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30 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

Our first cruise was a short one on Indy in April 2017, so we were excited to be sailing on her again last month to the Canary Islands. What we didn’t know was that during its ‘refit’ last year they also added more cabins. We were ... Read More
Our first cruise was a short one on Indy in April 2017, so we were excited to be sailing on her again last month to the Canary Islands. What we didn’t know was that during its ‘refit’ last year they also added more cabins. We were informed there were 4500 passengers (an extra 500 people) on our sailing, the ship was full to bursting point. I am disabled and therefore used a walking stick and mobility scooter, but there was no where to sit in the evenings all the bars were constantly over full. We missed so much evening entertainment due to the lack of seating, we ended up back in our cabin after our 8.30 dinner sitting most nights. We could never get a sun bed around the pools and if you are not up early on a sea day there was no chance of getting a sun bed anywhere. Particularly if you’re disabled and cannot climb up a bed crammed along side other beds. We feel RCI have crammed far too many passengers on the lovely Indy yet not added extra bar lounges or seating to cope with it. We loved the many ports we visited, the itinerary was great, but being back on a very over crowded ship by all aboard time soon lowered our mood. We felt it was dirty too, the balconies didn’t get cleaned the whole cruise, and Chops Grill was dusty, the blinds all lopsided and tatty, the floor was grubby and looked like it needed a good deep clean. We booked it to celebrate our anniversary but sadly I can’t even say the meal there was great as my meal kept going back as my steak wasn’t cooked how I asked for, by the time I got mine, my hubby had finished his and my side orders were cold. It’s true RCI charge extra for everything my hubby had commented on it more than once. It’s a shame because we were really looking forward to cruising with her, but we paid a whole of money for a cruise and then couldn’t enjoy it to the max because of RCI’s greed. There were some good points, the staff in the main restaurants were always amazing, they couldn’t do enough for us. Also if you did manage to get a seat in a bar (during the day) the bar staff were great, we never waited long to be served. If you are happy to get up at 6am, plonk yourself on a sun bed and then not move all day, or you love to stand in or near a bar all evening with no chance of a seat, enjoy sitting in the theatre an hour before the show starts to ensure you get a seat, and money is no object then this is the cruise line for you. For us, no, I don’t think we will be cruising on any of the ships that have had a ‘refit’ in future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Embarkation at Southampton went like a dream and we were on the ship in minutes. We had been on the Navigator five years previously when it sailed around the Med out of Rome so were looking forward to seeing if there were any changes. ... Read More
Embarkation at Southampton went like a dream and we were on the ship in minutes. We had been on the Navigator five years previously when it sailed around the Med out of Rome so were looking forward to seeing if there were any changes. Unfortunately, there were only bad ones. It seems that Royal Caribbean are now only interested in trying to make you spend as much as possible at every opportunity. We were pestered at breakfast, at lunch and when trying to relax in the bars in the evening (when we could get a seat) with people trying to sell the paying restaurants to us. Thirty seconds out of every port the promenade was constantly filled with extra tables with 'sale' goods, making it difficult to actually get down the promenade, and everyday we were bombarded with leaflets and emails about the next 'big sale'! The shops on board weren't very good, little variety and very expensive, $5.99 for a tube of Pringles! Fortunately, the dining room experience was still as good as ever with very friendly and attentive waiters and good food, with good wine served by an excellent Sommelier. We did notice however that a number of people frequently turned up at dinner sometimes 40 or 50 minutes late which obviously caused problems for the waiters trying to serve dinner on time to those of us who arrived at the allotted time and we were frequently very late getting out of the dining room because of this. Previously the dining room would be closed 15 minutes after the sitting time but this doesn't seem to be the case now, even though there is anytime dining available on the ship. The so called production shows were dismal, and the space taken up by the ice rink could be made better use of as the bars were so crowded it was really difficult to get a seat, mainly due to people sitting sleeping, reading or eating food from the promenade cafe as they couldn't get a seat in there. As the Windjammer now closes in the afternoons - people come back on board hungry and have to queue down the promenade to get something to eat at the cafe, the only place open at that time. Service in Vintages was excellent however the smell of cigarette smoke wafting up from the Casino didn't make it a pleasant place to sit when you did manage to get a seat on an evening. People were allowed to smoke in all areas of the Casino and it would seem on deck too - I didn't see any of the staff stop them. You couldn't even spend a few hours in your cabin watching a movie as they charged $13.99! Obviously, RCI want you out of your cabin so you can spend and if you're going to stay in you're going to pay for that too! Very few of the officers spoke to anyone when they were passing through the ship and the only time we saw the Cruise Director was his 10 second introduction to the stage acts, we never once saw him out and about chatting to people anywhere. It seems like all RCI want to do now is pack 'em in tight and get as much money as possible out of 'em without putting in too much effort - other than at selling! All a bit of a shame really as they used to be so good. We did get a good price on this cruise but to be honest, it really wasn't worth it. We won't be travelling with them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The Ship: The major problem was that there were far too many passengers for some of the facilities on board. Getting a sunbed anywhere was sometimes impossible (and always if the sun was out!). There are the usual signs about not reserving ... Read More
The Ship: The major problem was that there were far too many passengers for some of the facilities on board. Getting a sunbed anywhere was sometimes impossible (and always if the sun was out!). There are the usual signs about not reserving sunbeds that most passengers totally ignored, there were often more towels than passengers on sunbeds. I complained without result. The bars were often so crowded that people stood to consume their drinks. Cabin: we had the basic inside cabin which was minute, I would definitely recommend getting a larger cabin. Our steward was very helpful and friendly and the cabin was always clean and tidy. Dining: Fairly good quality and reasonable quantities with a reasonable mix of choices in the main dining rooms for dinner - service was good. Breakfasts in the dining rooms (one served and one buffet) were excellent. The Windjammer buffet was so big that finding particular items was a challenge and it was difficult to find seats at the most popular times. If you want a steak you will pay $20 extra! This is the first holiday when I have not had a steak - I sometimes have one every day. It was irritating that waiting staff tried to upsell the specialist restaurants (involving extra costs) while we were eating. Drinks: Were expensive with very small spirit measures and a massive 18% service charge was added even if you queued at the bar to get a drink - there were very few waiting staff around. We sometimes waited 10-20 minutes to get a drink. As most passengers seemed to have bought a 'drinks package', the company has a vested interest in slowing down the sales of drinks and serving small measures. Smoking is apparently not hazardous in the casino as it seems to be treated almost everywhere else - a cynical move by the company who don't want smokers moving away from the tables frequently. Entertainment: We missed the Ice Show which everyone seems to agree is first class. The other two shows we saw were in one case reasonably entertaining (a hypnotist) and in the other case very amusing (a juggling comedian). There were plenty of seats available at the shows we attended. We did attend a talk that was supposed to be information about our ports of call. This comprised a blatant excursion selling exercise and the speaker (a Nigerian lady) seemed to know little to nothing about the ports or much else (telling us that Columbus visited Gran Canaria in 1942 and that Madeira is in Funchal!) Ports and excursions: A couple of the stops were shorter than advertised and some were so short and with so many passengers queuing to get off that some people just gave up and stayed on board. It was very disappointing to be constantly checking your watch when visiting an interesting port or deciding to stay on board to avoid having to do so. It was an experience that was not altogether bad but one that I have no wish to repeat. We have only been on a cruise once before with P&O on Azura in 2013 which was a better experience altogether. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our ninth cruise but our first cruise with Royal Carribbean and it was certainly not "cheap". Although we bought an All inclusive cruise it certainly was not as we found out it was for only house wine and beer. Also we ... Read More
