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2,160 Royal Caribbean Southampton Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
Sail Date July 2019
I really wanted to leave a review here to offer my thoughts on this ship after reading some of the negative reviews. Prior to going on the trip, I had seen lots of reviews giving really harsh opinions of the ship looking really tired or ... Read More
I really wanted to leave a review here to offer my thoughts on this ship after reading some of the negative reviews. Prior to going on the trip, I had seen lots of reviews giving really harsh opinions of the ship looking really tired or of the food being awful or the service slow etc... Honestly, I have no idea if these people were sailing on this ship or if there is one with a similar name that they are getting mixed up with?! Or alternatively what sort of expectations these people have created for themselves! We chose the cruise based on the itinerary and the deal that Royal Caribbean were offering at the time (drinks package and onboard spend). We boarded relatively swiftly and soon discovered that this was both a mammoth ship and quite a magnificent city on water! We've cruised with Royal before and also NCL and Princess. I'd say the ship was somewhat of a hybrid of the two. Overall the ship was looking great and flowed really well - only on the odd occasion did we really feel that the ship was busy, which was at a couple of times in the buffet, particularly in the buffet for breakfast when the port call was shorter. All of the areas of the ship were smart, clean and in good repair - the promenade, whilst not to everyone's taste it seems was a hive of activity all the way through the cruise. The food was imaginative and plentiful to say the least - we ate really well... I'd say not quite as well presented or of quite the quality on offer by princess, but then this was price reflective also. My only criticism would be that they could offer some stronger and more imaginative vegetarian and vegan offerings - meat eaters definitely got a better deal here, but there were still lots of options and alternatives. The only significant let down was Jonny Rockets really. I really think Royal Caribbean should make this a complimentary eating spot. Every other line we've been on has an outdoor burger grill that is complimentary and whist the offering is marginally better, it really felt like we'd thrown $9.95 per person away, as the burgers in the buffet, just one deck down were almost the same, as were the fries etc. The absence of a burger bar on the pool deck compared to the other lines was noticeable on fine sea days, which seems a shame and a bit of a cash cow - I really wouldn't bother and I doubt we'll bother again. Jonny Rockets was notably quiet whenever we looked in... maybe people are catching on? The stateroom was smart and pretty sizeable. We had an inside and parents had a balcony - both were nice. Beds were comfy and decent storage space for a 2 week cruise. The shower gel was nice and the sheets and towels always clean, fresh and had a nice feel to them. The activity and options for things to do were quite simply never ending, there was always a plethora of activities and things on offer to do. The entertainment was variable. We saw some BRILLIANT shows and entertainers and some entertainment which seemed below par, unfortunately the Royal Caribbean post cruise survey didn't really give the opportunity to differentiate. As other have said, the ice show is brilliant! GO AND SEE IT!!! Shows in the theatre varied a lot... We had a bit of a random singer spell during the two weeks, where we had like three solo singer nights in a row and by the third, we seemed to be suffering singer fatigue! The Royal Caribbean production shows were usual cruise fayre really... singers and dancers singing and dancing to music that is no longer in copyright etc etc... they were so so, but ok to pass an evening with. The promenade parties were a lot of fun, the 80's one and the 70's one were really well polished, well attended and lots of atmosphere - Rock Britannia, seemed a bit flat - but still a good laugh. Be nice if it was a few decibels louder to really rock the ship. One entertainer that deserves an extra special mention was Perry Grant... oh my goodness, this guy was the most entertaining guy I have ever seen on a cruise ship anywhere... he rightfully gets rave reviews again and again - I won't say too much, but if he is still on when you sail - spend some time with his show in the schooner bar, you will laugh, sing and make friends! The service was consistently brilliant. Super polite, fast, efficient etc. One of the things that I really liked was that the staff always said how much Royal Caribbean had looked after them - this is a really big deal to me and it would influence me to holiday with them again. In terms of the ports of call, they are pretty personal, so I won't review them, but we chose the Baltic's and thoroughly enjoyed them! Explorer is a remarkable ship with a remarkable crew - I would definitely recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our 7th Royal Caribbean cruise, and we chose this Russia and Scandinavia sailing because of both the cruise line and the itinerary. It was also our second sailing on Explorer of the Seas, so we have had prior experience with ... Read More
This was our 7th Royal Caribbean cruise, and we chose this Russia and Scandinavia sailing because of both the cruise line and the itinerary. It was also our second sailing on Explorer of the Seas, so we have had prior experience with RCCL. Our overall impression (which we seemed to share with many fellow guests) was that standards had been allowed to drop by RCCL. Meals in the Sapphire Dining Room were disappointing. The service was fine, but the menu choices were strange and, most importantly, the quality of the food was notably lower than on our six previous cruises. Could it be that RCCL are lowering the standard of the (included) meals and ingredients to encourage guests to upgrade to “added-cost” meal selections or visit their speciality restaurants? Meat quality was poor. The windjammer restaurant seemed to have become even more overcrowded-tables were packed very close together in an attempt we assume to cope with the no of passengers, but this made it hard to get to and from tables. Entertainment. The young cruise director seemed poor, compared with those we had sailed with before. He was lacking their presence. Entertainment. The scheduling of events that were put on during the cruise disappointed us- and was something we were not alone in criticising. Perhaps linked to the cruise director inexperience? Ship’s condition. We gathered that Explorer of the Seas is going in for a refurbishment and dry docking next year. She was showing her age, with paintwork, railings and some furnishings in need of tender care or replacement. Some chairs in the Star Lounge had bare patches on the arm rests; several seats in the theatre needed fixed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our first cruise so we don’t really have anything to compare it to. We travelled in a party of 6, 5 adults and one teenager... Getting on the ship was stress free and so much easier than flying. The ship was very clean but this ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we don’t really have anything to compare it to. We travelled in a party of 6, 5 adults and one teenager... Getting on the ship was stress free and so much easier than flying. The ship was very clean but this could have been due to a norovirus outbreak on the cruise before us it was continuously cleaned all the time we were on the ship. The ship is enormous, I was still getting lost on day 13 !....we had a balcony room which was ideal for 2 people but I wouldn’t want anymore than 2 in there ! The bathrooms are tiny. Our room was cleaned every day, bed made and towels changed. We never used room service didn’t really need to. My son who is 16 said it was the best holiday he’s been on he made loads of friends and for teens it’s great, you can give them freedom knowing that they are safe on the ship. There’s a curfew of 1am and security are very strict, which is good. The main dining room was fantastic..lots of choice and food always hot. We had anytime dining but ended up booking for 8pm