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132 Royal Caribbean Southampton Cruise Reviews

this was the first time on royal caribbean and the last. first impression great looking ship and thats the only good thing about it. entertainment verry good except you have to get your tickets for the ice shows on your first day at sea ... Read More
this was the first time on royal caribbean and the last. first impression great looking ship and thats the only good thing about it. entertainment verry good except you have to get your tickets for the ice shows on your first day at sea otherwise you wont get to see them.The cabin was comfortable.First night at dinner was the worst experiance i have ever had on a cruise before.Had to wait one hour for first course then when main course was served it wasnt worth waiting for.all it was waqs a steak with a jacket potatoe rolling round on the plate with 2 mushrooms and 3 mangetout peas and all of that was cold.Never got coffee had to leave for the next sitting.Went to dinner second night diddnt have to wait as long but anything you have is always served with a jacket potatoe rolling round on your plate and luke warm. Never went to dinning room again.The self service was a free for all always the same food and always luke warm.The only dinning place which served hot food was the burger bar and you had to pay for that.24 hour food was either filled roll ar pizza tea and coffee was plastic cups anywhere on the ship and they were mugs then you have a battle to find a seat to drink it.THE SHOPS are just one big rip off.Everything was so overpriced a family would need a mortgage.One of the cloths shops had a jacket which i hab bought on po aurora it was double the price to aurora.Drinks prices are extortionate and you cant take any drink you buy to your cabin.I have had better in a motorway caff. All you hear allday is if you leave your sunlounger your towel will be removed and your towels are charged to your onboard account untill you return them.Also all you hear is vacate your seat in the selfservice dinning hall when you have finnished this announcment is every 10 miniuts.The shuttle busses for all ports of call are charged and expensive. on ports of call if you stay onboard to sunbathe you are told to leave at around 4pm so they can stack the sun loungers away and that is usually 2 hours before you set sail. If you buy any dutyfree shopping ie alchohol tobacco ashore it is taken away from you when you get onboard and returned on your last night this is so you have to buy all your drinks from their bars and pay more for them than you would in any pub in england.IF YOU MAKE A COMPLAINT AT THE DESK THE STAFF LOOK AT YOU AS IF YOU WERE SOMTHING DIRTY ON THEIR SHOE AND DO NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT ANYWAY.I have never been on a cruise before and checked what i have spent on my onboard account on a daily basis but this time i had to.All in all if some of my friends had not been on this cruise i would have got off at the the first port.One last word of advice DO NOT PREPAY YOUR TIPS WHEN BOOKING YOUR CRUISE. BECAUSE WHEN YOU GET BAD SERVICE YOU CANNOT CHOOSE WHO GETS THE MONEY. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Hi all, I could write a book of our first time cruise with the Independence of the Sea and will probably have too to get any kind of refund from this company. Accommodation: Stateroom I don't think so! Rabbit Hutch would be ... Read More
Hi all, I could write a book of our first time cruise with the Independence of the Sea and will probably have too to get any kind of refund from this company. Accommodation: Stateroom I don't think so! Rabbit Hutch would be closer to the room size, but to be more accurate I will say a small living module (pile em high sell em cheap comes to mind). When your shower gel runs out you won't get a replacement neither will you get replacement sanitary bags, remember to put your do not disturb card in your door lock or you will be constantly badgered by your room attendant. Drinks: I agree with most other reviews, too expensive by half, and of poor quality. No coffee in your cabin and only paper cups. Atmosphere: Without being unfair to holiday camps which have probably come a long way over the years, this is a cruise for 1960's Butlins lovers, very over crowded, if you don't say sorry to someone at least 20 times a day you are either ignorant or you haven't left your cabin. Please allow at least 3 times a day for being held up by invalid wheelie bins. Night Life: Forget it, if you are under the age of 21 years, no alcohol or fun is permitted to younger people, if you smoke you are allowed to go to only one indoor place allocated, the small and cramped night club, but be prepared to consume lungs full of other smokers smoke as this place as not got any air extraction or recirculation. Most bars shut at 1:30am on the dot occasionally 2:30am. One person I saw at a top deck disco night special was a little bit worse for ware but sempt to be enjoying herself rather well was escorted of by two security guards and was chucked of the ship the next morning promptly? Sun Bathing: If you are lucky enough to get a sun lounger you will be no more than 2 inches away from the next bather on all sides, swimming pools are a joke and if you have a baby forget it they are not allowed in the pool at all unless you can prove your 8 month old baby is potty trained, older kids can use the pools but with rules No jumping in the pools, No plashing in the pools, in other words no fun at all then, if your child does do any of the above they will be severely reprimanded by the pool attendant, no life guards present at all, if you inadvertently fall a sleep don't worry you will be awakened by the camps commandant regularly with the Bing, Bong Bing of the ships PA system followed by some speak about the ships course, weather etc, Quite it is not, comfortable it is not, private it is not, Fun it is not. Food: out of 10 I would give it minus 10 the Chefs would not get a job at McDonald's anyone liking this cold, bland and 3hrs old food have not eaton anywhere other than hospitals, poor is being kind. The fresh fruit and deserts are good if you like cold custard or as they call it a sauce. Shows: I have seen better at our local working men's club. Entertainment: The staff may have certificates coming out of their ears but do they know how to have fun a BIG NO. On the forth day we landed at Tenerife me, my daughter and wife had had enough and just wanted to leave, when I asked at reception if they had a Refund Policy the girl said she didn't know what I meant, I explained if we wanted to leave the ship now and make our own way back to the UK could we expect a refund whatever the amount may be, she said no then pretended to be busy ignoring me altogether, guest relations is non existent. If you decide to watch a film in your cabin as we did be prepared for the cost of $12.99 and make sure you all watch it together cos you only get it once. I didn't see any winners at the Casino so the odds must be well stacked on the ships side of the odds. I tried the Spa with achipunture and massage very expensive @ $179.50 as the girl was only present for about 10 minutes in total and didn't help my back at all but did give me a nice neck ache for two days. We didn't use the Excursions they seems too expensive. Out of the 35 are so other guest we met 30 said they would not travel with RCC again some said they would go with P.O but mainly they would not cruise again, sorry to say but it has put my family off cruising totally. Fancy a game of bingo well it will cost you $20.50 for a 4 game card with only one winner per game, first game one line only, second game two lines only, third game one line forth game full house only. Third day I checked my bill via the TV in our room $1200 and we hadn't enjoyed any of it. I won't tell you the final account its frightening. I could carry on but running out of time and its starting to get me down, if you want to cruise and you can put up with the above then go with the yanks, they know how to riffle throw your pockets expertly. If I had known then what I know now I would have cancelled the our cruise and happily lost the deposit, my wife and daughter concur. You will see from my rating mostly ones and that's only because there isn't a 0 Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
CRUISE: 14-night Western Mediterranean, June 5 - 19, 2010: Independence of the Seas from Southampton. This was our 2nd RCI cruise and our 4th cruise overall. We had sailed on the Jewel of the Seas to the Baltic 5 years earlier. That was ... Read More
CRUISE: 14-night Western Mediterranean, June 5 - 19, 2010: Independence of the Seas from Southampton. This was our 2nd RCI cruise and our 4th cruise overall. We had sailed on the Jewel of the Seas to the Baltic 5 years earlier. That was a fantastic cruise and our expectations were high. Guests Range from younger couples to older couplers, well the full age range really, lots of first time cruisers and 500 kids on board but you wouldn't know it. In-fact the kids manners were far better than their parents Itinerary Ports of call, Gibraltar, Corsica, Cannes (Tender), Barcelona, Ibiza, Malaga, Lisbon and Vigo. Embarkation Very fast and organised. In fact from leaving the hotel (DeVere Grand Harbour) to getting onboard only took 30 minutes. The Boat Virtual a brand new ship, well looked after and cared for. With 4000 guests onboard I expected us to be all crammed in like sardines in a can. Theres plenty of room aboard this ship and the first thing I noticed was how wide and spacious the decks and corridors. Well designed ship. Everything is centred around the Royal Promenade with the theatre at one end and dinning at the other. The only down side to this was that it got extremely busy at nights especially when all the tat stores were laid out. The bars shut on the upper outside decks at 8pm, I would have at lease expected that one would be open, after all we were on a Mediterranean cruise. It would have been nice to sit out on deck with a drink and watch the sun set. If P&O can do this on a Norwegian Fjords cruise were the weather can be, lets say cold, Why cant RCI do this on a Med cruise. I suspect that RCI want to keep you on the Royal Promenade to spend your money in their tacky shops. Venues Quiet a few to pick from but nothing to write home about. The pub on the Royal Promenade had the atmosphere of a morgue. The Labyrinth disco had a DJ with no personality. The Pyramid lounge (great venue) but RCI have turned it into a bingo hall. The only really decent venue was Olive & Twists. Stateroom We had a delux balcony room on deck 9, cabin 9588. There was nothing really delux about it. RCI must have employed a colour blind interior designer or as someone else put it, did they buy the carpets from a second hand shop in the 70's. Dining We did a table for eight and had great dining companions. Service and food were excellent and if you wanted Romeo our waiter would bring us extras. Must admit out of all the cruise ships I've been on the food and the service on the Independence have been the best. Windjammer. Food was OK with a great selection, tables were at a premium at busy periods but it all added to the cruise experience. One thing I must mention was when windjammer got busy usually 2pm onwards RCI brought in other staff to bring drinks around, nice touch RCI. Entertainment Well apart from the ice shows the entertainment was absolutely dire to the point were the guests were making their own entertainment The first weeks entertainment was a novelty value, by the second the passengers were walking out of the theatre in their droves. The entertainment provided in the various venues was very stayed and all seemed the same. The captains (Master) announcements at midday provided the best entertainment for the passengers. Oh and one other thing to mention, RCI have not got a clue on how to do sail away parties. Protocols One of the main reasons why I cruise on certain cruise lines is the dress protocols. This passed many passengers by on this ship and I can only describe these people as chavs. Walking around the ship on formal, smart casual or even casual nights revealed to me that a large percentage either did not bother or were unaware of the dress protocols onboard certain cruise ships. On the first formal night I walked through the Schooner bar (I later named this bar chav central ) in my tux and bow tie and got some pretty astounding looks. Disembarkation RCI have adopted a DIY option that Cunard users to disembark, which is you can carry your own luggage off between 6am to 9am. Excellent option and you'll be in your car within minutes of checking out on the ship. Conclusion. I wouldn't recommend this ship for seasoned cruisers. It's very clinical and corporate in it's approach, they dont seem to take onboard any good suggestions other than ones that generate cash (all I wanted was to sit out on deck on a beautiful summers evening with a drink). This ship is just one big corporate cash cow. I wouldn't cruise on this ship again, in-fact, I dont believe I would cruise with RCI again and I could never recommend this type of cruising to anyone. PS. Independence got the last laugh. Me and my partner have been laid up for the past week with a upper respiratory infection. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Firstly, I would like to point out that my review may not apply to those without kids under the age of 3. We booked what we thought was going to be a holiday of a lifetime back in March. My wife, daughter and I booked along with the ... Read More
