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484 Royal Caribbean Southampton Cruise Reviews

Independence of the Seas is a very large vessel but its facilities are not themselves large enough or well-staffed enough to accommodate the passenger population. Windjammer, the popular buffet restaurant, frequently becomes so full that ... Read More
Independence of the Seas is a very large vessel but its facilities are not themselves large enough or well-staffed enough to accommodate the passenger population. Windjammer, the popular buffet restaurant, frequently becomes so full that finding seats for groups of 2 or 3 becomes testing; for bigger groups often impossible. The food though is excellent & the staff, insufficient in number to cope with these events, are very good. The drink situation onboard is risible. Again, function rooms & bars often become filled for events because of the excessive passenger population, & only 1 or 2 waiters are left to cope with their demands. The selling of drinks on board is poor. Individual drinks bought effectively for cash are about twice as much as in U.K. bars; a glass of rose costing about $8 (£6.50). The onboard drinks package offered to my wife & me, both retired & living on pensions, cost £140 per day; really. The only time we bought alcohol on this cruise was during a port call at Cannes. We bought a bottle of Gin for our daughter principally because of the attractive bottle & its’ labelling. We declared this bottle on boarding the ship & handed it for safe keeping to security staff clearly explaining the reason for its purchase. When returned the labelling had tape stuck over it. The room service on this ship is the best I have ever experienced & is worthy of commendation. Hard working staff are the salvation of many rather cavalier management decisions on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Just home after a cruise to the Portugal and the Canary islands departed from Southampton. Firstly, RCC never miss a trick to make money !! Always book a drinks package and a dining package - we did both and it was excellent value for ... Read More
Just home after a cruise to the Portugal and the Canary islands departed from Southampton. Firstly, RCC never miss a trick to make money !! Always book a drinks package and a dining package - we did both and it was excellent value for money. Sea days = Hell days just too many people . The sundeck was just awful peop!e packed in like sardines roasting in the sun. No room between lounger and literally no room to move and angle to face the sun. Food - good quality and tasty in the main dinning room. The Italian was excellent the steak much, much better than Chops !! Chops - the maitre D would make a great team in a funeral parlour , no smiles and no finesse a rather lack lustre dinner . Wind jammer my least favourite restaurant on board like a canteen and an unpleasant experience defiantly not relaxing or fine dinining. Best bit.... The washy hand man always singing and always smiling. Our cabin - Deck Ten 1402 very clean, large balcony although we never got any sun on it. Bathroom very compact but useable . Towels were tiny and a bit thread beard. Staff - all without exception very nice, helpful and genuinely like to look after you. Would we go again with RCC - NO !!!! This cruise is not "select " or luxurious and the price reflects the calibre of their guest - We will stick to Regent Seven Seas in future. I have in all honesty never seen so many mobility scooters , tattoos and chavs in all my life. Read Less
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
Sail Date September 2019
We sailed from Southampton and because we are Elite status on Celebrity, we are Diamond on Royal. This meant that we had priority boarding. We were soon on the ship, but had to go to the Windjammer for lunch as our room was not yet ready. ... Read More
We sailed from Southampton and because we are Elite status on Celebrity, we are Diamond on Royal. This meant that we had priority boarding. We were soon on the ship, but had to go to the Windjammer for lunch as our room was not yet ready. I missed the welcome drink that we are given on embarkation by Celebrity. The room was ready just after 1.15. We were in 7314, which was starboard side. I was delighted to see that there was no lifeboat blocking our view. We unpacked our trolley bags and it was already obvious that storage space was going to be tight, no overhead locker as we have been used to on the Celebrity S class ships. Our main cases had not turned up by the time we went to Muster. We went in good time, so that we could get a seat. Not so on Royal, you queue up on an outside deck like school children waiting to go into class. The Captain made an announcement at the end of the proceedings and had to be prompted by someone as to which ship he was on. In fact we were led away as he was part way through his announcement. Really? As 5 pm was not far away, we went up on to deck 11 for Sail Away, which was delayed, so we enquired as to the whereabouts of the Diamond Lounge, so we could avail ourselves of the free drinks. These were constantly filled up and this remained so throughout the cruise. In fact we were one week into the cruise before we realised that we could ask for bottled water during Diamond hours. A fantastic perk for me as I use it to boil for my early morning cup of tea. We had booked Anytime dining and I had pre arranged 7 pm as our dining time. We were able to use our 3 free drinks loaded on to our card in the dining room until 20.30. A fantastic perk. We were seated at the same table every night except the first, as I am Dairy Intolerant, so this makes it easier for the waiter. Handy really looked after at table 321A. After our meal we found a seat in the Starlight Lounge, where we would spend 2 hours listening to Perry Grant. This was the one and only time that we were able to get a seat, as many passengers were still in the Theatre. We listened to him playing for 2 hours, but then I was weary of