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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
It's been a few years since we were last on an RC ship, onboard the Anthem, which was an amazing ship and experience. It was also one where most folk we spoke to would always say, "it's great, but it's not the ... Read More
It's been a few years since we were last on an RC ship, onboard the Anthem, which was an amazing ship and experience. It was also one where most folk we spoke to would always say, "it's great, but it's not the Indy". When we saw this year that Indy was doing a Canaries cruise, something we had wanted to do for a long time, we jumped at the chance to see if she was all that and more, especially after her recent refit and refurb, and hit or miss reviews here! Driving from Glasgow, thanks to FlyBe's exorbitant prices to fly direct to Southampton, our embarkation process from arriving at AB Parking to getting onto the ship probably took us no more than an hour from about 11am. The RC staff throughout were extremely helpful and ensured everyone was kept moving towards getting onto the ship. It was the same disembarking on our final day. It was all super slick, super efficient, and felt very well managed and controlled. Once onboard we had to wait about three hours for our cabin to be ready thanks to a deep cleanse of the ship due to an outbreak of the norovirus on the previous sailing. Again, on this point, I don't think I've ever seen a ship and her crew be so resolute in making sure everyone washed their hands, used hand sanitiser, or similar, be it getting on and off the ship or coming in or out of any areas with food and drink. Our cabin was starboard side mid-ships in the bow (7330). We weren't sure if it was a refurbed one or not, but it was certainly spacious when the sofa bed was away, with plenty room for my wife and I, along with our 11 year old boy. It also had a decent sized balcony, more than big enough for the three of us to be out on together. Our cabin steward did a decent enough job of keeping the room clean, although we had to put the sofa bed away ourselves after it was continuously left out for the first few days. After that, it was always put away during the day. The service felt perfunctory at best and nothing more compared to some previous experiences we've had. The ship itself, having spent a fortnight with her, isn't quite as grand as others would have us believe. She's a beautiful ship, but not quite in the same class as the Anthem (although I think we were spoiled sailing in her maiden year). The promenade is very nice, but you have absolutely no chance of getting any space or seats in the cafe, bars, or pub if you're on the 8.30pm dinner sitting. It's very disappointing after your meal to come down and see it crammed full with next to no space anywhere. Likewise, while we certainly never had any problems getting sunbeds or space at any time during the cruise, the poolside beds and those around the running track on deck 12 were very cramped and always busy with very little being done by staff to vacate empty loungers (there's supposed to be a maximum 30min limit). We always found space at the back of the ship towards the flowrider and beyond Johnny Rockets. Food wise, the Indy has definitely been one of the best ships for food I think we've been on. Both the Windjammer and Main Dining Room excelled in choice, quantity, and quality of food. Granted, the days at sea saw the Windjammer absolutely packed with very little room to get seats, but you prepare your best for this and try to schedule your eating time around when you feel it wouldn't be as busy. Johnny Rockets was never busy given it's a chargeable eatery ($10 per head for as much as you want), but the food was very tasty and I'm also sure ridiculously high on the calories. We also bought the three night dining package which we used in Giovanni's Table and twice in Chops Grille. Giovanni's is nice, but the food isn't a patch on Jamie's Italian on the Anthem, while our first experience of Chops on the ship wasn't great from a customer service point of view (this was rectified on our second visit and made up for the first one completely, plus the steaks are to die for in there). We used RC for two shore excursions, Lanzarote where we did the camels and timanfaya national park, and Madeira for the toboggan, cable car and wine tasting. While you are paying extra doing these through RC, we always feel it's better for piece of mind should any delays occur and you get left behind (as we saw several did during this cruise too). Both excursions were very enjoyable and professionally managed. We sadly only managed to see a few shows during our cruise; the brilliant Freeze Frame ice skating show, Frankie Valli and the Dreamers, and Grease. All very enjoyable, but you did need to be there about 30mins before to ensure you got a prime viewing seat. All highly recommended. Lastly, a special mention must go to our waiting team in the main dining room. Our sitting at 8.30pm was always brilliant thanks to Radu and Thommy who very quickly picked up on our needs every night. Nothing was too much trouble, any changes or requests were met with a swift response and resolution. Both were an absolute dream and played a huge part in making our holiday as enjoyable as it was. Radu in particular always had information to hand at the end of our meal regarding our next day on the ship. Both continually went above and beyond and were a pleasure from start to finish. We enjoyed our time on the Indy thoroughly, and while she maybe doesn't have the bling or glamour of the Anthem, we'd happily sail with her again in the future! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our first cruise was a short one on Indy in April 2017, so we were excited to be sailing on her again last month to the Canary Islands. What we didn’t know was that during its ‘refit’ last year they also added more cabins. We were ... Read More
Our first cruise was a short one on Indy in April 2017, so we were excited to be sailing on her again last month to the Canary Islands. What we didn’t know was that during its ‘refit’ last year they also added more cabins. We were informed there were 4500 passengers (an extra 500 people) on our sailing, the ship was full to bursting point. I am disabled and therefore used a walking stick and mobility scooter, but there was no where to sit in the evenings all the bars were constantly over full. We missed so much evening entertainment due to the lack of seating, we ended up back in our cabin after our 8.30 dinner sitting most nights. We could never get a sun bed around the pools and if you are not up early on a sea day there was no chance of getting a sun bed anywhere. Particularly if you’re disabled and cannot climb up a bed crammed along side other beds. We feel RCI have crammed far too many passengers on the lovely Indy yet not added extra bar lounges or seating to cope with it. We loved the many ports we visited, the itinerary was great, but being back on a very over crowded ship by all aboard time soon lowered our mood. We felt it was dirty too, the balconies didn’t get cleaned the whole cruise, and Chops Grill was dusty, the blinds all lopsided and tatty, the floor was grubby and looked like it needed a good deep clean. We booked it to celebrate our anniversary but sadly I can’t even say the meal there was great as my meal kept going back as my steak wasn’t cooked how I asked for, by the time I got mine, my hubby had finished his and my side orders were cold. It’s true RCI charge extra for everything my hubby had commented on it more than once. It’s a shame because we were really looking forward to cruising with her, but we paid a whole of money for a cruise and then couldn’t enjoy it to the max because of RCI’s greed. There were some good points, the staff in the main restaurants were always amazing, they couldn’t do enough for us. Also if you did manage to get a seat in a bar (during the day) the bar staff were great, we never waited long to be served. If you are happy to get up at 6am, plonk yourself on a sun bed and then not move all day, or you love to stand in or near a bar all evening with no chance of a seat, enjoy sitting in the theatre an hour before the show starts to ensure you get a seat, and money is no object then this is the cruise line for you. For us, no, I don’t think we will be cruising on any of the ships that have had a ‘refit’ in future. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We were first time cruisers, family of 5 trip including Gran and daughters 22 & 3. The ship is lovely and cabins are clean and comfortable we were well looked after by our steward. Food in both dining room & buffet restaurant ... Read More
We were first time cruisers, family of 5 trip including Gran and daughters 22 & 3. The ship is lovely and cabins are clean and comfortable we were well looked after by our steward. Food in both dining room & buffet restaurant was very good with a good selection. The ports were all excellent with plenty of time in each. However as with most things on this ship Royal Caribbean only seemed interested in getting you to spend spend spend. Shore excursions were hideously expensive so we arranged our own. Two ports were a good distance from the town and for one RC had a courtesy bus but for Madeira they were charging €19pp!! Given the amount of disabled, elderly and children this was not good customer relations. Most of the staff were friendly apart from customer services who must be so fed up with complaints they barely acknowledge you - very poor! However our main issue was this ship is not conducive to under fives. Yes there is a kids club but it’s inside away from pools etc most of the young kids wouldn’t go in. If they didn’t that was it for entertainment in the evening. There was the occasional family disco at 6pm but this was poor. As for the pools if you have a child still in nappies/diapers they can only use a small area which has a slide with water but nowhere to swim which is beyond strange. If they don’t wear nappies they are not allowed in this area. Therefore if you have children who are in both categories the family cannot be in the pool together. This was a massive issue for many families we spoke to. It must be impossible for single parent families. The sunbeds are comfortable but too many packed together no space in between the veritable sardines! We probably will cruise again but not with Royal Caribbean as one person we spoke to who had cruised with them before told us “the refurbishment has resulted in more cabins therefore more cruisers and less space plus many things that were previously included in the cost were no longer and the subsequent charges were over the top”. