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303 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

This was our first ever cruise, we spent a fair bit of time researching different cruise company's and reading reviews on here, we are a family with 3 teenagers and my wife is in a wheelchair so we needed a range of activities, once ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, we spent a fair bit of time researching different cruise company's and reading reviews on here, we are a family with 3 teenagers and my wife is in a wheelchair so we needed a range of activities, once we settled on Royal Caribbean and the Independence of the seas we then had to choose a stateroom we were offered the family ocean view on deck 9 which sleeps 6 so we booked it, but after some more research we discovered the same stateroom on deck 8 was much bigger so we switched. We traveled to Southampton the day before and stayed in a travelogde, on embarkation day we arrived at 10am after ten minutes we were unloaded, parked and in departures and onboard by 11am, we headed for the top deck to start our excited first look and we were not disappointed it was huge and spotless clean, soon after we headed for the windjammer which was a little busy but nothing like others have stated.!! My wife and I love the London west-end shows so we went to everyone onboard and all were very good infact we would have paid to see any one of them even our sons started to go. Our youngest joined the teens club so we never saw him he loved it there was always something for them to do, we spent most evenings in the pyramid lounge as the rock band (Rock the Boat) were just great and the quiz in between there performance was good fun for all. There was so much to do you should never be bored. My wife went to the spa she had three treatments and was never pressured into buying anything. The service throughout was second to non the staff always spoke and in the MDR it was better than most restrunarnts I've been in the UK the food throughout this ship is far far better than any all-inclusive holiday out there we never had chips once, our stateroom attendant was always on hand if I wanted to know or want anything and kept our room clean and tidy. Dining we had room service every morning they are very prompt on time always within the 30 minutes to ask for, used the two cafes on the promanard for lunch and the MDR most evenings with the occasional visit to the windjammer. Prices, there seems to be a big difference in reviews about this, a 1 litre can of fosters $7.99 = £5.20, cocktail of the day $6.75 = £4.30, bottle of Stella $5.50 = £3.50 and a glass of house white €7 = £4.40 these are what you would pay in any hotel or night club so I don't understand why people complain..! We also got the soda package well worth it at £4.80 per day for over 18s and £2.50 for under 18s We brought two watches and my wife got 3 new handbags, ring, gold neckless, and other stuff all of which were very well priced. Ports we planned to do our own thing we did the sightseeing bus in Lisbon €15 each, Gran Canaria we headed to the beach it's only a 10 minute walk and in Madeira we prebooked a whale and dolphin cattermarn trip online €30 each this turned out to be a highlight for my wife she loved it, all of these trip were all very wheelchair friendly. Our stateroom 8200 was just fantastic it's located at the front overlooking the helipad, it's got two bedrooms a living area and bathroom the 2 TVs were handy especially with kids and a big plus was the electric wheelchair fitted through the door without folding it down. Disembarkation we choose the last time 9.15 all very smooth until we got into the baggage hall someone had taken one of our cases by mistake, there was one case left that looked like ours without a tag on, but yet again the staff were great I filled a form out and they said the person who took ours will have to get it to us before they can get there's, later that day a phone call from the offender all very polite and sorted next day. Would we cruise again.? Yes yes yes we all loved it, we will cruise on any of the Royal Carribean ships, please bear in mind me and my wife worked at Butlins back in the 80s and believe me this ship is not (butlins at sea) like someone stated it's more like West end Hilton at sea. For more info on our cruise have a look at my blog http://the-independence-of-the-seas.blogspot.com/ Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Second time on Indy and better than expected. On a very cold sunny day we arrived at SOU around 1215, joined lines for car park baggage drop. Less than 10 mins and parked. Joined queue of over 75 yds in freezing wind. After about 5 ... Read More
Second time on Indy and better than expected. On a very cold sunny day we arrived at SOU around 1215, joined lines for car park baggage drop. Less than 10 mins and parked. Joined queue of over 75 yds in freezing wind. After about 5 min wait terminal staff walked the queue to check for Crown & Anchor members. As Diamond we were then fast tracked to security, and then check in. This saved us I would guess at least an hour in two long snaking lines. Cabins available at 1pm. Average age on this Feb cruise was 60+. 3 formal nights on sea days with the majority in dinner suits on this particular voyage. That is one benefit of sailing out of SOU as you can take as much luggage as you choose. Calm crossing over the Bay of Biscay, in fact the bumpiest night was between Gran Canaria and Tenerife. VIGO was very nice with the marina, shopping centre and town next to the ship. LISBON had the option of the ships shuttle for $10 which offered drops in the city centre and the historic Belem next to the spectacular bridge. Good value. GRAN CANARIA and TENERIFE really require trips as the these are city centre ports which lack any of a holiday feel of these popular islands. MADEIRA - the ships docks right in Funchal and you have the option of the ships shuttle for $7 or walking the 20 min shoreline walk into town. Very attractive island which would definitely re visit. LA CORUNA's a very prosperous and attractive town with a thriving cafe culture. Ship docks right next to town. Lots of unusual jewellery shops if you seek them out and a stunning main square. The entertainment was excellent, especially resident band "Rock the Boat". The "Strings " Ice Show is a must. Brenda Cochrane was the cabaret entertainer on this voyage. Bruce Parker was the California Soul Man and the production show " Centre Stage" is always a winner. Rock Britannia and a 70s/80s themed night still happen on the Promenade. The shows apparently are only changed around every few years so many cruisers have seen the same format many times. They are still excellent however and far better than some we have seen on Caribbean or Meditteranean voyages. Guest speaker retired airline pilot David Henderson was very entertaining and packed out the Conference Centre. Joff Eaton was the Cruise Director. The ship does struggle to accommodate passengers on sea days when the weather isn't so good. Seating is at a premium. Thankfully we had access to the Diamond Lounge which is a very pleasant retreat (especially at cocktail hour ;) The shopping aboard has improved since my last voyage in April 2011. Daily newspapers are available to purchase - $3 for The Sun which is the complete paper in smaller font. We chose My Time Dining as we like our table for 2. Guests were seated promptly and tended to be in the same waiters sections most evenings. Service from our waiter Vito and Gilbert was excellent. They tend to turn tables very quickly and most efficiently, with each service ready set up with cutlery, plates etc. Something Celebrity Cruises flexible dining option could learn from, where we have experienced missing cutlery and dinnerware, and the MaitreDs were too quick in seating guests at tables that weren't fit for purpose. So full marks to the RCCL My Time Dining experience. The menus have been altered to suit British tastes which is a pity as although the food was nice it lacked zing. I still opted for my $14.95 fillet steak in the main dining room as an upgrade on the menu, cooked to perfection , this 10oz did not disappoint. The Jade part of the Windjammer offers some pretty good curries in the evening. One thing that should have been left on the Main Dining Room Evening menu was the mixed grill, a step too far in my opinion serving sausages in a 4*venue. The downside however to my time aboard was on day 6 -- Tenerife. Whilst in my cabin I pulled a muscle in my back so severely that I suffered so much pain I missed the remaining ports of call. Having never had back issues I am placing the whole blame on the mattress which was so badly sunken, even with an egg crate mattress topper. I had visits to the spa to try to ease my discomfort and made use of room service. The matter was raised aboard and had reached part resolution on disembarkation. Housekeeping were advised so hopefully the next cruiser in 7714 will be more comfortable than I was. Didn't expect this experience in a Junior Suite. The cabin was very spacious with a sofa and chair with large footstool. The very large aft balcony had 2 chairs and 3 chairs with footstools. It is very sheltered but the aft beams do obscure the view in comparison to the open unobstructed views of the Radiance Class ships. Very quiet but beware it is a long walk from the elevators and stairs to the aft on the Freedom class ships ! There is a bath tub with shower curtain, amenities are provided. Kettle with tea coffee etc and mugs. Also coffee filter machine. Flat screen tv. Hairdryer etc. Overall the product still hits the spot and is value for money if you pick your travel dates carefully. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I will make this a balanced and fair review. It didn't start well. Embarkation at Southampton involved an hours queue outside the terminal building in freezing weather, then a further 2 hours to get through the check in process to ... Read More
I will make this a balanced and fair review. It didn't start well. Embarkation at Southampton involved an hours queue outside the terminal building in freezing weather, then a further 2 hours to get through the check in process to board the ship. An excessive wait to board a lift (more about the lifts later)then 15 minutes wandering around trying to find the cabin with no crew on hand to point you in the right direction. The cabin was clean and spacious and the balcony a good size. Tea and coffee available in the room but only paper cups available to use. The bathroom was a good size, the shower resembled a jet wash or high pressure hose pipe with no toiletries and very small bath towels. Dining in the Othello, a side area to the Romeo & Juliet with only 20 tables most of which were for two was very pleasant. If you want a table for 2 at dining you need to pre-book at the time of booking your cruise. The food was good but got boring after a few days with daily variations of beef and very limited vegetarian options. The service was excellent although there was a sense of being rushed- one of the problems with being on 1st sitting. If that's the majority of the positive things here are the bits that were not so good: Entertainment was pretty poor only thing worth watching was the ice show (lengthy queue for a complementary ticket)and the BMK bike performer. In the end we didn't bother to go to the shows. Sardines - that's what it felt like on the ship. Although it's a big ship there was not enough public space inside for the 3000+ guests. That meant if the outside weather was cold you had no chance of getting a seat anywhere in the ship public places, or the lounges or the library (which is very small) or the cafes or pubs on the promenade, hence we spent a lot of at sea time in our cabin or our balcony. Feeding times (just what it felt like) at the Windjammer was dire. Again the food was good but it was virtually impossible to get anywhere to sit as it was frequently overcrowded. We decided the best way to play it was to go for breakfast at 6.30am that way you got a seat, avoided the crowds and (bun fights) and it was the only time the coffee was decent as it was freshly made and had not been left stewing in an urn for hours. For lunch arrive at 11.30am or 2.30pm to avoid the crowds. Everything seemed to come with a big extra price tag on it. Fresh juices, decent coffee, decent ice cream all had a $4.95 price to pay. Cover charges for the speciality restaurants - OK most cruise lines do that now but a cover charge for a hamburger bar?? Drinks are expensive and by in large of poor quality and the prospect of a $1000+ bar bill ensured we left the alcohol well alone. A few other points there are only 12 lifts on the ship for 3200 guests. As you can imagine that caused a few problems especially as 7 of the lifts were glass scenic ones and quite small, there was also a large number of people in wheelchairs or with scooters on the cruise which caused even more problems when you needed a lift. The ports of call were interesting but very little information was available as to what was available in the port or how close you would dock to main areas. As a result we ended up paying for tours we could probably have arranged much cheaper ourselves. Overall it was a disappointing cruise or more specifically a disappointing ship. I last sailed with RCI about 5 years ago and feel their standards have gone down. I think they are really now second best to Cunard and FO. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Just returned from the Canaries cruise on The Ind of the Seas. Not the best experience of cruising, in fact the worst. You try to make the most of a bad job. Plenty of activities through the day if you like Bingo, lectures or learning to ... Read More
