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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2019
i chose this cruise because I fancied he list of ports to be visited. As a widow travelling alone I like cruising because I can sit at the same table every night with the same guests so I can get to know people without having to make ... Read More
i chose this cruise because I fancied he list of ports to be visited. As a widow travelling alone I like cruising because I can sit at the same table every night with the same guests so I can get to know people without having to make introductions every night. This has always worked well on previous cruises. On this occasion I got ready for the evening meal, spruced myself up ready to make new friends and found myself all alone. After two nights I spoke to the Maitre .D who said there were two other ladies due to be at my table but they had obviously decided not to use the dining room. There were no other tables with space I could move to apart from those occupied by family groups. As I didn’t want to intrude in families I went on every other night to the Windjammer. I have no complaints about the buffet food but this was not the holiday experience I had been hoping for. As I eat alone most nights of the year I find having company for my meal something I really look forward to. Obviously I pay double price as a single passengers to then have this disappointment over the meal was a real blow. Not RC’s fault but I will probably not ever book another cruise in case the same thing happens, The embarkation was wonderful. From being dropped off by taxi just over ten minutes to being in the buffet. Cabins ready within a couple of hours. Nice cabin, sofa a bonus, kettle which I wasn’t expecting. Comfortable bed, great shower. I had an aft cabin, no 8710. Disappointed that there was just a door with a high window so couldn’t easily see out. However the balcony itself was good with two armchairs and a sun bed. The ports of call were generally very good apart from Ibiza and Majorca which were not at all inspiring. Watch out in Cadiz. I had my purse stolen and I still don’t understand how that happened. I thought I might have a bit of advice from Guest Services about informing the police, etc., but they were completely disinterested and offered no help at all. I have enjoyed my days away but they could have been so much better after paying £3500. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We have cruised with P&O and NCL and decided to do a Royal Caribbean taster cruise before we committed to booking a full cruise for us and our children. We travelled with our 2 and a half year old, we have found it very difficult ... Read More
We have cruised with P&O and NCL and decided to do a Royal Caribbean taster cruise before we committed to booking a full cruise for us and our children. We travelled with our 2 and a half year old, we have found it very difficult to get the right level of entertainment for him on previous cruises as he’s not a baby but still too little to go into any clubs/groups. There was a fantastic aqua park for him with a baby area which was great. The water was heated too which was a brilliant idea. There wasn’t much else going on for him though, there were a few toys laid out in a nightclub area in the day but very limited. We could pay $6 an hour to put him in a under 3’s club which we didn’t do. The food was comparable to NCL, a good standard and plenty to chose from. However, there were strict times on when food was available. On previous ships there was always food available in the buffet but it closed in the day for 3 hours and at 9:00pm in the evening which seems a bit early considering there is nearly 5k guests on board and there was a wait for a table. The only other option if you missed the buffet or dining room was pizza which is very limited, especially if you have dietary requests. We ate in the main dining room every night which we do on every cruise, A manager came to the table every night to ask how our dinning experience was which was great. We love the formalities of cruising and were disappointed when the waiters started doing the Macarena in the middle of dinner service, it really wasn’t great. Also on formal night, a guy wearing jeans and muddy running trainers was sat next to us in the main dining room while we were wearing a tuxedo and a cocktail dress. It’s disappointing that people can’t make the effort but also respect that people don’t always want to however, I feel on formal nights especially, trousers and shoes should be worn as a minimum to get into the main dining room. We decided to have an inside cabin as we were only sailing for 3 days. When we got to the cabin I was so disappointed. It was very dated, even though the independence had apparently had a refurb recently, the carpet was grubby and the sofa had stains on it. The cabin wasn’t cleaned properly with stains on the mirrors and marks on the walls. The cabin was really knocked about, dents in the wood work, paint chipped and just really dated. We did feel the need to complain about the cleanliness and someone was sent to shampoo the carpet and sofa but I feel for the price of a RC cruise, this shouldn’t be happening and I expected a much better standard. The toilets in the public areas were not cleaned all the time like on other ships. Bins were over flowing in the toilets and no toilet paper. The main promenade was dated too, i don’t understand where on this ship there has been a refurb. There were plenty of lifts which meant the wait time for one wasn’t too long, this is a plus when you have a buggy. For a taster cruise, I thought all the stops would be pulled out to ensure further bookings on RC but I felt it wasn’t, I think it was a true representation of RC. Would I sail with them again? Yes but only on a new ship which I think would be completely out of my price bracket. For the price of RC I think the standard should be a lot higher and couldn’t help but think it was a bit ‘butlins at sea’. I would definitely pick other lines over RC especially for the price of them. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because we were already vacationing in London prior. We really enjoyed the ice show “Strings.” The violinist was phenomenal and the choreography of the skaters was great. We ate in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because we were already vacationing in London prior. We really enjoyed the ice show “Strings.” The violinist was phenomenal and the choreography of the skaters was great. We ate in the main dining room the first two nights. The food was good, portions could have been bigger but the service was very slow. Izumi was good but it was an hour until we ate. I understand there is a show involved with dining in a hibachi restaurant but it just took too long. The balcony room was in a great location mid ship on Deck 7. I liked the size of the ship. Not too big and not too small. The ship excursion to Brugge was very good. We did the half day guided tour with free time. Overall a very nice ship and we would travel on her again if the opportunity arose. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Being frequent sailors on NCL, we had some trepidation in dipping our toe back into RCCL's offerings. We were pleasantly surprised on many, but not all, points. The ship was large, but unlike the NCL Breakaway, it never felt crowded ... Read More
Being frequent sailors on NCL, we had some trepidation in dipping our toe back into RCCL's offerings. We were pleasantly surprised on many, but not all, points. The ship was large, but unlike the NCL Breakaway, it never felt crowded except on sail away. We never encountered the long lines that were common on the Breakaway. We never had a problem finding a deck chair, as long as being right next to the pool was not a goal. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze in Southampton and at every port. We had a large balcony and it felt spacious for two people. The shower was the only thing that was very small. You couldn't bend in the shower without opening the doors. RCCL provides a bar of soap and a soap liquid that serves as BOTH soap and shampoo. There was an electric tea kettle because this was a cruise out of England. The outlets in the cabin were both American and European. It would be better if they also provided conditioner, like NCL does. Overall, NCL has larger bathrooms, more room in the shower and better amenities for bathroom products. I also believe that NCL provides robes that are not a condition of your cruising status. The balcony was very roomy, with two chairs and a large circular table and plenty of room to move about. We got two towels animals during our 6 day cruise. I think on NCL we got a towel animal almost every day. We ate at the Italian restaurant, Giovanni's. It was average. NCL does a better job with specialty restaurants. I had grilled shrimp, which was fine, but it should not have been served on a bed of mashed potatoes at an Italian restaurant. The desserts also were not well presented and looked very sloppy and not gourmet. The waiters in the main dining room were very good and attentive. They accommodated my lactose intolerance by having me order one day in advance each night. The food overall was between good and average. Some meals were better than others. I did not have dairy in my meals, so perhaps they were blander than the standard fare. We found the choices at the Windjammer buffet very good. We ate breakfast, lunch and tea in the Windjammer. It was fun to experiment with some British foods we never heard of like the meat pie and Scottish egg. The scones at tea time were very good and they offered strawberries, jam and cream to go with the scones. The entertainment was good too. We enjoyed the ice skating show, Strings. I wish they had showcased the ice dancing headliners more, as they were excellent. I also wish they had more than one ice show. Grease was just ok. It was a cut above a school play. However, the cast was very talented. It is just that Grease did not showcase their talent. We saw the woman that played Rizzo sing Rocky Horror at the Rocky Horror sing a long. She was exceptional. You could not appreciate her exceptional talent in Grease. Also, cast member J.P. did a guest set at the piano bar and he was absolutely exceptional and talented. He did a Jerry Lee Lewis rendition that was outstanding. Again, the play and show offerings did not show the breadth of his talent. NCL wins in the entertainment division. They have better quality shows. We enjoyed trivia, although the questions were geared towards the almost exclusively British crowd. The Britannia dance party was great fun as well. The ports were fun: Normandy, Bilbao and La Coruna, Spain. It was easy getting both on and off the ship. We booked an expensive semi private tour of the D Day landing beaches. I probably would not recommend that. They tour quality was fine but the guide, Christopher, was persnickety and scolded me for opening a ginger candy in the van when I felt motion sick. Also, we had a group of older, petty people who made the trip unpleasant, with comments about where they sat in the van. I think the anonymity of being in a larger tour is better. Our large tour of Santiago de Compostela was excellent. We took a ship shuttle to Bilbao and spent they day at our own pace. We would probably try RCCL again, but the food and entertainment on NCL is better. We did like the Independence much better than NCL Breakaway. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Had great time , took my 12 year old daughter did not know what to expect after reading the last review. (Did notice dents in the lift doors and did hear about the young man who was tazered and the 39 passengers that had to leave the ship ... Read More
Had great time , took my 12 year old daughter did not know what to expect after reading the last review. (Did notice dents in the lift doors and did hear about the young man who was tazered and the 39 passengers that had to leave the ship from the week before we sailed) But thankfully we only experienced well behaved children and young adults on our cruise . Totally overwhelmed by the sheer size of this ship . Went on and explored at approximately 11am . Our time was 1-30 pm to embark but it really doesn’t matter what time you get there. The facilities are outstanding , from the pools to the flow rider to the theatres and dining rooms unbelievable ship . A couple of negatives , 1) the windjammer is an ‘buffet type diner’ I just personally found it stressful , just too busy , but the food was fantastic. Brilliant choice. 2) I didn’t have drink package for myself just my daughter and sometimes I felt like that I had took the cheap way to cruise when occasionally bar person would say ‘oh just a soda package ‘ 3) My room , nothing wrong with it but my daughter got chocolate on the cover the first night and it was not change throughout our stay , and even be night her sheet was missing so I found a trolley in the corridor and took one of it. Maybe I should have said something? Also I love the animal towels they put on your bed but we only got one , my daughter was so excited wish they could have done more has a friend she met had three, but I do understand they are busy. But all small things compared to the rest of the positives . Pool fantastic my daughter loved the jacuzzis Entertainment absolutely brilliant loved it all , went to grease , comedians , brilliant ice show, best night was silent disco we had great time , it was all just fab! Loads to do on ship , never got chance in the 6 nights to do it all and relax and we only left the ship once in Spain for couple of hours. My daughter loved the quiz at 8 pm every night even though we were not too good at it, then we did the family game show and then watched whatever was in that evening in the theatre fantastic! We also ordered the complimentary continental breakfast 2 days to our room , we loved it , what a treat. But the best experience we had on our holiday, was the dining . Our waiter and waitress was fantastic Lisele and Remidios . They made us feel so special catering to our every needs.. going out of there way to please us . We had great view of the sea from our table absolutely loved going down for dinner. Fantastic food, from duck to steaks to lamb chops and large shrimps !! We had an internal room which had plenty of space for the two of us and I loved it was so dark so slept later. Brilliant time we just want to go again . Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it. 2 adults & 1 teen Our Balcony Cabin was bigger than expected and equipped with everything we needed, a bit dated but clean and comfortable. Nice bedding and comfy beds Very ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it. 2 adults & 1 teen Our Balcony Cabin was bigger than expected and equipped with everything we needed, a bit dated but clean and comfortable. Nice bedding and comfy beds Very Happy with our room attendant Sugi who was always smiling and kept our cabin in good order. We had a little problem with the Pullman bed on the first evening and that was dealt within minutes followed by an apology letter. We opted for “my time dinning” although booked our time slots in the planner before we sailed this way we still could be allocated the same table and waiter each night. Our waiter Beemal was great kept us entertained and was very attentive. Could not fault the food in any of the restaurants, bars or Cafe’s. We mainly ate in the main restaurant for breakfast, lunch & dinner. We used the Windjammer a couple of time and found the food to be very good, huge choice and although it was busy we didn’t have a problem finding a table. Johnny Rockets was also really good, milkshakes were amazing and worth the additional $9.95 per person on there own. The pool areas were quite busy especially on sea days when it was more difficult to find a sun bed, also it was school holidays so ship was generally busy, it never seemed overly crowded and we liked the adult solarium. We never had much of a wait getting drinks around the pool bars, the sky bar was our favourite, the staff were the friendliest, not that you need to go to the bar as there are plenty of waiters walking round delivering directly to our sun beds. Ice show, dance shows and Grease were amazing. My partner used the gym which was well equipped and he had a great view when arriving a ports first thing. We had the Key package and I would recommend it, it come with quite a few perks including the reserved seating for all the shows and the internet. We also were allocated time slots for the climbing wall, flow rider, ice skating and trampolines (we didn’t get round to doing most of them) The first day lunch was served in the main dining room but used the chops grill menu, It was a lovely and relaxed way to start our cruise. It was also nice to leave the ship when we wanted to rather than waiting to be called. Overall for what we paid which was about £17 per per person per day it was good value and would get again if offered at the name price. The only thing I would say is that it’s not fully advertised on the ship and you have to ask when you go into the theatre and shows to be seated. We had to select a showing for the Grease performance and was advised to meet in the bar and would be taken to our seats, this didn't happen so we made our own way and was shown to our seats. We left the ship at both ports in Spain but just had a walk around did not do any trips but would consider on our next cruise (already booked) it’s a shame the independence is not sailing from the UK next year as we really loved it, just hoping Athem lives up to it. Overall we had a wonderful cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We have just returned from a 13 day cruise from Southampton to Spain, Lisbon, France. Travelled in 2 cabins, myself and my husband in one and our 2 teenage boys in the other. The embarkation and disembarkation was a dream. We parked at ... Read More
We have just returned from a 13 day cruise from Southampton to Spain, Lisbon, France. Travelled in 2 cabins, myself and my husband in one and our 2 teenage boys in the other. The embarkation and disembarkation was a dream. We parked at the port, left the cases by the car and they were delivered to our cabin a couple of hours later. We drove from Manchester and were sat in the bar at 12.30pm enjoying our holiday without any airports. I would recommend carrying off your own luggage if you can - the luggage collection area was manic. In terms of the ship itself, I was a bit concerned about some of the negative reviews but we all loved it. OK there may be room for improvement in some areas but honestly if I didn't know the ship was being refurbished next year I wouldn't have noticed. It is in good condition and there are plenty of nice bars and good sun decks. Overall I thought there was a great atmosphere and a great mix of people onboard. Cabins were basic but fine and the cabin stewards worked super hard and cabin was always spotless - could not fault it. Plus the beds were very comfy - have never slept so well in my life! The dining was good. We did buffet for breakfast and lunch and the selections were vast and always delicious. The MDR was also good and we had 2 great waitors taking care of us. The food wasn't always amazing but honestly can't complain when they are serving that many people with that many food choices. Some nights the food was outstanding. We dined in Izumi which was truly amazing, so much so that we went twice. Definately worth the cost. Also Giovannis table was nice and a pleasant change from the MDR. Bars were great. Perry Grant in the Schooners bar literally made our holiday - he was hilarious and he packed the place out every night - fantastic. We had the drinks pacakge which was expensive at £41 per day each but was worth it when we worked out what we would have spent. The service in the bars was great and was never without a drink. Entertainment was a bit average but it is a personal choice of course and we were happy to watch Perry everynight (or the guitar player in Crown and Kettle). The ice show was good but some of the others not so good. The ports varied from great to poor but we expected that before we went and we had good weather which helped. The pool decks were good - generally very busy in areas but there were a couple of quieter spots where a sunbed could always be found. Loved the music and general atmosphere around the pools.Drinks flowing too and lots of waitors around. The teenaged boys enjoyed their holiday as the cruise allowed them more freedom than a typical holiday so they spent a lot of time with their friends and in the arcade. Some of the newer ships perhaps have more fancy entertainment but they enjoyed it. Overall we had a great holiday - the ship is great and the staff were excellent without exception. We would definately travel with RCI again (have only previously taken a P&O cruise which had a more "stuffy" atmosphere which didn't suit us as well). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