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our 3rd cruise on Indy and our first since it was refurbished. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with very little to complain about. I would say though that I preferred the ship before all the added whistles and bells. The ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on Indy and our first since it was refurbished. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with very little to complain about. I would say though that I preferred the ship before all the added whistles and bells. The overall condition of the ship was very good. The food in Windjammer and the MDR was some of the best we have had on any of our cruises and our waiting staff in the restaurant couldn't be faulted. Our balcony cabin was fine although the storage was limited and the wardrobe was badly set out. It was clean and functional. We rarely saw our cabin steward as we had nothing to ask him for as it was all there. We found a sun bed easily every day without resorting to getting up at the crack of dawn and in spite of reading in a recent review that people are charged $10.00 if the towels aren't returned at night this is simply not true. The only time you are charged is at the end of the cruise if the towels aren't returned. We never returned a towel at the end of the day merely changed them without showing our passes. We were served fairly quickly in all the bars we went to and also found a seat at all the shows.. Grease was particularly good and also The Jersey Boys show. The Cruise Director Cubby was just OK. We wish they would change the shows along the Promenade as they have been doing the same thing down Main Street for years now. The shops were a major disappointment on his cruise.. Normally there are carts with different items along Main Street but most nights there was one or none. Overall a great cruise Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Love Royal Carribean and have travelled with them a couple of times. We travelled with 2 other couples who have never cruised before. Arrival at port and onto boat was very quick. As soon as we got on the ship our friends were amazed. ... Read More
Love Royal Carribean and have travelled with them a couple of times. We travelled with 2 other couples who have never cruised before. Arrival at port and onto boat was very quick. As soon as we got on the ship our friends were amazed. We had a full drinks package and all premium drinks and cocktails included and we definately made rhe most of it. Food was unbelievable as always and thought i was going to have to be rolled off when we arrived home. We picked the Canaries as we thought the weather would have been good at this time but a bit dissapointing (obviously nothing could have been done about that). Arrival at all ports was easy to get off abd back on. The only port that disappointed was Gran Canaria we arrived at port and nothing was opened so couldnt really do much. The only disappointment we had with the ship was the entertainment. We sold it to our friends as top class (as it had been kn previosly ships). I have never been on a cruise were the theatre shows were so poor that people were walking out. Take that tribute band had the place rocking and the Frankie vali and 4 seasons tribute were great but 2 nights out of 10 isnt enough. To put a cruise director on as a main act and a movie which was then shown outside was a joke. The entertainment was more like i would expect to see on a budget holiday not a cruise and a number of people commented on this. All in all however we had a great time and would definately return to Royal Carribean but not on the Explorer of the Seas. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Be careful when going into ports with Royal Caribbean they try and charge you for shuttle service. Ours was $9 per person to go to the edge of city centre. When we got off the ship, the local taxis charge 2.50 euros. The bar prices are ... Read More
