateroom was fantastic, large, clean airy and with a balcony for good measure too. Which was a good job because given the opportunity my husband would have spent the entire voyage on it. After unpacking we went down to Bolero's bar for a well deserved drink. As on our previous sailing we only needed to ask for our drinks once. After that Hassan and Kendra remembered us and what our favourites tipple was for the rest of the cruise. There is always something to do on boar his ship. Cinema, enrichment lectures (this time it was Ancient Egypt), Quizzes,dance lessons and they even taught anyone who wanted to learn it, the Thriller Dance. On our first evening dining we thought our joy at it being equal to the last cruise was going to blown out of the water. We were allocated a table in romeo and Juliets Dining Room next to the window on the 8.30 sitting. We've never had a problem on this sitting before. but out starters were brought to us at 9.20, 50 minutes after being sat. Our main course was brought and our desserts were finished at approx 10.45pm, 2 hours and 15 mins after we started. this really is not very good service and with me being diabetic, ~I cannot be eating at that hour because it sends my blood sugars far too high the next morning. We went and had a word with the Food and Beverage Manager who was so helpful. He allocated us another table right below the Grand Staircase. The waiter and assistant waiter here (Sergio and Vijay) just couldn't do enough for you. They were so attentive and always had a smile and a joke for you. We were in and out of dinner within an hour and 15 mins every night. The only negative thing I can say about dining is that if you really wanted to you could eat 24 hours a day. You'd end up looking like a bacon pig, but it's there if you want it and it's so so tempting. There are 3 pools on deck you can use, with 3 small jacuzzi pools and 2 large whirlpools that hand over the side. It's tempting to spend all day in the whirlpools. There is also a solarium where you can sit and relax and read. Towels are available, you can have 2 a time on your seapass, but remember to return them or you'll be charged for them at the end of the cruise at $20 each. We did notice that a few little things that we had on the last cruise were missing. No chocolate on the pillows at turn down, no notepaper and pen in the desk drawer, no toiletries in the bathroom , just soap and there was no Hot Chocolate in the Cafe Promenade or Sorrento's this time, but you could get some from Room Service. We did notice thought this time 6that5 you an get a news-paper from home now. They are sold in the Cafe Promenade, but they are costly $3 each (roughly £2 a paper, but that's what you'd pay in say Benidorm or Costa Del Sol for one). The Schooner bar was also one of my favourite places. This is where they had most of the quizzes. Fernando the waiter here only had to see me o5r my husband coming and would indicate to us that he had seen us and would we like the usual? Cracking Service. On our travels round the ship we did meet up with several of the crew that had been aboard on our first cruise, notably Elizabeth in the Dining Room and also Adrian one of the Head Waiters. I swear that man never slept. He was in the Dining room at Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner. He really knew his stuff. It would be remiss of me to miss out ou5 own Head Waiter. Llorena. She stopped by or table EVERY evening, asking our our day had been and if there was anything she could to make our stay better. Ports of call could be better. Vigo is very hilly, so not good for people w3ho have difficulty in walking. Lisbon looked bet5ter but we were warned to be careful in the docks area as there were lots of thieves and ladies of the night in that area. Las Palmas in Gran Canaria , I found to be a bit grotty. The tour bus that does the city was 16 euros and the sound system did not work, so you were in the dark about what exactly you were seeing. Santa Cruz was much better, a beautiful clean city with lots of interesting things to see. Le Recovo, a big market was lovely. Madeira is beautiful but you need more than 5 hours in port to see it and do it justice, La Coruna, we researched a litle before we set off, but couldn't find out much information about it. ~If every you go on this ship , gt off at L~a Coruna, it's a beautiful city with a gorgeous square (Plaza de Maria Pite) it has a lovely coffee shop/Tapas Bar just o the Right as you go into the Square If you like ~Pizza and anti pasti give Sorrento's a try. The waitress there Ephelia is fantastic, she always has a bright smile a bit of conversation and a brilliant work ethic. If we could have taken her home we would have lol. All in all ~Indy is the same floating city as she ever was. The crew are fantastic, so friendly and always there with a tip if you need it. and finally a quick mention to our room attendant Georgia. She made our morning bright and our evenings comfortable. Thanks Georgia you're a star!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We decided on a cruise this year as we know many people that have fallen in love with this type of holiday and we had got fed up with the airport scenario. Firstly, we did not expect a 3 hour queue(3 separate queues)to get on the ship, ... Read More