Firstly, I would like to point out that my review may not apply to those without kids under the age of 3. We booked what we thought was going to be a holiday of a lifetime back in March. My wife, daughter and I booked along with the in-laws. Our problems started from the moment we checked in. Dining Room: We were told by RCCL that we had a round table which would acommodate my joint booking and would be a private table for us. When we checked in however, it appeared that my wife, daughter and I were sat at a different table from the in-laws. When we complained to guest services, they wern't interested and pointed us to the Dining Room Manager, who was not in the slightest bit interested either. After spending a good 90 minutes trying to sort out the problem, I got on the phone to the travel agent and asked them to sort out the problem. Much to my amazement, the travel agent said that Royal Caribbean admitted they made a mistake and would try to put us back to one table - Which amazingly they actually done. The food in the dining room was far to 'posh' for my liking and they didn't have a kids menu, so the waiter kept having to check if the deserts had a liquor through the sauce and that sort of carry on. The assistent waiter at the table next to us ('Marcel' was her name), kept telling our daughter to SHHHHH and saying 'You're very noisy, aren't you' which I thought was totally out of order. My daughter was 17 months at the time of travel, what do you expect? She wasn't even that noisy, thats the thing! We stopped using the main dining room and instead decided to have our dinner in the Windjammer, because we clearly were below 'Royal Caribbean Standards' to eat in the main dining room! Another point - I believe tipping should only be for those who done a job well - I didn't tip the waiters because of the absolutely shocking service we received in the main dining room. Activities: There was only two things for my daughter to do - Go to the play session, between 15:00 and 16:00 or go in the pool, which was usually closed for cleaning! When we booked, we were told that our daughter would have a fantastic time, because the ship has an on board waterpark... What we weren't told is that my daughter was too young to use the waterpark! Other Points: We bought the unlimited soda package. Despite having the Coca Cola logo on the seapass, it definitely wasn't genuine coke we were being served. The fresh orange juice in the windjammer was very watered down. The stateroom attendant kept rushing us out of our rooms to get it cleaned. To sum up my experience, I think its fair to say that I had an 'ok' time, but would have enjoyed a holiday in Florida better as Royal Caribbean ships are NOT for down to earth people, or those with very young kids. The captain (Teo) didn't tell us that we were leaving Southampton early, so by the time I went out to watch us leaving, we were already about a mile away from the port! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
After returning from a cruise with P&O Ventura last year we were total cruise converts and so as soon as we came home we began searching for another fantastic family holiday. After much searching we were recommended RCI Independence of ... Read More
After returning from a cruise with P&O Ventura last year we were total cruise converts and so as soon as we came home we began searching for another fantastic family holiday. After much searching we were recommended RCI Independence of the seas. As they claim to be great for families and with a slogan "cruising is for kids too!" we thought we would be onto a winner. However, unfortunately, we found this to be completely wrong. Last year we went on Ventura which really is fantastic for families with young children. Firstly, they had a night nursery for under 5 year olds, completely free and you were issued with a pager so that they could get in touch with you if there were any problems. This was in a group setting and allowed us to have a few hours every night for dinner, drinks and entertainment. This is a fantastic service particularly as this is something we never get at home due to lack of babysitters. If your child preferred to stay up, they had a 'night time slumber party' where they tired the kids out first with loud and fun games, then dimmed the lights, put on a film and each child had a little sleeping bag where they either watched the film or slept. It also meant that the kids were fully rested each night and so were on good form the following day. We were hoping for something similar with RCI and had been led to believe that there was some form of babysitting available. When we boarded this time we found out to our dismay that, yes there was a babysitting service, but that it would cost us $19 per hour and would be in our cabin. We couldnt believe how expensive this was! And we wern't nearly as comfortable with a stranger being alone in the cabin with our children as we feared that they may be frightened if they woke up and found a stranger there. Plus we were told that it was 'just volunteers' that did this -(i dont know how this can be the case as surely a volunteer would be free?) But obviously this meant we didnt know if these people were vetted in any way either. Anyway, this meant that we never had a babysitter throughout our cruise as it was simply too expensive. So not only did we have our children with us every night, but also we were unable to sample any of the night time entertainment, something which is supposely included in the price when you book. It also meant that we had 3 grumpy, tired children every day as we did keep them up longer than they would have been at home in order to at least enjoy part of the evening on the holiday. On top of all this, from around 10pm we sat in a darkened cabin every night in order to let our kids sleep. Kids clubs: On Ventura this was available from 2yrs and up, they changed nappies and was completely free. On Independence, it was for 3 years and up, they changed no nappies, and over lunch time between 12 and 2pm there was a fee if your child wanted to stay there. What exactly you were paying for was unclear to us as all food is supposed to be included in the price you pay for the cruise. This we found very annoying. They also offered a 'late night party zone' after 10pm at night. For this - a fee also. Both of these were around $9 per hour, per child. Not only is this ridiculous to have to pay for, but also wholly inappropriate for young children. My children anyway do not want to party late into the night - they are exhausted and want to sleep!! I can understand how this would be good for older children maybe, but even then, I doubt if they would want to do this frequently. Other than this, the programme in adventure ocean did seem good. My kids really enjoyed all the arts and crafts and frequently wanted to go. On one occasion my three year old had a toileting accident. I was informed by a member of staff that if this happened again her time in aquanauts would be limited, and then if this happened a third time that she would be barred! I was aghast as my feelings are that if they decide to try to cater for 3year old they do need to accept that at times, even though they are toilet trained, that at times there may be accidents, particularly when in a new, exciting, busy environment. Plus, the rules seemed to be slightly fascist considering this was supposed to be a 'fun-filled family holiday'. For our 18month old they claimed they had a nursery with a programme of events and age-appropriate toys. We went to see this on our first day. It was in a small, dingy room right at the bottom of the ship with no natural light at all. The toys were all for much younger babies than ours, not at all appropriate. We never took him back. Swimming Pools: Independence has a childrens water park called the H20 Zone. This looked great and our children were very excited about it. We were informed however bvy who we ended up calling the 'swimming pool police' that our 18month old was not allowed in the pool as he wore a swimming nappy. How this can be called a child friendly zonebut ban kids in swim nappies is beyond me. Also, the whole point of a swim nappy is to enable a child who is not potty trained to swim in a pool without nasty leakages. Their policy is simply that no child wearing a swim nappy is allowed in the pool! So our poor 18month old was banished to a tiny 3metre square pool with around an inch or two of water in it. With around 4000 people on board this seemed wholly unfair and badly set out. Plus, due to the lack of water in this area, our son kept slipping and banged his head on the bottom of the pool quite a few times before we just took him out altogether. He was then very upset as he could see his sisters playing in the pool where hecould not join them. We would not have taken him or the other two into the other pools, but think that if they are going to have a child/family pool then a child wearing a nappy should be allowed to go in too. Family events: One token hour from 7pm onwards, family disco, family Kareoke and family nintendo wii! This was rubbish, as people can play wii at home anyway and plus our kids are again just not interested in wii. After 745/8pm nothing really available for kids and we had quite a few problems with other guests who frowned upon kids being in their presence after this time, not all I hasten to add, but enough for us to find it quite depressing. Other than this it was the cost of things that really started to ruin our holiday. After being shocked at the prices for babysitting and kids clubs etc we decided to forget about it so we could try to enjoy our holiday. However, it proved to be neverending as we felt that every time we turned our heads we were being asked for money. 1. There was no laundry onboard. Laundry was done for you by your stateroom attendant and was priced (highly) for individual items. Or, they did what they called a 'laundry special' which was $25 for a bag of laundry. The bag was the same size as a carrier bag from a supermarket. Again, this may have been ok for couples travelling alone, but travelling with three young children generates a lot of laundry. We ended up spending $100 on laundry. 2. We had to pay for shuttles which was a total shock to us, them having been free on ventura. When we got to Toulon, or rather La Seyne we were told we would have to pay $60 for the short journey into Toulon! Fortunately there was a small tourist information office at the port where a very helpful girl advised us to take a small walk around the port - 10-15minutes and take the ferry over to Toulon. This took a total of about 20-25minutes and cost us 4 euros - they did not charge for the children. We complained about the cost of the shuttles to Guest services when we got back onboard and they told us that next time we would not have to pay for the children. Hen we decided we would just pay for the shuttle into Livorno when we arrived there as we wanted to travel to Florence that day, we were charged for our 5year old child - a total of $24 for a 10 minute bus ride into Livorno centre! On top of this, we got up really early so that we could be on the train to Florence extra early to get the monst out of the day, but we were sitting on the shuttle for around half an hour before it would depart as they wouldn't leave until 8am! 3. Drinks are very expensive. We spoke to several people who just didn't have wine with dinner or curtailed their drinking due to the expense. Champagne was about $8-9 a glass, cheapest bottle of wine at dinner $28-30. Lastly, the boat was so busy that we spent a lot of time wandering the boat trying to find somewhere to sit, or having to queue for a long time to get things. This is frustrating. On days when the weather was bad and no one was on deck, it was impossible to find anywhere to sit. There were ice shows on throughout the cruise but we were unable to see this as they sold out of tickets for all the performances. This seems unacceptable that some guests do not get to see a show when entertainment is supposedly pre-paid. On a positive note, our cabin was lovely. It was very spacious and excellent for a family. The staff we met onboard - our stateroom attendant, our waiters in the Macbeth restaurant and all the waiters in the windjammer were excellent and couldn't have done more for us. The staff at guest services were ok, but not as impressive as the others. Despite the limitations of the kids clubs, our older two girls, particularly our 5 year old did love the activities and were happy there. On the whole, we find it annoying that this can be described as a 'family friendly boat'. We were unable to get the rest we were hoping for, or to spend some time together as a couple due to the lack of help for parents. Our youngest seemed to spend most of the time in his buggy as there wasn't really anywhere to let him run around due to all the stairs etc and the club for him was no good. The cost of everything onboard, having worked really hard to save up for the holiday in the first place, put several limitations on our holiday and only resulted in us feeling annoyed. We will certainly not be sailing with Royal Carribean again and found the holiday very disappointing, but would definitely recommend Ventura for families in a similar position to ours. Unfortunately, ventura cant accommodate families of 5 in one cabin, which is why we didn't go with them again. The only criticism I could have given them is this. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My partner and i have just returned from a 11 night cruise to the canary's on the IOS . Our embarkation was smooth at Southampton we arrived and as we had booked a junior suite we asked if we could use the priority check in ,at first ... Read More
