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123 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

My wife and I did a back to back sailing the cork 4 day first and then staying on ship for the 10 day canary cruise.It was one of the best cruises ever may be because we have sailed her before it was like coming home. The weather ... Read More
My wife and I did a back to back sailing the cork 4 day first and then staying on ship for the 10 day canary cruise.It was one of the best cruises ever may be because we have sailed her before it was like coming home. The weather wasn't the best ever but that didn't spoil anything just meant we enjoyed the ship moreWe did My time dining in the evening as this suits our tastes and ensures a table for two antisocial may be but we like to spend time together.Diner was eaten in the MDR and the salad bar was great to server took a bowl and filled it with what you wanted and them placed it in a dish and you helped yourself to meat,cheese, prawns etc to make it your own special salad, many times this was enough with a selection of bread and coffee. Talking of the black nectar I'm not sure if towards the end of the cruise they where running short or they had a bad batch but the coffee was EVIL and resulted in me drinking Tea. RCI take note But to be fare this was the only problem we had.We met some nice people whilst sitting and people watching and talked to a number of first timers who seemed to enjoy the cruise. One such couple were grateful I told them to put there empty case under the bed to give them more room if you don't ask you don't know.The three formals were well attended and the dress code respected by the majorityThe children on board were well behaved and we didn't see any running around or misusing the lifts Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Our first time on the Independence and first time out of So'ton. Due to some noro issues on prior cruises we embarked late (as advised by RCI) - the luggage drop-off and check-in was very smooth. We expected to wait but actually ... Read More
Our first time on the Independence and first time out of So'ton. Due to some noro issues on prior cruises we embarked late (as advised by RCI) - the luggage drop-off and check-in was very smooth. We expected to wait but actually walked straight on. (We had sanitised our hands three times already).Sanitising hands was a theme for the trip. We did it hundreds of times. On the first few days we also used plastic gloves to serve ourselves in the Windjammer. I have never seen so many staff cleaning - hand rails, elevator buttons, everything!It seemed to work - other than a few green faces in the Bay of Biscay, there did not seem to be any widespread bug on-board.Overall this was one of our best trips on RCI. For previous RCI cruisers, everything you would expect - delivered with a touch of Britishness! Special mention to the CD, Joff Eaton, who did an amazing job.The entertainment was satisfactory. The singers and dancers aren't my taste and the guest performers were not exactly headliners (but at least the Boleros cocktail bar was quiet during the shows). Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
EmbarkingWe had received an email not to arrive before 2pm. When we did arrive at port, just after 2, we queued altogether for about two hours before finally stepping aboard . We spent a lot of time chatting to other passengers in the ... Read More
EmbarkingWe had received an email not to arrive before 2pm. When we did arrive at port, just after 2, we queued altogether for about two hours before finally stepping aboard . We spent a lot of time chatting to other passengers in the queues. I liken it to the trauma of giving birth, once we'd finally arrived and stepped onto the ship, it was worth the wait, the queuing instantly forgotten.I realised that there would be great attention to cleanliness and this was the reason for the delay. Throughout the cruise, there was evidence everywhere of careful cleaning and attention to hygiene.CabinOur cabin, 6330, was a balcony for four, that is, the sofa converted into a double bed...for small people. My son (6'1") found it a struggle to fit, his feet dangling off the end if he lay straight. I had assumed that the sofa bed would be a standard double bed size. However, he got used to it and we had no complaints. We were happy with our room. There was plenty of room for our stuff, with a small bathroom with shower doors rather than curtain, and hidden storage. The huge telly had a good selection of free films to watch, as well as pay per view films currently on the cinema. Very comfy huge bed which had a great view of the sea. We could also view our expenses, order room service, or order pay-per-view films using the tv.I was one of those people who said that inside cabins were "fine because we only use them to sleep in". That's true if you have an inside cabin. However, adding a balcony does add a special dimension which turns the cabin into a retreat, a place of peace to enjoy the sea, and oh boy, I loved it.Food and diningThe promenade deck (5) has the Cafe Promenade which is open 24 hours and provides sandwiches, baguettes, biscuits and cakes, teas and coffees, and hot chocolate. Tip: you have to ask for the sachets of hot chocolate, in the past this was freely available. Also on the promenade was Sorrentos, generally open late morning until 3am and serving pizzas, salads, desserts, teas coffees, hot chocolate.We visited Jonny Rockets (deck 12) once, just for the experience. There is a $4.95 charge. It was busy and we were given a pager and put on the waiting list. We did not have to wait long and soon were sitting down at a booth and being served crispy onion rings and fries. We had between us chilli dogs, chicken salad, BLT sandwich, cheeseburger plus four Oreo ice cream sundaes. Milk shakes and other drinks were an extra charge, unless you had a soda package in which case the soda was free.On Deck 11 was the Squeeze Bar, just by the family pool area. There you could get light snacks including burgers and hot dogs. This was open approx 11 - 4 most days. Also on deck 11 was the frozen yoghurt stand. Lovely on a hot day.The Windjammer on deck 11 was often busy but we always found somewhere to sit together. I think timing is important though. Waiting staff had their own areas to manage and made sure that tables were cleared and cleaned quickly. They also asked for tea or coffee orders, which I found really helpful. At the entrance to the Windjammer a member of staff was always on duty with anti-viral wipes plus the gel stands. She insisted that everyone use one or the other. Additionally, for the first four days each passenger was given a clear plastic disposable glove to use when handling tongs etc. We opted for mytime dining because we wanted to try something different and thought we'd like the flexibility of choosing when to eat. This turned out to be simple to achieve. All we needed to do was phone down to book a time. On the one occasion that the time we wanted was not available, we were asked to come along anyway and they'd try to fit us in. They did. This option is great if you want a table for two because there were plenty available. Another plus was that we sat in many different parts of the dining room and got to see different aspects of it. We were served iced water and the children used their soda package cards without problems. Indeed they were usually given two glasses of their choice of soda at a time. On the whole the food was ok, occasionally great, occasionally disappointing. I can see that this is an area were costs have been cut. My husband was disappointed that there was no lobster and when he asked, was told that it was only served on 14 night plus cruises now. Having said this, I still feel that our holiday was excellent value for the price we paid.Room ServicePreviously we have had inside cabins. They tend to be cramped for four so we have never used room service opting to eat in public areas, in daylight and comfort. Room service was used every day this time, for breakfast (for me). I ordered using the tv the night before, really easy. I could also fill in the form and hang it on the door before 3am. We always received a phone call just before our allotted time, to confirm our order, then we could then add anything we'd forgotten. The food was always consistently presented, hot, lovely. The staff were very polite and pleasant and usually surprised to receive a tip . We ordered mid afternoon snacks too, from a large selection on the tv.EntertainmentThere were several shows and we particularly enjoyed An Invitation to Dance, Once upon a Time, and Under the Big Top. There were two shows and generally, the later one was the most popular (though not always). This meant that we usually went to the early show and ate later. It is worth getting advice from entertainment staff about which will be the busy show and if you can, go to the other one. You won't need to get there ridiculously early.Captain's cocktail party on the evening of the first sea day, a formal night, was held on the promenade and there was plenty of 'champagne' (some of it blue to match my dress lol), and fruit punch going around. There was a great atmosphere and most passengers were dressed to the nines, which was lovely to see and made for a great atmosphere. Later in the cruise was Rock Britannia on the promenade, also good fun.Things to Do. A large and varied number of things to do covering physical sports (team games, individual and competitions), daily quizzes, seminars about healthy lifestyle, etc., art and craft (jewellery making, scrapbooking etc). We had a whiteboard on our cabin which we fixed to the wall with magnets. This was really useful to listing all the things we wanted to do each day, times etc. We went along to a debate at the Schooner Bar. This is something new that the company are trialling. Any interested passengers can take the mike and give their views about subjects such as the paranormal, are footballers paid too much, capital punishment, or euthanasia. It only works if people join in with interesting and considered points. Fascinating.One high point for us, and totally unexpected, was the karaoke booth on deck 3, next to the ice rink. We found it by chance and spent many happy moment (as a family) singing along to great songs in private. Our piece de resistance was Bohemiam Rhapsody on the last night. Sublime lol.A tip: it's not necessary to get up early and queue for ice show tickets. These are available on a certain morning and on our cruise there were five showings of the same show over three different days. We forgot about it completely and went the next day to reception to ask if there were any tickets left. It turns out that there were plenty for the final three shows. We just took the tickets for the show we wanted. No queuing.VigoShip's information suggests getting a $15 shuttle bus into town because it is '4 miles' to the centre. It is not necessary. A short walk takes you to the shopping area, and slightly further, up a number of steps takes you to a panoramic view over the bay. LisbonWe took a ship's tour while in Lisbon ($34 each), " Medieval Obidos", a half day tour which took an hour in the coach, north past the busy city of Lisbon, to the conurbations outside the city, filled with high rise apartments, then on to rolling hillsides and beautiful scenery. Obidos is a charming town surrounded by castle walls. We were dropped off at the edge of the town and walked in with our guide Phillip. He took us inside the church and talked about the building and town. It is a beautiful church with tiled walls and wooden painted ceiling. After this we were free to wander the town. We decided to walk around the castle walls. I recommend this tour. We only booked it the evening before too.TenerifeWe docked centrally and could see a City Sightseeing Red Bus from the ship. For 15 euros we could have done a tour of the city. However, we walked into town up the San Sebastian and saw a