each night as we found two waiters that looked after us and were amazing. Formal nights book a table or you will queue for ever ! We ate in windjammer on sea days for lunch, food is great however it’s too much like a canteen for me and we always struggled to get a seat. We tried Izumi one of the nights, it’s entertaining and the food is amazingly tasty. The rest of the bars and cafes on the promenade were very good. We booked our own trips as the RC were far too expensive. The gym is well equipped and you can watch dolphins whilst on the treadmill ! Not everyday you experienced that !....All the ports we stayed in were lovely and most were a walk from the ship. The entertainment was good, the bands were excellent as were the dancers and singers. Grease was a good show. Negatives for us were the amount of people on the ship. Sea days you struggled to get a sunbed and had to wait for ever the get a drink in the pool bars. The champagne bar and balero bar were always full and we always struggled to get a drink before dinner. For me a holiday is all about dining al fresco but there’s no-where to eat outdoors at night and even if there was it would have been too windy. If you get the opportunity do the silent disco it’s great fun. I had a lovely time and glad I’ve experienced a cruise but I don’t think cruising is for me..too busy and noisy and I could get 3 five star holidays for the price we paid. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
went to great ports , food was very good in all areas, entertainment was ongoing, ship was in very good condition , many return passengers onboard, diamond club was of a high standard, just the interior rooms are a bit on the small side ... Read More
went to great ports , food was very good in all areas, entertainment was ongoing, ship was in very good condition , many return passengers onboard, diamond club was of a high standard, just the interior rooms are a bit on the small side (but there only to sleep in), anyone complains about this cruise then they should stay at home. the only thing that they should look at is handing out cruise cards to passengers as they embark not leave them at the cabin door (new system) as a few were forgotten by cabin stewards and this caused issues having to chase them up so you could get into room. the ship has been upgraded in some areas and there is a lot of new furniture around the place, as usual the jets in some of the spas were not working , they also cracked down on CHAIR HOGS as many selfish passengers were witnessed by us (early spa people) reserving seats then disappearing for ages (we took pleasure in pointing these out to deck supervisors and having them removed)Ha Ha Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Our first cruise was a short one on Indy in April 2017, so we were excited to be sailing on her again last month to the Canary Islands. What we didn’t know was that during its ‘refit’ last year they also added more cabins. We were ... Read More
Our first cruise was a short one on Indy in April 2017, so we were excited to be sailing on her again last month to the Canary Islands. What we didn’t know was that during its ‘refit’ last year they also added more cabins. We were informed there were 4500 passengers (an extra 500 people) on our sailing, the ship was full to bursting point. I am disabled and therefore used a walking stick and mobility scooter, but there was no where to sit in the evenings all the bars were constantly over full. We missed so much evening entertainment due to the lack of seating, we ended up back in our cabin after our 8.30 dinner sitting most nights. We could never get a sun bed around the pools and if you are not up early on a sea day there was no chance of getting a sun bed anywhere. Particularly if you’re disabled and cannot climb up a bed crammed along side other beds. We feel RCI have crammed far too many passengers on the lovely Indy yet not added extra bar lounges or seating to cope with it. We loved the many ports we visited, the itinerary was great, but being back on a very over crowded ship by all aboard time soon lowered our mood. We felt it was dirty too, the balconies didn’t get cleaned the whole cruise, and Chops Grill was dusty, the blinds all lopsided and tatty, the floor was grubby and looked like it needed a good deep clean. We booked it to celebrate our anniversary but sadly I can’t even say the meal there was great as my meal kept going back as my steak wasn’t cooked how I asked for, by the time I got mine, my hubby had finished his and my side orders were cold. It’s true RCI charge extra for everything my hubby had commented on it more than once. It’s a shame because we were really looking forward to cruising with her, but we paid a whole of money for a cruise and then couldn’t enjoy it to the max because of RCI’s greed. There were some good points, the staff in the main restaurants were always amazing, they couldn’t do enough for us. Also if you did manage to get a seat in a bar (during the day) the bar staff were great, we never waited long to be served. If you are happy to get up at 6am, plonk yourself on a sun bed and then not move all day, or you love to stand in or near a bar all evening with no chance of a seat, enjoy sitting in the theatre an hour before the show starts to ensure you get a seat, and money is no object then this is the cruise line for you. For us, no, I don’t think we will be cruising on any of the ships that have had a ‘refit’ in future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We were first time cruisers, family of 5 trip including Gran and daughters 22 & 3. The ship is lovely and cabins are clean and comfortable we were well looked after by our steward. Food in both dining room & buffet restaurant ... Read More
We were first time cruisers, family of 5 trip including Gran and daughters 22 & 3. The ship is lovely and cabins are clean and comfortable we were well looked after by our steward. Food in both dining room & buffet restaurant was very good with a good selection. The ports were all excellent with plenty of time in each. However as with most things on this ship Royal Caribbean only seemed interested in getting you to spend spend spend. Shore excursions were hideously expensive so we arranged our own. Two ports were a good distance from the town and for one RC had a courtesy bus but for Madeira they were charging €19pp!! Given the amount of disabled, elderly and children this was not good customer relations. Most of the staff were friendly apart from customer services who must be so fed up with complaints they barely acknowledge you - very poor! However our main issue was this ship is not conducive to under fives. Yes there is a kids club but it’s inside away from pools etc most of the young kids wouldn’t go in. If they didn’t that was it for entertainment in the evening. There was the occasional family disco at 6pm but this was poor. As for the pools if you have a child still in nappies/diapers they can only use a small area which has a slide with water but nowhere to swim which is beyond strange. If they don’t wear nappies they are not allowed in this area. Therefore if you have children who are in both categories the family cannot be in the pool together. This was a massive issue for many families we spoke to. It must be impossible for single parent families. The sunbeds are comfortable but too many packed together no space in between the veritable sardines! We probably will cruise again but not with Royal Caribbean as one person we spoke to who had cruised with them before told us “the refurbishment has resulted in more cabins therefore more cruisers and less space plus many things that were previously included in the cost were no longer and the subsequent charges were over the top”. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our 3rd cruise on Indy and our first since it was refurbished. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with very little to complain about. I would say though that I preferred the ship before all the added whistles and bells. The ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on Indy and our first since it was refurbished. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with very little to complain about. I would say though that I preferred the ship before all the added whistles and bells. The overall condition of the ship was very good. The food in Windjammer and the MDR was some of the best we have had on any of our cruises and our waiting staff in the restaurant couldn't be faulted. Our balcony cabin was fine although the storage was limited and the wardrobe was badly set out. It was clean and functional. We rarely saw our cabin steward as we had nothing to ask him for as it was all there. We found a sun bed easily every day without resorting to getting up at the crack of dawn and in spite of reading in a recent review that people are charged $10.00 if the towels aren't returned at night this is simply not true. The only time you are charged is at the end of the cruise if the towels aren't returned. We never returned a towel at the end of the day merely changed them without showing our passes. We were served fairly quickly in all the bars we went to and also found a seat at all the shows.. Grease was particularly good and also The Jersey Boys show. The Cruise Director Cubby was just OK. We wish they would change the shows along the Promenade as they have been doing the same thing down Main Street for years now. The shops were a major disappointment on his cruise.. Normally there are carts with different items along Main Street but most nights there was one or none. Overall a great cruise Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
It's been a few years since we were last on an RC ship, onboard the Anthem, which was an amazing ship and experience. It was also one where most folk we spoke to would always say, "it's great, but it's not the ... Read More
It's been a few years since we were last on an RC ship, onboard the Anthem, which was an amazing ship and experience. It was also one where most folk we spoke to would always say, "it's great, but it's not the Indy". When we saw this year that Indy was doing a Canaries cruise, something we had wanted to do for a long time, we jumped at the chance to see if she was all that and more, especially after her recent refit and refurb, and hit or miss reviews here! Driving from Glasgow, thanks to FlyBe's exorbitant prices to fly direct to Southampton, our embarkation process from arriving at AB Parking to getting onto the ship probably took us no more than an hour from about 11am. The RC staff throughout were extremely helpful and ensured everyone was kept moving towards getting onto the ship. It was the same disembarking on our final day. It was all super slick, super efficient, and felt very well managed and controlled. Once onboard we had to wait about three hours for our cabin to be ready thanks to a deep cleanse of the ship due to an outbreak of the norovirus on the previous sailing. Again, on this point, I don't think I've ever seen a ship and her crew be so resolute in making sure everyone washed their hands, used hand sanitiser, or similar, be it getting on and off the ship or coming in or out of any areas with food and drink. Our cabin was starboard side mid-ships in the bow (7330). We weren't sure if it was a refurbed one or not, but it was certainly spacious when the sofa bed was away, with plenty room for my wife and I, along with our 11 year old boy. It also had a decent sized balcony, more than big enough for the three of us to be out on together. Our cabin steward did a decent enough job of keeping the room clean, although we had to put the sofa bed away ourselves after it was continuously left out for the first few days. After that, it was always put away during the day. The service felt perfunctory at best and nothing more compared to some previous experiences we've had. The ship itself, having spent a fortnight with her, isn't quite as grand as others would have us believe. She's a beautiful ship, but not quite in the same class as the Anthem (although I think we were spoiled sailing in her maiden year). The promenade is very nice, but you have absolutely no chance of getting any space or seats in the cafe, bars, or pub if you're on the 8.30pm dinner sitting. It's very disappointing after your meal to come down and see it crammed full with next to no space anywhere. Likewise, while we certainly never had any problems getting sunbeds or space at any time during the cruise, the poolside beds and those around the running track on deck 12 were very cramped and always busy with very little being done by staff to vacate empty loungers (there's supposed to be a maximum 30min limit). We always found space at the back of the ship towards the flowrider and beyond Johnny Rockets. Food wise, the Indy has definitely been one of the best ships for food I think we've been on. Both the Windjammer and Main Dining Room excelled in choice, quantity, and quality of food. Granted, the days at sea saw the Windjammer absolutely packed with very little room to get seats, but you prepare your best for this and try to schedule your eating time around when you feel it wouldn't be as busy. Johnny Rockets was never busy given it's a chargeable eatery ($10 per head for as much as you want), but the food was very tasty and I'm also sure ridiculously high on the calories. We also bought the three night dining package which we used in Giovanni's Table and twice in Chops Grille. Giovanni's is nice, but the food isn't a patch on Jamie's Italian on the Anthem, while our first experience of Chops on the ship wasn't great from a customer service point of view (this was rectified on our second visit and made up for the first one completely, plus the steaks are to die for in there). We used RC for two shore excursions, Lanzarote where we did the camels and timanfaya national park, and Madeira for the toboggan, cable car and wine tasting. While you are paying extra doing these through RC, we always feel it's better for piece of mind should any delays occur and you get left behind (as we saw several did during this cruise too). Both excursions were very enjoyable and professionally managed. We sadly only managed to see a few shows during our cruise; the brilliant Freeze Frame ice skating show, Frankie Valli and the Dreamers, and Grease. All very enjoyable, but you did need to be there about 30mins before to ensure you got a prime viewing seat. All highly recommended. Lastly, a special mention must go to our waiting team in the main dining room. Our sitting at 8.30pm was always brilliant thanks to Radu and Thommy who very quickly picked up on our needs every night. Nothing was too much trouble, any changes or requests were met with a swift response and resolution. Both were an absolute dream and played a huge part in making our holiday as enjoyable as it was. Radu in particular always had information to hand at the end of our meal regarding our next day on the ship. Both continually went above and beyond and were a pleasure from start to finish. We enjoyed our time on the Indy thoroughly, and while she maybe doesn't have the bling or glamour of the Anthem, we'd happily sail with her again in the future! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise due to the locations and our previous experience of Royal Caribbean. Our embarkation was good only taking about 15 mins to check in, clear security and step aboard the ship. The ship has benefitted from some ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the locations and our previous experience of Royal Caribbean. Our embarkation was good only taking about 15 mins to check in, clear security and step aboard the ship. The ship has benefitted from some recent refurbishment but areas are looking a little tired and in need of some minor maintenance. Dining was reasonably good with the quality in the Windjammer buffet of a decent standard although a little repetitive after a few days. The main dining room we used on Deck 3 was again of decent standard although the standard of service was a little mixed. The best waiter by a mile was Dody who I could not fault. We sampled most of the bars on the ship and found the R bar to be slightly quieter than the others. Christine was excellent offering quality cocktails and suggestions of drinks to try. The Promenade café was ok for coffee and snacks but finding a seat was a bit of a lottery as was seating in most of the bars. The entertainment was a huge disappointment with the quality of the performers poor apart from a few. The ships orchestra and ice dance troop however were very good. The only way to sum up the entertainment director was he was a complete waste of space. The ship in general was ok but I think it will find it hard to compete with the newer ships that are now on offer. The Captain was very good at putting people to sleep with his daily midday announcements. St Petersburg was a highlight and we used Alla Tours for our excursions for two days who were excellent and cheaper than the options the ship could offer. Overall we enjoyed our cruise but I think this was due to the fact we met some good friends whilst on board (thanks to them and the Key Lime Pie episode !!!!!!) Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We wanted a cruise with interesting destinations and the Baltic/Russia itinerary was perfect as the ports themselves were mostly significant and interesting which meant that there was no need to book an expensive tour. We visited all the ... Read More