I was asked to accompany a friend and this was my first ever cruise. It was the best experience ever, From start to finish the whole experience was effortless. No queuing to board or disembark. Very calm and professional service ... Read More
I was asked to accompany a friend and this was my first ever cruise. It was the best experience ever, From start to finish the whole experience was effortless. No queuing to board or disembark. Very calm and professional service throughout. I did visit the gym once( to look around!) very well equipped but did not use it as I was relaxing but lots of people did. I was fortunate enough to see dolphins and whales!! Food was amazing, so much variety and all freshly prepared with so much choice all day long. I was a little disappointed with the amount of children running wild in the evenings unsupervised but it was the last week of the summer holidays.I do think young children should be with adults on such a luxury holiday not pulling phones off walls and playing in the lifts but that’s down to the parents. I won’t get the email to ask for my review about waiting staff as my friend booked it. I just wanted to mention Handi and komang gave the best service I have ever come across. Their attention to detail was above and beyond first class. Nothing was too much trouble for them. They truely deserve a mention as they made meal times an absolute pleasure. I hope 100% that I meet those young men again. An absolute asset to the ships crew. Thankyou Handi And Komamg for your service, friendship and entertainment. I am a bit of a sun worshipper so didn’t really use the day time activities but there was something going on all day every day. Evening shows were a must see. Some really good some not so good but everyone’s tastes are different. What I wasn’t really bothered about some were laughing there socks off so each to there own. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We have cruised 3 times with Royal Caribbean and decided we shall not ever travel again in their ships. Grubby worn and extremely lacking of any luxury fixtures or fittings. The chairs in the Stsr Lounge were extremely worn torn and shabby ... Read More
We have cruised 3 times with Royal Caribbean and decided we shall not ever travel again in their ships. Grubby worn and extremely lacking of any luxury fixtures or fittings. The chairs in the Stsr Lounge were extremely worn torn and shabby and some of the rest rooms left a lot to be desired..,. Broken door handles and fixtures missing....if you miss dinner and attempt to eat in the Winjammer it closed st 9pm do we were left to eat pizza at the small cafe on the promenade which was heaving with very loud teenagers. Great trip for families but some parents are oblivious to the antics of their offspring and we witnessed a good fight between some youngsters who were throwing ice cream at each other covering walls and floors on deck 11....bar staff were excellent as were the casino staff but the lack of quality isnd detail of cabins was very disappointing. we Are planning a cruise next spring and shall definitely be joining Celebrity again....maybe a little more expensive but extremely superior quality.... regards. Lynda Guy Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Indy, departing Southampton on the 10th August, calling at ports in Portugal and Spain. It turned out to be a cruise of 2 parts, the bits we expected to be good were as always excellent, Crew, ... Read More
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Indy, departing Southampton on the 10th August, calling at ports in Portugal and Spain. It turned out to be a cruise of 2 parts, the bits we expected to be good were as always excellent, Crew, superb, entertainment, superb, buffet food, good, MDR food, much improved over the last cruise on Oasis, where the food was really awful in the MDR, so perhaps RCCL have listened. Ship, looking a bit tired but still very nice, cabin, good, we had a Junior suite at the stern on deck 10, and it was large and pleasant to stay in for 2 weeks. Then there was the unexpected part, which in 30 years of cruising with many different lines I haven’t experienced. Groups of unsupervised teens running amok on the ship at all hours, up to 3am. Balls thrown from 4 floors up onto the main concourse, pizza thrown about in lifts, lift doors getting progressively more and more dented as the cruise progressed, elderly people knocked over in corridors, and the meagre numbers of security staff struggling to cope with what I would assume they do not normally have to deal with, Culminating in a full on fist fight, with a teenager tazered by security to stop a violent assault on security staff, and as the ports went by, more and more people were “Offloaded” another thing I am pleased to say I have not experienced before. So I’m sure the Indy crew were pleased to see Southampton on the 24th August, and I hope for their sakes that they don’t get a repeat on the next cruise. So for us this will be the last RCCL cruise, and probably the last peak school holiday cruise full stop. I think that possibly the AI drinks package may have left a lot of parents in the bars not really worrying what their kids were up to, and thus the issues I have highlighted occurring, we as parents certainly want to know where our son is and what he is up to, and supervised his 1am curfew religiously. So to summarise the cruise, nice ship, ok ports (But we have done the med to death over the years) great crew, friendly attentive and always helpful, Great shows, and good food. Just maybe not in the height of the holidays for us again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Where do I begin .... or should I just say wow I'm glad i'm off this ship. We have sailed with many companies down the years including Royal Caribbean and always had wonderful experiences with excellent ports of call, lovely ... Read More
Where do I begin .... or should I just say wow I'm glad i'm off this ship. We have sailed with many companies down the years including Royal Caribbean and always had wonderful experiences with excellent ports of call, lovely fellow passengers and fantastic service. However, we have never sailed from a UK port in the height of the holiday season and I have to say we will NEVER do this again. I really do not have words to use to describe this latest experience but disastrous might be the best expression. What happened to manners, courtesy, politeness and general awareness amongst the British public. It is obviously a lost art. The clientele that Royal Caribbean are obviously trying to attract on this ship is not what you would expect on a cruise ship. During out 14 day cruise we had numerous families removed from the ship at various ports, fighting in the lifts which caused the lifts to be closed to clean up the blood, numerous random acts of nudity, severe drunken behaviour and one incident of a youth being detained in the ships cells for the last 2 days of the cruise. Even our comedian commented that the price of cruising has obviously gone down due to the clientele on board. People would stampede into the lifts before allowing anyone to get out and the entire ship just became survival of the fittest. Even on quiet day when there was an abundance of sunbeds available there were certain families from the North West of England who would hover around the consierge sunbed area and wait for the deck patrol members to walk away before charging on mass into the area to occupy as many sunbeds as possible then argue and refuse to move when advised they were not allowed to stay there due to the fact they had not paid for this service. It was all about taking as many 'selfies' as possible in this area for bragging rights when they got home. They constantly threatened the staff that if any of their property was removed they would claim against the company for theft and damage so the staff just gave up. This was the general attitude around the ship so in the end most of the service staff just gave up due to the way they were being treated and the whole ship just ended up looking dirty and untidy with plates, glasses and food left lying around all day. It was a real shame for the genuine passengers on board who had manners and thoughtfulness and polite children with manners. The other major problem on board is that this ship has been refitted to accommodate a further 500 passengers without any increase in facilities or deck space. This just makes the whole ship tight for room and again the waiting staff in the dining rooms had to pass food over tables, aisles and squeeze between tables like i have never seen before. Our ports of call were very good and we did enjoy getting away from the football style hooligans on board for the long days in port. Embarkation and disembarkation was always smooth and swift even if we always avoided the thought of getting back on board fr as long as possible. So to sum up if you want to feel like you are on a cheap holiday camp with rude and obnoxious passengers who think the world owes them a living then spend 14 days aboard this cruise from hell. If not I would suggest you sail with another cruise company out of any port that is not in the UK. We, and many other passengers we spoke to, will never sail on this cruise ship again from Southampton in the summer holidays. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Just returned from Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas Northern Europe and Russia cruise. THIS IS A FULL REVIEW. Explorer is 20 years old and smaller but otherwise identical layout to Freedom and Independence of the Seas, ... Read More