Tourist Information booth. The man was really helpful and circled the market, museum, a couple of churches and other places of interest. He also told us that the museums were free on a Sunday. Useful. Right next to the ship was a large shopping centre, Muelle Sur. Worth a visit before boarding.Las PalmasAgain, we stopped right in the centre of things. Again a City Sightseeing Red Bus was visible from near the ship. This time we boarded (15 euros) and went on the tour. The beach is a ten minute walk away, really close by. However it was cold and cloudy (the only day with no sun), so we didn't visit. We visited another huge Muelle shopping centre right at the port before boarding.MadeiraThis time we went on a Yellow Bus Tour for 12 euros (there are Red Bus tours too). There are two circuits; a blue and a yellow. We started at stop 1, yellow tour and got off at stop 10, crossing the road and waiting for the blue tour (stop 9) which took us up to Camara de Lobos, a lovely fishing village. The blue tour replicates the yellow tour later on so we missed very little. A word of warning, on the way into the fishing village a pesky child threw a water bomb onto the open topped bus (from a high vantage point). It didn't hit anyone because the bus was not full, however be vigilant. On the way out of the village (same road) we were watching and shouted to the child not to throw the new water bomb. He gazed at us in surprise and did not throw it, thankfully. We also had a peg thrown at us from an apartment nearer the city. I guess that locals get annoyed at being stared at all the time by nosy tourists.La CorunaA charming city with extremely helpful tourist information right at the port. Just tell them what you want to do, be it beach, museums, shopping, and they will give you a map with all the relevant info pencilled in for you. A short walk will take you to a long beach, or you may prefer to visit the Praza de Maria Pita, a large open square. The old town is off here and I spent an hour or so wandering the streets. There is also a large shopping street, Rue de Galera, which is popular.To sum up, we had a great cruise. The balcony helped to make it relaxing for me. I spent a lot of time either on it, or laying on the bed with the door open watching the sea in extreme comfort. The kids did not spend any time at the kids club after the first day, they didn't feel comfortable. It's a pity because this happens every time we got with RCCI. With P&O it is a totally different thing, then we never see them at all because they love the kids club. Not sure what's going on here. Son wished he was back on Aurora. Having said that, myself and husband loved spending time with our teens (and them with us). We did lots of family things, rock climbing, swimming, skating, golf, singing (karaoke), eating, quizzes etc., and had lots of fun together. They are 16 and 17 now, so these times will become fewer and fewer, so we will have precious memories.We elected to take our own luggage of the ship and this was easy and much better than leaving at the pre-arranged time and picking up luggage in a vast and crowded hall. We were in our car very quickly and away home.Although the food was (in my opinion) average, the staff were excellent, and relly tried hard to please everyone. Entertainment was varied and good, ports - we'd been to all of them before, it just nice to be in sunshine really. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I have just come back from an 11 night cruise on The Independence of the Seas. I went for my 40th birthdy, along with my husband and 2 boys, aged 12 and 6. the ship was fantastic. The children's club for my 6 year old was very good, ... Read More
I have just come back from an 11 night cruise on The Independence of the Seas. I went for my 40th birthdy, along with my husband and 2 boys, aged 12 and 6. the ship was fantastic. The children's club for my 6 year old was very good, however for my 12 year old, the club wasn't very structured,though he soon made friends, that he spent most evenings with. We had my time dining, and never had to wait for a table, we enjoyed the food, but felt it wasn't up to P and O, standards. We had the wine package 12 bottles, of wine for $312, which worked out cheaper.We always found a table at the Windjammer, even during peak times. The children loved the flow-rider and climbing wall, and even on days at sea there was never really any long queues. - This was the highlight of their holiday. The promenade was stunning, and provided entertainment for a few evenings. To round off, we had a fantastic time, and can't wait to go back again. For the quality, value, food and entertainment, you would not get all this on a spanish beach holiday for the same money as we paid!!To counter the claim that too many children were on-board, there is always a choice for them to go on adult only cruises!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Our first cruise was Freedom of the Sea's in 2008 when we sailed the Caribbean with our (then) 15 year old daughter. We've since taken another 4 cruises all with RCI because we enjoy their format and until they do something to ... Read More
Our first cruise was Freedom of the Sea's in 2008 when we sailed the Caribbean with our (then) 15 year old daughter. We've since taken another 4 cruises all with RCI because we enjoy their format and until they do something to upset us, we will continue to sail with them.We booked the Spain/Canary Island cruise last September thinking that the Canary Islands would be warm this time of year, however the weather was pretty disappointing but that's ok, we're from the North East and we're a hardy crop up here!! The cost of the excursions through RCI are usually on the expensive side so we normally jump on the City Tour buses and get an overview of the place because sometimes you only have 4 hours in a Port of Call. We were advised by RCI to purchase shuttle bus tickets at $15 each to get to the centre of Lisbon. We stepped off the ship and there were the City Tour buses right in front of the ship. Moral of the story; go up on deck to see what's out there ... $30 for absolutely nothing.We visited Vigo, Lisbon, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Madeira and Ferrol. We don't understand why RCI chose Ferrol as a port of call because it's basically an old Spanish naval town with nothing but tatty shops and a museum. It's a sign of the times, I know, but most of the shops had closed down. There were, however a proliferation of cafes and restaurants but when you've got a 5 star facility sitting at the dock why would you waste your time? Someone said that they chose Ferrol because it was cheaper to refuel there but I guess we'll never know. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I was a little nervous beforehand as I didnt know what to expect on our first cruise but need not have worried as everything was fantastic. We parked right next to the terminal at Southampton and the check in process was so quick and easy ... Read More
I was a little nervous beforehand as I didnt know what to expect on our first cruise but need not have worried as everything was fantastic. We parked right next to the terminal at Southampton and the check in process was so quick and easy it puts airports to shame. Within little over an hour we were on board and another hour later we checked into our cabin. The suitcases arrived soon after so we could unpack and start our holiday. We hadnt realised that by taking our cruise over Easter a number of the shops in the Ports of call would be closed but we just enjoyed a short walk around each port. We went with our 11 year old son so we ate informally in the Windjammer cafe. There was always a great choice at all meals although it sometimes got busy at breakfast and lunch. By dressing informally we did feel a little underdressed later in the evening when mixing with people who were dressed up for the formal nights in the main restaurant. The entertainments team were great, expecially James the Cruise Director and his sidekick Jason. Treatments in the Spa proved quite expensive and they did try and sell extra services/products whilst doing the treatment. There were 4300 on board including 1200 children but it never seemed really busy or crowded at any time. Although our son did not join in with the kids clubs there was plenty to do with a varied daily programme. Our stateroom attendant was first class and every evening he laid out an animal made from towels which our son was always keen to rush back after dinner to see what was waiting for us. We were very lucky that for the majority of the cruise we had really good weather and only had one bad day with rough seas. The most offputting thing was that evening they had put sickbags in various locations around the ship so were obviously expecting a problem!! Departure was as easy as arrival with a well planned timescale. We opted to take our own bags off to save leaving them out the night before. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and would certainly do another. I think we were spoilt with RCCL as there was so much to do so any other liner will not seem as good. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I'm afraid I'm not really much of a writer, but I thought I would impart our experience aboard the Independence of the Seas. My wife has suffered quite poor health over the last 12 months or so and could not face the thought ... Read More
I'm afraid I'm not really much of a writer, but I thought I would impart our experience aboard the Independence of the Seas. My wife has suffered quite poor health over the last 12 months or so and could not face the thought of travelling to an airport and sitting in a plane seat for 10 hours so we decided to try cruising from Southampton. We were taking our 7 year old daughter so I spent some time deciding on a family friendly cruise ship that went from Southampton and narrowed the choice down to the IotS and the Ventura. Having read MANY reviews I opted for the IotS as it seemed to have received less poor reviews than the Ventura, although both had received a mixed response. So, we paid our money and waited until the 14th March to start our adventure. Then came the reports of the dreaded Noro virus! 