We wanted a cruise with interesting destinations and the Baltic/Russia itinerary was perfect as the ports themselves were mostly significant and interesting which meant that there was no need to book an expensive tour. We visited all the major capital cities. The ship was a mind boggling experience for the first couple of days. The sheer size of it ( although today that would not be a large ship). Dining....The Sapphire dining rooms provided a very pleasant experience. We chose My Time Dining. The service from all staff was excellent.. Menu choices were varied and the quality superb most of the time although desserts could have been a little more imaginative and were not always tasty. Windjammer...again there was a mind numbing array of choice and all tasty. The views from all parts good and ample seating even when busy. There was never any queuing other than if you wanted something freshly prepared. We have a few criticisms...no fruit juices were available unless you had a drinks package, only squashes/cordials. There was not enough choice of healthy/vegetarian type dishes, interesting salads etc. Maybe instead of the unhealthy sweeteners offered, you could offer honey/ healthy sweeteners. The music on the piped system was terrible, intrusive, often loud and screechy, not at all suited to dining or the older ages of most of the clientele. We agreed with the head waiter that as he was unable to change the music he would turn it down, but we still had to complain when this was not done. Entertainment.....some of the evening shows were superb, some okay, the seating was excellent. As for the entertainment around the ship, Perry Grant was the best thing RC had, so entertaining, funny, original, he was a great success all round. Activities.... Daytime activities could be much improved. Often there were several things on at 10 am but obviously I could not do them all! Why oh why does the table tennis have to be on the outside deck? If you've never played it in the wind, here is your chance! Ridiculous. You cannot please everyone with daytime activities, but we felt there were too many simple, childlike attempts at quizzes, games etc and not enough exciting activities where one could learn something or see a demonstration, ice carving or something. All in all, they obviously cater for the 'masses' and not the more discerning traveller. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Mostly went on this cruise for the wonderful ports we stopped in. Embarkation and leaving the ship were quick and easy. The ship was fine. The average age of the ship was very old (older than i thought and I expected the crowd to be ... Read More
Mostly went on this cruise for the wonderful ports we stopped in. Embarkation and leaving the ship were quick and easy. The ship was fine. The average age of the ship was very old (older than i thought and I expected the crowd to be old). This was fine for us as we are not the type to stay out late partying - but almost nobody showed up to parties or events. The shows were also tailored for the older crowd. The ship was our biggest so we expected entertainment to be awesome - the lead male and female singers were great but there was only one comedian the entire trip and we were unimpressed with the entertainment overall. There is not a ton to do on the ship - basketball and ping pong are outside and the wind makes them almost impossible. If you are not doing trivia, at a bar, or playing bingo, there is alot of time for hot tubs. The adults only section of pool and hot tubs were the biggest I've seen and we loved them - but they did not have access to watch the movie if you are excited about that. There were also a variety of lectures prior to the port stops. Dining was fine - very comparable to other cruise ships and companies. The service, however, was EXCELLENT. The best dining room service we have had in about 6/7 cruises. We did not try any specialty dining for the first time. Ports were great - some very small towns such as Oslo had little to do but were enjoyable. Russia did not disappoint - be sure to book excursions before hand in order to get off the ship. HOWEVER, the cruises sometimes imply or otherwise make it seem as if you can only get off the ship if you have an excursion booked through them directly. This is NOT the case. While the Royal Caribbean cruises had more time (about an hour before and a bit after) in Russia, we completed our full two day tour. I recommend SPB for small groups - the cruise had large buses with up to 45 people. Many places such as the Hermitage and Peterhof are packed and it is very disorganized in the museums so having a small group with SPB of only about 15 made things MUCH easier. Highly recommend the Ice Bar in Helskini - there are several (such as Stockholm) but Helsinki is far superior with a large indoor facility. Love the trip - once in a lifetime. PS there are not a ton of kids on this trip - we loved it. however, if we had kids there was not alot for them to do and not enough kids to get anything done Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise because my adult children particularly wanted to visit St Petersburg. Despite reading some negative reviews about the state of the ship before we went, we found it to be fine: immaculately clean, decor was smart, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because my adult children particularly wanted to visit St Petersburg. Despite reading some negative reviews about the state of the ship before we went, we found it to be fine: immaculately clean, decor was smart, everything was well-maintained. We were in an aft balcony cabin with my son in the overhead bed and found it comfortable and sufficiently spacious, with a particularly large balcony. Entertainment was not always to our taste and we were disappointed that there wasn't a west end musical production of the type we've seen on Royal Caribbean in the past. But some of the acts they had around the lounge areas were excellent, we particularly enjoyed the reggae band and the classical guitarist. We do a lot of quizzes and got to know several of the cruise director's team who were lovely. We were a bit disappointed that RC are still rolling out the same Murder Mystery dining show, having already done this twice we didn't want to pay to see the same scenario played out yet again. Ports of call were efficient, even St Petersburg seemed pretty well organised and we quickly got ashore everywhere we went. The one thing which really let this cruise down was the food. Two of our party of 5 are vegetarian, which is not uncommon in the UK. We had told RC about this in advance even though according to their website vegetarian food is always available and does not have to be notified to them. We tend to go separate ways during the day so one thing we really enjoy is a proper sit-down meal in the MDR in the evening where we can all catch up. We have sailed with RC in the past and in the past there have always been at least 2 veggie options available in the MDR every night, one on the main menu and one under "classics". Unfortunately, they've dropped the vegetarian dish from the "classics" selection and on 4 of the 14 nights there was NO vegetarian main course on the menu: on 1 night there was nothing at all, on the other 3 the only options contained parmesan cheese which for legal reasons is always made with animal rennet. We complained to the Head Waiter, Guest Services (who referred us back to the Head