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2,160 Royal Caribbean Southampton Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it. 2 adults & 1 teen Our Balcony Cabin was bigger than expected and equipped with everything we needed, a bit dated but clean and comfortable. Nice bedding and comfy beds Very ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it. 2 adults & 1 teen Our Balcony Cabin was bigger than expected and equipped with everything we needed, a bit dated but clean and comfortable. Nice bedding and comfy beds Very Happy with our room attendant Sugi who was always smiling and kept our cabin in good order. We had a little problem with the Pullman bed on the first evening and that was dealt within minutes followed by an apology letter. We opted for “my time dinning” although booked our time slots in the planner before we sailed this way we still could be allocated the same table and waiter each night. Our waiter Beemal was great kept us entertained and was very attentive. Could not fault the food in any of the restaurants, bars or Cafe’s. We mainly ate in the main restaurant for breakfast, lunch & dinner. We used the Windjammer a couple of time and found the food to be very good, huge choice and although it was busy we didn’t have a problem finding a table. Johnny Rockets was also really good, milkshakes were amazing and worth the additional $9.95 per person on there own. The pool areas were quite busy especially on sea days when it was more difficult to find a sun bed, also it was school holidays so ship was generally busy, it never seemed overly crowded and we liked the adult solarium. We never had much of a wait getting drinks around the pool bars, the sky bar was our favourite, the staff were the friendliest, not that you need to go to the bar as there are plenty of waiters walking round delivering directly to our sun beds. Ice show, dance shows and Grease were amazing. My partner used the gym which was well equipped and he had a great view when arriving a ports first thing. We had the Key package and I would recommend it, it come with quite a few perks including the reserved seating for all the shows and the internet. We also were allocated time slots for the climbing wall, flow rider, ice skating and trampolines (we didn’t get round to doing most of them) The first day lunch was served in the main dining room but used the chops grill menu, It was a lovely and relaxed way to start our cruise. It was also nice to leave the ship when we wanted to rather than waiting to be called. Overall for what we paid which was about £17 per per person per day it was good value and would get again if offered at the name price. The only thing I would say is that it’s not fully advertised on the ship and you have to ask when you go into the theatre and shows to be seated. We had to select a showing for the Grease performance and was advised to meet in the bar and would be taken to our seats, this didn't happen so we made our own way and was shown to our seats. We left the ship at both ports in Spain but just had a walk around did not do any trips but would consider on our next cruise (already booked) it’s a shame the independence is not sailing from the UK next year as we really loved it, just hoping Athem lives up to it. Overall we had a wonderful cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have just returned from a 13 day cruise from Southampton to Spain, Lisbon, France. Travelled in 2 cabins, myself and my husband in one and our 2 teenage boys in the other. The embarkation and disembarkation was a dream. We parked at ... Read More
We have just returned from a 13 day cruise from Southampton to Spain, Lisbon, France. Travelled in 2 cabins, myself and my husband in one and our 2 teenage boys in the other. The embarkation and disembarkation was a dream. We parked at the port, left the cases by the car and they were delivered to our cabin a couple of hours later. We drove from Manchester and were sat in the bar at 12.30pm enjoying our holiday without any airports. I would recommend carrying off your own luggage if you can - the luggage collection area was manic. In terms of the ship itself, I was a bit concerned about some of the negative reviews but we all loved it. OK there may be room for improvement in some areas but honestly if I didn't know the ship was being refurbished next year I wouldn't have noticed. It is in good condition and there are plenty of nice bars and good sun decks. Overall I thought there was a great atmosphere and a great mix of people onboard. Cabins were basic but fine and the cabin stewards worked super hard and cabin was always spotless - could not fault it. Plus the beds were very comfy - have never slept so well in my life! The dining was good. We did buffet for breakfast and lunch and the selections were vast and always delicious. The MDR was also good and we had 2 great waitors taking care of us. The food wasn't always amazing but honestly can't complain when they are serving that many people with that many food choices. Some nights the food was outstanding. We dined in Izumi which was truly amazing, so much so that we went twice. Definately worth the cost. Also Giovannis table was nice and a pleasant change from the MDR. Bars were great. Perry Grant in the Schooners bar literally made our holiday - he was hilarious and he packed the place out every night - fantastic. We had the drinks pacakge which was expensive at £41 per day each but was worth it when we worked out what we would have spent. The service in the bars was great and was never without a drink. Entertainment was a bit average but it is a personal choice of course and we were happy to watch Perry everynight (or the guitar player in Crown and Kettle). The ice show was good but some of the others not so good. The ports varied from great to poor but we expected that before we went and we had good weather which helped. The pool decks were good - generally very busy in areas but there were a couple of quieter spots where a sunbed could always be found. Loved the music and general atmosphere around the pools.Drinks flowing too and lots of waitors around. The teenaged boys enjoyed their holiday as the cruise allowed them more freedom than a typical holiday so they spent a lot of time with their friends and in the arcade. Some of the newer ships perhaps have more fancy entertainment but they enjoyed it. Overall we had a great holiday - the ship is great and the staff were excellent without exception. We would definately travel with RCI again (have only previously taken a P&O cruise which had a more "stuffy" atmosphere which didn't suit us as well). Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I was asked to accompany a friend and this was my first ever cruise. It was the best experience ever, From start to finish the whole experience was effortless. No queuing to board or disembark. Very calm and professional service ... Read More
I was asked to accompany a friend and this was my first ever cruise. It was the best experience ever, From start to finish the whole experience was effortless. No queuing to board or disembark. Very calm and professional service throughout. I did visit the gym once( to look around!) very well equipped but did not use it as I was relaxing but lots of people did. I was fortunate enough to see dolphins and whales!! Food was amazing, so much variety and all freshly prepared with so much choice all day long. I was a little disappointed with the amount of children running wild in the evenings unsupervised but it was the last week of the summer holidays.I do think young children should be with adults on such a luxury holiday not pulling phones off walls and playing in the lifts but that’s down to the parents. I won’t get the email to ask for my review about waiting staff as my friend booked it. I just wanted to mention Handi and komang gave the best service I have ever come across. Their attention to detail was above and beyond first class. Nothing was too much trouble for them. They truely deserve a mention as they made meal times an absolute pleasure. I hope 100% that I meet those young men again. An absolute asset to the ships crew. Thankyou Handi And Komamg for your service, friendship and entertainment. I am a bit of a sun worshipper so didn’t really use the day time activities but there was something going on all day every day. Evening shows were a must see. Some really good some not so good but everyone’s tastes are different. What I wasn’t really bothered about some were laughing there socks off so each to there own. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Have cruised a lot on several of the big lines and this was our second cruise with RC. Having read the other reviews this is our take. We traveled with our 24 year old son (he loves a free holiday!) and had a sea view cabin 2584 with 3 ... Read More
