6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It pains us to say that this was the worst cruise experience encountered and we have used 5 cruise lines and are Diamond Members with RCCL. Thr cruise was meant to be special for us but was simply a disappointment from day one which ... Read More
It pains us to say that this was the worst cruise experience encountered and we have used 5 cruise lines and are Diamond Members with RCCL. Thr cruise was meant to be special for us but was simply a disappointment from day one which then just got worse. The ship looks fine from outside and a joy to look at. Day one emabarkation was excellent, however and accident on day one due to the poor handling of equipment of staff on borad injured my wife and myself. The cruise after this then got worse. The room is dated and needs a make over, curtains do not cover length of balcony window and therefore light penetrates early waking you up. The curtaind are hanging on threads and the blackout broken in so many places that anyone else would have replaced. The cabin steward was not very friendly and had to be reminded to fill up on basics. Main dining room was quite good and the best service in years thatnks to Jean and Allan on floor 4. The food was hit and miss with some really good and others mediocre. That said this was big improvement on past cruises. The Windjammer is as normal busy at certain times, but if avoided then there is plenty of room. The food was better than on normal european cruises but often hot food was cold. We never went hungry and there was plenty of choice. Annoying issue is ice cream. A staff member rolls a cart along the whole area, with absolutely no chance of serving people at the right ime for them, not his fault but is RCCLs fault. The shows in the main theatre were excellent to very poor. We liked Once Upon A Time, though we had seen it before. We liked Invitation To Dance performed with the cast from Grease, though we had seen that before. We also loved Grease though we had seen that on Harmony, the show still retained the magic. The only Ice Show was Freeze Frame which although we had seen before, still enjoyed it. RCCL need to bring in new shows and have two ice shows on a two week cruise. The support guest stars were excellent (David Copperfield) but others we walked out on, one being a violinist and the other a magician. We never walk out on a show, so this says it all. Diamond Lounge was packed due to volume of Diamond members, however we did not really use in the night due to the noise. You could not hear a conversation. In the day it was also manic due to the poor arrangement. The filter coffee machine is place right by the door effectively causing rael conjestion wehen entering, leaving or waiting to get yoursef a coffee. It then broke down for a few days, very poor. Boleros bar on deck 4 was fine for most of the cruise except the noise when music started, which spoiled any conversation. Wilbert was a great bar tender and remembered us every time. Howvere Boleros turned into a very cold area in the latter days of the cruise due to doors being opened. We could not sit there and other guests wore coats. The SPA and Rides added were not used by us due to the accident already suffered so we cannot evaluate. the ship was clean and orderly but we did notice that staff members would push trolleys towards you instead of waiting for us to pass which is unusual on RCCL. The staff were also very flat compared to RCCL normal cruises. Two issues really irritated us, the noise in the bars was excessive with music blasting out stopping conversation and the excessive charges for drinks. Bacardi $9.99 Coke $3-4, Sevice Charge 18% on top of this. Te cruise across the Atlantic was boring except for making new fantastic friends, Iain, Margaret, Carol, Shelly, Stan and Elizabeth. The ship coud have docked at the Azores to break up 8 days at sea, Would we cross the Atlantic agan, Never. Would we use RCCL again, very much in doubt as other lines are now better. A very disapponting cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to get across the Atlantic without flying. This ship has exceeded our expectations. I love that even though they refurbished it, they have preserved the deck where you can walk around the whole ship outside and the stream/sauna ... Read More
We wanted to get across the Atlantic without flying. This ship has exceeded our expectations. I love that even though they refurbished it, they have preserved the deck where you can walk around the whole ship outside and the stream/sauna changing room in the fitness center is still open to everyone. It doesn’t feel like the money grab that some do. The food has been consistently excellent, better than we expected, and the crew is always friendly and helpful. From what I have read about the Edge, which I never intend to cruise on, on this ship if you’re not in a suite you are not made to feel like a second class citizen. You have access to the bow and the balconies are still wonderful to step out on when you want to. Good for RCCL for keeping the good stuff and for their generous package of perks for frequent cruisers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
I want start of by saying I suffer from alot of chronic illness, Fibromyalgia being one so I'm hoping this review will help anyone else who has similar issues! We arrived at the port at 11 and we were on the ship within 20 mins! ... Read More
I want start of by saying I suffer from alot of chronic illness, Fibromyalgia being one so I'm hoping this review will help anyone else who has similar issues! We arrived at the port at 11 and we were on the ship within 20 mins! We were surprised when we first arrived to find we had Ken Jones as our CD as we were supposed to have Tim Connor. Considering Ken had been brought on only a week before at last minute and he didn't know the ship he didn't a brilliant job! The 9 sea days were good but long. This is our 3rd transatlantic but we've never had so many sea days in a row. I made alot of use of the library on the first few days. I love that it is now in a room of its own as it is quieter although so passengers used it as a general place to chat which was annoying. There were a few activities on board, scavenger hunts, napkin folding ect, I've done these on previous cruises so didn't feel the need to attend. We did go to Rock Britannia which was led but our Activities Manager Elizabeth and I really enjoyed that aswell as the 70s night which was also really good (this was led by Ken!) They also did an Olympus Rocks parade and an 80s night but I didn't go to these. Grease was amazing and I highly recommend seeing it, the girl who played Rizzo blew me away! We also saw Once Upon a Time, it's my favourite show on Indy but I must have seen it around 7 times now and it is getting a little stale! Darren Day was another headliner and he was incredible! We saw both his evening show and his matinee! I personally couldn't do any of the sports activities but my family did the rockwall and the trampolines and loved them! We are in the windjammer every night and the food was always lovely, hot and there was so much choice! We tried Johnny Rockets for the first time, the staff were very accommodating and changed my meal when I found the first one too spicy but I don't think it's something I'd go back and try. Fish and Ships was really good, the cod was the best cod I've had in a long time! Our first port was St Marteen, we walked round to the town and had a little look around, it's so amazing how quickly theyve managed to get back on their feet after the hurricane. I took the waterbus back to the ship after a couple of hours as it was getting too hot for me but my family stayed and swam in the sea. Next we went to St Thomas where we booked an excursion so we could get through immigration quicker! Our immigration time was 6:20am, and we were through within an hour! Our excursion was a boat trip into the main town. The boat trip itself was worth the money but I wasn't impressed with the town, I'm guessing if you like diamonds ect it's good but it wasn't our sort of thing. We only spent 2 hours there before getting the boat back. We had a look around the shops at the port and picked up a few suvioners. I then got back on the boat while my family headed to Megan's bay. Next was San Juan. Again we only stayed near the port, we walked up to Marshalls and a little further on we found a street that was full of colourful umbrellas above it, it was gorgeous and totally worth seeing! We again didn't stay long after that, went to a few shops and then headed back. We have done these 3 ports before (some twice!) So we didn't feel the need to spend to much time on land! Our last port was Labadee, which is basically paradise! I've never seen anywhere so beautiful! It's always been on my bucket list to swim in the Caribbean sea and I achieved that here. The water was perfect, just the right temperature! That's pretty much all I did in Labadee, I like to think the salt of the sea helped my joint pains. My Mum who is braver than me did the zip wire and she loved every second of it! A couple more things of the ship, we had an aft balcony cabin on deck 6. It was still roomy with 3 of us and the balcony was huge! Joseph our state room attendant couldn't do enough for us! The escape room is a must, absolutely loved doing that, I love anything that makes me brain think/work. The only small issue we had on board was with the photographers. They lost a few of our photos and then we had a photo taken at the Labadee sign, it was the one photo we all wanted but the only one which was perfectly lined up with the whole sign in ect had someone else in it who wasn't in our party and the photographers couldn't seem to grasp this. Sadly we didn't end up buying any photos because the only one we really wanted was spoilt. The departure process was a mess! They were letting the next cruise on in the same place as we were all queing up to get on coaches ect, the port was rammed! We had a transfer with Royal to our hotel but noone seemed to know where we were meant to go to get this transfer! We asked one member of the Intercruise staff who was at the port, she mumbled something and when we asked her to repeat it she told us she wasn't going to as we must be stupid!! 