We decided on a cruise this year as we know many people that have fallen in love with this type of holiday and we had got fed up with the airport scenario. Firstly, we did not expect a 3 hour queue(3 separate queues)to get on the ship, apparently the ship was booked to full capacity (4300 people) extremely frustrating and this puts airports in good favour in our opinion. Ship magnificent, awe inspiring it's so huge& clean...Our cabin on deck 6 at the front was very spacious and clean, our daughter & boyfriend was inside stateroom, even though quite spacious, no natural light, made them feel very disorientated (time wise) and claustrophobic. ALL staff extremely pleasant and good mannered - less said for the majority of other passengers, sour faced and rude mostly, just out for themselves, even more so in the huge "cafeteria" (windjammer) area (more queuing!)- which again in our opinion is not big enough to accommodate 4300 people or even half that,several occasions we could not find anywhere to sit to have our breakfast or lunch and resorted to find less occupied areas which shouldn't be for eating. And the people acted like food was going out of fashion!! Bumped into, elbowed out the way, is a few ways to describe it and that goes for all ages on there! One "speciality" coffee Place and newspaper stand is not enough for this large ship and yes more queues! All this and suffering 10m (32.8 feet) waves most of the time is not our idea of a good holiday, hence back to flying next year. One saving grace we had to complain after 3 or 4 sleepless nights due to big banging noises under our cabin, (crew had left heavy iron gate to swing open & shut) the guest service manager treated us to a meal at chops grill - exquisite- and a day out in Madeira, again absolutely enjoyable, I think we would have flown back from a port otherwise to escape! Someone once described a cruise as Butlins on Sea, though the look & feel of this ship & staff is 5 star, most of the passengers don't act like it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Just returned from an 11nights cruise on Independence of the seas. Last year we cruised on the Thomson Dream and loved it, so it was with some trepidation that we decided to try Independence. I read a lot of reviews some good, some bad ... Read More
Just returned from an 11nights cruise on Independence of the seas. Last year we cruised on the Thomson Dream and loved it, so it was with some trepidation that we decided to try Independence. I read a lot of reviews some good, some bad so decided to go with an open mind after all a holiday is what you make it. All I can say is there was absolutely no need to worry as the ship is quite simply magnificent. We were in stateroom 8607 which was a family room overlooking the promenade. It was extremely roomy we had a super king sized bed, 3 sofas, even a walk in wardrobe. The kids had bunk beds in an alcove around the corner from our bed so there was some privacy. I was concerned that it would be noisy as I am a light sleeper but I slept like a baby. Food We ate breakfast and lunch in the windjammer and dinner in the main dining room. The food was superb with plenty of choice. My husband particularly enjoyed the Asian cuisine and the Sushi selection was excellent. Drinks The kids had the soda package which we booked online before we went which turned out to be good value. We decided not to take the drinks package as I do not drink alcohol. This turned out to be the right decision as apple juice, orange juice, American style lemonade and fruit punch were all free in the windjammer. After we had finished our meals I just took one out of the restaurant with me, nothing was ever said. When the windjammer was closed I drank lime cordial with water and was never charged so our total drinks bill was around 600 dollars. As my husband likes to drink I don't feel this is too bad after 11 days and yes the beers are more expensive but so what, you are on holiday after all. Entertainment. There is so much to do on this ship, quizzes, bingo, dance classes, shows etc. For me the highlight was "The Quest" and the themed parties on the royal promenade. Also we took part in the thriller dance classes and performance- great fun. I went to all of the shows bar one and they were all excellent especially guest performer Paul Zerdin. In summary some people like to moan and find fault with everything. To these I would say stick to Cunard then. If you do your research and book the right ship for your needs you should have a great holiday. I would thoroughly recommend this ship especially if you like to have a good time. My 2 teenage children said it was their best holiday ever and you know how hard to please teenagers are. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I've read most of the RC reviews on here over the past 6 years and I have to say I was really shocked to read so many negative reviews about the 11 night Spain & Canaries cruise, during the lead up to our holiday. We have ... Read More
I've read most of the RC reviews on here over the past 6 years and I have to say I was really shocked to read so many negative reviews about the 11 night Spain & Canaries cruise, during the lead up to our holiday. We have sailed with Royal Caribbean 7 times now, making us 'Diamond Members' of the Crown & Anchor Society. I say this not to brag, but because it's an important point to remember throughout this review, and it will become evident why. I'm 21 by the way, and sailed with my Grandparents (both 74) on this cruise, our second aboard Independence of the Seas. 11th April -- 23rd April. We had some real concerns about what we were going to encounter. Had standards fallen SO badly?? Was the attitude of the staff now THAT bad?? We arrived at the port at around 1pm, aware that we might be told, as has been reported in many preceding reviews, to return to the ship later in the day for boarding due to a deep clean being carried out. However this was not the case. I can only assume the much reported Norovirus has now been brought under control onboard the Independence, judging by the emphasis that is put on regularly washing your hands. Upon entering any restaurant, the theatre, ice rink, casino, various lounges, etc there is always at least one staff member present handing out antibacterial wipes. Anyway, getting back to the arrival at the dock, we drove up to the port gate, were greeted by a friendly old chap who looked at our parking documents and then directed us to the relevant entrance. It's a very smooth