This was our ninth cruise but our first cruise with Royal Carribbean and it was certainly not "cheap". Although we bought an All inclusive cruise it certainly was not as we found out it was for only house wine and beer. Also we understood that if we paid gratuities before sailing we would be able to have My time dining. i was just told "oh you have to do that before boarding .You have to stick with the 6 pm. meal now(much too early)8.30 much too late.On boarding we were sent to have lunch in the Windjammer and while i was getting my lunch my husband ordered a white and a red wine. On my return the waiter and the restaurant manager were at the table telling my husband he had to pay.My husband told them that i had the final invoice in my hand luggage showing i had the wine and beer package.I had my lunch on the table and they wanted to see the invoice which i found unacceptable. After seeing it but still insisted we sign for the drinks as apparently we were not on the system 25 dollars (£17).I found this extremely embarrassing.We went and queued at customer service and i demanded a void slip. This came but the young man said that we could only have wine up to 8 dollars on our package. This proves to me that if you ask for just a wine without a package you get sold the expensive one. Drinks without a package are extremely expensive. eg.A bottle of Bud is £4. The ship itself was glamorous and clean. The food in The Windjammer was fine.We ventured once into the Saphire dining room but I personally could not put up with the waiter who kept bending down and talking into my ear asking me why i had not been at the table before etc. etc. He positively oosed over me . We didn't go back. If you like fried eggs go to the Windjammer where they cook to order.The restaurant eggs are terrible. For 3 days at sea there was not enough going on to keep us entertained. On other ships we have Ice carving and fruit carving demonstrations. Also how to make an animal out of a towel.The only things going on were payable extras or things to make you part with your money. Trying to find a seat around the ship in the evening was a nightmare..When we arrived at Madeira 3 days in we only had 3hrs there, P&O ship was there when we arrived and there when we left. Lanzarote‎ was pretty much the same. The good things on board were the ICE SHOW, the hypnotist the juggler and the violinist. which we both enjoyed. I personally thoroughly enjoyed the Flow rider and the lads could no have looked after me better. Where were the traditional cruising ice/fruit carvings.? No Barbie on deck.Sorry we wont be "luxury" cruising again Back to P&O or Thomson for us where what you pay for you get. Smaller but friendly.I really missed my cocktails but not willing to pay through the nose for one thank you. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was the second time on the Anthem this year. We were on the ship for the maiden voyage in April and couldn't fault anything. We had a great cruise just perfect. Our holiday in October was a bit different. Embarkation was ... Read More
This was the second time on the Anthem this year. We were on the ship for the maiden voyage in April and couldn't fault anything. We had a great cruise just perfect. Our holiday in October was a bit different. Embarkation was quick, and the cabin was clean. I noticed that the ship looked scruffy and dirty in some areas. Windjammer restaurant, tables were dirty and food on floor. One day when we went for our dinner there was no cutlery. We also had a drinks package, but you were charged for water. We were also charged for a couple of drinks and when we pointed it out the waiter was very rude. Entertainment was good, We will Rock You, The Gift and Spectres Cabaret being excellent but the house band Rock the boat, good first time we saw them but this time they looked like they couldn't be bothered. Luke Arrowsmith the cruise director, dull and boring. I wouldn't have believed the negative reviews about the Anthem but now I have experienced some of them. Disembarkation was fine. Royal Carribean needs to get their act together. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Yes, as a lot has been said before reading previous reviews. We as a party of 6, one being 95 and in a wheel chair thought why did we book this but we kept a fairly open mind having traveled on various different cruises over the years ... Read More
Yes, as a lot has been said before reading previous reviews. We as a party of 6, one being 95 and in a wheel chair thought why did we book this but we kept a fairly open mind having traveled on various different cruises over the years with RC. At Southampton, the check in was very easy and took less than 20minutes before we were all on the ship as we set everything up before hand. Got to our rooms ok and 1 room even though ordered was incorrectly made as meant to had 2 singles in but they changed it during our evening meal so no real issue for us. Only issue had was one our party had to wait for her cases too arrive after we left port, so 4 1/2 hrs for her bags and when we was in the grande restaurant straight away as we had selected Classic dynamic dining she felted pressured to get ready in 20 minutes. Food overall was a hit and miss, we still don't know why they changed to the dynamic dining as it doesn't give you variety, just the same food with a title change in a different restaurant, you definitely had more variety in the old system. The waiters we had, Veerapan and Casar were excellent so no issues with the staff although they seemed pushed some days mainly because of the problems with the menu titles, not the same as the food that came out. For instance in silk one night was duck a'lorange- but what came out was a hoisin sauce type ? funniest was a crepe dessert title but was more a cake 15mm depth round circle item with ice cream on the side (Not sure how the french would reacted to it but we had such a laugh with the waiters as a Discus thrower would have more use than eating it) Apparently there a totally new menu in a few weeks time for when the ship leaves to America. Divine Decadence I tried for lunch, tried it once and had there version of the Big Mac, it was a brand new burger that came out from the Chef and looked good, bite into it and stone Cold!!! so didn't eat there again. Windjammer was pretty good overall, yes its cramped and trying to get a table you have a few circles around but couldn't fault the food. Johnny Rockets, now tried this on a number of ships and loved it. This design they have destroyed the atmosphere with it open plan and just a corner of a ship next that's soul less, might as well make your own in windjammer down the hall. Also on a windy day food goes cold very quickly as open to the elements. Chops grille, excellent steaks and our waitress Olivia was very good but now a larger restaurant than other ships you feel like there packing the tables in. Outside areas- Ripcord was fun to try and good on a sea day and can book as many times as like for 1 min of fun. Flowrider was good, less crowds as very few teenagers, Seaplex was good, if like waiting in the line up the Northstar a good trip. Pools- well all been said before, the Muppet's at 7am are out to put their towels out by the pool loungers. The towels sit there and no one on them, stayed on ship one day in port, all these towels out by 9am and no one there until just before ship leaves port. So 30 mins and RC staff remove them rule is fiction, they might say it on the daily sheet but never happens. Yes might get crowded on windy days inside but the pools are nice to sit in at the front and relax and most of the time can find a space to lounge. We didn't do any excursions as cheaper to get a taxi most of the time e.g 40 euros for the 6 of us to top of Madeira, then toboggan ride, then taxi back up to cable car and down to the shore. Worked out 160 euro in total, instead of $82 i think PP with RC. Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lisbon, Bilbao were excellent stops. Lanzarote - ok was a Sunday so everything virtually closed, but where they dropped you was nothing really there and had to walk 10 mins to the town to find it closed anyway. There was enough sailing time between the stops to go on a different day, I mean one night the ships traveled at 5 knots for the night?? The biggest gripe with RC was how they looked after the wheelchair bound people on the shuttles, for 1st time Ive experienced being a 3rd rate forgotten people. Lanzarote -2 mini buses that could handle 2 chairs at a time, with a ship having 150 wheel chairs on board this cruise! 1 hour waits with no sun shades, even going to 1 disable shuttle coming back in Lanzarote is unacceptable. In Bilbao , we had similar problems. we found out from the coach staff that out of 26 shuttle buses RC had ordered ZERO coaches for the disable and that they had put on 3 coaches themselves as they knew of the 150 wheel chairs. RC should be ashamed of themselves! Entertainment was pretty good overall I thought and especially liked the virtual Orchestra and comedians on the ship. Cruise Director- think of Sheldon Cooper but not funny. Made boring be a fine art Dont download the RC app- trying to book Ripcord for over a hour with little success, 5 min walk to the nice guys at there desk was quicker Disembarkation- well usual no staff and mass scrum trying to get your bags in the line up So there are good points like the staff trying their best, cabins pretty good and selective on food, but overall its soulless ship trying to be something it not. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
just returned from our cruise on Anthem of the Seas and was very disappointed. We have previously cruised on Independence and this cruise ship is no where near that standard. Main problems were too many people on board. We could not get a ... Read More
just returned from our cruise on Anthem of the Seas and was very disappointed. We have previously cruised on Independence and this cruise ship is no where near that standard. Main problems were too many people on board. We could not get a seat in any of the bars in the evening. We had pre booked for the two shows "The Gift" and "We will Rock You" which were both very poor. The entertainment in general was very poor not anywhere near the standard we have had on either the Independence or on P & O. Other problems were unable to get a sun lounger on deck and also did not manage to get any loungers in the Solarium all holiday. Complained to the pool manager and he just shrugged his shoulders. The staff in general were no where near as professional as we have been used to and some of the Eastern Eiropean staff in the Grand Restaurant and the American Icon Grill were frankly quite rude. There were no sail away parties and no pool parties. We hardly saw the entertainment crew. The food in the Windjammer was very good with an excellent choice however we thought that the food in the Grand Restaurant was poor with the same menu every night. All in all we were very disappointed with this cruise and would never go on a Qantum Class ship again Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Just returned from a ten night cruise around the Canary Islands on the Explorer of the Seas....we could not wait to get home! We have sailed previous with Disney who were fabulous....RC don't even come close. First of all, ... Read More
