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21 Royal Caribbean Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

Sorry Royals but cant give you a good review this time went with my Brother and his wife to the cannaries on the Independence realy looked forward to it my husband and myself go every 2yrs this was the 3rd time on this ship and we were ... Read More
Sorry Royals but cant give you a good review this time went with my Brother and his wife to the cannaries on the Independence realy looked forward to it my husband and myself go every 2yrs this was the 3rd time on this ship and we were very disapointed.To start with 5 days at sea we felt that we had been robbed of our holiday as it was only ten days to start with .That was rediculous and all the entertainmant was all the same as we had seen the past 2 times we had sailed we were very disapointed with the staff there atitudes were terrible was like they did not want to be there the only person that was great and always polite and happy was the girl at the windjammer called Janet but i must say that the food and the staff there were always great Janet she was a lovely person and greated everybody with a smile . We did hope to have something different on the ship as we thought it had been given a revamp.The cabin was always clean 6365 nothing changed there .The ports that we stopped at were always at the back of the sights but that was our exsperience.We are hopping to go back 2018 september and want to take all my family and grandchildren we always go in september so we will have to do our home work first as it will be a lot of money and dont want to waste it . i Idont want to sound all negative as the past 2 times on this ship to the spanish med was Fantastic and this has not put us off going back on the independence we are just putting it as a bad exspereince and hope next time will be better. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Having cruised before with RCI I was so looking forward to this cruise as it was only a short flight to Southhampton and the short journey to port. I was looking forward to the good service I received before. Not going into everything as ... Read More
Having cruised before with RCI I was so looking forward to this cruise as it was only a short flight to Southhampton and the short journey to port. I was looking forward to the good service I received before. Not going into everything as I am making a formal complaint to them in writing. I am a disabled person but discovered on board that their definition of this only related to those In wheelchairs and motor scooters. I did not receive the service I was used to on their others ships. In fact I felt they were very short staffed and a lot of the time in was organised chaos. In the Windjammer tables not cleared for a very long time and I'm not talking one or two tables here, staff in short supply. Making announcements for people to vacate their tables to make room for others when tables not cleared total joke. Our room attendant was brilliant as were the staff that served us in the Sapphire Dining room but apart from this I'm truly unhappy. Feel really sorry for those people who were unable to get off on Maderia due the 'hours' it took to organise disembarkation. Ship was not clear until 4 pm too late for people as due back by 6.30 pm. Shore excursions were good once you got to your coach and RCI staff no longer in charge. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
14 Night Cruise on the Explorer of the Seas September 2015 A little apprehension kicked in when for ecological reasons you print your own luggage tags, forgive me but to get four it took four sheets of paper instead of the eight you ... Read More
14 Night Cruise on the Explorer of the Seas September 2015 A little apprehension kicked in when for ecological reasons you print your own luggage tags, forgive me but to get four it took four sheets of paper instead of the eight you used to get on a single A4 sheet, methinks that it is for economical not ecological reasons. The last time we sailed with Royal Caribbean was in 2011, and then these were printed for you We looked forward to this cruise and on first impressions the ship is beautiful. Sailing out of Southampton, Royal Caribbean seem to have tailored thing to the European style with tea and coffee making facilities in your cabins. The food service on the first night was acceptable, but the drinks service was well below standard, at the end of the meal when the head waiter came round asking if everything was OK he was told in no uncertain terms that it was not, after this we were served expertly by the food and beverage staff. Unlike most cruise ships on the pool deck the beverage staff are not continually trying to get you to purchase a drink but seem reluctant to circulate, it appears to save money staff have been reduced, as well as the chocolates on you pillow. The ship is acceptable and the staff are friendly and approachable, very professional. Royal Caribbean have a couple of policies, these must have been introduced since 2011, which step back to the last century, firstly the smoking areas externally state pool deck starboard side, however some people smoke in non smoking areas, and when questioned suggest you move. People who partake of e-cigarettes are informed that they can only Vape in designated smoking areas,THIS IS WHOLLY IGNORED AND NOT POLICED AT ALL The second ancient policy is regarding bringing alcohol on board, all alcohol has to be surrendered on returning to the ship, even if you have a drinks package why, because you have already paid for any alcohol why would I buy more other than to take it home. On board there is a connoisseur cigar club as a designated smoking area, and 50 meters away the biggest mistake, the casino, which has a smoking and non smoking section, the smoking section is allegedly for gamers only, it says so in the daily literature, in reality this is the gathering area for those who smoke, they chose to ignore the non smoking area and put ashtrays over the no smoking signs. Due to the design of the ship this opens the whole of the Royal promenade to getting anything from zephyrs of smoke to full range smog, making the whole central area smell like an old ashtray. We were offered complimentary laundry for some items of clothing, and the manager of the casino promised his staff would be more vigilant, this was not obvious to us. Complaining to the Crown and Anchor loyalty ambassador was a complete waste of time, I realised why, after she admitted to being a smoker herself. Complaint to future cruise sales team asking to cancel an earlier booking, received possibly the worse customer service we have ever had, with fierce pro smoking and the comment "the majority of Royal Caribbean cruisers smoke" talking to her manager sorted things out and hopefully she will be on a putting the customer first course. The daily newspapers were only produced for the first week and when asked something had gone wrong but no further information was supplied, not good on a ship that had a major refit earlier this year. The entertainment staff were very professional and great fun, always ensuring that the events they ran were as enjoyable as they could be. Some of the shows were acceptable, some amateur and some very poor obvious cost cutting here. There are four ‘Speciality Restaurants’ on board Jonny Rockets a 50’s style burger joint, this was acceptable, worth the $6.95pp cover charge, it was empty most of the time as people are reluctant to pay. Uzumi A Japanese style restaurant with a very confusing pricing structure, we decided to avoid this. Giovanni’s Table- This was the pick of the bunch with a one off cover charge, however even with RCI’s ultimate drinks package it was impossible to get a glass of red wine in the pricing policy, this was due to it being out of stock, and us having to dig our heels in and insisting the staff to go and get one. Again we feel this is due to cost cutting taking effect. Chopp’s Grill A cover charge to eat here, but if you require the best air dried steak or the lobster then you are asked to pay again on top of the cover charge, DISGUSTING RIP OFF and even more evidence of cost cutting. Royal Caribbean have also removed lobster as a main in the Sapphire Dining room unless you are prepared to pay over $30, again the cost cutting is showing through. It appears that Royal Caribbean have a new sponsor in British American Tobacco and should rename the ships the Ashtrays of the seas, and as this policy is fleet wide, and not widely printed on their glossy website, people should be made well aware of this. The cost cutting has taken such an effect that quality on board has dropped to an unacceptable level, the coffee is the most disgusting I have ever tasted. We will not sail with them until they make the interior of the ship non smoking, apart from the cigar lounge, which you can choose to avoid. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our family of 6 had to endure the most awful and disorganised cruise that we have ever been on. I have outlined the issues we encountered point by point below: - One of the suitcases in our party arrived so late it left 15mins to get ... Read More