4 days before we were due to depart we recieved notification that our embarkation would be delayed while they gave the ship another 'Deep Clean'. We were concerned but undeterred by these events. Unfortunately the delay caused by the cleaning meant a massive queue at Southampton. This was disappointing, I had heard tales of legendary queues on this ship and feared that this was sign of things to come. We managed to get onboard after approximately 45 minutes in the queue and were immediately met by a couple of staff from the excellent Cruise Directors department, notably Chris. My daughter had taken her toy dog 'Wolfie' on holiday with her and he was introduced to Chris. Throughout the holiday Chris always spoke to both my daughter and Wolfie and never forgot either of their names. With this many passengers on board that is no mean feat! A very nice touch that made my daughter feel very special. Anyway, moving on..... We found a booth at Sorrento's and had a couple of slices of Pizza and a tiramasu - start as you mean to go on! All washed down with a cup of tea. At about 3:30 the announcement came that the staterooms were ready so there was a mad dash from everyone to settle into their accommodation. We found our cabin, with our cases waiting outside, down in Steerage and entered with trepidation.... only to be pleasantly surprised at how bright and spacious it was. Don't get me wrong, it's no suite at the Savoy, but it was certainly no cupboard either. Unfortunately there was no time to relax as it was time for muster stations. This legal requirement is a real pain, and far more onerous than the flight safety announcements, but I suppose it could save your life so it could be important. I didn't get the feeling that the staff's hearts were really in it though, but I guess that's no surprise as they do it so often. I stayed 'top side' (getting all nautical now) to watch us depart from Southampton. It was dry, but rather cold but I have to admit to a tingle of excitement as we pulled away from the quay. I was disappointed, but not surprised. that there was no band playing and no ticker tape to see us off. Those films from the 60s don't reflect the realities of today. Back in the cabin we managed to unpack and find homes for most of our things, and then came the next pleasant surprise. Our steward popped in to welcome us aboard and informed us that our room had bunk beds not a sofa bed. My daughter was delighted by this news! She was up the ladder as soon as it was in place. We visited the kids club to register and then made our way to Bolero's for a pre-dinner cocktail. We are not real drinkers but when on holiday my wife and I enjoy a cocktail or two. Given the oft discussed price of beer and wine on board it was just as well we don;t partake too much. I did, however, think that the price of the Cocktail of the day was reasonable at $6.95. Dinner followed, where we met our very pleasant dinner companions and our excellent waiter. He made sure that our daughter was properly cared for and after dinner showed us the first of many 'tricks' to entertain us. The service was excellent and we all thought the food was good too, although I have read different opinions on this. Following dinner it was off to the Alhambra Theatre for our entertainment. It was a very good singer/comedian from Wales, whose name unfortunately escapes me. I hadn't heard of him before but, as I say, he was very good. This was also the first time we experienced Joff, the Cruise director. We all found him very entertaining throughout the cruise. Sorry, this is rambling quite a bit, so I will now get far more brief.. I had taken a number of magazines and other things to occupy myself with when there were 'down' periods. These never got looked at. There were never any 'down' periods. I always managed to find plenty to do. I can't find (L)A Corunna listed so will say this about it - The surprise destination of the trip. A lovely little town. Very pretty and very welcoming. We hope to return here again as well. A couple of other points to mention. We took our daughter to the kids club on the first day and although she said she enjoyed it she didn't want to return. When I went to pick her up, it didn't feel like the happiest place to be. Just an impression that I got. Queues: I heard people before the cruise and on the cruise complain about queues. We encountered queues on embarkation, presumably made worse by the delayed boarding, and again at Vigo. It seemed everyone wanted to get back on for lunch! Other than that we didn't experience a queue worthy of the name. I believe we queued for breakfast at Macbeth when we went at 9 am, but we were seated within a couple of minutes. I also heard of queues for tickets to the ice show 'strings' when they were made available but as we didn't mind which performance we went to, I just went to the desk 5 minutes before they were due to close and there was no queue whatsoever. I know there was more I wanted to write, but I can't think of it now. In summary as first time cruisers the IotS was great fun, great value and a great holiday. Would we do it again? Definitely. Oh, I almost forgot. During this cruise my daughter learned to Ice Skate.....kind of! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Embarkation: We had an interesting experience during our embarkation process. The previous cruise had a large outbreak of the Norovirus. They delayed the boarding process until about 2:00 instead of the usual time. We had a ... Read More
Embarkation: We had an interesting experience during our embarkation process. The previous cruise had a large outbreak of the Norovirus. They delayed the boarding process until about 2:00 instead of the usual time. We had a transatlantic flight that landed in Heathrow at about 8:00 am. Our transit bus picked us up, dropped off our bags and then dropped us off at the local mall. We walked around the mall for about 4 hours before we were allowed to start the boarding process. We heard the WJ might not be available after boarding, so we ate at the mall. We then proceeded to the port. Once at the port, things progressed pretty close to normal. The WJ was open, but we didn't go because we had something at the mall. I think they over did the hand sanitizing. They had the "squirt" bottles everywhere and were reminded to wash our hands no less than 5 times before boarding the ship. There wasn't time to touch anything in between the washing stations, so we didn't see the point in so many washing stations. Once before we entered the check in area Once before proceeding up the escalator Once before having our picture taken Once at the top of the gangway Once before actually entering the ship. They did the same thing at the WJ. Even if you squirted the sanitizing lotion, they handed you a handy wipe.Public Rooms They were very clean. They were constantly wiping everything down (even if nobody previously sat at a table, chair, etc).Cabin: Very nice. Our cabin was always clean. Our cabin attendant even organized our little pile of clothes every time we left our cabin. The towel animals were there every evening. We were on the "back side" of the hump so we couldn't see to the front of the ship. It didn't really make a difference. We still had a good view aft. We liked the extra space between the balcony doors and the curtains. It was a good place to store our luggage. We don't remember if other ships had the same layout. We'll have to keep that in mind for our next cruise.Fitness & Recreation: Excellent equipment. Some of the equipment had TV options. You could watch the local TV stations, plug in your own IPod and even had a USB port.Dining: The menus in the MDR were "so-so". Some evenings the choices left something to be desired. One evening we went to the WJ. They had a very nice selection of choices for dinner. Breakfast & lunch were spent in the WJ. Good selection. Our table mates were very friendly. We all hit it off and had a very enjoyable dinner every night. We are from the US, as well as one other couple. The other couple was from Scotland. We missed the "after dinner shooters". The wait staff did not seem to know what I was talking about. When we inquired at one of the bars, they told us that was discontinued. We don't know if that is ship wide or just this market. We ordered the wine package. Halfway through the cruise some of our selections were not available. I would have thought they could stock up at the next port, but that was not the case. We had to take a few alternate choices. One evening we went to Portofino's. The food and service were excellent.Entertainment: The shows were pretty good. One night they had an Elton John impersonator. He was very good. The Ice Show was OK. A couple of nights we heard some of the performers took a few bad falls. Our night nobody fell. They also had a passenger talent show. Most of the performers were very good. We didn't see that at the last couple of cruises. It was nice to see they brought it back. We recognized the Activities Director from our previous cruise. Steve was very entertaining as was Joff the cruise director. Their morning show, although "corny", was OK. We watched it while getting ready in the morning before heading up for breakfast. Service: Service was exceptional. Everybody was always willing to please. We had no complaints.Shore Excursions: The shore excursions were too short. 4-5 hours is not a very long time to spend in port. You would no sooner get into port and take your tour, then you had to leave. If you are looking for a shopping Mecca, look elsewhere. The only port (in our opinion) that had good shopping was Madeira.Rates: The price of drinks were on the high side. Ben & Jerry's was also quite high. The shops are about what you expect. We did find some nice "bling" in the jewelry shop (better than some of the port shops).Overall: We enjoyed our trip. The few small things that were not "up to par" did not take away from the total experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
As first time cruisers we were more than impressed with all that the Independence had to offer. Our suite was very spacious with 2 double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a large living room with a sofa bed and a balcony with a table and ... Read More
As first time cruisers we were more than impressed with all that the Independence had to offer. Our suite was very spacious with 2 double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a large living room with a sofa bed and a balcony with a table and 4 chairs with 2 sun beds. Our 2 eldest children went to the Adventure Ocean club and had a fantastic time, the staff were incredible and the itinerary varied.The staff were very friendly and helpful and could not do enough to please, Kenneth the concierge deserves a special mention for all his help and advice. We all found the food to be exceptional as was the service. The only thing I would say is that some drinks are overpriced, such as bottled water at about £3, which we were drinking about 3 a day.Entertainment on board again was varied and of a good quality, there was always something to do, the only problem being there was never enough time to do it all. We are already looking at booking our next cruise and would happily go on the Indy again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was our 4th cruise but first on Royal Caribbean. We traveled with our 2 teenagers and 10 yr old. We flew from Hawaii to London 3 days before sailing, and saw the local sites. Booked transit to Southampton through a local travel agency ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise but first on Royal Caribbean. We traveled with our 2 teenagers and 10 yr old. We flew from Hawaii to London 3 days before sailing, and saw the local sites. Booked transit to Southampton through a local travel agency for a good price. The cruise before us was hit hard with norovirus so no one knew quite what to expect at embarkation as everything had been delayed a bit. As it turned out, I think we boarded maybe 2 hours later than normal without problem. Went right to the Windjammer and found a table, did the obligatory first day on board lunch with the honey stung chicken (which wasn't quite my thing after all)then set out to explore the ship. Along the way we were waylayed by a bar person with a bucket of drinks who was selling the new all inclusive drink packages. Doing the math in our heads, we quickly snatched them up- $29 per day for beer and wine for my husband, $39 for beer, wine and liquor for me. This was a smart investment, and we greatly enjoyed our "magic cards" all cruise long.The ship was *beautiful*, it was decorated wonderfully and everything was spick and span clean. The crew was hyper vigilant about the noro threat and had hand sanitizing stations at each doorway in public areas and they would ask each passenger upon entry if they had sanitized. Efforts paid off, as we had no outbreak on our cruise.We really enjoyed all of the entertainment venues- especially "Rock The Boat" singing rock n roll songs in the Pyramid lounge nightly, and Kory the piano man after hours. The main theatre shows were beautifully done, if a bit short lived. The ice show was *magnificent*, we saw "Strings" and the violinist was wonderful!Food- here is a mixed review. We found the main dining room food to be very disappointing compared to previous cruises. Menus seemed limited and seemedto repeat similar dishes nightly, the meat was over or under done each time we ate in there, the plates were not garnished and presentation greatly lacked. No complaints with the servers- just the food itself. We ate there the 3 formal nights (and were disappointed, no lobster??) but stuck to Windjammer or speciality restaurants the other nights. The Windjammer was very pleasing- with a large selection, I especially enjoyed the Jade side with its various Indian and Asian dishes. Johnny Rockets was fun, quite hat we expected... we also did the Murder Mystery Dinner in Portofino- our opinion was the show was lacking, and not worth the cost- but the company we met was great and the meat we had was the best of our cruise.Amazing filet and that tiramisu in a white chocolate cup... delicious!!!Quizzes on board varied in fun factor- some staff were wonderful at making everyone laugh and others not so much. Cruise Director Joff was wonderful- and hilarious!! We really enjoyed when he hosted events. My husband was one of the team leaders for The Quest and that was the most fun game of the cruise.Drinks were generally very well made. Coffee exceeded expectations based on former complaints. We brought 2 cases of bottled water on board with luggage tags and they made it fine- the ids enjoyed their soda packages and we sure enjoyed our alcohol packages so no complaints at all.Kids clubs- the 10 yr old LOVED hers, we dragged her away kicking an screaming nightly. The 17/18 yr old loved his- he was gone from embarkation until debarkation! The 13 yr old on the other hand-she was disappointed they did not keep the teens segregated as advertised, but instead the older and younger kids shared the living room space most of the time- she is a YOUNG 13, and to boot she didn't want to be around her 17/18 yr old brother. As a result she shied away from so many activities. I felt bad for her. She did enjoy ice skating, and ping pong, and the arcade and the free ice cream *a lot*!All in all we had a FABULOUS time, and we would not hesitate to sail Indy again!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