Just returned from Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas Northern Europe and Russia cruise. THIS IS A FULL REVIEW. Explorer is 20 years old and smaller but otherwise identical layout to Freedom and Independence of the Seas, sharing the same (but smaller) Deck 5 central shopping mall idea, Schooners Bar, triple-floor Sapphire Dining Rooms, Windjammer buffet, ice rink, FlowRider and Dizzys/Sky Bar etc. The August cruise from Southampton to Northern Europe was perfectly pleasant. Oslo, Copenhagen, Tallin, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Skagen (Denmark) and Stavanger (Norway) and the weather was kind, but lazing in the sun on the main deck was possible on one day out of 14, although I spotted several people, probably from Newcastle on Tyne, out there in their bikinis in Force 8 winds! This is an easy cruise to access all the cities visited. All ports were quayside docking and all within easy walking distance of the city centres (Helsinki and Stockholm a couple of miles away but with cheap public transport from the quayside). Don’t fall for the cruise-line’s nonsense of buying their organised trips or paying an extortionate $40 for their own local shuttles - every city had cheap (typically $3 per trip or $10 for a 24 hour ticket covering all busses, trams, water taxis and metros) and regular public transport always right from the quayside. We organised our own tours through local operators, but in cities like Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Tallinn you can walk everywhere. In every case, local tours were 50% cheaper than the cruise line’s official tour, and usually better. In Skagen we just walked but a friend rented a car for $35 for the day and visited everything there was to see - more than any of the organised tours. In Stavanger we booked a 3 hour fjord cruise with Rödne Tours from a booth right next to the cruise terminal for $40 each when we arrived, but I’d recommend pre-booking in case there’s more than one cruise ship in port. In St Petersburg we booked a 2 day tour with TJ Tours just 5 days before arriving and had a great experience with our own guide and a comfortable Mercedes minibus, all meals and water included, visiting more locations and for longer than the best available cruise-line tour for half the price ($250 each). You must book with an official Russian tour operator to get your necessary temporary Russian visa - you can’t visit St. Petersburg unaccompanied (well, not officially) but it’s as simple as booking online with a tour operator such as TJTours, SPB or Alla Tours. We found many fellow Americans were scared stiff of Russia, thinking the “Reds” might not like them. Well, that’s simply not the case. They are lovely! The guests on this cruise were 60-70% British. Some Americans and Australians for whom this was usually one half of their European cruising (the other half being a Mediterranean cruise, but not always with RCI). The Brits were a mix of classes, lots of blue collar families but nice, friendly and honest in the way Brits usually are. A couple of dozen feral kids under 10 running around, living in the elevators with no parents or ship security enforcing some manners. A public keel hauling of the worst offender would soon restore discipline (this is a joke, btw). . The negatives on this trip were all on board the ship. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean several times a few years ago, these are the noticeable differences – a general decline in standards whilst RCI try even harder to screw every last penny out of their guests: - Sapphire Dining Room - food still ok but menus not quite as varied as before and some dishes simply not up to scratch. Service definitely slower and poorer than we’ve experienced on any other cruise or cruiseline. One night we waited 30 minutes for our order to be taken. Another couple next to us waited 90 minutes for their main course. Lots of complaints heard about this. The dining rooms seem to have more tables crammed in and they’ve dispensed with the nightly “Showtime” singalong by the waiters. Coffee and liqueurs used to be offered automatically, now you have to ask. No chocolate mints anymore. MyTime Dining is a shambles. Dress codes are not enforced at all - families in tee shirts and shorts - even on Formal Night. This is not what I pay my cruise bucks for. If diners want to dress in shorts, send them to the Windjammer. There IS a choice! Hey, Royal Caribbean - stop this race to the bottom and restore some semblance of style to your ships. - Bars. There seem to be fewer waiters going round taking orders. Best bar for cocktails is still Schooner. Dizzy’s on the 14th floor has a good atmosphere (but the air con is always too cold). Some evenings it’s taken over by a “silent” disco, which actually means drunken guests singing the chorus of two different songs out of tune at the top of their voices. Silent it is not! Why on earth they can’t hold this in one of the disco clubs is beyond me. Drink prices noticeably up. $6-10 for a beer, ordinary branded spirits $10-15 and wine at $11-16 a glass. Cocktails typically $12 and up. - On board sales bargains - e.g. watches and jewellery. Quality and variety on offer is poor and prices are the same as high street. The rest of the goods on offer was tourist tat, overpriced by 50% compared to identical tourist tat in each port. On board bargains used to be one of the joys of cruising. It isn’t any longer. Art and overpriced jewellery auctions did zero business. I never understand how they make money, but this cruise full of savvy Brits wasn’t going to part them from their money. - Windjammer Buffet. A glorious spectacle of excess. Food quality is awfully variable, from awful to variable yet never excellent. If you want to watch fat people getting even fatter, pushing and vying to see who can pile their plates highest and yet still leave enough waste food to feed New York’s entire homeless community, then this is the best free entertainment venue on the entire ship! The number of electric buggies plus the constant feeding frenzy was like that scene out of Wally...... Not offendin’ anyone, just sayin’.... - Theatre Entertainment. The in house ‘orchestra’ is a great bunch of talented musicians tied to performing holiday camp-standard routines. The in-house song and dance reviews were nothing special, in fact highly avoidable. A couple of guest bands were excellent, though - a Beatles tribute band and The Wild Boys in particular were very good. A visiting West End singer, magician and a hypnotist who were all pretty mundane. I fell asleep during the hypnotist act. No idea why. - Round the Ship entertainment. There’s a talented solo guitarist playing a repertoire of 30 almost recognisable pop hits in a vaguely classical style. He looks tired and bored, but go and ask him to play something decent, like Tarrega or Rodriguez, and he perks up! The House Band is OK, best when they are doing live karaoke. Lead vocalist loves herself but the drummer is the better singer. The reggae band are very good. There’s a very camp Liberace clone who knows his downmarket audience to a Tee! Straight from Phoenix Nights! Truly awful....unless you like that kind of thing. - The usual selection of half hour games and quizzes, presented in a generally lacklustre way, always in a hurry, formulaic and rushed. Too few staff? - Casino. Never more than 1/4 full. The Brits obviously don’t gamble. The ship did nothing to entice them in, so each night it was the same 50 American faces playing the slots and a handful of tables. At least half the croupiers looked dead or asleep. They could have jumped ship for two weeks and no one would have noticed. A missed opportunity. - Cruise Director. Every other Cruise Director we’ve had has been the life and soul of the ship - always about, saying hello, geeing people up. Not this one. Known as “Hello Clo”. Been in the business 27 years, apparently. Never saw her round the ship saying hello to passengers, never saw her on the gangplank, only on-stage introducing the acts. Something missing here. - Photographs. Still expensive but with many more photographers and backdrops. The old style of printing out thousands of photos on paper for you to peruse has been replaced with a dreadful touch screen system. The staff said it was more popular but I doubt it. - State Room Stewards. Great, as ever. These people work the hardest on the ship and deserve the biggest tips. - On Sea Days the ship was heaving with people because it was too cold out on deck. 3,500 bored passengers wandering round inside an already crowded ship, all looking for something to do. You would think the Entertainment staff would make a bit more effort and lay on extra entertainments when it’s too increment to go outside, but no. Nada. Nothing. This, above all else, was the weakest element of the cruise. The Ship. 20 years old and looking its age. It had a refit in 2015 but there are a lot of defects. Lifts out of action, PA systems on their last legs, cutlery in the dining rooms old and knackered, large viewing windows which had gone opaque, furniture a bit tatty. Lots of maintenance engineers fixing things discretely. Many staff just seem to be tired, going through the motions. Even the Captain’s daily announcement was delivered in a flat, monotonic voice. The only time he sounded enthused was in Stockholm, probably his home town. I heard that Explorer of the Seas is due another refit to take away some public areas and add more cabins, so this ship is likely to get even more crowded. I hope the staff-guest ratio increases but somehow I doubt it. Would I cruise with Explorer of the Seas again? No. Has my opinion of a Royal Caribbean been tarnished? Yes. Cruise destinations. 9/10 Ship. 5/10 Entertainment. 4/10 Dining. 6/10 Steward. 10/10. Value for Money. 