Our family of 6 had to endure the most awful and disorganised cruise that we have ever been on. I have outlined the issues we encountered point by point below: - One of the suitcases in our party arrived so late it left 15mins to get changed and get to the most formal restaurant onboard, The Grande. This was just not possible so we were unable to eat in that restaurant that evening. - Numerous times we found lipstick marks on the water glasses next to the water machines. - Plates in the Windjammer(self service) were sometimes so hot we could feel them burning our hands and had to place them on the counter to cool down. - During our first reservation in Silk, it was near on impossible to get someone to take our drinks order. We were constantly trying to get someones attention. It shouldn't be this way, we should be asked if we want more drinks when the waiter notices our glasses are empty. Also the vietnamese rolls were served as 2 rolls, not as the 3 rolls that is in your on board imagery of the restaurant. - The food in the American Grill during dinner service was appalling. Luke warm food. Dry meat. - The restaurants that offered us a side of chips always presented cold chips. - In the American Grill for breakfast, we ordered 2 fried eggs. The waiter firstly forgot to put the order through, we had to remind him, then once he had, it took 15 minutes for them to be served. - Also in the American Grill for breakfast, we asked for brown sauce, the waiter then proceeded to pour the brown sauce onto the plate of the person that asked for it. This is ridiculous. Then he placed the bottle down on the table. - The worst by far was the timing issue in The Grande. It was a birthday celebration and we sat down to have our meal. The waiter filled the water glasses. Then gave our menus out. He returned to the table a few minutes later to take our food order. Where was the drink order?! We had to prompt him to take our drink order first. Then our starters turned up. Still no drinks. We are now out of water too by this point. When the starters were served we noticed a trolley next to our table with food on. The waiter starts clearing our starter plates when one of our party was still eating. Then proceeds to get the plates off of the trolley and serve are mains when we still have one person eating their starter and still NO drinks. 2 of the mains that were pasta dishes had 3 prawns and 4 mussels in, and the pasta was dry. By this point 2 of our party got up and demanded to speak with management. - The service over the whole ship was not up to standard. There was a lack of servers around the pool, in the bars and the restaurants. - Towels around the pool were another issue. There should have been a system where you have to use your sea pass card to check one out and check it back in. People weren't removing them so it caused an issue. - The chlorine level in the pools was extremely high. One of the party has been a swimming instructor for 11 years and has never experienced a high level like that. Our eyes were stinging, and one of the parties bikini tops discoloured and had to queue at guest services to get reimbursed. - In one of our rooms the sugar was never replenished and so tea could not be had in the morning. - In another of our rooms, the sanitary bags were not replenished and when asked why, we were told they had run out. - The lift to the North Star was out of service, when asked when it would be back working, we were told it wouldn't. - The TV was showing extremely old programs (proved by the TV being widescreen, yet the programs still being set for 4:3 sizing) and everyday would be the same programs. - We were constantly asked in the restaurant for feedback. "Feedback helps us improve and fix things" We felt like guinea pigs. We are aware that this ship is going to America, and Americans simply won't have this service. We felt like we were 'trialing' the ship. We don't expect to pay what we paid to be on a ship that is not the finished article. This is simply not good enough. We have sent a complaint email, and have received a response offering £157.50 x 4 gift vouchers for our next cruise. For starters there was 6 of us in the party, not 4. This is not good enough. We do not want to cruise with Royal Caribbean again, and we want to be properly compensated for this. It completely ruined our holiday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Upon arrival at the cruise terminal, we were greeted by a security officer with a bad attitude, so a great start! Once through security and into the check in area;the computer systems crashed and we had to wait for the systems to be ... Read More
Upon arrival at the cruise terminal, we were greeted by a security officer with a bad attitude, so a great start! Once through security and into the check in area;the computer systems crashed and we had to wait for the systems to be re-booted. This was the longest check in we have ever had at Southampton. We were stood at the desk for approximately 30mins (at least). Once on board we headed for our cabin. The cabin was full of dust and the toilet bowl black. There were no sign of our usual welcome letter, bath robe or glasses for our soft drinks package. We headed up to deck 11 to check out pool area, to be greeted by filthy decks, dirty pools, hanging wires near the hot tub and all metal filings over the floor! I reported all this to guest relations to get a "we are very sorry this has happened" the food onboard the ship is barely warm. This includes the main restaurant and the windjammer cafe. Breakfast yesterday in the windjammer was apawling; there was no bacon, no beans and everything was labeled incorrectly. When I asked where the bacon was the crew member pointed to an area on the counter with empty servers. I told him that there was nothing In there and his reply was "well I'm sure they will bring out more" again breakfast was just warm. The soft drinks vending machines..when they actually have soda in them are dispensing warm and flat drinks. This has been reported 3 times over the last 2 days and still not working! This is our 8th cruise with royal caribbean and my 13th cruise-it's by far the worst ship I have ever been on! Let's hope things get better! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my first cruise with my wife, we went to support a friend who is disabled and confined to an electric wheelchair. We were very excited to be going as our friend explained how great it would be, as he had sailed earlier that year ... Read More
This was my first cruise with my wife, we went to support a friend who is disabled and confined to an electric wheelchair. We were very excited to be going as our friend explained how great it would be, as he had sailed earlier that year with another cruise liner. Within hours of being on bored we knew it was going to be the worst holiday ever. We went to the Windjammer buffet for lunch and spent at least 15 mins trying to find a table to eat at, that was basically the case for the next 10 days. We went out to the deck area by the pool on level 11 and once again no seats, no chairs, no tea and coffee facilities, this was the same around the whole of the ship, in the bars, club areas,it was just so poor, especially with mostly old people on board who need seats, the only place seats were available was in the casino and that i needed a nicorete patch after being in there. The restaurants we visited were good with the service but the food was tasteless especially the steaks (which we paid extra for) i asked for medium rare, it came served well done! The Italian Giovanni's was bizarre also as when we arrived we were greeted by all the staff saying "hello" in Spanish. Johnny Rockets food was good and the waiter Melvin was great (again we paid extra). The shops especially the jewelry/watch shop was a joke, they were selling Invicta watches with labels on asking for $995.00, these watches sell on Amazon for between £60-£150, but because they were offering up to 75% discount they were down to $300 or so, and people were thinking they were getting a good deal, don't get me wrong they were nice watches but that is just a disgrace putting the recommended price of $995.00. The bars especially in the theatre were terrible with only one person serving nearly each evening, i had to wait over 15 mins for a drink every time, the amount of disgruntled people was astonishing. On the plus side the rooms were small but clean, our cleaner was fantastic with towel animals every night. Considering we paid in excess of £2500 without a drinks package i thought it was so overpriced and will never consider going again, i could have gone 5 star all inclusive beach holiday for half that. I'm sure i wont be the only one to complain. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my first cruise with RCL.....it was also my last! My wife's suitcase took six hours to be delivered to our stateroom. We were on a 10 night cruise to the Canaries, Madeira and Vigo in Spain. What we did not know was that the ... Read More
