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66 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

Boarding on 4th April was delayed as the ship needed to be deep cleaned following an outbreak of norovirus on the cruise before. We were advised of this in an email approx 4 days before departure, which was fine.We were very pleased to be ... Read More
Boarding on 4th April was delayed as the ship needed to be deep cleaned following an outbreak of norovirus on the cruise before. We were advised of this in an email approx 4 days before departure, which was fine.We were very pleased to be presented with our 'Diamond' status certificate by the cabin attendant on the first day. The formal acknowledgement was appreciated. Its a shame that was pretty much the only time our Diamond status was acknowledged.The ship sailed with 4,200 passengers, 700 of which were children - which I was surprised at as I has chosen the sailing prior to the Easter break - but I didnt realise that Scottish schools broke up early - oh well, we all live and learn ! Actually we were not troubled too much by the children, although the teenagers got a little bored towards the end of the cruise and were a pain in the lifts (pressing every button before exiting etc).The staff were constantly cleaning the ships public areas, which was great to see. All the public toilets and public areas were always spotless.Joff, the Cruise Director, who left the ship at the end of the cruise, was brilliant - multi talented and very funny. I hope he was only going on a well earned break and not leaving for good.The food was pretty good in the main dining restaurant, with a good choice and chicken, fish and steak as a standby if you didnt fancy anything on the menu. The Windjammer was just constantly too busy, with seats difficult to find, even outside 'normal dining times. An irritating recorded announcement reminded you to get out as soon as you had eaten...a necessary evil, I suppose, but irritating none the less.I was particularly annoyed at travelling on a state of the art cruise ship with a capt who refused to deploy the stabilizers - regardless of the weather / sea. Now dont get me wrong - hubby and I love bumpy seas - but on the outbound journey the Bay of Biscay was a little rough and a number of people we spoke to had been quite sea sick. I spoke to a number of staff members who told me (I am not sure if it is true, but it sounds feasible) that the Capt gets a bonus if he saves fuel - and stabilizers use more fuel!! A number of members of staff confirmed that the capt had not deployed the stabilizers whilst they had been on board - which I find completely unacceptable. A disgraceful cost cutting exercise, which is false economy as it means less people will cruise in the future. Sham on you RCI and shame on the capt.On departure, 'Top Tier' members were supposed to have continental breakfast served in a separate lounge, we we had used before and enjoyed. On arrival they was just some lukewarm coffee and no pastries. When I queried this with a member of staff, he said it was a 'last minute decision not to serve pastries, to avoid cross contamination' What a load of rubbish !! WE WERE GETTING OFF - where would the cross contamination have come in ???Yet another cost cutting exercise by RCI.Not once did the 'Loyalty Manager' make contact with us, or even a couple who were Diamond Plus with 37 cruises with RCI under their belt - they, nor we, were at all impressed.Previously when sailing with IOTS we were invited to a senior officers breakfast, where we all sat with various officers for breakfast - but none of that. Just one short 'Top Tier' meeting, were the Loyalty Manager gave us a hard sell on the next cruise and thanked us for being on board on behalf of the capt who couldn't be bothered to speak to anyone or say anything over the mike.Overall, we were disappointed as we saw so much cost cutting based on our experiences on previous cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
More than 2 hours to check in due to Norovirus clean - not good.Too many Rude/drunk passengers & Kids.Beer/wine.spirit packages lasted all of 2 prior cruises starting mid march 2011 because when I "finally" got to check in I ... Read More
More than 2 hours to check in due to Norovirus clean - not good.Too many Rude/drunk passengers & Kids.Beer/wine.spirit packages lasted all of 2 prior cruises starting mid march 2011 because when I "finally" got to check in I was told to arrange my Beer package at any Bar on the Ship & when I got to the Bars was told it was a "Trial" and was now not available ?? & there was NO alternative. Not Happy.The Drink prices were outrageous £4.60 for a pint (of watered down Lager)and £3.70 for a 330ml bottle of Becks,peroni,stella.Wine was £6.61 a GLASS and bottles were £23 & upwards,so how Some of the Scots got so drunk must mean they must be Rich or Lightwieghts.R.C. lost out as I modified my drinking on board & spent more time/money ashore on local CHEAP drinks & "smuggled" plenty of Hootch on board.Ship itself is great,Balcony rooms are bigger than most & very comfy,room service was fine if a bit slow at times & the food generally was good.Windjammer is a "No Go" area & would reccommend using the Restuarants on deck 3 & 4 for breakfast & Lunch. Waiter service top notch as was our Cabin Guy.Paper cups & wood stirrers in room for making tea (no coffee) were Naff so we kept our Room service china cups,spoons in the room.Too many (Scot) Kids unattended, using lifts as entertainment,running about everywhere while the parents were elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
One knew as soon as one saw the queue at Soton to Board this ship, that one had to keep an open mind. I was not disappointed in my early assessment of my fellow passengers when without warning I was asked if wigan were playing Blackpool or ... Read More