Be careful when going into ports with Royal Caribbean they try and charge you for shuttle service. Ours was $9 per person to go to the edge of city centre. When we got off the ship, the local taxis charge 2.50 euros. The bar prices are also so high and sometimes the packages are not worth it. Also Do you research on the ports before you go. 3 of our ports were rubbish, nothing to do and just a normal town, might as well of stopped at home. Also one of the days the entire island was closed. Nothing was open. Yet they still try and push for an excursion to visit the old town where the main shopping centre is open, but the shops inside it weren’t. The entertainment team singers. (Chris & Vanessa) were superb, the best I’ve ever heard on any stage. WOW. The dancers were a little messy, but redeemed by the ballroom couple. The headliner guest acts were awful. The Frankie valli tribute sounded like Orville the Duck. He was also very weak and on occasion out of tune. The take that tribute were not bad. But let down badley by the guy playing Gary Barlow. He was not good. Cringe worthy. The food in the windjammer was excellent. The cabin steward was also excellent. The cruise director (Graeme) was so funny, made the cruise. Just wished he would walk around the ship more. The TV and stations needs looking at. Need to offer more choice. Also some areas around the ship are very cold. I would suggest for everyone to take a cardigan or ask the ship to make it less cold. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We’ve recently returned from a 14 night cruise of Spain and the Canary Islands. It’s our second time on this ship and our fourth with RCI. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this holiday because I did, but there were a few issues that ... Read More
We’ve recently returned from a 14 night cruise of Spain and the Canary Islands. It’s our second time on this ship and our fourth with RCI. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this holiday because I did, but there were a few issues that prevent me from giving this a five star review. The ship and the staff are incredible. Despite being very busy we didn’t encounter any of the over-crowding problems mentioned in other reviews. It never took more than a couple of minutes to get a drink, even at busy times. The food was generally good. The main dining room seems to have slipped a little since last year, but it’s still good. The speciality restaurants are all excellent and not too expensive if you pre-book a dining package before you get on board. I enjoyed all the bars and felt we received great service from the staff right across the ship. The delux drinks package is well worth having, with a great selection of spirits and cocktails. What lets it down is the quality of the wines. The reds and whites are pretty poor and the “champagne” is awful. It’s a non-descript sparking French wine which smells like a clogged drain. Our cabin, a balcony on deck 6, was okay. It looked a little tired in the places and the carpets and curtains were outdated, but it was a good size and kept clean and tidy. I slept well every night, even in rough seas, so the bed was very comfortable. The entertainment was excellent. There’s a first-rate production of Grease and the ice shows are stunning. The themed nights on the promenade are good fun though they do get very crowded and hot. We had a party under the stars one night on the upper decks which was fun too. What let the holiday down for me was the large number of children and teenagers onboard. We deliberately went during school term time but this seemed to make no difference. I know the Scottish half term took place during this fortnight but most of the kids were English, meaning they’d been kept out school for this trip. It resulted in all the issues raised in previous reviews: kids running around unsupervised, playing in the lifts late at night, etc. We were also unfortunate to encounter a lot of Diamond class snobs on this cruise. They bragged about the Diamond lounge like it was the holy grail, then proceeded to moan about it: how small it is, how common it’s become, how there are too many diamond members on the ship and they were forced to mingle with the “riff raff”. We had four of these people on a table of eight at dinner and I found the constant moaning to be a drain, especially in the second week. Not RC’s fault, just the luck of draw for table seating. I wouldn’t like to think I’d ever go on a huge, beautiful ship and spend most of my time sitting in a single cafeteria-style room, not matter how many points I’d achieved, just to feel special. The itinerary was good, with a nice balance of sea and shore days. I always enjoy the sea days with plenty to do across the ship. We had a bit off iffy weather on the way back: 5 metre waves and 60 mph winds, but the ship handled it well and with the stabilizers engaged it wasn’t too bad at all. It took about six hours to get through the worst of it, which we spent on a low deck, midship with little to worry about. So, to summarise, Independence is a wonderful ship with lots of do and enjoy, let down by the odd issue here and there. But with the recent refit designed to appeal to families rather than couples, I don’t think I’ll be sailing on her, or any RC ship, anytime soon. I’d rather book with an adult only company and guarantee a child free, more relaxing cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Wanted a longer cruise outside the school holiday. Never been to the Canaries before. The ship was Beaty with a lot of decoration and art. Clean and good taken care of. Our incide cabin had everything we needed and a lot of places to ... Read More