This was my first cruise with RCL.....it was also my last! My wife's suitcase took six hours to be delivered to our stateroom. We were on a 10 night cruise to the Canaries, Madeira and Vigo in Spain. What we did not know was that the vast majority of the 10 days would be spent at sea with nowhere near enough time at each port. The ship was very full with 3000 plus. Thus caused big problems as the restaurants, buffet and bars cannot handle that number esp at key dining times when the ship is sailing. We could not find a seat in any bar for the first three nights as they are mostly small and if you are on the first sitting for meals you will have same problem. The food is OK but nothing special. You will not get turf and surf unless you pay $40 extra. You will not find smoked salmon apart from tiny fragments in scrambled egg. Portions are not huge in the Sapphire restaurant and meals are made to look good with the presentation but everything is not all it seems. In particular many desserts are misrepresented. Try the tiramisu or key lime pie and you will get a tiny mousse and not the real thing. Baked Alaska? No sponge base and no meringue casing. It's just ice cream covered in a meringue mix which has had a blow torch passed over it! Some of the soups or consommes tasted like an oxo cube to me. The entertainment was another disappointment with only two good acts in the Palace theatre in 10 nights. Vocalist Jacqui Scott and comedian Jon Evans were well worth watching, the other acts were novelties or fillers. The Ice skating show is good. One of the very worst aspects of this cruise was the ridiculously small amount of time in port. Just 4 hours in Lanzarote and 5 in Vigo. So everyone rushes on and off creating more problems. A relaxing day in a port? Not on this cruise matey! The charges for Internet use are frankly outrageous with the lowest charge being $59 for 24 hours...and don't think you will easily find free wifi in the Canaries as you will not. I drew blanks in Madeira and Tenerife but finally got online outside the Dino hypermarket in the El Muelle shopping centre in Gran Canaria. No time to even try in Lanzarote with a coach trip to Santiago getting back only 20 mins before all aboard time meaning we couldn't visit the shopping centre right next to the ship! The last night was flat with a juggler booked as the main act. Words cannot adequately describe how our high hopes for this cruise were dashed. We paid almost £3000 for our cruise with a balcony room and do not consider it money well spent. And finally RCL will kick you off this ship early in the morning with the latest possible departure at 9.00 and that is only for those with RCL transfers to Southampton airport. When you leave there is no-one but low paid staff to wave you off. A low key ending to a very expensive and hugely disappointing holiday. Thanks a lot RCL! We enjoyed cruising with NCL who know how to run a happy ship. My experience is that RCL do not and I cannot trust them again after this experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I had been on Royal Carribean before and loved it, I had raved about my previous cruise (independence of the Sea), and so was looking forward to this much needed break... On arrival there was no wheelchairs available, despite my ... Read More
I had been on Royal Carribean before and loved it, I had raved about my previous cruise (independence of the Sea), and so was looking forward to this much needed break... On arrival there was no wheelchairs available, despite my informing them months ahead I would need assistance, I had to walk to the lounge, to then wait an hour for a wheelchair. The room was ok (inside room) but not at big as other cruises I've been on including indie... Firstly the kettle boiled over and over as it was faulty and didn't switch off, then the safe didn't work and the door to the fridge was broken. That evening we went to the Sapphire, I had taken my morphine and needed to eat by a specific time, almost 80 minutes later we still had no starter, to be then told by another guest they had run out of food and he was told to go to the Windjammer, on asking the head waiter this he ran out the room. I asked if I could have my main course, and explained the morphine situation and he said he would get it straight away. 10 minutes later still no food. I gave up.. The food was repetitive and often just warm. Another guest put pictures on Royal Carribean website of the state of the ship and the company took them down off their website in 2 minutes. The pool had bird poo in, the whirlpools had yellow scum on them and when I reported it, the following day it was still the same. The toilets often did not flush in the public areas. The Windjammer Cafe was such a let down, after day 5 I got fed up of the same food over and over again...it was also Luke warm. However most of the staff were helpful, if you don't include the incident where they tried to give me food for my friend who is gluten free and highly allergic. After waiting 45 minutes for a packet of biscuits for her, I was given a dessert that I was told was gluten free on further questioning and checking, I was asked what would happen if she ate it, I explained and they then took it away and said she best not have it. One day I waited 25 minutes for 2 whole tomatoes for her, only to give up when no one returned. The outdoor cinema was a joke, the first films shown had no sound, and when they did show a film you would be able to listen to it for 2 minutes then the bar music came on, and so on and so forth. When we asked about it we were told to go down to deck 3 and sort it out with them... The entertainment was very poor. We had 3 days of continuous knocking in our bedroom, they said it was fixed but it still continued on day 4, apparently we were under the pool on deck 10 and it was the air trapped in the water pipes. On the last night at 1am, I was met with a loud argument, shouting etc just by my room from staff, I had to ring to ask them to stop. I found on the day before the cruise ended they had had 1,140 complaints, which is basically 2/3 off the ship as almost all were couples travelling. I was told the chef was so bad that he had been taken off the ship and had been given the job of serving staff on a ship in dry dock, and half the crew had walked off before setting sail, and that the cruise was going to be cancelled 5 days to departure, but they did not do this as they would loose to much money and I was informed that the guests can just put up with it. On disembarkation it took an hour to get assistance for a wheelchair, I could go on but it would take a long time. Positives Great staff, you cannot fault how hard they tried to help you. They should be proud of themselves and not Royal Caribbean. I was offered £115 towards a future cruise for compensation. what an insult.... Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Our 5th cruise and our first with Royal Caribbean......it will also be our last cruise with them. Our total cost for two with a balcony but no drinks package was just over £3000 for 10 nights inc a night in a Southampton hotel. We could ... Read More
Our 5th cruise and our first with Royal Caribbean......it will also be our last cruise with them. Our total cost for two with a balcony but no drinks package was just over £3000 for 10 nights inc a night in a Southampton hotel. We could have got a superb 5 star holiday for that, instead we got a 3 star cruise around the Channel and North Atlantic with very very little time ashore due to the ridiculous itinerary ie just 4 hours at Lanzarote and 5 hours at Vigo. Things didn't start well with one of our suitcases arriving minutes before the first evening meal. It's supposed to be a 4 star ship but food is 3 stars at best in both main Sapphire restaurant and Windjammer. The latter is a buffet and the food was the same almost every day. I have had much better cakes from UK supermarkets! The food in the main restaurant is well presented but mostly small portions and with little veg. You can have steak ie"Aged New York Strip Steak" but it's a tiny portion and might even be re-constituted. You want sure and turf? You have to buy it at $40 a pop! The desserts are a huge disappointment and basically pimped up mousses - that Is what you get if you order tiramisu or key lime pie. Baked Alaska is not what it should be either. Seems the chefs can't make Yorkshire puddings or meringues. The entertainment was mixed, two good acts in female vocalist and comic but the other 8 nights were fillers- dancers, singers and novelty acts of the kind you would not dream of paying to see. The blurb mentions ice skating "shows".... Well there is only one show in 10 days. It is good but surely they could use that venue more? The films they show for free are 1-2 years old because they want you to buy movies to watch in your room. The Internet is an outrageous -$59 per 24 hours and no you can't have less hours and a lower price. Poor or was it deliberate censored information on the free port shuttle buses at Santa Cruz and Arrecife ? ( well they do want you to buy the coach trips you know!) we did buy coach trips for Lanzarote and Vigo but as the ship was only in port just a few hours these were rushed to make sure we got back in time. The ship was very full with just over 3,000 passengers. This caused huge problems on the days when the ship was at sea as there is just not enough space for everyone in the dining rooms, buffets and bars. We found no seat in any bar on the first three nights as we were on the early dinner sitting. Frankly the cruise was poor value for money. It is a nice ship but profit is clearly more important than customer satisfaction and in particular I was disappointed with the food, organisation and patchy entertainment. The last night of any holiday should be special and a good organisation will make sure your last night is one to remember. What did we get? A very third rate comic juggler for 35 minutes and a really damp squib of a night. Whoever booked and organised that night needs talking to! To add insult to injury you are not allowed to stay on the ship after 9.00 am on the final morning no matter how late your flight may be. Ours was at 6.45 pm...........plenty of time to think about what coulda, shoulda have happened on this voyage of great disappointment! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was the worst cruise we have ever been on. We live in southampton and have been with Cunard ,princess, P&O, even disney! Arrival on ship met with queues for everything, not enough staff, chairs. Food was absolutely appalling, ... Read More