Have cruised a lot on several of the big lines and this was our second cruise with RC. Having read the other reviews this is our take. We traveled with our 24 year old son (he loves a free holiday!) and had a sea view cabin 2584 with 3 single beds one being a bunk! We had such a laugh taking it in turns to stop on the top and getting up and down the ladder! I'm 57 wife 51 so you can imagine the fun!!! Loads of room for the three of us and whilst the room was a little dated how much time time do you spend in the room!? Shower was more than ample for a six foot bloke and was kept impeccable by our room attendant. I have read that some people think the ship was tatty but you would really have to look hard to find wear and tear and during the two weeks there was always work going to paint etc and we also got a new mattress each during the two weeks as did the whole ship. Again it had no bearing on my overall holiday I found the ship to be excellent and exactly what we wanted. We eat each morning and lunch if on board in the windjammer and found it excellent. Great choice of everything with separate stations for various things every day. With 3000 people on board it is always going to be busy but we never found it hard to get a table and the staff where always around to clear or get you a drink. I have to say I had some of the tastiest food on a ship and the burgers at lunch are 5 star! I eat my own weight in burgers in the two weeks!! Dinner was taken each night in the the main dining room, we had intended to go to specialty restaurants a couple of nights but we really didn't need to as again the food and service was excellent. We eat second sitting and had two great waiters and the manager was also great fun. Varied menu each night and if you cant find something you liked there was also a great selection of old faves to choose from. As we remembered from our first RC cruise 10 years ago overall everything was top draw. Entertainment I wont spoil other than to say really enjoyed it. Didn't go every-night but had laughs with comics sang along to the Beatles and enjoyed the dancing. Would say you have to spend a night in Schooners with the ever so camp Perry and his shiny suits! Again a great mix in a great theater. Ports Gibraltar: Been before and love it. Go see the monkeys and enjoy England in the sun! Cartagena: Great little un spoilt Spanish town with fab buildings and little shops, if you love history the Roman ruins are spectacular. Barcelona: Two days to explore, do the red route on the hop on bus but leave time to eat some amazing food. The food market on La Rambla is a must! walk round looking at all the amazing meat and sea food then jump on a seat at one of the many food stalls and watch as you food is cooked! Had some amazing giant red prawns!!! Malaga: My new fave Spanish city! Flown in many times cant believe I never stayed here! Large cosmopolitan and very Spanish! Great shops, great back streets, great little Tapas restaurants and a lovely beach right next to the ship! Nothing to not like! Parma: Again been before, had a beach day then walk around the town, very pleasant. Valencia: 10 minute shuttle brings you to the centre of the old town, lots of squares and churches to find, what I call a proper Spanish city! Cadiz: Again very Spanish see above. Lisbon: Lots to see and on a food theme! find the TimeOut food market near the main square and eat!!! get there about 11.30 by 12.15 it was packed with locals, custard tarts to die for! And what a cruise in and out down the coast under the bridge! Getting on and off was a breeze we got there 12.30 on board 1.15 off in 10 minutes, Yes it was busy getting off and getting a taxi but no drama. Overall I would give a score of 9 out of 10. I really enjoyed it and after writing this review I will be looking for the next cruise! Andrew Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We’ve just come back from a 14 night trip on the Independence which went to the western Mediterranean. It was a fantastic cruise and very little of our experience was anything like negative. However, a quick run down of the different ... Read More
We’ve just come back from a 14 night trip on the Independence which went to the western Mediterranean. It was a fantastic cruise and very little of our experience was anything like negative. However, a quick run down of the different bits we saw and did, follows! -- Windjammer -- We found the Windjammer a huge improvement on Vision of the Seas’s version. The seating is well spaced out and the furniture is nicer, meaning it’s an experience that’s generally nice, rather than a low quality fight for somewhere rubbish to sit to eat some food. We avoided it on Vision as much as we could. The guys with guitars singing for guests to wash their hands on the entrance were slightly amusing but completely unnecessary. Those who don’t wash their hands, won’t do so just because a couple of guys are singing at them. Also if you eat like a normal grown up human, you’ll use cutlery anyway! -- Izumi -- We were looking forward to some beautiful sushi (as we’d had on Vision) but this Izumi focuses far too much on Hibachi. Which essentially is a chef singing songs (expecting passenger participation) and flicking bits egg into guests’ mouths amongst other really “hilarious” things. My wife and I went on a formal night but we were sat around a chef with six others, none of whom were wearing anything smarter than t shirts. Made us feel awkwardly overdressed and we were completely unable to have a nice meal together. Izumi on Independence is very much expecting you to order their Hibachi combo meal. Don’t get me wrong, the chefs are very skilled but the food just tastes normal, like you’d expect for cooked Japanese food. Nothing special but $10 more than the dining package allows. We did order some sushi to have with the cooked food which was excellent but the atmosphere just didn’t fit with a nice meal out with your other half. In summary, don’t bother going to Izumi if you want a classy meal, don’t. It’s a slightly too expensive, too loud and too informal way to spend an evening eating what’s quite regular food. -- Chops Grille -- Fantastic - we ate there three times! Wonderful food and a really nice atmosphere and view. The seafood towers were great! Definitely worth every penny, especially as a package night. -- Main dining room -- The service was great, as is expected. We found that the menu was pretty boring though. Turns out that Royal Caribbean make the menu more British as the majority of the passengers are British. I’m sure it suited many but I don’t go on holiday to eat the same food as I make at home! By the way, they don’t have soup spoons. Eating soup with a dessert spoon takes ages and got boring! A strange lack of equipment for Royal Caribbean! I would say that the MDR is a nice dinner, but not special enough to look forward to. The food is great quality but not interesting - left me wondering whether I ought to have gone somewhere else (even Windjammer!) for dinner rather than spend 90 minutes eating unexciting food. -- Bars -- The bars were as expected, brilliant. Great staff and plentiful drinks. Schooner is a bit of a shame as it’s too much of a thoroughfare and seems to have a quiz on every half an hour. Our experience of Schooner on Vision of the Seas was a good one, but it was far more laid back and more music than quizzes (can’t remember any quizzes there actually). -- The pools -- Fantastic - facilities are brilliant. The rules about reserving beds aren’t worth the plastic they’re printed on though - nobody follows them and the staff don’t confiscate stuff left on them all day. People reserve beds at 7am on a sea day and don’t move all day. This is a huge issue that Royal Caribbean needs to sort out! -- The promenade -- We had loads of great evenings around the Promenade. The events and music make for a lovely evening atmosphere - and a party too some nights. We loved spending time here! -- Dress codes -- If you’re new to Royal Caribbean, the dress code for anything other than a formal night is anything from very informal to formal. On formal nights, if you wear a Tuxedo, you’ll be in a miniority - I reckon only 5% ish of passengers wear Tuxes. Generally most others makes an effort - but even so, don’t expect to be surrounded by those smarter people. Even in speciality restaurants, if you’re in shorts and a t shirt, you won’t be turned away on formal night. But if you are that person, do those of us who’ve made an effort a favour and stay in Windjammer please! -- The other passengers -- Generally, the (mainly British) passengers were fine. We did notice however fairly large groups from a certain northern city in England (not naming where, but you might be able to guess…) who unfortunately don’t travel with a lot of class - taking up huge areas of bars/pool areas with towels, getting drunker than is enjoyable for others nearby and being unable to maintain any eating manners or dress codes. These people yawped at each other (at one point, one group had a water/drinks fight in the pool bar…) and had little consideration for others. We found this description of group travellers to be in a surprising majority on the ship, maybe this city finished early for their school holidays. The serious point being that I’m not sure we’d sail from Southampton again because of it. The cruise wasn’t cheap but apparently price doesn’t guarantee any quality in fellow passengers! As advice for other travellers, think about whether this sort of group has a tendency to affect your enjoyment and plan your activities with this in mind. -- the destinations -- As with the other two cruises I’ve been on, I don’t really choose a cruise because of its destinations when it’s around Europe. Simply because European port cities can be a little samey. They were all pleasant (certainly Cagliari and Cadiz) but places like Naples were not good for those who aren’t great on their feet. We heard of injuries! -- overall -- I would happily do this cruise again. Nothing can be perfect and for a 14 night cruise, Royal Caribbean did an absolutely sterling job at it. My small observations are definitely only tiny issues. I will definitely be traveling with them again next time! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
It's been a few years since we were last on an RC ship, onboard the Anthem, which was an amazing ship and experience. It was also one where most folk we spoke to would always say, "it's great, but it's not the ... Read More