One knew as soon as one saw the queue at Soton to Board this ship, that one had to keep an open mind. I was not disappointed in my early assessment of my fellow passengers when without warning I was asked if wigan were playing Blackpool or birmingham. After a moment of awkward silence "my new best friend" decided I was not going to kill the next hour talking football and proceeded to ask his wife what she had packed for him for the cruise. Eventually we were aboard and heading for deck 10 and our cabin, I have to say that the cabin itself was of a high standard with a balcony(although not cleaned) that was indeed very impressive for size, the TV looked like a minature cinema screen and the sofa although tired was adequate for the kids to kip on.there was a dining table with four chairs and the bathroom was well appointed with unbelievably a bidet, so 1970s. We decide to have a look round the ship and headed off the spa to see if it was going to be somewhere where we would spend some time,the answer exuse the pun hit us as soon as we entered the place, a full size boxing ring, no pool, no jacuzzis just row upon row of battery hen like running machines and a boxing ring, I never set foot in the place again. The restaurants were quite good but My time dining meant anything but.... one had to book a day or so in advance. The following morning we discovered whipsnade Zoo, others called it windjammers cafe either way it was jaw droppingly horrible with loads of people from the same family Rooney, terry, and van persie's jostling for position around the egg frying dept.This readers, is where the "Golden ticket" came into it's own, there was sanctuary in the concierge room, with a decent coffee making machine and snacks. only pax with grand suite and above were lucky enough to have a golden ticket, and it was worth it's weight in gold for the little things it afforded the holder, reserved seating in the theatre was one advantage along with a concierge who could get things done without having to queue downstairs at customer relations, I have to say though that the reserved seating on the deck was horrendous but provided you were happy sitting in a force ten gale where your book was likely to be ripped out of your grasp let alone loosing a page, it was fine.The ship unfortunately for me at least is not so much of a ship, but more of a floating blackpool or skegness, bingo, ice skating, Boxing booth, guess the weight of the woman and motorised chair, donkey rides, etc are all available along with baring your tattoos, Manchester utd shirts and three quarter length camouflaged combat trousers, some of the Men dressed just as tackily as well. The dog and badger as you can imagine did a roaring trade only closing briefly to clear up the vomit and broken glass at about 10-30 each morning.Formal nights were a people watchers heaven, most of the women thought formal meant short and I lost count of the pairs of 8" heels in lattice work like a roman centurion would wear that I saw. I dressed up once but found myself at dinner sat next to somebody who on dry land would normally steal my car, I watched him struggle with his cutlery for five minutes then left, I didn't bother again. The Moral of this story is don't sail out of southampton on a cruise, one has to assume that the clientele on this Horror show aren't able to fly or are not allowed to.My abiding memory of this cruise was being cornered in a lift at 4-40 in the morning,( I was going to the internet cafe) by a grown man in a full wolverhampton wanders strip including socks and trainers, who asked me if I knew the fulham result.Never again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
IOS is probably the cleanest ship on the oceans currently. The staff are constantly cleaning the tables and chairs in the buffet after each guest has vacated them.They spray all the sunbeds at the end of the day.There are no salt and ... Read More
IOS is probably the cleanest ship on the oceans currently. The staff are constantly cleaning the tables and chairs in the buffet after each guest has vacated them.They spray all the sunbeds at the end of the day.There are no salt and pepper pots on the tables in the buffet and restaurant to prevent any cross contamination and there are no cocktail menus in the bars. However if you request one, you can view it and then it is sprayed again.Unfortunately there are still some people who will not wash their hands after using the toilet, and you will never change that.I feel IOS has too many passengers for the public seating spaces, i.e. theatre, ice rink etc. particularly when at sea and the weather is not too good. People are wandering around just looking for somewhere to sit.Overall it is a decent ship, but I wouldn't like to be on it in school holidays when all the cabins are full to capacity. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Just got back from a Canaries cruise aboard the Independence of the seas.Accomodation was fine and overall appearence was good.Biggest let down was the evening meal in the main dining hall.Food was bland and limited, lacking any sort of ... Read More
Just got back from a Canaries cruise aboard the Independence of the seas.Accomodation was fine and overall appearence was good.Biggest let down was the evening meal in the main dining hall.Food was bland and limited, lacking any sort of imagination especially for a cruise line.The service in the dining room was dreadful again when comparing with other cruise companies.On my eleven night cruise my guests and I spent three nights only because of how bad it was.It says everything when you see how busy the buffet actually was, speaks volumes. This was a big dissapointment as its normally a big part of most peoples cruises.The entertainment was very good especially the shows in the theatre of an evening.The ports of call were fine apart from the fact that sometimes we departed from some ports as early as 3pm when we didnt get there until 11am,(not much time ashore) You read loads about how dear it is onboard from various websites, but its not until you board do you realise just how expensive it actually is, for example to buy a simple no frills glass of wine you would pay £12.00 to £13.00 (no not a bottle but a glass) my wife was after a simple blow dry in the salon onboard, wait for it...