2 hours we waited at the port being told to go in all different places, all which were wrong! In the end we gave up and ended up paying $70 for a taxi to our hotel in Miami! Overall though we had a fantastic time, we love Royal Caribbean and we love how the staff treat you like family when you are on board! We have decided though we wouldn't do a transatlantic this way again though. It's alot easier to fly out and cruise back than it is to cruise out and fly back! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This is the first time we went T/A and at the price we found it great value. I booked through Cruise 1st and i had not one problem. Embarkation at Southampton was no problem. Busy but only to be expected.The Indy has a wow factor when you ... Read More
This is the first time we went T/A and at the price we found it great value. I booked through Cruise 1st and i had not one problem. Embarkation at Southampton was no problem. Busy but only to be expected.The Indy has a wow factor when you board and is a very nice ship. We had an outside cabin on deck 2 cabin 6260 and it was very nice and also very quite.D.D. our cabin stewart was excellent. Food on board was very good in all the restaurants and Chops Grill speciality dining was out of this world. Plenty of food and plenty to drink and the service was excellent.Service throughout this cruise was 10 out of 10. Ship was spotlessly clean. Just a couple of gripes. The ship was pretty could for the first few days. It was cold outside but you could have hung beef in side. When the weather improved it was too busy outside. They actually had too many sunbeds together and it was difficult to walk about. We new the ship would be busy on ship days. The entertainment was the biggest downfall. It was really poor. The headline acts were terrible and also there was no booking system to get in. It was a free for all. The bands playing around the ship were poor. Same songs every night. A good piano player how would be better to play and not sing. The parties on the promenade were good fun but packed. I think the cruise director Ken was to blame as he did not seem to be listening to any of these acts. The ice skating was good. Still a very good cruise and a great experience on a T/A cruise. I would do it again no problem. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 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
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was my 3rd time on The Independence of the Seas, 6th time with Royal Caribbean and definitely my last. I was excited to see how they had renovated the ship as were the other 5 members of our party. How wrong we were. May I ... Read More
This was my 3rd time on The Independence of the Seas, 6th time with Royal Caribbean and definitely my last. I was excited to see how they had renovated the ship as were the other 5 members of our party. How wrong we were. May I point out I am usually not one to complain as I understand that sometimes things don't go to plan but we had a couple of main issues whilst onboard. -Drinks Packages & Shortage of Drinks Onboard Prior to setting sail I enquired about drinks packages, 4 of the party wished to purchase the Deluxe Package, myself the soda package and one of the party did not want a package at all. However, this is where the disappointment started. We were informed that due to new regulations it was either all or nothing. We did not want the drinks packages so that we could ‘drink excessively’ but more for the convenience of not having to sign for drinks on each purchase. Having being informed of new rules set by yourselves we ended up purchasing 4 Deluxe packages and 2 Royal Refreshment packages. This totalling £2821.84, £517.69 more than the package arrangement that we initially wanted. Further disappointment followed as on day 10 of the cruise, drinks began to run out. Only select beers, wines and sodas were available at the bars and pub. The pub eventually having no Peroni, San Miguel, Pinot Grigio, Tonic Water or Sprite Zero. Little alternatives were offered and we were left 4 days without our preferred drinks, which we had effectively paid for when we purchased our packages? -Overcrowding Another issue that was particularly apparent was the sheer overcrowding of the Independence during the 5 sea days. Having travelled before I understand that sea days are busier than those where we are in port. However, during this cruise it was noticeably worse than previous. Fellow guests began the reserving of sunbeds at 6:30am!!! This making it an unbeatable challenge to find any sunbeds after around 8:30am. Guests were sunbathing on the paths and sides of the pools and sunbeds were also so close that it was impossible to get onto them safely. I was extremely disappointed as for our party this holiday was about relaxing, which was impossible when we had to awake early to find a sunbed and there were no particularly peaceful areas to sunbathe. After speaking to fellow travellers we were not the only guests who found that the ship appeared overcrowded on this voyage. This overcrowding issue was also noted by guests in our party when trying to order speciality coffees at café promenade, with the wait being up to 25 minutes for a single coffee. A timeframe which I do not deem acceptable. The overcrowding issue also became apparent in the evenings before and after dinner, throughout all bars on the ship there was not one table or chair free for either before or after dinner drinks and the wait for being served was up to 30 minutes. From what we remember and understand about the Royal Caribbean brand this is not up to the usual standard, and it disappointed us, and was embarrassing with the first time cruisers. -The Stateroom Having staterooms located around the ship 7334, 7634 & 8220 we were disheartened to find that the cabins had not received any attention during the renovations earlier in the year. The same rusty bins, stained curtains and barely working TVs remained, issues which could’ve been resolved for little cost. This was slightly disappointing as stateroom 7334 could not use the TV, this was reported to guest services who later informed us that the TV was in working order, which it certainly was not. Our staterooms attendants for cabins 7334 & 7634 were also poor in comparison to previously cruises, leaving bins unemptied and tea making facilities were not replenished for up to 3 days at a time. This is not the usual standard and certainly not acceptable for Royal Caribbean. In summary, I have written to Royal Caribbean about the issues above, of which their response was 'Sorry but we have not broken any policies' and 'We never state when you purchase a drinks package that drinks will actually be available' I'm an emerald member and they can't even say 'Here's a free drink for those ones you missed out on' We paid £17,000+ for this cruise and left feeling extremely disappointed and sorry for those that have already booked to travel on this cruise in the future. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
booked in january to see what the refurb looked like and to try a shorter cruise,, couple days away!!! full of hens and stag chasing around the ship, drunk on top deck, loud... ordering rounds of drinks at the bar for around 15 people at a ... Read More
booked in january to see what the refurb looked like and to try a shorter cruise,, couple days away!!! full of hens and stag chasing around the ship, drunk on top deck, loud... ordering rounds of drinks at the bar for around 15 people at a time.. couldnt get to the bars, not enough staff, service terrible, food warm in fine dining restaurants... long waits to be seated although time slot booked.. one man came out shouting he had waited over an hour and the service was disgraceful... at times i agreed!!! if your going to cruise.. book yourself a 5 day + break where i am sure you will get the service and quality that RC are typically used to delivering.. certainly wouldnt recommend 2 day tasters... was a waste of money and not a pleasant experience!! we also had a cabin on deck 7 which i though had been refurb.. very old fasioned ,. def needs a makeover! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We took the same cruise last year and had no complains but this year there are problems. We have a Junior Suite, every day the toilet is blocked, took a week for them to admit that the problem is in a whole block of cabins from 2 deck ... Read More