system, whereby you park up in a 'loading bay' where a luggage porter is waiting with a trolley to take your 'check in' luggage from you. You then drive to the car park, secure your vehicle and join the queue to board the ship. Much has been said about the queues, which admittedly can long, with some people left standing outside the terminal, however this is only at the peak boarding time, which from experience is from 2pm onwards. Try to get there early and it shouldn't be too bad. Being Diamond Members, we were ushered into a separate queue, which was much, much shorter. You have to go through the airport-like security scanner, which, just like at the airport causes hold ups, followed by another wait to 'check-in' at the boarding desks, but from parking up initially, we were onboard and in our cabin within about 15 minutes. A lot of people will have experienced a much longer wait, perhaps around an hour and a half in total, but what do you expect when there are over 4000 people to check-in. Once onboard, head up to your cabin to dump your carry-on luggage and then get up to the Windjammer cafe quickly. As the afternoon progresses, and more and more guests board the ship, this buffet-style restaurant can fill up quickly and often it can be difficult to find a table at peak times. Next stop I would recommend is the dining room to check the location and size of your table (only if you intend to eat there of course). We have in the past been put right next to the entrance to the kitchen, and you could be at a table for two, or a table for 12, so depending on if you want to meet other people or not, approach one of the waiters and request a move, which they will be happy to do for you. It might be worth going along the first night and meeting your 'table-mates'. A lot of people do this, then decide if to request a move or not. And on a ship of this size, it's unlikely you will ever see those people again anyway! The ship itself is fantastic, with all the facilities you could want and more, as well as all you can eat food, nearly 24 hours a day. I've read some nasty reviews about the quality of food, and the 'carry on' in the Windjammer cafe. On all our 7 cruises we have never experienced anything like this. Having gained my qualifications in the Hospitality Industry I know a thing or two about good food and good service. The food was, for the most part very tasty and plentiful. I regularly had two starters, two main courses and two or three desserts. The service in the dining room, although very good, was by no means the best we have experienced. Attention to detail was lacking, but then I was only aware of this because I knew what to look out for. My only criticism is that the menu has changed little in 6 years, and there are a few odd combinations, such as beef gravy with a mixed grill, but overall it's really nice. Bar prices aren't any more expensive than you'd expect to pay in a city centre pub or nightclub on a Saturday night. As for the Bar Service in the theatre, admittedly you do get asked two or three times if you require 'bar service', but that's what their getting paid to do, and once the performance begins they all disappear, so what's to complain about! Equally the staff are all very friendly and helpful. I cannot think of one time in 12 days, when I passed a member of staff onboard, whether that be a stateroom attendant further down the corridor, a waiter in the Windjammer cafe, or an officer patrolling the ship, who didn't smile and greet me with a 'Hello sir, how are you today?' I think there has been a lot of unfair criticism of staff on this ship, and it's really uncalled for. Try to remember that a lot of these men and women are thousands of miles from home, working long hours, seven days a week for months on end and all for a very basic wage. They do a fantastic job, and nothing is ever too much bother, or at least that's what I have always experienced. Our Stateroom attendant was very friendly, and attentive. On the day of Grans birthday he made a cake out of folded towels and left a note wishing her many happy returns. In the restaurant that night, the waiting staff were also aware it was her birthday and made a big fuss of her, which was nice. The entertainment onboard was, for the most part first class. It ranged from a comedian, a professional singer (Brenda Cochrane), royal variety act, tribute act (The Backbeat Beatles), and of course a number of stage shows performed by the Royal Caribbean singers & dancers. The Ice show was also really quite a spectacle, even if the music (classical composer type) isn't your thing, the acrobatics performed on an ice rink at sea is quite something. Cruise Director Luke was very energetic and enthusiastic about his job. The destination on this cruise weren't particularly special, apart from Madeira. Royal Caribbean always include Vigo, in Spain as a port of call. This is a major industrial port, with little in the way of visitor attractions or culture. It's well rumoured amongst clued up cruisers that this is a cheap port to dock in, hence it's always included on their itineraries. Gran Canaria and Tenerife were admittedly nice places to visit. (I had assumed we would be docking somewhere full of 'British pubs' offering a 'pie and a pint', etc. However we docked far from any touristy areas, and experienced the culture of these magnificent islands, even if the weather wasn't up to much. The excursions at each port of call weren't really up to much, and I would recommend just spending some time walking the streets soaking up the atmosphere, or buying a ticket for the 'open top buses' which will take you round all the sights for around 15 Euros. (Note: If you purchase 'open top' tickets in one port of call, you can use these to get a discount on the 'open tops' in the next port) 'Panoramic' tours are available which is basically a narrated bus journey around the famous sights, for those who find