7/10 Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise as it was the Right time of year school holidays and going to Northern Europe with st Petersburg on the itenary we were disappointed in that my two girls couldn’t attend the children’s club because they were 10 ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was the Right time of year school holidays and going to Northern Europe with st Petersburg on the itenary we were disappointed in that my two girls couldn’t attend the children’s club because they were 10 & 12 and would have had to go to separate clubs because of their ages they didn’t want to go alone & there was no leeway with this they also had to stop using the pools after the first week as they came out with terrible skin rashes all of our party did I reported it to customer services they said it was because someone had been sick in the pool so had to be drained and stronger chemicals put in !! There was another mum complaining at the same time and families around the pool were not using them for the same reason! My family and I were absolutely fuming that there was an extortionate fee for the shuttle busses there was 4 adults and 4 children only in Helsinki did they not charge for the children I can’t believe that RC did not receive most of this money as why did we have to pay directly to RC We were all very disappointed with the entertainment nothing for the children no pool party’s games on deck we had good weather most of the cruise so there was no reason for this The food was ok very samey but nice we only ate in the windjammer as we had 4 fussy children so it was great for them to just try things We only did the Russia trip preferring to do our own trips the guide was very knowledgeable but it was a bit manic as in on off the coach and they took us to a very expensive tourist gift shop but we were allowed to use the toilets The ship itself was looking a bit warn out and tired its due a refit I believe Most of the staff were really nice but they fussed around the alcohol drinkers more In short we won’t be travelling with RC again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Booked this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. The Baltic was chosen and Royal Caribbean as we were in Tallin on the day, a fab place we have visited before. The cruise to the Baltic was pleasant with reasonable ... Read More
Booked this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. The Baltic was chosen and Royal Caribbean as we were in Tallin on the day, a fab place we have visited before. The cruise to the Baltic was pleasant with reasonable weather, no rain!!!. However sun tans would have been missing unless you were an addict who went to the sunbeds when the sun was out. All ports were easy to access with the exception of St Petersburg, where you either had to have a Visa or be on an organised approved trip. We only did did ship trip in St Petersburg as we were able to get ashore with local transport very easily. If you use the ship shuttles they will cost at least double. A mixture of nationalities, British, Canadian Australians and some Europeans and Russian noted. As usual with a cruise during school holidays feral children were around in abundance, I think that some parents thought they could not get into mischief and left them to their own devices!!. Dining, well we had My Time Dining in the Sapphire, tables crammed in, and waiters have to manage more tables. We were very lucky, I had pre booked a time and we ate with the same waiters, location every night so did not have any concerns and did not wait long. Although I know that some other areas did complain etc. Food generally good but lack of niceties, no flowers on the tables, after dinner coffee served in large pot mugs not the thing for a delicate tea. Main bug bare was the lack of enforcement for dress code. On the 3 formal nights noticed many people in shorts and tee shirts allowed in for the evening dining. If they want to dress down then either go to the buffet or order cabin service!!!, the dress code was not enforced at all and as this is the only time that we can dress up and feel even if we are not a 1000 dollars. Entertainment was varied, in the bars very loud and always the same. Shows were lackluster as the group had only recently joined the ship, magician, hypnotist, several solo singers and several comedians. The in house band were always loud and with the solo singers blocked them out. Dizzies bar on the 14th floor very good until the disco arrived at 10pm and forced the over 50's to leave, offered headphones!!.Enjoyed Perry Granr very much but you have ti like his srt of entertainment. We had membership of the Diamond Lounge the savior in our opinion. The only place on sea days to find somewhere quiet to read, staff excellent and views wonderful. This place made the holiday enjoyable. One thing we noted seemed lack of organisation. Went down to see the ice show but had my ship card reviewed at the door to be told I was the next sea day Apparently the shows were viewed by the muster station we we were allotted to. I even know people who went and stood by the muster station expecting to be led in. Once I knew the method I looked at the ship paper each following sea day but our muster station details did not appear. On the last sea day I queried with reception to be told my viewing was the 1st sea day at 3pm. I very politely told them that they had not informed passengers of the method and had missed out and I was not happy. No apologies were forthcoming. at all. Disembarkation was a breeze as Diamond member we were no 3 off the shop at 0620am. Breakfast for us consisted of a cookie that I brought down to the cabin from the afternoon before and a coffee made in the cabin. The restaurant opened at 0530am, however, there was not time to get to breakfast, back to the cabin to pick up carry on and be down in the area for departure which was listed at 0610am for a 0620 departure. I would add that my husband and I only had 2 meals a day, we do not ever go on a cruise with the intention of loading a plate every 2 hours. Sitting with a couple who had a 9 hour journey to Scotland also departing at 0620 they had joined a line of 200 people at 0515 waiting for the restaurant to open. They did not get a proper breakfast at all. All in all we did enjoy the cruise, however we have traveled on a varied selection of cruise lines and prior to this cruise only 1 Royal Caribbean, based on this trip we would not travel with them again. For the evening of our 50th we did get a small cake with a candle to be asked how many years?. On returning home our travel agent asked did we have a good celebration as she had informed them it was our 50th wedding anniversary. As noted before a cheap bottle of wine would have been nice but I fear the accountants have a great say in what happens on board. As comparing with Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Regent to name a few we have traveled with they are a budget line. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise as it was sailing to a number of tick box locations. The embarkation process was amongst the easiest of all, after 8 previous cruises, we are big fans of cruise embarkation, this was excellent. We made our way to our ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was sailing to a number of tick box locations. The embarkation process was amongst the easiest of all, after 8 previous cruises, we are big fans of cruise embarkation, this was excellent. We made our way to our cabin 7204 - Ocean view, very clean and as we took our own phone chargers it didn’t matter that the only part of the cabin that didn’t work was the hub socket. We have now had cabins at the stern previously and chose a front facing cabin. Our first two week cruise, we took clothes to fit this, however we believe the wardrobe wasn’t big enough, perhaps during the next refit this could be addressed without losing too much. After checking out and being pleased with our cabin, as is our normal practice we look at the restaurant and where we were to spend our evening meal. We had informed Royal Caribbean of our request for early dining and a table for two. As far as we were concerned this was agreed however on reaching our table we were to be sat at a table for eight. Speaking to the chap with the laptop, we were told, “we decide table seating, not Royal Caribbean “, as we were an early sitting, he advised us to eat at 2000, when a two seat table would have been arranged. At 2000, we returned to the restaurant and were dealt with by embarrassed staff, who could not do enough for us. We ended our meal with the promise that our table for the next meal was a two seater table at 1800. This was confirmed with a note posted to our cabin. The following night we went to our nominated table at our nominated time and unfortunately another couple were sat having ordered their meal. Further embarrassment all around amongst the staff, eventually we had to be in the restaurant at 1745, we could then eat at the same table (for two) for the remainder of the cruise. On our return home I contacted Royal Caribbean to inform them and received the following reply “We have received your correspondence regarding the table issue. We apologize that it did not work out as you said it has in the past. When you request a table for two that is exactly what it is a request its not a guaranty”. (It would be impolite to alter the spelling) the evenings entertainment on day one was a make shift performance to introduce everyone to the guests, day two the entertainment on the first sea day was a Beatles tribute band, excellent they were to, standing ovation The entertainment was a series of guest artists appearing nightly, including Mick Miller, who was quite funny in the 70’s, 40 years later, not so! Visiting male singer, female singer, a juggler, a hypnotist, a magician all of whom were simple fare passing the time until the next days visit. The scenery of a Baltic cruise is exceptional unfortunately 50% is during the night, but it must be said the ports and shore excursions were second to none, however all when booked on the ship were very expensive due in main to the rubbish exchange rate between