Waiter) and directly to RC via their website (who sent us an email saying they were sorry we were disappointed but made no effort to address the issue). The Head Waiter tried his best but told us that the menus are set from a central point in Florida and the ship's chef cannot alter them. He did offer us a list of vegetarian options from which we could choose the day before, but what we got didn't always match what we'd ordered and in any case who knows how hungry they're going to be a day in advance on a cruise? A couple of times we did cave in and go to the buffet instead, where we found plenty of other vegetarians who had already given up on the MDR. There was more choice there, but it wasn't ideal as the veggie dishes were often placed in front of others containing meat or fish so prone to cross contamination with people dropping meat into them, and too few serving utensils were set out so people would use the same for both dishes (I did ask for new utensils when the latter happened but shouldn't have to do this). Oh, and having informed everyone possible about your dietary requirements don't expect this to be passed on to Shore Excursions. Apparently they are completely separate (don't RC have computers)? On the first day of our St Petersburg excursions we were served up with a plate of potatoes as our main course. Dining has always been one of the most enjoyable aspects of cruising for us, but on this cruise we felt very much like second-class citizens. According to 2018 figures from Waitrose, 12.5% of people in the UK are now fully vegetarian or vegan with a further 21% claiming to be flexitarian, where a largely vegetable-based diet is supplemented occasionally with meat. So on a ship sailing from Southampton where the majority of guests are from the UK there will be a significant number of people on board who are exclusively or largely vegetarian and an even higher number of groups or couples which include at least one vegetarian in their party. Sort your vegetarian options out RC or you risk losing a lot of repeat business! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We had the most amazing cruise ever to Scadinavia on Explorer! I read the negative reviews on Explorer beforehand and they had me concerned. I really shouldn't have worried at all as the ship is in great condition for her age. Yes, ... Read More
We had the most amazing cruise ever to Scadinavia on Explorer! I read the negative reviews on Explorer beforehand and they had me concerned. I really shouldn't have worried at all as the ship is in great condition for her age. Yes, there was some paint chipping and condensation on the windows but you are much more particular than us if that's going to affect your vacation at all. The ship was clean, the staff (especially our stateroom attendant) was so friendly, the food in both the MDR and Windjammer was delicious and the entertainment was great (especially the skating show). We really couldnt find any fault at all with the ship. When we had an issue with our bathroom it was fixed in 15 minutes. We went to a lot of the game shows and sports events and had a fantastic time. We won 10 medals! Never had an issue finding a seat in the theater or star lounge. Even on busy sea days we always found a seat in the Windjammer and it was great that they opened the chops grille to give more seating for breakfast. We chose this cruise for the incredible itinerary and it didnt disappoint . Embarkation was very easy, we were on the ship in about 20 minutes. At most ports the ship docked within walking distance of the main areas . We did Oslo (go to Vigeland statue park), Copenhagen, Talinn Stockholm (dont miss the Vasa museum) on our own and found the cities easy to navigate from the ship. For helsinki we did a royal Caribbean excursion to a really fun ice bar which was great! For St Petersburg we used SPB tours which did the same itinerary as royal but was cheaper and had a smaller group In stavanger we climbed pulpit rock. Incredible views but an incredibly difficult hike dont underestimate it! Overall this was the cruise of a lifetime on a wonderful ship. Highly recommend a cruise on Explorer! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My husband and I sailed on Explorer of the Seas on 23 June 2019 on a 14 Night Baltic Cruise as part of his birthday celebrations and I booked the cruise a year in advance. He has always wanted to see Russia and this cruise gave us the ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Explorer of the Seas on 23 June 2019 on a 14 Night Baltic Cruise as part of his birthday celebrations and I booked the cruise a year in advance. He has always wanted to see Russia and this cruise gave us the opportunity to spend 2 days in St Petersburg, visit lots of other ports and sail from Southampton so no need for flights. We did have a long drive from our home in Scotland but broke up the journey on the way down, staying with family near Chester. Southampton Pre-Cruise - Stayed at the Premier Inn which I booked online a few months in advance. Parking available but very limited and payable extra. Booked dinner that evening at White Star Tavern which was excellent. - Parked car at ABP Parking. Again, booked in advance and was able to use a discount code when I emailed them direct to get 10% off. Couldn't believe how easy this was. Basically, we drove to the terminal, spotted the ship, were directed to a car park directly adjacent to the terminal, parked up, took out our cases with their labels attached and locked the car. We keep the keys and the cases were taken from us by porters. We just walked over to check in with our hand luggage and were on the ship within half an hour. We had an advised check-in time of 2.30pm but arrived at 12pm and were onboard by 12.30pm. Cabin - we had been assigned inside cabin 6229. I had put in a low bid on RCI's Royal Up scheme for a Promenade and a Balcony but was unsuccessful. The ship was full so no upgrades were available. We've previously had inside cabins which have been perfectly adequate although we did enjoy a balcony on a Marella cruise in the Med. However, RCI wanted an additional £1600 for the balcony cabin at the time of booking which I felt wasn't value for money. I hadn't considered an Ocean View cabin. With hindsight, I would probably look at this again as we missed seeing daylight and would have liked to have the ability to relax in our cabin in the evening and still enjoy a view. The cabin had everything we required - safe, fridge, double wardrobe and 4 shelves inside plus shelves at the dressing table and either side of the bed. There was a small couch but no table which would have been good for eating breakfast on the few days when we ordered breakfast in the room (Continental is free/ Cooked has a charge of $7.95 per room). There are tea/coffee making facilities. TV is limited, mainly RCI channels promoting their products, couple of sports and news channels and a Film of the Day channel. Explorer of the Seas is due to go for a refit next year and will benefit from new carpets/upholstery and a fresh lick of paint which it does need. However, the standard of service and attention from the staff more than makes up for this. We ate in the Windjammer at breakfast and lunchtimes (if we weren't in port) and the choice of food is fantastic. Fresh omelettes and eggs cooked to order. You could eat your way around the world. Staff are very attentive and we ordered our drinks when we sat down. We were on the ultimate drinks package and ordered whatever we wanted from the drinks menu. If there's a cocktail they haven't listed they'll make it for you if you describe it. We ate in the Main Dining Room which is called Sapphire in the evening and also had a 5 night Speciality Restaurant dining package which I had bought through the Cruise Planner. The first night was booked in advance and I booked the remaining nights as soon as I boarded the ship to make sure we had the reservations we wanted. The speciality restaurants are as follows; Giovanni's Table - We were disappointed with this. Nothing to do with the staff. The restaurant is situated on deck 3 and feels like it was added as an afterthought, no windows and almost feels like dining in a basement. Also, I had linguine vongole which appeared on the MDR menu a few nights later. Meant to be 'speciality'. Izumi - We're not