We took the same cruise last year and had no complains but this year there are problems. We have a Junior Suite, every day the toilet is blocked, took a week for them to admit that the problem is in a whole block of cabins from 2 deck to 10 deck. I was accused of using too much toilet paper! The balcony rail is in a dreadful state. The carpets on the stairways are threadbare. The ship is in dire need of a refit. The staff in the Windjammer are very unhelpful. My husband is disabled and nobody offers to help him carry his food to his seat - usually a passenger comes to his rescue. The sugar free drinks are not very often on offer and when we asked we were told they have run out - next meal there they were again. We requested the lights to be put on above where we were sitting in the evening and were told to move tables if we didn’t like it. We paid a lot of money for our cabin (our steward however is wonderful) we’ve been cruising for 32 years and have been on Royal Caribbean many times but this is the worst Cruise in a long while. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We enjoy transatlantic cruises . This is the fourth with Independence . The ship is definitely old fashioned now. Food was nowhere near as good as last year. We could eat in Chops Grille for breakfast but often decided to go to the ... Read More
We enjoy transatlantic cruises . This is the fourth with Independence . The ship is definitely old fashioned now. Food was nowhere near as good as last year. We could eat in Chops Grille for breakfast but often decided to go to the Windjammer where the food was hot. Having paid the premium through RCL for a suite we enjoyed the space in the cabin and on the balcony. Our cabin steward was discreet but worked well. The cruise director was like marmite . The Nov 11 Service was well put together but the catholic priest just did not get it right with his sermon - a great shame for the company. Good quizzes and good banter from those leading them . As usual the Diamond Lounge was heaving but the staff members were a delight . Enrichment activities were not well attended after the first . Embarkation in Southampton and disembarkation in Fort Lauderdale worked like a dream for us as we had priority “line jumping”. Entertainment was varied and of a very good standard . Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We are a married couple from Scandinavia, who previously have been on a large number of cruises. We have sailed, both on many Transatlantic cruises, and on other destinations with several different Cruise Lines. Pre-cruise: We had ... Read More
We are a married couple from Scandinavia, who previously have been on a large number of cruises. We have sailed, both on many Transatlantic cruises, and on other destinations with several different Cruise Lines. Pre-cruise: We had booked in advance a private shuttle from our arrival airport in London, to our hotel in Southampton. As several times before, we had reserved a room at the 4* Hotel Novotel in Southampton, one day before the cruise. Unfortunately, this time we were very disappointed with the cleaning of our room. The toilet looked terrible. The shower was also not cleaned. Embarkation: Went very smoothly. The voyage: In the same way as last year, Independence sailed a northern route over the Atlantic Ocean, which again meant that we had to wait to we approached Caribbean, before we could enjoy really warm weather. Unfortunately, if you are not out early, it can be a big challenge to find available sun loungers on sunny and hot days at sea. Also on this Transatlantic cruise with RCI, after the first two cruise days, we again lost all TV channels with news coverage. According to what our Cruise Director Marc Walker explained on one of his TV Morning Show, the reason for this was missing satellite connection. Strange enough, Holland America did not have the same "satellite problem" during our two Transatlantic cruises with this Cruise Line. The background for the very poor selection of TV Channels, were probably that RCI want their passengers to buy expensive internet packages. The Ship: The Independence of the Seas is a nice ship, and we think the ship was mostly well maintained. Even if she will be refurbished in April next year, Stateroom info: We had booked an aft. balcony stateroom on deck eight. It was comfortable. Our stateroom attendant from Guyana was a nice guy. But unfortunately, we were not satisfied with the work he carried out in our stateroom. Dining: We had the second seating in the Macbeth Dining Room, on deck four. We were mostly pleased with the quality of the food that we selected. We were seated at table no. 488, and we were pleased with the service from our waiter, and his female assistant waiter from Ukraine. Not least, she did an excellent job of making sure our wine and water glasses never were empty. We will also in this review take the opportunity to point out our excellent assistant waiter from our cruise with Independence last year, Daiane Segali from Brazil. During our first dinner in the Machbeth Dining Room this year, she recognized us before we saw her. She embraced us, and although she did not serve our table on this cruise, she almost every dinner came to give us a hug. She is a very nice person, and she is really an outstanding ambassador for RCI! The food for breakfast and lunch in the Buffet Restaurant Windjammer, was basically what we were used to from earlier cruises. We think the employees in Windjammer, on this cruise did a good job of clearing tables etc. Unfortunately, like last year we found the selection of food in the Café Promenade, more limited than we were used to find on RCI ships with a Café Promenade - some years ago. Bars: As usual, some of the bars were understaffed. General comment about the crew: The majority of the crew we met were friendly. Entertainment: Of course, a lot of entertainment. The two different ice shows we watched, were as always excellent, and also on this cruise we really enjoyed the musical production of Grease. However, we were not impressed with the performances of guest artist Jennifer Singer, and the a cappella group. When it came to Cruise Director Marc Walker, we realized that many of the passengers were pleased with him, but we were not among them. We thought his TV Morning Show consisted of too much nonsense talk. This in contrast to what we experienced last year, with Cruise Director Jamie. We personally think he was both more fun, and also more professional on the TV Morning Show. The Crown & Anchor Society: As always, we were very pleased with the nightly event for Diamond members and above, with the offer of free beverages and canapés, and in addition the three drink coupons. On a Transatlantic cruise with RCI, there are usually a very large number of Diamond members and above. Fortunately, on this cruise on the nightly event, both bar service and the offer of beverages and canapés were pretty good. As Diamond Plus members, we also had access to the Concierge Lounge. But in the evening, it was too crowded. Itinerary – As stated in the title of this review, we had changes in the ports of call. The reason for that, was the serious damages caused in Caribbean, by the hurricanes Irma and Maria.This resulted in a change of three of our five original ports of call. Fortunately, we thought the new ports of call were all good. Immigration – like previous years, the immigration process should originally have been carried out on our arrival in St. Thomas. But St. Thomas was one of the ports of call that were changed. Instead, immigration was now carried out on arrival in Fort Lauderdale. The process took for us, one hour and 45 minutes. Disembarkation: We had booked a shuttle on board to Fort Lauderdale International airport. So after picking up our two suitcases in the terminal building and finishing the immigration process, it was just to find an available shuttle bus. Overall – on the whole we think we had a nice Transatlantic cruise with Independence of the Seas this year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Our first transatlantic cruise proved to be a runaway success - the sea was as calm as a millpond all the way across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean and through to Port Lauderdale. In typical RCCL fashion we were booked in and ... Read More