$69.00 about £45.00 for A BLOW DRY. Ridiculous but true, just be aware of these mind blowing costs before you book.I have sailed on Disney and P&0 a number of times but have never come across so much bad value for money.I probably wont use RC again due to the poor value for money aspect and especially wouldn't travel on the Independence of the sea's purely because of its large size and very different inside layout if feels very little like a cruise ship which I suppose is the reason you go on cruises in the first place.I never did understand it when people have said that "the ship" was too big and prefer something a little bit smaller. I can now though.I did however have a really great time although this was down mostly to the people I travelled with. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We received an e mail 2 days before the cruise informing us that due to the "Novirus" we wouldn't start boarding before 2-00pm in fact the gates would be locked so it was pointless turning up until after that time. When we ... Read More
We received an e mail 2 days before the cruise informing us that due to the "Novirus" we wouldn't start boarding before 2-00pm in fact the gates would be locked so it was pointless turning up until after that time. When we arrived at 1-30 the queues were just building up and true to their word they didn't start unloading the cars until 2-00. Nevertheless we were parked up by 2-30 and joined the queue waiting to enter the terminal building this took about 30 mins. Once inside it took another hour to get past security where we were directed to the priority checkin desk and was in our suite within 15 minutes, very impressive. The IOTS is certainly big, and there's a lot to do, especially for families, but of course, big isn't always best. First the positives: Our junior suite was remarkably spacious with a full bathroom and walk-in wardrobe. Located at the aft of the ship it also had a larger than normal balcony with open views, (I mention this because we were told it had 60% restricted views, but this is simply not the case,) Our steward "Rommel" tended to our every need with a ready smile. We had a table for 6 in the Macbeth restaurant, four great dining companions, good food and friendly professional service, only three courses but one could order two or more starters, if required. We went to the Chops restaurant one night but found it quite disappointing so didn't use any more of the specialist restaurants.We unortunately also found the level of service below standard in other parts of the ship. As has been said by others the ship is being kept scrupulously clean. All times of the day and night, the staff can be seen rubbing chemical cleaner over the walls, staircases and doors throughout the ship and in the Windjammer especially, the table tops and chairs are cleaned within seconds of the table being vacated and still wet with the stuff ready for the next person to get it all over their hands and food. The same in the bars, this in addition to the hand cleaner dispensers and hand wipes at every entrance, policed diligently by Rosa Kleb and her sisters. In addition to this, a recorded voice in the lavatories reminds everyone, 'please now, wash your hands', there are even notices encouraging you to report anyone not complying. Although it would be a brave man who would report some of the 'Gentlemen' I saw not washing. Clearly RCI have finally realised that the hygiene education of around 50% of their guests falls well below that which they and we, the other 50% consider normal practice. It was also noticeable that these same 50% think the difference between formal and casual dress is whether to wear a short or long sleeved shirt with their jeans. Still, everyone to their own? Forgive me if I seem a little critical, but the chemicals RCI are using caused an allergic reaction and a Doctors bill for $178 for an injection, eight tablets, a tube of anti itching cream and a letter allowing me to refrain from using the hand gel. (The day after I got home, the rash, which was all over my body, totally disappeared.) Was anyone else affected in this way? Would I go on the IOTS again? I think for the time being at least. I'll stick to Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We are first time cruisers, both retired.Overall ship very clean, well decorated, staff attentive and friendly.Cabin: our interior stateroom was small but very well designed with lots of mirrors and storage space. We were more comfortable ... Read More
We are first time cruisers, both retired.Overall ship very clean, well decorated, staff attentive and friendly.Cabin: our interior stateroom was small but very well designed with lots of mirrors and storage space. We were more comfortable than in many hotel rooms twice the size. Suitcases slid neatly under the bed. Why don't hotels do this? Shower was excellent - pressure good, temperature hot, controls easy to use, sliding doors effective. Shampoo and towels provided, as was kettle and tea (but no coffee). Attendant very friendly, made cute little animals out of the towels every night.Meals: we went to Macbeth restaurant (deck 4) for breakfast and dinner (8:30pm sitting) - waiter service. Service always good in evening, good at breakfast if you got there before 8:30am. Food good, four or five choices each evening. We were meant to be on a table for six, but only four were assigned and the other couple never turned up. So if you want companions at dinner, pick a table of 8 or 10. For lunch we liked the rolls in the cafe on the Royal Promenade and the pizza at Sorrentos. Went to Windjammer/Jade (same place really) three times, great choice of food. Got a table fairly quickly each time, but reckon we were lucky. Never tried the restaurants you paid for (Portfinos, Chops Grill or Johnny Rockets).Drinks: yes, they are expensive compared with pubs ($6.95 a pint, $26 minimum for a bottle of wine), but not compared with