Just returned from a ten night cruise around the Canary Islands on the Explorer of the Seas....we could not wait to get home! We have sailed previous with Disney who were fabulous....RC don't even come close. First of all, embarking at Southampton was superb, no complaints or issues at all. From parking the car, to actually setting foot on the ship took less than 30 mins. It's from there that it starts to go downhill.....fast. It took the majority of the day to receive our luggage even though we were allowed to enter our cabin from 1pm onwards. I'd advise future passengers to carry the necessities in a hold-all etc just in case this is the norm. It was very frustrating. We'd arranged weeks prior to our holiday for a birthday cake to be in our stateroom when we arrived. This didn't happen. After a long wait at Customer Services we finally received it well into the evening. Customer Service staff are very helpful and polite by the way. The ship is spotless....our cabin was clean and comfortable but for people who haven't sailed before, inside staterooms aren't the biggest! The entertainment was a huge let down. Very very disappointing. The main shows were just amateur, unlike the shows on Disney that could have slotted in on the WestEnd easily. The ice show was very good and it was a shame more shows can't be done, especially for the children. At the start of our voyage there were quizzes being held in the Star Lounge....quite a large venue on the ship...but as the days passed the quizzes were transferred to small bars around the ship. Why!? The bars could only seat 30-40 people! What's the point! Food. Oh dear! Not good! The Windjammer is just a place of chaos! There is no order when queing for food, tables....the food itself is very samey, rather bland.... I understand why the buffet has to exist. It would be impossible to accommodate every passenger in the main dining rooms, but the place needs to be managed. We ate at Johnny Rockets one evening. The place empty, probably because you had to pay! However, food was very good as was the service. I spent a lot of time in the Fitness suite as there was so little to do during the day, unless you fancied climbing up the side of the ship or risking injury on the flo-rider....a disclaimer must be signed for both! I think that tells you something! The gym was well equipped but quite a few machines were broken and remained so for the whole ten days. The kids arcade is a great idea, but beware you can easily spend a fortune in there!!! Drinks are very expensive unless you buy a drinks package which just aren't thought through properly. In order to get your money's worth you would need to be drinking 7-8 bottles are lager say, per day. So if you are a person who just fancies a couple of drinks during the evening, they don't offer any sort of 'deal' like that. So per drink...a bottle of lager would set you back £5 ! Even Dick Turpin wore a mask! That's the biggest issue with RC. From the moment you set foot on the ship, they are just after your money! Every penny they can squeeze out of you, they will! To sum it up....it was Butlins on Water! Full of people wanting to gorge on food and drink....hence the ship running out of both after six days. I would NOT travel with RC again. The staff do an excellent job for very little wages no doubt but this ship is hugely overcrowded that lead to soooo many standards being jeopardised. Try Disney! They are fab! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We have over the last ten years been cruising with our family with Royal Caribbean and are at this point Diamond members. However this cruise was disappointing to say the least. It seems RCI are no longer really interested in their ... Read More
We have over the last ten years been cruising with our family with Royal Caribbean and are at this point Diamond members. However this cruise was disappointing to say the least. It seems RCI are no longer really interested in their customers at all and service is being cut back drastically! The entertainment on this cruise was appalling. The sail away was no more appropriate with Rule Britannia being belted out over the speakers, followed by some kind of tranquil music you would normally hear in a spa and moving on to ABBA slowly lowered down to nothing... no live band, no entertainment team dancing and involving the guests and that was the start to a very bad entertainment package for the rest of the holiday! The shows were aimed not to entertain everyone but an older crowd of people which is fine if they tell you that before you book with young adults. The night club has been taken out altogether and replaced with a restaurant that you can pay for your dinner in. I feel I have paid for my food already and should not be constantly have to have the option of paid restaurants pushed at me. So as the nightclub is gone there was no real place for the younger adults and including ourselves to really go. The place that was allocated was Dizzy's which is a lounge then the DJ Bombay showed up and had no interest what so ever in what he was there for. There was an on going battle to have music played from the last two decades so not representing a night club! The shows were low quality and as we were on the second seating for dinner we had to either go before dinner or not at all as they were I think expecting everyone to watch the show and head off to bed. I book the later sitting for dinner for a reason not so we could be back in our room at 5.30 to shower and get ready if we wanted to watch a bad show. RCI also increase the prices of drinks I can only assume to push people towards buying packages. They are now under staffed at the bars and so always a queue to get a drink as they don't care if you wait they already have your money. The security was not up to standard either. No one at the door of the so called night club making sure no children were in there which of course on occasion resulted in under age people in there. There was also an issue with one drunken man trying to attack my son at the end of the night,when the bar man was asked to call security he refused. We eventually did get rid of the man who could hardly stand only to watch him go and start annoying the young adults on the pool deck. This resulted in us calling security who instead of detaining the man thought the best option was to follow him! Eventually when my husband and son insisted they remove him and do their job as he was upsetting our daughter they finally did. There was meeting conducted the following day but this should never have happened, RCI are not protecting their guests and ensuring safety we had to do this ourselves. The food was ok but not up to standard in the windjammer as was on previous years. The standard in general is dropping as they seem to be doing away with the little extras, no ice sculptures, no chocolates on your pillow, poorly trained staff who plainly just didn't care. The only really good thing I could say about this cruise was our waiter and room attendant were excellent, having said that you could see that they had not had the same training but simply doing their best. Also I have noticed that there seems to be a massive difference in the prices to cruise in Europe than in America. It seems we are just not as important as guests or they really think we are just fools in Europe? Really just turning into a money grabbing fest. If a cruise line cannot look after people who have cruised with them for years then its not looking good. We will have to look for a better alternatives. Karen. Diamond member. Dublin, Ireland. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We booked the cruise (2 adjoining Cabins 8610 and 8612) almost as soon as the itinerary was released to Iglu who we regularly use as our booking agents. We understood that early booking gives the best choice of cabins and the best ... Read More
We booked the cruise (2 adjoining Cabins 8610 and 8612) almost as soon as the itinerary was released to Iglu who we regularly use as our booking agents. We understood that early booking gives the best choice of cabins and the best prices/offers. We insisted that we must have two adjoining cabins with balconies so that we could open the divider between the cabins, a feature we have used successfully in the past. Upon entry to our cabins we found a steel section between the balconies, no divider to open. At this stage although a disappointment we were obviously unable to do anything to remedy the situation. Having arranged MyTime dining, I was advised that some weeks before the cruise I would be able to reserve the dining arrangements for our party of four for the entire cruise on-line via RC’s website. I managed to reserve for the 1st night but the system would not let me reserve for any of the following nights. I repeated this exercise unsuccessfully until the last few weeks approaching the start of the cruise. I decided to contact RC by telephone to try and complete the dining arrangements. I spoke to a guy who apologised and advised the on-line My Time dining reservations system was not working. I gave him all our reservation information as requested and he assured me that the information was now set up and nothing else would be required. Within minutes of arriving in our cabins I decided to telephone the Dining Room reservations section to ensure our previously arranged dining plan had been acted upon. The person I spoke to had no knowledge of the earlier conversation/arrangements that I had agreed on-shore but having advised him of our dining requests we had no further issues. Daytime Dining: We gave up attempting breakfast in the Windjammer after one try. We didn’t expect the inconvenience of having to walk around the seating area endlessly with tray in hands trying to find an empty table for our party. Many of the 4 person tables were occupied by 1 or 2 people only. This situation was remedied somewhat when we