This was the worst cruise we have ever been on. We live in southampton and have been with Cunard ,princess, P&O, even disney! Arrival on ship met with queues for everything, not enough staff, chairs. Food was absolutely appalling, for instance, for lunch bangers and mash, cottage pie, Lancashire hot pot! No nice salads or fish. Asked head waiter and head chef to explain why this food, he said that is what you Brits want!!! Cheek of him!! We went many times to complain about food, attitude of staff. We were so bored with the food we didn't even bother going to lunch, some dining experience that was!! Evening meal ok, I only sent two meals back! The ship was so disorganised, we waited over one hour to embark after visiting Madera, felt sorry for older people and kids. they only opened one gangway even the staff were late for duty! Some of the staff were rude in their attitude. towards the end of the trip day 7 or 8 they started getting their act together but still a long way off. We were so glad to arrive back in Southampton, the atmosphere go the ship was awful. everyone was complaining! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
RCI famous for Family cruising - we have had our view changed of that. The demographics of the Cruisers would put the average age around 70. RCI then focused on this group only. The Ship was in very good condition and our room ... Read More
RCI famous for Family cruising - we have had our view changed of that. The demographics of the Cruisers would put the average age around 70. RCI then focused on this group only. The Ship was in very good condition and our room excellent. Stateroom attendant was very very good. Food - we ate mainly in the Windjammer, this was as good as we have had on any RCI Ship. Good variety with a tiny issue on cold food occasionally and somehow the Ship had no fresh milk for the last 3 days - UHT Long Life jeez 5* star Ship with no fresh milk - guessing it's too costly to re-stock in one of the Ports during the cruise. Biggest problem with eating or getting a cup of Coffee was finding a seat - some passengers would spend hours sitting at one table of the windjammer, sorrento's or Cafe Promenade. Plus side of that is that getting a lounger around the pool was fairly easy whatever time of day you went poolside. Evening entertainment was selected for one group and that was not family entertainment - 3 Tenors - their chant of Uggy Uggy Uggy summed them up. A Tap Dancing Saxophonist who was poor at best. Production shows that were the same as 3 1/2 years ago except performed by better singers then. An Irish Comedian - just stuck in the 1970's. There were a few good shows 2 Ladies who played Piano and sung, Tucker a Comedian and some lunatic on the last night, he was excellent. Not sure why there is no Dreamworks on Indy - the Ship needs something like that as the Mad Hatters parade was very weak, Rock Britannia was a better effort though. Daytime Entertainment was not existent, poolside - the Cruise Director's staff could not find that if they tried. The CD was a stand in for Joff until the end of the month and whilst he had some good moments - The Quest was excellent, the majority of the time his team were awol. Ice shows were both excellent and possibly the best entertainment on the Ship - well done. One thing that bugged me was RCI's attitude to booked trips - a trip we had booked to Lisbon Aquarium was cancelled on the morning of the trip as we sat in the Theatre waiting on the ticket no of our bus -around a dozen or so people disappointed. Reason given was we don't do that trip anymore - RUBBISH. I booked online and it was being advertised on the Ships TV the night before. Real reason was RCI were not making enough profit for a bus to be run. Total lack of respect for their Cruisers here. My disabled daughter sailed with us and I had arranged help from RCI's Special Needs desk - easy to review - hopless - all the arrangements failed to happen. It seems RCI Port staff only recognise Disabled Cruisers if they drive a Scooter. Decent weather in the main, seas were smooth bar one iffy day sailing towards Coruna. Summary An enjoyable cruise but def not a WOW Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I will make this a balanced and fair review. It didn't start well. Embarkation at Southampton involved an hours queue outside the terminal building in freezing weather, then a further 2 hours to get through the check in process to ... Read More
I will make this a balanced and fair review. It didn't start well. Embarkation at Southampton involved an hours queue outside the terminal building in freezing weather, then a further 2 hours to get through the check in process to board the ship. An excessive wait to board a lift (more about the lifts later)then 15 minutes wandering around trying to find the cabin with no crew on hand to point you in the right direction. The cabin was clean and spacious and the balcony a good size. Tea and coffee available in the room but only paper cups available to use. The bathroom was a good size, the shower resembled a jet wash or high pressure hose pipe with no toiletries and very small bath towels. Dining in the Othello, a side area to the Romeo & Juliet with only 20 tables most of which were for two was very pleasant. If you want a table for 2 at dining you need to pre-book at the time of booking your cruise. The food was good but got boring after a few days with daily variations of beef and very limited vegetarian options. The service was excellent although there was a sense of being rushed- one of the problems with being on 1st sitting. If that's the majority of the positive things here are the bits that were not so good: Entertainment was pretty poor only thing worth watching was the ice show (lengthy queue for a complementary ticket)and the BMK bike performer. In the end we didn't bother to go to the shows. Sardines - that's what it felt like on the ship. Although it's a big ship there was not enough public space inside for the 3000+ guests. That meant if the outside weather was cold you had no chance of getting a seat anywhere in the ship public places, or the lounges or the library (which is very small) or the cafes or pubs on the promenade, hence we spent a lot of at sea time in our cabin or our balcony. Feeding times (just what it felt like) at the Windjammer was dire. Again the food was good but it was virtually impossible to get anywhere to sit as it was frequently overcrowded. We decided the best way to play it was to go for breakfast at 6.30am that way you got a seat, avoided the crowds and (bun fights) and it was the only time the coffee was decent as it was freshly made and had not been left stewing in an urn for hours. For lunch arrive at 11.30am or 2.30pm to avoid the crowds. Everything seemed to come with a big extra price tag on it. Fresh juices, decent coffee, decent ice cream all had a $4.95 price to pay. Cover charges for the speciality restaurants - OK most cruise lines do that now but a cover charge for a hamburger bar?? Drinks are expensive and by in large of poor quality and the prospect of a $1000+ bar bill ensured we left the alcohol well alone. A few other points there are only 12 lifts on the ship for 3200 guests. As you can imagine that caused a few problems especially as 7 of the lifts were glass scenic ones and quite small, there was also a large number of people in wheelchairs or with scooters on the cruise which caused even more problems when you needed a lift. The ports of call were interesting but very little information was available as to what was available in the port or how close you would dock to main areas. As a result we ended up paying for tours we could probably have arranged much cheaper ourselves. Overall it was a disappointing cruise or more specifically a disappointing ship. I last sailed with RCI about 5 years ago and feel their standards have gone down. I think they are really now second best to Cunard and FO. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Returned two hours ago from an 11 day cruise to the Canaries. An outbreak of Noro-virus ensured that several thousand people were kept waiting at Southampton, either shoved into a departure lounge (no water or toilets) or freezing outside ... Read More
Returned two hours ago from an 11 day cruise to the Canaries. An outbreak of Noro-virus ensured that several thousand people were kept waiting at Southampton, either shoved into a departure lounge (no water or toilets) or freezing outside in queues, from 2.00pm until 7.30pm while the ship was supposedly 'sanitized'.No-one knew what was going on or how long it would last. Royal Caribbean did not seem to see the importance of keeping their guests in the information loop! Whilst understanding that this was being done for our benefit, the back spasms that I suffered from extended standing, lasted for 8 days of the 11 day cruise-not helped by an uncomfortable mattress! However, all the pre-cruise cleaning, and CONSTANT spraying of all surfaces every five minutes by a fleet of 'Sanitizers', and CONSTANT exhortation to 'wash-your- hands-in-hot-water-with-soap-for-twenty-seconds' did not stop a further outbreak of the Noro-virus. We were lucky to have pretty good weather, with the temperature rising to a pleasant 22 degrees when were were in Tenerife, and sea conditions that were not too challenging-so our main purpose of getting sea air and some warmer climes were achieved. However, the food in Windjammer's, Jade and the main dining rooms was at best, mediocre, and at worst, inedible. The coffee was dreadful, even when paid for, promised Art Classes fizzled to nothing, salads were served on hot plates, some of the entertainment was not good. And the QUEUES!!!! Every day there were sections closed off in the dining rooms, while people were made to wait outside--it was outrageous, and made everyone bad tempered.And the bed was so hard, despite the addition of a memory foam mattress,that I slept very badly for eleven nights--not what I have experienced in the past. A brand new sweat shirt was ruined by bleach marks caused by the sanitising spray on the ship's rail--(replaced by something similar from the ship's shop)--but what was that doing to our skin?? So what WAS good about this cruise--well the entertainments director, Joff was the best cruise director we've come across, and quite honestly was much funnier than some of the comedians; the Ice Show was very good and professional; some of the musical offerings were good. We were really looking forward to this cruise,and have been sadly let down. The highlight for us is that we met a really nice couple, so thank you for that, Independence of the Seas, if for very little else. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Started our cruise to the Canaries on a cold February morning arriving at Southampton port at 11 o'clock to be told by Royal Caribbean that we would be unable to board as ship was being deep cleaned due to an outbreak of Norovirus on ... Read More