four/five star hotels. We bought a wine package (Gold) which brought the average price of a bottle of wine down to around £18, which is what we would pay in a restaurant. Out for your money? Sure, Royal Caribbean are out to make as much money as possible: charges for shuttle buses, internet, casinos, fruit machines, photographers, sketch artists, Spa, shops...but what do you expect? They are a company not a charity, just exercise some self discipline and say no to anything you don't want. I would however recommend you check your receipts and bill carefully. We weren't big spenders and we found two mistakes. Mojitos were advertised as 25% off in Boleros between 9pm and 11pm. First night, no problem, bill for $10.56. Second night, I was asked to sign a till receipt for $13. I said what about the offer, the barman said "what offer?" - I then pointed it out in Cruise Compass. He said sorry and gave me a second receipt for $10.56, which I signed. Next day however we checked our account on the stateroom TV (very useful feature) and saw both receipts had been applied! Mistake two: two bottles of gin advertised for $20, but receipt showed $24. Salesman said sorry but tills aren't programmed with the offers, however I'll write out a docket for $4. However next day account showed $24 but not the $4. Both mistakes were corrected by Guest Relations.Shows: never had any problem getting a seat if you arrived 5-10 minutes before the start. Thought the shows were good, especially the ice show. Distribution of ice show tickets was very well organised.Dancing: we went to dance classes - waltz, cha-cha-cha, salsa, foxtrot, rumba. Very good. We are salsa dancers and were disappointed at the music played in Boleros -apparently there was a Latin band on previous cruises, but they have been replaced by ballroom music. Our main complaint is that there was never anywhere to sit in the bars. (Maybe better if you went to 6:30pm dinner?).Other activities: we did crazy golf (no queue), gym (excellent facilities) and jacuzzi (surprisingly not too crowded). Free soft ice cream (called frozen yoghurt) was great! Didn't seem too long a queue for the flowrider or the climbing wall (not that we tried it), but maybe worse during school holidays. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
*The Windjammer is absolutely chaotic if you happen to go at the wrong time of day, and some of the lounges/bars seem overcrowded at certain times too. I can't understand people wanting to eat in the Windjammer every evening off ... Read More
*The Windjammer is absolutely chaotic if you happen to go at the wrong time of day, and some of the lounges/bars seem overcrowded at certain times too. I can't understand people wanting to eat in the Windjammer every evening off plasic plates overloaded with frozen chips, pizza and Mashed Potatoes...? *Some guests just can't seem to grasp how to use elevators never fail to amaze me, situated on a lower deck it was sometimes a pain to use them especially at peak times of the day... *Every single port of call at least 1 guest was late back for the ships departure for no apparent reason other than they didn't respect the rules that 3500 had obeyed that day... why wait for them!? *The jury is out on how the ship handles... often in only moderate seas it seemed very turbulent? Which I've not experienced on some ships that are only a fraction of the size. *Sometimes alcoholic drinks weren't always served ice-cold, which considering the amount white wine & lager costs onboard- is very disappointing. *Very little 'value' to be had in the way of alcoholic drinks - massively overpriced, watch out for some cheaper than listed wines in the Windjammer (still $21+) and the drink of the day (purely for the chance to take home a nice souveneer glass supposedly worth $4.95) *ESPN is a great tool for English Football fans, you'll end up seeing more premier league matches than you would at home (if you so wish)! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Altogether we had an excellent cruise starting from check-in at Southampton which was quick and easy, the only issue here being that our suitcases didn't arrive at the cabin till after 4 p.m. Our cabin was clean and spacious and we ... Read More
Altogether we had an excellent cruise starting from check-in at Southampton which was quick and easy, the only issue here being that our suitcases didn't arrive at the cabin till after 4 p.m. Our cabin was clean and spacious and we had treated ourselves to a balcony which was lovely but only really worthwhile during the warmer days. 'Independence' certainly has the wow factor and we walked down the Royal promenade for the first time. However because this was a winter cruise it became very crowded at peak times being the major inside space. The dining room is a magnificent 3 floor area with each floor having its own entrance. We were travelling with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson and at first they were placed on a different table. However a visit to the head waiter soon sorted this out. We were not able to change sittings though, as the first sitting was very full. If this is your preferred choice make sure to book it early enough. The only disappointing part of the cruise was the entertainment. During the evenings there were a number of good cabaret artists but a couple were poor and there were only 2 big production shows during the eleven nights. The highlight of the cruise was the Ice show which was terrific and the fact that we had to get tickets meant everyone could get to see it. The day entertainment was let badly down because most of it was aimed around the outside spaces, a problem because we only had 3 good days. The entertainment team either were not able or did not have the imagination to provide alternatives. The staff were fantastic; we were looked after at dinner by Hazel and Maria and Alfina did a magnificent job keeping our cabin ship-shape. We had a great time but 'Independence' is probably better suited to summer cruising when you can make more use of the wonderful outside space. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was my 9th cruise 8th with RCI. We were on the Independence of the Seas sailing from Southampton 29/11/2010 for an 11 night cruise to the Canaries. We stayed in Southampton the night before joining the ship and saw the ship come into ... Read More