we sailed on the Independence on the 14th March and glad to say we had a fantastic time from start to end.The sheer size of the ship makes you think how something this big can stay afloat, there is so much to do on this cruise ship. It was ... Read More
we sailed on the Independence on the 14th March and glad to say we had a fantastic time from start to end.The sheer size of the ship makes you think how something this big can stay afloat, there is so much to do on this cruise ship. It was our first time cruising and we were a bit apprehensive being only 25 & 26 years of age of what the age groups were going to be like, we were surprised that there was a good variety of all ages on board and not just your silver surfers!The Food was my favourite as i do like to indulge when on holiday and boy could you indulge! there was so much choice in the windjammer from Asian, Indian, sushi, salads, carvery, desserts i must stop now i am getting hungry! we sat in the main dinning room King Lear on 3 of our 11 nights which was also delicious.The ship is spotlessly clean and the staff are forever cleaning and sanitizing everything! Being a personal trainer i spent a lot of time in the gym, it's a top of the range state of the art gym with state of the art cardio equipment as well as free weight dumbells going up to 80lb, they also have excellent fixed weight machines and have classes running from 7am throughout the day my only criticism is that there was little air conditioning and did get a little stuffy especially when doing cardio.I could go on for ever raving about how good the ship is but don't take my word for it, book a holiday on hear you will not be disappointed a special thanks must go out to Joff the cruise Director who was superb at his job and made us laugh so much also The Welsh Wizard Neil who was great fun and always happy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
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 2011
We cruised on Voyager last November and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. So much so that within a week of returning home we booked this Canaries Cruise in Dec 2010. Having booked the cruise we were told of this critic site and read some of ... Read More
We cruised on Voyager last November and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. So much so that within a week of returning home we booked this Canaries Cruise in Dec 2010. Having booked the cruise we were told of this critic site and read some of the reviews which nearly put us off going. However, having just returned home we cannot understand 99% of the objections. Yes, the ship is very large and has a lot of passengers but we knew that before we booked. Check in at Southampton was very quick and the staff extremely helpful. The inside cabin was very spacious with everything we could hope for at our fingertips, and if it wasn't our steward was more than happy to supply anything we needed. Because there were so many passengers, the Windjammer self service was somewhat crowded but there were several other eating places on board and we never had to wait very long. Food was excellent with plenty of choice satisfying most peoples needs. Being Diabetic I was pleased to see "Sugar Free" Deserts. Entertainment all day was very good. Joff, the cruise director had a superb sense of humour and his assistant Steve(Jimmy Osmond II) was a great partner for him. The quiz questions that they set were sometimes very dry in their humour but good fun. The ice show was superb but you have to be very early to get good seats. The main shows are a matter of personal choice but were all excellent as far as we were concerned although we did hear some complaints from other passengers, each to their own. There was always a sun lounger available near the adults pool which was used on several occasions. All facilities were excellent, cleanliness and hygiene was outstanding with hand sanitisers available everywhere. On the whole an excellent cruises, well enjoyed by us both and we are looking forward to next years 18 night cruise with eager anticipation. Well Done Royal Caribbean. WE WILL BE BACK P.S. The toast was very very hard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My husband was the lucky winner of this cruise after winning a poker tournamanet earlier this year when on the Independance of the Seas!! We had to pay for our flights to Malaga, and for taxes and gratuities....and of course we upgraded so ... Read More
My husband was the lucky winner of this cruise after winning a poker tournamanet earlier this year when on the Independance of the Seas!! We had to pay for our flights to Malaga, and for taxes and gratuities....and of course we upgraded so it started to be not as "free" as we first imagined!!! Anyway we embarked on 3/11/10......without any problems,,,,the staff as friendly as always. To be honest we were very impressed with the Adventure of The Sea and how like the Independance she was....just a little tired and worn! As ever the food was superb both in the main dining and the Windjammer. We were on a table for eight and were seated with others who had "won" places in the poker final! We were blessed with really good company and this was a great bonus to the holiday. The atmosphere onboard this ship was outstanding. This was visible in the Schooner Bar with the superb pianist who had everyone singing!!!! We joined in a few quizzes, and went to a couple of shows...always a great time. There were 28 finalists in the poker tournamanet and Pete managed 7th place aqnd a very respectable $500!!!! the casino was very kind to us- especially the roulette! Overall this was a perfect break HOWEVER...... I do feel that we should mention smoking onboard......!!! This ship stinks of smoke. There are far too many areas where people are allowed to smoke without restrictions. We are not anti-smoking and very much agree with designated smoking areas. But for us everywhere we went people were smoking ...and this should not be allowed!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We booked the Cruise fairly late, through a local trusted travel agent. Our flights, via Easy Jet were independent of the Cruise and were fine for what they were - no complaints.Upon arrival at Malaga, having collected our luggage we were ... Read More
We booked the Cruise fairly late, through a local trusted travel agent. Our flights, via Easy Jet were independent of the Cruise and were fine for what they were - no complaints.Upon arrival at Malaga, having collected our luggage we were met by two RCCL reps who directed us to the area to collect our inclusive transfer. As per usual, we did not see our luggage again until it was delivered to our State Room.We were lucky, in that the coach left the airport within 5 minutes of our boarding; however, one passenger was moaning that they had been waiting for ages. I guess that is the luck of the draw.The coach journey from the airport to the Cruise Port was approx. 20 minutes and was comfortable and uneventful.Upon arrival at the port two long lines had formed, one for those with luggage (independent travelers), the other, for those without luggage, such as us.Although appearing long, the lines moved very quickly, and within a few minutes we were within the terminal and were directed to an even shorter line, which moved even quicker to the check in staff.Be careful....the Spanish don't know the meaning of the word line, and if you give an inch, they will take a mile and push in where they can, this was experienced throughout the trip. We cant however, blame RCCL for this!As we had completed our Cruise questionnaire online and have printed the 'Sea Pass', if we were at the check in desk for longer than three minutes it was a long time. We were there just long enough for RCCL to take an imprint of my pre registered credit card, to be issued with our charge/key cards and to complete a health questionnaire.We then followed the signs and headed onto the ship via a welcome aboard photo. Being a Coke Drinker, as usual I signed up for the Soda package, which provided I had at least three soft drinks a day (which I did), worked out to be very good value.Being the 'foodie' that I am, upon embarkation we headed straight to the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11. As expected, it was busy, but again, lines moved quickly and we quickly found a table to sit at.I cant stress enough, that now having done a number of Cruises, I must say that the food served in the Windjammer was fantastic, probably, the freshest, hottest, well presented and variety that I have come across.Having fed my rotund stomach, we headed to our Room, 8226, which was port side virtually at the front with a balcony.The room was exactly as expected, being well proportioned, very clean, ample closet space, nice balcony ......in fact, no different than any other Cruise Line in size (although layout slightly different) and more than adequate. My only complaint, although again, not RCCLs fault, as we booked so late the position of this cabin was the only one available, therefore we had a long walk to get anywhere.Over the years, we have seen all Cruise lines cut back a little each year. On this Cruise we noted that no toiletries were provided except for soak and shampoo. Long gone are the days of robes and luxury toiletries being provided it would seem. The one disappointing item (which my Mrs. Wont be impressed with, with me mentioning) was that we did not receive a little chocolate on our pillow at night. When I casually enquired about this I was told that RCCL ceased this practice three years earlier.......which I'm not sure is actually the case.We had a walk around the ship. Full compliments to RCCL for what really is a beautiful vessel in excellent decorative order. The weather had a lot to be desired and therefore we were unable to make use of the Swimming Pools or Sun Decks, but they certainly matched every other ship we have been on.Although not for us, the external rock climbing wall was impressive as was the Ice Skating ring, which despite my wife's best intentions, she never actually got round to using.On a Cruise ship I normally spend half my time waiting for lifts. Strangely, on this ship the lifts were fast and we noticeably didn't have to wait long.Having Cruised with RCCL