very familiar with Japanese cuisine and enjoyed the experience. The staff were great at recommending dishes which fit within the budget allowed. We had 2 starters, 2 main courses on hot stones and dessert and only had to add $2.00 to the bill. The view from Izumi is stunning as it is situated on the top deck opposite the Sky Lounge. Chop's Grille - Our favourite. We ate here 3 times. Feels like a speciality restaurant should feel. Amazing view with floor to wall windows on deck 11. Ate every course offered on the first visit and realised this was just too much for us so got it right on the next visits. We stuck to the steaks but did see a couple having the small seafood tower which looked HUGE and delicious. Supplement for that but would be lovely for a special treat and especially if you like seafood. MDR - We always requested a table for 2 and never a problem. We were on My Time Dining and tend to eat later so usually arrived at 8.30pm which was never an issue. We requested a specific table on several occasions and were always accommodated. Food choices were great and we could always find something we liked. We aren't vegetarian and don't suffer allergies/intolerances so not sure what this would be like although the staff always asked this question in advance. There is no midnight buffet but the Promenade Café seems to be open all night (the latest we went to bed one night was 3am and it was still open) and serves pizza, sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee. Entertainment - Can't really comment on this too much as we didn't go to many of the shows/activities. We have previously been on Allure where the shows are of an extremely high standard so the offering on Explorer didn't seem as spectacular. We did go to the Silent Disco on the 2 occasions it was held and we found it hilarious. We also went to the Russian Folk Dancing show which was held in the Palace Theatre on the overnight stop at St Petersburg. Really enjoyed this and well attended. There was a singer playing most nights in the Crown & Kettle Pub on the Promenade and there was a singer called Perry playing in the Schooner Bar who proved to be extremely popular. He was like Liberace meets Judy Garland. There are discos every night in Dizzy's in the sky Lounge which start about 10pm (apart from one night when all the adults had to clear out for a teen zone!). Sky Lounge - This was our favourite bar, especially in the evening when we returned from the port and wanted a drink before getting changed for dinner. We watched most of the sailaways from here as the view is fantastic and the staff are so attentive. In reality, it was too windy to spend too much time on deck and the ship would have benefitted from a cover over the pool areas for this type of cruise. It wouldn't be an issue in the Med or Caribbean but the Baltic is quite windy, especially on Sea Days. The solarium is open to the elements and there were occasions were the Jacuzzi had to be closed. There were some people who lay on sunbeds but they were wrapped in blankets and fully clothed! We actually had better weather than I expected but it was still to windy to sit on deck in the evening. PORTS VISITED - Our main reason for selecting this cruise was St Petersburg but the other ports proved to be equally as interesting. All the times I've given are the time we were allowed ashore. OSLO 1100 - 1630 Docked next to Akershus Fortress. No need for a shuttle bus. Can walk directly into town. We walked to the Opera House where you can walk inside and on the roof for free. We then went to the Tourist Info Centre in the main train station (one of the nicest stations I have ever seen) and bought tram tickets from there for Tram 12 to Vigeland Sculpture Park. Returned by tram to Mathallen which is a foodhall where we had a fresh seafood meal. Drink is VERY expensive but that's Nordic countries for you. Returned in time for a quick look at the big souvenir shop at the terminal before boarding. COPENHAGEN 1030 - 1630 Docked at Quay Oceankaj C331 which is potentially walkable but would take about 45 mins. We had booked a free walking tour with Sandemann's which started at 11am so we took the shuttle bus and tickets for this can be bought at guest services and charged to your account ($20 per person). Our walking tour was 3 hours and took us from City Hall through the mediaeval parts of the city down to the harbour. At the end, you tip the guide. Thoroughly recommend this. We had time for a drink in a bar overlooking the canal. 2 beers cost about £20 but you're in vibrant Copenhagen in the sunshine. HELSINKI 100 - 1700 What a surprise! Clean, cosmopolitan and friendly. We docked at Hernesaari which is a small peninsula which is being developed with new homes, restaurants. It is walkable into town but, due to time constraints and wanting to see as much as possible within the time constraints, we took the Hop On Hop Off Shuttle Bus. This was again charged to our account ($20 each) and makes 4 stops in the city. We saw the Old Market Hall which has reindeer, smoked salmon, prawns so don't eat too much for breakfast, Uspenke Cathedral, Rock Church (3 euros to go inside) and could have got off at the Sibelius sculpture but ran out of time as we had booked a sauna at the Loyly Sauna. This was amazing a very Finnish thing to do. We had a choice of saunas (traditional smoke and standard), birch twigs, terraces to enjoy a drink while looking over the bay and a dip in the Baltic and you HAVE to wear a costume which appealed to our conservative British customs. If you fancy this, book it in advance as it was fully booked when we arrived. You get a locker, towel, napkin and 2 hours in the sauna for 19 euros. Short walk from there back to the ship. ST PETERSBURG Stunning and overwhelming experience. Docked about 20-30 mins outside the city centre. 6 cruise ships all berthed in the same dock. We had booked an independent tour with SPB Tours and are delighted that we did. They were professional and their attention to detail was outstanding. We benefitted from the fact that we were a small party of 14 with our own mini bus and driver and were able to bypass the huge crowds which were everywhere. It was VERY busy. I don't think I've seen so many tourists in all my life. RCI try to encourage you to book their tours but, if you do, you're first off the ship so have to be up extremely early and you'll be on a big bus with about 40-50 people. We completed a form on the first day of our cruise informing them we had an independent tour arranged. We were given a time slot to meet in the MDR at 8.15. There were hundreds of people there and we were all taken off in groups to go through passport control. This takes about 45 mins to clear (much quicker on the 2nd day) and our guide was there to meet us when we got into the terminal. They wait until the whole group is there (as everyone had different time slots). We did the 2 Day Deluxe Tour and got a discount for being part of the Cruise Critic Roll. I paid everything in advance online and gave tips in US dollars to the driver and guide at the end of the tour. We visited the following; Metro Hermitage Church of Spilled Blood Yusopov Palace St Isaac's Cathedral St Peter and St Paul Fortress Peterhof Palace and Gardens Boat trip on Neva Lunches were included on both days (one was 4 course and the other was 5 course so you won't be hungry!) and we were taken to a souvenir shop. It was expensive but you can't wander about yourself so if you want a souvenir you buy it there or at the shops in the terminal (the ship did sell Russian gifts too). TALLINN 0700 - 1600 Easy 15 minute walk into town although there are shuttle buses available. We had booked the KGB Museum which is located in Hotel Viru at 11am. It's 2 rooms at the top of the hotel but gives a fascinating insight into life in Estonia in the Soviet era. Views from the top are pretty special too. Again, book in advance if you want to do this as it was sold out on the day. Spent the afternoon walking around the old town which is beautiful. Quaint houses, cobbled streets, viewpoints looking over the town. We went to a bar called Porgu where they serve Estonian beers and local food. Prices for everything are much more reasonable here. Also had cake and coffee in Cafe Maisasmokk which is the oldest cafe in Tallinn. Lots of souvenir shops so good