Our first transatlantic cruise proved to be a runaway success - the sea was as calm as a millpond all the way across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean and through to Port Lauderdale. In typical RCCL fashion we were booked in and aboard within 20 minutes from leaving the car. Our first impressions of the Independence were of how clean everything appeared to be but on closer inspection, how tired the decor and furnishings seemed in the cabins and corridors - she certainly needs the refit due next year and will hopefully be restored to her former glory. The menu and meals offered in the Macbeth dining room was tailored more to the UK clientele with something for everyone - although some of the combinations on the plate didn't always work in my opinion - all of the meals were served piping hot and were generally very good, the speed of the service was at our pace as we specifically requested a table of two so we could better plan our evening if we didn't have to wait for six to finish each course. The entertainment on board was the usual run of quizzes and talks, sports and leisure activities during the day. Please go prepared to the quizzes, take your own pens, pencils, marker pens and highlighters - that way you can look as professional as some of our fellow cruisers that are obviously SERIOUS quizzers and soooo boring when they question the answers given by the quizmaster...so of those people need to get a life! Evenings, we had a choice of the usual stage shows, Grease (which had a few tech problems), the ice show -always good considering the size of the rink. A Violinist, very good if you like that sort of thing, A Welsh comedy magician, a Hypnotist, and a show singer (ex Lion King) these were the shows I watched - all good entertainers in their own right and fortunately only about 40 minutes long (except Grease at 90 minutes) so if they don't please you its not long to wait until the end - rather than rudely walk out in the middle of a performance as some did! My only gripe was the lady jazz/blues pianist that played most evenings in the Schooner - usually our favourite place and hard to get a seat after dinner was mostly empty whenever she played...absolutely dire! The staff on board had a noticeable different mix of nationalities than previous cruises, there being more European faces and it certainly gave a different vibe - but as usual with only one or two exceptions each and every one gave 100% in service and attitude, politeness and a smile always present. The itinerary was changed from the original due to the hurricane damage to various and each port visited had its own particular charms - certainly no complaints there. Overall? good cruise, typically Royal Caribbean. Would I do it again? Yes, definitely. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We use transatlantic cruising as we spend half off the year in Florida and the other half in the UK. The check-in at Southampton went very smoothly so onwards up to the schooner bar. We met our friends who we actually met over 3 ... Read More
We use transatlantic cruising as we spend half off the year in Florida and the other half in the UK. The check-in at Southampton went very smoothly so onwards up to the schooner bar. We met our friends who we actually met over 3 years ago on this very same ship. We had a ocean view room but was very noisy and I did ask to be moved, however the ship was full and they did finally move us when we made our first stop as people we getting off. We did have set dining at 8.30pm but after 3 nights we asked to be moved as one guy was so annoying i really had had enough of him. The meals were fine if there was any problems the waiter was more than happy to replace the meal. Both myself and my husband love doing the quizzes and sometimes there could be up to 5 a day but the funniest one was the Battle of the Sexes. You had to be there to understand the banter Nick you did a great job as the question master. As for the cruise director and his assistant must say the worst I have ever come across. The lady playing in the piano bar was also very poor no-one wanted to listen to her. We did I.O.S in March 2017 and the English guy they had was excellent. We are doing transatlantic back to UK on Navigator as I.O.S is being refurbished but we are back on I.O.S October 2018 . Embarkation took a while but nothing we were bothered about as for the next 5 months we will be sunning ourselves. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Ship is really worn down. Chairs in dining room are in very bad shape. Many stains on all chairs in entire ship. Methane gas smell in rooms, On level 5 promade going into theatre area. smelled it in hall ways too. Carps are very worn. ... Read More
Ship is really worn down. Chairs in dining room are in very bad shape. Many stains on all chairs in entire ship. Methane gas smell in rooms, On level 5 promade going into theatre area. smelled it in hall ways too. Carps are very worn. Dining room staff was average at best. However the pub on level five was wonderful. Speciality coffee guy was very rude to a lot of people. We had the deluxe drink package and would get a coffee every morning, The guy just wouldn't smile. I guess he was made at people not tipping him extra. The tips are included in the drink package. That drink package is very costly and I felt no need to tip extra for a very unhappy person that clearly didnt like his job. The bar tenders were great in the pub on Level five. Mo was so great. Always smiling and calling us by name. Wish we could have a hundred MO's on the ship. All of the bar tenders were very friendly and that's really nice to see then you spend so much money on your cruise. We still love Royal Caribbean and in no way think this is a trend on all ships. I just wish that they would consider redoing the Independence of the Seas because it is very worn out. We look forward to our next cruise on the Harmony. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Having cruised previously with P&O, NCL, and even Carnival, we had high expectation of RCS after reading so many good reviews of the line. While some aspects were very good there were a combination of things that only served to ... Read More
Having cruised previously with P&O, NCL, and even Carnival, we had high expectation of RCS after reading so many good reviews of the line. While some aspects were very good there were a combination of things that only served to confirm that we will think twice about booking again, though we tend to book on itinerary and date and not through blinkered loyalty to any line. Taken in isolation the issues might not be significant, but grouped together they took the shine off the cruise:- - Having to pay for room service. We often like to have lunch with a glass of wine on the balcony and have never had to pay for room service before. - Paying $30 each to get through the door of Chops Grill only to then be given a menu with only 4 available steaks, but with a much longer list of steaks that cost even extra. Unacceptable and blatant profiteering. In fact the filet mignon at Giovanni's, and the quality of service and other menu choice, was much better than Chops. - Buying the "ultimate" drinks package to then find that RCS have raised the price of many cocktails, champagne etc. above the top limit. Though good to see most cocktails, prosecco and Remy brandy etc. was still included. - No shower gel, only shampoo. We are told mid cruise that this could be requested at guest services, but again, this seems to be a cost saving exercise and is not publicised. I don't want to spend my holiday queueing at guest services to find out what I am entitled to that they have hidden from me! - Not having pool towels in the room and having to queue up for them with the threat of a $25 fine if they are not returned. They were of very poor quality anyway and at the end of the cruise we received a note accusing us of still having some towels. Guest services ensured we were not billed though. - Not having a choice of cooked to order eggs in Romeo & Juliet MDR at breakfast. It is a buffet so not much different to Windjammer which is not a pleasant place to have meals. It took until day 5 before we learned that we could ignore the "Diamond and above only" sign outside King Lear and get the full table service with poached egg option. Again, unacceptable that RCS either put the sign out to reduce footfall and therefore cost, or intend not to offer a full breakfast table service to the masses. - MDR organisation at dinner. The freestyle dining was good and we never had to wait for more than a couple of minutes for a table for 2, although they are so close together you may as well be on the same table as your neighbours, however, getting a glass of wine often took time to order and might not arrive until after your starter. We had to solve this by carrying our own wine in with us! - Entertainment was good. The ice show was excellent and the in-house dancers are very professional. The Grease show is of West End quality, so top marks for that. - Many of the bars were fairly lifeless and felt like they were really corridors. Vintages was an exception, but nothing of any lasting impression, e.g. to match the World bar on Azura. Despite the above, we enjoyed the Carribean islands and were particularly impressed with the organisation at Labadee, Haiti which is RCS' private area, but as per my title there was no real "wow" factor and too many reasons not to rush back to RCS. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We normally cross the pond on Celebrity but thought we would go on the Royal Caribbean (RC) Independence of the Seas as the itinerary went through the Caribbean. A big mistake! First the pluses: It is a lovely ship. The cabin was ... Read More