him asking guests the same questions, Do you have walk in wardrobes, do you have Formica in your kitchen, what colour is it etc.etc. We returned to our cabin to find that our cases had at last been delivered, but we left the unpacking until the next morning. I could certainly have done with the delivery being before the guaranteed 8 pm. We ate breakfasts in the Sapphire dining room on Deck 4 as it was waiter service. On the first morning we asked to be seated in the Diamond area. I was so pleased that we did this, as someone from our Roll Call group was also seated with us. We ‘hit it off’ and came across each other multiple times. We saw each other at the Meet & Mingle, where I was lucky enough to win the second raffle prize, which was a drinks container. Our new friend asked the CD why the ship was overbooked; they had been asked to give up their cabin by Royal, but as they had come over from Spain for the cruise and had an actual cabin, Royal told them they were OK to travel. Apparently there were 500 less guests than the previous week, which had still been the school holidays, where families had shared cabins. This week, most travellers were couples, and Royal had booked too many Guarantee cabins and I suspect not many guests had requested Royal Up ( we were still being sent e mails just one week before the cruise inviting us to apply). One feature of this cruise was the number of Alpha calls, ambulances met the ship at every port, even when the cruise ended someone fell down the escalators and had to be taken to hospital. We enjoyed the evening entertainment. The Barricade Boys, and Beatles Celebration were outstanding. The Starlight Lounge was overfull every night, so I was pleased that Perry Grant was invited to perform in 2 shows on stage, We also saw 2 Ice shows, one especially for Diamond members and Seasons which was performed for all guests. On the final evening the Guest Choir performed at 9 am in the Star Lounge. We just managed to get there on time, which was a good job, as my husband and our new friends had spent every Sea day rehearsing in Dizzy’s at lunch time. We were lucky with the weather, even the Bay if Biscay was calm and too soon we were back in Southampton. Read Less
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
We booked this cruise to meet with friends with whom we had a lovely time and met some other very nice people. There were also some very rude people on board but that seems to be the case these days. The cabin was adequate and the cabin ... Read More
We booked this cruise to meet with friends with whom we had a lovely time and met some other very nice people. There were also some very rude people on board but that seems to be the case these days. The cabin was adequate and the cabin steward did a good job and dealt with our needs. Service in the main dining room was a little slow at times, especially at breakfast, however the food was acceptable. Unfortunately we were unable to attend the shows as the timing could not be fitted around our dining time (Mytime). We did however manage to see the ice show which was fabulous. We didn't do any cruise excursions we had visited most of the ports previously. Not sure if we would use RCL again we much prefer Celebrity or P & O as was disappointed with the Ship a little sad in places. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Wife picked the cruise to celebrate our 25th, because we did Alaska last year and loved the scenery. We expected to see more of the same and we were not disappointed. Norway was gorgeous, even with some showers and cooler weather. ... Read More
Wife picked the cruise to celebrate our 25th, because we did Alaska last year and loved the scenery. We expected to see more of the same and we were not disappointed. Norway was gorgeous, even with some showers and cooler weather. Spent first two nights in London at Hilton Tower Bridge, then used a private transfer with twelve transfers which was very reasonable against the cost of large group transfers. Embarkation in Southampton was a breeze - wish Florida ports could be that efficient. We arrived around noon and were on board within 20 minutes. The ship was fine considering her age. For all the complaints, I saw a lot more passengers that need work more than the ship did. We did the safety drill at 4:30 and were shortly on our way out of the port. We had MTD and being accustomed to getting a nice table for 2 with a view on our last 3 cruises, we were surprised to find the tables for two all on the inside areas of the restaurant. Our assigned table was right by a serving station and since there were hardly anyone there yet, I asked for a change - we were moved over one table. Service was extremely slow and turned out it was the assistant waiters first cruise and she actually gave us the best dining room service all week. When we left, I requested a change for the rest of the week, and was told, not a problem. Next night, we arrived we were taken to the same table by the serving station - now I know why people drink more on a cruise. We went to the casino the first night - it was the cashier's first cruise too and kept apologizing when we wanted to break down some large bills and after when we collected our winnings - yep, we both won on the slots and was the first cruise we came out ahead from the casino. Tried to get a drink at the Schooner bar on the way to the show, but was very over crowded and seemed that way for the rest of the cruise. Entertainment at the show was terrible - this is me being polite. Was actually the worst first night entertainment that we ever experienced. The comedian was hardly funny, the singers and dancers were so-so, the cruise director boring. I am not overly picky, and neither is my wife, but I have to say this set a tone for the cruise with regards to entertainment. My wife and I are in our 50's but we felt like it was geared towards thIte more senior of senior citizens demographics. Says a lot when we enjoyed the screening of Bohemian Rhapsody one night