the dollar and the pound. We needed to book the shore excursion in St Petersburg to enable a visa to be covered for the trip. Otherwise normally we do not book onboard excursions, these were very expensive, what we did though was book the hop on, hop off buses for $18 each. Visiting Oslo, Copenhagen, Tallin, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Skagen, Stavanger, all superb places to visit, though the majority were not suitable for wheelchair users as explained in the ships daily post, still ignored however, particularly on the cobbles of St Petersburg, it was painful to watch the struggles of pushing or being pushed on the treacherous paths. The entertainment team (not singers or dancers) tried very hard to make the cruise enjoyable with lots of quizzes, these were in the main very difficult. They ran the bingo, very expensive at $56 for two pages of four and two dabbers. The session we attended was a very long session for one house which was $500. We think there were four singers in the entertainment team, they were brilliant but only put on four shows in the fortnight we were on our cruise, the team of dancers were equally talented but also only gave the four shows. Further entertainment was provided by the Wild boys, again brilliant and also another comedian who was up to date and funny Speaking to other passengers who had sailed with Royal Caribbean they agreed the ship was the worst they had been on, it was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and yes it will most probably our last. A shame, a very good crew, a very funny Cruise Director but the first weeks food was bland, the second weeks food was better. All in all if this was our first cruise we would not be upset, but after nine cruises, it was no where near the best one. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because it was cheaper than Disney and had basically the same itinerary. I had never been on Royal Caribbean before but I had been told that they were a little below Disney but above Princess, Norwegian and Costa. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was cheaper than Disney and had basically the same itinerary. I had never been on Royal Caribbean before but I had been told that they were a little below Disney but above Princess, Norwegian and Costa. Embarkation process-Very smooth and fast. Best ever. Cabin- Was quiet and traditional with normal restroom set up(no thanks Norwegian Epic). However the shower was backed up (gross) and the door lock stopped working twice a week apart. Also third bed is a bunk bed not a sofa bed so of course I had to hit my head a few times. Food-Overall, the food qualify was a little below average but the selection was pretty good.The desserts were terrible with little selection. This is the first cruise where they didn't provide unsweetened ice tea and water. Sugar free drinks were gross. Also the ice cream machines provided ice milk not ice cream. Entertainment- The daily shows were average. They were showing previews of a magician/escape artist so I thought he would so some of those tricks in his show. However he only did card tricks on an overhead. The channels on the tv were not very entertaining. Not a lot of movies and a lot of the times the TV signal was bad. A lot of the video games in the arcade did not work. Classes/lectures-Did not have enough lectures or hobby classes. They had classes on how to play casino games, however. I would have appreciated more history classes on places we were going to or classes on how to make things or towel animals or things like that. Excursions-For the most part the excursions were as advertised. The excursion I went on in Copenhagen of the Christianborg Palace and Tivoli Gardens does not tell you you will only have an hour there. My son loves to ride amusement park rides so it was a little disappointing. I wish they would tell you the time spent at each location as it would make a difference. Outdoor activities on ship-Have rock wall and wave rider activity. My son loved the rock wall. The basketball court is also used as a soccer pitch at the same time. Not a good idea. I got hit in the head with a soccer ball. Could organize separate times for each activity to avoid possible law suits. Disembarkation-We left early taking our own luggage. I am not sure if I would take Royal Caribbean again. I would definitely not take the same ship again as it is old and not well maintained. The food might tip the scales as to me not taking them again. If I can get the same thing or better for less why wouldn't I? Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I'd heard about Royal Carribean and knew it had a good reputation. This was my first cruise. We had a great time! The stops were excellent;even Skagen where there wasn't too much to see, was a nice small town. The excursion ... Read More
I'd heard about Royal Carribean and knew it had a good reputation. This was my first cruise. We had a great time! The stops were excellent;even Skagen where there wasn't too much to see, was a nice small town. The excursion to St Petersburg was good, even though it was more expensive than some other providers.The 2 guides were full of information. It would have been better to get to the Hermitage early as it was just too crowded at 2pm. Ship entertainment was excellent.The shows were all good, and we LOVED Perry Grant who played alomost every evening for 3 hours in the Schooner bar. He's very very funny. We saw an excellent ice show in another hall one afternoon, and that was great. The staff are all lovely.The service is second to none.But we did feel the dress code was poor: too many people wearing (beach) shorts in the main restaurant was not good enough .These people should be restricted to the Windjammer for dinner if that's how they dress. There should definitely be a no-shorts (and possibly smart shirt only?) policy in the other restaurants. The excursions are very over priced.The fjord cruise in Stavanger was $280 for 2. We paid $110 for the same trip by booking direct. I'm aware all the other excursions were way over-priced. Drinks- the package is very expensive for the top option.With the discount on the first day it worked out at $1092 for 2 persons.After the first day the discount was taken away and it would have been over £2000 for 2. As light drinkers this was never an option.They should offer drinks deals by the day, as they do for wifi. -more later. Wifi- very annoying you have to pay for this, and a a high price. This should be free.I used it one day and it was VERY sloooow. One other beef- no irons were loaned to rooms.They claimed they were a fire hazard. Why do hotels offer them then? As a result it was $4 a shirt just to press.This is outrageous.If you don't allow a facility, you shouldn't then charge exhorbtant prices for cleaning and ironing. I sometimes got the feeling RCC were trying to bleed their customers dry whereever they could. it was my 60 th birthday on the cruise- I think RCC could offer a complimentary bottle of wine for all birthdays, especially big ones.It wouldn't cost them much . and would be excellent PR. In summary, though, it was excellent, and I'm sure my complaints are going to be similar or same with all cruise lines. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having been on a cruise with my wife on freedom of the seas and really enjoying it I got together with freinds 19 in tottal and we all decided to go on independence of the seas and after the great re fit was looking forward to this. I can ... Read More
Having been on a cruise with my wife on freedom of the seas and really enjoying it I got together with freinds 19 in tottal and we all decided to go on independence of the seas and after the great re fit was looking forward to this. I can honestly say what a great ship the staff work so hard to keep it clean and the service they give is outstanding food is superb aswell. The thing that lets it down is far too many people on this boat during re fit they also added more cabins a lot more this results in over 700 plus more people on the same size ship as the last ship I went on freedom of the seas.... the obvious reason for this is to make more money but it is at the exspence of people enjoying there time on board. Sea days where awful it was like butlins holiday camp people reserved there sun beds early on and despite the so called 30 min rule for unattended beds this was never enforced. I had a balcony cabin for myself and wife and internal for my children also drinks packages I paid a small fortune for this and was not happy at some of the people on board and they ha e far too many teenagers on board there seamed to be gangs of them running around till early hours. I wish I had read the reviews before hand as everyone says the same thing. Shame on you royal carabian for putting profit before customers Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We are a married couple in early 60's. We booked this because we prefer Royal Caribbean for it's informal yet not too rowdy atmosphere. The cruise ticked all the boxes. There were over 900 kids running around which noised ... Read More