Wanted a longer cruise outside the school holiday. Never been to the Canaries before. The ship was Beaty with a lot of decoration and art. Clean and good taken care of. Our incide cabin had everything we needed and a lot of places to store our things, perfectly located on deck nine between the two lifts. Our stateroom attendant Ida did a Great job and kept it clean and was so nice to us all the time. Had read so many reviews about the need of upgrade, but that was not my experience. Always chairs available outside and it was never difficult to swim in the three pools or find a place in one of the jacuzzi. The food was very good. Specially impressed by the food in Windjammer that had a lot of choices. Also had very nice food in the MD and very good service thanks to Luise and Felix. Did take the Galley brunch and visit the kitchen and can understand how much work it is for the people in the kitchen and for the waiters to serve all the passengers. Also had some meals in chops grill and Giovanni as part of a prebooked 5dinner package. The entertainment was overall very good with some extra memorable experiences as the ice-show, the Barricade boys, Perry Grant and Craig Halliday. Cuddly was a very good as entertainment manager. Only one bad experience; with the spa treatment with a big pressure of bying products, so don’t think I will take any more spa treatments in the future. Did very excursion wit RCCL in Lisbon and Agadir. The Hippo Hippo tour with Anna in Lisbon was fantastic fun and let us see some of the major places. I don’t think We would like to go by our self in Agadir but had an very nice guide and did not felt unsafe during the excursion. I also think they was so pushing selling things in Agadir as earlier experience in Morocco. The best excursion we had was in Lanzarote with Lanzarote Experience. We had a group of 13 with our very nice guide and driver Angela on the whole day trip called grand tour. We was able to see the Timanfaya National Park, wine growing area, cactus garden, Cuevas de los Verdes and Jameos del Agua. We also had a tour in La Corunna with Hercules tours, a two hour tour around the city. The other places as Vigo, Las Palmas and Madeira we just walked around the city, easy from the chip. Will recommend Navigator and the Canaries. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
First time on Indy and highly impressed. Embarkation was seamless as was all service once aboard. After the recent refurb, the ship was radiant and fun to explore. Was told cabins had not been refreshed but ours was as good as new, ... Read More
First time on Indy and highly impressed. Embarkation was seamless as was all service once aboard. After the recent refurb, the ship was radiant and fun to explore. Was told cabins had not been refreshed but ours was as good as new, spacious, spotless and with a deep balcony. Had been a bit worried with some reviews...kids running round, drunken antics, overcrowded...but this was not the case on our September cruise. A good mix of passengers and came across no problems. I have not given 5 stars because I did feel there was a lack of queit space/coffee shop options and had the ship been any fuller ( school holidays?), I would call it overcrowded. Think the extra cabins installed during the refit are not in the interest of overall passenger comfort/experience. Staff were brilliant, friendly without being overbearing. Never came across the selling hype. Main dining room food and that it the Windjammer was good, but certainly not exceptional. We had My Time dining but in reality had to book a fixed time as there was not availability between 6.30 and 8.00. Only had lunch in The Winjammer. Breakfasted in MDR buffet and never waited more than 5 minutes for a table for two. Often straight in and that was always between 8.30 and 9.15. Entertainment was very good. The 90 minute Grease show and The Bohemians Queen tribute band stood out....as did the 9 piece orchestra. Loved the music in the different bars too e.g. Mattiz in Boleros Latin bar. Joff Eaton was briiliant as the Entertainment Director...especially in whipping up the crowds on the two Royal Promenade street parties. Joff is both highly professional and approachable. I do think Sailaways could be more of an occasion as they are on some other lines. We had the deluxe drinks package which probably meant we drank a fair bit more than we would otherwise...and often resulted in a late night tasty slice of pizza from Sorrento's! Always good service across the bars. Normal bar prices are expensive. Many of the new additions are aimed at children/youngsters