My partner and i have just returned from a 11 night cruise to the canary's on the IOS . Our embarkation was smooth at Southampton we arrived and as we had booked a junior suite we asked if we could use the priority check in ,at first we were told no so joined the main line only to be pulled out 5 mins later and took to priority check in .We were on the ship in around 30 mins .Our junior suite was large huge bed /balcony /bath and shower/ walk in wardrobe/sofa bed . It was a very comfortable room on the very aft of the ship .Please be aware the ship is huge and gets very congested in all the public areas .The windjammer provides nice meals huge choice just very busy .You could of course use the main dining rooms for lunch /breakfast which is by far more relaxing .we also ate in Portofino $20 which is outstanding and the not so good Chops grill $25.Johnny Rockets is also very good and will make you want to burst there is so much food burgers fries onion rings dessert all for $4.95 .They bring the fries /onion rings ,you finish these then you are brought more ! The staff dance for you all good fun .The food in the main dining room for dinner is very good ,large portions .The service on the ship is outstanding think of the best service you have had and x it by ten .The ship is spotless you wont believe how clean until you witness it .I am afraid to report that the dress code is disrespected by a number of guests football shirts on formal nights is really poor form and looks quite silly we had three formal nights on this cruise and RCI have to address this problem .If you like to play bingo on your cruise as we do start saving as is $32 for six games .The gym on this ship is very big and is impressive .Also the casino is excellent and you do feel like being in vegas it is that good .The sports deck is also good fun full size court crazy golf table tennis climbing wall flow rider .Overall activities on the ship are limited though no cooking demo /computer course lectures .Cruise director James and sidekick Jason will make you laugh out load for sure .Shows are varied and to be fair not to bad .The ice show is special for sure .This is a huge ship and for some reason seems to move about to much many people were sea sick even in moderate seas .Also i am not a fan of paying $12 for a transfer from some ports to the town .this should be included .Would we use RCI again ? not sure ! ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
OK, this trip was planned as a 42nd wedding aniversery celebration. It not only failed to deliver, it was a totally negative experience and was quite pathetic in some respects. We felt so bad, that we contemplated jumping ship at Gran ... Read More
OK, this trip was planned as a 42nd wedding aniversery celebration. It not only failed to deliver, it was a totally negative experience and was quite pathetic in some respects. We felt so bad, that we contemplated jumping ship at Gran Caneria and going to a hotel we know very well. This floating piece of candy floss is designed for Americans and the crew seem to think that everyone aboard is American. You get what scant infornmation that they bother to give you in a totally American manner. i.e. You are told where to change your dollars!!!!!!!!!!!! You are told where you can call America AT&T call collect!!!!!!!!!!!! and your mobile phone beeps "welcome to the USA" and charges accordingly. For god's sake the cruise is leaving from the UK and stopping (briefly) in European destinations with a mostly UK passenger contingent! Do they think the world uses dollars! All shipboard finance is dollars, and you are hit with an inflated US pricing structure with a shitty exchange rate plus comission. Should be called Royal Pirates of the Caribbean! OK. Now the review. I will start with the few good points. The shows were very good and the headliners were very professional and entertaining. Without these shows we would probably have become suicidal. The staff (with the exception of the so called guest relations and the hand wash nazis)were in the main very helpful and some tried their best to help us within their limited scope. The staff as usual were mainly Asian and Eastern European. It was obvious that they were trained only in serving Americans in US caribbean cruise situations, and had scant knowledge of European standards. That is all I can say for the good part. The so called state room was a corridor width extended cabin with a settee, a good sized bed and a balcony that only had room for two chairs and a table, not sun loungers as shown. Not very good. As the first night was the wedding anniversary date, we opted to use the Portofino Italian Restaurant for the sense of special occasion. What an intense disappointment! The restaurant was simply a side room, had no atmosphere and the food offered on a very limited "table d'hotel" style menue bore only a passing resemblance to Italian. The wine was outrageously expensive (more later)and was incomptently served. An expensive bottle of red wine was seved so cold that there was condensation all over the bottle! When I complained, the waiter was surprised, and I was terated to the explanation given (incredibly!) was that it was the first night, the wine had only just been loaded on board, it had been standing on the quayside so what did we expect? Are they mad was my first thought! We had very mediocre lamb chops with no discernable Italian quisine influence, and were charged a surcharge of $40. The whole meal was not worth $40! Dining for dinner in our nominated restaurant "King Lear" was no better. The staff were helpful and attentive, but had no idea how to serve Europeans. Every option, situation and process was focussed as though we were sat in what passes for a resaurant in Miami. We were on a "my time dining option" but as we still had to either queue or book, I never quite understood the benefit. The wines were a trap, and the only acceptable wines were in the $79 - $120 bracket. The choice was 90% Californian, and European wines were very limited, and were categorised as "adventurous" and some were well past the $100 mark. These wines would be £12 to £25 in an English restaurant. This is a complete rip-off, and is designed to maximise the sales of very poor American "cough mixture" at inflated prices. There was an option to buy pre-paid packages, but the price was (yes, this is not a typo)$690. Then to rub it in, it is only available if your partner buys it as well!!!!!!$1380 for crap wines! The dinner food was dreadful and utterly biased to American taste. Some starters were cold, and the mains were very poor and not up to a normal resaurant standard. I am not in a position to comment on the lunch and breakfast facilities, as on the two times we tried to use them we were met with what can only be described as a shambol "bear garden" scenario wherby you fought for the food at some sort of buffet style dispensary and then sat on the floor to eat it as there were no available seats, We were not able to use the dining room for two nights as there was nothing acceptable on the menue, and all the acceptable choices had been taken. Where was the so called "rich variety of choices"? When we did return in desperation, as we could no longer face two small buns with lettuce and some sort of greasy ham available at the sandwich bar for dinner, a person in a supervisory position came to us, and stated that our absence had been noticed, and that they were aware we had some issues. She was quite genuine, and she arranged to provide us with meals to order. This was very much appreciated, and at last we were able to eat the sort of food commonly availble all over the world and not just the USA. However, this was far too late in the cruise to make us feel good again. We had been eating in the top deck burger bar "Johnny Rockets" which was good fun but outside the price and was charged extra. This in itself was not a problem, but an additional $4.50 cover charge certainly was! The ship was dreadfully overcrowded and the facilities were totally inadequate for the number of passengers aboard. We spent a lot of cruise hours walking round trying to find somewhere to sit. Utterly unacceptable. I liken it to (and UK readers will understand this)walking round the Trafford centre trying to find a place to sit and eat on a Sunday lunch time. This situation was exacerbated by the fact that they frequently closed the main bars for "private functions". What the heck are they playing at? There should be no private function at the expense of the fare paying cruiser. On one occasion we were ordered to drink up and "clear off" from the Olive-or-Twist bar, as they were setting up for a private chamnpagne reception party. I regard this as a complete breach of contract. The RCI owners need to understand contract law and the effect of striking a contract under UK consumer law, and not USA law as they mistakenly believe their TCs$Cs dictate. We only went on one excursion, as we had already seen everything else. This was to the Portuguese village of Obidos and it was basically only transport with a commentary but it was OK. When we asked the so called guest relations about where to go on shore at the ports of visit, they were completely clueless and could not even give meaningful taxi transfer information Even the disembarkation was a shambles and we were provided with colour coded bag tags, despite the fact that we had "signed up" to the "carry your own lugguage programme". Yes, they really offer a "programme" of carrying your own bags!!! We stuck with the instructions provided by the Hilton Hotel and had no problems. I think if we had gone with the ship's instructions we would have missed the coach! To sum-up, my wife and I can only say that leaving the Independance of the Seas was a relief, and we feel cheated. I was left with a $1385.00 account to settle and we actually only had one excursion. We stopped buying wine with the meai for three days, and drank mainly rum and coke (when we could find a bar to sit in that is). That's another point to mention. The bars had opening and closing times. Typically 3.00 PM, and music in the bars only from 5.00 or 7.00 PM depending on the bar. This is not my experience of other cruises where bars and music were available all the time. I am in the process of making a formal complaint and claiming compensation. As this will be via my solicitors and legal means I can only state that it will be under UK consumer law. The RCI bunch of crooks should be prevented from operating their mis-represeted ships in European waters. They should be re-named "The Royal Pirates of the Caribbean" Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I'll try to be fair and honest in my review, and credit will be given when deserved. My wife and I have cruised together three times previously, within the last three years, with P&O and Norwegian Cruise Lines, so any comparisons ... Read More
I'll try to be fair and honest in my review, and credit will be given when deserved. My wife and I have cruised together three times previously, within the last three years, with P&O and Norwegian Cruise Lines, so any comparisons I make will be based on our experiences between RCI, P&O, and NCL. We departed from Southampton on 22/1/2012 for an 11 night Canary Islands cruise aboard Royal Caribbeans 'Independance Of The Seas', and had been looking forward to it since booking in May. We chose RCI this time to add to the flavors already given to us from cruising with P&O and NCL, and also because many had said that the Independance Of The Seas had a real 'wow' factor that had to be experienced. We left on a typically cold and gloomy British January morning, and couldn't wait to get on board, and hoped for a speedy check-in..which we got, together with a polite & friendly departure staff, and were on-board within 20 minutes..impressive! As with most/all cruise lines, our bags were taken at an early stage, and were to be delivered to our door at a later stage. Once onboard, we headed for the Windjammer restaurant (the buffet style restaurant on deck 11). It was chaotic when we arrived, but in fairness all of our other cruise experiences had readied us for this..the first day buffets are always a madhouse! Eventually we found a seat, and had a late breakfast of sausage, burger & chips. We were told that our rooms would be ready by 1.00pm, and the bags would follow soon afterwards, so we did a little exploring before heading for our room. We chose an inside balcony stateroom, overlooking the central promenade deck, and I must say that the room exceeded my expectations..very clean, tidy, well laid-out, huge (and very comfortable) king size plus double bed (the most comfortable bed we've ever had on a cruise ship) modest on-suite bathroom with a tiny but functional shower enclosure, supplied hard-wired hair dryer in a drawer at the vanity unit, plenty of storage space, large wardrobe, large bay window, and tea & coffee making facilities..but this is where things started to go downhill. No complimentary high-end travel toiletries..just two very small no-brand bars of soap, and a shampoo dispenser..still, not to worry, as we'd brought our own. We filled the mini-kettle, and prepared to make some tea, which is when we discovered the 'crockery' consisted of four large single skinned paper cups & wooden stirrers..never mind though, to avoid burning our fingers, we doubled-up the cups which kind-of worked. We have become accustomed to cruise line operators catering poorly for power requirements in cabins, so we always carry a four-way extension lead & a U.S to U.K plug convertor for this reason..just as well in this case, as there were two U.S 110v outlets, and one 220v outlet (configured in 2-pin U.S plug layout?) which the kettle was plugged into, so without the extra hardware we would have found it tricky to charge the phone, camera, video camera, and run the kettle. Very pleased with our cabin, we pulled back the nets to look out onto the promenade. The view would have been better, if the outside of the windows hadn't been truly filthy..still, nevermind..a small inconvenience, and we prepared to venture out, and return later when our bags had been delivered..we knew this would take a while, as the ship was fully booked...they finally arrived at 10.30pm! We looked around at the different restaurants, pubs, and the outsides of the shops, and went to the early show in the Alhambra..the main show theatre. An interesting 'welcome aboard' show..not wonderful, but OK, with a joke or two from the guest comedian, introduction from the cruise entertainments manager, and a song & dance number from the ships resident troupe. After a pleasant evening meal in the Romeo & Juliet a la carte dining room (there are two..yours will be decided for you, and will be your dining room for the duration), we had a drink..oh yes, I'd forgotten just how dear drinks are on American-owned liners..