We are a married couple in early 60's. We booked this because we prefer Royal Caribbean for it's informal yet not too rowdy atmosphere. The cruise ticked all the boxes. There were over 900 kids running around which noised things up a bit but what do you expect when you book a cruise during the school holidays. Big shout out to Hello Clo, the best cruise director RC have in my opinion. She was always visible about the ship and such a cheery person We did notice a few slight issues. First is the lack of bar staff and waiters, particularly in the Schooner bar. Poor guys there were run off their feet. Again I noticed that the numbers attending the main dining room seem to be getting ever lower and the Windjammer is always mobbed. Is anyone at RC seeing this ? Perhaps it is time to convert the 3 MDR floors to a buffet and put the MDR on deck 11 - only a suggestion. We are Diamond plus members and as such have access to the Diamond and Concierge lounges. If RC are going to provide these lounges for 24 hour access, can they please ensure the coffee machine is always stocked. We regularly went up for a late night coffee only to find out the kitchen was closed and told if we wanted coffee to go downstairs to the Promenade cafe. Sort of defeats the purpose of having 24 hour lounges. Also, with regard to the music guy Perry singing in the Schooner bar at night. It was always mobbed right into the corridor and you simply couldn't move or get past. While upstairs, the much larger Star lounge was empty. Again I ask, is anyone at RC paying attention to things like this ? And we know people don't do trivia for the prizes. But to give out the same prize ( yellow highlighters ) again and again got a bit boring. Surely it wouldn't cost too much to give out the odd cap, T-shirt, pen, key ring, etc Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Have cruised a lot on several of the big lines and this was our second cruise with RC. Having read the other reviews this is our take. We traveled with our 24 year old son (he loves a free holiday!) and had a sea view cabin 2584 with 3 ... Read More
Have cruised a lot on several of the big lines and this was our second cruise with RC. Having read the other reviews this is our take. We traveled with our 24 year old son (he loves a free holiday!) and had a sea view cabin 2584 with 3 single beds one being a bunk! We had such a laugh taking it in turns to stop on the top and getting up and down the ladder! I'm 57 wife 51 so you can imagine the fun!!! Loads of room for the three of us and whilst the room was a little dated how much time time do you spend in the room!? Shower was more than ample for a six foot bloke and was kept impeccable by our room attendant. I have read that some people think the ship was tatty but you would really have to look hard to find wear and tear and during the two weeks there was always work going to paint etc and we also got a new mattress each during the two weeks as did the whole ship. Again it had no bearing on my overall holiday I found the ship to be excellent and exactly what we wanted. We eat each morning and lunch if on board in the windjammer and found it excellent. Great choice of everything with separate stations for various things every day. With 3000 people on board it is always going to be busy but we never found it hard to get a table and the staff where always around to clear or get you a drink. I have to say I had some of the tastiest food on a ship and the burgers at lunch are 5 star! I eat my own weight in burgers in the two weeks!! Dinner was taken each night in the the main dining room, we had intended to go to specialty restaurants a couple of nights but we really didn't need to as again the food and service was excellent. We eat second sitting and had two great waiters and the manager was also great fun. Varied menu each night and if you cant find something you liked there was also a great selection of old faves to choose from. As we remembered from our first RC cruise 10 years ago overall everything was top draw. Entertainment I wont spoil other than to say really enjoyed it. Didn't go every-night but had laughs with comics sang along to the Beatles and enjoyed the dancing. Would say you have to spend a night in Schooners with the ever so camp Perry and his shiny suits! Again a great mix in a great theater. Ports Gibraltar: Been before and love it. Go see the monkeys and enjoy England in the sun! Cartagena: Great little un spoilt Spanish town with fab buildings and little shops, if you love history the Roman ruins are spectacular. Barcelona: Two days to explore, do the red route on the hop on bus but leave time to eat some amazing food. The food market on La Rambla is a must! walk round looking at all the amazing meat and sea food then jump on a seat at one of the many food stalls and watch as you food is cooked! Had some amazing giant red prawns!!! Malaga: My new fave Spanish city! Flown in many times cant believe I never stayed here! Large cosmopolitan and very Spanish! Great shops, great back streets, great little Tapas restaurants and a lovely beach right next to the ship! Nothing to not like! Parma: Again been before, had a beach day then walk around the town, very pleasant. Valencia: 10 minute shuttle brings you to the centre of the old town, lots of squares and churches to find, what I call a proper Spanish city! Cadiz: Again very Spanish see above. Lisbon: Lots to see and on a food theme! find the TimeOut food market near the main square and eat!!! get there about 11.30 by 12.15 it was packed with locals, custard tarts to die for! And what a cruise in and out down the coast under the bridge! Getting on and off was a breeze we got there 12.30 on board 1.15 off in 10 minutes, Yes it was busy getting off and getting a taxi but no drama. Overall I would give a score of 9 out of 10. I really enjoyed it and after writing this review I will be looking for the next cruise! Andrew Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We read positive reviews about this ship and the stops before we booked in April. Wow, I’d like to know who’s writing these reviews. We haven’t made it to one stop yet and I have no idea how we’re going to make it 12 more days. ... Read More
We read positive reviews about this ship and the stops before we booked in April. Wow, I’d like to know who’s writing these reviews. We haven’t made it to one stop yet and I have no idea how we’re going to make it 12 more days. We’ve been on Disney to the Bahamas, Carnaval both to the Caribbean and Mexico and Princess to Alaska. All these cruises have been in the last few years and the food, entertainment, and overall service were a lot better. I’m so disappointed so far. Our room is average but is obviously not maintained that well as there are scuff marks all over the walls especially near the patio door. Our front door doesn’t close well and sometimes stays unlocked because we didn’t realize that it did not close and lock. But back to the food, the buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner is among the worst I’ve ever had both on the ocean or on land. The other cruise lines buffet food was of this much higher quality. I feel like Royal Caribbean is trying to get its customers to pay for the restaurants that are more upscale or even just better like Johnny Rockets or the fish and chips place near the pool. I resent that after spending as much money as we’ve had to travel to Europe and the cruise it’s self. My family and I are just looking forward to the excursions to Gibraltar, Nice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Sardinia, and southern Spain and hopefully making it back home without getting sick. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We’ve just come back from a 14 night trip on the Independence which went to the western Mediterranean. It was a fantastic cruise and very little of our experience was anything like negative. However, a quick run down of the different ... Read More
We’ve just come back from a 14 night trip on the Independence which went to the western Mediterranean. It was a fantastic cruise and very little of our experience was anything like negative. However, a quick run down of the different bits we saw and did, follows! -- Windjammer -- We found the Windjammer a huge improvement on Vision of the Seas’s version. The seating is well spaced out and the furniture is nicer, meaning it’s an experience that’s generally nice, rather than a low quality fight for somewhere rubbish to sit to eat some food. We avoided it on Vision as much as we could. The guys with guitars singing for guests to wash their hands on the entrance were slightly amusing but completely unnecessary. Those who don’t wash their hands, won’t do so just because a couple of guys are singing at them. Also if you eat like a normal grown up human, you’ll use cutlery anyway! -- Izumi -- We were looking forward to some beautiful sushi (as we’d had on Vision) but this Izumi focuses far too much on Hibachi. Which essentially is a chef singing songs (expecting passenger participation) and flicking bits egg into guests’ mouths amongst other really “hilarious” things. My wife and I went on a formal night but we were sat around a chef with six others, none of whom were wearing anything smarter than t shirts. Made us feel awkwardly overdressed and we were completely unable to have a nice meal together. Izumi on Independence is very much expecting you to order their Hibachi combo meal. Don’t get me wrong, the chefs are very skilled but the food just tastes normal, like you’d expect for cooked Japanese food. Nothing special but $10 more than the dining package allows. We did order some sushi to have with the cooked food which was excellent but the atmosphere just didn’t fit with a nice meal out with your other half. In summary, don’t bother going to Izumi if you want a classy meal, don’t. It’s a slightly too expensive, too loud and too informal way to spend an evening eating what’s quite regular food. -- Chops Grille -- Fantastic - we ate there three times! Wonderful food and a really nice atmosphere and view. The seafood towers were great! Definitely worth every penny, especially as a package night. -- Main dining room -- The service was great, as is expected. We found that the menu was pretty boring though. Turns out that Royal Caribbean make the menu more British as the majority of the passengers are British. I’m sure it suited many but I don’t go on holiday to eat the same food as I make at home! By the way, they don’t have soup spoons. Eating soup with a dessert spoon takes ages and got boring! A strange lack of equipment for Royal Caribbean! I would say that the MDR is a nice dinner, but not special enough to look forward to. The food is great quality but not interesting - left me wondering whether I ought to have gone somewhere else (even Windjammer!) for dinner rather than spend 90 minutes eating unexciting food. -- Bars -- The bars were as expected, brilliant. Great staff and plentiful drinks. Schooner is a bit of a shame as it’s too much of a thoroughfare and seems to have a quiz on every half an hour. Our experience of Schooner on Vision of the Seas was a good one, but it was far more laid