We normally cross the pond on Celebrity but thought we would go on the Royal Caribbean (RC) Independence of the Seas as the itinerary went through the Caribbean. A big mistake! First the pluses: It is a lovely ship. The cabin was excellent - plenty of space and a large balcony. The staff were great. Very friendly and worked hard. The dining room staff were superb so much so that we stayed on Table 240 every night even though we were on Any Time dining. The other people who joined us on the first night also continued to dine with us at the same time. We particularly liked the Centrum with its shops, pub and various eating places. Outside there were plenty of sun-beds for every one. Mini golf, surf simulator and climbing wall for the sporting types. Great promenade on deck 4 lets you walk right around the sip. (600m laps). The entertainment was not bad. Grease was excellent and the pianist Brooks Aehron was incredible. He gave two concerts and then he accompanied a young flautist from The Royal College of Music. Fantastic performances. There was also a Spanish singing quartette who were also excellent. They were on the ship for 8 days but only gave one 50 minute performance. We asked that they be allowed to give another performance but were told that it was not in their contract!! Now for the minuses: As Elite members on Celebrity we expected the same benefits as Diamond members on RC. Not to be. Instead of 90 minutes free wi-fi each RC now charge $12.99 a day! We did get one day free but on a 15 day cruise you cannot check on e-mails etc. The wi-fi reception was awful. Instead of free laundry we got $10 off a $35 small bag of undies washing. No where to get your shirts, dresses washed at all. No coupon booklet with free casino chips etc. No RC bag in the cabin. We have so many at home that we didn't bother to bring one as we expected another! Luckily Diamond International were distributing theirs as we came of the ship at St Thomas. No pencil pen or paper in the cabin anymore. No daily paper or puzzles any more. So no way to find out what was happening in the world as the news channel on the TV was blanked out by poor satellite reception for the 8 sea days. There was only one lecturer on board. Normally you expect at least three. Unfortunately he was very boring and so we only went to his first two lectures. The food generally was pretty poor. In the Windjammer it was the same food every day. There was no egg station and at lunch the Asian section was the same each day. The dining room menu was also poor. Very basic but we did have a surprise when the large prawns on the menu turned out to be lobster! We had to eat our soup with desert spoons as soup spoons are now non-existant. Finally we come to our pet hate. Why do cruise lines bother to have Formal Nights when they know that any Tom, Dick or Harry can go into a dining room on a Formal Night dressed how they want? I am sorry but an open necked shirt and jeans is not formal dress. When the ladies and gentlemen wear their long dresses and dinner jackets why should these scruffs be allowed to spoil the occasion? We are so disappointed that RC has cut everything to the bone. Needless to say we will be back on Celebrity in future. Perhaps RC should rename the ship The Nickel and Dime of the Seas! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Transatlantic 2 weeks. Ship is well cared-for, and crew everywhere were friendly and cordial. Ship is very clean, and there were people everywhere wiping the surfaces. There is evidence of thrift in the Windjammer, where cold cuts ... Read More
Transatlantic 2 weeks. Ship is well cared-for, and crew everywhere were friendly and cordial. Ship is very clean, and there were people everywhere wiping the surfaces. There is evidence of thrift in the Windjammer, where cold cuts offered were salami, some kind of ham and something else we used to call pressed ham. Occasional liverwurst, but no turkey or chicken, and only once in a while some mortadella. One of the hot food lines tended rather heavily to starch (pasta, more pasta and pot pies), but there were many Brits on board and maybe 3 different pot pies is a happy event. We continue to be amazed that Celebrity Cruise chefs can make moist, tender scrambled eggs but their technique has not been shared with the RCI chefs, and RCI is the parent company. People assumed the eggs were powdered rather than terribly overcooked with water draining out of them. One steam table line was hot dogs and hamburgers every noon and night. That may be a response to passenger requests and I wasn't forced into eating them, but it sure looks monotonous. They ran out of grapefruit, bananas, and I was told, milk cartons. Someone should have realized how many children were on board (plenty!) and ordered more of those little milk cartons. Excellent soups every meal, and some very nice breads. We never went to the main dining room because of the level of perfume down there. One lady with perfume might be pleasant, but two or three at a table gets overwhelming. Incidentally, the elevators need better ventilation - it is very common to step into an empty elevator after someone has "perfume bombed" it and be assaulted by strong fumes. There were 1400 Diamond and Diamond Plus passengers. When everybody is super special, the nobody's really all that special. No bathrobes any more. No welcome basket of treats any more. 4 free bottles of water and two juices not part of the room bar is nice. Cocktail hour in the lounge must have cost them a fortune, because free drinks and snacks for 3 hours meant that the lounge was mobbed. Many people opted to have three drinks at one of the other bars on the house instead of being jammed into deck 14. One especially bright spot was the Champagne Bar, crowded with happy guests and a great crew. Nick, Nicholae, Mohan, and John keep everyone smiling and their behind-the-bar choreography is amazing. They reach past each other getting ingredients, glasses, ice and condiments, making all sorts of beautiful, custom drinks, and somehow don't knock each other over. Within about two days they had developed a loyal following of people ordering colorful specialties as well as the standard bar orders. They understand service, and they engage the passengers in cheerful conversation. It's what a well-run bar should look like, and they take pride in their professionalism. Nicholae, in particular, explained to customers why certain liquors were specifically chosen for mixed drinks, and it was very interesting to learn how some cocktails developed. A lesson and a drink. The Champagne Bar quickly became a place where new friends gathered every day. The usual people saved their deck chairs with a new trick - a kind of clothespin that holds the towel on the chair. So cute. On the way to breakfast at 7am, we passed chairs with towels clipped on while there was nobody in the pool or spa. The staff in the cafe on the promenade somehow continued to be cheerful no matter how crowded it got. A lot of us were disappointed to have paper cups in the cafe for coffee and tea. This is a cruise, not a football game. Some people began carrying a cup from the Windjammer down to the cafe. The Guest Services crew apologize and say they will take it up with the powers that be, but you can feel dismissal in their tone. It's a cinch that keeping passengers happy wasn't a part of the decision to supply paper cups. The Captain gives a message every day at noon. Unfortunately, in most places, it cannot be understood because speakers need to be adjusted or replaced. I went to Guest Services and suggested that the Captain's message in three languages be put on one of their unused TV channels. The Captain is a very bright man who has lots of information and it's a shame we don't all get to learn it. The message is a prepared text, probably on a computer, so making it available would seem to be desirable. From what I could tell, the young lady simply had no idea (or interest ?) in what I was talking about, but she assured me that the speakers are working ok, despite the fact that during some messages none of the speakers in Olive or Twist worked at all, and in the Windjammer it's just a lot of mumbling. This sounds unduly negative, because I have already booked my next cruise and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm writing this so that they can't say, "Nobody told us". Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We decided to do this cruise because it visited 5 Caribbean islands prior to crossing the Atlantic, opposed to doing the crossing, then visiting places in Europe. From the Captain down, ( longest serving Captain in the fleet ),all crew ... Read More