walking tiresome. In Madeira however, the ship is only in port for a short period of time (8am-2.30pm) so I would recommend an excursion here. The famous toboggan ride down the steep slopes of Monte is a must, together with a trip on the Cable Car and a visit to the local farmers market in Funchal, where you can sample many of the exotic fruits. The weather for much of the cruise was overcast, windy and chilly. Gran Canaria was the only destination which was warm (21C). However this was probably due to the time of year, perhaps in the summer months it will be a lot warmer. Sailing through the Bay of Biscay was a bit unsteady at times, but with a ship of this size, most of the time you aren't even aware that you're sailing in the middle of an ocean. As for the clientele on the ship, it was a pleasant surprise on this voyage, as we have noticed a steady transformation over the past 6 years as more and more Brits try out cruising, to something beginning to resemble a Butlins holiday camp at times (i.e. belly flop contest, etc.) However the ship is so big that you don't have to even be aware of these activities, preferring if you do to relax in one of the quieter lounges or open deck areas. When it comes to disembarking, we chose an early time slot since we had a 500 mile drive ahead of us. You are asked to have your cases packed and outside your cabin for 11pm, in order that the crew can have your luggage assembled in the designated zone in the terminal on the quayside the next morning. This is done to avoid unnecessary queues. (Can you imagine 4200 people trying to get off the ship with their entire luggage??) On the morning of departure, a statement will be sent to your stateroom (often attached to the outside of the door, so check for it!) detailing your onboard spending. Check this with a fine toothcomb as we have never in our 6 years received a statement which is correct. There is always an overcharge, such as a bottle of water at $2.00 which may just be coincidence, or as I suspect might be a profit boosting scheme. Can you imagine if they add this to all 4200 bills, every week??? According to the timeslot you picked, you will have been given coloured luggage labels, i.e. Green No. 6. When this is called, you make your way to the gangway, swipe your card (their way of checking that you've paid your onboard bill) then your off. Depending what time you chose (peak time tends to be between 8am-9am), you will be off the ship, have collected your luggage and be in your car within about 15 minutes. As for tipping, we tend to avoid the 'prepaid gratuities', instead preferring to see how the service throughout is, and then give an appropriate tip at the end of the cruise. A few negative points to mention, or warn you of. Firstly the internet connection on this cruise was really poor, with a lot of people complaining throughout. Also, make sure you are defiantly logged off when leaving a computer, as I was nearly charged $250 ($0.65 per minute) until I explained at the Guest Relations desk this must be a mistake and they refunded it from my account. Also, the toilet in our cabin (9298) was troublesome from the day we boarded the ship. When you went to flush it, there was a delay of sometimes 10 minutes before it would actually flush. We phoned the Maintenance crew, who informed us they were having trouble with part of the pipe work and were trying to sort it. This continued right throughout our cruise! The staff in the various eating venues (primarily Windjammer cafe) do their best to keep tabs on kids touching food rather than using the tongs provided, but occasionally this does happen. My only other negative comment surrounds the opening times of some of the sports facilities i.e. Rock Wall and Flowrider. When out at sea it's understandable that due to the occasional motion of the ship and unpredictable weather, the activities can't always run to schedule. However I really think the sports staff should have these activities open from dawn to dusk when in port. A lot of people only venture off the ship for a short while and some not at all. If the opening hours were extended like this, the queues at peak times, such as just after setting sail from a port in the late afternoon sun, would be much less. Overall a very enjoyable trip. Will definitely be sailing with Royal Caribbean again in the near future! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I'm expecting we might see a few bad reviews of this cruise. The weather in the Bay of Biscay was just about at its worst. Force 10 winds gusting up to Force 12 meant Indy was delayed crossing Biscay and the stop in Madeira was ... Read More
I'm expecting we might see a few bad reviews of this cruise. The weather in the Bay of Biscay was just about at its worst. Force 10 winds gusting up to Force 12 meant Indy was delayed crossing Biscay and the stop in Madeira was cancelled, disappointing many passengers, some of whom might vent their spleens here? It was the luck of the draw that we sailed into a storm on Biscay whilst the Grand Princess, sailing roughly the same itinerary but which left Southampton a day earlier, avoided it altogether. So yes, the Independence is a ship that sails on the ocean. Surprise, surprise, there are storms on the ocean. When you get caught in a storm, things happen. Get over it. I had always wondered what it would be like to be on a ship caught in real hoolie of a storm. Well it wasn't so bad, if you took the tablets and stayed in the middle of the ship on lower decks. Go forward or aft and things get more extreme. You up your chances of getting sick by staying in a cabin that's rough. Seek shelter somewhere on the lower decks in the middle of the ship. It's all common sense really. Take advice, take sickness pills which were freely available and ride it out. I know some people are more prone to illness than others, but don't be proud, seek help and advice if you're in