This was my 9th cruise 8th with RCI. We were on the Independence of the Seas sailing from Southampton 29/11/2010 for an 11 night cruise to the Canaries. We stayed in Southampton the night before joining the ship and saw the ship come into port from our bedroom window. Getting on-board was extremely painless. car-parking was booked and our bags taken. Short walk (follow the yellow line) to the lounge. We were very quickly processed and were on the ship by 12 enjoying complementary food and drinks. The ship is amazing. We have travelled on the Freedom when it was first launched so new what to expect from the ship. I have no argument with the ship/staff/food/entertainment. My main quibble is with the on-board prices. I have travelled with RCI before and have never experienced such a hike in on-board pricing that in some areas can only demonstrate a total rip off of the passenger. At dinner they did try only once to get us to buy bottled water at $4.95/litre. We actually bought the same water at one of the stops for 45 cents.. Drinks prices were very expensive compared to previous trips and other cruise lines. ($6.95 per pint $6.25 per half!!). Just as well we do not drink that much. The entertainment was very good and the cruise director and his helper were terrific. I like the ships and would still probably go one one again... but my next cruise is with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Southampton Port is easily accessible by road and rail. We arrived at the port car park gates at almost the exact time recommended in the cruise joining instructions. However it then took a further 40 minutes to finally park - it may be ... Read More
Southampton Port is easily accessible by road and rail. We arrived at the port car park gates at almost the exact time recommended in the cruise joining instructions. However it then took a further 40 minutes to finally park - it may be that the flow of vehicles had to be regulated to avoid the porters being overwhelmed but we were not told why there was a delay. This large ship is not really a conventional cruise liner. It would appeal to anyone who has enjoyed the facilities and entertainment packages provided by a large holiday camp complex but with the additional benefits of a vastly superior food and restaurant provision; impressive staterooms and service; and different destinations in generally sunny and warm locations. This is a family oriented ship - on this particular cruise there were 600 children of all ages on board but these numbers can increase considerably in the summer during school holidays. The ship is huge but there were plenty of staff to support its 4000+ passengers. Even with this many passengers the ship only felt crowded on a few occasions such as formal evening photograph opportunities; watch and jewelry sale events or when special shows were taking place or had just finished. However if all passengers were obliged to remain inside the ship due to adverse weather conditions, say, then things could be different. Without exception ALL of the staff on board were always helpful, friendly and polite. The stateroom/cabin service was first class with rooms always being kept immaculate. Rooms and furniture were all really comfortable and well organized and the shower/ toilets were very well designed and laid out. The storage facilities in the cabins were excellent. The food was good both in terms of quality, quantity and availability. As well as a main restaurant offering an a la carte menu there was a large buffet style restaurant/cafe providing a range of meals throughout the day and well into the evening - the most popular food counter seemed to be the Burgerama Station. In addition there were two specialty restaurants providing a more intimate atmosphere with different menus although at an additional cost of $20 -$25 per person. However it was a pity that anything other than a regular coffee to finish a meal came at a poorly advertised extra cost. There were also a variety of other cafes and snack bars open for most of the day throughout the ship - although some did incur an additional cover charge cost. Drinks were available throughout the ship in a variety bars but be careful about prices - the drinks in some bars were twice the cost compared with other bars. Spirits and cocktails were relatively inexpensive with generous measures; however beer prices were closer to London city bar prices. Wine was particularly expensive with prices in the range $45-$50 per bottle being not unusual. Passengers who enjoy wine with their meals would certainly benefit from purchasing one of the wine packages which cost around $25 - $30 per bottle The evening entertainment theatre shows; live music lounges and disco type clubs were varied and of a pretty good standard but for adults things could get a bit repetitive during the day if you always stayed on the ship although there was some attempt at providing a varied programme of events during the day. The ship had a well equipped gymnasium/fitness centre and on this cruise it was never crowded. However it was disappointing that most group exercises all seemed to come at an additional cost The shore excursions were satisfactory and well organized but by necessity they were a bit rushed because of the limited time at most ports of call. In Maderia it is worthwhile, albeit a bit pricey, to try to book afternoon tea at Reids Palace overlooking the harbour which then leaves a relatively short downhill walk back to the ship. In Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, the local open top double-decker tourist bus probably offers best value for money for a town tour. In Anceriffe, Lanzarote there is a tourist mini-train from the bus station but there was not much to see. Vigo provided a tour to Santiago di Compostela but because of the distance it was time constrained - however this visit is not to be recommended for anyone in a wheelchair or with limited mobility whatever the trip description might suggest. Where simple shore transfers ($6.00 per person) are offered from ship to town centre it probably make sense to use local taxi services if your party has three or more guests. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