which we did not use much. Did enjoy watching the surfers on the Flowrider at the stern. Loved the Independence Dunes mini golf at the front of the ship. Indy has an excellent promenade deck on Deck 4 and you can get to the bow of the ship on Deck 5. We didn't use the sunbeds..hundreds of them. However, if you looked around there were always some free. Would liked to have seen more upright chairs on deck. The itinerary was excellent. Nine ports over 15 days. All lovely and easily accessible from the ship. We went on 2 ship excursions (farm and Agaete on Gran Canaria and Teide volcanoes walk on Tenerife) and the guides excelled with their knowledge and humour on both trips. The whole RCI and Indy experience proved better than what we had envisaged. If RCI can positively address the issues which seem to have dogged the school holiday cruises, Indy will continue to be a real winner with families. Outside of these times, Indy is a busy, lively cruise ship that has much to offer...but don't choose this ship for a quiet retreat! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Just returned from an excellent family cruise around the Canary Islands. We were a group of 6 adults and one very young child occupying three staterooms No. 8368 a port side aft balcony, No. 8690 an aft balcony and No. 1655 an internal ... Read More
Just returned from an excellent family cruise around the Canary Islands. We were a group of 6 adults and one very young child occupying three staterooms No. 8368 a port side aft balcony, No. 8690 an aft balcony and No. 1655 an internal virtual Balcony. The port side balcony was very roomy with a 4 seat couch. The aft balcony stateroom was rather restricted in size for the 2 adults and a small child in a cot. The virtual balcony stateroom was more like a broom cupboard with room only for a bed and one chair. Due to a slight mix upin our transport arrangements to the Southampton cruise terminal, we arrived rather early at around 10:30hrs. Much to our surprise and delight we were ushered immediately through both security and the check in process and were on board the Navigator by 10:45hrs. My wife and I settled down in the Solarium while the others charged around the almost deserted ship. The staterooms were opened up on schedule at 13:00hrs and our luggage was delivered around 14:30, an Ideal start to any cruise. The required safety drill was held at 16:30 and we set off soon after on our way down the Solent and into the English channel. Ports of Call: Apart from Gran Canary the time scheduled in the various ports was rather limited, which was a bit annoying. I assume these timings were fixed to reduce the very costly consumption of ships fuel when travelling at max speed and not for our benefit. We managed to walk into each of the ports taking between 20 to 30 minutes to do so. At this time of the year, with the temperatures around 23C it made for a very pleasant and easy walk. Entertainment: We watched the majority of the shows and there were some very good acts and some average. The RCL singers and band put on an excellent performance on one occasion, simply singing well know musical numbers. The slightly different ventriloquist and the string quartet acts were excellent. The Ice show as normal was superb; ice dancing on a moving ship has to be classed as very impressive. There were lots of organised quizzes and music playing around the ship so overall I would say it was good value for the money. Have to mention we were not too overly impressed by the cruise director; her rapport with the audience at the shows etc. was rather limited. Dinning Food and Beverage. Very pleased to report, that the Windjammer on the Navigator we consider to be the best in the fleet. “The Hot food was kept hot” and “The cold food cold” we have done numerous cruises with RCL where the windjammer food was served lukewarm. There was also a noticeable change in the variety of food served and with more British style dishes on offer and also in the quality which we though was much improved. Fully agree with many reviewers if you go in the windjammer at the peak times it is occasionally very hard to find an empty table. We avoid this issue by going in either early or later and avoid the busy peak times at breakfast and lunch. The food in the main dinning room was much of an RCL standard and both our waiters Chetan and Wilson were excellent, with no request for changes or additions being too difficult for them to achieve. I can never fully understand some cruise reviews where there are complaints about insufficient quantity, when all you have to do is ask for more…… Two of our party had a full drinks package, two had a soft drinks package and we had the loyalty free drinks a plenty in the evening and a coffee package. Our grandson stuck with his formula milk…. Various points: The normal hard sell to upgrade or buy RCL packages was in evidence but thankfully was not quite so pronounced or long lasting as we have experienced on previous RCL cruises. The