Just returned from the Canaries cruise on The Ind of the Seas. Not the best experience of cruising, in fact the worst. You try to make the most of a bad job. Plenty of activities through the day if you like Bingo, lectures or learning to rumba. We booked a meal in the grill and ended up spending $110 for it, not bad food but not great. If you want pampering in the spa or salons be prepared to pay extortionate prices. In fact everything on board is greatly overpriced. The wine we drink at home is £9 a bottle. On board over $50. The ship is a great ship but cannot cater anywhere near for the amount of passengers.Very hard to get a seat in the Windjammer. One big tip is to book My Time dining. If like us you are 8-30 dining, don't expect to get a seat in any of the lounges, bars or recreational areas (No Chance} The food in very basic and not the great choice we have had on other cruises. The staff are very friendly except the security and soap gestapo. Vaughn and Angie on the casino bar are great fun. Don't do any Shore trips, all the ports are in easy walk if you are able bodied. We got the Sightseer coaches on shore and these are not always the best way of seeing places. The entertainment in the Alhambra was great and the Ice show is a must. We had a balcony state room which was very nice, just a bit narrow.The TV choice is rubbish and just keeps playing the same programmes on a cycle or plenty of news. There is a movie choice at £13 a go. The Cabin attendant was great but they have to be to get the tips. Overall we did enjoy our holiday because you make the best of it but would not go with this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This holiday was the first in 2 years as my husband has been extremely ill. We were really looking forward to it. It was aimed at seeing how we managed especially being in a wheelchair. I must say that RCI looks after its disabled ... Read More
This holiday was the first in 2 years as my husband has been extremely ill. We were really looking forward to it. It was aimed at seeing how we managed especially being in a wheelchair. I must say that RCI looks after its disabled guests very well. It is a good job we took the wheelchair as the ship is huge and he would not have been able to walk or attempt the stairs, although the lifts were very slow due to the number of passengers on board (over 4,000). The food in our opinion was excellent, we booked My Time dining which means you can eat at whatever time you wish. Although MTD if you do not book your table you do have to wait a little. We were never waiting more than 10 minutes. The food is of a good quality. However, on our first formal evening although the food was delicious it was luke warm. We brought this to the attention of the Head Waiter who replaced it with extremely hot food. They take a note of your room number and ensure that the food for the remainder of the trip is delivered to your table hot. So do not be afraid to tell them. I would not eat in the Winjammer cafe. It was like eating in a posh motorway service station. Crammed full of people and the food in our opinion was average. The other bug bear if we have one is that they charge extra for anything they can get away with. Orance Juice, icecream, coffee etc or food in the 2 speciality restaurants. In our opinion apart from the alcholic beverages we feel that you pay enough for it to be included in the price you pay without having to pay extra. Although the Cocktails of the day are a good price and very enjoyable. Do try them. The shows apart from the Ice Show were average, we only went to see a couple, the best being the hypnotist and Loose women singer/Vocal coach Zoe. The rest really wasnt worth bothering with. The Ice show is a must, but you have to queue to get them early on the 5th morning. But is worth it. I however was not able to do this as I came down the the Noravirus bug which was sweeping the ship but this was rectified when we took it up with Customer Relations who sent up 2 tickets for us. As for the Noravirus, please take your diarrhea and sickness tablets. I was quarantined for 24 hours, had to be placed on a drip in the medical centre to rehydrate me have an injection in my rear and given 3 lots to pills. The medical staff I must say were excellent as they were having to do extra shifts to deal with everyone as were all the other staff, housekeeping. I was lucky only had it for 24 hrs, there were some that were quarantined for days at a time, some lost half of their cruise in their rooms. Everone knew someone who had had it, if they did not themselves. Some people flew home as children were very ill. We were given free medical treatment and could drink as much water as we wanted, watch free films on the TV and had to have room service. My husband could not go out as he depends on me. This did not however spoil our trip. We did only one trip, as not many of them were wheelchair friendly. We wanted to do the Lora Park trip in Tenerife, we asked The Explorations Team if this was suitable to which they replied yes. So looking forward to it we booked it. Well, it was extremely difficult you were uphill/downhill, so much so that I could not push my husband up the hills, I had to make him get out and walk up them which was a task in itself. Because of this we did not see as much as the park as we would have liked. Upon return to the ship I took this up with the Manager of Explorations Team who apologised profusely. I suggested that they make sure this does not happen to anyone else as we were given misinformation. He told us after the event that there are electric scooters available at the park for hire, but they do not make you aware of this.As a goodwill gesture, he refunded us 50% of our ticket price which to be fair they did not need to have done. The staff go out of their way to help you and are extremely pleasant. Would I go on another RCI cruse, yes but not on a ship as large as I of the Seas. We went on the Monarch of The Seas 10 years ago and this in our opinion is a better size ship which felt much more intimate and personal. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Booked online - 11 nights for £699 - great price! Parked right opposite ship, 2 minutes walk to check in. As a previous Royal caribbean cruiser we could use the priority check-in queue so it took us all of 10 minutes from start to ... Read More
Booked online - 11 nights for £699 - great price! Parked right opposite ship, 2 minutes walk to check in. As a previous Royal caribbean cruiser we could use the priority check-in queue so it took us all of 10 minutes from start to boarding. Eating lunch in the windjammer at 12.15 Huge ship, plenty to do and see. Main shows excellent. All musicians excellent, from orchestra, to rock the boat, to the violinist in the ice show. Food better then previous cruise with Royal caribbean. If you cannot find something you like every meal time you must be a very hard to please person! Drnks prices better than expected, ships tours cheaper than expected. Windjammer buffet always busy, but the same on ANY buffet on ANY ship. We could alwayds find somewhere to sit as we do not mind sharing a table, unlike others who wandered round and round trying to find an empty table...if you want to eat alone then perhaps a cruise is not for you. The only real downside is, as others have said about this particular cruise is that when the weather was not that great it was busy indoors, with seating spce at a premium - but then again, if the weather was fantastic, people would be saying that the decks were too busy with not enough sunbeds... There was an outbreak of norivirus onboard, but we did not really notice anything, except that you then could not self-serve in the buffet, something which shuld not be allowed anyway, as is the norm on other cruise lines. Staff just inceased the cleaning and hand gel and handed out sterile wipes before entering any eating area - certainly NOT soap gestapo as the idiot johnepdep stated further down the reviews - how can you complain about cleaning your hands before eating? people like that started the virus in the first place... Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
My wife and I are both Crown & Anchor Diamond level and have cruised the Caribbean and South America with RCCL prior. We chose this cruise as a way to gain some experience in areas that we'd not be likely to visit otherwise. ... Read More
My wife and I are both Crown & Anchor Diamond level and have cruised the Caribbean and South America with RCCL prior. We chose this cruise as a way to gain some experience in areas that we'd not be likely to visit otherwise. (Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands) All in all the trip was nice, but there are some marked differences between what we experienced on Independence vs. what we've seen on Voyager class and Oasis. The crew was as we would expect from RCCL - polite and helpful and the ports of call were good (I would have rather had more time in Funchal and less in Tenerife, but that's a personal choice.) We were able to accomplish our primary goal and now have places we'd like to return for longer visits if/when the opportunity presents itself. Now, the differences. Prices are definitely inflated on wines and the selection was marginal on our cruise. Vintages (normally our favorite place to hang out) had a smaller offering than I can provide guests in my home. I understand there are updates in process, but I was disappointed that we weren't informed of those prior. I was most disappointed in the draft beers offered. Heineken, Amstel Light and Guinness. Really? No excuse not to have a couple of nice ales available along with the Guinness. The Windjammer on the Freedom Class is inadequate, plain and simple. It's barely functional on the Voyager Class, and the additional passengers (despite any slight enlargements) on a Freedom just create traffic jams. It was nothing less than painful to eat there during those times that no other options were available. We were shocked to hear so many UK guests say how "American" the menu was, as it was not nearly as diverse nor tasty as what you would get on other ships. It saddens me that this is the first RCCL experience that many people have as we have found they do so much better when sailing from the States. I'm not sure where the issues arise, but I'm certain they can do better. There were an abnormally high (in our experience) number of wheelchairs on board which contributed to congestion on the lifts (along with having multiple lifts shut down for cleaning simultaneously at least twice.) There was a Norovirus outbreak, so hand sanitation was taken to excess - much to my annoyance on more than one occasion. When I've sanitized and only walked thru the metal detector I really don't appreciate having a wipe shoved in my face as I'm collecting my effects from the x-ray conveyor. This didn't ruin RCCL for us, but we will definitely give strong thought before going on another European itinerary with them in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