It's been a few years since we were last on an RC ship, onboard the Anthem, which was an amazing ship and experience. It was also one where most folk we spoke to would always say, "it's great, but it's not the Indy". When we saw this year that Indy was doing a Canaries cruise, something we had wanted to do for a long time, we jumped at the chance to see if she was all that and more, especially after her recent refit and refurb, and hit or miss reviews here! Driving from Glasgow, thanks to FlyBe's exorbitant prices to fly direct to Southampton, our embarkation process from arriving at AB Parking to getting onto the ship probably took us no more than an hour from about 11am. The RC staff throughout were extremely helpful and ensured everyone was kept moving towards getting onto the ship. It was the same disembarking on our final day. It was all super slick, super efficient, and felt very well managed and controlled. Once onboard we had to wait about three hours for our cabin to be ready thanks to a deep cleanse of the ship due to an outbreak of the norovirus on the previous sailing. Again, on this point, I don't think I've ever seen a ship and her crew be so resolute in making sure everyone washed their hands, used hand sanitiser, or similar, be it getting on and off the ship or coming in or out of any areas with food and drink. Our cabin was starboard side mid-ships in the bow (7330). We weren't sure if it was a refurbed one or not, but it was certainly spacious when the sofa bed was away, with plenty room for my wife and I, along with our 11 year old boy. It also had a decent sized balcony, more than big enough for the three of us to be out on together. Our cabin steward did a decent enough job of keeping the room clean, although we had to put the sofa bed away ourselves after it was continuously left out for the first few days. After that, it was always put away during the day. The service felt perfunctory at best and nothing more compared to some previous experiences we've had. The ship itself, having spent a fortnight with her, isn't quite as grand as others would have us believe. She's a beautiful ship, but not quite in the same class as the Anthem (although I think we were spoiled sailing in her maiden year). The promenade is very nice, but you have absolutely no chance of getting any space or seats in the cafe, bars, or pub if you're on the 8.30pm dinner sitting. It's very disappointing after your meal to come down and see it crammed full with next to no space anywhere. Likewise, while we certainly never had any problems getting sunbeds or space at any time during the cruise, the poolside beds and those around the running track on deck 12 were very cramped and always busy with very little being done by staff to vacate empty loungers (there's supposed to be a maximum 30min limit). We always found space at the back of the ship towards the flowrider and beyond Johnny Rockets. Food wise, the Indy has definitely been one of the best ships for food I think we've been on. Both the Windjammer and Main Dining Room excelled in choice, quantity, and quality of food. Granted, the days at sea saw the Windjammer absolutely packed with very little room to get seats, but you prepare your best for this and try to schedule your eating time around when you feel it wouldn't be as busy. Johnny Rockets was never busy given it's a chargeable eatery ($10 per head for as much as you want), but the food was very tasty and I'm also sure ridiculously high on the calories. We also bought the three night dining package which we used in Giovanni's Table and twice in Chops Grille. Giovanni's is nice, but the food isn't a patch on Jamie's Italian on the Anthem, while our first experience of Chops on the ship wasn't great from a customer service point of view (this was rectified on our second visit and made up for the first one completely, plus the steaks are to die for in there). We used RC for two shore excursions, Lanzarote where we did the camels and timanfaya national park, and Madeira for the toboggan, cable car and wine tasting. While you are paying extra doing these through RC, we always feel it's better for piece of mind should any delays occur and you get left behind (as we saw several did during this cruise too). Both excursions were very enjoyable and professionally managed. We sadly only managed to see a few shows during our cruise; the brilliant Freeze Frame ice skating show, Frankie Valli and the Dreamers, and Grease. All very enjoyable, but you did need to be there about 30mins before to ensure you got a prime viewing seat. All highly recommended. Lastly, a special mention must go to our waiting team in the main dining room. Our sitting at 8.30pm was always brilliant thanks to Radu and Thommy who very quickly picked up on our needs every night. Nothing was too much trouble, any changes or requests were met with a swift response and resolution. Both were an absolute dream and played a huge part in making our holiday as enjoyable as it was. Radu in particular always had information to hand at the end of our meal regarding our next day on the ship. Both continually went above and beyond and were a pleasure from start to finish. We enjoyed our time on the Indy thoroughly, and while she maybe doesn't have the bling or glamour of the Anthem, we'd happily sail with her again in the future! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We had the most amazing cruise ever to Scadinavia on Explorer! I read the negative reviews on Explorer beforehand and they had me concerned. I really shouldn't have worried at all as the ship is in great condition for her age. Yes, ... Read More
We had the most amazing cruise ever to Scadinavia on Explorer! I read the negative reviews on Explorer beforehand and they had me concerned. I really shouldn't have worried at all as the ship is in great condition for her age. Yes, there was some paint chipping and condensation on the windows but you are much more particular than us if that's going to affect your vacation at all. The ship was clean, the staff (especially our stateroom attendant) was so friendly, the food in both the MDR and Windjammer was delicious and the entertainment was great (especially the skating show). We really couldnt find any fault at all with the ship. When we had an issue with our bathroom it was fixed in 15 minutes. We went to a lot of the game shows and sports events and had a fantastic time. We won 10 medals! Never had an issue finding a seat in the theater or star lounge. Even on busy sea days we always found a seat in the Windjammer and it was great that they opened the chops grille to give more seating for breakfast. We chose this cruise for the incredible itinerary and it didnt disappoint . Embarkation was very easy, we were on the ship in about 20 minutes. At most ports the ship docked within walking distance of the main areas . We did Oslo (go to Vigeland statue park), Copenhagen, Talinn Stockholm (dont miss the Vasa museum) on our own and found the cities easy to navigate from the ship. For helsinki we did a royal Caribbean excursion to a really fun ice bar which was great! For St Petersburg we used SPB tours which did the same itinerary as royal but was cheaper and had a smaller group In stavanger we climbed pulpit rock. Incredible views but an incredibly difficult hike dont underestimate it! Overall this was the cruise of a lifetime on a wonderful ship. Highly recommend a cruise on Explorer! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My husband and I sailed on Explorer of the Seas on 23 June 2019 on a 14 Night Baltic Cruise as part of his birthday celebrations and I booked the cruise a year in advance. He has always wanted to see Russia and this cruise gave us the ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Explorer of the Seas on 23 June 2019 on a 14 Night Baltic Cruise as part of his birthday celebrations and I booked the cruise a year in advance. He has always wanted to see Russia and this cruise gave us the opportunity to spend 2 days in St Petersburg, visit lots of other ports and sail from Southampton so no need for flights. We did have a long drive from our home in Scotland but broke up the journey on the way down, staying with family near Chester. Southampton Pre-Cruise - Stayed at the Premier Inn which I booked online a few months in advance. Parking available but very limited and payable extra. Booked dinner that evening at White Star Tavern which was excellent. - Parked car at ABP Parking. Again, booked in advance and was able to use a discount code when I emailed them direct to get 10% off. Couldn't believe how easy this was. Basically, we drove to the terminal, spotted the ship, were directed to a car park directly adjacent to the terminal, parked up, took out our cases with their labels attached and locked the car. We keep the keys and the cases were taken from us by porters. We just walked over to check in with our hand luggage and were on the ship within half an hour. We had an advised check-in time of 2.30pm but arrived at 12pm and were onboard by 12.30pm. Cabin - we had been assigned inside cabin 6229. I had put in a low bid on RCI's Royal Up scheme for a Promenade and a Balcony but was unsuccessful. The ship was full so no upgrades were available. We've previously had inside cabins which have been perfectly adequate although we did enjoy a balcony on a Marella cruise in the Med. However, RCI wanted an additional £1600 for the balcony cabin at the time of booking which I felt wasn't value for money. I hadn't considered an Ocean View cabin. With hindsight, I would probably look at this again as we missed seeing daylight and would have liked to have the ability to relax in our cabin in the evening and still enjoy a view. The cabin had everything we required - safe, fridge, double wardrobe and 4 shelves inside plus shelves at the dressing table and either side of the bed. There was a small couch but no table which would have been good for eating breakfast on the few days when we ordered breakfast in the room (Continental is free/ Cooked has a charge of $7.95 per room). There are tea/coffee making facilities. TV is limited, mainly RCI channels promoting their products, couple of sports and news channels and a Film of the Day channel. Explorer of the Seas is due to go for a refit next year and will benefit from new carpets/upholstery and a fresh lick of paint which it does need. However, the standard of service and attention from the staff more than makes up for this. We ate in the Windjammer at breakfast and lunchtimes (if we weren't in port) and the choice of food is fantastic. Fresh omelettes and eggs cooked to order. You could eat your way around the world. Staff are very attentive and we ordered our drinks when we sat down. We were on the ultimate drinks package and ordered whatever we wanted from the drinks menu. If there's a cocktail they haven't listed they'll make it for you if you describe it. We ate in the Main Dining Room which is called Sapphire in the evening and also had a 5 night Speciality Restaurant dining package which I had bought through the Cruise Planner. The first night was booked in advance and I booked the remaining nights as soon as I boarded the ship to make sure we had the reservations we wanted. The speciality restaurants are as follows; Giovanni's Table - We were disappointed with this. Nothing to do with the staff. The restaurant is situated on deck 3 and feels like it was added as an afterthought, no windows and almost feels like dining in a basement. Also, I had linguine vongole which appeared on the MDR menu a few nights later. Meant to be 'speciality'. Izumi - We're not very familiar with Japanese cuisine and enjoyed the experience. The staff were great at recommending dishes which fit within the budget allowed. We