Started our cruise to the Canaries on a cold February morning arriving at Southampton port at 11 o'clock to be told by Royal Caribbean that we would be unable to board as ship was being deep cleaned due to an outbreak of Norovirus on the previous cruise, found out later that there had been 500 cases plus. We were advised to park car and go into Southampton for lunch and return around 2 o'clock, buses were provided plus $20.00(Lunch supplement)per person for inconvenience. We arrived back at terminal at 2.00 to join queue 4 Hours later we were still waiting in the cold with very little info provided. We finally arrived in our stateroom at approx 6.30. Stateroom very spacious and comfortable, we did not feel like going to dining room so went to Windjammer food was quite good,but found that although was buffet style we were not able to serve ourselves owing to restrictions re Norovirus, were served by staff for everything including drinks which resulted in queues forming, this continued throughout cruise was understandable due to situation and staff did their very best. Not a good start and full restrictions continued throughout cruise with new cases being found daily, had to clean hands before going into any venue. Inconvenient but understandable. Ship as a whole was ok although found not many places for peace and quiet and a shortage of seats at poplar venues. Bar Prices were very expensive and no price list in any bar. Bar waiters were constantly trying to sell drinks often not waiting for you to settle in a seat and then constantly trying to sell to the point of harassment. Dining Room food (Macbeth) was by no means fine dining, poor choice and presentation. Waiters were polite and helpful. Ports of call and excursions. Excursions were enjoyable but are not good value for money. Ports of call Mostly visited ports were in the north of the Islands and north Spain not good for decent temperatures this time of year, Madeira was the port we were most looking forward to and was disappointed to find that we had to be on board at 2.00 o'clock sailing at 2.30 just half a day, not good. Entertainment on board was average, good theatre shows but lack of interesting lectures, and speakers classes seemed to be badly timed and overall uninteresting, Quizzes were frequent and good but they are not to everyone's taste. One of the best entertainment events was the Ice Show which was outstanding. Our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. Very Disappointing Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We have always cruised from Southampton with very little problem until we sailed with RCL, when we arrived at check in at the time RCL told us to be there we were greeted with a queue of 1000+ guests waiting to get on board. This took some ... Read More
We have always cruised from Southampton with very little problem until we sailed with RCL, when we arrived at check in at the time RCL told us to be there we were greeted with a queue of 1000+ guests waiting to get on board. This took some 3 hours with some elderly passengers feeling really unwell, only to be told by RCL staff in a abrupt manner that there was 3500 guests to board. When we eventually got on board it took us 15 minutes to find a crew member to tell us where our cabin was. The cabin itself was very nice and spacious with one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in, this is where the praise stops. We had lots of problems with seating arrangements in the McBeth restaurant, ignorance from waiters and head waiter, accused of not paying bar bill and being over charged in restaurant, so much so that after the 3rd night we never dined in there again. We chose to eat in the Windjammer which at best was worse than dinning on a ferry, with the food being served luke warm or cold, I remember one lady with 6 bowls of soup on her table, she told me she was trying to get one that was hot. We did dine in Chops 1 night and that was OK but it cost us $90, I have been on a few cruises and have always put weight on however on this one I actually lost weight. When ever we complained to the pursers office we were informed that this would be corrected or that 'this doesn't usually happen' I had a gift confiscated at one port but when I went to collect it at the end of the cruise half of it was missing. The trips ashore were rubbish and we were charged for shuttle buses as we would be docking a long way from the centres, however on the 2 that we paid for we were on a few hundred yards from the centre, yet we were never told we could get a refund because of this. I have complained to RCL office but they seem ignorant to the fact that they have charged for a service that was never given and keep giving me inane excuses. I am going to go public with my complaint as I feel in these austere times that a company should give value for money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Southampton hotels were all fully booked as three ships left on same day, so travel agency should have booked a hotel for night before boarding. We sorted that by staying in a lovely inn in the New Forest. Boarding was fairly smooth, ... Read More
Southampton hotels were all fully booked as three ships left on same day, so travel agency should have booked a hotel for night before boarding. We sorted that by staying in a lovely inn in the New Forest. Boarding was fairly smooth, but our room was reserved by another couple and they always referred to us by their name. The room was good, interior stateroom, with excellent room valet. We quickly noticed the great amount of mobility scooters, wheelchairs, crutches etc, wherever you were on the ship. The promenade of the ship was like being in a shopping mall, really unimpressive and a complete waste of space. The ship was really just a big money grab full of cabins and very little free space for anyone. The average age of the passengers had to be at least into the eighties, with the majority being disabled and needing assistance. We witnessed one mobility scooter user, lifting her scooter off the boat ramp and climbing on it again, and we think that if you can lift it, you don't need it. The food in the Romeo and Juliet restaurant was not good for choice and was never warm enough. The Windjammer buffet was crowded at all hours it was open, and you were lucky to get a seat. So, now to Royal Caribbean. Drinks package costs $1320.00 for a couple for 12 nights, for the cheapest wine you can imagine, and other drinks of poor quality. This is optional of course, but all the other drinks were very expensive, and would have to be signed for each time. You will never get into profit with the drinks package. The bars upstairs were on deck 14, had comfortable chairs, but they were taken up by sleeping seniors, and slow bar service, if they were open at all. Bars close at 1:00 am at the latest. We had talked with Tracey the Guest services manager, and complained about the lack of activities for people and space for relaxation and she apologized but there were no other activities. We are experienced cruisers, but found this boring, the seminars were about arthritis and back pain, so who wants to go to that! Only thing we could do was quizzes and bingo, and that was really expensive..$22.00 for three tickets. Summary: Boring, poor food, crowded, no space for relaxation, pool bars close when when quiet, old people everywhere, DONT GO on Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
OK, this trip was planned as a 42nd wedding aniversery celebration. It not only failed to deliver, it was a totally negative experience and was quite pathetic in some respects. We felt so bad, that we contemplated jumping ship at Gran ... Read More