some 17 years previously, we failed to mention this when we booked. Whilst in the UK, through our travel agents RCCL acknowledged our previous cruise and therefore we were entered into the Crown and Anchor society. When on board, we identified that this had not been carried across to our room key (indication) and that no other benefits were provided. Upon visit the guest relations lady, who was more than helpful, she noted our previous cruise, applied labels to our room keys and issued us with the discount booklet and ensured we were invited to the welcome back party.The discount book was well worth having as it included discounts on the Internet packages, free drinks and discounts to onboard purchases.Having packed my laptop so that we could communicate with our Children via Skype and so that I could log into my office and check emails etc.....we purchased a 500 minute Internet Package, which, in the end was excessive which cost us $145.00 with discount from the discount book. I was disappointed that the data socket in our room did not work and we did not have Wi-Fi in our cabin. This left us using a few Wi-Fi Hotspots around the ship. RCCL - if anything, please enable the Data sockets in the cabins or provide Wi-Fi throughout!Internet Access throughout our trip, whilst not as fast as land based was more than adequate.Dinner time - we opted for first sitting at 6.45 and requested a table of 8. We got exactly what we asked for and were seated with 6 other people from the UK, all of whom were very pleasant. The choice of food would suit anyone's palette. Our Waiter was very attentive and polite, always offering his recommendation of the day having gone into great detail about each course. Equally, the assistant waiter was very efficient. On the first evening I requested a regular coke. From that moment on, every evening upon sitting down a regular coke would appear, and when that was finished, it was replaced as was my wife's water. Likewise, another member of our table had a taste for ketchup with everything, low and behold, a bottle of ketchup was by her seat each evening. The meal was three courses (most other Cruises have been 4 courses) and no petite pours afterwards (first cruise never to be offered these), but plenty of tea and coffee. Although not on the menu, I asked for Cheese and Biscuits in place of (or on occasion as well as) dessert which was forthcoming with a good selection of cheese.The Head Waiter came to our table each evening and spoke to each of us in turn ensuring that we were delivering what was expected....and it was.On three of the evenings the waiters did a song and dance routine, which was appreciated by all and were great photo opportunities.My wife and I took the opportunity of having breakfast in each of the locations offered on different days, this being the Windjammer, one of three restaurants which offered a buffet and another of the three restaurants which offered À la carte. The choice and quality of food in each was fantastic. The advantage of the A la carte menu was that I could have Kippers, a personal favorite of mine. In the end, the Windjammer was a personal favorite for variety with everything you would expect for a Full English Breakfast, to Continental Breakfast and everything in between. All served freshly, hot and tasty. As expected, an Omelet Station was also provided and there were no long lines for toast (of which there were several options available).Whilst lunch was available in one of the Dining Rooms we chose to lunch each day, except the final day in the Windjammer. For those that wanted them, they had hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza as well as full lunches with a different carvery each day with a variety of potatoes, vegetables and salads.On our last day on board we sampled Jonny Rockets which had a small surcharge for as much as you could eat. The restaurant is an American themed restaurant serving burgers, hotdogs, shakes, floats etc.....with the waiters performing a show and dancing every half an hour. Withy prior knowledge of what was on offer, due to our own dietary constraints we could not eat any of the meat products, however, everyone else was commenting on how great it all tasted.RCCL - Please note. We were very disappointed to note that unlike any other Cruise we have ever been on, the Windjammer Cafe closed each evening with no Midnight Buffet (acknowledged as being a thing of the past). Whilst a Cafe on the Promenade deck (deck 5) is open 24 hours, the only items available were slices of pizza, cakes and biscuits. I have come accustomed to visiting the 24 hour buffet, if only to look and not eat (well, I normally have something!) before bed, after all, with the first dining sitting being at 6.45 pm I can get hungry!Unusually for us, we only ordered room service once; this was for early morning coffee and tea to our room. It arrived earlier than expected, but in fairness, they telephoned us ahead to say it was on route. The Room service menu was comprehensive, although RCCL charged for room service between midnight and 05.00 - only approx $4, but still something we are not used to.The Cruise Director and his staff were excellent. There were three parades along the main 'Royal Promenade' during the Cruise which can be compared to a Disney Main Street Parade. Whilst we only attended the last one, we were told they were very enjoyable.The ship provided entertainment each evening with two shows included. Unfortunately, whilst they were to a high standard they were not to our personal liking. The shows did not have a story line as such with a few of us, despite the noise, dropping off to sleep. It is clear that when a Cruise has many non English guests, such as this Cruise had, the feasibility of having comics is unlikely and a decent proportion of the guests would not be able to understand the humor or the language. It was very interesting and important to note that during the behind the scenes tour we were told that a show lasts on a ship for up to 5 years, therefore, depending on when you travel, if you were to travel on this vessel again in the near future you would more than likely see the same entertainment, excepting guest entertainers of course.The Ice show was particularly good, repeated twice a day on each of the two sea days. However, the Ice Skaters did fall over a few times during each show! Until the end of the show it was difficult to guess what the theme of the show was...it turned out to be fashion.As expected, the onboard Orchestra was excellent as was the Pianist in the Schooner Bar and other music provided at various bars around the ship.The Bingo was well attended and presented well, unfortunately, we didn't win anything but the cash prizes were decent amounts.Being old and tired we didn't venture into the Disco.Like so many other ships, this cruise included an art auction, which is something my wife and I particularly enjoy. As usual, despite my wife holding my arm down so I couldn't bid, I won and we ended up purchasing two items of art at fantastic value. The auctioneer was excellent in his delivery and knowledge of the works of art and his team was very professional. It has to be acknowledged that the Spanish generally don't purchase art at sea and the contingent of the guests was not the type that would ordinarily purchase art. I therefore doubt that despite his best efforts if the auctioneer met his target! The free champagne was flowing at each auction.RCCL Please note - we were very disappointed with the goods sold within your on board shops. RCCL missed lots of opportunity to sell branded goods such as photo albums and RCCL branded chocolate etc... which would have made ideal gifts; unfortunately we had to purchase gifts on land. Our Cruise included two ports of call, Tenerife and Madeira, whilst a Varity of Ship Excursions were available none of them appealed to us, so we got off the ship and made our own arrangements.Disembarkation was simple and unhurried, unlike previous cruises we did not feel that we were being pushed off the ship.Value for money - In my opinion excellent value for money. Whilst know one ever pays brochure price I can tell you that the price we paid in total, which included the flights (and one suitcase each), plus transfer to and from the ship was exceptional. There was talk around the ship that some passengers paid £150.00! Each (for an inside cabin)...if true, £150.00 for a 5 night inclusive cruise is unbelievable. Whilst I am not crying for RCCL, even with the quantity of scales involved (over 3000 passengers and 1,200 crew) it is difficult to see how RCCL made any money, maybe this is why the little things that I have picked up on that we expected and weren't in place, were indeed, not included. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We found boarding the ship at Southampton speedy and efficient. This only took 15 mins and was helped by plenty of very friendly staff who gave clear directions. Having never sailed with Royal Caribbean before, we felt that the ... Read More
We found boarding the ship at Southampton speedy and efficient. This only took 15 mins and was helped by plenty of very friendly staff who gave clear directions. Having never sailed with Royal Caribbean before, we felt that the ship itself certainly has the 'wow' factor. The public areas were bright, gleaming and well designed. Our cabin was on Deck 7 and had a balcony, which was large enough for 2 chairs and a small table. The cabin was airy and spacious compared to other cruise lines we have sailed with. The beds were large and very comfortable, there was plenty of wardrobe space, storage for luggage and the cabin was well sound proved. The bathroom was perfectly adequate and the shower was powerful.Our cabin steward was exceptional and nothing was too much trouble for her. We ordered room service several times and I would definitely recommend it, although it did have a slightly limited menu. The food in the main restaurants were excellent, as were the waiting staff. Each evening there was a varied choice and the waiters were happy to make amendments, or bring extra gravy, etc. We ate in Portofino's, one of the speciality restaurants, which was outstanding and one of the nicest meals we have ever had. We ate lunch occasionally in the Windjammer, buffet style restaurant; the standard of food was always very good. The downside was that it was always very busy and difficult to get a table at peak times. The theatre was large and we always managed to find a seat. The shows were very entertaining, catering for all different tastes. Our favourite was the Ice Show which was spectacular and a definite 'must see'. There were plenty of things to do and this ship is perfect for families, especially those with teenagers. The Flow rider, Climbing wall, and the things to do on the outside decks are perfect for good weather, but for our itinerary and more importantly the time of year we did not use them. The ship would work better in the summer months, and was maybe not the right choice for a winter cruise from Southampton. We had 3 days at sea (missing out on Madeira) due to bad weather. The pools had to be drained as the Capt confirmed we had waves over 50ft high. We only took one excursion - from Vigo. We thought the price to be comparable to other cruise lines. We enjoyed the trip, although it was not well organised. We were late leaving the ship as the meeting point was incorrect on the ticket and then we had to go back to the ship as we had left 6 people behind. The only minus points were the price of the drinks, which were expensive and the lack of seating in the bar/public areas. We were second seating for dinner and afterwards found it very difficult to find a seat in any of the bars. This appeared to be confirmed by other guest. Overall we had a very enjoyable holiday and I would definitely recommend this ship. The customer service was fantastic and all the staff were professional, friendly and very keen for us to 'join the Royal Caribean Family'. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