We decided to do this cruise because it visited 5 Caribbean islands prior to crossing the Atlantic, opposed to doing the crossing, then visiting places in Europe. From the Captain down, ( longest serving Captain in the fleet ),all crew were very good, pleasant, friendly & helpful. We are experienced cruisers (600+ points), so know RCCL quite well, therefore in a position to comment. Our SRA, Tony, was wonderful. He knew from the start of the cruise that we were early risers, therefore cleaned our room first. We had a JS, which afforded us the comfort of having sun loungers on our balcony, as well as 2 chairs & table. Our balcony was used often, as it was enjoyable to lie on our loungers in peace & quiet, with ease to go back into our room when we wanted, or needed. The ship was clean, & cleaners were seen daily, ensuring that the risk of cross infection was diminished, although I witnessed females leaving the bathrooms without washing their hands !!!! Food in both the dining room & Windjammer buffet was good, both in quantity & quality. The Executive Chef, Dominic, was very friendly & listened to suggestions, which were then implemented....well done. The only reason we did not patronise the dining room in the evening regularly, is that having cruised so often, we know the menu inside out, and in the heat, prefer the options in the Windjammer. I regularly had curries, which I seldom make at home, whilst my husband had a good choice of food. We do not understand people complaining about the food, as there was plenty of choice. If someone is unsure whether they will like something, then take a small taster portion, and if liked, return for more. It was most infuriating to see plates left with large amounts of food untouched. The wastage on the ships must be vast, and knowing that there are people in the world crying out for food, we feel it is quite obscene to leave good food, which has to be thrown out. We had the pleasure of using the Concierge (Felix), & Diamond Lounge (Jackie). There were so many Diamond, Diamond Plus & Pinnacle members onboard, that deck 14, Olive or Twist Lounge & the diamond lounges were all used for the evening event. We preferred going here, opposed to the Concierge lounge, which is dull, airless & enclosed. The crew in the Diamond Lounge were excellent, but 2 members stood out for us...Wendy, from Orlando, & Vladimir, from Ukraine. Both these crew were so attentive, served well & knew our order after the first night, but then we sometimes changed our drinks, which they also remembered. The room was always prepared & opened for business on time. One observervation, several Diamond members sat in the lounge playing various tabletop games, cards, dominoes, reading etc, from mid afternoon until the evening event started. Some left prior to opening time, others put their games away and remained....still dressed in shorts & daywear. It's a pity that there isn't a cut off time for games being played prior to the evening event, when the room can then be arranged, tables wiped & chairs put in place. I know it seems a trivial point, but when we go to the lounge, we don't really want to constantly hear the rattling of dice in a cup, which soon becomes irritating....try it !! In the mornings, we often went up to the lounge for coffee. Jackie always welcomed us with a smile & John (Giovanni's), whom we have met previously, was friendly & helpful. The Revenue Manager, Craig, visited the lounge nightly & engaged with guests, as did some other officers, but not as many as on previous cruises. Ralph, Schooner Bar, was another lovely,attentive, friendly chap who remembered our choice of drinks from last year...That's what we call an excellent barman ! The only downside to the cruise, which we always complain about....smoking in the Casino. Last year, they had a pilot scheme, where the casino was designated non smoking throughout the entire cruise...bliss. However, on this cruise, this was not the case. Smoke didn't remain in the casino, but wafted up the stairs, situated halfway along the Royal Promenade...quite disgusting. When, oh when, will RCCL realise that passive smoking is as injurious to health as actual smoking. We think it absurd that in this age, when so much is stated about the adverse effects of smoke & smoking, that the ships are not all non smoking, with the exception of small enclosed areas where like minded people can cause injury to themselves, but not to health minded people. Once again, rant over....! We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise, but we always embark on holiday with the view that we shall enjoy it, & make the most of our time away from the usual routine. We have other cruises booked, so looking forwarded to more ocean adventures with RCCL. We were quite amazed that there were several British & American school age children, both primary & secondary, onboard. It would be good if RCCL had adults only cruises, so that those who do not want to share the pool, & surrounding area, with boisterous children, can relax & enjoy a peaceful, relaxing ambiance. Spring Break & Easter holidays over, and being a Transatlantic cruise, we really thought there wouldn't be children......but regardless of when we cruise, there are always children. Perhaps one day we shall be pleasantly surprised ! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
We had a great time on what is essentially two cruises in one, through the Eastern Caribbean and then across the Atlantic to Southampton. The suite was spacious and well kept, the food was OK, the dining room service was great, the ports ... Read More
We had a great time on what is essentially two cruises in one, through the Eastern Caribbean and then across the Atlantic to Southampton. The suite was spacious and well kept, the food was OK, the dining room service was great, the ports of call were fine and our cabin attendant was top notch. This was our second cruise on IOTS and it showed some additional wear but was still well maintained and clean. Our suite was spotless and well maintained by our attendant Valerio, who was very responsive to our needs and a great person. The food was OK, but quality seems to have declined in both Chops and Giovanni's, so much so that we canceled some reservations there and stayed with My Time Dining, where we enjoyed fabulous service from our service team of Ramir and Joseph. Well done!! Attended Grease, which was well performed and produced but those seats are cramped. Did not get off for Labadee or San Juan but enjoyed St Thomas, St Maarten and best of all St. Kitts. The 8 days across the Atlantic were fantastic in that we could get our daily fill of activities (Progressive Trivia and Shuffleboard Tournaments!) or relax in our suite. The Fitness Center is top notch and well maintained. Both embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly with no hiccups. This was a full cruise with more than the fair share of Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members running around, but inspite of the crowd the crew members we interacted with went out of their way to make this a most enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
This was a very enjoyable itinerary, combining both Caribbean and transatlantic cruising. The ports were all interesting, we didn't take the ship tours but were easily able to do our own exploration. The ship is in very good condition ... Read More
This was a very enjoyable itinerary, combining both Caribbean and transatlantic cruising. The ports were all interesting, we didn't take the ship tours but were easily able to do our own exploration. The ship is in very good condition even though its due for a refurbishment later this year. Our stateroom was spacious and our attendant was excellent. The food was of a good standard both in the dining room and in Windjammers. The entertainment was also of a very good standard, although not always to our taste. The outstanding shows for us were the two Ice shows, and the fantastic pianist Brooks. Service was the usual excellent standard we are used to on RCL, (we have now completed 20+ cruises on 4 different cruise lines.) There were 8 days at sea, but we managed to keep occupied, and overall we found there was nothing to complain about in the 2 weeks we were on board. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
5 other transatlantic voyages on Royal Caribbean and this was by far the most disappointing. First, the food was exceptionally bland and tasteless in both the main dining rooms and the Jade and Windjammer, surprisingly even the Indian ... Read More
5 other transatlantic voyages on Royal Caribbean and this was by far the most disappointing. First, the food was exceptionally bland and tasteless in both the main dining rooms and the Jade and Windjammer, surprisingly even the Indian food (which was readily available) was exceptionally bland. The choices for dinner in the dining room were much down-scaled from what I have encountered on prior cruises. I never saw a posted menu outside the restaurants for breakfast or lunch. Second, the ships public spaces seemed undersized to the passenger count. Lines formed everywhere, for dinner, for the theater, for the elevators, for the pubs and bars, and for tables in the Windjammer. Third, the amount of activities during the days at sea seemed very limited compared to other transatlantic voyages that I have taken. Fourth, the decision to refurbish the pool areas (thus limiting already crowded space) was a detriment. Fifth, fortunately, I was able to miss the horrific wait that took place for US immigration in St. Thomas for non-USA passengers. That fiasco should have resulted in a major reimbursement of fees rather than a meaningless written apology to all those impacted. Sixth, Internet service was good to excellent except for the 36 hours it was unavailable. The pizza was good. Entertainment was average (but enjoyable). The ice skating show was excellent. Finally, and most important: My biggest concern with the cruise was the Captain and the Head of Hotels both refusing, when asked at the "Ask the Staff" event in the theater, if the ship was going to issue a heath statement regarding the Zika virus for which the US government had issued health warnings for pregnant women for each port-of-call in the Caribbean. Both officers said they would not issue a warning or issue preventive measures unless specifically directed to do so by the Miami office. This to a passenger group largely of UK residents, many of whom likely were unaware of the existence of Zika or its horrible repercussions. No more than 30 minutes after the two senior staff members made that statement the Captain came on the intercom with his noon message, a part of which cautioned the passengers to use sunscreen when at the pools or on deck. In addition each day's Compass carried a warning about washing hand to prevent the outbreak of Norovirus (that PR nightmare for cruise lines). This disregard for the safety of its passengers is causing me to totally rethink my allegiance to this cruise line. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The cruise was not the same as in 2008 and 2009 they have cut back too much for profit. Stateroom staff and main dining room staff where brilliant. The bar staff was cut to a minimum, not the correct glasses for the drinks, cocktails where ... Read More