OK, this trip was planned as a 42nd wedding aniversery celebration. It not only failed to deliver, it was a totally negative experience and was quite pathetic in some respects. We felt so bad, that we contemplated jumping ship at Gran Caneria and going to a hotel we know very well. This floating piece of candy floss is designed for Americans and the crew seem to think that everyone aboard is American. You get what scant infornmation that they bother to give you in a totally American manner. i.e. You are told where to change your dollars!!!!!!!!!!!! You are told where you can call America AT&T call collect!!!!!!!!!!!! and your mobile phone beeps "welcome to the USA" and charges accordingly. For god's sake the cruise is leaving from the UK and stopping (briefly) in European destinations with a mostly UK passenger contingent! Do they think the world uses dollars! All shipboard finance is dollars, and you are hit with an inflated US pricing structure with a shitty exchange rate plus comission. Should be called Royal Pirates of the Caribbean! OK. Now the review. I will start with the few good points. The shows were very good and the headliners were very professional and entertaining. Without these shows we would probably have become suicidal. The staff (with the exception of the so called guest relations and the hand wash nazis)were in the main very helpful and some tried their best to help us within their limited scope. The staff as usual were mainly Asian and Eastern European. It was obvious that they were trained only in serving Americans in US caribbean cruise situations, and had scant knowledge of European standards. That is all I can say for the good part. The so called state room was a corridor width extended cabin with a settee, a good sized bed and a balcony that only had room for two chairs and a table, not sun loungers as shown. Not very good. As the first night was the wedding anniversary date, we opted to use the Portofino Italian Restaurant for the sense of special occasion. What an intense disappointment! The restaurant was simply a side room, had no atmosphere and the food offered on a very limited "table d'hotel" style menue bore only a passing resemblance to Italian. The wine was outrageously expensive (more later)and was incomptently served. An expensive bottle of red wine was seved so cold that there was condensation all over the bottle! When I complained, the waiter was surprised, and I was terated to the explanation given (incredibly!) was that it was the first night, the wine had only just been loaded on board, it had been standing on the quayside so what did we expect? Are they mad was my first thought! We had very mediocre lamb chops with no discernable Italian quisine influence, and were charged a surcharge of $40. The whole meal was not worth $40! Dining for dinner in our nominated restaurant "King Lear" was no better. The staff were helpful and attentive, but had no idea how to serve Europeans. Every option, situation and process was focussed as though we were sat in what passes for a resaurant in Miami. We were on a "my time dining option" but as we still had to either queue or book, I never quite understood the benefit. The wines were a trap, and the only acceptable wines were in the $79 - $120 bracket. The choice was 90% Californian, and European wines were very limited, and were categorised as "adventurous" and some were well past the $100 mark. These wines would be £12 to £25 in an English restaurant. This is a complete rip-off, and is designed to maximise the sales of very poor American "cough mixture" at inflated prices. There was an option to buy pre-paid packages, but the price was (yes, this is not a typo)$690. Then to rub it in, it is only available if your partner buys it as well!!!!!!$1380 for crap wines! The dinner food was dreadful and utterly biased to American taste. Some starters were cold, and the mains were very poor and not up to a normal resaurant standard. I am not in a position to comment on the lunch and breakfast facilities, as on the two times we tried to use them we were met with what can only be described as a shambol "bear garden" scenario wherby you fought for the food at some sort of buffet style dispensary and then sat on the floor to eat it as there were no available seats, We were not able to use the dining room for two nights as there was nothing acceptable on the menue, and all the acceptable choices had been taken. Where was the so called "rich variety of choices"? When we did return in desperation, as we could no longer face two small buns with lettuce and some sort of greasy ham available at the sandwich bar for dinner, a person in a supervisory position came to us, and stated that our absence had been noticed, and that they were aware we had some issues. She was quite genuine, and she arranged to provide us with meals to order. This was very much appreciated, and at last we were able to eat the sort of food commonly availble all over the world and not just the USA. However, this was far too late in the cruise to make us feel good again. We had been eating in the top deck burger bar "Johnny Rockets" which was good fun but outside the price and was charged extra. This in itself was not a problem, but an additional $4.50 cover charge certainly was! The ship was dreadfully overcrowded and the facilities were totally inadequate for the number of passengers aboard. We spent a lot of cruise hours walking round trying to find somewhere to sit. Utterly unacceptable. I liken it to (and UK readers will understand this)walking round the Trafford centre trying to find a place to sit and eat on a Sunday lunch time. This situation was exacerbated by the fact that they frequently closed the main bars for "private functions". What the heck are they playing at? There should be no private function at the expense of the fare paying cruiser. On one occasion we were ordered to drink up and "clear off" from the Olive-or-Twist bar, as they were setting up for a private chamnpagne reception party. I regard this as a complete breach of contract. The RCI owners need to understand contract law and the effect of striking a contract under UK consumer law, and not USA law as they mistakenly believe their TCs$Cs dictate. We only went on one excursion, as we had already seen everything else. This was to the Portuguese village of Obidos and it was basically only transport with a commentary but it was OK. When we asked the so called guest relations about where to go on shore at the ports of visit, they were completely clueless and could not even give meaningful taxi transfer information Even the disembarkation was a shambles and we were provided with colour coded bag tags, despite the fact that we had "signed up" to the "carry your own lugguage programme". Yes, they really offer a "programme" of carrying your own bags!!! We stuck with the instructions provided by the Hilton Hotel and had no problems. I think if we had gone with the ship's instructions we would have missed the coach! To sum-up, my wife and I can only say that leaving the Independance of the Seas was a relief, and we feel cheated. I was left with a $1385.00 account to settle and we actually only had one excursion. We stopped buying wine with the meai for three days, and drank mainly rum and coke (when we could find a bar to sit in that is). That's another point to mention. The bars had opening and closing times. Typically 3.00 PM, and music in the bars only from 5.00 or 7.00 PM depending on the bar. This is not my experience of other cruises where bars and music were available all the time. I am in the process of making a formal complaint and claiming compensation. As this will be via my solicitors and legal means I can only state that it will be under UK consumer law. The RCI bunch of crooks should be prevented from operating their mis-represeted ships in European waters. They should be re-named "The Royal Pirates of the Caribbean" Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I'll try to be fair and honest in my review, and credit will be given when deserved. My wife and I have cruised together three times previously, within the last three years, with P&O and Norwegian Cruise Lines, so any comparisons ... Read More
I'll try to be fair and honest in my review, and credit will be given when deserved. My wife and I have cruised together three times previously, within the last three years, with P&O and Norwegian Cruise Lines, so any comparisons I make will be based on our experiences between RCI, P&O, and NCL. We departed from Southampton on 22/1/2012 for an 11 night Canary Islands cruise aboard Royal Caribbeans 'Independance Of The Seas', and had been looking forward to it since booking in May. We chose RCI this time to add to the flavors already given to us from cruising with P&O and NCL, and also because many had said that the Independance Of The Seas had a real 'wow' factor that had to be experienced. We left on a typically cold and gloomy British January morning, and couldn't wait to get on board, and hoped for a speedy check-in..which we got, together with a polite & friendly departure staff, and were on-board within 20 minutes..impressive! As with most/all cruise lines, our bags were taken at an early stage, and were to be delivered to our door at a later stage. Once onboard, we headed for the Windjammer restaurant (the buffet style restaurant on deck 11). It was chaotic when we arrived, but in fairness all of our other cruise experiences had readied us for this..the first day buffets are always a madhouse! Eventually we found a seat, and had a late breakfast of sausage, burger & chips. We were told that our rooms would be ready by 1.00pm, and the bags would follow soon afterwards, so we did a little exploring before heading for our room. We chose an inside balcony stateroom, overlooking the central promenade deck, and I must say that the room exceeded my expectations..very clean, tidy, well laid-out, huge (and very comfortable) king size plus double bed (the most comfortable bed we've ever had on a cruise ship) modest on-suite bathroom with a tiny but functional shower enclosure, supplied hard-wired hair dryer in a drawer at the vanity unit, plenty of storage space, large wardrobe, large bay window, and tea & coffee making facilities..but this is where things started to go downhill. No complimentary high-end travel toiletries..just two very small no-brand bars of soap, and a shampoo dispenser..still, not to worry, as we'd brought