OH and I had a nightmare journey to Southampton by train,so were looking forward to our first cruise with RCI on Independence of the Seas.We spent the night before the cruise at the city centre Premier Inn which was great value for money. ... Read More
OH and I had a nightmare journey to Southampton by train,so were looking forward to our first cruise with RCI on Independence of the Seas.We spent the night before the cruise at the city centre Premier Inn which was great value for money. On arrival at the pier we had to join a long queue to get our luggage tags as oiur tickets had arrived too late for us to apply for them from RCI.We had to enquire from other passengers as to where this had to be done as there were no signs and no porters as is normal with other cruise lines we have sailed with.The whole check in process took us 2 hours and was quite an unpleasant experience.Thank goodness we weren't travelling with young children or elderley relatives. We went to the Windjammer buffet for lunch,and our cabin was ready at 4pm.We were on Deck 2 in an oceanview stateroom right in the centre of the ship.Something we would be very grateful for a couple of nights later. We shared our dining table with 7 other people,and they turned out to be a great bunch,we enjoyed their company a great deal. The food in the King Lear dining room was quite acceptable,but nothing to get excited about. The choice of food in the Windjammer was good,but got a bit samey after a few days.We tried breakfast there,also breakfast a la carte in the Macbeth and the buffet breakfast in the Romeo and Juliet.The Windjammer offered a vast choice,the Romeo and Juliet less of a choice,and the one time we ate breakfast in the Macbeth mine was nearly cold and OH didn't get what he ordered. We were on second sitting for dinner at 8.30 and by the time we came out we found it quite difficult to find somewhere to sit to have a drink. The entertainment was excellent and we went to see a show every night either before or after dinner. We found most things on board to be over priced,especially the drinks,and most times we were paying around $16 for 2 drinks which over 10 days certainly mounts up. Without exception we found the crew members to be pleasant,friendly and very helpful.Our stateroom attendant kept the place immaculate and provided us with a towel animal each evening.Our waiter and assistant waiter were first rate always providing extras for us and whipping away any dishes that we didn't care for,and providing us with another choice. Unfortunately we can't order the weather and on the second night we were hit by a force 12 storm in the Bay of Biscay.A force 12 is a category 1 hurricane and caused some of the lower deck cabins to flood and their occupants having to be moved.The 10 foot waves did some damage to a lifeboat on deck 4 and caused merchandise in the shops to be thrown about.Thank goodness for the situation of our cabin as we knew nothing of the rough night until we were informed about it by other passengers at breakfast.We heard that some passengers were confined to bed for 3 days as we headed south through the rolling seas. We had to miss out one port of call,and that was Madeira because the IOTS had to travel a great deal slower than had been intended. To sum up our cruise I would say the IOTS is a beautiful ship,we've been there,done it,but won't be doing it again.There were far too many people for our liking and the best description I can give it is a floating Butlins.Maybe OH and I are more of the traditional type cruisers and better suited to Cunard or P&O.We did make the most of it and enjoyed it as much as we could,but sorry,we won't be back. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Arrived at Southampton 11.30.am....ABS car parks were very efficient and helpful? check in aboard ship no problem ! We were having a meal in the windjammer by 12.30.pm.. In our cabin by .1.20.pm.we had one suit case missing which arrived a ... Read More
Arrived at Southampton 11.30.am....ABS car parks were very efficient and helpful? check in aboard ship no problem ! We were having a meal in the windjammer by 12.30.pm.. In our cabin by .1.20.pm.we had one suit case missing which arrived a few hours later,Cabin was well looked after and kept very clean throughout our trip.Went to dinner at 6.00.that evening in the romeo and Juliet restaurant, Meals and waiter service were as good as we had ever had.?.Don't forget we are first time cruisers and nothing to compare with...Breakfast time we went to the Macbeth's restaurant which we found to be equally as good.The only thing we did not like was the hardness of the toast around the edges (It was like concrete) !.One gentleman on our table broke a tooth..!...This tough toast was served every breakfast throughout the trip..I think it must have been some hardtack left over from Lord Nelsons days lol..Entertainment in the evenings we thought was very very good especially the ice shows.! After watching the evening shows we would go for a few drinks If we could find some comfortable chairs it was a bonus.There was loads to do for all age groups! A few kids were left to run wild,and this did make things a bit unpleasant!but we have grandchildren of our own and know its difficult when they are exited ,apparently there was about 400 on board and not the usual contingent of about 1000 during school holidays.. ..Another little moan for us oldies, was the buggies and the mobility scooters although not a big problem .And O yes,the price of drinks ..Anyone who was a member of alcoholics anonymous would be cured in a month.?.Now all jokes aside and On a more serious note ..We did enjoy the trip apart from the hurricane and the 30 foot waves and having to miss Madeira as a result.lol. The cruise was great and everybody on board were very very friendly .Would we go again,?..YES Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Our first cruise but probably the last on IOS. Ship probably too big and crowded, 1800 cabins , over 4,000 peeps. Great for families. On the positive side the food, staff, attendant, evening entertainment, and ice show was superb. Some ... Read More