had 2 starters, 2 main courses on hot stones and dessert and only had to add $2.00 to the bill. The view from Izumi is stunning as it is situated on the top deck opposite the Sky Lounge. Chop's Grille - Our favourite. We ate here 3 times. Feels like a speciality restaurant should feel. Amazing view with floor to wall windows on deck 11. Ate every course offered on the first visit and realised this was just too much for us so got it right on the next visits. We stuck to the steaks but did see a couple having the small seafood tower which looked HUGE and delicious. Supplement for that but would be lovely for a special treat and especially if you like seafood. MDR - We always requested a table for 2 and never a problem. We were on My Time Dining and tend to eat later so usually arrived at 8.30pm which was never an issue. We requested a specific table on several occasions and were always accommodated. Food choices were great and we could always find something we liked. We aren't vegetarian and don't suffer allergies/intolerances so not sure what this would be like although the staff always asked this question in advance. There is no midnight buffet but the Promenade Café seems to be open all night (the latest we went to bed one night was 3am and it was still open) and serves pizza, sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee. Entertainment - Can't really comment on this too much as we didn't go to many of the shows/activities. We have previously been on Allure where the shows are of an extremely high standard so the offering on Explorer didn't seem as spectacular. We did go to the Silent Disco on the 2 occasions it was held and we found it hilarious. We also went to the Russian Folk Dancing show which was held in the Palace Theatre on the overnight stop at St Petersburg. Really enjoyed this and well attended. There was a singer playing most nights in the Crown & Kettle Pub on the Promenade and there was a singer called Perry playing in the Schooner Bar who proved to be extremely popular. He was like Liberace meets Judy Garland. There are discos every night in Dizzy's in the sky Lounge which start about 10pm (apart from one night when all the adults had to clear out for a teen zone!). Sky Lounge - This was our favourite bar, especially in the evening when we returned from the port and wanted a drink before getting changed for dinner. We watched most of the sailaways from here as the view is fantastic and the staff are so attentive. In reality, it was too windy to spend too much time on deck and the ship would have benefitted from a cover over the pool areas for this type of cruise. It wouldn't be an issue in the Med or Caribbean but the Baltic is quite windy, especially on Sea Days. The solarium is open to the elements and there were occasions were the Jacuzzi had to be closed. There were some people who lay on sunbeds but they were wrapped in blankets and fully clothed! We actually had better weather than I expected but it was still to windy to sit on deck in the evening. PORTS VISITED - Our main reason for selecting this cruise was St Petersburg but the other ports proved to be equally as interesting. All the times I've given are the time we were allowed ashore. OSLO 1100 - 1630 Docked next to Akershus Fortress. No need for a shuttle bus. Can walk directly into town. We walked to the Opera House where you can walk inside and on the roof for free. We then went to the Tourist Info Centre in the main train station (one of the nicest stations I have ever seen) and bought tram tickets from there for Tram 12 to Vigeland Sculpture Park. Returned by tram to Mathallen which is a foodhall where we had a fresh seafood meal. Drink is VERY expensive but that's Nordic countries for you. Returned in time for a quick look at the big souvenir shop at the terminal before boarding. COPENHAGEN 1030 - 1630 Docked at Quay Oceankaj C331 which is potentially walkable but would take about 45 mins. We had booked a free walking tour with Sandemann's which started at 11am so we took the shuttle bus and tickets for this can be bought at guest services and charged to your account ($20 per person). Our walking tour was 3 hours and took us from City Hall through the mediaeval parts of the city down to the harbour. At the end, you tip the guide. Thoroughly recommend this. We had time for a drink in a bar overlooking the canal. 2 beers cost about £20 but you're in vibrant Copenhagen in the sunshine. HELSINKI 100 - 1700 What a surprise! Clean, cosmopolitan and friendly. We docked at Hernesaari which is a small peninsula which is being developed with new homes, restaurants. It is walkable into town but, due to time constraints and wanting to see as much as possible within the time constraints, we took the Hop On Hop Off Shuttle Bus. This was again charged to our account ($20 each) and makes 4 stops in the city. We saw the Old Market Hall which has reindeer, smoked salmon, prawns so don't eat too much for breakfast, Uspenke Cathedral, Rock Church (3 euros to go inside) and could have got off at the Sibelius sculpture but ran out of time as we had booked a sauna at the Loyly Sauna. This was amazing a very Finnish thing to do. We had a choice of saunas (traditional smoke and standard), birch twigs, terraces to enjoy a drink while looking over the bay and a dip in the Baltic and you HAVE to wear a costume which appealed to our conservative British customs. If you fancy this, book it in advance as it was fully booked when we arrived. You get a locker, towel, napkin and 2 hours in the sauna for 19 euros. Short walk from there back to the ship. ST PETERSBURG Stunning and overwhelming experience. Docked about 20-30 mins outside the city centre. 6 cruise ships all berthed in the same dock. We had booked an independent tour with SPB Tours and are delighted that we did. They were professional and their attention to detail was outstanding. We benefitted from the fact that we were a small party of 14 with our own mini bus and driver and were able to bypass the huge crowds which were everywhere. It was VERY busy. I don't think I've seen so many tourists in all my life. RCI try to encourage you to book their tours but, if you do, you're first off the ship so have to be up extremely early and you'll be on a big bus with about 40-50 people. We completed a form on the first day of our cruise informing them we had an independent tour arranged. We were given a time slot to meet in the MDR at 8.15. There were hundreds of people there and we were all taken off in groups to go through passport control. This takes about 45 mins to clear (much quicker on the 2nd day) and our guide was there to meet us when we got into the terminal. They wait until the whole group is there (as everyone had different time slots). We did the 2 Day Deluxe Tour and got a discount for being part of the Cruise Critic Roll. I paid everything in advance online and gave tips in US dollars to the driver and guide at the end of the tour. We visited the following; Metro Hermitage Church of Spilled Blood Yusopov Palace St Isaac's Cathedral St Peter and St Paul Fortress Peterhof Palace and Gardens Boat trip on Neva Lunches were included on both days (one was 4 course and the other was 5 course so you won't be hungry!) and we were taken to a souvenir shop. It was expensive but you can't wander about yourself so if you want a souvenir you buy it there or at the shops in the terminal (the ship did sell Russian gifts too). TALLINN 0700 - 1600 Easy 15 minute walk into town although there are shuttle buses available. We had booked the KGB Museum which is located in Hotel Viru at 11am. It's 2 rooms at the top of the hotel but gives a fascinating insight into life in Estonia in the Soviet era. Views from the top are pretty special too. Again, book in advance if you want to do this as it was sold out on the day. Spent the afternoon walking around the old town which is beautiful. Quaint houses, cobbled streets, viewpoints looking over the town. We went to a bar called Porgu where they serve Estonian beers and local food. Prices for everything are much more reasonable here. Also had cake and coffee in Cafe Maisasmokk which is the oldest cafe in Tallinn. Lots of souvenir shops so good place to stock up on reasonably priced local items. STOCKHOLM 0800 - 1430 Docked at Stadsgarden. It was pouring when we arrived which wasn't great but still have to go ashore for a look. There were shuttle buses and Hop On Hop Off which we didn't organise and we heard there were lots of delays due to the weather. We walked to Gamla Stan which was about half an hour. Very touristy in Gamla Stan. but nice to see the Changing of the Guard at the Palace at 12.15. We passed the Parliament Buildings and noticed they do free tours in English on the hour. We went for a meal in Tradition which had traditional Swedish food and was busy, always a good sign. The sailaway from Stockholm is the most spectacular I have ever seen and shouldn't be missed. It takes 5 hours so you can enjoy it from the Sky Lounge/restaurants on the upper decks. SKAGEN 0900 - 1630 Small town whose population doubles when a cruise ship arrives (on top of which there was a music festival so it was buzzing). Weather was extremely windy so probably not seeing it at its best but pretty houses and nice shops. Walkable into town although we bought shuttle bus and regular bus tickets in the Tourist Info at the dock (directly opposite the ship gangway). Went to Grenen where the Baltic meets the North Sea. This was fantastic. Get the sandworm otherwise it's a bit of a trek. We had amazing fish and chips in Skagen Fiskerestaurant where the floor is covered in sand (booked in advance online) STAVANGER 0900 - 1630 Docked in the centre of town so easy walk in. This was the only port where I had pre-booked a RCI Shore Excursion which was subsequently cancelled due to lack of interest (they credit your onboard account, not your credit card). However, we had booked the Petroleum Museum which we could see from the ship and just walked to! Cost of tour was almost £80 for us both (included a trip to the 3 Swords Statue) but entry to the museum was 120 Krone each (about £24). Spent 2 hours here. If we'd gone to other museums in Stavanger, entry would have been half price. Very pretty old town. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise primarily because of its itinerary which included one or two extra ports of call and fewer cruising days. Departing from Southampton was another bonus. We hadn’t cruised with Royal Caribbean before and Explorer ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of its itinerary which included one or two extra ports of call and fewer cruising days. Departing from Southampton was another bonus. We hadn’t cruised with Royal Caribbean before and Explorer was the largest vessel we’d ever chosen so we were slightly concerned we might find it overcrowded, noisy and too glitzy. Nothing could have been further from the truth as we had a very positive experience. Yes it was a busy ship but it was possible to find quiet areas to relax if you needed to. Service in the dining rooms was brisk, attentive and highly efficient with a consistent range of good food. The number and good standard of entertainment and enrichment activities was another pleasing feature. Compared to other cruises we’d been on, we were also impressed with the organised way disembarkation at ports was arranged as, apart from one occasion, movement of passengers on and off the boat seemed logical, speedy and well planned. Finally we have nothing but praise for all members of staff who were unfailingly happy, professional and willing to please. Explorer wasn’t the most modern of ships and a few areas did look a bit care-worn (notably the French-style cafe) but overall we had a remarkably enjoyable time and would happily choose Royal Caribbean again for another holiday. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Reviews for Med – royal Caribbean cruise june 2019 We sailed on a 14 day med cruise on Explorer OTS, chosen primarily because of the itinerary and it being mid-June. This was our 8th cruise but only our second cruise with Royal ... Read More
Reviews for Med – royal Caribbean cruise june 2019 We sailed on a 14 day med cruise on Explorer OTS, chosen primarily because of the itinerary and it being mid-June. This was our 8th cruise but only our second cruise with Royal Caribbean and I have to admit I was somewhat concerned about how much I would enjoy the ship, especially considering the spate of very negative reviews that have been written. Well in a nutshell my husband and I had a fantastic cruise and enjoyed almost all aspects of our 14 days, however in fairness I have to say that we are not overly critical people and enjoy a laidback cruise and on occasion the solitude of our cabin. So many reviews have commented that the ship is overdue for a refurbishment and not in a good stare of repair; well apart from the odd bit of rust on our balcony we had absolutely no complaints. Our cabin (8568) was well appointed, clean, had masses of storage space and the bed was very comfortable, and the public areas were fine. Then again we do not spend our holiday looking for negatives to complain about we just get on and enjoy ourselves. Embarkation was efficient and timely. We arrived in Southampton slightly earlier than boarding and after waiting perhaps 15 minutes we were on our way up the walkway, in the lift to the upper deck and sipping our first cocktail. (our traditional Aperol Spritz ) The windjammer buffet was a very pleasant surprise. Even that first lunchtime we were easily able to find a table and the choice and standard of the food was exceptional. The design seemed far more spacious than other ships we have been on and I never felt crowded. Perhaps my biggest compliment belongs to the MDR administration. When I booked I was not able to secure any time dinning and had to book fixed dinning. Unhappy with this option I contacted the Maître D on the first day requested a change and on the following day there was a note in my cabin saying they had amended my reservation to ATD. I really didn’t expect such efficient prompt action. My second compliment goes to the tender disembarkation organisation in Ville Franche. Royal Caribbean do not allocate tender tickets but it was organised in a very timely manner and we were ashore to meet out tour guide ahead of time. We ate every evening in the Sapphire dining room and enjoyed every meal. We liked sitting with strangers and having very different conversations each night. Service was perfectly acceptable for A La Carte service which I don’t expect to resemble the in/out speed of self service. We had planned to utilise our OBC by going to the speciality restaurants but food quality was so good I spent it on an amazing but ridiculously priced spa treatment instead,. Entertainment in the theatre was good but perhaps not excellent. While the professional acts were good I did not enjoy the royal Caribbean players. In my opinion the worst feature was the overly amplified sound system, making the whole show just a noise!! Perhaps the sound system was deliberately loud to mask the poor quality of the performers. Other evening entertainment venues did tend to get very crowded and was the only times I was aware that we were sailing fully booked. As iv said this cruise was chosen for the itinerary and we enjoyed every port. I don’t use ships tours preferring to organise my own small group private tours with local companies and all were excellent. I made contact with fellow passengers via CC and Facebook and a total of 8 couples did 5 tours of 4 couples each. It was an added bonus making such lovely friends. When reading my individual port reviews, you may realise I am not too keen on ships tours, but that’s my personal opinion. Small niggles – our cabin steward never bothered to introduce himself, disembarking at Southampton was a tad confused and I wasn’t keen on the structure of our balcony which was sheltered and prevented me sunbathing. All in all an excellent cruise, a fantastic holiday, some lovely friends and I won’t hesitate to book royal Caribbean again. Ports of Call Gibraltar Caught a white minivan outside port and had 2 hour tour of rock, tunnels, caves, views and monkeys for £30 pp. - Very enjoyable. The minibus was able to climb higher up the rock than the bigger tour buses and so minimised walking. Shop prices are in sterling or Euros but beware of the offered exchange rate. Excellent duty free prices - particularly alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes. Villefranche Had organised two private tours of 4 couples each with Riviera Premium Tours. Company had excellent reviews and ours tours lived up to expectations. Our 6 hour tour included Nice ( Flower market was amazing) Monaco, Monte Carlo, drove the grand prix circuit and the mountain village of Eze. A really good tour, professional and well organised and very reasonably priced La Spezia Florence and Pisa – small private tour of 4 couples with Florence Connections. We left early and beat the crowds, it included a long drive but was well worth it. Sergio our guide was excellent and our tour included a professional guide for 3 hours in Florence. Once again we were able to access the centre of Florence which the big coaches were not able to thus saving us a 20 minute walk each way. I was a little concerned about the distance we were motoring in case we were late returning to the ship but as Sergio explained all tours follow the same road back to port so any hold up would be experienced by all coaches. We were back on board at exactly our requested time and over an hour before the ships tours that only toured Florence. Both Pisa and Florence were amazing and I can highly recommend them. Rome – Civitaveccia We have actually stayed in Rome twice before so chose to stay in port. Wandered the town and found a ‘rustic’ café on the beach and ate pasta and bar b q prawns while sipping a local red wine. Life was good Naples We toured with AP Tours, a company I had used before and once again they were very professional, and gave great service. This time we toured Pompeii, a vineyard and ate a locally produced 5 course lunch while sampling the various wines. Highly suggest hiring a professional guide in Pompeii to appreciate the magnificent city. Two years ago I went on their Amalfi Coast tour which again was excellent. Can highly recommend either tour with this excellent company. Seville – Cadiz This was probably the best tour that we did. We did a 3 ½ hour food tour with Bertram from Cadiz Food Tours. We had a walking tour of the town which was so pretty and touched on the history, visited the fish market – amazing and then visited 3 different authentic tapas bars to sample both their food and wine. What an amazing tour, the food was unbelievable ( not everything was to my taste – do say if you are non-fish eater or vegetarian) but I was literally blown away by the quantity, the quality and the choice of food offered. For the price it was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our first ever cruise. We chose the cruise more for the ship than it’s destinations. On our arrival we were through check in and onto the ship in 10 minutes (although we did arrive an hour late on the coach due to traffic). The ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise. We chose the cruise more for the ship than it’s destinations. On our arrival we were through check in and onto the ship in 10 minutes (although we did arrive an hour late on the coach due to traffic). The ship is big but I expected more things on it. Our inside cabin (1697 on deck 10) was small (2 adults and 1 teen) but adequate and quiet. We didn’t eat in the main restaurant as it was a set menu and our son is autistic so has issues with food. Instead we ate at the Windjammer buffet (and once at Johnny Rockets). We could not find any fault with the food or cleanliness. Before entering you are encouraged to wash your hands (by the singing washy washy men) and use antibacterial gel. Johnny Rockets charges $10 per person as a supplement but you can then order as much as you want from the menu, plus the food was nice. Our cruise was from Southampton to the Mediterranean and back so the first 3 days and last 2 days were not great weather. The rest were fantastic but with only 2 sea days we didn’t use much. We used the swimming pool just once but sunbathed a couple of times. The flowrider was always busy with good surfers hogging it. The skypad was fun but the VR was a little disorientating. We went to plenty of quizzes and won one. The entertainment was fantastic with several top artists flown in Darren Day, Steve Hewlett, Jamie Allen plus others. We also had a stage show of Grease which was good but I found very disjointed and not in the correct sequence. The shops were expensive although they had many sales later in the cruise. The Market had some allergy tablets costing $15 but you can get them in Poundland for.......