The good .... We booked for the sailing on 13th February , we travelled by train on the Sunday to Southampton Central, a ten minute walk from the dock and stayed at the Premier Inn ( A five minute walk from the dock ) , we would ... Read More
The good .... We booked for the sailing on 13th February , we travelled by train on the Sunday to Southampton Central, a ten minute walk from the dock and stayed at the Premier Inn ( A five minute walk from the dock ) , we would definitely recommend the Premier Inn, it was a great hotel, nice rooms with a lovely bar and restaurant area, and the staff were fantastic, definitely got us all in the relaxed mood for our sailing the next day , and if you book early enough , the rooms cost £39.00. I'm pretty fussy, and even I was impressed . We walked to the port the following morning, check in says arrive at 1.pm, but we got there at eleven and check in had just opened as we knew it was going to be busy, and it was, but within the hour, we had checked in, and were on board and in the Windjammer Cafe, which was jam packed ! My initial feeling was if it was like this for eleven nights , it was going to be hell for me ... it didn't stay that way often . Our rooms would be ready for 1.pm, and they were, I have seen elsewhere on here about no directions to rooms etc and no assistance to them etc , there are maps everywhere, and they pin point exactly where you are , and if you are on the wrong corridor, it will take you minutes to find where you should be, I think the problem is that this ship is huge, and the corridors to cabins seem very very long , but we didn't find this a problem . Luggage can take up to 10pm to arrive at your cabin ( stateroom ) , ours arrived around 7 ish, where we also met our room attendant Yogi, he was lovely , he gave us the times he was available should we need him, but we didn't need to call on him once during the days on ship, he would attend the rooms in the morning, then attend them again in the evening, to soften the cabin lighting, close the curtains etc, it was nice . Our Staterooms, My husband and I opted for a balcony room , it was my 40th birthday, so we decided to splash out a little more , was it value for money .... I'm not sure, maybe if you are a lone couple, or several older couples possibly, we were a party of eleven , 3 families with five children between us ( three teenagers and two under 10's) , our children were busy on the decks and we were with them, so our use of balcony was very limited , our children had an inside cabin directly opposite us, and it was perfectly nice, except that waking up in the morning, you have no concept of what time it is because its pitch black, a minor thing, which wouldn't put me off if I got a really good deal on another cruise, our balcony became useful for all the wrong reasons, but more of that later .. DRINKS PACKAGES .... we read many things about the drinks packages and really changed our minds on whether we would buy them several times, $49 for beer and wine package, and $59 for complete package ( including frozen cocktails and spirits ) , in the end we decided to buy the Wine package for dinner , and this suited us, now we are not tee total by any means, but had we bought either one of these other packages, we would not have even broke even , had we been on board with no children , then quite possibly , we read that drinks were very expensive, we didn't think they were that bad and we are northerners !! The bottom line is, this cruise will cost you as much as you want it too, if you like a glass of wine in the evening but are not fussed in the day, then you probably wont get your moneys worth from any other package other than the wine one, the soda package was well worth it for my two children, and also they could get a drink wherever they wanted without us having to be there . FOOD ...We opted for My time dining, this was great for our family as we didn't have to rush, and as there were eleven of us, we met around 8 for a drink and sat down each evening together, we were on table 522 in the king Lear dining room , and what a wonderful experience that was , our waiters Menchie and Vergel were just fantastic, if you have a big party, ask if they are working at this number table and book it, they were wonderful . Breakfast in the buffet areas, was acceptable, nothing to write home about, but it was ok, we liked the waiter service breakfast, the breakfast was much nicer as food is also freshly cooked for you, but you do have to be there early, with many people on board, the buffet breakfast gets very very busy, and if you have a family with the morning grumps like mine, it can be hard work, best to let everyone have a sit down, cup of coffee and relax and wake up a bit. Lunch, we spent most times having lunch at Sorrento's, having the anti pasti which was changed each day, this was nice if you didn't want something full on, the windjammer we only used once on holiday, but when we did , the food was good, Evening dining was just wonderful, we had lovely food, lovely service and is one of the things that made for a wonderful holiday, the food is not repeated twice when on board apart from the steak and chicken , the food really was excellent, and we didn't find it bland at all, I think you would have to be extremely picky to find fault, and I'm the pickiest person going when it comes to food and how its cooked etc, I had no complaints whatsoever, it was excellent. On board .... If you have a family, you cant go wrong, with it being my first cruise, I was worried about pleasing members of my family, a 17 year old son, and a 10 year old, I was worried about the safety with so many people on board etc etc, I needn't have, I was assured and felt secure ( as I could be ) that my children were safe, you cannot walk more than 10 seconds without bumping into a member of staff on board , there are no dark corners , corridors to speak off where my children could disappear ( being dramatic, but you understand what I mean ) and although there were over 3000 people on board, it never feels like that, this ship is huge, and there are areas for children, for teenagers, and Adults, which are for these ages only, basically if your names not on the door, you aint coming in !! ( and they mean it !!) Entertainment and On board activities ....... You can chill, or you can get busy, My 17 year old had an absolute ball on this holiday, he did rock climbing, surfing, had his own zone which he was adamant he was never going to visit before we got on board, kids clubs were not for him .... but its not a kids club as such , its an area to hang out without the "oldies" where he made friends, granted he was with his cousins, which helped but still, I would be very surprised if a teenager didn't make a friend to hang out with . We watched fantastic shows, Ice shows, all to excellent standard . There really is something for everyone . There is a huge indoor promenade, which has fantastic street parties in the evening, if you have a groove in your shoes, this is the place to come to, fantastic fun, where people of all ages, came together, had a good dance, and really good fun , even if you didn't like the music, you couldn't help but soak up the atmosphere, its brilliant . Staff .... Just wonderful, for those travelling, you will meet Wayne who cleans the promenade, he boogies on down with everyone, and sings in the Dog and Badger pub at eleven, give him a mention on your end of cruise questionnaire, he is trying to move up in the ranks, and he so much deserves it :) Clientele ....... I read a review about guests being " football shirt wearing , chip eating guzzlers " ..... nonsense , there is a real mix of people on board, it would be an absolute minority who I spotted wearing a footy shirts ( to stereotype a person ) , plus there are so many different areas on board, piano bars, cocktail bars, champagne bars, sky bars etc that you end up where you want to with the type of people who enjoy the same things, there is room for everyone :) ....... or so you would think, but more of that in a minute In general, it was an amazing ship, but we did have a blip, so now onto that ... The Bad ..... And its only a little bad point, and to me, this is a ship that is for everyone, if you want an adult version cruise, with no children, then choose another ship ( I believe celebrity cruises are the same company but adult only ) , or travel when it is not half term which is when we were on , a few, and it really is a few people complained that there was too many children ( there were just over 400 in total, so a minority) , and one person even pointed out that children should not be on a cruise, and should not have a seat of their own, and should be on parents knees, and should not be heard , she was about 60 on holiday with her mother ..... and probably ( although I should not assume) that she does not have children ..... I mean, to book a ship that has a rock climbing wall, a surf simulator , an ice skating rink is going to right up her adults only street, I mean would a family with children want to take part in any of these activities or book a cruise with these facilities on board ..... NOOOOOO I hear you shout ( sarcasm is the lowest form of Wit, I shall tell myself off :):) ...) I'm having a vision of her on the flow rider by herself , yelling at the children to back off .... its hers !! ( hee hee ) The Ugly ...... Norovirus :(:( .... Enough said, what else is there to say about that, apart from some members of my family were struck down with it on board, but were treated extremely well by the hospital facility on board which is excellent , but this is where our balcony was a god send, fresh air when you are feeling ill is a must, its winter vomiting season in the UK, and hard as they try, and they really do try to control it, it got us, and its not pleasant , also our compensation for spending two days in isolation in the cabin .... Money of our next RCI cruise, not good enough in my opinion, another member was taken ill with an unrelated illness and had hospital treatment, make sure you have good medical insurance cover if you have any pre existing conditions, as believe me the tills were shouting kerching when it came to the bill ( but still, excellent care was given) . Overall ..... Apart from the sickness blip, we could not fault it, Norovirus is one of them things , it spreads like wildfire ... would it put us off another cruise, honest opinion, No, ... its unpleasant, but for all the wonderful things we did on board and the wonderful places we saw, the good, and fantastic stuff far out ways the bad and the ugly :):) Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Pre cruise accommodation: We stayed at Southampton city Travelodge. It was cheap (£19), clean, and did the job but not really the nicest of hotels and pretty noisy with road traffic. Parking: I used www.parkatmyhouse.com and that ... Read More