Our first cruise but probably the last on IOS. Ship probably too big and crowded, 1800 cabins , over 4,000 peeps. Great for families. On the positive side the food, staff, attendant, evening entertainment, and ice show was superb. Some guests were a bit noisy/rude during a few shows, juggling comedian excellent. Cabin very clean , very comfy bed. Pre-paid gratuities were expensive. About 50% of guests were pensioners, most didn't seem to be enjoying themselves. About 10% kids, around 400. The force 12 hurricane and 40ft.waves west of Spain/Portugal meant we had to miss Madeira, which was disappointing. Glad to disemnbark at Tenerife after 88 hours aboard. We liked Gran Canaria, one of only 2 days of sunshine though. Could do with an indoor pool or cover over pool area. Too many kids running around unsupervised, saw 2 girls wandering around Royal promenade on their own after midnight. Not enough seats at Royal Prom pub, good food at Sorrentos(especially steak n' kidney pies and desserts), good cakes, and 24-hour Cafe Prom.Evening room service poor but breakfast good. Plenty of quizzes during day, but got a bit bored at times. Board game/card room was fine and quiet. Drinks were expensive, around £5 for a cider. Had good fun at The Quest Scavenger Hunt, was team captain. Probably wouldn't go on IOS agaain, prefer smaller ship and warmer weather. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our first cruise so I have no basis for comparison. I could not understand why the reviews for this ship were so mixed prior to sailing on it. Having spent ten nights on it. I can now fully understand why some love it and it is ... Read More
This was our first cruise so I have no basis for comparison. I could not understand why the reviews for this ship were so mixed prior to sailing on it. Having spent ten nights on it. I can now fully understand why some love it and it is anathema to others, especially traditional cruisers. To make this review vaguely logical I've divided it up into sections. The Good The staff were fabulous we had nothing other than polite and friendly service in every aspect. Of course this boat is American and works on a a 'service not included basis' so whether staff are trying extra hard to get their salary up to a decent level is hard to know. But if they were you couldn't tell it was all very professional. The food was good, even in a constantly running big buffet restaurant like the Windjammer the quality was good and the foot hot. The speciality restaurants were both exceptional in both terms of food and service. Well worth the supplement. The main restuarant food was good though a lot plainer than I had anticipated. Think middle of the road family run Italian restaurant rather than hoping for haute cuising. There is a Ben and Jerry's cafe and a 50's diner we did not try either as we were trying not to completely ruin our waistlines. We liked the flexibility of 'My Time' dining but it can be very chaotic waiting to be seated. The cabin was fine; despite being an interior it was spacious enough for two and kept clean by our cabin boy. The sheets weren't changed during the 10 nights, which I thought was a little long to leave them. The ice show, fabulous. Don't miss it. The bad There is a real issue with the size of this boat. I had thought a big boat equals more space for the passengers but this isn't the case. There is simply not enough public space on this boat. Especially when cruising from Southampton, there are likely to be a few cold days either end of the cruise. Unfortunately this means on the cold days 3500 people want to be inside going to the games room or the library or the trivia quiz in the Schooner bar. Well there simply isn't room for them. Neither is there room for everyone outside on a hot day. There are no quiet spaces or lounges where you can just chill out. Even the champagne bar which overlooks the promenade is not enclosed and you are forced to listen to pop music from below whilst trying to elegantly sip your $12 cocktail and strain your ears to try and hear the piano music playing but failing as it gets drowned out! We never did get a seat at a quiz in the whole 10 days. The Windjammer is frequently like a rugby scrum. Even if we got there at 7am for breakfast it was busy by the time we finished our breakfast. The promenade is a nightmare except on a sunny day it is a battle to get from end to end. I can understand the urge to build bigger ships and make big revenues but I think Royal Caribbean have unfortunately gone a step too far in the number of passengers crammed into this boat. Service charge policy. Because this is an american boat you have to constantly remind yourself that service is not included. The cash you give the waiting staff and your cabin boy forms a part of their wages. There is a 15% charge automatically added to drinks which are already pricey. Now I'm sure you could ask for this back but it's like asking for part of their salary back. Plus if you want to reward good service you should really add more on as this 15% is the very basic rate. So my small glass of wine with lunch cost 9 dollars plus the 15% servive charge, then maybe a dollar for the waiter. So you're paying over $11 for a glass of wine at lunch. Ouch. Now I'm not a drinker and frankly it's a good job. I think for European holidays from European ports Royal Caribbean would be better served by publishing the prices already including service. You must