$14 for two pints of Heineken draught lager, spirits being around the same price, so unless you have a bulging wallet..excersise moderation! You could pre-pay for your alcoholic drinks however..over $600 EACH for 11 days, and if one of you're tee total..tough luck, because you'll both be charged the same amount to prevent sharing..so, around $1,300 for an unlimited drinks package..phew. The upshot of this was a constant parade of people permanently carrying glasses, many of which were permanently 'inebriated', trying desperately hard to 'break-even', as I heard more than one guest refer to it. There are other packages that start with unlimited soda, wine, and beer deals. Here's the deal..RCI see their passengers as walking wallets..virtually everything's chargeable (Would sir/madam like a 'behind the scenes' tour? That'll be $125..EACH, or would sir/madam like a photo package on a single disk? That'll be $325 please..how about a base no-brand bottle of chardonnay with your meal? $64 please..and no, you're not allowed to bring your own alcohol onto the ship..ask the couple that were thrown off the ship for packing a bottle of gin in their luggage. No? Then how about a sweatshirt with the 'Independance Of The Seas' embroidered onto it..a snip at $39.99. Which brings me on to the shops. Deck 5 is the promenade deck, with a parade of shops, restaurants, scenic lifts, the always-busy customer services desk, and access to a caberet-style room where the (very good) ships band more than often played, as well as the Cigar Room..the ONLY room on the whole ship where you can smoke indoors (the official booklet quoted several rooms). The room is very small indeed, and will seat about 35 people max..the rest have to stand. The other option is brave the elements on deck 11. These are the only two allocated smoking areas. To start with, the sheer size of the ship creates the wow factor, mostly centered around the main promenade, but this wears thin by day two when you realise that the only shop that offers good value is the booze & cigs shop..and any alcohol bought will be 'looked-after' for you until the last day of your cruise..how considerate of them. At this point, it's worth mentioning that the vast bulk of the staff offer quite exceptional service, and are polite & cheerful. Also a treat was the fully-equipped and spacious fitness room..many cruise operators charge a hefty premium for this facility, but not RCI. Sadly, although you could be blamed for assuming a ship this size would be spacious, you'd be desperately wrong, as the promenade was forever rammed full with folding tables en-masse selling all sorts of tawdry, over-priced tat. Forgot to buy a plug convertor from the pound shop? That'll be $10 please. A Made In China miniature glob-like model of the ship? $26. Plated crystal dress jewellery, very expensive gold jewellery, bags, scarves, perfumes..you get the picture, with several tables towards the end of the cruise selling absolute trash for a bargain $10. Shoulder-to-shoulder bumping into each other, people barging into or in front of you was de rigeur. Rather like a heaving shopping mall on the run-up to Christmas, but with penguin suits. British manners (or lack of) were in full force, and if you ever had a spare moment (we did), you could play 'spot the person without a tattoo'. The food, to be kind, was barely passable, with literally every dish in the main dining room served luke-warm, with what tasted like instant mash, ubdercooked veg, and frequently tough meat..but, however, served by a top-class waiting staff in an ornate and spectacular dining room..a brilliant example of style over substance. We soldiered on with Romeo & Juliet dining until day four, when we switched to the Windjammer buffet. Most lines have a 24-hour buffet..the 'Jammer' (appropriately named) closed at 9pm. This restaurant was permanently packed, and always but always a fight for a seat. The fare offered falls uncomfortably between hospital food/ seaside resort, and motorway services standard..more or less the same served up every single day..value-brand quality burgers & sausages, fatty bacon, frozen battered fish, cherry crumble with watery custard, fake sweetened cream galore, frozen concentrated sweetened orange juice...you get the picture. On other lines, we used to genuinely look forward to mealtimes. Here, we ate only if we were very hungry, as the food was dire throughout. Miss the a la carte and Jammer restaurants, and you have the choices of two areas on deck 5 where you can choose from limp, floppy tasteless pizza, mini rolls, or pies. Big deal. Now onto the entertainment. This falls into two groups..the ships regular compliment, and visiting guest 'stars'. The ships main cast were entertaining once, maybe twice, but after the third evening of strangely-chosen song & dance numbers, the act wore very thin indeed. The guest acts were better however, with a very funny comedian, and an illusionist 'as seen on TV'. Not wrong either, as I remember seeing the whole set, piece-for-piece, on the TV a few years ago. The ice-show is quite stunning, but you have to queue a few days before the show, as tickets are complimentary. COMPLIMENTARY? Haven't we paid for the entertainment? I could ramble on and on, but for the most part, the entertainment was 'end-of-the-pier' style & standard..certainly NOT world-class or West-End..this seaside-resort theme seemed popular amongst many guests, who similarly cheered for the 'Belly-flop' contest in the pool on deck 11, the countless, COUNTLESS quizzes, $32 a pop Bingo, 'Mr & Mrs' style game show, karaoke, etc, etc. I was waiting for the knobbly knees contest with the staff selling Kiss Me Quick hats & jellied eels, but it didn't happen. Having been on an American-oened ship with predominantly American citizens aboard, I can assure you that the quality & variety of the food on this ship WOULD NOT BE TOLERATED, and the 'entertainment' would have been boo'd off. This was most certainly a case of 'serve them junk..they'll be too drunk to notice' Fortunately, the weather was superb..no rain..sunny and warm. Unfortunately, they even managed to screw this up, with some destinations arriving at 9.00 am, and back on board by 2.30pm...what? Vigo (a non-destination..boring and devoid of anything of interest to visitors) was scheduled for a Monday, whilst Madeira (a lovely destination) was visited on a Sunday where everything was closed (docking on a Sunday is cheaper for operators, and the only reason why EVERY operator visits Vigo is for a cheap re-fuel). Look, if your idea of the perfect cruise is a semi-formal one, with civil guests, good food quality, acceptable entertainment, a 24-hour quality buffet, reasonably priced drinks, reasonable staff, then go P&O. If you don't mind fly-cruises but enjoy EXCEPTIONAL West-End productions, varied & 'don't-miss' entertainment, expensive drinks, FIRST-CLASS dine-anywhere (Freestyle) food, a 24-hour buffet, hit-and-miss staff, but VERY reasonably-priced, then cruise with NCL..but the beds on P&O and NCL are hard, and the rooms not as well laid-out. To close, we were glad to get back. This style of holiday died out in seaside resorts in the late 70's. My idea of a cruise goes beyond reading The Sun whilst stretched out on a poolside lounger, with a pint permanently attached to my right hand. 'Enrichment' lectures OK if you wish to discuss back-pain, or want to pay to have your feet analised! Without naming brands, it more closely resembled a British holiday camp at sea, but some of the holiday camps I've visited are better, with better entertainment, and not £900 each for 11 nights. They'll recommend $234 in gratuities & tips (this is in addition to the 15% gratuity you'll pay for every drink) but you can opt-out if you don't agree, and pay tips to those who you consider offered a good service (and EVERYONE did in my eyes, with the exception of a surly and argumentative room service waiter who swore blind that we lied about hanging a breakfast requirements ticket on our outer doorhandle) Room service breakfasts are definately the way to go..no shoulder to shoulder bumping into people, queueing for a fried egg with a numbered ticket..(I kid ye not)and then playing dead-man's-shoes for a table. In a nutshell, AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE, unless you're permanently blind drunk and never leave the ship (a large number of the guests fitted into this category). Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We have always cruised from Southampton with very little problem until we sailed with RCL, when we arrived at check in at the time RCL told us to be there we were greeted with a queue of 1000+ guests waiting to get on board. This took some ... Read More
We have always cruised from Southampton with very little problem until we sailed with RCL, when we arrived at check in at the time RCL told us to be there we were greeted with a queue of 1000+ guests waiting to get on board. This took some 3 hours with some elderly passengers feeling really unwell, only to be told by RCL staff in a abrupt manner that there was 3500 guests to board. When we eventually got on board it took us 15 minutes to find a crew member to tell us where our cabin was. The cabin itself was very nice and spacious with one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in, this is where the praise stops. We had lots of problems with seating arrangements in the McBeth restaurant, ignorance from waiters and head waiter, accused of not paying bar bill and being over charged in restaurant, so much so that after the 3rd night we never dined in there again. We chose to eat in the Windjammer which at best was worse than dinning on a ferry, with the food being served luke warm or cold, I remember one lady with 6 bowls of soup on her table, she told me she was trying to get one that was hot. We did dine in Chops 1 night and that was OK but it cost us $90, I have been on a few cruises and have always put weight on however on this one I actually lost weight. When ever we complained to the pursers office we were informed that this would be corrected or that 'this doesn't usually happen' I had a gift confiscated at one port but when I went to collect it at the end of the cruise half of it was missing. The trips ashore were rubbish and we were charged for shuttle buses as we would be docking a long way from the centres, however on the 2 that we paid for we were on a few hundred yards from the centre, yet we were never told we could get a refund because of this. I have complained to RCL office but they seem ignorant to the fact that they have charged for a service that was never given and keep giving me inane excuses. I am going to go public with my complaint as I feel in these austere times that a company should give value for money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Having just returned from our first cruise, I feel it essential to pass on what are our shared thoughts on the experience. We were a party of four, all aged over fifty, and as stated, we were all embarking on our very first cruise. We ... Read More
Having just returned from our first cruise, I feel it essential to pass on what are our shared thoughts on the experience. We were a party of four, all aged over fifty, and as stated, we were all embarking on our very first cruise. We booked early, and that was our first mistake, we paid FULL price with no discounts offered, indeed at the time my wife and I booked we were not offered free parking at SOUTHAMPTON, but my sister and her husband who booked days after we had booked, were offered free parking, CHING CHING another £130 pounds cost for us. Weeks before our departure, the original itinerary was changed, we were due to have an overnight stay in Majorca, but this got changed and an additional stop added, Allicante. No big problem other than we were not advised by RCI of these changes, we only found out about the changes from my sister, who had booked via an Agent. When I pursued this fact with RCI they advised that we HAD been advised by letter, but no letter was ever received, so RCI then sent me a WORD document advising of the changes, it was an "OPEN" word document that I could edit at will if I had wished too, a bit unprofessional I thought , but we marched on. The actual ship is difficult to criticize The Independence of the Sea's is a stunning site and a beautiful ship. My wife and I had booked a Superior State room with balcony, which was in truth very nice, and was maintained well throughout the cruise. However we made what I now regard as a big mistake in pre paying our gratuities,some £120 each, big mistake, the service we received was "adequate" at best and downright "rude" at worst. In hindsight I would have had no qualms at disembarkation and leaving nothing. Whilst I would not regard it as being a mistake, we had also booked a Platinum Wine and Dine package that worked out at £25 a bottle for twelve bottles of wine. It was not a mistake because if purchased on board wine was a minimum of $40 a bottle, and you don't have other options, any wine or booze bought whilst ashore will be confiscated and returned when you are due off the vessel. None of our party are what could be classed as BIG drinkers, but all of us like a drink in the early evening, I would warn all that the drinks on board are expensive, and in addition keep a close eye on what you are served, on more than one occasion we were served with the likes of Gin and Tonic with virtually no gin having been included, keep a close eye on your account