Pre cruise accommodation: We stayed at Southampton city Travelodge. It was cheap (£19), clean, and did the job but not really the nicest of hotels and pretty noisy with road traffic. Parking: I used www.parkatmyhouse.com and that worked out perfectly. I left my car in someone's parking space just a few mins drive from the port. It cost £41 for 11 days parking and £5 each way in a taxi so good value overall. Embarkation: Amazingly smooth and swift. We arrived at 10:45am, straight through to check in and through security (no queues), and were boarding at 11am. Couldn't fault it. Once of my cases was broken when it arrived, they tried to repair it but couldn't so they reimbursed me $75 to purchase another. On a happier note, my cans of coke and boxes of Capri Suns made it on with no problem! Cabin: We booked cabin 2598 which was a cheaper grade of outside cabin, on deck 2 mid ship. Despite my reservations it was perfectly located, close to aft lifts, only one flights of stairs to disembark at port stops meaning no queuing for lifts, only 2 flights to MDR (Macbeth). No noise at all from anywhere. The cabin itself was great - clean, well equipped, and the bed with memory foam mattress topper was very comfy. Within the first day or so I noticed a couple of little flies in the cabin and thought nothing of it after swatting them, over the next few days I noticed a couple more so mentioned it to GR (guest relations) who had someone come to look. They said they wanted me to move cabins, they assured me the flies were harmless (they looked like tiny fruit flies) but said it was best for us to move. We moved to the same grade of cabin in the same corridor (cabin 2676) and once again this was fine, well equipped, clean etc. A tiny bit more noise as it was aft and low down so a few clunky sounds at night sometimes but nothing major. Staff helped to move all of my stuff, and GR paid for $100 worth of photos for me after asking if there was anything they could do to thank me for my understanding and patience. I was really pleased as I hadn't complained or asked for anything. Staff: Overall really impressed. The first cabin steward was a little reserved and not so chatty but the second one (Adolf Howard) was lovely, very smiley and did a great job. Our MDR waiter was a lady called Hazel, she was lovely throughout the cruise and worked very hard. GR were fab, very efficient and amazing consistency, remembering names and what the issue was without checking notes -which considering how many people they must deal with is pretty amazing. All other staff we encountered were helpful, friendly and very hard working. They all did an amazing job putting in a lot of extra time to help with the extra cleaning after the Noro outbreak. Food: Really enjoyed all of it and consumed LOTS! For breakfast we went to Windjammer some mornings, room service a few times and a couple of times just grabbed a pastry or two from the promenade cafe if we'd woke late. Lunch was sometimes at WJ, sometimes we ate in port, and also had a couple of trips to Jonny Rockets which was great. The atmosphere is really fun and my son loved it! Dinner in MDR was excellent each night. The only point I'd raise is that sometimes it was hard to know from the description exactly what the meal would be like. On our last cruise with P&O they had a display cabinet on the way in with the desserts on show, which would be fab on IOS too as you would know which was which on the menu. We were lucky in that we had really lovely dinner companions and each evening was just lovely, lots of laughing and chatting -it made the time fly by and I felt genuinely sad saying goodbye to them all. I have to say we never had any trouble getting a seat in WJ as some people mention they did in their reviews. Whether this is because there was just the two of us, or because sometimes we ate later than usual I don't know but we always found somewhere to sit. Entertainment: Overall thought it was excellent. We only caught 3 of the theatre shows which was the motown one, hypnotist and Big Top show. All were very good, but hypnotist was a firm favourite with me and my son! We saw resident band 'Rock the Boat' play a couple of times in the Pyramid lounge, they were pretty good as background but I wouldn't have gone out of my way to just go and listen to them. The ice show is not to be missed -absolutely brilliant. The Quest is another DO NOT MISS show, very very funny and such a great atmosphere, just make sure you get there in good time as there wasn't even any standing room! We joined in with some of the family activities which ran at about 8:15pm and had things such as family bingo, family wii contests etc, they also had a couple during the day on sea days. The photo scavenger hunt was really good fun. I would have liked more of these but they didn't get promoted as much as other activities so there was often a low turnout even on a full ship. There was an impromptu deck party in Gran Canaria as we were docked next to the Thomson Destiny so the cruise director decided to show them how to party! It was good fun and everyone got into the swing of it, some very funny comments from Joff over the tannoy asking where their ice rink was and pointing out their dirty chimney stacks etc! Kids Club: My son went some of the time but not every single day and generally only for an hour or so. They seemed very well run, staff were friendly and security was very tight. The clubs were pretty busy with there being 400 kids on board and I think my son actually preferred the exclusivity he had previously on Oriana as there were only 17 kids on board so they all gelled really well and got to know the staff much better, but I guess that's just his personal preference. Ship facilities: We really enjoyed being able to try the rock wall, mini golf, ice skating etc. The pools were great, we were in them 9 days out of the 11! The public areas were really well thought out with lots of places to explore and all of them were well designed and finished beautifully. I didn't use the ships wifi as it was just so expensive, instead I made the most of the free wifi at most of the ports. Port reviews below, apart from La Coruna: We were pretty tired and work had caught up with me so we only hopped off so I could do a quick hour of work in the shopping centre next to the port (free wifi). We then spent the afternoon enjoying the quietness on the ship and getting around to doing mini golf and climbing wall etc. Disembarkation: Not too bad, we chose the latest slot of 9:15am so we left the cabin just before 8:30 for breakfast and then waited in our allocated area (MDR) until called to leave. It was a bit hectic getting cases but nothing too bad and we were out and waiting for a taxi by 9:30am. Overall Summary: Really impressed. Had a great holiday, met fantastic people and can't wait to do it again sometime soon I hope. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Just got back from 11 nights on the Independence and all 11 of us had a wonderful time, in spite of being ill for a few days with the "Novo". The ships medical team were very busy, but the hospital was well staffed to deal with ... Read More
Just got back from 11 nights on the Independence and all 11 of us had a wonderful time, in spite of being ill for a few days with the "Novo". The ships medical team were very busy, but the hospital was well staffed to deal with the minor crises, although not pleasant for the sufferers. The food was wonderful with a wide a varied menu to suit most tastes and second or large servings of the Steaks and lobsters and seafood and mmmmmm, the snails en gratin (sorry escargot with scallop) out of this world. We took the Gold wine package with my time dinner, no more pricey than a top class restaurant, very enjoyable and the table service was excellent. The stateroom with balcony was lovely with a small en-suite but a good powerful shower, Our Steward Janet (6584) was delightful and helpful. I am pretty hard to please as far as entertainment goes, but I found a good mixture to suit all ages and taste. The atmosphere on board was great, a few miserable so and so's about who seemed determined not to enjoy themselves. All in all a great ship giving what it advertises and I am looking forward to my next cruise with RCL, perhaps I might try another ship Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Returned two hours ago from an 11 day cruise to the Canaries. An outbreak of Noro-virus ensured that several thousand people were kept waiting at Southampton, either shoved into a departure lounge (no water or toilets) or freezing outside ... Read More
Returned two hours ago from an 11 day cruise to the Canaries. An outbreak of Noro-virus ensured that several thousand people were kept waiting at Southampton, either shoved into a departure lounge (no water or toilets) or freezing outside in queues, from 2.00pm until 7.30pm while the ship was supposedly 'sanitized'.No-one knew what was going on or how long it would last. Royal Caribbean did not seem to see the importance of keeping their guests in the information loop! Whilst understanding that this was being done for our benefit, the back spasms that I suffered from extended standing, lasted for 8 days of the 11 day cruise-not helped by an uncomfortable mattress! However, all the pre-cruise cleaning, and CONSTANT spraying of all surfaces every five minutes by a fleet of 'Sanitizers', and CONSTANT exhortation to 'wash-your- hands-in-hot-water-with-soap-for-twenty-seconds' did not stop a further outbreak of the Noro-virus. We were lucky to have pretty good weather, with the temperature rising to a pleasant 22 degrees when were were in Tenerife, and sea conditions that were not too challenging-so our main purpose of getting sea air and some warmer climes were achieved. However, the food in Windjammer's, Jade and the main dining rooms was at best, mediocre, and at worst, inedible. The coffee was dreadful, even when paid for, promised Art Classes fizzled to nothing, salads were served on hot plates, some of the entertainment was not good. And the QUEUES!!!! Every day there were sections closed off in the dining rooms, while people were made to wait outside--it was outrageous, and made everyone bad tempered.And the bed was so hard, despite the addition of a memory foam mattress,that I slept very badly for eleven nights--not what I have experienced in the past. A brand new sweat shirt was ruined by bleach marks caused by the sanitising spray on the ship's rail--(replaced by something similar from the ship's shop)--but what was that doing to our skin?? So what WAS good about this cruise--well the entertainments director, Joff was the best cruise director we've come across, and quite honestly was much funnier than some of the comedians; the Ice Show was very good and professional; some of the musical offerings were good. We were really looking forward to this cruise,and have been sadly let down. The highlight for us is that we met a really nice couple, so thank you for that, Independence of the Seas, if for very little else. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was our 15th cruise on Royal Caribbean and our second on this ship. We enjoy a bit of R&R in the sun in the winter and were not too concerned about the itinerary. Our main reason for choosing this cruise was the Southampton ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise on Royal Caribbean and our second on this ship. We enjoy a bit of R&R in the sun in the winter and were not too concerned about the itinerary. Our main reason for choosing this cruise was the Southampton embarkation. The trip did not start well. A few days before leaving we received an email saying that the ship had a gastrointestinal problem and to arrive at Southampton late -- which we did, luckily. We are frequent cruisers on RCCL so we were able to bypass the main queue and our wait was not as long as some (we queued for just over two hours but at least we were indoors). We felt that RCCL handled the situation as best they could - they made regular announcements and made sure everyone had water to drink. It was a positive comparison with another line where a similar problem a few years ago, in the same port, was met with denial and a total lack of information. Other reviewers have noted the Norovirus problems on the previous cruise but the implications, though understandable, were unfortunate. All buffets were served rather than 'help yourself' and staff were always cleaning - though why they needed to clean tables during a quiz we were not quite sure. The captain was constantly reminding us to wash our hands, take care with food in ports, not put our seapass cards in our mouths when queuing to get back on board etc etc - no problem, but did we really need another reminder half way through dinner? Captain & crew -- you saw the captain around quite a bit -- he was a good speaker and made an effort to talk to people, and he even appeared at the dining room thank you sing-song and in the final theatre show. The other officers were not so friendly but maybe they had other things on their minds. Unfortunately the general standard of English in the rest of the crew outside the dining room was not so good and there were several misunderstandings over drink orders. The Independence is only 4 years old but it looks a little old fashioned compared with the new RCCL Celebrity ships -- the dining area particularly. While the central mall design appears popular and is well used, the downside, as others have said, is less space for public rooms and bars -- everywhere felt crowded, but perhaps that's the ambience RCCL are looking for. One good thing was that the 'additional 15% gratuity added automatically for your convenience' found on all US based ships was missing -- we were sure it was in the price but, for UK cruisers, not having it in your face is a much better option. On the other hand, why does the ship persist in using dollars? It cruises out of the UK all year. Stateroom -- As it was a special occasion for us we