trouble. Indy's crew did their best to help such passengers. Independence weathered this storm well. The crew were helpful and supportive, the Captain made the right call to slow down and take it easy, even if it meant delays. The safety of passengers was paramount and in this test, unlike Costa Concordia, Royal Caribbean can be proud of the Independence of the Seas, her captain and crew. Storms like this can very dangerous and I'm glad we were sailing in such capable hands. On a more general level, Indy is a great cruise ship with some excellent facilities to please a wide variety of cruisers. It's very clean and there is a constant emphasis on hygiene which is essential when you have a lot of people all congregated and infections can spread easily. The food was very good. Well served, with the polite and friendly staff always keen to get feedback. Cabins were well kept and all amenities were spotless. Entertainment was good, sometimes excellent. The Ice Show was brilliant and the production shows on formal nights were also superb. Our fellow pasengers were a cross section of UK society, some good 'uns, other who we may not choose to rub shoulders with, but none of whom were particularly unsociable. It's each to their own and good luck to them. One negative: I was a little perturbed by the rising number of mobility scooters on board. I understand that some passengers do need them, but it appeared to me that there was also a contingent of users for which scooters were a convenience and not strictly a necessity. I hope that this trend does not continue. Am I being harsh? I'd be interested to hear the views of others. Another I'll indulge myself with is the WiFi on the ship. It is very hit or miss to connect and is very expensive. In conclusion I would recommend a cruise on Independence to anyone who is looking for a quality holiday experience and understands that on any holiday, as in life, not everything is always plain sailing and a sense of humour helps. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I have just arrived home from a cruise around the Canary Islands on the Independence of the Seas. I will start with the positive, because there are so many! (I'll bullet point to quicken the process!) - Staff do all they can to ... Read More
I have just arrived home from a cruise around the Canary Islands on the Independence of the Seas. I will start with the positive, because there are so many! (I'll bullet point to quicken the process!) - Staff do all they can to help you and are genuinely nice! - I used the sports facilities a lot, which are amazing on this ship. Looking out over the ocean whilst on a treadmill makes it seem less monotonous! - The food is really really good in the restaurant for evening dining and the buffet in Windjammer has all the the food you could ever imagine! - The shows were really good (particularly the ice show) even though they weren't really my type of thing - Cocktail of the day is cheap!! Think it was $6.75 which I thought was value for money! - The coffee/bakery shop (can't remember it's official name) had some damn good food to offer! (blueberry loaf mmm...) And the negatives : - Had a horrible storm on day 2 which resulted in A LOT of sea sickness, however this is obviously no-one's fault apart from mother nature! - This is a pretty big negative, because of the storm we missed out on visiting Madeira which is meant to be the best port!! (and were only refunded $13?)So be careful about sailing through the bay of biscae...risky business I think.. - Really feel that the ship should offer a free shuttle bus service considering some places are an hours walk to any shops!! All in all this ship is pretty impressive and I do not understand how people can comment negatively on the staff or the ship facilities...how much more can you pack onto something that has to float people!?? Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
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
Just returned from an 11 night cruise on the Independence of the Seas from Southampton and was pleasantly surprised. It did not start off well as there were very long delays at the port because they were deep cleaning the ship following a ... Read More
Just returned from an 11 night cruise on the Independence of the Seas from Southampton and was pleasantly surprised. It did not start off well as there were very long delays at the port because they were deep cleaning the ship following a virus on the previous cruise, and to add to that the computers broke down and we had to wait outside for at least a couple of hours. Because of the virus the cabins were missing various things but this was soon rectified after 24 hours and the cleaning process continued throughout the cruise so it remained very clean. We had a Superior Cabin on deck 9 with a very attentive steward Hilman who was unobtrusive but always available. There are no toiletries in the bathroom except a bar of soap and shampoo in a dispense r. I think if you ask you get but those little touches were missed. Asked for robes and got them. The layout of the ship is quite easy to grasp and although it is big you don't feel too overwhelmed. Entertainment was very good especially some of the shows and parades on the Promenade which are really something to see. The Ice show is something definitely something not to be missed. You can be quiet if you wish away from the razz-a-taz with lovely bars and even an english pub. Normally we have fixed late seating but this time we chose MyTime dining in King Lear, this can be a little confusing at the beginning because you can book your time to eat during the day or just take your chance, which just seemed to defeat the object. We ended up booking the same time each night of the cruise at the beginning of the week but you could always walk in 10 minutes either way. We chose to share tables and met a lot of interesting people. But beware we did end up