ship appeared to be in very good and clean condition, having been I believe recently refurbished. The photo prices and ship booked excursions are now so costly, we seldom purchase either. Our stateroom safe proved somewhat temperamental from day one and failed completely on day three. This was removed from our stateroom for service but regrettably no immediate replacement was a available. From anecdotal evidence I believe there were issues with quite a number of safes. We were offered use of a safe deposit box in the customer relations office however that would hardly have been convenient to use on a regular basis. There would appear to be very little in the way of onboard services for the under 1 year olds. This despite having to pay almost full price fare and be expected to pay full gratuities…. In respect of gratuities, we along with many many others removed our auto gratuities on the first day. There appeared to be pages of people doing this. After years of paying full rate gratuities, cruise after cruise, we have decided to stop doing so. We gave tips to every person who served us a beverage, also to our stateroom attendant to our MD waiters and a couple of servers in the windjammer who we got to know. Having gone up from a reasonable 6$ to 14$, it is just not on. It is now long past time the various cruise companies to pay improved wages to all their staff and not rely on gratuities to compensate for low wages. Sad to say we encountered quite a few drunken passengers this cruise, who as well as being unable to hold their liquor were unable to control their foul mouthed language. Acceptable this may be in in some places but most certainly not on a family cruise ship, it is not pleasant to see people staggering around, cursing and swearing. Never did hear the fate of Mr and Mrs Thomson of Deck 5 who sadly missed the ship sailing from port, mid cruise. The Captain took the time to explain that he had to sail on time to make the next port on schedule. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Went to get some sunshine before the winter all the ports were very good always have a good time on RC went on Navigator out of Southhampton traveled with Eavesway coaches which are brilliant your holiday starts as soon as you get on the ... Read More
Went to get some sunshine before the winter all the ports were very good always have a good time on RC went on Navigator out of Southhampton traveled with Eavesway coaches which are brilliant your holiday starts as soon as you get on the coach no worry about getting there on time. If anything the excursions are a bit pricey but the 2 we did were excellent we did a scenic in Maderia and did the lava caves in Tenerife that was really good We only did a couple of the shows but that was just by choice not that there was anything wrong with them. The food in both the main dining room food was excellent as was the few times we went to windjammer we never did any of the speciality restaurants. The cabin was clean and roomy we had a Junior Suite and the stateroom attendant was very good. overall excellent as usual and would recommend Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise for the late summer sun, sailing from Southampton (just up the coast for us now). It was our 5th time on IoTS - so we knew what to expect. Boarding was efficient as ever, and our luggage reached us at a reasonable ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the late summer sun, sailing from Southampton (just up the coast for us now). It was our 5th time on IoTS - so we knew what to expect. Boarding was efficient as ever, and our luggage reached us at a reasonable hour. We had a "D" grade superior ocean view with balcony stateroom, so there was plenty of room to store our belongings and to not feel claustrophobic. Ramesh looked after us very well, responding to our few requests promptly. We joined the Facebook group who had organised a cabin crawl (thank you very much), and we found it very interesting seeing the other grades of cabins. We have visited the Canary Islands on few occasions, as well as Western Spain and Lisbon, so didn't feel the need to do shore excursions. It's a steep climb to go anywhere in Vigo, but EL Corte Inglese is well worth a visit if you want any cosmetics. They also have good, free wifi and good coffee!. Lisbon doesn't look quite as down-at-heel as it did 4 or 5 years ago. Hopefully it is starting to recover from the crash of 2008. The City Sightseeing Ho-Ho buses are good value here. Don't forget to keep your ticket to get 10% off your next ride on City Sightseeing. Cadiz is a beautiful town. It was glorious walking around the city wall areas with the parks. La Palma was new to us, but we had been to the other 3 islands. As usual, we visited one on a Sunday and it was closed!! Sunday definitely seems to be a family day there. In Madeira, we visited Blandy's to buy some of their Madiera wine. Made our suitcases heavy to take off ship, but we managed. We took a private excursion