had decided to treat ourselves to a proper suite. The size was certainly impressive (and so was the TV). It had a huge balcony, a generous bathroom with a Jacuzzi (but a pathetic shower) and a large dining and seating area - style wise it was a bit old fashioned and the colours were rather dull -- sort of 1960s Holiday Inn, and it came with a DVD player that only plays US DVD's! Our room steward was uninspiring, we were given no introduction to the room's features and amenities, but he did keep it clean. Suite guests receive a 'gift and beverage' in the suite at the start of the cruise -- a small packet of biscuits and two bottles of water! When we finally met the room service manager we complained and a bottle of champagne arrived shortly afterwards -- but surely they can provide this anyway? Room Service -- we had breakfast in the room every morning and this was delivered on time if you ordered the night before but it was not so good otherwise. If you telephoned it took a minimum of 40 minutes and sometimes 50 minutes. We were given a "suite priority number" for room service but this made no difference at all to speed -- the staff admitted it went to the same man. On the last day we ordered lunch and received a completely different order - we couldn't summon up the energy to send it back. If you take a suite thinking you might get better service you may be disappointed. Crown & Anchor Society - We are diamond members and, as well as a range of special activities/events held for all society members we also have access to the private Diamond lounge. The problem is that there are just too many diamond members sailing on the ship and the lounge is becoming more and more like a doctors' waiting room (standing room only if you are late). In addition, the returner benefits package is not to the same standard as other cruise lines, particularly the internet -- 30 minutes each is very poor. The so called 'Ultimate Value Book' was primarily discounts and you had to spend in order to save -- and most of these related to the casino. On the positive side, the suite concierge, Raj, was first class -- he remembered everyone's names and, though he had a bit of a hard time on the complaints over the impact of the norovirus, he remained cheerful. The private suite lounge used to be for suite guests only but it now also takes diamond plus members. Like the Diamond Lounge it's too small -- and we also had a problem of a couple of large loud groups dominating the space. The free drink service was very welcome, with attentive staff, but the room must be bigger. A real disappointment is that it is internal -- enjoying a drink in the early evening and watching the sunset is special on a cruise -- and difficult without an outside view. Dining - we chose 'My time dining' and booked our times on line before we went. Why did we bother? The queues were unbelievable at times and the staff at the door seemed unable to deal with it - a booking did not seem to have any effect; you had to go to the back of the queue. The second night we asked the concierge to ring up and lean on the maitre D -- after that it was fine. The food was good, always served hot, with a reasonable variety of choice though portion sizes were not to US standards. The waiters were efficient and generally friendly, and we always managed a table for two. As others have commented, the Windjammer is too small and too crowded -- we just don't go there anymore. We ate at both 'Chops' and 'Portofino'. Neither was full. The prices are lower than in the Caribbean, 30$ and 20$ respectively. The steak was good in both but service in the latter variable -- not a good start when we were given the Japanese menu! Also immediate advice not to order one of the steaks because previous customers had complained they were tough did not fill us with confidence! The decor in Portofino was bland and the theatre kitchen rather intrusive on the supposed 'romantic' ambience. Drinks -- prices are higher than they were (they have to make money somewhere), but there were bottles of wine for around £17 which were perfectly drinkable. Cocktails seemed reasonable but glasses of wine and beer were a bit toppy. Entertainment & Cruise Director -- Joff Eaton, the cruise director, was excellent, a real enthusiast, and his morning TV slot with his side kick Rob was a great start to the day. The overall entertainment programme was fine though we were not great fans of the singer or the hypnotist. The 'singers and dancers' were enthusiastic and there was a range of music for dancing - but times tended to conflict with other events. There was also a good range of quizzes though they were often very crowded- the Schooner bar is not a big enough location. Joff's progressive quiz in the Pyramid lounge was the high point and, as ever, the ice show was spectacular. There were also a number of specialty lectures and talks on ports of call but we only attended one on the last day -- by a comedy script writer, which was low key but amusing. Ports of call -- We have found that the prices of ships' tours have become far more reasonable in the last couple of years, so we took several trips -- in Vigo, Las Palmas, Tenerife and La Coruna - to see Santiago de Compostella -- all were well organised and went where they said they would. Lisbon and Madeira we have been to before, so we did our own thing on the hop on/hop off. The ship could have been in Madeira a bit longer, 2:30 is early to leave. Disembarkation -- we took advantage of the 'self-carry' option, left the ship at 6:15 and were on the motorway by 6:30. Conclusion -- would we do it again? The suite space was great and it will be difficult to go back to an ordinary stateroom. Is it worth it? It is for the room size and the concierge service, but the general service level is not good enough - you want to feel special and we didn't feel that the ship really made an effort to do that. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Let start with day one, yes we were made to wait in Southampton 7 hours, but that was because 450 people on the previous sailing got ill not because the ship was not clean but because it was brought in from outside when the passengers got ... Read More
Let start with day one, yes we were made to wait in Southampton 7 hours, but that was because 450 people on the previous sailing got ill not because the ship was not clean but because it was brought in from outside when the passengers got off, so they were cleaning so the next 4000 passenger did not get ill, and to be fare there we only a few people that got the virus on our trip. previous review make out the the ship was full of sick people not true. don't be put off by the negative review this ship is amazing and a total joy to be on, rooms very good standard entertainment good, joff was great and the sports team were great, my daughter is 11 and she went onto the wall and flowrider and the staff did not rush her and showed her how to do it. The children's club are the best you will every find, they have everything in the children's room, and do load of activities with them, my daughter always enjoyed kids club. Food wow it was amazing, the winjammer restaurant has food from all over the world, or you can have roast every day burger salads traditional English fare, its great and always hot and plenty of it, also cater for veggies well always plenty of veg dishes. fine dinning, totally spoilt its amazing and cooked to perfection, and the waiting staff cannot do enough for you. please if you want a total wow holiday book to go on this cruise, its wonderful Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
The only down part of the whole experience was the long wait at Southampton, due to an outbreak of Norovirus where they had to sanitize the ship. When you see the size of her you can see this is no easy task.We arrived early at about ... Read More
The only down part of the whole experience was the long wait at Southampton, due to an outbreak of Norovirus where they had to sanitize the ship. When you see the size of her you can see this is no easy task.We arrived early at about 11.00am our luggage was unloaded and we parked up.They put on shuttle buses into town, we took the first bus back at about 2.30pm,they opened check in at about 3.00pm although boarding didn't start until 5.30.pm all 3000 + passengers were on board by 8.00 pm.We set sail at 8.30pm 4 hours late. even with the constant cleaning and sanitizing and hard work of all the staff we had an outbreak of the virus. We went for the 6.00pm seating time in Macbeth's restaurant, a big thank you to Beverly and Ashley for their service, we were also lucky to have great eating companions.The food was of a good standard and a good choice of menu. Johnny Rockets is a must. Great experience not to be missed. We ate in the windjammer for breakfast and snacks, we never had a problem with finding a seats although it was busy at times. Entertainment was good, party nights along the prom well worth watching Keep an eye on the floating bridge. We had a state room with a balcony Mid Ship we always find mid ships to be best as we find this has less motion as sea. Although this ship has a good stabilizing system. Don't be put off by some negative reviews, we were well impressed with the service of the crew from the waiting staff to the room attendant. This ship has the WOW! factor Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Hi there everyone, We just got back on 6th March and have had an amazing time! The ship is spectacular, the food wonderful and the entertainment is so varied and there is truly something for everybody going on from dawn til after midnight ... Read More
Hi there everyone, We just got back on 6th March and have had an amazing time! The ship is spectacular, the food wonderful and the entertainment is so varied and there is truly something for everybody going on from dawn til after midnight every day. Each day you get the onboard newspaper 'The Cruise Compass'delivered to your stateroom and it has EVERYTHING you need to know...all the schedule for that day with all the locations of events and details about ports of call etc. Very impressive. We used it as our 'bible', referring to it constantly so we didn't miss anything. Some days we couldn't quite fit in everything we wanted to do! Generally, we tend to choose quiet holidays on our own so joining a ship with nearly 4000 guests on board had been a bit of a worry of mine prior to boarding. Yes, there were huge queues at Southampton prior to boarding, but we all know the reasons why and it couldn't be helped. It was totally for all our benefits that the ship be cleaned thoroughly & I think the majority of passengers fully understood and accepted it. We were some of the unlucky ones who were outdoors the whole time from 3pm until gone 7pm and it was very chilly to say the least, but we were supplied with hot drinks & kept informed by RC staff. Once onboard the ship absorbed everyone and massive crowds were seldom seen again. Yes, it was busy in the Windjammer at peak times and on the Royal Promenade on party nights but it was absolutely fine and didn't bother us at all.We always got a seat for the shows although you do need to get to the theatre a bit earlier for the popular shows. The quizzes in the Schooner Bar were very popular and we almost missed out on getting a seat a couple of times. We spent a lot of time in the Pyramid Lounge which was home to the resident rock band, Rock the Boat who were EXCELLENT. They played most evenings til late & specialised in 60's & 70's rock music. The venue was always full. They also played for The Party under the Stars on the Pool Deck one night which was great. The Cruise Director, Joff and his sidekick, Rob were very entertaining. If you get the chance to do the Quiz with a Twist, please do go to it. It was hilarious. Also the Ultimate Music Quiz, with the chance to win a car was also really good and very funny! Ports of call were almost secondary to our enjoyment of the ship really, but here is a brief summary of what we did. VIGO: we did our own thing; walked through the town and up to the castle (lovely views) & back via some gardens. LISBON: us & 2 other couples we'd made friends with in the queue at Southampton shared a large taxi & had a private tour of the city, the Old Town & all the main touristy things for 30 euros each. we had numerous photo stops, a full history lesson & time to shop at the end.GRAN CANARIA: We took the Number 1 bus to the Old Town for just 1 euro each way. Had a wander round the main town when we got back and found the beach and prom area. Very nice. TENERIFFE: We took one of the ship's tours to Taganana. Very good. Through the mountains from one side of the island to the other, seeing rich forests and ending up at La Laguna. Very nice. Had a guided tour on foot. MADEIRA: THE BEST PORT OF CALL. Took the cable car up to Monte & did the toboggan run back down. Very exhilarating! 10 euros for the cable car (15 return)& 12.5 euros for the toboggan run. Also sampled some Madeira wine and brandy whilst exploring the very arty old town. Lovely market. LA CORUNA: Very nice. Did our own thing. Wandered around the touristy bit then along the sea front to the castle and small harbours. Back on board tea, coffee, hot choc, water, milk & ship's own juices were free. Alcoholic drinks a bit pricy. London Pride Ale $6.50=£4.12 per pint. Brandy $8, cocktail of the day $6.75. Speciality coffee $7 at Cafe Promenade but was fantastic. It had Grand Marnier, Tuaca, Baileys and Kuhala for $7.The cakes & sandwiches here were also gorgeous for afternoon tea!! Dinner at night wonderful. Always a good choice & well cooked & presented. All in all a wonderful experience & we'll certainly be cruising again Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Boarding from Southampton - unfortunately there had been a previous cruise with Norovirus so the ship had to be deep cleaned, but this was for our benefit and everyone got $20 credit. We were late getting on board but this could not really ... Read More