back and more music than quizzes (can’t remember any quizzes there actually). -- The pools -- Fantastic - facilities are brilliant. The rules about reserving beds aren’t worth the plastic they’re printed on though - nobody follows them and the staff don’t confiscate stuff left on them all day. People reserve beds at 7am on a sea day and don’t move all day. This is a huge issue that Royal Caribbean needs to sort out! -- The promenade -- We had loads of great evenings around the Promenade. The events and music make for a lovely evening atmosphere - and a party too some nights. We loved spending time here! -- Dress codes -- If you’re new to Royal Caribbean, the dress code for anything other than a formal night is anything from very informal to formal. On formal nights, if you wear a Tuxedo, you’ll be in a miniority - I reckon only 5% ish of passengers wear Tuxes. Generally most others makes an effort - but even so, don’t expect to be surrounded by those smarter people. Even in speciality restaurants, if you’re in shorts and a t shirt, you won’t be turned away on formal night. But if you are that person, do those of us who’ve made an effort a favour and stay in Windjammer please! -- The other passengers -- Generally, the (mainly British) passengers were fine. We did notice however fairly large groups from a certain northern city in England (not naming where, but you might be able to guess…) who unfortunately don’t travel with a lot of class - taking up huge areas of bars/pool areas with towels, getting drunker than is enjoyable for others nearby and being unable to maintain any eating manners or dress codes. These people yawped at each other (at one point, one group had a water/drinks fight in the pool bar…) and had little consideration for others. We found this description of group travellers to be in a surprising majority on the ship, maybe this city finished early for their school holidays. The serious point being that I’m not sure we’d sail from Southampton again because of it. The cruise wasn’t cheap but apparently price doesn’t guarantee any quality in fellow passengers! As advice for other travellers, think about whether this sort of group has a tendency to affect your enjoyment and plan your activities with this in mind. -- the destinations -- As with the other two cruises I’ve been on, I don’t really choose a cruise because of its destinations when it’s around Europe. Simply because European port cities can be a little samey. They were all pleasant (certainly Cagliari and Cadiz) but places like Naples were not good for those who aren’t great on their feet. We heard of injuries! -- overall -- I would happily do this cruise again. Nothing can be perfect and for a 14 night cruise, Royal Caribbean did an absolutely sterling job at it. My small observations are definitely only tiny issues. I will definitely be traveling with them again next time! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Wow !! My 8th time on Indie and possibly the busiest & worst cruise I have ever been on , no seats in the bars, no seats on the sun deck, bodies lying in every corner possible !! an absolute shambles !!, food in the MDR poor and ... Read More
Wow !! My 8th time on Indie and possibly the busiest & worst cruise I have ever been on , no seats in the bars, no seats on the sun deck, bodies lying in every corner possible !! an absolute shambles !!, food in the MDR poor and tasteless, and Windjammer not much better with bun fights every day just to sit down - No fun and certainly NOT relaxing as it should be. Queing for everything even a seat on deck 4 !!!! Since the refit the extra 500 people onboard this ship have absolutely ruined it , very dissapointed and every cent or nickle has been pushed to the limit by RCL. Sorry to say I am Diamond Plus and I will not be going back on this ship anymore, and have already booked a different line for only the second time in 25yrs as we do not like the Quantum Class as it is too claustrophobic in the lower decks and has no deck 4. Suite Class is the only way of guaranteeing a seat anywhere !! On a positive note, the bar/room & serving staff were fantastic and worked really hard, but were let down by poor chefs, poor meat quality and cheap cuts, lukewarm food. I could not understand the huge drop in food quality ?? The only places to eat with good quality WAS the speciality dining which we increased dramatically after getting served some terrible food in the MDR & Windjammer. Chops was excellent, Giovanis was the best by far followed by Izumi Hibachi which was fun and Chefs table which reminded me how Royal Caribbean use to be years ago. Sorry RCL you have got this refit totally wrong with the increased cabins and cut backs on quality. In fact I have had much better food on a cross channel ferry other than speciality. Goodbye Indie loved the way you were originally built ... but not now... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We sailed on the Independence six years ago and had a great time which prompted us to re-book for the 14 night Italian Mediterranean cruise in July. The coach journey to the port was perfect and embarkation was quick and friendly. When ... Read More
We sailed on the Independence six years ago and had a great time which prompted us to re-book for the 14 night Italian Mediterranean cruise in July. The coach journey to the port was perfect and embarkation was quick and friendly. When we boarded the ship we sat on the top deck with a drink in the sun as we left Southampton looking forward to our fortnights break. Around four o'clock we decided to check out our rooms, as a party of five we booked two superior balcony staterooms on deck 7. First impressions were how tired the rooms were. Picture frames had chunks out of them, bedding had dirty marks on it, pillows were stained, the list went on. The worst issue in one room was the tea tray which was filthy and had somebody's false eyelash stuck to tray. We complained twice asking for a replacement tray (for obvious hygiene reasons) the gentlemen at customer services was very apologetic both times but this never happened and we ended up washing it in the bathroom sink ourselves. As the cruise went on we noticed how packed the ship was. It was a constant struggle to find a table for five most evenings in any of the bars and I likened getting a meal in Windjammers to shopping at a supermarket at Christmas, not a pleasurable experience. We opted for anytime dining but on three occasions were told that there were no tables available (hence Windjammers) on the times we did dine in the main dining room the food and service were excellent. The ship was roamed by gangs of teenagers who on two occasions we saw getting amorous with each other (much to the horror of some of the passengers) and young children running around chasing each other around the lifts and promenade. Our one fine dining experience was at the 'Murder Mystery' night at Giovanni's Table. The whole experience for $60 a head was terrible. We had to wipe food off two chairs before sitting down, some of the cutlery wasn't clean and the food and acting was very bad. As soon as we were told that the ordeal was over the restaurant emptied in about five seconds. On a positive note service from all of the staff on board was excellent especially from the waiters in Schooners bar and Made our room attendant who was always really friendly and helpful. All of the excursions we went on were great especially Rome with our guide Judy and Seville with Iesus who was fantastic. In conclusion, we found the ship run down and very disappointing. It was over crowded and there were too many children running around un-supervised which could be quite dangerous for the older passengers. Without the excellent shore excursions we would have had a very poor holiday. Sorry Royal Caribbean but I think we'll be choosing a different cruise line next time which is a real shame. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My comments are my own personal view on how I found the Cruise,This will be my 5th Cruise in all and possibly my last. Having sailed on this ship 2 years previous I found it a lot more crowded and not as pleasant, probably due to the ... Read More
My comments are my own personal view on how I found the Cruise,This will be my 5th Cruise in all and possibly my last. Having sailed on this ship 2 years previous I found it a lot more crowded and not as pleasant, probably due to the extra rooms added but hey it’s around an extra £150,000 per 14 night cruise for Royal Caribbean. Firstly my bad points: 1 Most Sun beds were reserved by 8:30am on sea days. Guests were putting towels out then going for breakfast, Royal Caribbean didn’t seem to be policing their own policy. 2 Dress code not upheld in main dining, many sleeves about both arms and legs but not the material kind I noted. I asked about this and was told they didn’t want to upset guests. (probably not start a fight I think) 3 Buffet windjammer dining like a cramped motor way service station. 4 Guest Rooms were not Part of the refurbishment and are showing there age. 5 Many people taking advantage of their drinks package noticed lots of foul language, in front of children as well. 6 Trips were over crowded and rushed very hustle bustle. 7 Loads of extras to pay for fish & chips and specialty dining restaurants which I think should be included in the price. 8 Bars busy and difficult to get a seat unless you got in early and stayed put. Good Points 1 Great friendly staff always helpful 2 Bar staff on the ball when serving as there are the ones who try and push in. 3 Also met some very nice people on board, as usual it’s the few that spoil it for the many. With the recent P & O incident I can see the potential of it been a regular occurrence on cruise ships, they seem to be taking over from the all inclusive Benidorm type package holiday. It can be quite a social mix when you have such a vast range of pricing for cabins. I paid a 5 star resort price for my cabin and I think that’s where my next holiday will be, where everyone pays similar and are in the same frame of mind. Read Less
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