transferred to the Self-Service Breakfast in Deck 3’s dining room. This we did for the remainder of the cruise. This entire debacle in the Windjammer was repeated during lunchtime, but we decided to live with the inconvenience as we didn’t want the service provided in the alternative restaurants. Sun-Deck: The other male member of our party is a keen walker so he was up on the Sun Deck walking the “circuit” very early. When the weather was good (on most mornings) he observed the majority of sun-loungers already covered by “reserved” towels. Some of these loungers would remain unused (but reserved) throughout the day, although feeble attempts were made to deter this practice. There was no space available for any additional sunbeds. The walking/jogging circuit was marked “5 laps = one mile” and although this seemed on the short side, we were advised by chance on the penultimate day of the cruise that after the recent ship upgrade the circuit had been shortened and now 8 laps was equal to 1 mile. (Why wasn’t the info changed when the circuit was shortened ?) The sun loungers often well-encroached the circuit thus causing obstructions for the users. Entertainment: The resident entertainers we found to be very poor, it was perhaps good to complement them with Guest Artists. Bars, Lounges (Evenings) : On our previous RC cruise we had found a comfortable area on one of the top decks at the rear of the boat with seating space, good waiter service and live entertainment throughout every evening. On this recent cruise noting all the lower deck bars/lounges full to overflowing we decided to venture up to the equivalent on the Explorer which was Dizzy’s. Here on most visits we managed to find a table/seats for our party. The downside was NO live entertainment, not even background music, just background conversation until around 11-00 pm when a DJ who was less entertaining than a cardboard cut out would appear, stand totally silent (like he didn’t want to be there) and play the most inappropriate music for the seated audience. The bar service which on the Independence was excellent, was almost totally non-existent in all of the drinking areas and on many occasions drinks could only be obtained by going to the bar oneself. Sometimes the behind the bar area was not even manned. The entertainment/quiz shows provided by the resident entertainment staff always seemed very hurried with little audience interaction and again provided by people who appeared didn’t really want to be there. Drinks Package: We were not offered a free “Drinks Package” when we made our initial booking but were advised we could purchase on-board. Upon consideration,we agreed that, as moderate drinkers, we could not justify purchasing drinks packages at around $50 dollars per person per day. The drinks prices on-board are considerably high. We talked to many people during the cruise who had been offered a “Free” drinks package when their booking was made and felt this to be very unfair when compared to our circumstances and would suggest that early booking provides little or no advantage and probably disadvantage. We were also very disappointed in having to pay an 8% extra tax amount when cruising within Spanish waters and would suggest this could be absorbed by RC. As can be noted from the comments above we were very disappointed with the cruise in its entirety and would not recommend RC to any interested parties based on our cruise. You will note lots of areas/activities/aspects of the cruise I have purposely not mentioned, they were generally ok but at a lower standard than our previous RC cruise. The issues seem to be: Not enough bars/entertainment areas Not enough staff in all areas Too many passengers Concentrating on money making at all costs Lower standards Re-think of the Photograph area where there is much wasted space which could be used to ease overcrowding in other areas. We will think very carefully before deciding on our next cruise holiday. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Unfortunately, this ship didn't really work for me. I tried my best to like it but there were just too many things wrong with it for me to totally enjoy it, although I still had a great holiday. The main problem for me is that it ... Read More
Unfortunately, this ship didn't really work for me. I tried my best to like it but there were just too many things wrong with it for me to totally enjoy it, although I still had a great holiday. The main problem for me is that it has hardly any outside space and certainly nowhere outside where you can get a bit of peace and quiet. Deck 15 is the only outdoor sunbathing area and this is shared with the 2 lane so called jogging track - which isn't really a jogging track as its the only place people can walk around the deck so its only suitable for jogging after about 8 at night or before 7 in the morning. The sunbeds are packed so close together that they are actually touching each other with no room for bags or drinks by the side and they are tied down so that they cannot be moved. The back of the bed is up against the side rail and the end of the bed is right up against the border of the jogging track - consequently there are hundreds of people passing and bumping into the end of the bed all day long. Because of the indoor solarium at the front of the ship there's no room for anything other than the jogging/walking track around the front of Deck 15 from about two thirds of the way down. There's music blaring out either from the pool in the middle or from the climbing wall and flowrider at the back. Its so loud that you cannot listen to your own music through your headphones. Its all just really awful and stressful. You can normally walk or sit around the whole of the outside of cruise ships on deck 4 or 5. Not on the Anthem though. You can go out on Deck 5 but you can only walk about 1/2 way down each side before its blocked off to passengers - you cannot get to the front or the back. There are also lifeboats all down the side of Deck 5 so you cannot really see the sea. There are 6 sun chairs down each side. All the outside space that there would normally be is taken up by the massive indoor solarium - which is beautifully done but is indoors with a constant humid atmosphere. Everyone in there appears comatose! Or by the Seaplex - again a great space but caters for only about a fifth of the passengers - hosting basketball, football, trapeze and dodgems. The 270 entertainment space at the back of the ship is impressive, everything else is standard RCI cruise ship stuff. Sorry to sound so negative - I did have a great holiday but the ship just didn't work for me. I'm sure its fantastic for those that like lots of adrenaline type activities on the one hand, or those that like to sit indoors for hours on end falling asleep on the other, but its not for me. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Parking Brilliant!Ship , Geared towards very unruly kids sometimes drunk and fighting,3 families were turned off the ship! restaurants not as good as Independence, No Wow factor! We had a romance package and our breakfast in bed was ... Read More
Parking Brilliant!Ship , Geared towards very unruly kids sometimes drunk and fighting,3 families were turned off the ship! restaurants not as good as Independence, No Wow factor! We had a romance package and our breakfast in bed was totally forgotten and we finally got it at10.00am, of course we had been up ages by then! HARDLY ROMANTIC WHEN YOU HAVE TO PHONE SEVERAL TIMES! As the trip was very windy it was a job to get any seats under cover, not enough staff for so many people,We only got 1/2 DAY TRIPS WHICH MEANT NOT ENOUGH TIME TO GET ANYWHERE WORTH SEEING! Two very good shows in evening out of ten days, The Mall was very disappointing, too small for such a big ship and the few shops were empty with only staff having a good natter, not very inviting ,best thing was the coffee shop! The NorthStar was fantastic and the two 70 was good too! Our rooms were very nice! The staff to the rooms were very good and so were our restaurant staff,they followed us to which was the restaurant of the evening.Everyone we spoke to said like us they would not be booking on this ship again, we spoke to one young couple queuing to get back on board, who said it was there 1st and last cruise ,we said that they must try the Independence, As that is a well thought out ship which is luxury cruising before saying No to cruising. we were very disappointed ourselves, we chose this one as we had never been to the Canaries before, but wish we had gone on the independence even though we would have gone somewhere we had been before! SORRY Anthem, but not a good review for you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We travelled as a family of 3,2 adults and 1 child (10). Once on board my daughter and I went to lunch and my partner went to look around, when I finally caught up with him he told me he had been locked in the cabin for 30 minutes and ... Read More
We travelled as a family of 3,2 adults and 1 child (10). Once on board my daughter and I went to lunch and my partner went to look around, when I finally caught up with him he told me he had been locked in the cabin for 30 minutes and had to call housekeeping to let him out. They kept him waiting and had to get some tools to force the lock off the door. I was obviously very concerned and had sleepless nights (especially over the Bay of Biscay) worried that if anything happened we would not be able to get out! The ship itself has got all the modern facilities, iPads all over the ship, bionic bar, dodgems, North Star which are all great but I would prefer some old fashioned touches like employing enough staff instead of them having to run around like headless chickens to serve you. The waiting times to be served at the pool bars were approx. 15/20 minutes and unlike other ships there were no waiters walking about to take drinks orders. I actually mentioned to the Beverages Manager that there weren't enough staff and he replied that they were not prepared for the British as we apparently drink more than the Americans!! The ship sailed from Southampton and do they not do any research springs to mind. My daughter went in the Kid's Club which was good and all the staff seemed friendly enough, although she did tell me that two of them were speaking Russian to each other in front of the kids.. The entertainment was good and indeed had the wow factor, we saw We Will Rock You, the Spectre's Cabaret and the virtual band. Overall, we were disappointed with the ship as we have always had a great experience with Royal Caribbean before and are not sure whether we will holiday with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