on a table for 10 just one night and no other guests, this was noted and we had all the attention from the staff including the Maitre-de, after that they certainly made sure we were looked after. Food was good and if you ask they will get you anything if it is available. We personally never had any problems with staff they were all excellent and remembered your name and preferences. Drinks can be pricey but ask for the wine package in the restaurant you can get a good deal. The Windjammer was the buffet restaurant nice seating,can get busy and we have had better choice, no complaints. We had breakfast in Macbeth and chose to be served by the staff, can be slow but you are on holiday.Our only disappointing thing was there was no inside or covered pool and that we missed very much. Although the jacuzzi that hangs out over the sea is brilliant. Plenty of space to find quiet sun beds on sea days. We chose to self disembark it was brilliant if you can manage your own cases breakfast was at 6.00am onwards and you get to leave the ship anytime after 6.15am we had breakfast and were in our car by 6.45am would chose this option again. La Coruna port in Spain was lovely but there is very little information on this port available. We walked off the ship and straight ahead to the beach and then walked to the right on the promenade round the bay it was lovely seeing all the historical sights and took about two hours well worth doing if you do not want to shop. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We are just back from our eleven day cruise to the Canary Islands on Royal Caribbean's "Independence of the Seas". Sadly we were disappointed with some aspects the ship, it felt overcrowded nearly all the time. It lacks the ... Read More
We are just back from our eleven day cruise to the Canary Islands on Royal Caribbean's "Independence of the Seas". Sadly we were disappointed with some aspects the ship, it felt overcrowded nearly all the time. It lacks the finesse that we found on Cunard and P&O. The Windjammer restaurant was a nightmare to find a free table to sit at. The food in the Romeo and Juliet was no where near as high a standard as we had on Cunard and P&O. The service however was very good indeed in the Dining room.Our Waitress Beverly was wonderful and very efficient. We had a table for ten people but there were only ever six of us sat at it. We were very fortunate and had two super couples to sit with each evening. We also found there to be high pressure sales from some of the beauty treatment staff ,one lady in particular pounced on my Husband the very first evening offering fifteen free minutes of acupuncture and she would not leave him alone till he agreed to have some. Needless to say he did not go for the appointment as he was sure she would pressure him into paying for more. Having no Laundry at our disposal was also disappointing.......Royal Caribbean's charges to do your laundry or ironing are extortionate! Once again Cunard and P&O have Laundries on board ,near your cabins for you to use. Our cabin was lovely,spacious and clean and our attendant was a lovely young man. The biggest complaint we have about the whole experience is with the bad mannered,badly behaved extremely rude passengers.....we have not seen the likes of before! We were not the only ones to witness this. We witnessed arguments in the lifts nearly every day at some point,often sadly involving and the abuse aimed at people in wheelchairs or using walking aids of one sort or another. We heard from others that in the cinema there were very rude passengers raising their voices and rudely requesting for people to move their heads.People were queue jumping all the time,at the Theatre,at the lifts and in the cafe etc.......it was just like they had left their manners at home , they showed no patience or respect for anyone. Even in the Theatre they would be out of their seats so fast almost running so they could get the best seats at the cafe and bars. Poor Joff would still be talking to them at the end of the shows when they would up and leave.......yes he did get fed up with it too and even made comment to the fact on at least two occasions. What was worst of all was that the guilty people we witnessed were all British and it made me feel ashamed, being British myself!!!!!!! On a good note...the Shows,both the ice and stage ones were superb and far superior to any we have seen whilst cruising in the past. They were spectacular!!! We very much enjoyed them. To summarize ,sadly we will not be cruising with Royal Caribbean any time in the future . Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This is an exceptionally large and well-appointed ship that must have something for everyone. However her size makes crowds and queues inevitable. Our cabin was the largest we have experienced and being near the forward lift shaft, the ... Read More
This is an exceptionally large and well-appointed ship that must have something for everyone. However her size makes crowds and queues inevitable. Our cabin was the largest we have experienced and being near the forward lift shaft, the quietest any time at sea. The balcony was large and protected enough on which to relax and sunbathe. The Ship's Company is very happy and this comes over in their good attitude towards passengers. The gym is the largest I have ever been in with some equipment that I have never seen shore side. Embarkation in Southampton was delayed firstly by an ABP computer crash but more worryingly because of a deep clean that was required because a number of passengers (understood to be in the 100s) suffered Novovirus on previous cruises. Embarkation was the first time that RCI had mentioned this (to us)so feel we should have been given the option to cancel. During the cruise, it is unacceptable to breath in fumes in gangways from cabins being disinfected under pressure. However there were antiseptic gel dispensers