as well, as it seems to be common practice to add drinks to your account that you have not actually taken, again on several occasions we were obliged to report these "mistakes" to the customer services desk whereupon the charges were removed without quibble ... strange we thought. There are very limited provisions made for smokers inside the vessel, only The Cigar Bar, which whilst under sail is full to capacity, small with insufficient seating. There is external seating for smokers but as soon as the ship leaves port, even Med Ports of call, the wind whistles through the defined area's making them extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant places to be seated. There are thousands of sun beds and seating in areas that catch good sun, with a policy that if vacated for more that thirty minutes should be relinquished. this just does not get enforced and people, usually the same people leave their personal belonging on their well situated beds and retain them for the day. Coffee and snacking areas are usually full, and again people utilizer these as general seating area's so this limits the seating for those wishing to take a coffee with a snack, this is especially true whilst at sea, be warned. The food was good but we found it very repetitive. Our cruise was predominantly occupied by over 80's and never have I been obliged to share confined areas with such a rude and inconsiderate bunch of fellow holiday makers. We witnessed numerous MIRACLES, BY WAY OF WHAT WERE APPARENTLY WHEEL CHAIR BOUND PASSENGERS, that once off the ship were perfectly capable of strolling round the port's of call, some of which are really quiet demanding and hilly. However these miraculous cures appeared to be short lived, and the offenders returned to their wheel chairs upon boarding the vessel, I would hope that this was not to gain priority when having to queue of board an elevator but strongly suspect their motives and actions. Our cruise was heavily discounted two weeks before departure, with late bookers being given Room Upgrades more on board spending allowances etc We went We Tried it but NEVER EVER AGAIN .... NEVER Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
My wife and I have sailed with a number of cruise lines , but to be honest Royal Caribbean has never been one we have through personal choice fancied travelling with. However, in light of the extensive media there is in the UK as to how ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed with a number of cruise lines , but to be honest Royal Caribbean has never been one we have through personal choice fancied travelling with. However, in light of the extensive media there is in the UK as to how 'wonderful' their cruises are my wife and I decided to give them a 'fair and open' chance to prove us wrong by taking a two day sampler cruise to nowhere. We specifically chose this cruise as there was not a planned port of call as we know that when in port, venues etc are closed onboard and therefore with them being open it would gives us a good opportunity to in effect make a personal review, to decide whether we would book a longer cruise at a later date. About 4 days prior to sailing, we received an email to say the ship would now make a port of call stop to Cherbourg (France) which defeated the reason why we chose the cruise in the first place. Day one - Embarkation at Southampton, this was swift and fairly painless and was much inline with our normal experiences of the port. At check there were people giving out information sheets advising of the revised cruise to include Cherbourg due to Custom & Excise regulations which would have prevented them opening the spa and casino etc......... As they needed to be seen to dock in international waters. Once checked in we went onto the ship and having not eaten anything we made our way up to the buffet restaurant. This was about 11:30 in the morning, and already the hot food was not only 'Luke warm' but totally tasteless. I had two different types of chicken, which were in addition to being Luke warm, were so over cooked I could have leathered the soles of my shoes with them. As a couple who previously owned the rights to use a 3 bedroom time share villa in Orlando, we are fully appreciative of our experiences of American service, but as we sat and ate our meal, the body language and indeed verbal language of some of the staff, really surprised us. Later in the day, after un-packing our luggage in our cabin, we made our way to the 'freedom' style restaurant to make a reservation for a table for two for our preferred eating time, to be advised that they only make reservations for tables for two at 17:30 or 17:45. When we sat down for our meal (which typically on previous cruises we would expect to take around 90 minutes over) we were in and out in less than 40 minutes...was like being on a conveyor belt, indeed the waiters were clearing plates of the first person, before the second had finished. Day Two - the buffet restaurant started cooked breakfast from 7am, because of medical tablets I have to take, this was absolutely perfect, however on reaching the buffet at 07:02 yet again the so called 'hot food' was at best described as Luke warm.......... My hash browns were actually cold. We chose not to get off at Cherbourg having been there número use times independently. Our evening meal experience mirrored that of the previous night....... Conveyor belly, but unlike the previous night where the food was quite tasty, the main course was at best described as tasteless. We ended up in the drinks/ entertainment lounge on deck 5 that has an eastern name (had a mental block as to it's name as I write this). We were two of about 18 people in there and after waiting 10 minutes for a drinks waiter to come to us, we walked out. During this time, the waiter spent the whole time chatting to the person behind the bar, and took drinks to one table only........ Totally appalling! Day one and two......... During the cruise the open air 'inline skating' rink was shut because the track was wet!!!!! ............... The general store (duty free) was shut displaying a sign, that as the ship was not leaving territorial waters for international waters they could not open; but that is exactly why they added the port call to Cherbourg for to ensure they were in international waters. My wife wanted to go rock climbing but on each occasion we went to the wall it was shut, and I was advised by a teenager that he had been told it was shut for the duration of the cruise. The most ludicrous issue was that on a Cashless cruise to play the casino including slots, we had to go to the casino cashier to physically 'BUY' dollars as the slots could not be used by entering your cruise card as the facility was not available on the cruise. So we were charged 3% to buy dollars, whereas had we known, we could have brought some along with us, as we keep a supply of dollars at home. To be honest we feel totally let down by Royal Caribbean, indeed the UK Head Office has not even responded to a let of complaint sent, which does lead us to a total negative experience. We fully appreciate others will say RCI is the best thing since sliced bread, but it would be interesting to see what your genuine thoughts would be if you experienced what we did! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We cruise as a family around twice a year minimum, normally P&O and we have never had any issues with them.We are certainly not a family of wingers and therefore find it difficult complaining here, but it has to be done ... Read More
We cruise as a family around twice a year minimum, normally P&O and we have never had any issues with them.We are certainly not a family of wingers and therefore find it difficult complaining here, but it has to be done unfortunately.Embarkation was not as smooth as we are used to , this however was down to the inefficient car park attendant who was trying his best on his own to book a long queue of eager to get on board cruisers. Once aboard , around 12.30pm we went for lunch at the windjammer, which should be renamed the windcrammer, no seats at all so we had to sit outside near the pool and it was freezing !Cabin ready around 2.30pm however case did not arrive until around 5pm, room attendant said it could have been as late as 9pm normally, not good when you are first sitting dinning and dressed in shorts ?Cabin clean but looked rough around the edges and tired to say the least.Kids club - normally have to fight to get the kids out of it, not on R/C it was very poor, kids bored all the time , and if they stayed after 10pm they charge you $6 a hour extra or $1 a minute if you state you are going to pick them up at 10pm and are late, unbelievable !Not big drinkers luckily as the drinks prices are crazy, $11 for an average glass of merlot, and the service from the bar staff is almost non existent.The biggest problem on this ship is the lack of seating areas, plenty of bars etc to visit but you will battle to get a seat guaranteed and queuing to be served is a regular daily occurrence. Granted the weather on this weeks cruise was not always great which bring passengers down to the lower decks but the ship simply cannot cope with this, and when the weather is good you again battle to get a sunbed, noticed they had a fair few new ones on board that they were unwrapping so hopefully this with help a bit in the futureIn our opinion the Ice rink (seen the Ice show and it was very good) takes up a lot of room especially for only one performance and a few hours skating for the kids, the same goes for the the promenade, all looks very nice but is not practical with very few seats !The lobby bar : asked for a Bacardi and coke, reply - "come back later no bacardi" , when back there that same evening, wife asked for a bloody Mary , reply - "come back later, no tomato juice", no apologies very rude actually !Its money money, money onboard, oh and $15.00 each if you want a shuttle bus to get off, (went with my 78 year old Father so the 30-40 mins walk was out of the question.)Evening dinning however was top class, and so was the service , food was superb, no complaints here at all, breakfast and lunches at the windjammer average, orange juice in the morning was literally week squash, however you are constantly asked if you would like freshly squeezed OJ at only $4 a pop !2 shows put on for us were very good , but would have liked more, they make up for this by having themed dance nights on the promenade (70's and Brit pop) but this once again gets packed and its just the entertainment team dancing to backing music.Disembarkation went very smoothly, no complaints here !Overall very disappointed with this cruise and really glad it was only for a week, normally dread it when the holiday draws to an end , but on this occasion we were actually glad to get off, never again Royal Caribbean, certainly not value for money, it was a "Royal Rip Off." Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
RCI famous for Family cruising - we have had our view changed of that. The demographics of the Cruisers would put the average age around 70. RCI then focused on this group only. The Ship was in very good condition and our room ... Read More
RCI famous for Family cruising - we have had our view changed of that. The demographics of the Cruisers would put the average age around 70. RCI then focused on this group only. The Ship was in very good condition and our room excellent. Stateroom attendant was very very good. Food - we ate mainly in the Windjammer, this was as good as we have had on any RCI Ship. Good variety with a tiny issue on cold food occasionally and somehow the Ship had no fresh milk for the last 3 days - UHT Long Life jeez 5* star Ship with no fresh milk - guessing it's too costly to re-stock in one of the Ports during the cruise. Biggest problem with eating or getting a cup of Coffee was finding a seat - some passengers would spend hours sitting at one table of the windjammer, sorrento's or Cafe Promenade. Plus side of that is that getting a lounger around the pool was fairly easy whatever time of day you went poolside. Evening entertainment was selected for one group and that was not family entertainment - 3 Tenors - their chant of Uggy Uggy Uggy summed them up. A Tap Dancing Saxophonist who was poor at best. Production shows that were the same as 3 1/2 years ago except performed by better singers then. An Irish Comedian - just stuck in the 1970's. There were a few good shows 2 Ladies who played Piano and sung, Tucker a Comedian and some lunatic on the last night, he was excellent. Not sure why there is no Dreamworks on Indy - the Ship needs something like that as the Mad Hatters parade was very weak, Rock Britannia was a better effort though. Daytime Entertainment was not existent, poolside - the Cruise Director's staff could not find that if they tried. The CD was a stand in for Joff until the end of the month and whilst he had some good moments - The Quest was excellent, the majority of the time his team were awol. Ice shows were both excellent and possibly the best entertainment on the Ship - well done. One thing that bugged me was RCI's attitude to booked trips - a trip we had booked to Lisbon Aquarium was cancelled on the morning of the trip as we sat in the Theatre waiting on the ticket no of our bus -around a dozen or so people disappointed. Reason given was we don't do that trip anymore - RUBBISH. I booked online and it was being advertised on the Ships TV the night before. Real reason was RCI were not making enough profit for a bus to be run. Total lack of respect for their Cruisers here. My disabled daughter sailed with us and I had arranged help from RCI's Special Needs desk - easy to review - hopless - all the arrangements failed to happen. It seems RCI Port staff only recognise Disabled Cruisers if they drive a Scooter. Decent weather in the main, seas were smooth bar one iffy day sailing towards Coruna. Summary An enjoyable cruise but def not a WOW Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Today is our last day of our 2 weeks cruise of Norwegian fjords on Independence of the seas. I have to admit that this was perhaps the very worst cruise we've been on.1. I get motion sickness, so I choose my cabin very carefully and ... Read More