Boarding from Southampton - unfortunately there had been a previous cruise with Norovirus so the ship had to be deep cleaned, but this was for our benefit and everyone got $20 credit. We were late getting on board but this could not really be helped. Our cabin was clean and comfortable with a balcony. (In case you are wondering it is the flat two pin adaptors you need) We are diamond members and were able to use the diamond lounge and met some wonderful people. The entertainment was good with the exception of one comedian, who was a bit boring. There was no trouble getting seats. The production shows and the ice show were really good. We also liked the films that were shown on the cinema (repeated several times a day). We particularly liked the guitar player in the Dog and Badger, and this had a really nice atmosphere. We were so lucky with the weather and although we did not book any tours as we had done most of the ports before, most ports had good walks not far from the ship. Because of the issues with Norovirus on the previous ship you were unable to help yourself to the buffet but this was in our own interest. There was always someone there to serve and you did not have to wait. Also you were constantly being given anti bacterial wipes or asked to use the gel there was even a message played in the loos when you left to remind you "had you washed your hands". It was quite reassuring and amusing in a way (I think we had to do our hands 4 times before we could get on the ship and head to the Windjammer, but then so had everyone else, and it was so important to keep the ship healthy. There was constant cleaning and I really think they did everything they could, so well done RCI, I felt very safe in your hands. We had a lovely relaxing time, met some lovely people and will definitely go again with our favourite cruise liner. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
My partner and I sailed on the 11 night Canary Islands cruise on the Independence Of The Seas (IOTS) from Southampton on 24Th Feb 2012. Enough has been said already about the check;in problems that day due to the virus on board and a ... Read More
My partner and I sailed on the 11 night Canary Islands cruise on the Independence Of The Seas (IOTS) from Southampton on 24Th Feb 2012. Enough has been said already about the check;in problems that day due to the virus on board and a member of the crew later told us that the shore side health authorities didn't eventually clear the ship for boarding till shortly after 5pm. The ship finally sailed around 8.30pm at which time we had the boat drill just as the ship was leaving her berth. Stateroom: Ours was a cat D1 on deck 7 no 7390 towards the stern of the ship. It was quite spacious with mini-bar and tea/coffee making facilities and a nice large very comfortable king sized bed with memory foam mattress topper. We had a separate seating area with large settee, separated from the bed area by a curtain. We also had a nice sized balcony with 2 chairs and a table, which although comfortable enough, looked a bit on the small size in regard to the space available on the balcony. The bathroom although on the small size, which is not unusual on these modern cruise ships, was perfectly serviceable and had a very good and powerful shower cubicle instead of the normal shower curtain that sticks to you when wet ! Only small criticism of the stateroom is it was a bit short of closet space. Lifts: The ship was full and quite often we had to wait quite a long time for a lift, for the size of the ship and the numbers of persons it carries, we thought it could have done with a few more lifts. Public Rooms: We did not visit all the public rooms/bars but the ones we did visit frequently (Boleros, Schooner and Casino Bar) were comfortable but didn't have enough seats and could have been a bit better laid out. All the public spaces as well as our stateroom were kept absolutely spotless by a very hard working crew. Tables and chairs were constantly being wiped down with anti germ/bacteria solutions. Every where we went on the ship there were anti bacterial hand wash dispensers or hand wipes being handed out by the crew. Royal Promenade/Boardwalk: Full of various coffee shops/bars including an Irish themed pub. The usual logo/souvenir shops, clothes shop, jewelry and watches and even a men's barbers shop to name just a few. Windjammer: Plenty choices of food every day but could be very busy and short of seats especially when people just sat for ages after they had finished eating instead of moving on so someone else could use the tables. Macbeth Restaurant Deck 4: We had a table for 2 on the second sitting at 8.30pm. Have no complaints about the menus always seemed to have plenty choices/variations and the food was always piping hot when it reached the table. Our waiter was Remus from Romania and he was one of the best waiters we have ever had on a cruise ship. We used the restaurant on deck 3 on sea days for lunch instead of the windjammer and it also had very good menus and very good service. Guest Relations Deck 5: Cant believe I'm saying this but have no complaints about them they were always very friendly and cheerful and couldn't do enough to help. Shore Excursions: Didn't take part in any, just used the shuttle bus a few times. Casino: Quite a large casino, plenty choice of slot machines and tables. Amenities: There seemed to be plenty choices including a water park, climbing wall, skating rink, swimming pools, sauna etc etc, absolutely brilliant for families. Entertainment: The usual singers/musicians in the bars/ lounges. Did not go to any of the shows in the theatre but did here very good reviews from fellow passengers. Staff: All were very hard working polite and friendly only criticism is there seemed to be a shortage of bar waiters especially between 7pm and 8.30pm. Room Service: We had breakfast in our stateroom every morning and the food was always on time and nice and hot, we often used room service for tea/coffee and an afternoon snack they were always very good. Summary: On the whole we enjoyed ourselves and cant really find anything major to find fault with. The most annoying things were disabled scooters who would just mow you down to either force their way into a lift or beat the ques to the gang ways when getting on or off the ship. I'm disabled my self due to strokes etc and am 80% deaf and 85% blind so have problems walking but don't use a scooter but I hate having to say a large number of the disabled guests on this cruise had the worst manners I have ever seen ! Would we sail on the Independence again ? Yes but only if we couldn't get another cruise that we liked. The Independence is a great ship and I would recommend her especially to families, but I think she is just too big for me, I prefer a ship a bit smaller like the radiance class, as we have sailed the Brilliance Of the Seas before so we have booked her sister ship the Serenade for Christmas. I apologise if I have droned on too long ! If someone would like to edit this for me I wont refuse ! ha ha. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Started our cruise to the Canaries on a cold February morning arriving at Southampton port at 11 o'clock to be told by Royal Caribbean that we would be unable to board as ship was being deep cleaned due to an outbreak of Norovirus on ... Read More
Started our cruise to the Canaries on a cold February morning arriving at Southampton port at 11 o'clock to be told by Royal Caribbean that we would be unable to board as ship was being deep cleaned due to an outbreak of Norovirus on the previous cruise, found out later that there had been 500 cases plus. We were advised to park car and go into Southampton for lunch and return around 2 o'clock, buses were provided plus $20.00(Lunch supplement)per person for inconvenience. We arrived back at terminal at 2.00 to join queue 4 Hours later we were still waiting in the cold with very little info provided. We finally arrived in our stateroom at approx 6.30. Stateroom very spacious and comfortable, we did not feel like going to dining room so went to Windjammer food was quite good,but found that although was buffet style we were not able to serve ourselves owing to restrictions re Norovirus, were served by staff for everything including drinks which resulted in queues forming, this continued throughout cruise was understandable due to situation and staff did their very best. Not a good start and full restrictions continued throughout cruise with new cases being found daily, had to clean hands before going into any venue. Inconvenient but understandable. Ship as a whole was ok although found not many places for peace and quiet and a shortage of seats at poplar venues. Bar Prices were very expensive and no price list in any bar. Bar waiters were constantly trying to sell drinks often not waiting for you to settle in a seat and then constantly trying to sell to the point of harassment. Dining Room food (Macbeth) was by no means fine dining, poor choice and presentation. Waiters were polite and helpful. Ports of call and excursions. Excursions were enjoyable but are not good value for money. Ports of call Mostly visited ports were in the north of the Islands and north Spain not good for decent temperatures this time of year, Madeira was the port we were most looking forward to and was disappointed to find that we had to be on board at 2.00 o'clock sailing at 2.30 just half a day, not good. Entertainment on board was average, good theatre shows but lack of interesting lectures, and speakers classes seemed to be badly timed and overall uninteresting, Quizzes were frequent and good but they are not to everyone's taste. One of the best entertainment events was the Ice Show which was outstanding. Our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. Very Disappointing Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We have always cruised from Southampton with very little problem until we sailed with RCL, when we arrived at check in at the time RCL told us to be there we were greeted with a queue of 1000+ guests waiting to get on board. This took some ... Read More