The cruise was not the same as in 2008 and 2009 they have cut back too much for profit. Stateroom staff and main dining room staff where brilliant. The bar staff was cut to a minimum, not the correct glasses for the drinks, cocktails where served in wine glasses this seems picky to some however it gives you the feel of what if happening - not enough bar staff no nuts no canapés they even ran out of tonic water. The menu In the main dinnng room was poor they had an English pie every night however the pastry on these pies was raw each time this is unacceptable in a home kitchen let alone in a professional kitchen. Soufflé can out raw also, the waiters always wanted to give you another choice however it would have been better for our first choice to come out proper. Won't be going back to this cruise line. The entertainment was also poor from what we experienced in our other cruises in 2008 and 2009. We thought the ship had been refurbished however this doesn't seem evident staterooms old fashioned, public areas scruffy. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our first transatlantic and generally we enjoyed it. However it didn't start too smoothly as once onboard we noticed our sea passes were endorsed as Emerald and not Diamond as they should have been. Having seen the C&A ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic and generally we enjoyed it. However it didn't start too smoothly as once onboard we noticed our sea passes were endorsed as Emerald and not Diamond as they should have been. Having seen the C&A manager we were given new passes but there were no fringe benefits in the room and we missed out on a behind the scenes tour. There were also issues with our free internet which I had to chase and get resolved. The ship is starting to show its age and is looking a bit tired in places. The crew keep it clean though. We sailed on it for the first time in the summer and it's the first ship where I could find an outside seat (on the summer trip not this one) The dining experience in the main dining room was OK but overall Royal Caribbean are reducing the standard and service on an ongoing basis. The focus it to push the fine dining restaraunts where you pay a supplement or the Lobster or Fillet Mignon in the main dining room where again you pay a supplement. The shows on this cruise were above the average standard and the feature length production of Grease was excellent and you would willingly pay to,see it at a local theatre. We didn't use the other bars really but there was some good music emanating from them most evenings. Again, standards are slipping and I had a couple of minor issues and requests which I presented to the main customer service desk. One of them was not dealt with at all and I had to chase it up in order to resolve it. With gratuities rising, the service is not matching our expectations. The points we stopped along the way were all nice if a little samy, but then it is the Caribbean. With hindsight I think a stop in the Azores would have been nice and broken up the long stretch at sea. I could have forgon Labadee. The US immigration check upon arrival in St Thomas was an absolute shambles. We were fortunate to be on a tour and smart enough to get up and be near the front of the queue. Others on our tour didn't make it, despite us waiting 40 minutes. There was still a queue when we returned to the ship five hours later and we heard accounts of people waiting over three hours. What made it worse is that upon arrival in Fort Lauderdale we had to have our passports checked again. What a waste of time and typical beaurocracy for the sake of it. I hope this review doesn't present too poor an impression. We had a good trip and would do it again but would possibly try a different ship. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We are a married couple from Scandinavia who previous have been on about 40 cruises. We have sailed, both on many Transatlantic Cruises, and on other destinations with several different Cruise Lines. Pre-cruise: We had for the third ... Read More
We are a married couple from Scandinavia who previous have been on about 40 cruises. We have sailed, both on many Transatlantic Cruises, and on other destinations with several different Cruise Lines. Pre-cruise: We had for the third time booked in advance a car with chauffeur from Online Airport Cars in London, to take us to our hotel in Southampton. It worked again OK for us, and we thought the price was fair. As before, we had booked a room at Hotel Novotel Southampton, one day before the cruise. We think the hotel is a good 4* city hotel. Embarkation: Went very smoothly. The voyage: For the first time on a Transatlantic Cruise in late fall from Europe to the US, we had no ports of call in the South Atlantic, like Madeira or one of the Canaries, before crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean. This turned out to have consequences regarding the weather conditions. Captain Iv explained that there was a greater weather challenge to sail a North Atlantic route in late fall, instead of sailing a more southerly route to the Caribbean. The Captain also showed on an online map, that if Independence had sailed a more southerly route near Madeira, we then would had a high pressure with nice weather. Instead, we had to wait six days to see the sun and enjoy warm weather. The reason why a northern route across the Atlantic was chosen, I'm pretty sure was to save fuel expenses due to a shorter distance to the Caribbean. To satisfy the passengers with nice weather was apparently of no concern for RCI. To me, it appears unfortunately that Independence also will sail the same route, from Southampton to the Caribbean, next October. The Ship: The Independence of the Seas is a nice ship, and I think the ship seems mostly well maintained. But a special comment: Cushions to the chairs in the Windjammer should be replaced. Stateroom info: We had booked a Superior balcony stateroom on deck seven. It was large and comfortable. However, the two plastic chairs on the balcony could have been better. We were satisfied with our stateroom attendant. Something else, it is many years since we have had such a poor selection of TV channels during a Transatlantic Cruise! After the first two cruise days, we lost all TV channels with news coverage. The reason was stated to be missing satellite connection. When we reached the Caribbean, the only TV stations we then were able to watch with news coverage, were CNN US and Bloomberg. News beyond the US presidential election, was almost completely absent. The background for the very poor TV channels selection, was probably that RCI wanted the passengers to buy internet packages. This was offered on the Royal Promenade during the whole cruise. With the exception of the last three days of the cruise, there were no free movies to watch in the cabin (only movies for a fee). Dining: We had set dining time in the Macbeth Dining Room on deck four. We were mostly pleased with the quality of the food that we selected. On our table no. 459, we had excellent service from our professional waiter from Goa in India, and his very pleasant female waiter from the Sao Paulo area of Brazil. The food for breakfast in the Buffet Restaurant Windjammer, was reduced. For instance prunes was no longer available, and smoked salmon was no longer among the cold cuts. Regarding the selections of hot dishes offered for lunch, the quality of the burgers was unfortunately very poor. As usual, it was a bit difficult to find an unoccupied table for breakfast and lunch during “peak hours” in the Windjammer. The first two days of the cruise, I think the employees in the Windjammer were a bit too relaxed, but after that, the majority did a good job of clearing tables etc. On this cruise we found the selection of food in the in Café Promenade, more limited than we generally are used to find on other RCI ships with a Café Promenade. The Bars: Most bars were understaffed. General comment about the crew: The majority of the crew we met, were friendly. Entertainment: Of course, a lot of entertainment. The two different ice shows we watched, was as usual excellent, and we really enjoyed the musical production of Grease. We have several years ago got tired of watching the Cruise Lines own production shows, with their many non-original music and songs. Moreover, we were not impressed with a female vocalist who performed in the Alhambra Theatre, and the band that was playing on Pool Deck. We think the Cruise Director, Jamie did a