everywhere and all were persuaded to use them regularly, particularly on entering food areas. Passengers are always blamed for bringing novo virus on board but as this problem seems ongoing on IOTS, it seems to me that it could well be a caused within the Ships Company. Biggest disappointment was food choice and quality. Menus were uninteresting and uninspiring, the worst of any Cruise Company we have used so far and well below the standard of food on a previous RCI cruise. (Serenade of the Seas) However the main dining rooms were stunning with good service although it is obvious that costs have been cut here also by reduction in staff numbers. Our bar bill was the lowest in 18 years of cruising because of the unreasonable high drinks prices. RCI must take note that we do not have to pay such prices and can choose not to drink. Their accountants should realise that it is better to make $10 on a bottle of wine that I do purchase than to make nothing at all. We enjoyed our cruise but because of the poor food choice, will hesitate to use RCI again unless we receive some form of positive response to our on board survey. 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
After travelling with royal Caribbean we were very disappointed at how we think there standards have lowered. There have been lots of cuts overall. We travelled on the independence first time in 2008 and and it was first class since then ... Read More
After travelling with royal Caribbean we were very disappointed at how we think there standards have lowered. There have been lots of cuts overall. We travelled on the independence first time in 2008 and and it was first class since then all of main holidays have been on royal Caribbean our next will be a beach! Here's a run down of our holiday. Check in was very well organised and being platinum travellers very quick no problems there. Once on board we discovered they now have and all-inclusive premium drinks package which we decided to take up which included all cocktails, beers, champagne cocktails and house wine. Very good at first until we realised they had stopped promoting most of there cocktails by not putting out menus on display (possibly to cut down costs) Also the waiters only had there eyes on the single paying guests who were tipping! hence to say we did not get waited on anywhere throughout most of the cruise. We had to go and wait at the bar or sit and waits ages twisting out heads and waving out arms!! Wasn't allowed to order another drink cause i had half drink in my glass was told twice that they only serve one at time! did they not realise we had to wait ages in between!! and I'm sure if we were not package this would not be the case!! Found a lot of guests on board rude! Room was nice and clean but toilet smelt constantly of urine! attendant was lovely and polite and went out of his way to says hello all the time. Nice big balcony with sun beds. They have cut down on the towel animals you get in the room 2 per cruise now opposed to one a day! OK you may say but having two children who used to love going back to the cabin to find out what we had today was very disappointing. Ice show tickets queued and were gone in an hour or so waste of my time, when complained at guest relations go the reply well there is nearly 4000 people on they ship! apparently nothing they could do. next day we received a private viewing of the other ice show because we were platinum guests but not because we complained no mention of this the day before. Dining, not bad not great. We had my time and once we were in a regular place was good service with the waiters. on one side the waiter was not listening to us i.e. we would say no white wine and he would pour it and keep walking of before we had finished speaking hence to say he did not know what were requesting. Food was mostly nice found towards the end of the cruise meat was highly salted and not very nice, Had to back some dry fish and some meals bit dry no gravy, overall 50 50. Snacks great in the cafe promenade and sorrentos loved the pies however don't think they should heat up the pork pies!! Tables constantly dirty and had a job finding a clean one at times in sorrentos. Portofinos murder mystery entertainment great food was outstanding!! Pool area hard to find a bed unless very early we did not use the pool very much as weather was bad hate to think if it was sunny!. first time in the pool my sons shorts were covered in paint! they washed for us got most out didn't bother going back as were cheap but should of. Drinks and plates were hardly ever picked up we had to take them back ourselves and stack them up!! no one walking around serving drinks. (usually loads of people). Kids club activities excellent, kids loved them had a few problems with older child and some other children not really sorted out, Our was given time out for not listening a few times most of what he said was not his fault other children talking to him act but who knows? ( we know there was a lot of kids and they need to keep control) over all though very pleased younger son loved it staff were good. Son cut his arm on a arcade machine that had button came off they just said do you want to go to the medic. Entertainment very good loved the morning show i took part in the thriller dance which i didn't know what it was at the beginning. Production Shows good even though they have not changed in 4 years!! only saw some headliners as not what we really liked. team good. Overall queued a lot for things staff not great a few stroppy attendants in the casino! a lady from the barbers crying in the toilets to another member of staff about how she did not want to smile and pretend to people! Pianist in schooners friendly but not very exciting music bit dull and overheard him saying to others guests it was his last cruise and couldn't wait to get off! asked for drinks all the time. Guest relations not great found the man quite rude and condescending . When did complain on number of things he often shrugged his shoulders told us it was due to cut backs! One time i left my card in the room got another one went up to room it did not work tried several times , Went ll the way back down asked to check he said well there is no reason it shouldn't work!! What was i stupid?? We were booking another cruise with friends but am not so sure if we receive they type of holiday. We normally recommend to friends saying its 5 star now we would not! 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