we embarked the adventure of the seas at approx 10.30 am on 13th november. i found the process very efficient and fast as we had already printed our sea pass.within 10 mins we aboard and exploring this beautiful ship.it is very beautiful ... Read More
we embarked the adventure of the seas at approx 10.30 am on 13th november. i found the process very efficient and fast as we had already printed our sea pass.within 10 mins we aboard and exploring this beautiful ship.it is very beautiful and well looked after.the cabin was a standard inside but was more than adequate with a large bed,very comfortable, and small sitting area. the storage was more than adequate and well thought out.it was well cared for by our efficient and helpful attendant meryleena,thank you. i queued for approx 15 mins to have our dining time and restaurant altered, we travelled with another 2 couples. this was done with great efficiency by a very helpful australian girl. the main dining room was lovely and our waiters daniel and ephraim were helpful and entertaining during the trip.the food was good and well presented. we had room service for breakfast the two days in port as the island restaurant could be jam packed at times with difficulty in getting a table. romm service breakfast was lovely. the food in the island restaurant was lovely with lots o choice ,especially the desserts as my expanded waistline will testify. we enjoyed the schooner bar in the evening but get there early as seats are limited,the ice show was great and i enjoyed the casino. the only critisism was the price of drinks with the house wine at six dollars a glass plus tax and gratuities but with what i paid for the cruise i was very happy. this was my first cruise with rci but i hope not the last Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Hotel Info We chose to stay at The DeVere Grand Harbour Hotel before sailing - found it easy for carparking - we did not book this with RCCL though. Ship Info All I can say is wow! This ship really does have the wow factor. ... Read More
Hotel Info We chose to stay at The DeVere Grand Harbour Hotel before sailing - found it easy for carparking - we did not book this with RCCL though. Ship Info All I can say is wow! This ship really does have the wow factor. The Royal Promenade looks like something out of a new shopping centre! For smokers there are a number of locations to choose from; There is the open deck on decks 4, 11 and 12; The Labyrinth (night club on deck 4) and Connoisseur Club on deck 5 as well as your balcony if you have one. Activities There was always a lot going on - check your cruise compass every day to make sure you don't miss anything! Steve the activity's manager was a little to "PG" for our liking - some of the game shows (starting after 10) had children in them so some of the fun was lost. Make sure you don't miss "The Quest" and "The love and marriage" game shows. Service In one word - Fantastic! I have to mention a 2 people here. 1. G (Gunwan) who was the bar man in The Connoisseur Club - the best service I have ever had anywhere in the world ever! 2. Stephanie one of the photographers - Took some amazing photos and we had a lot of fun. All the crew I spoke to were amazing! Port & Shore Excursions This is one of few bad comments I have. We booked an excursion in Madeira which was advertised has having 40 - 50 steps. It had over 300! We were still able to take the tour but a few people on our bus weren't - My advised is if you must book an excursion just double check the number of steps with them before you book. Stateroom Our stateroom was more spacious that I expected. It was always clean and our cabin attendant always made the animals our of towels. Dining We only ate in the main dining room a few times - not because it was bad but because we were a little full from lunch! The food quality was good but isn't as good as it was a few years ago. Chops Grill I recommend but be sure not to eat for a day before had - the steaks they do are massive! Make sure you have room for the chocolate mud cake - I'd pay $25 just to eat that! The Windjammer or as some of our fellow guests called in the people jammer also offered good food. The only complaint I have is that the order in which the food is placed in - i.e battered fish on one stand and the chips and mussy peas on another. Also the food was sometimes incorrectly labeled. Entertainment Mixed. Some of the guest entertainers were amazing - some were average. One of the "comedians" was just not funny! The production shows with the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers were fantastic. The Ice show was not to our liking - we had to que for around an hour one morning to get tickets and we ended up walking out part way through as we found the show repetitive and the skaters did fall a lot. Some other guests did enjoy the show a lot though. Disembarkation Seamed organised enough although a lot earlier than previous cruises I have done. We were in the last group to leave and did so at 09.15. There was a long que at customs. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We travelled as a party of 4 for the first time with Royal Caribbean just before Christmas. It was a wonderful experience, from check in to departure our every need was met. We were very spoilt by all the lovely staff especially our Cabin ... Read More
We travelled as a party of 4 for the first time with Royal Caribbean just before Christmas. It was a wonderful experience, from check in to departure our every need was met. We were very spoilt by all the lovely staff especially our Cabin steward Agus who kept our cabin spotless and our waiters Ivan and Angel who kept us well fed . The food was lovely whether you ate in the buffet restaurant or main dining. The evening shows were fabulous especially Kev the Armenian he made us laugh until we cried. There was something for everyone the gym was excellent very well equipped (i undertook a little light exercise, well i was on holiday). It was lovely to have all the little cafes and shops on the Royal Promenade you. would never know you were at sea Unfortunately the weather was not great travelling to the Canaries so was unable to make use of the beautiful pools and Jacuzzi on top deck (well it was late November early December) I would definitely travel again with Royal Caribbean, and i would urge anyone to try it once but be careful it's addictive... Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Hi folks,I had high expectations of going on this cruise ship and i wasn't dissapointed!I had booked it over a year previously and i plenty of time for research and to avoid the pitfalls that all first-time cruiser's dread!like a ... Read More
Hi folks,I had high expectations of going on this cruise ship and i wasn't dissapointed!I had booked it over a year previously and i plenty of time for research and to avoid the pitfalls that all first-time cruiser's dread!like a huge on board spend bill and getting ripped off !haha but no such event occured so breath in and relax!It's all good in the world of R.C.C.I!We flew Air Lingus from Gatwick,U.K(a change from B.A,heathrow we felt was warranted by the strikes,etc)a nice flight,met a nice chap at the airport bus depot who had cruised before and whom we met on board afterwards,one face we felt familiar with after 2o mins.on the plane some lovely welch girls who were cruise addicts and all going on Adventure so we were getting excited.the sun shone and we had arrived at Malaga,Spain.A quick ten minute or so coach trip later and we were in Malaga's Cruise terminal where Adventure greeted us towering above us,a white bemoth of windows and Lifeboat's.It really needs to be seen to be believed.In the reception area were a few curiously dressed 'party girls'(Blokes!)who turned out to be entertainer's and set the theme for the many Spanish guests who were obviously of a differnt persuasion,shall we say,from my wife and I.No problem,we just joined the throng,had our pictures taken for the i.d cards and on we went,aboard at last.we went straight up to our cabin,a small but perfectly formed mini-masterpiece of design,bed,t.v couch and shower etc,no window but i had taken the truoble of a few on-line spice-up's in the form of the 'bon voyage!' banner,balloon,door poster and a champagne-on ice chocolate strawbs,well worth the money and a nice touch to jazz it up a little.the room service was fantastic,very prompt,nice food,presented perfectly and all free!(before midnight-05.00).We had just got our bearing's when it was time for the 'Muster station's call' which meant a shuffle for all to the lifeboat station assigned to our room,sorry cabin!this excercise was mainly treated by a joke by the guests so we went along ,the only two wearing our life jackets!D'oh!thank the good Lord that we didn't have to use them!We had opted to pay our on-board spends in cash(dollars)rather than by card a facility our travel-agents were suprized we were able to do.we felt this was better than running up a tab we might not be able to pay for!In the end i have to say the prices were a little inflated but we spent #530 dollars all told.We were not big drinker's and that included 2 coach trips we booked from our room on the T.V!Cruising doesn't have to break the bank if your carefull.We had booked my-time dining and being naive i had booked a variety of times for our 'slot'.it was obvious that these were all in the wrong time either too early or late to get a show,or film etc.We found the nice young ladies at the Dinner booking booth very helpfull to change our times with no fuss.The first few days were Smart Casual then the feared 'formal night'was on us.In the end it was a great experience to be in our best and the whole crew and guest's gleaming from Bow to Stern.Our table was a 2-person all week as my wife felt a little uncomfortable sharing a table with peopleshe didn't know!this is meant to to be the point but i wasn't going to make a thing of it,after getting her this far from home!The food and choice on adventure was fantastic!the waiter's and waitresses do a fantastic job,bearing in mind the numbers involved.ten/ten here for the service.you will be impressed with the freindly staff who no doubt are seeking that tip but who treated us with dignity and respect at all time's.We met a young chap from Brazil in the dog and duck pub onboard,charming.The cocktail waiter from Jamaica,Dean equally charming.These guys are having a blast,working the ships and travelling they will make your trip special by making you feel special,thanks R.C.C.I for introducing us to some nice people from all around the world,that what makes a cruise so personal!The business side of things on the promenade was omni-present,the sales promotion's etc but on the whole the atmosphere is nice and relaxed.We caught the ice-show one evening,apart froma couple of slips(this was on a ship!)the show was amazingThe juggler and hoop show we had seen in the Lyric theatre earlier was first class!I enjoyed the Spanish lessons that repeated all the announcement's and we met all nationalities on-board,those gay Spanish chap's seem to congregate in the whirl-pools and i even braved that for a posed Motorcycle news reader meets Spanish men at sea stunt,much to wife's amusement.the guys were nice really,just looked a little different!Weather on this trip wasn't great,mostly overcast and few sunny skies but we hardly noticed as we zoomed up and down in the greast glass lifts,rushing here ,going there just loving the ship and the fantastic experiences on offer.the wind jammer cafe was a nice big motorway service station of free food!whilst cakes and snack's could all be found on deck 5,whre tea and coffee mixed with soft drink's were free to enjoy at will.one day we were still in our room when my wife strangely began to slide down the bed!this turned out to be a technical problem with one of the ship's stabalizer's!the ship had leaned right over with no warning!a quick look out of the cabin allayed my initial fear that we were going to become some horrible 'Titanic' like nightmare,disconcerting you must agree.No future problems here so that's a relief.Tenerife and maderia came and went in a blur of trips and experience's i will add later and before we knew it it was the last night on board-party night where all the crew sang,danced and waved us off to our home shore's making us all a little sad that it was over but giving us hope for new beginning's now that our Cruise virgin's tag has gone,REGARDS TO ALL HAPPY Cruising,Roger T Bikerboy32 Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We were a family of five which included 16, 13 & 11 year old children. First things first, the cleanliness.... if the NHS had RCI staff to clean, MRSA and such like would be irradicated within days. I have never experienced such ... Read More