more than the entertainment shows. That being said, when it came to the Ice Show - it was spectacular. We saw it on the last sea day and the seas were a little rough and for those skaters to perform the way they did it was amazing. Also it seemed like they kept the best comedian until the going away show - he was skilful, funny and engaged at least 70% of the audience. I have to say the CD was probably one of the worst we have had - I think he has spent too long on the ship and is maybe coming the end of his run. Had running inside jokes with his activities director on what they called the morning show. He was not engaging when we occasionally ran into him by ourselves, however as soon as their were 10 or more people around he changed. He absolutely ruined the street parties by his screeching - apparently someone once told him, he could sing....he can;t. The port/shopping excursion manager should be sent off to another ship that isn't part of Royal's family. I hope someone sends a tape of her presentation on that first sea day to corporate. She came across totally disinterested in everything but herself. It was plain horrible. Then I got to hear her lovely voice again as we sailed into Geiranger - it was like nails on the chalkboard. "I want to have everyone look to the left - there is a farm, Norwegian's build farms along their fjords" was one of her highlights. Bar staff were hit and miss - in Windjammer - bad, in Casino, Pool Bar great. Rest of staff were very polite and wanting to help with anything. This is what I expected from Royal Caribbean. Our cabin was an aft cabin on deck 7 - it was fine even with the obstruction of the structure on the back of the ship. Nice to still be able to sit out on the balcony and enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings. Our cabin steward Neville was fantastic and kept everything tip top. His excellent service was highlighted by the fact he was not feeling well and we had a substitute to cover for him - she barely got the bed made and threw two towels in the bathroom. With our experiences in the dining room disappointing, we ate a lot at Windjammer - what can I say, it is buffet food, but they try. One section always served what was being featured on the main menu, so we could still try it without suffering from the slowness of the wait staff. We did do breakfast one day in the main dining room and it was fine, but that is where the Windjammer actually excelled. The ports we visited were great - always did our own tours and not the ships. Loved Geiranger, Olden, Molde, Alesund and Stavanger. Bergen was okay and maybe the rain put me off, but it seemed to be like any other big city. Debarkation was a little chaotic - instead of self assist this time, as we scheduled a pick up around 8:30, we decided to go out as normal.. When our number was called to leave the ship, our bags didn't show up for another 30 minutes - had a crush of people wandering around looking for bags where our number was set up , but they seemed to be putting the bags anywhere. Apparently the number 24 comes after the number 32 for the employees pulling the bags off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Food exceeded my expectations in term of quality, and was some of the hottest MDR food I’ve ever eaten. Windjammer was impressive and only in embarkation lunch was overcrowded ( we had a very relaxed lunch that day in the dining room ... Read More
Food exceeded my expectations in term of quality, and was some of the hottest MDR food I’ve ever eaten. Windjammer was impressive and only in embarkation lunch was overcrowded ( we had a very relaxed lunch that day in the dining room instead) Realised the big ticket attractions such as flow rider and sky pad are not for us. Pool screen was awful quality, made live action films look like cartoons. Entertainment team lacked any enthusiasm for their role ... ever heard so much monotonous delivery of activities! Really enjoyed the ice show and the 80s tribute band, but the Once Upon A time production show was awful, band drowned out the vocals half the time but that might not have been a bad thing. Loved the Coca Cola freestyle machines but seems there is only one location now on the Royal Promenade. Our first Royal cruise and can safely say it wasn’t our favourite... nothing Royal did wrong (entertainment staff aside the rest of the crew were cheery and efficient) but it’s just not the best fit for us. I’d read reviews saying the ship was now overcrowded but we always found somewhere to sit, eat, relax etc. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We booked this short cruise for a weekend away as we are fairly local to the port, cruise RCCL three times previous (never from uk port). It was pretty clear that there were lots of first timers and hen/stag dos onboard which were ... Read More
We booked this short cruise for a weekend away as we are fairly local to the port, cruise RCCL three times previous (never from uk port). It was pretty clear that there were lots of first timers and hen/stag dos onboard which were intent on partying which resulted in some serious mad behaviour, didn’t bother us but things like people throwing up from drinking too much on deck could put a lot of people off! the ship rectify had a huge upgrade which has put things like skypad, escape room and laser tag onboard, all great but virtually impossible to do everything on a 3 day cruise. We also found the schedule/opening times of the various activities bizarre, things were often shut or not open for large proportions of the day or only open for short periods or open at odd times which made it very difficult to get to experience everything. Due to this issue when we stayed onboard one day we were sometimes struggling to find something to do because things just were not opening I.e the climbing wall we never saw open? Evening entertainment was good but again, at times things clashed in the schedule which didn’t really work, and only one ice show in three days? Strainge. We also noticed lack of inerraction with the entertainment team, they often seemed quite aloof and we only saw and heard the cruise director once, we don’t even know his name. I’m not sure if RCCL are becoming more reliant on the ships facilities instead of providing other types of entertainment but we’ve now decided RCCL is sadly no longer for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary; we'd never been to ports of call. The staff was friendly and attentive, always ready to help. Our Main Dining Room staff was excellent, from the Head Waiter to our personal waitstaff. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary; we'd never been to ports of call. The staff was friendly and attentive, always ready to help. Our Main Dining Room staff was excellent, from the Head Waiter to our personal waitstaff. Most of the musical entertainment was very good. The comedians were just okay...maybe it's because we missed some things since we're not British (the accent, colloquialisms, etc.). Perry in the Schooner was funny, but it was the same show every night. Further, the timing of some shows conflicted with both MDR times. The nights when there was only one performance, you'd either arrive late or have to leave early. The ship was refurbished a few years ago, and needs an update again. Some areas of the ship are showing wear and tear. Then, the food. There were some highlights, like the osso buco one night in the Main Dining Room. The buffet has a huge variety, but the food was just average. The set-up for the drinks is congested. We went to Chops Grille one night, and it was good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This review covers the 7 night Northern Europe sailing on May 18th from Southampton. This is our 9th Royal Caribbean cruise and first on the Independence. Accommodation: Inside cabin, 9487. This cabin was off the main corridor so ... Read More
This review covers the 7 night Northern Europe sailing on May 18th from Southampton. This is our 9th Royal Caribbean cruise and first on the Independence. Accommodation: Inside cabin, 9487. This cabin was off the main corridor so noise was never an issue. It’s a nice quiet location and close to Windjammer and Adventure Ocean. The room was setup as a double and a Pullman bed (bed from ceiling). It states that this should not be used by children under 6 but there is no indication of this when we make the booking with a 4 year old. So I guess they expect the child to sleep with one of the parents and one of the parents up high! Needless to say we ignored that and our daughter slept in the Pullman bed. There is a railing to the side so it’s safe enough. The beds were very comfortable and being an inside cabin it’s nice and dark at night so a good sleep was had all week. The cabin is small and storage is a bit tight but we managed. For the savings I’d probably choose inside again. Food: Windjammers was its usual chaos but the food overall was good. The last night was great up there for dinner with an amazing selection of desserts and nice fresh pasta. Main dining room was fine (we used it just once). As normal, food is never that hot. We had a 4 night dining package and did Giovannis and Chops twice each. Starters weren’t that hot in Giovannis the first night and the carbonnara wasn’t good at all. The prawn and mash dish was lovely and the desserts were amazing especially the chocolate cake. On the second visit the Alfredo pasta was to die for. Service was excellent in there too. Chops is our go to speciality restaurant. As always the food and service is top class. The filet mignon is always worth it. Bars: Bar service was OK. It seems a little under staffed and maybe service doesn’t seem as good since most people are on a drinks package? Playmakers, which I loved on the Symphony isn’t the same here at all. It’s more of a walk through bar on the way to the casino rather than a walk in bar on the boardwalk of other ships. They didn’t have the games such as connect 4 either. We didn’t spend much time here. The Olive and Twist on deck 14 which is another favourite was closed every day from 5:30 – 8:30 for diamond members so we couldn’t go in. Places to relax and have a drink were limited. Entertainment: This was mixed. Some of the singers were ok, if not great in some instances. The Ice show is the best show and well worth it. Grease, is not my cup of tea but my wife and daughter enjoyed. The comedian was also good. Adventure Ocean: The staff here make the place and are always great with the kids. It’s not as fancy as is on the new ships but there’s enough to keep the kids happy. So overall everything mentioned above is pretty good. But the killer of all of that and the reason it isn’t rated higher is the crowds. I’ve been on the Harmony, Ovation, Symphony and each time before I cruised on each of these I read reviews about crowds and lack of space. However I never really had an issue with any of them except for Windjammers. There was always a place to sit and have a drink or watch the world go by. But on the Independence I completely agree with the complaints about the number of people on this ship. There was several times during this cruise where you would walk the promenade and have no chance of finding a seat. For most of the time it just seemed crowded and it became a frustration on this cruise. We spoke with a couple who were on it before the refit and they couldn’t figure out why it felt so much busier than before but it made sense to them when I explained about the extra cabins (500 people extra I believe) since the refit. Royal Caribbean is our most used cruise line. I love their ships, their innovation and their service. But their increased costs of cruising, increased in gratuities ($14.50 p/d, pp including our 4 year old) is making it harder to stick with them. I will probably go on of the bigger ships again, but I will never sail on the Independence of the Seas again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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