£1. The service throughout the ship was second to none, in fact I honestly don’t think I saw or heard any miserable staff. I need to pay particular praise on our stateroom attendant, Lionel King. He couldn’t do enough for you, and his standards exceeded our expectations. He came in a cleaned up twice a day. We didn’t do any ship excursions as they were extremely expensive. Instead we simply did our own thing. Getting on/off in port was always really easy. Our son has autism and he enjoyed the cruise but didn’t do any teen clubs. He struggled a few days with food choices but was fine most days. He particularly enjoyed the hot chocolate from the Cafe Promenade. Afterwards he said he would like to do another cruise but in the Caribbean next time. We will definitely do another cruise but next time we will choose it for the destinations more than the ship. My only disappointment was the cost of the shops, laundry (although they do a deal for $35), premium restaurants and excursions. Finally we would not get the soda drinks package again as in our view it’s not value for money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The food in the Main Dining Room could be improved. I ordered Prawns and was given a shrimp dish and the shrimp still had the shell on. The entertainment was great, so was the Ice Show. I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The food in the Main Dining Room could be improved. I ordered Prawns and was given a shrimp dish and the shrimp still had the shell on. The entertainment was great, so was the Ice Show. I don't agree with comments made that cruisers we're not happy with the entertainment. The Barricade Boys were off the chart awesome. We certainly enjoyed Perry Grant. Graham the Cruise Director was funny and informative. He can surely pack the Schooner Bar, 10-20 deep. I am so glad that RCL now has the hot milk in thermos instead of having it next to the oatmeal in a huge pot. We were invited to a Top Tier Party as Diamond members and that was very enjoyable. It would be nice if RCL would include more free mixed drinks for Diamond members in their menu. We will be back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Wow what an amazing family holiday! This was our first RCCL Cruise & we will definitely be booking again. Absolutely everything was hassle free & brilliantly organised. We ranged in ages from 76 to 7 & everyone had a blast. ... Read More
Wow what an amazing family holiday! This was our first RCCL Cruise & we will definitely be booking again. Absolutely everything was hassle free & brilliantly organised. We ranged in ages from 76 to 7 & everyone had a blast. Our cabins were lovely & clean with connecting doors. The children adored this & loved the bible that flipped out of the ceiling. The food in the dining room & buffet was exceptional quality & the choice was awesome. There was one day when it was busy & we waited ten minutes to enter. This was no problem & we were happy to wait for a table. The attention to hand hygiene was great as I was worried about this. We also are at Izumi & this was INCREDIBLE. The staff ship wide were amazing. The sorts staff were great. Our girls tried every activity they could - loved the flow rider, the trampolines, the swimming, shuffleboard, bingo, ice skating, the shows, laser tag and all the silly napkin folding and crafting classes. I would recommend this cruise to anyone travelling as an extended family who wanted something for everyone. You won’t be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Been our first cruise our travel agent recomended it we really enjoyed it the cabin was lovely spacious and our cabin attendant came around twice a day all the staff were lovely and couldnt do enough for you we ate in the sapphire dining ... Read More
Been our first cruise our travel agent recomended it we really enjoyed it the cabin was lovely spacious and our cabin attendant came around twice a day all the staff were lovely and couldnt do enough for you we ate in the sapphire dining room on deck 3 food was very good menu had a good choice of meals we sat on same table everynight apart from the night we went to chops grille wich was nice but thought it was just as good as the restaurant we were served by the same two waiters Prastika and Jayvee who were lovely entertainment was ok managed to see two films we wanted to see overall cant really fault anything staff work very hard and nothing was ever too much for them we purchased the drinks package wich i would recomend the waiters always made sure you had a drink sun bathinv without having to keep getting up for drinks was fab very relaxing Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We picked Independence of the Seas out of Southampton for our first European Cruise. Embarkation with the new expedited boarding using the new app was a breeze and we were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. Junior Suite #7712. ... Read More
We picked Independence of the Seas out of Southampton for our first European Cruise. Embarkation with the new expedited boarding using the new app was a breeze and we were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. Junior Suite #7712. Room was ready at 1 and lunch was ready in the Windjammer. The cruise itself was smooth as the seas were flat. Fog in the North Sea didn't cause any issues. Entertainment and food on the ship were great, although I found the menu changed from the Caribbean cruises and the entertainment other that the normal shows (Grease) was more directed at the Brits as was the menu. Ports of call were Hamburg, Germany, Oslo, Norway, and Bruges in Belgium. The Fjord passage was great, and plenty of time in all the ports for sightseeing. We just walked off in Hamburg and Oslo and saw the port. We did a beer tasting Tour in Bruges with plenty of time after for lunch (Belgian Waffle of course) and chocolate buying. Upon return to Southampton we did the Windsor Castle Tour on the return to the Airport which did not disappoint. Debarkation for the tour was well planned and quick. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This is our fourth trip on the Indy and first since the new refit of 2018. It was also our first cruise ship we traveled on back in 2008. It is our favourite ship along with the Navigator and Splendor (now gone to TUI). When I planned ... Read More
This is our fourth trip on the Indy and first since the new refit of 2018. It was also our first cruise ship we traveled on back in 2008. It is our favourite ship along with the Navigator and Splendor (now gone to TUI). When I planned this holiday for my wife's birthday I chose a Southampton cruiise to avoid flights as Brexit was blowing up at the time of booking and I did not want to do flights due to possible cancellations or additional costs such as visas etc. This is the first time my wife has driven to Southampton (as we normally would take the train and/or bus via London but these are becoming long and expensive) and we parked in the Yellow car park very close to the ship for £89 for the week. We stayed over the night before in Winchester as we had come from Nottingham and needed to be close to the port the following morning in case of any accidents or delays on the roads. As it happens, the roads were clear and we arrived at the port at 10am. The road near the docks had a digital sign that displayed "gate 8 for the Independence" which was very helpful as 2 other ships were also in that morning. It was also our first cruise with RCI as Diamond Plus members so we were right at the front of the queue for boarding and were in the Champagne Bar at 11am as we had the Deluxe Drinks package. This was well worth the extra money as there was 3 sea days and I knew I would not be outside much during them due to the location. One strange thing is that the "plus" on the seapass card is a + and not the word "plus" which would surely had made it easier to see for inspection where is was required (like for the reserved seating in the theatre and ice shows). The ship left on time and there were no issues. The Diamond Lounge is still on Deck 14 and they also used the Viking Crown Lounge as a overspill, so that area was closed off during the late afternoons. The chairs in the Diamond Lounge are not very comfortable and it was very busy and the nice settee chairs had gone (and there is no Concierge lounge for D+ members on this ship anymore so they all had to use the lounge as well). Also the coffee machine in the Diamond Lounge was broken for the first 4 days of the cruise as we normally nip up there after breakfast and lunch for a nice coffee and to get a better view of where we are. Now for the first bad thing - once again (as this happened 8 weeks ago on the Anthem), A single drink was added to our bill for $8.25 in the restaurant - even though we had the Deluxe Drinks Package (which is printed on the Seapass card and which covered beverages by the glass up to $14) and we both only had sparkling wine in there with our dinner and nothing else. Again we had not signed for anything and again Guest relations removed the fee and again, (like before on the Anthem) I asked Guest Relations how this had happened and again they could not answer why or how. I always thought that to incur a bill you had to sign a slip of paper at the time of purchase. The food in the main dining room was excellent and we dined there every night just after 6pm and had the same table and waiters throughout via My Time Dining. Also went in there for lunch on the 3 sea days and again enjoyed the fish and chips and also the salad from the middle of the room. Used the Windjammer a few times too. The food a really good and there was nothing to complain about. It was, however, a little full at certain times. The bars made us some nice drinks (had a few Kraken Coladas). The champagne bar was the place to be at night with a drinks package as there were all sorts of cocktails the barstaff would make you. Now the second and last problem was on my wife's birthday in Vintages where some very rude people pushed up to the bar and got served before my wife even though the staff had seen her waiting there for 