We were a family of five which included 16, 13 & 11 year old children. First things first, the cleanliness.... if the NHS had RCI staff to clean, MRSA and such like would be irradicated within days. I have never experienced such obsession with hygiene. We had antibac gel dispensers at every turn, the staff wore gloves continually, the handrails and other surfaces were constantly being cleaned with sanitising spray, and the amount of glass and chrome onboard, and we never saw one finger print. Even the lift buttons were covered in a blue plastic film which was replaced each day to prevent germs, along with carpets being cleaned, and we even had a notice to say we should keep our balcony doors locked one day as they were going to be carrying out a "deep clean and sanitisation" of the balconies. Rooms were cleaned at least twice a day, and this attention to cleanliness really spoke highly of the care that they take of their passengers health and wellbeing. The staff were fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble, there was always a smile, and hello at least and that was from staff who were engine room mechanics, bar staff, waiters, etc could not do enough for you. We loved them, and Lenor who cleaned our room was an angel, along with James at customer relations, and Pablo in the photography shop. Food...well we found that the formal dining room was too stuffy for the kids taste, so we spent our meal times at the Windjammer. Yes it was busy at peak times, but never any longer than 5 mins to get a seat. The food was lovely, although quite basic, but you didnt have to eat chips every night to get a meal, there was plenty of choice, but watch ot for the greedy ones, you would be suprised how much food you can fit on a plate before it topples, and this was one thing that infuriated me, GREED, I cant bare it. Drinks....we ordered a 12 bottle wine package before we went but only drank 4 on board but they gave us the other 8 to take home so no complaints, but for us personally I wouldn't buy this again as it would have been cheaper to buy the odd glass. In an evening we would have a couple of drinks in the bar, and these ranged from $4.95 for an ameretto and coke to $7.95 for a cocktail, but as we only had a couple each it wasnt that expensive overall, besides the size of the shots you didnt need many to knock you out!! lol. Soft drinks package... worth its weight in gold!! For us it was fantastic value for money and would highly recommend it to anyone with kids. Stateroom....Immaculate! We had a balcony, and would not choose to do anything other than this. We heard people grumbling that they saw no point in "paying extra for a balcony" and thats fine, but our kids had an interior room, and we hated it. I felt instantly claustraphobic with no windows, and you had no way of knowing if it was day or night, sunny or raining until you got on deck, and besides, the sight of dolphins, and the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets were priceless to us, as was the luxury of going to our room and sunbathing in our own space when the deck chairs were full on deck. Kids club.....if you have kids then they will LOVE these. My daughter was very tongue in cheek when we booked and told her about these, typical "i'm too old for kids clubs" but she made great friends with all the kids as did the other two and they had an amazing holiday in their words, and cried when they said goodbye. Pre-paid gratuaties.....never again for us. We never saw the same waiter twice and felt quite agreived that we had pre paid £69 each person (over £350 in all) for services that we never received. We have decided next time that we will pay the room attendant and then each staff member that we met individually as it seemed a shame that those that we had received service from never got a tip. Excursions....mmmm, mixed bag. Highlight tour for us was fire mountain and camel ride at lanzarote, and a close second was the cable car and toboggans at madeira, although the cable car was terryfying!! We also booked easy gran canaria, which was anything but! Easy as in sitting on a coach and get off for 10 mins at a time for a toilet stop and nothing else as we were told, but for us, it was full of the (P*ss and blue rinse brigade) as we called them. No disrespect, but this age group fast became the holiday group from hell. The ship was full of them. They were ignorant, had no manners, couldnt hold their bowel movements and thought nothing of shoving in front of you, pushing you out the way, passing wind at every oportunity,and stunk from not showering from one day to the next. On a coach this is not funny and they didnt want the air con on as they were "getting too cold" so we spent the day with our noses in jumpers, spraying deodorant and being shoved off the bus and pushed in front of in the queues, and red hot. If you are alive and have a pulse, go for something else, avoid this trip! Ports....shame the stops were so short General overview for us....we wouldnt cruise from southampton again without stopping sooner as it seemed a long haul from saturday afternoon to monday lunchtime with no escape, but in fainess the weather was poor and you couldn't even sit outside but the ship was great. The above mentioned P*ss and blue rinse brigade...the holiday makers from hell. It seemed funny that people walked on yet within a couple of days our corridor was like the parking lot for IOTS whhelchairs and scooters. I think that they had switched on to the fact that the theatre had a "wheelchair users only" area and this therefore guaranteed them a seat. They also had a bad attitude when it came to driving the piggin things. My son has come home with whacking bruises where some old codger of a man with manners that stretched as far as "MOVE" rammed his legs and as couple of other peoples. They seemed hell bent on shoving in front of the que in the lifts, and and far as able bodied elderly go, well they were worse. Shoving and pushing and on more than a couple of occassions we were queing for food and the oldies just walked to the front and over filled their plates without a hint of apology or awareness for those of us queing. One lady said to me, I dont know why I bother to teach my children manners, cause they obviously dont need them on here! Can i add though, that we also met a couple of amazing oldies, who were kind, considerate and had manners, and helped us to restore our faith in OAPs, and by no means was everyone rude and thought the world owed them a living. Must dos....Ice show, amazing, chocolate fudge cookies from the promenade cafe at 4ish in the afternoon with a cup of tea, breakfast room service, massage on port day special. $99 for head, neck, foot, ankle massage and facial, midnight buffet, soda package, and if likely to use windjammer lots, dont pre pay your gratuaties. Tips...wait till nearly last night of cruise and they bring out $10 & $15 watches, pashminas?, and other bits which are great for everyday wear or gifts to take back, cigarettes..I smoke silk cut and these work out to £1 pack! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Parking was not included as part of the cruise fare and so we had to book parking separately from www.abparking.co.uk . We booked shuttle parking, which means you park within the dock area and a shuttle transports you and your luggage from ... Read More
Parking was not included as part of the cruise fare and so we had to book parking separately from www.abparking.co.uk . We booked shuttle parking, which means you park within the dock area and a shuttle transports you and your luggage from the car park to the terminal. The terminal is about 3 minutes drive from the car park. Your luggage is carried in a trailer towed by the shuttle bus. The shuttle buses take about 10 people at a time. Although a boarding time of 1345 was shown on our travel document, we arrived at the car park at 1130 and after 30 minutes we were having a meal in the Windjammer cafe. You are issued with a SeaPass card on production of your credit card. You use the SeaPass card for all payments on board, and to disembark / embark at ports. Once the document checks were completed we went through the xray scanner and then on to the ship. We were directed to the Windjammer cafe for meals. The Windjammer was jam packed. It seems that most people, like us, turned up earlier than the allocated boarding time. We were able to get a table within a couple of minutes of searching for one. No one seems to check whether you are boarding at the allocated time. It is a magnificent ship and it was spotlessly clean. The staff were all polite and helpful. We had the first sitting for all our meals in the Romeo & Juliet dining room on deck 3. The first dinner sitting is from 6.00 to 6.30 but there are always some people who still stroll in at 7.00 or later, which is inconsiderate when you are sharing a table with others. It also disrupts the service provided by the waiters. The second dinner seating is from 8.00 to 8.30. During the first and second seating for dinner you sit at the same table, with the same people and have the same waiter and assistant waiter. You don't have to eat here every night . If you want a change you can go to the Windjammer cafe (included in the fare) for a buffet or other restaurants for a nominal cover charge. You can have lunch on one of the dining rooms where you could be seated on any table with other passengers. We chose to have lunch in the Windjammer cafe where you can sit anywhere if there is a vacant table. There is a vast selection of food to suit all tastes. We enjoyed the food in the dining rooms in the evenings and the Windjammer cafe for breakfast and lunch, and never felt the need to go to one of the other speciality restaurants. The Jade and Windjammer cafe are buffet restaurants where you help yourself to what you fancy. There will always be people with eyes bigger than their stomachs, who load their plates and waste food whenever they come across serve yourself restaurants. The Jade is a part of the Windjammer cafe where you get Asian/Oriental dishes Three of the speciality restaurants require a nominal charge (gratuities included in the charge) per person and you have to make a booking. Speciality restaurants: Portofino - Italian - US$20 per person Chops Grille - Steaks - US$25 per person Johnny Rockets - Burgers, fries, milkshakes - US$4.95 per person Seating can be a problem in the Windjammer cafe which is buffet restaurant. Most people stay up late at night and get up later in the morning. Therefore it would be very crowded and would be difficult to find seating for breakfast around 9.00 am or later when most people turn up for breakfast. We avoided this by going to the Windjammer around 7.30 am when there would be very few people for breakfast most tables were empty. We also had early lunch around noon in order to avoid the crowds Even though there were over 4000 people on board we never had more than one or two people in front of us at any of the buffet counters in the Windjammer. The service in the main dining rooms was excellent and the staff in the Windjammer cafe were all polite and helpful. We were disappointed by the fact that