First cruise after refit and the passengers were guinea pigs for new crew and organisation with ongoing maintenance. Check in was very efficient but the first 3/4 days on board was disorganised with long queues to get seated for meals, ... Read More
First cruise after refit and the passengers were guinea pigs for new crew and organisation with ongoing maintenance. Check in was very efficient but the first 3/4 days on board was disorganised with long queues to get seated for meals, not enough seating (as weather not good enough to sit outside) and nearly an hour wait to get back onboard at Maderia. There was limited activities available for the days at sea which were free, most required a payment and connections to the Internet/wifi was very expensive. There was also very little communication as to access to the towns at the ports of call (ie at Lanzorate no mention that it was an hour to walk in but there was a free schuttle bus) and the emphasis was on shore excursions. The food however was very good and the staff efficient and friendly in the main. Entertainment was hit and miss, some good with a great ice show but the comic juggler terrible. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
It was somewhere between good and poor with the odd excellent here and there. It was the ships first sailing after a refit and in some areas it was unfinished or maybe not even started? Some work was being done while we were sailing so ... Read More
It was somewhere between good and poor with the odd excellent here and there. It was the ships first sailing after a refit and in some areas it was unfinished or maybe not even started? Some work was being done while we were sailing so areas were roped off, why could this work not been done before we sailed, when you're on holiday you don't shouldn't have to deal with the smell off paint and chemicals, we understand that ship maintenance is on going but this was more than that. Part of the refit was adding extra cabins (which were not yet in service), this will make a busy ship even busier,is this RCI putting profit before the customer ? There were times when sun beds were scarce and trying to get a drink took forever, so adding more passengers won't help this ratio. We were told that they were trying a new ordering system in the main dining room, service was slow and the waiting staff seem to be struggling with it, surely they should have had more support when trying something new, they suffered and so did we ! On one occasion we all ordered our meals and after a long delay we were told that they had run out of a certain dish that many on our table had ordered, this shouldn't ever happen. On our first night we went to Chops grill a past favourite of ours, this turned into a disaster, we sat down at 7:30 but didn't get our main course until 9:40 we also had to send something back because it was cold, this is a first for us ! Later in the cruise we went to chops for an indian lunch, this was excellent, the chef showed how he cooked all the dishes, we then sat down and tried them all, this was followed by a tour of the galley which we found really interesting and good value. We thought that the food quality in the main dining and the Windjammer overall was much below par, nothing wrong with how it was cooked but the meat quality was poor especially the chicken. The Windjammer seemed to cook the same thing everyday not enough variety. The ship has now got a flow rider, hooray ! how about keeping it open so we can get on it ? most days it was closed between 11 and 5 so opening when were getting ready for dinner and after dinner isn't much use ? Entertainment on the ship was on the whole very good to excellent, I applaud RCI for keeping the music live as it should be. Our cabin was it's usual high standard and we were well looked after by our room steward. Overal we did have a nice time but certain parts of the cruise were spoiling it at times, we just hope that RCI get there act together so we can continue booking with them as our favoured cruise line.They let a ship sail unfinished and tried a new system in the main dining without a plan B which left the passengers annoyed and waiters frustrated, which isn't fair on their guests or crew who have to deal with the complaints . Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We have cruised 10 times, twice now with Royal Caribbean. This ship has just had a major refit and this was its first cruise since moving from the Caribbean routes recently, to serve the European market. Whilst the actual cabin was good ... Read More
We have cruised 10 times, twice now with Royal Caribbean. This ship has just had a major refit and this was its first cruise since moving from the Caribbean routes recently, to serve the European market. Whilst the actual cabin was good (6280) our balcony floor and glass was covered with paint and the bathroom flooded 3 times, due to drainage problems. The safe had to be replaced on day one. Service was extremely slow the first two/ three nights/breakfast in the main dining rooms, with queues to enter at breakfast and lunch times. The Windjammer self serve cafe has too few tables at main meal times, in order to cope. This is the same in the pub and snack bar on the street location. Once space has been allocated for the 3 themed (extra cost) restaurants and the Diamond Club members (loyalty scheme) and art auctions the ship has insufficient seating and lounge areas to accommodate everyone, especially on poor weather days. Communication on the ship for independent travellers doing their own thing in ports, is really poor. They did not advertise the fact that Lanzarote provided its own shuttle bus into town (3 klm walk), but charged 24 dollars (return) for their own. They do not provide detailed maps of the ports on board ship or details about building works taking place around port areas, that add walking distance or the lack of taxis available to simply ride into towns and back ( Teneriffe and Lanzarote),Given there are people with disabilities and parents pushing pushchairs etc....this is morally unacceptable ) Expect to pay comparative high prices for wines, spirits, specialist coffees, booking fees to specialist restaurants ($20 each person) and suggested tips, for what we found to be people just doing their jobs, no above and beyond here! Entertainment standards are also dropping, as the reduction in overall fares continues in a fierce and over crowded market. The best entertainment is still provided by the ships own staff, with most nights having a "flown in " single act/person doing a decent standard, but the hour long show is filled out with inane chatter for much of the time, which kills any quality that might have been there....crazy. Few pieces of live entertainment are provided around the ship at other prime times, apart from quiz shows and late night disco's. Ice show was excellent...go early and get good seat near front. Food quality was good enough, with a differing menu each day providing a 3 course dinner, reasonable lunch and breakfast selections. Most meals are served only warm, due to distance to kitchen. No separate afternoon tea (Windjammer self serve). The service was pleasant and mostly efficient, although expect to queue for entry into main dining rooms for breakfast and lunch and early cruise for dinner. No experience of any shore excursions and activities, Disembarkation procedure was very good. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We found noise to be the biggest problem with the cruise. With 5500 people on the ship, and music in all the public areas there was no comfortable place to escape to; except ones' cabin I suppose . The quality of meals was passable, ... Read More
We found noise to be the biggest problem with the cruise. With 5500 people on the ship, and music in all the public areas there was no comfortable place to escape to; except ones' cabin I suppose . The quality of meals was passable, certainly no better than any of the meals experienced with other cruise lines. At formal evenings the dress code was not enforced. In fact the Company made it clear that formal dress was only a suggestion. The volume of the background music at dinner seemed variable so that at times it was difficult to hear when talking with friends. And bottle of wine at dinner cost 45 to 50 dollars, i.e £27 to £30. Royal Caribbean International, without giving a reason, confiscate for the length of the cruise any alcohol passengers take on board. With activities like rock climbing, ice skating on a small rink, and some surfing experience and with good water and other activities for children this ship could be very suitable for young families. A bit like Butlins at Sea really! After many cruises this was the first when I was glad it was over.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our third cruise with RCI, and the first on Independence. First impressions were good, the stateroom was lovely and the ship looked great. But oh dear how things have slipped at RCI. While the quality overall of the food was ok, ... Read More