We have cruised many years on Royal Caribbean and before we took this cruise we had already booked next years with them. To say we were bitterly disappointed is an understatement. Had we not experienced exceptional service in the past we ... Read More
We have cruised many years on Royal Caribbean and before we took this cruise we had already booked next years with them. To say we were bitterly disappointed is an understatement. Had we not experienced exceptional service in the past we would never cruise again - even though we are Diamond members. Firstly the ship is looking tired, the crew look even more tired. They did not have any passion for the company in fact we were told by our waiter he was leaving after 12 years this week and could not wait. Other staff called it the prison ship. The main reason was they found the ship too busy. We have cruised on the liberty and the freedom without having the same experience. A lot of the problems were down to the rude behaviour of other passengers. They constantly pushed in any queue finding it funny. The children were mostly unsupervised blocking staircases, running and jumping in music venues, climbing on other guests chairs, putting there hands straight in the food at Windjammers even though the ships runs a very appropriate hygiene program, this was just ignored. We do have our own children who have travelled with us since they were toddlers and they were shocked by their own observations. The cruise was more like a chaotic circus than a relaxing break and considering we paid massive money for this experience I would expect the cruise company to take notice of its valued customers and consider inviting factual first hand experiences to be taken seriously and make some changes to this ship to keep the reputation of the Royal caribbean upstanding. We also found the bar service to be inconsistent. We asked several times for a bar menu with prices and were given a cocktail list with no prices and were then charged on different nights different drink prices for the same glass of wine - when questioned we were told it was a different type - hence more expensive - $10 instead of $7 - outrageous. We did not use this venue again. On the plus points the stops were great. Our children love the flow rider but waited an hour to have a go for thirty seconds - understandable as so many people waiting. Same for the rock climbing. Ice skating was mostly during dinner time - 5.45 - 7.45 so if your on first sitting you miss out. The cruise director was was good and the kids loved him. The shows were very good except the last night where they were balancing on a ladder, no real headliners as previously experienced - Elton john tribute act was very good. Ships own shows were very very good but on two nights we missed the show as the theatre filled up very early and as we were travelling with grandparents too they could not stand for long. We have written to customer services and are awaiting a response - a full refund would be appropriate. Whether we cancel or not depends on Royal Caribbean's response. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our 1st time on the Indi but we have cruised on RCI a number of times before. We usually opt for a Balcony Cabin. We were really pleasantly surprised at the size of the Cabin as it was very spacious. The cabin was clean and well ... Read More
This was our 1st time on the Indi but we have cruised on RCI a number of times before. We usually opt for a Balcony Cabin. We were really pleasantly surprised at the size of the Cabin as it was very spacious. The cabin was clean and well appointed, I loved the bed large and had a very good nights rest. It was nice to have a kettle & coffee maker in the cabin, only problem was the cardboard cups had to take a cup from the Windjammers and asked the steward if we could keep it for the duration and he sad that would be Ok - so sorted that problem.The balcony was a good size to rest on and read. The staff were really friendly & keen to help. anything we asked was done and our Steward was very friendly. unfortunately the lady in the next cabin died in the middle week and that shook us a bit never think of things like that happening on holiday. We found the Entertainment on board to be the best we have experienced and the Stars v Stripes quiz show was hilarious. 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 must recommend the Ice Shows really good but you need to stand for a long time to get a ticket to the show - poor that I thought, it was amazing and well worth it. We decided on 1st seating for dinner (6.30) 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 was just a bun fight and had to wander around to get a table tried it three times and each time it was the same so just gave it a miss,might suit some who light to fight to eat NOT me. & Lunch it was a struggle to find seats but always found a seat after a few dozen circuits. The quality/choice of the food was very Hit & Miss but then again we always found something we could eat. The ship was large and with about 3700 guests on board it's a crush to do anything, I found the ship too crowded at times, but my overall experience was good. weather I would go on the INDI again I will need to think about that one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
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