good job, and we enjoyed the Daily Morning TV Show with him and his Activity Manager. The Crown & Anchor Society: As Diamond Plus members, we appreciated the gifts that we received on board. We are usually very pleased with the nightly event for Diamond members and above, with the offer of free beverages and canapés, and in addition the three drink coupons. However, for the first time, we are left with mixed feelings with our experiences with the Diamond Lounge event this time. During the first part of the cruise, both service from the waiters, and the offer of beverages and canapés were very good in the premises, which was used as the Diamond Lounge.But unfortunately, later was the number of the waiters serving beverages nearly halved, and the platters with canapés were rarely refilled. When it was four day left of the cruise, it was said that Independence was out of stock of Cognac in all the bars on board, which I unfortunately do not necessarily think was the truth. Another day, it was not possible to order a glass of Rosé Wine in the Diamond Lounge, and also during the last cruise days we were told that they now were out of ordinary wineglasses in the Lounge! - and only had smaller glasses left. I don't think this was a correct explanation. I assume "all this" is due to cost cutting! We never visited the Concierge Lounge in the evening, it was too crowded. Itinerary – As stated before, we unfortunately had no ports of call in the South Atlantic, like Madeira or one of the Canaries, before crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean. However, the five ports of call in Caribbean were all good. Immigration – Like previous years when arriving in St. Thomas, the immigration process took between one and a half to two hours. The reason for the always very long lines, is the lack of a sufficient number of US Immigrant Officers. Unfortunately, the long immigration process leads each time that some passengers get reduced hours to go ashore in St. Thomas. Disembarkation: It was severely delayed in relation to the assigned time we had been given the day before. We had to wait on the ship nearly an hour and a half beyond that time, before our disembarkation number was announced. Fortunately, we were not in a hurry in Fort Lauderdale! Overall – In recent years we have also experienced cost cuts by other Cruise Lines, but never to the extent that we experienced on this cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
As well travelled cruisers we could not believe, that after 9 days at sea, and one day of hot weather they decided to refurbish the pool area! This work involved stripping off the "astro-turf" type covering from around the pool ... Read More
As well travelled cruisers we could not believe, that after 9 days at sea, and one day of hot weather they decided to refurbish the pool area! This work involved stripping off the "astro-turf" type covering from around the pool areas, thereby reducing the number of sunbeds and making the deck look like a building site, with whole areas taped off!! This work continued until the end of the cruise - the children's pool being completely out of service as they reduced it's depth. When we booked the holiday this was not mentioned by Royal Caribbean, and shows a total disregard for their customer's comfort and enjoyment. The ship was a bit shabby in certain areas and I overheard that it is due for refurbishment in 18 months time, so beware they might decide to refurbish other areas during "up and coming" itineraries. So Buyer Beware!! However, the food in the main dining areas was excellent, and cabinot and dining staff members were also excellent. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We first sailed on the Independence during its inaugural season in 2008, and the recently completed Transatlantic was our first time back on the ship. She has stood the time well. Maybe a little rust here and there and some of the ... Read More
We first sailed on the Independence during its inaugural season in 2008, and the recently completed Transatlantic was our first time back on the ship. She has stood the time well. Maybe a little rust here and there and some of the furniture has seen better days but the Indy is still a fine ship. Embarkation in Southampton was a breeze. I dont think too many people paid much attention to RCI's request to turn up at a time depending on your deck. We arrived at 1230 and were on board before 1. We were Emerald (now Diamond..yippee) and the line was not long. Gold and Platinum lines were long and I did hear some grumbling about this later.There was a lot of grumbling on this voyage. more about that later. Once onboard, it was the now ritual visit to the Windjammer before the announcement that the staterooms were ready. We booked an inside on Deck 6 and it was perfectly adequate. Near the elevators and only one flight down to our Deck 5 dining (First Sitting). With such a northerly starting point, I dont think anyone expected sunshine from Day 1. Just as well, as the skys were grey and the seas likewise until Saturday (we sailed on a Sunday). The Captain sailed around a particularly nasty Atlantic storm, and we still had winds up to 50mph to contend with, although the seas never got too rough. However, Saturday dawned and the scramble for sunbeds started. I have to say that the 'hoarding' of sunbeds was particularly bad on this cruise, despite all the requests not too. There were some heated exchanges and the Pool Staff need to enforce some order in this respect or there will be further incidents. Another cause for concern was the presence of workmen for most of the cruise,replacing the floor coverings around the pools. There was some noise disturbance and the work was still going on when we debarked. Work is also ongoing on the funnels, but this was very discreet and only clue was scaffolding on one side. Something to do with sulphur emissions, I understand. We were First Sitting on Deck 5, King Lear. We could not have had better table mates, the eight of us hit it off from the start and no one missed a night. We went to shows and quizzes together and had a blast. Our waiters, Aliyn from Goa and Carlos from Mexico were excellent and the Head Waiter, Tyrone keep everyone guessing what song he was going to sing next. Including one with a Bob Marley wig !!. The food on the Indy was good, both in the dining rooms and Windjammer. We didnt go to any speciality venues or Johnny Rockets. Entertainment was generally good, some high spots a couple of not so . The on board lectures were scheduled for 9am in the morning. a little too early for some, and to be honest, while the lecturers were extremely knowledgable, the chosen subject matters, Cars and Population trends were not everyones cup of tea.. The highlight for many were the Ice Shows, which were thrilling, and the full production of Grease which was excellent. The bands on board were good without being exciting. Many missed Rock the Boat, who werent on this sailing. The Cruise Director, Jamie Fentiman, was good. Have to mention Hannah from Wales, one of the CD 's staff. She was everywhere and what a personality.. We didn't bother with the Casino. Olive and Twist was our favoured venue for a late night drink The Ships officers kept themselves to themselves, unlike Celebrity. The Captain only made two public appearances that I am aware of. Maybe its ;policy, but many passengers do like to see the 'stripes' walking around the ship. Now back to 'grumbling' I mentioned earlier. There were 3600 passengers on board, the bulk of which were from the UK (2,800 approx). It seemed to me that some people are never happy unless they are moaning about something. One flashpoint was the Egg Station in Windjammer. Another was the lifts. Piling in before the existing occupants had left was common., But the daddy of them all was one that RCI really have to look at closely. USA Immigration was carried out in ST Thomas. It started at 7am, and did not finish until around 245pm. RCI sent a letter of apology to each stateroom blaming not enough Immigration Officers. The real reason was far too many people NOT adhering to their allloted time. There were NO checks carried out to see if passengers were there at the right time, and little effort made to see that people who had paid RCI for excursions on that day were dealt with early. We had been warned on CC what to expect, the reality was even worse. The Captain did extend the stay in St Thomas by two hours, but many had already got off before this was announced. The ports of call were St Maarten (after 9 days at sea), St Kitts, St Thomas, San Juan and Labadee. We had been to all of them on previous cruises so their were no surprises. There was a medical emergency after leaving San Juan which resulted in the ship returning to port to offload the patient. Regrettably, some fellow cruisers seemed to be more concerned about the delay in getting to Labadee than the health of the passenger. The internet service was probably the quickest we have experienced. There was a glitch for two days near the end, but RCI willingly refunded for these days. The TV service was another matter. Poor, How there could be so many Polish channels is anyones guess. Read Less
Independence of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates N/A 3.8

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