remember to make an allowance for this when budgeting your holiday. We chose RC as opposed to Cunard (same cruise going out of Southampton one night later) on the basis of cost. We then worked out that with the cost of drinks etc. being so high that the Cunard cruise would only have cost £20 per night extra per person, whereas the difference in the headline prices looked a lot bigger. Furthermore the pre-paid gratuities are crackers. You are obliged to have them for 'My Time' dining and this very much makes sense as you will move table and waiter possibly every night. However on the last night you recieve paper vouchers to give to your waiting staff. Now what exactly is the point of that, it defeats the object? Who do you give them to? You've had a different person every night! I suspect a lot of people in confusion don't hand them over at all, and given that they are prepaid it makes me wonder what happens to them. Perhaps RC bank them. This issue really needs sorting. The Ugly Well you can call me a snob (because I am) but the worst thing about this cruise was the caliber of some of the other passengers. Rude people, people who pushed, people who ignored the dress code, people who let their kids run wild. They were all there. People who got plates full of food from the cafe and then left them in the corridor hardly touched outside their cabins. The family who sat belching in the main dining room at lunchtime whilst getting a huge salad starter, then leaving it, then ordering a turkey burger, then complaining that it wasn't beef because they had misread the menu. Then ordering two courses for two kids who were clearly far too tiny to need that amount of food and leaving it all untouched. They were there. Or the charming cockney family who monopolised one end of the Oliver or Twist bar with their raucous noise and their bad language and inappropriate conversations about sex. All the while trying to shut up their kids who had obviously been penned in there for half the day. Obviously this isn't purely the fault of RC but they could mitigate it, they don't and are in danger of seriusly damaging their reputation in the UK at least. On a black tie night don't let people into dinner if they are wearing open necked shirts and no jacket. Plus the pile it high sell it cheap mentality RC have adopted (while trying to make the money back onboard) obviously attracts a non traditional cruise crowd. As one lady who was a regular RC cruiser put it, 'it's like they've let all the Butlin's people in'. Now I think that's unfair to Butlins, but the word chav was too good for some of the people on board. I mean seriously if you have to sneak alcohol on board because you can't afford the drinks then maybe a difrerent holiday is what you need. I am cruising on the IOTS again in Dec 2011. This is specifically because my teenage son will be cruising with us and I think the facilities for teenagers are excellent. However next time I cruise with just my spouse I will look at another ship and possibly another cruiseline Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
boarding quick and easy arrived 11-30 lunch by noon and cabin by 1-30pm with luggage at 3-pm food think rccl are lacking on the big ships what you get on small ships everything has to be pre ordered if you want something special even a ... Read More
boarding quick and easy arrived 11-30 lunch by noon and cabin by 1-30pm with luggage at 3-pm food think rccl are lacking on the big ships what you get on small ships everything has to be pre ordered if you want something special even a dressing for your salad , fried onions for your steak when always available in windjammer 24/7, food never hot enough nor plates except on desert bar in windjammer plates scolding ( who wants hot plate with cream on ? ) restaurants dinner changed after discussion with pursers from romeo and juliet to king lear as think they must have slotted table in and we had to pass plates round the table ourselves also in rj you could not get the wine you wanted ( said out of stock on many of our choices but in king lear all were available ), restaurant great for breakfast and also has buffet style in there if you want to serve yourself drinks alcohol is getting expensive but also water so when in port buy water and take it aboard $9 a litre charge in restaurant cabin junior suite deck 10 cabin 1366, lovely and spacious with 2 chairs and 2 loungers on balcony only prob you have to go to pool deck to get towels for chairs and charged $20 to ship account(reimbursed back when you take the towels back port transfers do your own to keep cost down rccl charge $10 return pp to town but taxis on dock were only charging this per taxi dislikes as a diamond member found the ship lacking the personal touches of little things that have disappeared now, also had issues about the street as with a few sea days you could not move for people never mind the electric scooters and wheelchairs personally think rccl should address this problem also when the stalls were set out selling goods it made it even worse god help us in an emergency ice show fantastic this is a must to see okay for us as dp members got tickets through concierge but felt sorry for fellow passengers having to q for ages to get them bars and lounges all very nice but sea days very crowded, plenty of bingo but again $35 a strip of 5 for 4 game pool area clean and tidy with nice little free ice cream trolley, but no quiet area with 3,500 people, even kids had there own area but did seen to be in adult areas flow rider this is a must to go and watch if you don't fancy a go yourself hygiene ship well cleaned with plenty of hand sanitisers if food areas ( most people used them) we did have any issue with guests/ travel agents rccl had invited on whilst in port and reported it to windjammer manager whilst picking there food the majority were handling it with their hands and putting it back we didn't want noro virus Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
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