Today is our last day of our 2 weeks cruise of Norwegian fjords on Independence of the seas. I have to admit that this was perhaps the very worst cruise we've been on.1. I get motion sickness, so I choose my cabin very carefully and way ahead of time which means that i pay more to be mid ship and of course fresh air always helps so we get veranda room. With our luck both cabins on our left were occupied by smokers. I complained to the customer's relations and was told that smoking is allowed on any balcony and if I don't like it I can move to the inside room because that is all they have available. Explaining that I book this particular cabin for a good reason did not help. All I was told is they are sorry and nothing they can do for me. I escalated to a supervisor who offered me balcony cabin at the very end of then ship, but said there is no guarantee that there will not be smokers in the cabin next to ours. I again explained the situation and reason why I booked this particular cabin. But all i was offered was 100$ on board credit and was told to go buy myself something to make me feel better(BTW that credit was never applied to me). So i once again escalated to the head of customer relations. I was offered 2 choices: be exposed to second hand smoke or to close my balcony door and put air condition on. I asked that perhaps people next door would not mind moving to another room? But was told that that its not fair to smokers, they paid for balcony room so they can smoke and it would not be fair to them. Fact that i can't enjoy what i paid for, fact that i can' t breath fresh air makes it fair to me? I felt discriminated against just because i chose healthy lifestyle free of cigarette smoke. Smokers have all the rights and i don't? I was told that i should have asked ahead of time if there are smokers around me, and about smoking policies. Well, who can i ask? nobody bothers to ask if people who book cabins smoke, do they want to be next to smokers, do they have any kind of medical conditions that are effected by second hand smoke. By now every civilized country enforced non- smoking laws. Hotels have separate rooms/ floors designated to smokers. Cruise lines don' t obide any laws, they don' care one bit about health of their customers. Don't like smoke, book inside room and keep quiet. Totally unacceptable, something needs to be done!!!!!! 2. Food was the worst:Start with breakfast in the windjammer.... pancakes, french toast and waffles were precooked, piled up in trays and always cold. Bagel's were dry because they were toasted god only knows when, Canadian bacon was incredibly salty and American bacon was always burned to a crisp as well as tater tots. Home fried potatoes were way to dry and overly fried or baked. One could not get a drink from a machine as all drinks were served by staff members. Watered down fruit punches and water in glasses was ready to be picked up at any time and one had to ask for coffee or tea. Coffee was terrible to start with, but I also saw waiters deluding it with water. A la cart breakfast was somewhat better because they were making it to order but also very slow and again my pancakes were cold by the time I got it. Lunch at the windjammer was not too good either. There were limited choices. Mostly curries and fried foods which were always over-fired or over salted. Fresh veggies were not always fresh...one time I got slimy cucumber and other times peppers were frozen or rotten. Next time I tried oriental cucumber salad but it did not taste fresh. I think they Oriental food was mostly Indian. Not once they offered baked chicken that was eatable. Baked pork was always very dry and baked beef was too tough. Dinner at the restaurant offered the same food as in windjammer. On most nights we could not figure out what we should order. Steaks were way too tough. Fish, always frozen and rubbery. Most foods served to the ship are pre-made and frozen, like cordon blue, battered fish etc. but even simple task of deep frying it was totally screwed up. Deserts were good one day and really bad on other days. But i think cutting cost is not the main reason for such bad food experience, On another Royal ship just few month ago food was excellent. We think that chef need to be changed cause he just has no idea how to manage food quality. Our table neighbor cruised third consecutive time on the Independence and told us that first 2 times there was different chef and food was very good. This time they were really disappointed. Windjammer was always packed, people or dirty dishes were occupying tables for hours. Bar personnel were always at hand offering drinks but there was definitely not enough waiters to clear tables. And even when cleared, tables were always dirty and wet from being wiped with just wet cloth. 3. As far as entertainment goes we have mixed opinion. There were 3 bands on this ship. Prestige is playing in Balero (just want to mention the fact that they play 45 minutes sets and that their repertoire consists of 6 songs which they repeat over and over, from day to day and set to set...Thy play without any enthusiasm or spark and it shows. Never the less it was a good idea to dedicate a band to playing Latin and some other ballroom favorites. There were many couples that enjoyed dancing to this kind of music including us. But what is the point of having dance band when there is basically no dance floor? It could fit may be 2 couples more or less comfortably and 5 couples dancing on top of each other. We tried to fit in until somebody stepped on my foot with their high heels. i still have a scratch and a bruise. I pointed this out to a cruise director, but he said they are assigned to the specific spot and that can not be changed. There were bands playing at other spots about the ships, but not our kind of music. Guest performers were pretty bad. Comediennes were terrible: first one seemed neurotic, begging audience for some applause an not getting any. Second one was calmer, but his jokes were not funny. Singer lady was OK, but production cast singers were 10 steps above.... We were always curious who'd actually auditioned those people? Ventriloquist was pretty funny. We really loved the violinist, good choice of music and great personality. Also i have to comment on the production cast. The best 6 voices we've heard on any cruise ship, top Broadway quality, and pretty good dancers as well. There were 2 shows per day, 9 and 10:45 PM. Not sure about the later show but for 9 o'clock show people would line up an hour ahead of time. At 8:15 most of the seats were taken, and people would just sit and read or chat for an hour. Unless somebody would reserve a seat for you, there was no dancing at Balero or no show. Also production shows were the same for the past 3 yeas, perhaps even longer. 4. Now about what we liked. ports of call were somewhat interesting, fjords are breathtakingly beautiful. our state room attendant done a very good job. Room was always clean, bedding was crisp and clean and changed often enough. He always complied with our requests. Always asked if everything was OK in the room and often left me little towel pets in the evening. He was always there, but in non intrusive sort of way. I had couple of spa treatments which were really nice. Gym staff was not always nice.to sum it up.cons:really bad smoking policy. needs to be changedreally bad customer service, nobody has any idea how to deal with stress situationsterrible food has nothing to do with cost cutting, but with bad cheflack of good guest entertainersinability to adjust to needs and requests of cruisers. I think that ship management forgets that after all we are the once who pay their salaries.pros:great production castWe really loved cruising on Serenade just few months ago and were hoping that Independence will give us the same wonderful experience. Unfortunately we were wrong. We will have to think twice before booking another Royal cruise unless they improve. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We took our third Mediterranean cruise in as many years in August with Royal Carribean, having been previously with Princess and Cunard. Good things first - the staff were pretty good, checking in and disembarking at Southampton was very ... Read More
We took our third Mediterranean cruise in as many years in August with Royal Carribean, having been previously with Princess and Cunard. Good things first - the staff were pretty good, checking in and disembarking at Southampton was very efficient and, errr, now I'm struggling. Oh wait, the breakfast buffet was quite nice too. And the cabins were clean. I'm afraid there's quite a long list of what was bad: 1. In Villefranche, we queued for 4 hours and failed to get off the ship. The tendering operation was a shambles. The cruise line largely blamed the French authorities but that was a cop-out - we were waiting on the promenade deck and we saw tenders sitting alongside for 30 minutes at a time completely empty, whilst the staff messed around trying to give priority to people that had booked excursions but hadn't shown up on time. We also heard later from people that had got off that there were loads of people jumping the queues - there's little point having people go to collect a ticket to determine which batch they can disembark in if you're not going to do anything about people just barging in. We eventually got a bottle of horrid wine as compensation for having the whole day ruined. Not good enough. 2. The food in the restaurant in the evenings was really poor and got steadily worse as the cruise went on. There were 3 soups on the menu every night and far too many vegetarian options. By the last evening one of the main offerings was "vegetarian chicken" or "quorn" as it is better known. Unbelievable. We ended up going to the burger joint (for which there was a cover charge) or the buffet area for dinner, on the basis that at least there would be something that would take your fancy. 3. The kids on the ship (which was apparently about half of the total passengers) were allowed to completely run riot. You couldn't use a stairwell without there being a bunch of morose teenagers sitting in your way or a gang of younger children running up and down. There were lots of children on the Princess cruise we went on two years ago but they were chaperoned at all times whereas Royal Carribean just washed their hands of them, it seemed. There were shuffleboard games available on the Promenade deck and we observed gangs of teenagers smashing the pucks so hard into each other that they were flying overboard. When they got bored of this they threw the equipment to the floor and stalked off. There were a couple of security staff up by the kids pool on occasions but not nearly enough of them - Princess would have never permitted such behaviour. 4. The ship was too crowded, or there were not enough facilities, depending on which way you want to look at it. There were big queues for everything; only two pools to service over 2,500 passengers?!!! The kids pool was absolute mayhem all day every day - it looked like "children soup" The adult pool was tiny so even though the behaviour in there was generally civilised, it was literally standing room only. It was absolutely impossible on some days to get a lounger or even a seat outdoors anywhere on the ship. They had all been reserved by the "get up at 7am and put your towels down" brigade. There were rules posted about stuff being removed if a lounger remained unoccupied for 30 minutes but this was hardly ever enforced. 5. Whilst one can accept that Royal Carribean can't vet the people that sign up for their cruises, it has to be said that this one involved some appalling standards of behaviour on the part of the passengers. We heard that quite a number of passengers were offloaded at the various ports of call for one transgression or another and I can well believe it. This is certainly the most "dumbed down" cruise we've been on - Cunard had much higher standards and Princess weren't far behind either - I wouldn't book Royal Caribbean unless the "booze cruise" idea appeals to you, to be honest.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Sailed from southampton on a gloomy day . Weather stayed poor until Gibraltar. Can't blame ship for that but it wasn't exactly deck weather and there was little entertainment besides. Three of us in cabin, two pensioners and a ... Read More
Sailed from southampton on a gloomy day . Weather stayed poor until Gibraltar. Can't blame ship for that but it wasn't exactly deck weather and there was little entertainment besides. Three of us in cabin, two pensioners and a fit fifty year old who unfortunately slipped on bunk ladder and badly hurt back on first night. Unable to accesss this bunk by three of us. Appealed to customer services. They came to look made a lot of sympathetic noises, but effectively did nothing. No bedding for settee supplid that night so had to take sheets off other two beds. Final solution, my friendslept on a folded duvet on the floor for rest of trip. Not very satisfactory. We were made to feel like we were "trying it on". Not the case as we have travelled quite happily three in a cabin on other cruises. In fact customer services were quite patronising and bordering on rude when consulted on other matters. Food quite good and service excellent in dining areas. Entertainment variable. Mike Doyle and production shows excellent. Other entertainment pure Butkins especilly shows on Promenade......rubbish and wuth minimum effort by cruise director. Not enough seating in bar areas......should have utilised space where cupcakes ben and jerr's were also paid dining......these appeared very little used.....just a tack for more money. Whole experience so tawdry compared to Princess Cruises. Never again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We have just returned from an 8 night cruise to France and Spain onboard The Adventure of the Seas and can honestly say that is one of the worst experiences we have ever had. The Ship is very impressive to look at but that is where it ... Read More