10 minutes. It was a shame that the people who did this were British and this behaviour really lets us down especially when it is witnessed by Americans and Canadians. I think that since the refit some extra 500 plus cabin spaces have been created and therefore at certain times the bars and shows got really full really quickly. The shows were good. Got to see Grease again (last saw it in 2016). One showing was cancelled at the last minute for medical reasons but was put on 2 nights later. There was also the Take That Experience onboard and we got front row seats for it. It may be worth noting that the Diamond Plus and Pinnacle seats in both the Theatre and Ice Rink are only reserved and guarded by staff until 5 minutes before the show starts, so if you wait, you may get to sit in these seats at the last minute if no-one else takes them. The comedian on the first night told the same old jokes and seems a bit nervous and paced all over the stage. On the last night we got Mick Miller who had me in stitches with his jokes. The ice show was also excellent even though I have seen it many times before, I still enjoy it and this time we had 2 skaters off the TV in it. There were 2 large new waterslides that looked awesome, but I never got around to doing them (due to too many Kraken Coladas). The golf course has been moved from the back (where is was well sheltered from the elements) to the front where you get battered by the wind (although not too bad after a Kraken Colada or two!). It is a nicer course than before, but a shame it could not have been left where is was. Got my first Bridge tour with turning D+ so got to speak to Caption Teo. All I can say is that he is a very good Captain, but don't ask him if he will turn around and look for you if you fall overboard. Also, you get a bottle of wine in your stateroom upon arrival and they also offered is a free $34 laundry wash and fold. There were only 3 places to visit on this cruise. First was Hamburg. The ship sailed down the Elbe (effectively becoming our first river cruise) and docked right in the city centre. It was approx a 20 minute walk to the town hall and it was very well sign-posted. The return to the ship was not sign-posted and we had to remember which way we had come. Shame some "to the cruise terminal" signs could not be put up nearer to it. Next was Oslo. Again docked in the city and again a 20 minute walk to the cathedral. It was warmer than I was expecting as the north sea crossing was cold. Lastly, we docked at Zeebrugge and took the RCI trip for a sightseeing and canal trip of Bruges. Worth every penny. Well we had a onboard spend so used that to pay for most of the trip. The city was lovely and the weather was hot. One word of warning here is that there is a long walk involved and although it is flat, it takes a couple of hours and is more than the 2 miles RCI say it is and there is nowhere to stop if you are part of a guided tour. After the boat trip that lasted about 20 minutes, you did get about 45 minutes of your own time to get some chocolates and something to eat, but the city is very busy. This was the only trip we did via RCI as Bruges is quiet hard to get to in the time limit although there were some shuttle buses put on at the dock which were not advertised onboard beforehand other than "shuttle to the beach". Another strange thing here is that we were told we must take our actual passports off with us and not photocopies (as I have done elsewhere), but upon boarding only out seapass cards were inspected. I was told that Cruise Director Jamie Fentiman has left RCI. Marc (who I last saw on the Navigator) took over and did a very good job of filling in. The rest of the cruise director's staff were very entertaining but some did not speak good english which made it even funnier during some of the questions at the schooner bar quizzes. Yes there were still come very competitive people winning key chains and pens. It was a shame that the great "Name That Tune" from the Anthem had not been ported over as the prize on that was $300 of bed sheets (which I won back in march). The quest was also good, but they seem to have censored it down from years ago (if you know what I mean). Sadly the Indy is going to do the newly vamped Coco Cay run next year and may not be coming back to the UK. The Anthem is coming over as her replacement, and god help anyone going on it through the Bay Of Biscay to the Canneries! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
It was nice to be back on Explorer after many years. Embarkation was very quick and i was on board before 11 am. I know Explorer is due an upgrade soon but it didn't worry me at all. The crew were amazing always smiling and kind they ... Read More
It was nice to be back on Explorer after many years. Embarkation was very quick and i was on board before 11 am. I know Explorer is due an upgrade soon but it didn't worry me at all. The crew were amazing always smiling and kind they really made my cruise. I enjoyed the food and didn't feel the need to eat in any other restaurants other than the main dining room and the windjammer. I have to say i was very tempted i have to say to eat in Chops though. My cabin was 6441 an inside which was ideal for me i was well looked after by the kind steward looking after my room. Entertainment was good in the Promenade and the Schooner bar, i didn't see any other entertainment. I was told by many people i met how good the shows were and the ice skating show. I didn't do any shore excursions but as normal just did what i wanted when we arrived in the ports. Shore excursions seemed busy but i never spoke to anyone that had booked any so i cannot comment. I am very lucky to be back on Explorer in September and October and i cannot wait. As i said the crew made my cruise for me and i hope to meet up with some of them again Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Just got back from our first ever cruise and I dont think I could go back to a "normal" holiday. Absolutely amazing! Ship was amazing and staff were so attentive. Bars got very full at night and not enough seats but that's ... Read More
Just got back from our first ever cruise and I dont think I could go back to a "normal" holiday. Absolutely amazing! Ship was amazing and staff were so attentive. Bars got very full at night and not enough seats but that's the only thing I can honestly moan about. Entertainment was excellent and the cocktails!!! We only ate in the main areas so cant comment except Johnny rockets which for the price is a must! Absolutely amazing holiday and highly recommend! Excellent cruise for kids. My daughter loved it (6) Son is 2 so no kids club for him but staff were very accommodating and entertaining. My kids left feeling like royalty! So many different cocktails to choose from. Would definitely recommend buying the deluxe package. We were hesitant but ended up saving a lot of money. Photos were good and a reasonable price! Just waiting for ours to be delivered. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Was due to sale to Boston/New York/Florida but with big seas in the North Atlantic the captain decided to change the itinerary(twice).There was a lot of people who decided not to travel,it was mentioned 1000 and i would just like to thank ... Read More
Was due to sale to Boston/New York/Florida but with big seas in the North Atlantic the captain decided to change the itinerary(twice).There was a lot of people who decided not to travel,it was mentioned 1000 and i would just like to thank them all.The latest itinerary took us from Southampton to The canaries and on to the Bahamas and Florida with flat seas and clear sky’s 75/80 degrees for the six days at sea across the Atlantic.With only 2200 guests there was no need to change nationality to get a bed and all the bars and restaurants were easy to use.The food was fantastic and the level of service throughout the cruise was superb and on top of clear sky’s,flat seas,stunning food and fantastic service we received £250.00 from cruise 1st,$310.00 dollars on board spend and 25% off our next cruise and missed spending a fortune in Boston and New York.The staff in all departments were properly the best I’ve encountered with a special mention to Sweden and Benjamin our two excellent waiters where nothing was to much trouble.So i would just like to say what a fantastic cruise and thank you to all the people that cancelled which made it such a great crossing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We are a retired couple who enjoy cruising, so decided to cross the Atlantic to Florida, via the Caribbean, to enjoy some sunshine & heat. Embarking was straightforward, although there seemed to a be lot of people who apparently ... Read More
We are a retired couple who enjoy cruising, so decided to cross the Atlantic to Florida, via the Caribbean, to enjoy some sunshine & heat. Embarking was straightforward, although there seemed to a be lot of people who apparently don't realise that the crew have a hard job getting the ship ready for pax. We actually saw from our hotel room, people arriving, expecting to board the ship at 09.15 ! The ship was very clean & well maintained. The additions will obviously appeal to families, but it was easy to avoid the top area. Being a TA cruise, we didn't expect to see any school aged children, but as usual, we were wrong. Captain Iv runs a very good ship, & the ambiance proved that the crew like him as much as the passengers do ! He is a very affable person, who interacts with people very well. Orlando, F&B Manager on our cruise, was very approachable & we gladly congratulated him, & his team, on the food presentation & quality. Regardless where, or when we ate, the food was consistently good. Our stateroom was maintained very well by Bhisom, who was aware from the start, that we are early risers, so the room was cleaned by the time we returned from breakfast. The first few days proved challenging, weather wise, but the Captain deviated from the usual course, to avoid the main part of the adverse weather, but the conditions were still quite rough. The health lectures were very interesting, conducted by an American Cardiologist, Dr K Sheikh, who was entertaining as well as being very informative. We were delighted that the casino was smoke free for the entire cruise, but smoking is still allowed on one side of deck 11, although