This was our third cruise with RCI, and the first on Independence. First impressions were good, the stateroom was lovely and the ship looked great. But oh dear how things have slipped at RCI. While the quality overall of the food was ok, the choice was abysmal and almost wholly "British" - we are Brits ourselves but if we'd wanted this we'd have chosen P & O! I mean seriously one night there were fish fingers on the menu in the main dining room! Other choices like shepherds pie, roast dinners, mixed grill - felt more like we were eating in a Harvester! And we noticed in the Windjammer that whereas before there would be different choices at each food station now they were all the same. The only high point in the food experience was Johnny Rockets - great fun (although of course with RCI if you want anything good you have to pay extra for it). And I'm afraid there's more. Like many others on board that we spoke to in our age group (mid 50s) we found that sadly there was almost nothing to do during the day. All the activities were very heavily sports and young family related and while we are not ready for SAGA just yet these just weren't for us. I would echo the comments of others on here that it was very much Butlins on Sea, really dumbed down and poor. The entertainment in the evening was good on the face of it, but we had seen the comedy juggler three times before, the hypnotist twice before etc etc - how about some actual variety maybe? And to emphasise the focus on families on the last night in the main theatre the entertainment was a young lad on the stage doing tricks on a BMX bike. Great if you are 15 I suppose. Unfortunately due to bad weather we had to miss Lisbon from the itinerary, which was understandable for the safety of the ship, passengers and crew. Did we get our port taxes back? No. All we got was another tedious day at sea with nothing extra put on by way of entertainment to make up for it. They knew 5 days before (ie before the ship left Southampton) that Lisbon was dodgy. Could we have gone somewhere else such as Gibraltar, Tangier, or Casablanca? Maybe, but that might have cost RCI money so we took the cheap way out and sailed on. So much is missing from previous cruises. They may only be little touches such as chocs on pillows, port explorer leaflets delivered to your room (or being available at all) fruit carvings (ok we did get that as an afterthought on the last day) and SO much more. The accountants at RCI are shaving your cruise experience down and we won't be going back I'm afraid. Oh and if they are going to build ships this big it might be an idea to provide enough seats for everyone indoors. Every evening at every bar there was a constant hunt for seats, and woe betide you if you weren't in the theatre at least 45 minutes before the show started - not a chance of a seat. One of things we noticed most was the lack of cleaning. Where on previous cruises the staff were always cleaning on this trip that wasn't the case, and we found dirty toilets and lots of sticky handrails. Once they had a little outbreak of norovirus on board the cleaning did pick up a bit, strangely enough. And can someone explain please what is this curious fascination with vastly overpriced artwork? Its a shame because it could have been a great cruise, and if you had a young family it probably was. But NEVER again for us with RCI. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Never again will I go with Independence of the Seas. Having had six plus cruises on the Allure and thoroughly enjoying them I was not anticipating any problems on the IOTS. How wrong can you be! First impressions of the ship itself were OK ... Read More
Never again will I go with Independence of the Seas. Having had six plus cruises on the Allure and thoroughly enjoying them I was not anticipating any problems on the IOTS. How wrong can you be! First impressions of the ship itself were OK and we tried not to compare its spaciousness to the Allure. Our Suite ( Grand Suite) was a good size as you would expect and the furnishings were acceptable. However there were 3 cupboard doors that we could not close and there was only one robe in the bathroom. These things should have been dealt with before we boarded. After a noisy night with the doors banging in rhythm with the ship we were fortunate to bump into a maintainance man who said he would return and fix them. He didn't, so we phoned maintainance the next day and got the problem solved. We did get another robe but every time we used an item in the bathroom we had to ask for it to be replaced. Incidentally, no slippers are now provided! The food was fine but not the choice or variety we have experienced previously. Cut backs are evident. The service from our two waiters was excellent. Children were a problem, playing with and in the lifts and rampaging about at all hours unchecked. The entertainment was abysmal. On the first night nothing in the theatre and on the remaining eleven nights there were only three guest artists of mediocre quality. The on board company provided variations on music and dance for the remaining nights. The films shown included Goldfinger! That speaks for itself. If you weren't sporty or played bingo, tough. The ship was so crowded it was impossible to get a seat in the Promenade cafe, Sorrentos or the pub. We had the Concierge facility but again there were approx 34 seats for over 120 guests it doesn't take a genius to work out the problem there? It is supposed to be a 24hr facility but the coffee machine broke down and remained out of order for 7 days. The Concierge himself was unhelpful, quite rude and inefficient. When we complained about this service and him he moaned to other guests about us! Complaining to the manager concerned did little. He promised to keep in touch and find out if there had been any improvement. He never did. Some effort was made by the concierge. Too little too late. Disembarkation at the ports was haphazard, some went smoothly enough but one was absolutely dangerous with hoardes of people herded into narrow corridors whilst two crew members tried to find out what was happening. Had there been an emergency all hell would have broken out. It was particularly difficult for those disabled passengers in wheelchairs. The timing of arrivals and departures from ports was ridiculous. In La Coruna we docked at 11 am, disembarkation began at 11.30 from one gangway. We took 25 minutes to get off. It was now 12pm ships time, 1pm Spanish time and Siesta commenced at 2pm. It was hardly worth it! We skipped Lisbon because of bad weather. This was understandable for our safety, but we then dawdled and circled for hours to lose time before getting into the next port. In general this cruise was a disaster. Inefficient, unhelpful staff on a vastly overcrowded ship. At least RCL should ensure that all passengers can partake of the facilities including seats! It appears that RCL has cut back on many things, chocolates on the pillow, slippers and have apparently asked staff to guard toiletries etc. everything was geared to encouraging passengers to spend. The commercialism was so " in your face". $5 dollars plus for a bottle of water? We are booked on the Anthem next year but I seriously doubt we shall bother if this is the standard we can expect. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My wife and I have only ever cruised with Royal Caribbean over the years and have diamond status, so I guess we can be classed as loyal customers. We have been on the AOS before and had a great time but this one was different. First of ... Read More
My wife and I have only ever cruised with Royal Caribbean over the years and have diamond status, so I guess we can be classed as loyal customers. We have been on the AOS before and had a great time but this one was different. First of all boarding was delayed due to the norovirus being on board. Automatically most people would be concerned and we were no different. However, we understand that these things happen on cruise ships and we were determined that it wouldn't spoil our cruise, although we would have to be very careful throughout. I suppose having this hovering about for the full 14 days does have an impact on you mentally. As always most staff were pleasant but I found most of the deck attendants to be ignorant and unhelpful. Now onto the food. In the MDR the staff serving us were great so no complaints whatsoever there. However the food served was generally lukewarm, which I mentioned but was never resolved. With the virus on board you would think that serving lukewarm food should have been a key issue to sort out. It wasn't. The head waiter was never seen nor did he speak to us until the last night. Wonder if that could be something to do with tips?? In respect of the MDR menu I found it to be very poor with not a great choice. They had two Indian dishes every night but no Chinese or other international cuisines, apart from Italian which you'll see below is an issue on this ship. We went to the Giovanni's restaurant, which has replaced Portofino's. My wife has a garlic intolerance and (as we have done on other ships) asked for the garlic not to be used in her food. We were told this could not happen because the food was pre-prepared off the ship (same answer given in the MDR). So much for producing food freshly made! Not impressed. We never went back. This sounds like we were miserable throughout but the opposite is the case. When we go on holiday we enjoy ourselves and try not to let anything get us down. We had a great time and met some fantastic people and had a superb laugh. The issues I've raised I thought I'd share with you but a holiday is only as good as you want it to be.... and we had a ball!! We are booked on AOS next March sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico on a Caribbean back to back. Needless to say we will be cancelling this cruise and will be looking elsewhere!! In regard to the ports, we have been to most of them and went off ship and generally did our own thing. However, on most days the weather was fantastic so we would go off for an hour and then head back and soak up the sun. Our highlight was Lisbon which we found to be a lovely city. We are going to spend a long weekend there next year as there wasn't enough time (or stamina in the legs) to see everything we wanted to see.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
From the moment we entered our cabin we noticed the carpet was filthy and ill fitting(we had it cleaned after complaining which did seem to remove the vile odours that were evident before). The door to the cabin had a gap of at least one ... Read More