We have always cruised from Southampton with very little problem until we sailed with RCL, when we arrived at check in at the time RCL told us to be there we were greeted with a queue of 1000+ guests waiting to get on board. This took some 3 hours with some elderly passengers feeling really unwell, only to be told by RCL staff in a abrupt manner that there was 3500 guests to board. When we eventually got on board it took us 15 minutes to find a crew member to tell us where our cabin was. The cabin itself was very nice and spacious with one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in, this is where the praise stops. We had lots of problems with seating arrangements in the McBeth restaurant, ignorance from waiters and head waiter, accused of not paying bar bill and being over charged in restaurant, so much so that after the 3rd night we never dined in there again. We chose to eat in the Windjammer which at best was worse than dinning on a ferry, with the food being served luke warm or cold, I remember one lady with 6 bowls of soup on her table, she told me she was trying to get one that was hot. We did dine in Chops 1 night and that was OK but it cost us $90, I have been on a few cruises and have always put weight on however on this one I actually lost weight. When ever we complained to the pursers office we were informed that this would be corrected or that 'this doesn't usually happen' I had a gift confiscated at one port but when I went to collect it at the end of the cruise half of it was missing. The trips ashore were rubbish and we were charged for shuttle buses as we would be docking a long way from the centres, however on the 2 that we paid for we were on a few hundred yards from the centre, yet we were never told we could get a refund because of this. I have complained to RCL office but they seem ignorant to the fact that they have charged for a service that was never given and keep giving me inane excuses. I am going to go public with my complaint as I feel in these austere times that a company should give value for money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Other than being kept out in the cold and no update to whats going on while waiting to board, we had high hopes to this 1st time cruise. Deep cleaning of the ship we were told, because of an outbreak of norovirus on the previous trip, ... Read More
Other than being kept out in the cold and no update to whats going on while waiting to board, we had high hopes to this 1st time cruise. Deep cleaning of the ship we were told, because of an outbreak of norovirus on the previous trip, well what did RCI expect when you offer an 11 night cruise for £499 in the back of the Sun newspaper and half term! I was dredging this cruise when we eventually got to our stateroom, but I can honestly say by the end of our holiday my wife and I did enjoy it!! The ship was impressive, if not a little over crowded. We didn't like the fact you couldn't get away from being sardined around the pool area and the low life, that somehow got onto the ship, were drinking in the hot tub out of glasses and bottles, even spilling red coloured cocktails over the lovely teak wood. Our dining room experience was very good, down to being seated with two other very nice couples, but we understand from others that it's pot luck to weather your dining guests are pleasant or not. Very nice waiter (Louis from Colombia) Good choice of food, not too sure what other reviews were eating? We both thought entertainment was excellent, my wife and I both go to London to see shows two or three times a year, and we were thoroughly entertained, yes the comedian was hopeless but we just got up and walked out. I must point out the fantastic cruise director, Joff Eaton, an asset to RCI. The Windjammer buffet was exactly what you would think, all you can eat, all day dining, but a few of the nights we did visit to sample Jades, the Asian food sector. Very nice. One bit of advise, if you like a nice coffee like we do, take your own. Even the so called real coffee that you pay for was undrinkable (Seattle coffee in USA is known for being not very good). Moving about the boat on cruise days was a nightmare, where I don't have a problem with immobile people I do have a problem with mobility scooters when there drove into a postion only for the over weight lump to get up and fill it's plate with food and walk to a table unaided. Then you have "Madge" sitting in her scooter, smoking away by the pool, smoke drifting over you. Excursions on the whole seemed OK, we only did one, in Portugal. Quite enjoyable, but not too sure about being herded around with a sticky number on your chest. Tenerife you had a free shuttle tranfer but in Maderia you had to pay!! Why, I don't know, but scandalous RCI. Overall we felt RCI are trying to squeeze every drop of money out of you, over inflated bar prices, tips for a head waiter??!!, transfer coach charge, over priced bingo tickets etc. We will cruise again and might even be with RCI, but we now know the loop holes and will avoid certain cruises and ships. Most long term cruises we spoke to said don't let this cruise put you off, so we won't. You can call me a snob, but overall it was the 50% of people on the boat that spoilt it, take them away and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
As first time cruisers we have little to compare our experiences aboard the Indy to, but the cruise was, in our opinion, one of the best family holidays that we have ever had. We booked the transfer package from the Hilton Southampton ... Read More
As first time cruisers we have little to compare our experiences aboard the Indy to, but the cruise was, in our opinion, one of the best family holidays that we have ever had. We booked the transfer package from the Hilton Southampton which really set our holiday off with a bang. We spent a night in one of their deluxe rooms and they organised transfers to the port. They were very efficient and certainly allowed us to make a good start to our holiday. The next day we transferred to the ship at Southampton (or maybe more suitably "on top of Southampton" - you can see the ship above all of the buildings!). When we arrived we went into the terminal to find some rather long queues - but I'm happy to say that we managed to get through them very quickly! The staff at the port were not the friendliest of people - ranging from the bored to the rather rude. Being first time cruisers we were not at all familiar with the process and being hollered at for stepping an inch into the wrong line is not the way that we would have expected to be treated. Once we got on board we explored the ship and all that I can say is WOW. The facilities and scale of the ship is something that has to be seen to be believed and, given that she is a few years old now, she still looks as good as new! Our cabin appeared on the first day to be rather smaller than what we expected but as other members of our family were staying in the cabin next door the steward kindly opened up the doors between the balconies and this made a significant difference to the space available for us. As a treat for other family members we arranged for their cabins to be decorated and gifts to be delivered on the first day - all of which were in the cabin before we arrived, something which we thought to be rather impressive. At this point we could think no better of the ship until we came to look at our SeaPass cards and discovered that we had been seated separately for dinner. We went to the Seating Change Requests session and had a long wait but eventually were placed on a table together at a later dining sitting - something that actually turned out to be more preferable. We enjoyed dinner in the main dining room and then retired due to it being an extraordinarily hectic day! Following the first day the cruise just got better and better. We ate in the Main Dining Room and our waiters were always excellent each night. Johnny Rockets, The Windjammer, Jade and Room Service also all proved to be excellent, as did the Lunch service in the Main Dining Room. As the cruise went on we began to take part in more of the on board activities and have to say that we found the quiz's to be fantastic. The Cruise Directors Staff were really a credit to the Royal Caribbean brand and they all seemed to be jolly and surprisingly wide awake, even though many of them were hosting events that sometimes went on into the early hours! One thing that we have to say was amazing on board the Indy is the crew. We experienced an outbreak of the Norovirus on board and this is when the crew showed complete and utter dedication to their job. We were told that many of them were working double or triple shifts because of the massive sanitisation that was necessary , and every single crew member still had a smile on their face and was a pleasure to be in the company of. Some of the guest service staff were, unfortunately, an exception to this rule (something which was surprising given their role). To be honest the crew working in the dining room and in the bars went above and beyond and all were really friendly - something which could not be said about certain members of the guest services staff. Having said that, the GS manager was fantastic and she almost made up for the awful service and manner in which some of her staff conducted themselves. During the trip we took one major shore excursion in Maderia which was amazing and allowed you to see the old and the new - as well as experiencing a ride on the toboggan and the cable cars. We also took advantage of a number of transfer options arranged through Explorations. We would definitely recommend this in Lisbon as it is not ideal to cart around shopping as the ship is a fair distance from the shops. On disembarkation day everything was arranged relatively well and we were transferred back to the Hilton to collect our car for the long journey home. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Independence Of The Seas January 10th 2012 We have never done a UK cruise before and so were apprehensive over a number of things, namely the weather and the traffic getting to Southampton. Neither were a problem. Day one we were ... Read More
Independence Of The Seas January 10th 2012 We have never done a UK cruise before and so were apprehensive over a number of things, namely the weather and the traffic getting to Southampton. Neither were a problem. Day one we were picked up by coach and taken to Southampton were we arrived at roughly 1PM to a MASSIVE queue of embarking passengers. Embarkation however was pretty smooth considering the size of Indy and the amount of passengers. THE SHIP : Wow, what a ship ! Its large. 14 decks high, very long and very wide. We docked next to NCL Jade one day ( we have travelled on her also ) and Indy makes Jade look small, even though she is not. Royal Promenade is packed full of shops, dining venues and drinking dens... the latter of which were constantly full day and night ! Well, that's the Brits for you.... The pool area has a real wow factor, it was fantastic and amongst the best we have seen onboard a ship. Certainly a great pool for kiddies. The theatre is the Alhambra, seating for 1400 on 2 levels, mostly good views but they do have some supports holding up the upper level that block the views in a fair number of the seats. Bars etc, well there are a lot. Casino was very big, I failed to win anything ( again !! ), but we did see a few people winning good amounts on the slots. Ice Rink, climbing wall, 'Flowrider' , mini golf, basketball, games arcade, kids clubs for all ages, various lounges, helicopter landing pad, jogging track, table tennis, photography area, art auction area, a massive gym with boxing ring ( !! ), the list really does go on and on... Indy has a LOT of facilities. CABIN : As usual we had an inside cabin. It was totally fine for our needs, not really spending any time in there except for sleeping. It was well appointed, the usual TV, King sized bed,, sofa, etc etc... bathroom a little on the small size but good enough. Safe in the room which is always handy plus a kettle and tea and coffee ! That was a first ! DINING : We had most evenings in the main dining room, ours was the Macbeth on level 4. We dropped very lucky with our dining companions being really nice and friendly, always a bonus. Staff in the dining room could not have been more helpful, absolutely superb. I am a notoriously fussy eater and I must say everything I requested, I got. The Windjammer is the buffet, we pretty much had breakfast there every day. We also ate one night at Johnny Rockets, a 50's type diner. Unfortunately it has a cover charge of $4.95 per person and that gets you in there, but does not get you a drink ! Thought that was a bit poor, but I could live with it as it was possibly the best dining experience we had onboard. The Johnny Rockets staff are fantastic, they have mini jukeboxes at each table ( which are free ) and if you trigger the 'right' song the staff all charge out and do a dance.... Hilarious !!! FORMAL NIGHTS : 3 on our 12 day cruise. Most people observed the formal nights, tuxedos for men and evening gowns for the ladies. Some did not but seemed to eat in the Windjammer. All good. ENTERTAINMENT : 2 comedians, one better than the other, a Motown tribute act who were superb, comedy juggler ( very good ! ) an awesome mind reader, a brilliantly talented lady singer / piano player and a strange but intriguing act from the Moulin Rouge in Paris. Then there were the cast production shows...... now there is no doubt that the cast are talented singers and dancers. But talk about upsetting an audience with poor and boring content. Unbelievable. Whoever advised them to sing the songs they chose wants a good talking to ! For example, after half an hour of songs NO-ONE had ever heard before they tell us they are going to do an Elton John number, great I think , he has done a load of excellent songs.... What do they choose ? Saturday night is alright for fighting !!! Arghhhhhhhhh one of his worst EVER !!!! The they come on stage in Beatles outfits, I am sat there thinking, brilliant, I like the Beatles.. which classic do they choose? Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, basically an INTRO to an album ! I repeat.. Arghhhhhhhhhhhh Moving on..... some great entertainment elsewhere onboard, we loved the Rock N Roll band in the Pyramid lounge, superb. Also some brilliant and hilarious quizzes in there. The Ice show was not to be missed. SHORE EXCURSIONS : We did 3 with Royal Caribbean. Didn't think two of them were very good at all. We mainly spent most of the time on the bus, desperate to get off. Usually we do our own thing, this time we tried their excursions, lesson learned. I have posted reviews of ports of call in their own sections, apart from La Coruna as I cannot locate it, so here goes : We did one of the aforementioned 3 ships tours to Santiago De Compostela, to be fair it was reasonably priced and a good distance from port so we didn't want to risk D-I-Y. The town is the 3rd most visited Catholic pilgrimage site worldwide, after Jerusalem and Rome. Magnificent medieval buildings and a cathedral that ' allegedly ' has the bones of St James. Not for me to say anymore on that. Well worth the visit. As for the actual trip, well Royal Caribbean for reasons unknown decided to leave for Santiago at 12.30pm, all aboard was 5.30pm. The ship docked at 11AM and was cleared almost immediately by customs. We did not make it back to the ship on time, we only got back at 5.45pm. Of course this being a ships excursion it wasn't a problem, but why did they go so late ? We didn't have much free time there at all, the hour and a half in the morning could have done so much good. CONCLUSION : Would we sail Royal Caribbean again ? Definitely. We already put down a small deposit on a future sailing with them. Its an excellent system they have, you pay the deposit, don't have to tell them which cruise you want to go on, the deposit sits there indefinitely until you choose and then they give you a stack of free onboard credit. Brilliant. Cruise Director, Joff Eaton was pretty good, his sidekick, Rob the Scouser, definitely future cruise director material. Listen up Royal Caribbean... don't lose Rob ! Staff, always smiling, eager to please. Overall a fantastic time was had by all. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
The ship itself is stunning, there is a lack of open areas to sit out, and there feels like there is a lack of natural light in a lot of the public spaces. The cabin we had was really nice, spotless and fairly spacious. The shower was ... Read More
The ship itself is stunning, there is a lack of open areas to sit out, and there feels like there is a lack of natural light in a lot of the public spaces. The cabin we had was really nice, spotless and fairly spacious. The shower was also fantastic, and the balcony was a good size. The bed was huge, and very comfortable with a memory foam top. This ship however, is far too crowded. Its big yes, but it feels small due to the number of people that all seem to want to be in the same place as you at the same time as you. And most of them will trample all over you to get their first. The food on board was average at best. The main dining room (romeo and juliet) is a huge spacious and beautifully decorated place, the service was very very good. unfortunately the food and menu wasn't really fine dining. I got the feeling that this ship has dumbed down the food quality to cater for its British, Chip Loving guests. A case of, why bother serving fine food, when all they want is chips. Which for the majority of the people on the ship was perfect. But not for me unfortunately, being in close proximity of so many over indulging Brits, made me ashamed to be British, and at times, watching everyone stuff chips and cakes into their mouths made me feel more sick than the choppy crossing of the bay of biscay. But that is no fault of the cruise line, or the ship. The dining times on board were ok, except for the Windjammer all you can stuff in your fat face restaurant, which seemed to be closed more than it was open, I really do feel that this restaurant should be open all day and most of the night. This would cut down on the crowds of people that all have to go there at the same time. It really is over crowded and getting a table is a nightmare. Especially given the fact that the Brits on board are so rude and competitive. The food on offer however was really good, plenty of different styles to choose from and the quality seemed pretty decent. For times when the Windjammer was closed, all you was left with was 2 very small cafes. Promenade Cafe serving Awfully rough coffee, Pastries and Cakes 24 hours , and Sorrento's which served tasteless and greasy pizza. Both were too small to accommodate the 3500 chip and cake eating lardies on board. The queues for the lifts was always ridiculous, and people who didn't really need to use the lifts to go down one deck, would stand for ages waiting and moaning about them. The quietest place on the ship was the stairways, cos none of the bone idle Brits on board would use them. It was like they had no choice but to stand in the lift queue and moan about how crowded they were. And the lifts always brought out the rude nature in people. Even though we had a small child in a pushchair and had been waiting for a lift for some time, people would jump in front of us and cram in so that we would have to wait for the next one. Even more rude was the people in mobility scooters, thinking they had the right to run you over to get in the lift before you. The staff on board were always very kind and courteous. We only had one problem with one of them who was rude to us, and had a bad attitude. She works in the photo gallery, so can be avoided quite easily. Oh and incidentally, she is one of the few British members of staff. Overall, we had a nice time, it is what it is really, a middle of the road cruise, full of rude and ignorant Brits. If you don't expect too much then you'll be more than happy. If you've ever taken a cruise with another company, then you will probably be disappointed. Would I travel on this ship again? NO, NEVER! If I wanted another holiday like that, I would just go to Benidorm and save myself a couple of grand. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We just returned from a wonderful 12 night cruise from Southampton on Independence of the Seas. We are a family of four from Australia, 2 adults with a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son. Here is a summary of our cruise: ... Read More
We just returned from a wonderful 12 night cruise from Southampton on Independence of the Seas. We are a family of four from Australia, 2 adults with a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son. Here is a summary of our cruise: Embarkation: Long line but moved quite quickly. Enjoyed lunch straight away at Windjammers and cabins were ready immediately. 2 of us had luggage right away but 2 had to wait until much later. Cabins: We had 2 balcony cabins with interconnecting doors (which was very handy to have!). The cabins were really lovely, quite spacious and spotlessly clean. Ship: HUGE and beautiful. The Royal Promenade is very impressive and is well used for extra events/parades etc. Nice to have a coffee shop/pub etc to visit whenever you feel like it. Shops are nice but no great bargains there. Food: Wonderful and plentiful, we ate too much! The dining room is beautiful and the waiters are SO helpful and nice. Windjammers has a great variety, some things better than others, but more than adequate. It gets very busy for breakfast after 9am and on Port days for lunch, but we never waited more than a few mins to get a table. Highly recommend the dining room on Sea days with the salad buffet. Entertainment: Mostly excellent. We loved the individual performers such as the comics and jugglers and the violinist (Gary Lavini) was also great. Joff was the Cruise Director and he was terrific-very professional with a great sense of humour. We went to many Trivia quizzes and they were well run. The nightclub, Labyrinth, was far too smoky to even go in for a minute! (not sure why the allow smoking in there??) Ports: We did tours in Vigo (Border Country) and Lisbon (City of Lisbon) and both were very good. We were lucky that at that tome of the year the weather was so nice. My son and husband did a camel ride and tour of Fire Mountain in Lanzerote which they also loved. Otherwise, the ports were nothing special, OK just to have a walk around and bit of shopping. Fellow Passengers: This cruise was not in Britain's school holidays (we are from Australia) so most passengers were much older than us. Our 20 year old daughter did not have a great time as there were really no singles her age to mix with at all. Our son eventually found just a few teenagers and then had a great time, although the staff mostly didn't bother with the planned, organised teen activities as there were not enough kids to warrant it. There were MANY wheelchairs and scooters so the lifts were extremely busy. Despite being younger than most other passengers we still enjoyed many nice conversations with the mature British crowd. Overall: A lovely, smooth sailing. Royal Caribbean do it well! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
The Independence uses every imaginable opportunity to extract as much money from its clientele as is possible from sailing at speeds of only 10 knots to cutting the time spent ashore to running seminars as entertainment with a cost of ... Read More
The Independence uses every imaginable opportunity to extract as much money from its clientele as is possible from sailing at speeds of only 10 knots to cutting the time spent ashore to running seminars as entertainment with a cost of treatment at the end ( who needs an assessment of their tongue and feet on a cruise) to very expensive drinks. The entertainment by the ships onboard dancers and singers left a lot to be desired. little better than your local drama society. The brought in entertainment was hitty missy. As we enjoy ballroom dancing we were pleased to read in the Cruise Compass paper had a ballroom with ballroom dancing, in reality the floor was little bigger than a disco floor with no organised ballroom dancing.When we confronted the cruise director regarding the lack of dancing opportunities he said he didn't realise that they advertised a ballroom and dancing.Two days later there was ballroom dancing to pre-recorded music, but only when the ship was in port and most of the passengers were on excursions, and even then it was timed at between 12am and 1pm when people were at lunch and only 4 couples attended. On the last sea da they moved it to 3pm and the room and floor were more than half full. On the last full day at sea I was at the passenger service desk and an older lady who was in a quite large scooter was asking what help she could get on disembarkation and was told that her cases would be taken ashore if she left them outside her cabin but beyond that the clerk said she couldn't see what else he could do.I bet she wouldn't have been told that at the start of the cruise. In a port like Madeira, to arrive at 9am and be expected to be back on board by 2.30pm is ridiculous, compelling passengers to book the ships excursions rather than DIY. In the past we have praised Royal Caribbean th high heaven, in future that praise will be greatly tempered. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
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