coffee was not provided in the staterooms. Only tea , milk and sugar was available in the staterooms. If you want free coffee you have to go to deck 5 where it is available in Sorrentos, Cafe Promenade and in the Casino. Tea and chocolate is also available here. If you want cappuccino, latte or other drinks you will have to pay for them. Seating is limited but you can use plastic cups to collect your takeaway tea , coffee, chocolate and hot water. The entertainment on board mostly ranged form good to excellent, although we did not care for the magician with his pack of cards on the last night. The ice show was excellent. You will have to collect free tickets for the ice show. The day on which you can collect tickets will be announced and the show is repeated several times during the cruise. When you turn up to collect the tickets you will have to indicate the day (and time) you want to see the show. The Alhambra theatre has 1350 seats which means you will not be able to see a show unless you get there early. As we were on first sitting for dinner, we would finish dinner around 7.30 pm. As the shows start at 9 pm we would get to our seats by 8.20 pm and people watch until the start of the show. There are many entertainment venues on board but we only went to the Alhambra theatre. We avoided all the photographers on board who seem to pop up at every opportunity. I would not be surprised if RCCL make more money on photos than on all the other merchandise sold on board. It would seem that some families spend a small fortune on photos. Towards the latter part of the cruise some passengers seem to be suffering from photo overdose or photo fatigue, and refuse the to pose for the soliciting photographers on board. We never went on any of the ships's excursions. We preferred to walk into the town when it was possible. The ship had shuttles to take passengers to the nearest town/shopping area in Madeira and Lanzarote. The fee was US$6 per person each way. Shuttle transport was available in Madeira and Lanzarote. A couple could pay US$24 (£16) for a 20-30 minute walk into town. We chose to walk in Funchal (Maderia) and it took 30 minutes to get into the main shopping area. Half the time you were walking on a 3 feet wide raise pavement along a busy road. Just image hundreds of cruise passengers along this narrow pavement . Fortunately it was one way traffic as it was only the cruise passengers walking from the dockside to the town. In Tenerfie, Gran Canaria and Vigo you could walk into town in about 10-15 minutes. The worst outlook from the ship is at Lanzarote. Not a pretty view like the other ports on this trip. Some people tried to walk into town at Lanzarote and gave up part way because of the distance and the grotty surroundings. This is one place to consider the shuttle or a local taxi. We prepaid the gratuities when we booked. The amount is US$9.75 per person per day based on $3.50 for room attendant, £3.50 Waiter, $2.00 Asst Waiter, $ 0.75 Head Waiter. The head waiter oversees a large number of table but he doe not do the serving or clearing, hence the lower rate. On the day before the cruise ends, 4 envelopes and vouchers are provided in your stateroom. The envelopes are addressed to the Stateroom Attendant, Head Waiter and Assistant Waiter. Each person in the stateroom who has prepaid the gratuities receives the vouchers in the form of an A4 sheet of paper from which you cut out the 4 printed vouchers addressed to each of the job functions.(no names) . After dinner on the last evening you hand out the envelopes containing the vouchers to the relevant individuals. If you so desire. you can put cash in the envelopes in addition to the vouchers. Prepaid gratuities is optional for Traditional Dining (same table and same waiters) but My Time Dining requires payment of gratuities at the time of booking your cruise. My Time Dining means you turn up at the time you want to eat at a particular section of the dining rooms, but pre-booking your table for the time you want to eat is recommended. We wondered if we made the right decision by booking a cruise on such as large ship as particularly with regard to over-crowding. Overcrowding was not a problem except if you went to the Windjammer cafe, (buffet dining), at the "wrong" time for meals , or to the Royal Promenade (deck 5) on parade nights or for the Captain's cocktails. We were always early for the Windjammer and never had a problem, but due to the overcrowding we missed out on the parades and the cocktails. Nonetheless we had a great cruise. Arrangement for disembarkation went with military precision. We got of the ship at the nominated time, and within 30 minutes of leaving the ship we had collected our luggage and we were dropped off by shuttle at the car park. The formalities involved in cruising from Southampton is like a dose of salts compared to airport formalities. Ports visited: Madeira, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Vigo Warning 1 Check you invoice which is delivered to you room on the last morning of your cruise. You can see your account on the television in your room. I was happy with what was shown on the screen on the afternoon prior to disembarkation day.. When I received the invoice the following morning I saw a charge of US$20. for pool towel. My wife and I have never used the pools or the deckchairs, and we have never let our SeaPass cards out of our possession. An item can only be charged to your account when a SeaPass card is presented. When I went to reception to make a complaint I was told that the matter will be sorted out and the charge would be removed. No apology for this error. I was not given a revised invoice. I will wait to see what is shown on my credit card statement. As there were only 5 charges on our account it was easy to spot. Some people who consume a lot of drinks and buy a lot of present may have a very long list of times on their SeaPass statement and may miss a charge that they did not incur. Warning 2 I attended a fitness seminar where the subject of detoxification for good health was presented . No one offers a free health seminar without trying to sell you a product. A herbal bath product for detoxification was promoted, and I was told that it would be cheaper on board than buying it on line. The product is Elemis Cellutox Herbal Bath Synergy. I bought 2 packets with 10 sachets in each packet. The cost of each packet of 10 sachets was US$176 or £117.33 when using an exchange rate of £1=$1.50. When I returned home I went to the website for Elemis and found that the same product was available at £52 in the UK , less than half of what I paid on board. I have emailed Royal Caribbean using the website form about this. I bought the product because I was told that it was cheaper on board. The product I bought is a British product from a British company (Elemis). You can buy the product from www.timetospa.co.uk for £52 and also from Amazon UK or Debenhams. Other websites charge lower prices. In effect RCCL is selling a british product to the British and charging what the Americans would be in the USA. In fact the timetospa US website sells them for the same price as I was charged on board. I think it is an unethical practice to say that it is cheaper to buy on board than online, particularly as most of the passengers on board were British. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We knew she was big. Nothing could have prepared us for the size of what was, at the time, the biggest cruise ship in the world. As we drove up to Southampton port we were just blown away with the size of this stunning ship in front of us. ... Read More
We knew she was big. Nothing could have prepared us for the size of what was, at the time, the biggest cruise ship in the world. As we drove up to Southampton port we were just blown away with the size of this stunning ship in front of us. Such a massive ship would bring to mind long queues to get onboard but this was not the case. In no time at all I'd moved my dear old lady friend, in her wheelchair, through the formalities and we were standing in the foyer of the most fabulous, brand-new, foyer of Independence of the Seas. To say we were gobsmacked would be an understatement. This was my second cruise and the first for my friend. We were stopped in our tracks at the opulence, the colour and sparkle of it all. Our luggage came to the delightful cabin quite quickly and we were out exploring in no time, only interupted by the practice 'safety drills' which was well organised and not too intrusive of our rather excited early hours on the ship. What an experience. We were just so elated to be on this floating hotel where we savoured divine meals in the copious restaurants; Wind Jammer was open any time of day or night and always full with people choosing from hundreds of choices in huge, delightful smorgasboard of hot and cold collations. Our evening more formal dining was at a table for six, so we met two other friendly couples as we sat beside a window and had the most efficient serving staff. Every day we had something different to do and with eleven nights and twelve days ahead of us we set about making sure we got the best out of all on offer for this inaugural cruise to the Canary Islands. We appreciated the evening newsletter which appeared on our beds each night after our house-attendant had turned down our beds and made us a surprise towel sculpture. It gave us time to plan for the next day and not to miss the best of the huge amount of activities, lectures, trips for the next day. Our shore excursions were easy to book, tickets arrived on time and we saw lots of places in Madiera, Teneriffe, Lanzarote, Lisbon and Vigo. We didn't go rock-climbing, wave-riding, golfing or tennis but we did attend food sculpture, table-serviette folding and spent indulgent time in the beauty spas. Heavenly. My 80's friend had always wanted to cruise but could never find anyone to go with her. She was in a wheelchair but I have to say access was excellent. As it was early days for the ship we told an official that the lift doors tried to close too quickly for wheelchair access. This was attended to and like the incident with our flat tyre, it was fixed and we got a report to say so. My only quibble is with the gratuity/tipping edict system. I don't like being told what to give, I rather like deciding the amount and to whom I give it. To overcome this - as with the other two couples at our table - we put a sum of British pounds into an envelope and asked the head waiter to share it around the staff. Independence of the Seas was on its first voyage to the Canary Islands, the staff were so well presented, with keen and energetic enthusiasm for their work. I hope they continue to assist and share their cruise as well as they did on this first trip. Certainly the ports we visited gave us the most amazing welcomes as it had not been there before thousands were keen to welcome it along the shore and specialty groups beside the ship when we walked down onto the port. We were given souviners and music and dancing abounded. Super memory. So, if you like the idea of cruising in the most wonderfully presented cruise ship, like waking up in a new port each morning, appreciate divine cuisine and relaxing outdoors or in - choose a Royal Caribbean cruise. My mind slips back to the most fantastic holiday on Independence of the Seas, my life was enhanced by sharing this most wonderful cruising experience with my very special friend. We thought everything about it was value for money, food, activities, interesting destinations, shopping, casual cafe time (what a picture the tiny cakes and savouries!!) with plenty of options everyday. The ice show was the best show I have ever seen, on land or sea. I won the main prize on day one's welcome aboard party which got it all off to a great start. Go well - Independent of the Seas. Please may I join you again sometime? Sure thing! Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
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