From the moment we entered our cabin we noticed the carpet was filthy and ill fitting(we had it cleaned after complaining which did seem to remove the vile odours that were evident before). The door to the cabin had a gap of at least one inch wide from floor to around the height of the handle, thus light was streaming in all night and noise was more noticeable, also we had to make sure we lent on the door to make sure it closed.Towels were stained and poor quality. The cabin has an adjoining door to another cabin (locked as we booked alone). Noise levels were high from adjoining cabins. Although there is a good amount of storage there is no flat screen television and picture quality is very poor. DECK 4 the carpet in bar by Jesters was permanently being dried out with a peculiar odour similar to vomit noticeable when seated at Schooner Bar. Through out the ship it was noticeable that carpets were worn or raised due to age. The whole ship had a very tired look about it. This has always been one of our favourite ships for food, friendliness of staff and a comfortable relaxing experience. However on this occasion it was the complete opposite. On various occasions having asked for certain drinks we were flatly told they did not have them in that particular bar (no offer to obtain one for us from another bar) It was as if it was too much trouble, this happened in the pool bar, Dog and duck pub and casino bar. Apart from the last night when the barmaid made the effort to find the requested drink(which was a can of john smiths). MAIN RESTAURANT our first table was with 6 Spanish people. We live in Spain however my partner does not speak Spanish so I would have spent the entire time translating had we not moved tables. Moved from Strauss to Vivaldi. We were seated with a family of four and two couples all English and very nice company which went a long way to make up for the food. Numerous times the food arrived and was cold or tasteless and much smaller portions. The choices had been reduced from previous voyages and so had the quality. Our Head waiter informed us the chef was being replaced in two weeks and a new menu would be on offer. No good for us but hopefully better quality, flavour and imagination. Due to poor weather only one day of sunbathing, this was the usual walking around for 20 minutes to find a sun lounger as despite signs advising passengers not to reserve beds nothing was done to enforce this. We were invited to a Platinum and above afternoon where we ended up leaving as we could not get a drink in spite of asking 3 separate members of staff, again very poor service. WINDJAMMER cafe had dirty cups on numerous occasions and people were handling unwrapped cutlery several times prior to choosing the desired article(Not exactly the best way to avoid stomach aches by other peoples germs.)Having selected your food it was a complete nightmare trying to find a table to sit at, there was no help from staff in locating empty seats. Only once were we offered a drink whilst seated eating in the windjammer. CASINO offered poker tournaments yet held them at 10pm whilst second seating was still dining. Cash games of poker were instigated by the customers as the casino made no effort to promote them. Apart from a couple of croupiers who could do with a lot more training the rest of the staff were very good. The casino bar is the friendliest bar on the ship with very efficient and friendly staff. DISEMBARKATION. Well it was a case of weve had your money and now we dont want to know. I could rattle on for longer about all the other things that were wrong but i think you get the Gist. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was my first cruise, a party of 6 of us went on a cruise to celebrate my Brother in law and Sister in laws' silver wedding anniversary. Ship I have been a Merchant Navy Officer for 30 years and I am not easily impressed, ... Read More
This was my first cruise, a party of 6 of us went on a cruise to celebrate my Brother in law and Sister in laws' silver wedding anniversary. Ship I have been a Merchant Navy Officer for 30 years and I am not easily impressed, but I thought the Independence of the Seas was a spectacular ship unfortunately RCI is not so spectacular. Our cabin was a deluxe balcony stateroom and was much better than I expected. Staff The staff I found to be friendly,polite and very helpful.Our cabin attendant kept our cabin clean,tidy and well supplied. The room service staff bought our breakfast hot and on time every morning. The dining room staff were very good, friendly and at times entertaining. Food The food was good quality and plentiful although after about a week it became a bit repetitive. On a cruise to Spain and The Canaries I would have expected the menu to have had a bit of a Spanish influence, but in 10 days I did not see one Spanish dish. Drinks Packages When we joined the ship we were encouraged to sign up for one of the Beer and soda Packages, this cost $45 per day for every day onboard for each person in your cabin, on a ten day cruise this works out as $900 per couple. This should have allowed us 'free' beer,soft drinks and glasses of wine for the whole trip. When you sit down and do the sums it works out that have to drink about 8 Beers or Glasses of wine each per day to make it pay, which unless you are a very heavy drinker is quite alot to drink every day. RCI also have other tricks up their sleeves to make sure you don't get your moneys worth :- 1) You can only get certain beers, wines and soft drinks on the package, we heard of a couple who paid $1500 for the Premium Package but still had to pay extra for a can of Coke. 2) If you have more than 1 drink every 30 minutes for your own 'Health and Safety' the bar staff are instructed not to serve you. RCI don't seem to be so concerned with your 'health and safety' if you are not on a package and are paying for drinks, as so far as I could see you can then drink what you want when you want. 3) If one of your party appears to be getting drunk (difficult not to when you have to drink 8 pints every day) then the barstaff are instructed not serve the whole party. 4) The package is supposed to be an easy and simple way to pay for your drinks, but you have to keep a close eye on your account, as most days we found that we had been charged for drinks we shouldn't have and had to join the morning queue's at reception to get it sorted out. We did not meet anybody who had sailed with RCI previously who had bought a drinks package on their second cruise, many said they had bought one on their first cruise and thought it a waste of money. Drinks on board are expensive about $6.5 a pint (£4.25), this is particularly expensive when you consider RCI are buying it duty free for less that $1 a pint. Excursions We were encouraged at every opportunity to signup for the excursion packages which were very expensive. We only went for the $10 scheduled buses in Madiera and Lanzarote and there was a free bus in Tenerife. You are supplied with quite alot of information about the excursions that you had to pay for, but there was not much information if like most people you just wanted go for a walk ashore in the local area. We were considering signing up for an excursion in Gran Canaria and Vigo as this looked like the only way to get ashore, until we found out from the bar staff that the ship actually stops in the middle of town in these ports and you can just walk ashore. The organisation for passengers not using the paid for excursions was often non existant. For instance when we arrived at our first port Madiera, no instructions were given about going ashore which meant that people began congregating at the gangway, we were eventually organised into an orderly queue which went up the stairways for 3 or 4 decks and there we stayed for about 90minutes until the gangway doors were opened. Buying onboard There is a huge mark up on any Jewelry, Drink or tobacco bought onboard.Drink and tobacco is about twice the price onboard than it is ashore. My wife was looking at a ring in one of the jewelry sales it was marked up $216 but when we peeled back the price tag put on by RCI we found a makers Price tag with a recommended price of $115. Entertainment We only managed to see one show which was an ice show, the show was very good but the organisation of the seating was chaotic and many people ended up having to stand. In conclusion if you are not suckered into any of RCI money spinning Scams you can you can maybe have a good time. Although RCI are keen to tell you about the experience of crews working onboard their ships, it sometimes appears that they have never actually taken a cruise themselves. If I go on another cruise I will look somewhere else. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
The ship itself is stunning, there is a lack of open areas to sit out, and there feels like there is a lack of natural light in a lot of the public spaces. The cabin we had was really nice, spotless and fairly spacious. The shower was ... Read More
The ship itself is stunning, there is a lack of open areas to sit out, and there feels like there is a lack of natural light in a lot of the public spaces. The cabin we had was really nice, spotless and fairly spacious. The shower was also fantastic, and the balcony was a good size. The bed was huge, and very comfortable with a memory foam top. This ship however, is far too crowded. Its big yes, but it feels small due to the number of people that all seem to want to be in the same place as you at the same time as you. And most of them will trample all over you to get their first. The food on board was average at best. The main dining room (romeo and juliet) is a huge spacious and beautifully decorated place, the service was very very good. unfortunately the food and menu wasn't really fine dining. I got the feeling that this ship has dumbed down the food quality to cater for its British, Chip Loving guests. A case of, why bother serving fine food, when all they want is chips. Which for the majority of the people on the ship was perfect. But not for me unfortunately, being in close proximity of so many over indulging Brits, made me ashamed to be British, and at times, watching everyone stuff chips and cakes into their mouths made me feel more sick than the choppy crossing of the bay of biscay. But that is no fault of the cruise line, or the ship. The dining times on board were ok, except for the Windjammer all you can stuff in your fat face restaurant, which seemed to be closed more than it was open, I really do feel that this restaurant should be open all day and most of the night. This would cut down on the crowds of people that all have to go there at the same time. It really is over crowded and getting a table is a nightmare. Especially given the fact that the Brits on board are so rude and competitive. The food on offer however was really good, plenty of different styles to choose from and the quality seemed pretty decent. For times when the Windjammer was closed, all you was left with was 2 very small cafes. Promenade Cafe serving Awfully rough coffee, Pastries and Cakes 24 