place to stock up on reasonably priced local items. STOCKHOLM 0800 - 1430 Docked at Stadsgarden. It was pouring when we arrived which wasn't great but still have to go ashore for a look. There were shuttle buses and Hop On Hop Off which we didn't organise and we heard there were lots of delays due to the weather. We walked to Gamla Stan which was about half an hour. Very touristy in Gamla Stan. but nice to see the Changing of the Guard at the Palace at 12.15. We passed the Parliament Buildings and noticed they do free tours in English on the hour. We went for a meal in Tradition which had traditional Swedish food and was busy, always a good sign. The sailaway from Stockholm is the most spectacular I have ever seen and shouldn't be missed. It takes 5 hours so you can enjoy it from the Sky Lounge/restaurants on the upper decks. SKAGEN 0900 - 1630 Small town whose population doubles when a cruise ship arrives (on top of which there was a music festival so it was buzzing). Weather was extremely windy so probably not seeing it at its best but pretty houses and nice shops. Walkable into town although we bought shuttle bus and regular bus tickets in the Tourist Info at the dock (directly opposite the ship gangway). Went to Grenen where the Baltic meets the North Sea. This was fantastic. Get the sandworm otherwise it's a bit of a trek. We had amazing fish and chips in Skagen Fiskerestaurant where the floor is covered in sand (booked in advance online) STAVANGER 0900 - 1630 Docked in the centre of town so easy walk in. This was the only port where I had pre-booked a RCI Shore Excursion which was subsequently cancelled due to lack of interest (they credit your onboard account, not your credit card). However, we had booked the Petroleum Museum which we could see from the ship and just walked to! Cost of tour was almost £80 for us both (included a trip to the 3 Swords Statue) but entry to the museum was 120 Krone each (about £24). Spent 2 hours here. If we'd gone to other museums in Stavanger, entry would have been half price. Very pretty old town. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise primarily because of its itinerary which included one or two extra ports of call and fewer cruising days. Departing from Southampton was another bonus. We hadn’t cruised with Royal Caribbean before and Explorer ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of its itinerary which included one or two extra ports of call and fewer cruising days. Departing from Southampton was another bonus. We hadn’t cruised with Royal Caribbean before and Explorer was the largest vessel we’d ever chosen so we were slightly concerned we might find it overcrowded, noisy and too glitzy. Nothing could have been further from the truth as we had a very positive experience. Yes it was a busy ship but it was possible to find quiet areas to relax if you needed to. Service in the dining rooms was brisk, attentive and highly efficient with a consistent range of good food. The number and good standard of entertainment and enrichment activities was another pleasing feature. Compared to other cruises we’d been on, we were also impressed with the organised way disembarkation at ports was arranged as, apart from one occasion, movement of passengers on and off the boat seemed logical, speedy and well planned. Finally we have nothing but praise for all members of staff who were unfailingly happy, professional and willing to please. Explorer wasn’t the most modern of ships and a few areas did look a bit care-worn (notably the French-style cafe) but overall we had a remarkably enjoyable time and would happily choose Royal Caribbean again for another holiday. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Ahhh this is so disappointing for us to have to write a bad review but it seems to follow a current trend of recent Indy reviews and we felt this would be useful for other young couples thinking of booking. We have raised our issues with ... Read More
Ahhh this is so disappointing for us to have to write a bad review but it seems to follow a current trend of recent Indy reviews and we felt this would be useful for other young couples thinking of booking. We have raised our issues with RCI and are awaiting a response to their thoughts on the matter. Bit of background, this is my 5th cruise (2nd with RCI, last cruise being with them and was 4/5 years ago) and this was my partners 1st cruise, and 1st holiday in 13 years so needless to say we were both very excited for this and had high hopes. We are both young and wanted to get away for a while, saw the itinerary for Italian Med and jumped at the chance to go. We went big, drunks package, excursions, balcony room etc as we wanted the best experience we would get and not have to worry about money or other costs. On that last note, 'other costs'. RC seem to love charging you for everything. They are like the EA of cruises. Room service, $8, 2 coke's with your room service order, $8 ( I am not kidding it was $8 for 2 cans of coke), go to Jonny Rockets, just under $10 a head, fish & ships, playmakers etc, charges for any food. If you do not want to spend anything extra THIS IS NOT THE CRUISE LINER FOR YOU as you will not enjoy it as much! Then of course the specialty restaurants which are standard across most big liners. For the length of the cruise we were not able to get a seat at any bar after dinner (8.30pm sitting), or in any of the shows/productions etc either which meant we had to stand for hours or retire back to our room at about 11pm/12am every night as we were fed up with how busy it was. We missed out on some exciting shows like Grease, as if we were able to get a seat during the evening we were stuck there otherwise we would loose it, leaving most of the content of the of the cruise compass obsolete for us. No matter what time we went to the windjammer or on what day, we would have to do numerous laps to find a table (we are only a party of 2) which I have never seen before on any cruise liner. When we managed to get a seat, it was only to have sub par overcooked food that wasn't worth the wait. Sun loungers are like gold dust, no matter where we went. One morning we got up at 7.45am to go and get a lounger in a good spot only to find EVERY SINGLE ONE on the boat had been 'reserved' ie there were personal belongings or towels on the beds even though there was an apparent strict 'no reserving' policy enforced which we never saw being implemented once. When you are unable to get a sun lounger on a sea day, or get a table in the windjammer for lunch there is very little to do during the day for a young couple that just wish to relax. We booked 4 excursions, all of which were a total waste of time and money. In Gibraltar we waited for 45 minutes in 30 degree sun for the bus to decide to pick us up after the meeting time, and spend a further 45 in traffic which resulted in being burnt. In Pisa for Portovenre this was not as described, being a public use boat for 45 minutes that was over-packed to reach the town with rude locals and other tourists and a lengthy walk with a group of people should have been advised this is not accessible for wheelchairs etc and lots of lines and waiting. When waiting for the above as well as 2 other excursions, none of the coaches were ready so we were called to leave the ship only to wait beside the boat for 20/30 minutes for our coach to turn up and for us to get on which is a small thing but makes a massive impact on how we enjoyed the excursions. When it came to our last one, Pompeii, we didn't even want to go as we were that fed up and disappointed with the last 3 all being a total disaster. To top it all off, I had food poisoning the 2nd last night of the cruise, and was confined to my room from the night of day 13, through the whole day of day 14 unable to eat or drink along with a lot of other travelers that dined in the main dining room so a great way to end things. Most of the staff were brilliant, especially in the dining room so this managed to salvage our overall experience for the 2 weeks. It's clear they have not adjusted the social spaces since the refurb as there is just not enough space for everyone to really enjoy themselves. This would probably be a more enjoyable cruise for children and couples with children as it seems well catered for them so this would be our bad for booking this liner as a nice relaxing getaway but live and learn. There have been rumors of Indy trying to extort the UK market this season before it repositions over to the Carribbean where it will then sail from, and sadly I would believe this. The spa, art and gym staff all were very pushy to make an extra sale which rivaled with the looky looky men plaguing Rome. Most public areas were not cleaned, we saw plasters next to pools for a few days and dirty table cloths not being changed with a thick layer of dust in lost of common areas. We will in the future look to try RC again, but definitely not this ship. As I said, this is our experience and others have had a good time so I am in no way trying to say avoid, but please think carefully about the party you are traveling and what you are looking for with your holiday before booking on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was the only cruise out of Southampton that fitted our time slot before returning to Australia. A beautiful ship but just too overwhelming with 4,500 passengers. Absolute chaos when docking at a tender port....expect a LONG wait ... Read More