our own. We filled the mini-kettle, and prepared to make some tea, which is when we discovered the 'crockery' consisted of four large single skinned paper cups & wooden stirrers..never mind though, to avoid burning our fingers, we doubled-up the cups which kind-of worked. We have become accustomed to cruise line operators catering poorly for power requirements in cabins, so we always carry a four-way extension lead & a U.S to U.K plug convertor for this reason..just as well in this case, as there were two U.S 110v outlets, and one 220v outlet (configured in 2-pin U.S plug layout?) which the kettle was plugged into, so without the extra hardware we would have found it tricky to charge the phone, camera, video camera, and run the kettle. Very pleased with our cabin, we pulled back the nets to look out onto the promenade. The view would have been better, if the outside of the windows hadn't been truly filthy..still, nevermind..a small inconvenience, and we prepared to venture out, and return later when our bags had been delivered..we knew this would take a while, as the ship was fully booked...they finally arrived at 10.30pm! We looked around at the different restaurants, pubs, and the outsides of the shops, and went to the early show in the Alhambra..the main show theatre. An interesting 'welcome aboard' show..not wonderful, but OK, with a joke or two from the guest comedian, introduction from the cruise entertainments manager, and a song & dance number from the ships resident troupe. After a pleasant evening meal in the Romeo & Juliet a la carte dining room (there are two..yours will be decided for you, and will be your dining room for the duration), we had a drink..oh yes, I'd forgotten just how dear drinks are on American-owned liners..$14 for two pints of Heineken draught lager, spirits being around the same price, so unless you have a bulging wallet..excersise moderation! You could pre-pay for your alcoholic drinks however..over $600 EACH for 11 days, and if one of you're tee total..tough luck, because you'll both be charged the same amount to prevent sharing..so, around $1,300 for an unlimited drinks package..phew. The upshot of this was a constant parade of people permanently carrying glasses, many of which were permanently 'inebriated', trying desperately hard to 'break-even', as I heard more than one guest refer to it. There are other packages that start with unlimited soda, wine, and beer deals. Here's the deal..RCI see their passengers as walking wallets..virtually everything's chargeable (Would sir/madam like a 'behind the scenes' tour? That'll be $125..EACH, or would sir/madam like a photo package on a single disk? That'll be $325 please..how about a base no-brand bottle of chardonnay with your meal? $64 please..and no, you're not allowed to bring your own alcohol onto the ship..ask the couple that were thrown off the ship for packing a bottle of gin in their luggage. No? Then how about a sweatshirt with the 'Independance Of The Seas' embroidered onto it..a snip at $39.99. Which brings me on to the shops. Deck 5 is the promenade deck, with a parade of shops, restaurants, scenic lifts, the always-busy customer services desk, and access to a caberet-style room where the (very good) ships band more than often played, as well as the Cigar Room..the ONLY room on the whole ship where you can smoke indoors (the official booklet quoted several rooms). The room is very small indeed, and will seat about 35 people max..the rest have to stand. The other option is brave the elements on deck 11. These are the only two allocated smoking areas. To start with, the sheer size of the ship creates the wow factor, mostly centered around the main promenade, but this wears thin by day two when you realise that the only shop that offers good value is the booze & cigs shop..and any alcohol bought will be 'looked-after' for you until the last day of your cruise..how considerate of them. At this point, it's worth mentioning that the vast bulk of the staff offer quite exceptional service, and are polite & cheerful. Also a treat was the fully-equipped and spacious fitness room..many cruise operators charge a hefty premium for this facility, but not RCI. Sadly, although you could be blamed for assuming a ship this size would be spacious, you'd be desperately wrong, as the promenade was forever rammed full with folding tables en-masse selling all sorts of tawdry, over-priced tat. Forgot to buy a plug convertor from the pound shop? That'll be $10 please. A Made In China miniature glob-like model of the ship? $26. Plated crystal dress jewellery, very expensive gold jewellery, bags, scarves, perfumes..you get the picture, with several tables towards the end of the cruise selling absolute trash for a bargain $10. Shoulder-to-shoulder bumping into each other, people barging into or in front of you was de rigeur. Rather like a heaving shopping mall on the run-up to Christmas, but with penguin suits. British manners (or lack of) were in full force, and if you ever had a spare moment (we did), you could play 'spot the person without a tattoo'. The food, to be kind, was barely passable, with literally every dish in the main dining room served luke-warm, with what tasted like instant mash, ubdercooked veg, and frequently tough meat..but, however, served by a top-class waiting staff in an ornate and spectacular dining room..a brilliant example of style over substance. We soldiered on with Romeo & Juliet dining until day four, when we switched to the Windjammer buffet. Most lines have a 24-hour buffet..the 'Jammer' (appropriately named) closed at 9pm. This restaurant was permanently packed, and always but always a fight for a seat. The fare offered falls uncomfortably between hospital food/ seaside resort, and motorway services standard..more or less the same served up every single day..value-brand quality burgers & sausages, fatty bacon, frozen battered fish, cherry crumble with watery custard, fake sweetened cream galore, frozen concentrated sweetened orange juice...you get the picture. On other lines, we used to genuinely look forward to mealtimes. Here, we ate only if we were very hungry, as the food was dire throughout. Miss the a la carte and Jammer restaurants, and you have the choices of two areas on deck 5 where you can choose from limp, floppy tasteless pizza, mini rolls, or pies. Big deal. Now onto the entertainment. This falls into two groups..the ships regular compliment, and visiting guest 'stars'. The ships main cast were entertaining once, maybe twice, but after the third evening of strangely-chosen song & dance numbers, the act wore very thin indeed. The guest acts were better however, with a very funny comedian, and an illusionist 'as seen on TV'. Not wrong either, as I remember seeing the whole set, piece-for-piece, on the TV a few years ago. The ice-show is quite stunning, but you have to queue a few days before the show, as tickets are complimentary. COMPLIMENTARY? Haven't we paid for the entertainment? I could ramble on and on, but for the most part, the entertainment was 'end-of-the-pier' style & standard..certainly NOT world-class or West-End..this seaside-resort theme seemed popular amongst many guests, who similarly cheered for the 'Belly-flop' contest in the pool on deck 11, the countless, COUNTLESS quizzes, $32 a pop Bingo, 'Mr & Mrs' style game show, karaoke, etc, etc. I was waiting for the knobbly knees contest with the staff selling Kiss Me Quick hats & jellied eels, but it didn't happen. Having been on an American-oened ship with predominantly American citizens aboard, I can assure you that the quality & variety of the food on this ship WOULD NOT BE TOLERATED, and the 'entertainment' would have been boo'd off. This was most certainly a case of 'serve them junk..they'll be too drunk to notice' Fortunately, the weather was superb..no rain..sunny and warm. Unfortunately, they even managed to screw this up, with some destinations arriving at 9.00 am, and back on board by 2.30pm...what? Vigo (a non-destination..boring and devoid of anything of interest to visitors) was scheduled for a Monday, whilst Madeira (a lovely destination) was visited on a Sunday where everything was closed (docking on a Sunday is cheaper for operators, and the only reason why EVERY operator visits Vigo is for a cheap re-fuel). Look, if your idea of the perfect cruise is a semi-formal one, with civil guests, good food quality, acceptable entertainment, a 24-hour quality buffet, reasonably priced drinks, reasonable staff, then go P&O. If you don't mind fly-cruises but enjoy EXCEPTIONAL West-End productions, varied & 'don't-miss' entertainment, expensive drinks, FIRST-CLASS dine-anywhere (Freestyle) food, a 24-hour buffet, hit-and-miss staff, but VERY reasonably-priced, then cruise with NCL..but the beds on P&O and NCL are hard, and the rooms not as well laid-out. To close, we were glad to get back. This style of holiday died out in seaside resorts in the late 70's. My idea of a cruise goes beyond reading The Sun whilst stretched out on a poolside lounger, with a pint permanently attached to my right hand. 'Enrichment' lectures OK if you wish to discuss back-pain, or want to pay to have your feet analised! Without naming brands, it more closely resembled a British holiday camp at sea, but some of the holiday camps I've visited are better, with better entertainment, and not £900 each for 11 nights. They'll recommend $234 in gratuities & tips (this is in addition to the 15% gratuity you'll pay for every drink) but you can opt-out if you don't agree, and pay tips to those who you consider offered a good service (and EVERYONE did in my eyes, with the exception of a surly and argumentative room service waiter who swore blind that we lied about hanging a breakfast requirements ticket on our outer doorhandle) Room service breakfasts are definately the way to go..no shoulder to shoulder bumping into people, queueing for a fried egg with a numbered ticket..(I kid ye not)and then playing dead-man's-shoes for a table. In a nutshell, AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE, unless you're permanently blind drunk and never leave the ship (a large number of the guests fitted into this category). Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