we could avoid it, if we remembered ! The food in both Chops Grille & Giovanni's was as usual, excellent, but as I stated earlier, the food was good, regardless where we ate, including Barefoot beach club on Labadee. The only downside.....the vast numbers of Diamond & Diamond Plus members onboard. It meant that the Olive or Twist Lounge was filled to overflowing every evening, long before 5pm when the event commenced. Suites & Pinnacle guests could use the lovely airy Suite lounge, but as there is no bar set up in there, the servers had to prepare drinks either in the pantry, or at the bar in the main lounge. Wine was easy for them to serve, but mixed drinks took a while to get. We think that the C&A society will have to rethink their policy as it's too easy to reach D & DP status. It used to be that D's had an event consisting of wine, beer & Cava, now, those who have 70 points enjoy almost the same as those who have 700 !! Janice, lead bartender in the Crows Nest, Olive or Twist Lounge is delightful. She was always upbeat, friendly & eager to please. She ran an excellent bar, & was constantly aware people were waiting to be served. All crew we encountered were delightful, & those with whom we have cruised before, remembered us....for whatever reason, but we didn't ask !! We like the ID, but like the itineraries of other ships within the fleet, so it will be a while before we are back on her. Our experience on RCCL ships has always been enjoyable, & whenever we hear people complain about food, or the standard of cleanliness onboard, we have to shake our heads & wonder what kind of lifestyle they lead. It's easy to opt for healthy, nutritious food. On our return home, we weigh ourselves, & find that we have not gained weight. It's not because we haven't eaten or drunk anything, but have chosen wisely, exercised, & followed a regime which is sustainable, no matter where we are. Waste of food is abhorrent to us, but many plates we saw being removed from tables had food untouched by the person who had put it there. In a buffet situation, it's easy to opt for small portions, then return if more food is required. Some of the crew come from countries where food is not easy to obtain, so it must be depressing / annoying for them to see such unnecessary waste. Much media advertising coverage is given to plastic waste, but surely food waste should also be highlighted. Here endeth my rant !! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Having booked this cruise with friends I didn't look at the reviews until after. Well I can tell you that initially myself and another in our party started to get bad vibes from the reviews. However, seriously I found the whole ... Read More
Having booked this cruise with friends I didn't look at the reviews until after. Well I can tell you that initially myself and another in our party started to get bad vibes from the reviews. However, seriously I found the whole experience to be amazing and often reflected on how any little things were done to exceed expectations. ALL the staff were so friendly and genuinely helpful, they would go out of their way often to help. We always found a table to eat in Windjammer and the food here was exceptional. My wife and her friends often find it difficult to find food they like as being originally from China, they like to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and these were in abundance. We initially had concerns as to 'how many standard drinks were included on the standard package' but they were plenty and free 24hrs. Each evening we had a meal in the main dining room. 2 waiters for 3 tables with a total of 14 guest to look after, the service and food quality was amazing. All the staff took a real delight in talking to you and taking an interest but not to a point of intrusion. Each day we received our copy of 'Compass' a guide to the many activities going on each and everyday, it truly was jam packed. From dance lessons, french lessons, Bingo many health things including chinese herbs and too many to mention and so diverse. I saw mention of 'not enough sunbeds' yet I found dozens spare all the time, Ok maybe not right up to the pool edge but certainly plenty. Plenty of pool towels too and my wife certainly put the walking track to good use as did another of our party. Everything was immaculately clean too, so far beyond many of the hotels I've stayed in and the room made up twice a day. In the evenings different folded towel animals were left in the room made up by the room attendants. I can honestly say what a credit all the staff were and we are looking to book our next cruise. Don't be put off by reviews as we nearly were find out like us for yourself. We also enjoyed some top class shows that were of London show quality with top acts. If there was a negative, and I'm sure this is outside RC control was the onward transfer where we had to queue for far too long with no organization as to where to go. Recovering from an accident and having a few mobility problems my wife had to fetch me a wheelchair before I collapsed. I'm sure this was not Royal Caribbean but this was a real problem. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
As a family of 7 we had 3 separate cabins with balcony. It was great to have the balcony rooms to experience the ship saying into towards the islands/locations we were visiting. The cabins were comfortable for sleeping. We could have done ... Read More
As a family of 7 we had 3 separate cabins with balcony. It was great to have the balcony rooms to experience the ship saying into towards the islands/locations we were visiting. The cabins were comfortable for sleeping. We could have done with more storage space for our 2 weeks work of clothes. The dining experience was fantastic thanks to the 2 at tentative waiters in the Main Dining room. In fact it was so good we didn't bother booking any speciality restaurants. Quality and variety of the food was superb. Our friendly waiters who must be mention Tri, and Neftali made our cruise special. We were entertained every evening after our meal by Tri who would have us trying to work out table tricks using all kinds of dining objects like cutlery, napkins cocktail sticks and glasses. I cannot find anytjing negative to say about the main dining room experience. The shows in the theatre were very good particularly Grease and Darren Day. The facilities on the ship were also excellent great splash area and pool for kids. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Having been diagnosed as Celiac four weeks before the holiday going away and eating out lots was of great concern for me. However, during the whole trip I was so well looked after with custom made meals in the dinning hall and a good ... Read More
Having been diagnosed as Celiac four weeks before the holiday going away and eating out lots was of great concern for me. However, during the whole trip I was so well looked after with custom made meals in the dinning hall and a good selection of food in Windjammer. The gluten free pizza in Sorrento's is fabulous, and made fresh to order also. This was my four trip on Independence so I have assumed to I would be looked after but the service was even better than I thought. It was my first experience of a suit as we had decided to try and Junior suit- the room was massive in comparison to a balcony or ocean view. As it was October it was not hot enough to sun bath but it was so nice to sit and watch the world go bye. Embarkation and disembarkation in Southampton was very smooth and my party really enjoyed the new crazy gold area and the all new Sky Pad. We will be back on Indy again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Chose this cruise for its Itinerary. Embarkation was stress free and we were on the ship within half an hour of arriving at Southampton. Our cabin, on deck 12, was immaculate and impeccably looked after during our stay. We had seen ... Read More
Chose this cruise for its Itinerary. Embarkation was stress free and we were on the ship within half an hour of arriving at Southampton. Our cabin, on deck 12, was immaculate and impeccably looked after during our stay. We had seen negative reviews of Navigator but had no complaints - the food in the Sapphire Dining Room was excellent with extremely good choice of dishes and the waiters were friendly, kind and efficient. The entertainment and activities were varied, there was something for everyone and standard of the shows excellent. We loved the Morning show on the TV with Cuddy and Daniel - hilarious. All the crew worked incredibly hard in all areas including the unsung hero’s behind the scenes. The only ‘fault’ we had was with a shore excursion advertised as a ‘Panoramic tour of Agadir’ and turned out to be a view over Agadir of the sea, a visit to a Mosque which was closed and rest of the time was at a Souk! Not value for the money 59$ each. We found Navigator of the Seas to be a very stable ship and was maintained very well - and would certainly travel with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose this cruise because of itenary and we enjoyed visiting each one. Embarkation went smoothly and cabin was ready for 1 pm which was great. Cabin was at front of ship and although nice it was very noisy . Our attendant was fantastic and ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of itenary and we enjoyed visiting each one. Embarkation went smoothly and cabin was ready for 1 pm which was great. Cabin was at front of ship and although nice it was very noisy . Our attendant was fantastic and always welcoming. Din8ng was great in windjammer but not in main restaurant took to long and sat with too many other people. Entertainment great especially Perry Grant who made the cruise!! Also other good headliners but I thought we was on comedy week as we had 4 comedians who were all very similar but still enjoyable . Really enjoyed Cody mindfulness talks they were great. Bar staff couldn’t do enough for you especially those in schooner bar . Main fault was the shuttle bus in Lanzarote what a rip off £12 dollars for 0.5 miles everyone complaining but to no avail very arrogant gentleman at shore excursions in fact worst attitude of all staff on ship . Great holiday would like to return to Navigator after refurb Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
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