This was the only cruise out of Southampton that fitted our time slot before returning to Australia. A beautiful ship but just too overwhelming with 4,500 passengers. Absolute chaos when docking at a tender port....expect a LONG wait to get off the ship. Almost impossible to find a sun bed. Despite written notifications not to leave belongings on chairs unattended for more than 30 minutes - this ruling was NEVER enforced to our knowledge. The Adult swimming pool stated the maximum depth was 4' 9" - I am 5' 5" and could not even stand in the water..... if towels are not returned at the end of the day - expect a $10 charge PER TOWEL added to your account. Have been cruising for over 35 years and have NEVER seen a ship charge for Fish and Chips on the deck ($10). Our main complaint was over the Sabbath service which was highlighted in the daily programme as being held in the Library. A few of us went along to this very public area where there were passengers on the internet, choosing books and doing jigsaw puzzles. There was NOTHING prepared for us and could not believe we would have been expected to carry on a service in a Public area. All other cruise lines have offered a private room and providing the necessary items. On reporting this to a Manager at the Customer Service Desk - she responded by saying 'IT WAS A SELF-LED SERVICE'!! My response was how could we do that without the 'tools'. Very disappointed with her attitude and dis-interest. We were second sitting in the Dining room and could not fault our waiters or the food. Probably the only two highlights of the cruise. The ship entertainers were lack lustre - the dancers out of sync - comedians average. The only worthy production was the Ice skating show. Shore excursions were too expensive so did our own thing. i wonder why cruise ships always stay shorter hours for a very interesting destination and much longer for a 'grotty' port. To sum up I can see that the INDY is all about 'MONEY'. Charging for every possible item they can. Cruising ethics have changed substantially over the years - so disappointing! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
The whole family really enjoyed this two week cruise to the Italian med. We were all onboard by 11am to enjoy this incredible ship . The balcony cabin was of a good size but was starting to show some signs of wear and tear , however it was ... Read More
The whole family really enjoyed this two week cruise to the Italian med. We were all onboard by 11am to enjoy this incredible ship . The balcony cabin was of a good size but was starting to show some signs of wear and tear , however it was kept really clean by our friendly state room attendant. We tried three meal dining package for Chops, Giovanni' s & Japanese restaurants all which were of a really good standard of food and service. The adults in the party all had the beverage package , which if you like a drink are value for money . Around the pools on sea days can get very busy however we always managed to get sunbeds together but we were up and about by 10am in the mornings , after this time you may struggle to get four or more beds together. We went to two shows, the first which was Grease was really enjoyed by us all , the second was an adult comedian who was just ok . We did two trips , one to Rome which combined the Collesuem and the Roman forum, the other which was my favourite was the tour of Pompeii at Naples . The six people in our party really enjoyed our time on the Independence it has something for everyone , we will definitely sale with RCL again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Embarkation seemed to be going very smoothly and we were given our sail passes and made our way to the ship. At the gangway we checked the passes only to discover they had the words ‘Diamond Plus’ on them, we were unsure what this ... Read More
Embarkation seemed to be going very smoothly and we were given our sail passes and made our way to the ship. At the gangway we checked the passes only to discover they had the words ‘Diamond Plus’ on them, we were unsure what this meant so on closer inspection discovered that the sail passes were in different names to ours and had the wrong cabin number on them but our photographs had been imposed onto the cards. We had to go back to the Embarkation desk and start the process all over again which took a very long time as the error had to be corrected and then new cards issued to us. We were told by the staff at the Embarkation desk that the error was Royal Caribbean’s and that out names had been allocated to the wrong cabin. On the first evening when an ‘Adults Only’ show was advertised for the Palace Theatre we were horrified to see that quite a few very young children had been permitted entry and they proceeded to scream throughout some of the performance that ruined the show. We had been ‘Upgraded’ by Royal Caribbean prior to departure which was very nice except that when we went out on the balcony on the first evening we were overwhelmed by thick black smoke coming from somewhere above the cabin (at first we thought there was a fire). On closer inspection the next morning we saw that the smoke had been coming from some vents that were above the cabin. This continued every evening and made it impossible for us to benefit from the balcony without being overcome by the smoke – very upsetting. There was a disgusting odour which seemed to be sewage on the 4th deck Starboard side every day 9near the gents toilets). Some days it was so disgusting it was unbearable to stand on the deck. We paid for and visited Chops Grille on 21st June at 8pm, the first 2 courses seemed to go OK but by 9.30pm we had still not received our main course and suddenly a second tray of bread was delivered to our table even though we had not finished the first and our wine glasses were being topped up even though we had not requested this. Both of our steaks were ordered ‘Medium Rare’ but when they were finally served one had been cooked for far longer than the other as there was no pink inside the steak (the maitre d' agreed with us), our mushrooms and asparagus were cold. The only thing cooked correctly were the fries – a very disappointing evening. I appreciate we are probably not the slimmest of passengers – more an average size, but the bath towels supplied in the cabins are ridiculously small and was impossible to wrap the towels round us after showering Evening entertainment has been the worse we have ever experienced, ‘Cheap and Cheerful’ comes to mind. It was impossible for us to find 2 seats together in any of the bars most nights so we spent every evening wondering the ship wondering what to do. We do not expect to go on a cruise together and have to sit separately in a bar (not acceptable at all). We would find it very difficult travel with Royal Caribbean again and I’m afraid we will find it impossible to recommend you to anyone. We have now emailed Royal Caribbean 10 times about our complaints only to receive 'Bog Standard' replies that say they will respond within 3 days - it's been 3 and half weeks SO RUDE to ignore your customers Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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