My partner and i have just returned from a 11 night cruise to the canary's on the IOS . Our embarkation was smooth at Southampton we arrived and as we had booked a junior suite we asked if we could use the priority check in ,at first ... Read More
My partner and i have just returned from a 11 night cruise to the canary's on the IOS . Our embarkation was smooth at Southampton we arrived and as we had booked a junior suite we asked if we could use the priority check in ,at first we were told no so joined the main line only to be pulled out 5 mins later and took to priority check in .We were on the ship in around 30 mins .Our junior suite was large huge bed /balcony /bath and shower/ walk in wardrobe/sofa bed . It was a very comfortable room on the very aft of the ship .Please be aware the ship is huge and gets very congested in all the public areas .The windjammer provides nice meals huge choice just very busy .You could of course use the main dining rooms for lunch /breakfast which is by far more relaxing .we also ate in Portofino $20 which is outstanding and the not so good Chops grill $25.Johnny Rockets is also very good and will make you want to burst there is so much food burgers fries onion rings dessert all for $4.95 .They bring the fries /onion rings ,you finish these then you are brought more ! The staff dance for you all good fun .The food in the main dining room for dinner is very good ,large portions .The service on the ship is outstanding think of the best service you have had and x it by ten .The ship is spotless you wont believe how clean until you witness it .I am afraid to report that the dress code is disrespected by a number of guests football shirts on formal nights is really poor form and looks quite silly we had three formal nights on this cruise and RCI have to address this problem .If you like to play bingo on your cruise as we do start saving as is $32 for six games .The gym on this ship is very big and is impressive .Also the casino is excellent and you do feel like being in vegas it is that good .The sports deck is also good fun full size court crazy golf table tennis climbing wall flow rider .Overall activities on the ship are limited though no cooking demo /computer course lectures .Cruise director James and sidekick Jason will make you laugh out load for sure .Shows are varied and to be fair not to bad .The ice show is special for sure .This is a huge ship and for some reason seems to move about to much many people were sea sick even in moderate seas .Also i am not a fan of paying $12 for a transfer from some ports to the town .this should be included .Would we use RCI again ? not sure ! ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Firstly, I would like to point out that my review may not apply to those without kids under the age of 3. We booked what we thought was going to be a holiday of a lifetime back in March. My wife, daughter and I booked along with the ... Read More
Firstly, I would like to point out that my review may not apply to those without kids under the age of 3. We booked what we thought was going to be a holiday of a lifetime back in March. My wife, daughter and I booked along with the in-laws. Our problems started from the moment we checked in. Dining Room: We were told by RCCL that we had a round table which would acommodate my joint booking and would be a private table for us. When we checked in however, it appeared that my wife, daughter and I were sat at a different table from the in-laws. When we complained to guest services, they wern't interested and pointed us to the Dining Room Manager, who was not in the slightest bit interested either. After spending a good 90 minutes trying to sort out the problem, I got on the phone to the travel agent and asked them to sort out the problem. Much to my amazement, the travel agent said that Royal Caribbean admitted they made a mistake and would try to put us back to one table - Which amazingly they actually done. The food in the dining room was far to 'posh' for my liking and they didn't have a kids menu, so the waiter kept having to check if the deserts had a liquor through the sauce and that sort of carry on. The assistent waiter at the table next to us ('Marcel' was her name), kept telling our daughter to SHHHHH and saying 'You're very noisy, aren't you' which I thought was totally out of order. My daughter was 17 months at the time of travel, what do you expect? She wasn't even that noisy, thats the thing! We stopped using the main dining room and instead decided to have our dinner in the Windjammer, because we clearly were below 'Royal Caribbean Standards' to eat in the main dining room! Another point - I believe tipping should only be for those who done a job well - I didn't tip the waiters because of the absolutely shocking service we received in the main dining room. Activities: There was only two things for my daughter to do - Go to the play session, between 15:00 and 16:00 or go in the pool, which was usually closed for cleaning! When we booked, we were told that our daughter would have a fantastic time, because the ship has an on board waterpark... What we weren't told is that my daughter was too young to use the waterpark! Other Points: We bought the unlimited soda package. Despite having the Coca Cola logo on the seapass, it definitely wasn't genuine coke we were being served. The fresh orange juice in the windjammer was very watered down. The stateroom attendant kept rushing us out of our rooms to get it cleaned. To sum up my experience, I think its fair to say that I had an 'ok' time, but would have enjoyed a holiday in Florida better as Royal Caribbean ships are NOT for down to earth people, or those with very young kids. The captain (Teo) didn't tell us that we were leaving Southampton early, so by the time I went out to watch us leaving, we were already about a mile away from the port! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
this was the first time on royal caribbean and the last. first impression great looking ship and thats the only good thing about it. entertainment verry good except you have to get your tickets for the ice shows on your first day at sea ... Read More
this was the first time on royal caribbean and the last. first impression great looking ship and thats the only good thing about it. entertainment verry good except you have to get your tickets for the ice shows on your first day at sea otherwise you wont get to see them.The cabin was comfortable.First night at dinner was the worst experiance i have ever had on a cruise before.Had to wait one hour for first course then when main course was served it wasnt worth waiting for.all it was waqs a steak with a jacket potatoe rolling round on the plate with 2 mushrooms and 3 mangetout peas and all of that was cold.Never got coffee had to leave for the next sitting.Went to dinner second night diddnt have to wait as long but anything you have is always served with a jacket potatoe rolling round on your plate and luke warm. Never went to dinning room again.The self service was a free for all always the same food and always luke warm.The only dinning place which served hot food was the burger bar and you had to pay for that.24 hour food was either filled roll ar pizza tea and coffee was plastic cups anywhere on the ship and they were mugs then you have a battle to find a seat to drink it.THE SHOPS are just one big rip off.Everything was so overpriced a family would need a mortgage.One of the cloths shops had a jacket which i hab bought on po aurora it was double the price to aurora.Drinks prices are extortionate and you cant take any drink you buy to your cabin.I have had better in a motorway caff. All you hear allday is if you leave your sunlounger your towel will be removed and your towels are charged to your onboard account untill you return them.Also all you hear is vacate your seat in the selfservice dinning hall when you have finnished this announcment is every 10 miniuts.The shuttle busses for all ports of call are charged and expensive. on ports of call if you stay onboard to sunbathe you are told to leave at around 4pm so they can stack the sun loungers away and that is usually 2 hours before you set sail. If you buy any dutyfree shopping ie alchohol tobacco ashore it is taken away from you when you get onboard and returned on your last night this is so you have to buy all your drinks from their bars and pay more for them than you would in any pub in england.IF YOU MAKE A COMPLAINT AT THE DESK THE STAFF LOOK AT YOU AS IF YOU WERE SOMTHING DIRTY ON THEIR SHOE AND DO NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT ANYWAY.I have never been on a cruise before and checked what i have spent on my onboard account on a daily basis but this time i had to.All in all if some of my friends had not been on this cruise i would have got off at the the first port.One last word of advice DO NOT PREPAY YOUR TIPS WHEN BOOKING YOUR CRUISE. BECAUSE WHEN YOU GET BAD SERVICE YOU CANNOT CHOOSE WHO GETS THE MONEY. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
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