We have just returned from an 8 night cruise to France and Spain onboard The Adventure of the Seas and can honestly say that is one of the worst experiences we have ever had. The Ship is very impressive to look at but that is where it begins and ends. The Food was of a very poor standard compared to other cruises we have been on the meat was tough, and was either undercooked or cremated no happy medium at all barely edible the choice was limited and the only thing i can liken it to was a very average all inclusive ie Butlins. The daytime entertainment was very repetative and of a holiday camp standard and as for all the supposed ammenities such as ice skaTing rock climbing inline skating these were also limited to a couple of hours a day weather permitting and no other alternatives apart from the very cheesy kids clubs were on offer for older kids my 12 year old son was bored to death. The only thing to look forward to was the evening shows which were at inconveniant times and in order to see them we had to eat in the self service cafe nearly every night because the main resturants took upto 45 mins to bring each course. the ship was understaffed and we sometimes waited up to 30 min to be served with a drink in the bars. All Royal Caribbean seemed interested in was making money out of passengers by trying to sell them sub standard goods at inflated prices. ie cheap watches and immitation pandora braclets. WOULD NEVER BOOK WITH THEM AGAIN   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My main problem with this ship (and likely the whole fleet) is the food. While there were other passengers who happily ate their meals, I was in the awkward position of having to live mostly on rolls & cheese, some fruit, with the odd ... Read More
My main problem with this ship (and likely the whole fleet) is the food. While there were other passengers who happily ate their meals, I was in the awkward position of having to live mostly on rolls & cheese, some fruit, with the odd yogurt now & then, plus a few bowls of horrible, tasteless porridge, and at dinner occasionally a few veg without seasoning. Why? Because my stomach does not like garlic, and it makes me sickly. I have never had an experience like this on a cruise, where almost every food item is laced with garlic, including: soup, mashed potatoes, hamburgers, meats, fish, every prepared food & salad. Because of this, it was a 2-week ordeal. Who would expect that a cruise ship doesn't have some meals prepared in a classic way without garlic? I have to give credit to the restaurant staff who tried hard to overcome the problem, by saying that I should tell them in advance what I would like for dinner and they will get it prepared without garlic. I tried that, but then the meat was completely bare, naked, devoid of any taste, and no sauce except a dressing with garlic, or simply butter. The chef at Windjammer was very nice, but that place is chaotic anytime without trying to get a special meal made up. It was all too much struggle. I was told that most of their food comes already pre-packaged with the flavouring in it. I hope this is not a trend among cruise ships nowadays. I would like to enjoy the food on my next cruise, but which ship would be safe to choose? Embarkation was chaotic too; no one to direct passengers as we boarded. Cabins were not ready. I had to walk around various decks with my carry-on & coat, etc.in hand, trying to find my way around. Not pleasant. For me, the best thing on this cruise was the Ice Show - super! And the people in the song & dance shows were good.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This is possibly the worst cruise I have ever sailed on. As a Royal Caribbean Diamond member I have been on quite a few cruises and reviewed every one of them. This one was the pits. Just as a reference, I travel alone and booked a medium ... Read More
This is possibly the worst cruise I have ever sailed on. As a Royal Caribbean Diamond member I have been on quite a few cruises and reviewed every one of them. This one was the pits. Just as a reference, I travel alone and booked a medium suite (GS grade). The boarding went smoothly enough and there were no queues (I arrived at 1.00pm.) Issued with my charge card I made my way up to the 10th.floor and attempted to get in my stateroom. No such luck. I had to make my way down to guest relations and queue for 20 minutes to get the key re-programmed. And then make my way back up to 10. It transpired that the staff had had trouble since early boarding with faulty electronics on deck 10. There is no joined up thinking. Staff will not take responsibility for any problem. Anyway, I at last managed to get inside my cabin. I have never taken photos of problem areas as there really haven’t been any. Anyway, on this review I am going to make an exception. Several photos showing the state of the cabins have been published at: elvendon.phanfare.com Bear in mind that this ship was docked for refurbishment in the Bahamas only a couple of weeks ago. Added at that time were an outdoor cinema screen, a re-branding of the one specialty restaurant and new signage. What RCCL didn’t do was clean the cabins. No profit in that! Anyway, went to get a bath the following morning and as soon as I turned the taps on was met by a stream of brown water. This cleared after a minute or so. This was reported to the floor manager who said he would look into it. Not really interested. Didn’t want to look at the problem – would not take ownership. I would also suggest that RCL look at adding a non-slip bathmat which might save them thousands of dollars in compensation when people slip in the bath. You will see a picture of the grime around the sink in the stateroom. Need I say more. The cabin attendants are so busy that they haven’t got time to complete the tasks that they are supposed to perform. And the floor manager couldn’t care less. Well, I hear you say, why didn’t you complain. I’ll tell you why. It would have fallen on deaf ears. I was spending over £300 per day for this vacation. If you need to complain – you are not spending your money wisely. I have no intention of writing through the pros and cons of a four night trip taster cruise. I never went ashore. Other notes that might interest you: 1: No general shop open for the whole voyage. Note on doors said that due to Customs problems they were unable to open the shop. It sells tobacco and alcohol. It also precluded passengers purchasing mouth wash or toothpaste or plasters etc. The only reasons that the shop was shut was because either (a): RCL couldn’t earn enough or (b): there was insufficient staff. 2: Very poor shows. No named acts other than a Beatles tribute band on the third night. RCL do not seem to provide a decent budget for stage shows. It’s all very well providing good entertainment on the Oasis – with the likes of the Lion King or Chicago etc. What about your average punter who has paid good money to be entertained by a group of dancers who are paid near the minimum wage. People were walking out after the first 20 minutes (the show lasted 40 minutes). Getting back to staff shortages – On at least one day I wanted an alcoholic drink at 12.45pm. There was only one bar open!! People were queuing 5 deep to get a drink. This is very short sighted – more staff more revenue. As a final point I would mention that my cabin was not made up until at least 13.00 on every day (except the last). The steward was grossly overworked. All in all a very disappointing cruise. Times were shown where suite customers could jump ahead of the general clientele. This did not happen. On more than one occasion I was informed that separate seating arrangements “were not available on this cruise” and that I would have to queue up with the rest of them. This is fine if you are not paying £300 per day for the privilege. Then, I think, I’m entitled to be first. The following point is also worth mentioning: On the third day we were meant to be “cruising”. This according to RCCL is a euphemism for remaining 40 miles north of Le Havre and 45 miles south of Southampton without moving. We remained all day just stuck in the middle of the English Channel only moving with the tide. Strangely enough the signal for mobile phones went down early AM whilst we were stuck in the channel and only came back on again when we approached Southampton – early AM the following day. I would point out though that the satellite stateroom phones were working 100%. Even though they were connected to the same satellite service as mobiles. Maybe a case of extra revenue for the ship to shore phones? Just one last point that I thought that I should mention: The 10 piece band. Absolutely first class. Couldn’t get enough of them.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We say that most of the staff of Royal Caribbean have to work with situations they can not control. Our stateroom steward was wonderful. He had to deal with our terrible situation. 1. Restroom smelled like urine everyday. He used bleach ... Read More
We say that most of the staff of Royal Caribbean have to work with situations they can not control. Our stateroom steward was wonderful. He had to deal with our terrible situation. 1. Restroom smelled like urine everyday. He used bleach regular to clean and pour down the drain. 2. The stateroom smelled like urine regularly. 3. The refrigerator did not work. Told 5 minutes after arriving. The steward called repeatedly. On night 12 the steward changed the refrigerator on the guest service called to say they replaced it when they found out. So it was day 13 before we knew it worked. 4. Soot was on the bed, regularly, coming from the air conditioning vent. 5. The lock on the stateroom stuck almost everyday. 6. The dietary issues. The chef was Jamaican, and when told by the head waiter what to make, would not. Deserts were repeats of the samething. They tried to issue fruit. I would do what I was told by the head waiter. Then I would go to the grill at lunch, no desert of limited choice for meal. Then the food was often not the correct temperature. Hot food cold, cold food warm. 7. Then discuss issues. The guest service would not answer, or just shrug her shoulders. 8. The Guest Services was not forthcoming on port information. All options of port transportation. Say there was only a 15 euro transport, but there was one that was free, Valencia, Spain. 9. The ship had a terrible smell of waste on the fourth deck by the theater. 10. Royal Caribbean is missing the final touches. They are lacking the staff to complete. Less staff in the dining room. They don't clean the table from crumbs after dinner before desert. There was a shortage of staff. 11. Payment for things that use to be free. We would show up to a craft presentation, they would want to charge $9.95. People would get up and leave once they found the price. I filled out the survey for them. What is so said, people on the cruise brought things up everyday at breakfast. We didn't say a thing. 50 percent of the guest did not go to the dining room. The head waiter said the cruise before was 98 percent. These low numbers were unheard of. People left the theater in droves some nights. The performances were poor. It was a major conversation the next day at breakfast and dinner. There was something that were good. We had a good time with many people. Made new friends. We bonded on the terrible service and problems of the day. We are thankful we were not stranded at sea. If we had never had the quality service of the past cruises, we wouldn't know better. That is why future cruises must be on another company. We have had a good trip overall, but were very disappointed with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We cruised on the Adventure Of The Seas now in July, and were quite disappointed. We cruised many times and mostly on RCC. The My Time dining did not work at all on this ship. The reception explained that it is not possible to get a ... Read More
We cruised on the Adventure Of The Seas now in July, and were quite disappointed. We cruised many times and mostly on RCC. The My Time dining did not work at all on this ship. The reception explained that it is not possible to get a reservation at 7:00pm We had to share with other couples, or wait for a table many times even if our booking was for 7:45. After we've complained many times for a week ( in a nice way) They said we can now get a table for 7:00pm. The table was in an area where they scrape the plates, stack plates, drop glasses, and bump out chair to get passed with the serving trolleys and the noise was just overpowering the conversations. We asked after 3 nights there if its not possible to sit at a decent table..... The lady said she will let us know, the next morning they phoned to the cabin and said only that table is available... I said no ways will I sit there again and will report this. When we arrived that evening there was a much better table available for us quiet and pleasant!!! We dined a few in the Windjammer. We found a lot of dishes were repeated every time we were there. The same cookies, same cheesecake, chocolate sensation everyday!!! Wow what happened to variety. The evening shows were weak: Bee gees ,Queen and the RCC dancers . Some elevator buttons needs to be replaced, the safe in our cabin - buttons worn too. The first night when we dined I dropped my serviette and there were so many breadcrumbs under the table. They could not have cleaned there for a long time - it actually looked like they sweped the stuff under the table. We discussed the ship with some fellow regular cruisers and all agree that they don't think much of the ship and service. They are not too impressed with Adventure.... SORRY we will definitely not sail on her again.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We booked a 2 week Mediterranean cruise for 2 adults and 2 children (13 and 8) sleeping in one family cabin with a balcony. The bed option was a double bed and a sofa bed. Embarkation at Southampton was very smooth. When we were able to ... Read More