hours , and Sorrento's which served tasteless and greasy pizza. Both were too small to accommodate the 3500 chip and cake eating lardies on board. The queues for the lifts was always ridiculous, and people who didn't really need to use the lifts to go down one deck, would stand for ages waiting and moaning about them. The quietest place on the ship was the stairways, cos none of the bone idle Brits on board would use them. It was like they had no choice but to stand in the lift queue and moan about how crowded they were. And the lifts always brought out the rude nature in people. Even though we had a small child in a pushchair and had been waiting for a lift for some time, people would jump in front of us and cram in so that we would have to wait for the next one. Even more rude was the people in mobility scooters, thinking they had the right to run you over to get in the lift before you. The staff on board were always very kind and courteous. We only had one problem with one of them who was rude to us, and had a bad attitude. She works in the photo gallery, so can be avoided quite easily. Oh and incidentally, she is one of the few British members of staff. Overall, we had a nice time, it is what it is really, a middle of the road cruise, full of rude and ignorant Brits. If you don't expect too much then you'll be more than happy. If you've ever taken a cruise with another company, then you will probably be disappointed. Would I travel on this ship again? NO, NEVER! If I wanted another holiday like that, I would just go to Benidorm and save myself a couple of grand. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I have come to the conclusion that RCI are the most inward looking company I have ever dealt wit, their quest for profit comes above all else. Let me explain: Things went wrong before we even got to the cruise. They more or less insist ... Read More
I have come to the conclusion that RCI are the most inward looking company I have ever dealt wit, their quest for profit comes above all else. Let me explain: Things went wrong before we even got to the cruise. They more or less insist that you log in on line and print off your cruise booklet and order baggage tags. To do this you need a special log in that RCI are supposed to send you 14 days before the cruise. We had to call our travel agent to get the log in as none had come via email, as had been promised. We ordered baggage tags but none came. I phoned a week before the cruise but was told it was too late to reorder. No baggage tags then. We flew to Malaga from Gatwick, upon arrival we went to the coach, which was waiting for us. The RCI rep took our cruise brochure from us, tore out a page and handed the remains back to us. We got on the coach and were swiftly taken to the docks to embark. The queue was huge but there were lots of agents so we got to one pretty quickly. We gave her our cruise booklet but she said she could not check us in because the page torn out by her colleague was missing. When I tried to explain what had happened she was quite rude and abrupt and thrust a form at me to fill in. It had all the information that I had spent some time filling in on line. She then needed my credit card, even though I had already registered that on line. It was now about 13:30, we had been traveling since 3 am, we were hungry and tired, I was not impressed!!! We headed straight for the Windjammer where we had a pretty decent lunch and then made our way to our cabin. The cabin was well laid out with lots of storage but boy was it looking tired. The ship is 10 years old and it really looks it in places. Things like a well rusted waste bin and a filthy toilet seat spoiled the overall effect. Right from the word go everything seemed to be about extracting the maximum amount of money from their guests. We had paid gratuities up front but soon discovered that 15 % got added to everything anyway. Everything on board was at sky high prices, the cost of drinks seemed to put most people off drinking altogether. It really was a rip of culture - 2 examples: Price of massage advertised at from $139 - 2 people went as a couple and ended up with a $510 bill plus a $5 gratuity!!! On the day we went to Lanzarote they were selling 500ml bottles of water for $4.95 then telling people that on land they would be over$6. Utter rubbish - any supermarket will sell you one for under a euro. It's one thing to rip people off but quite another when you start lying to them as well. One thing that really got to me is on the last evening we tried to find somewhere for a reasonably quite drink, all the public areas were full to bursting. We went to the sports bar and asked for a Bacardi and diet Coke only to be told they had no Bacardi. OK says I, just a diet Coke then. They didn't have any of that either. Unbelievable, they go to all that effort to empty your wallet then run out of the basics. Be wary if they offer you freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast, they will charge you for it, same as they will charge for a "speciality coffee" after dinner. Look, RCI if you are going to charge me - tell me up front, otherwise I will feel like I have been conned. Be very careful of what they sell in the shops too. If you go for a quite drink you will have the peace shattered by somebody shouting sales messages over a pa system, it's like being in a market. They were trying to sell cheap Chinese watch sets at 20 bucks, the same stuff our local market sells at a quarter of that. The other thing you need to be aware of that RCI have not cottoned on to yet is that when you fly these days any toiletries of over 100ml will be confiscated at the airport if they are in you hand baggage. Given that many people may want to freshen up as soon as they are on board I am guessing that many people may carry some bits and pieces on with them. RCI do not put any toiletries in the cabins except for a small bar of soap. I find this astonishing. I have travelled all over the world and stayed in the best and the worst of hotels, B&B's guest houses and cruise ships and this is the first time I have ever gone to my room to find no toiletries. To make matters worse not one shop had any shampoo for sale, we had to buy some in Tenerife. Come on RCI, at least stock the essentials or give "pamper packs" like all the other cruise lines do. The ship has some great areas, the food was pretty good although teh steak on the first nigh was inedible, the mash was always so salty that most people left it and in general it was nowhere near the standards we are used to on P&O or Cunard. We won't be going RCI again, we will be going back to P&O where we will get much better value for money and be with a company that cares as much about teh customer experience as they care about profit. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
To start with the good points: the ship was clean, the cabin was spacious with a good balcony, the steward was excellent. the food available was of good but not cruise standard fare. But: be prepared they do not put ant toiletries in the ... Read More
To start with the good points: the ship was clean, the cabin was spacious with a good balcony, the steward was excellent. the food available was of good but not cruise standard fare. But: be prepared they do not put ant toiletries in the cabin this does seem very penny pinching as you get these at a 2 star hotel, the toilet paper is useful if you have children as it can substitute for tracing paper "good money saver there LOL". So best tip take your own toiletries as the are very expensive on the ship and the first day is at sea so no local shops for 2 nights. We had major issues with the dining though this was not universal, we were shown to a table for two (as we had booked this for ruby wedding celebration) on the first night we sat down ordered wine and food from a very attentive waiter, then after a short wait were told we were on the wrong table ( even though no one used it during the cruise) we were then moved to a table of 8. The waiter was very inept, we waited 45 minutes for him to take the order and that was only after we asked him to do so, we never got our wine and everyone on the table got the wrong order, all in all nearly 2 hours start to finish.We made a complaint to customer relations and we were moved to a table of 2, this looked like it had been pushed in between two others (the table number ended in A) so was an add on. Again the waiter was very slow taking as long as the first waiter. So back to customer relations, the reason given was that the waiter had just come back from holiday, I would had thought this would have refreshed him. Next day still on the same table being waited on by the head waiter, things did pick up but the food is only OK not the usual cruise standard Very few people had wine on the table so can only presume the the cruise line had priced there selves out of the marked, as with the cost of most drinks; this is false economy if they kept the prices realistic more people would use the service.Be careful with your expensive drinks, one night when we were dancing 2 full drinks were taken off the table by the waiter, when we approached him he just shrugged and walked away. So back to customer relations they started an enquiry (for $7.50)this took two days before we were given a refund.Feral kids abound on the ship, running wild in the entertainment venues until the early hours, they also seem to think the lifts are part of the entertainment making it very difficult to get one when you need it.The next thing you need to be aware of is the mobility scooters, there are a lot and you do have to keep you wits about you to avoid being hit by one.The shows on board were very good if a little short (45 Min's) the ice show is very good but you will need to get tickets at 8.30 on the first show day and be early for the show to get a decent seat. For the evening show people are saving seats as early as an hour before the show, even though you are not supposed to save seats. this also goes on with sun beds, people start saving beds early with towels, one in and one out of the sun and then just keep swapping. they make announcements about this but do seem to do anything. but having said all this still had a good holiday but need a rest to get over it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
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