We booked a 2 week Mediterranean cruise for 2 adults and 2 children (13 and 8) sleeping in one family cabin with a balcony. The bed option was a double bed and a sofa bed. Embarkation at Southampton was very smooth. When we were able to access our cabin, we were disappointed. The room was small – we were prepared for that as we appreciate space is a premium on a cruise ship. However… there was a chair on the balcony that was broken, the carpet was threadbare, the cabin units were badly chipped and scratched, the sofa had some very dubious stains on it, there were stains on the sink, about a 7cm crack on the plastic shower enclosure and a urine stained toilet seat. It was also very dusty. When we opened a drawer, there was a dirty fork inside. We complained about the state of the cabin. During the course of the cruise, we had… a new toilet seat, new balcony chair, new sofa, new carpets, new shower enclosure, the stains were removed from the sink, the room was also given a ‘deep cleanse’. It’s very disappointing to save all year, paying in excess of £7000 for the four of us - having booked the cruise based on the brochure which promised rooms you won’t want to leave! The kids club – two stories for this… my 8 year old enjoyed the kids club. My 13 year old really didn’t want to go on a ‘Scavenger Hunt’. Knowing 13 year olds – I can appreciate that isn’t an activity that would appeal – it’s definitely not something I would have signed up for at that age. There was a football / basketball pitch/court. This was unsupervised. The game of choice depended on the choice of the biggest boys – playground mentality prevailed. There were nets surrounding the court. These were designed to keep stray balls from hitting passers by – they were full of holes – some of the holes were small – the biggest I saw was around a metre in diameter. This is something that should have been addressed before the holes developed to the size they did – it’s simply a safety issue. Having paid just short of £1000 for a drinks package, it was disappointing for my husbands choice of drink (Peroni) to only be available for a few days before it ran out – it was not re-stocked until we docked at Genoa. One day we went to Johnny Rockets – a restaurant you pay for…. The whole boat had ran out of frozen chips and so we paid for greasy, soggy hand made chips… I don’t know that I would recommend restaurant based on our experience – the chips aside, the burgers weren’t fabulous in my opinion. The entertainment…. Well… one day the Cruise Director and his side-kick said in previous jobs they’d worked in coats of different colours. It showed. If your idea of entertainment is Mr Adventure of the Seas (poolside), daytime activity people dressing up and lip-syncing to various songs (night time), Men v Women battle of the sexes – which entailed things like passing an orange up and down a line neck to neck and karaoke you’ll enjoy it. In addition, there were various acts – not sure who auditioned the acts – but there was a man with a piano – he was out of tune. There was a band made up of old men playing old stuff. There were various other acts…. my advice to whoever booked them would be to consider whether it would get 4 yeses on Britain’s Got Talent. There was a cello/violin group that would get past the first round – they were great, however, there was a juggler (really!) the sort you can pop 50p in a hat in the high street, a man and a piano billed as the Funniest Bald Man and a Piano (or something like that) – his jokes weren’t great and he wasn’t a great pianist, there was a hypnotist – not great – he ‘hypnotised’ a group of people (some clearly faking it for their 2 minutes)… I spent the night with an awful view of a ‘true’ Scots man in a kilt sitting with his legs akimbo. Would have been sensible for him to hypnotise all of us into believing his act was good! The show cast that performed I think for 3 nights in the 2 weeks were good. Not sure what they were up to the rest of the 2 weeks! Food – the Windjammer reminded me of a Service Station / School Dinner hall. However, we mainly ate in the Mozart restaurant. It was great. I really cannot fault it. The waiters, the service, the food quality and choice were excellent. It was a really good chance for my children to try some new things. Amazed that my son loved the snails (they were great). But if they did choose something they weren’t keen on, the waiters took it away and brought them something they thought they’d like – which they usually got right. We did complain to Royal Caribbean’s Executive office when we got back – they apologised and offered us money off another cruise – however, my 8 year old put it very nicely – why would we spend more money with them… she’s right. Although they said they wanted us to give them a chance to show us how good they can be, my view is that they had the chance this year! On the whole – despite being told when booking, it was a ship that was having a re-furb (think it only had a limited re-furb), it was very tired and worn out. Definitely not worth the money and not something I would choose to do with my holiday in future – although I did enjoy the cruise aspect – I would try another company! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Cruised on independance in August around the med. lovely big ship but problem after problem. Rude staff. Totally unimpressed. Dirty mattresses. As pictured. Tv not working. Cabin not serviced to a high enough standard and staff at guest ... Read More
Cruised on independance in August around the med. lovely big ship but problem after problem. Rude staff. Totally unimpressed. Dirty mattresses. As pictured. Tv not working. Cabin not serviced to a high enough standard and staff at guest relations were un helpful and not capable in providing adequate customer service. Have complained and doubt very much i shall be cruising with royal caribean again! Clearly don't value there customers. Hair dryer gave electric shock and then was removed from the room. Far from the cruise we expected. Me and my wife are in our mid twenties and to be perfectly honest I have seen better run circus's because it was honestly like dealing with clowns! Was told I would be contacted when back in shore. No contact till I rang 3weeks later. 0% faith in royal Caribbean. Shame as I have had great experiences on previous cruises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Boarded the adventure of the seas with some trepidation as we had had issues with RC before, check in was ok and just a short wait to get into our outside stateroom, luggage arrived in good time, ok good start i thought, then downhill, ... Read More
Boarded the adventure of the seas with some trepidation as we had had issues with RC before, check in was ok and just a short wait to get into our outside stateroom, luggage arrived in good time, ok good start i thought, then downhill, cabin steward just managed a grunt each day despite trying to have a conversation with him, nothing, other stewards were fine, next was a quick meal in the windjammer restaurant, well how no body ended up with a stomach upset from lukewarm food i will never know, the only good thing were the waiting staff as always but their numbers were greatly reduced, main restaurant was somewhat better. The ship cruised at a very slow speed to Iceland so sea days consisted of reading (be warned the library is very poor) so what was there left to do, no daytime entertainment apart from an ice show twice in 12 days, rock wall or gambling so you were pushed towards over priced drinks and shopping for junk you never knew you needed, as this was a cold climate cruise people stayed inside leading to a shortage of seating on board, as a result of the slow rate of knots the shore time which is the main reason for the cruise was very much reduced, don't believe the time table you are given by RC those are arrival and departure times add on 1hr for arrival clearance and subtract 1hr for packing away. Senior staff didn't want to communicate with passengers making you feel beneath them , organisation on board was non existent which actually lead to a fight right in front of me whilst waiting to go ashore no one from RC were helping with this and we all know how some people feel and act when having to queue. I can go on for hours but i wont, all i can say is if this was a first cruise i would probably thought it was wonderful, but having been on a variety of ships for years the standard has really dropped and cost cutting to increase profits has taken over. Please don't make the mistake we did. NEVER AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
After many cruises with RC,we have always come home excited to tell everyone about the unusual and special things that only happen on a cruise. We have cruised with many cruise lines and of course they also have that one and only type of ... Read More
After many cruises with RC,we have always come home excited to tell everyone about the unusual and special things that only happen on a cruise. We have cruised with many cruise lines and of course they also have that one and only type of holiday that you get when cruising. Last year we went with three different cruise lines NCL, in March, RC,Adventure Of The Seas in July and in October P & O. Each had a small spin on the same unique holiday called cruising. On 29 Oct 2014, We have just come back form the cruise dated 12 October 2014 Called Med Cities,on The Adventure Of The Seas, in a Junior Suite Room number 7692. What a Big difference a year makes as this is the second time in a row we have used this ship we were in the Italian part of the med last year!! First of all I would like to say we feel we were duped by getting a Junior Suite all that money for a few extra square feet!!!! disgusting Although we were told that we had restricted viewing We were not told that on the days we could actually go on the balcony we would have to put up with staff on the deck just below ours having their breaks sitting there smoking and messing around. Of course it's not their fault But had we been informed of this we would not have taken the room even if it was for free!!!( We will never ever get another Junior Suite!! With the restricted views we hardly had any sunshine our Balcony It was always wet or damp couldn't really use it!!!! When we looked out our views were completely spoilt by the staff smoking and chatting!! ( Again it's not there fault they have to sit there!!) We went to reception to comment the lady wasn't interest and said all we could do was write to you at head office, Royal Caribbean on our return!!! We traveled bus which was new, comfortable and for us it meant the start of our holiday. We were late getting on the ship due to a strict hygiene deep clean after a small S & D breakout on the previous cruise. The Safety Drill went ahead even though passengers were still trying to broad THIS IS SURELY AGAINST MARITIME LAW as all passengers must take part!!!!!! Albeit that your staff in the past have been Fabulous on this trip they weren't!!!!! We would stress that it's not there fault, it's all the cutbacks, less staff working to hard, making mistakes and making our time very impersonal To which we were saddened to see!!!!!! What's happened to all the nice things like folded towels etc. Ice Sculptures, dinner staff going around singing or just to music with us guests waving our serviettes,The Flower Trolley, champagne and chocolates,this is the type of thing we liked on our cruises. Making this type of holiday unique, that's why we chose cruising and introduced our friends and family to it there were twelve of us last year and it was wonderful what's Happened!!!!!!!!!!! Last year a few of our group smoked they went outside didn't mind at all but this year you have allowed it in the casino we use the casino quite a bit and all we could smell was smoke it was awful and In fact that is all you could smell all over!!! I'm sure in fact I know it's not allowed to be in public places because secondary smoking causes CANCER it's also against the law!!!!!! But as you are on the ocean you think you can do as you please If that carries on that's something else we will not be doing going in the casino!!!!!!!!! It's so sad to see a company of your calibre and 40 plus years in the business to loose track on what cruising is all about we know that it's always about making money but surely please don't loose sight of that personal touch that quite a lot of cruisers like. The staff have always been very polite and professional but to many cutbacks has changed all that, My Time dinning has also changed the way the staff interact, they just don't have the time to be friendly!!!!! Even your entertainment has become like what you would expect on a caravan camp holiday!! Although their was a couple of star turns to which you flew in!!!!! The ship it's self was in need of a complete update because everywhere looked dated. We read that the ship had some work done on some areas but we did not see this!!!!!! Our only savour to this holiday was the trips we took around the cities, getting off the ship for home was good! We have a cruise booked next year and sadly if it's like the one we have just been on we won't be returning to Royal Caribbean. Thankyou for listening and we hope you can take these few points on board. Shaun Wood   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
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