in La Coruna. This was very good value. The coach was waiting for us, close to where the ship docked, and we had a tour around the town and out to the Roman Lighthouse, with a very knowledgeable guide. We had arranged anytime dining, in Romeo and Juliet. However, I developed a cold during the first week, and didn't want to inflict it on others, so we mainly dined in the WIndjammer. The food in the Windjammer is excellent; I felt the choices on the MDR menu (we looked anyway) were not as good as previous cruises. We often lunched in the Café Promenade. The choices there were definitely not as good as previous cruises. One day, there were 3 different rolls and a tuna wrap. The rolls were mozzarella and something, Brie and something or 3 cheeses. So cheese, cheese or cheese. Drinks prices were extortionate, but we are very fortunate in that we have attained entry to the Diamond Lounge, so a couple of glasses of wine a night went down very well! The staff and crew are wonderful. They are so cheerful, helpful and polite. We didn't go to much of the entertainment, though we did see Grease, which was excellent. My husband was really looking forward to the Queen tribute band, but even he complained that the theatre sound systems drowned out the singing. Disembarkation was a little delayed. A crew emergency on the Friday night meant that we reached Southampton an hour late, with the consequent delay in the crew getting luggage off. What's good about Indy? The ambience, the crew, the staff, the whole experience. What's not so good? (I wont say bad). The food is letting her down a little - corners are being cut. Extras are costing more and more: excursions, drinks, duty free, cosmetics. I am concerned that there will be reportedly 64 more cabins after the refit. That's potentially 128 more people to fill the bars, the WIndjammer, the cafes, the pools, get on and off ship etc. School holidays are a time to avoid anyway, but in future the ship will be bursting at the seams with the 3rd and 4th beds filled. We don't have another cruise booked on Indy, but we will. Let's hope we won't be disappointed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Embarkation at Southampton went like a dream and we were on the ship in minutes. We had been on the Navigator five years previously when it sailed around the Med out of Rome so were looking forward to seeing if there were any changes. ... Read More
Embarkation at Southampton went like a dream and we were on the ship in minutes. We had been on the Navigator five years previously when it sailed around the Med out of Rome so were looking forward to seeing if there were any changes. Unfortunately, there were only bad ones. It seems that Royal Caribbean are now only interested in trying to make you spend as much as possible at every opportunity. We were pestered at breakfast, at lunch and when trying to relax in the bars in the evening (when we could get a seat) with people trying to sell the paying restaurants to us. Thirty seconds out of every port the promenade was constantly filled with extra tables with 'sale' goods, making it difficult to actually get down the promenade, and everyday we were bombarded with leaflets and emails about the next 'big sale'! The shops on board weren't very good, little variety and very expensive, $5.99 for a tube of Pringles! Fortunately, the dining room experience was still as good as ever with very friendly and attentive waiters and good food, with good wine served by an excellent Sommelier. We did notice however that a number of people frequently turned up at dinner sometimes 40 or 50 minutes late which obviously caused problems for the waiters trying to serve dinner on time to those of us who arrived at the allotted time and we were frequently very late getting out of the dining room because of this. Previously the dining room would be closed 15 minutes after the sitting time but this doesn't seem to be the case now, even though there is anytime dining available on the ship. The so called production shows were dismal, and the space taken up by the ice rink could be made better use of as the bars were so crowded it was really difficult to get a seat, mainly due to people sitting sleeping, reading or eating food from the promenade cafe as they couldn't get a seat in there. As the Windjammer now closes in the afternoons - people come back on board hungry and have to queue down the promenade to get something to eat at the cafe, the only place open at that time. Service in Vintages was excellent however the smell of cigarette smoke wafting up from the Casino didn't make it a pleasant place to sit when you did manage to get a seat on an evening. People were allowed to smoke in all areas of the Casino and it would seem on deck too - I didn't see any of the staff stop them. You couldn't even spend a few hours in your cabin watching a movie as they charged $13.99! Obviously, RCI want you out of your cabin so you can spend and if you're going to stay in you're going to pay for that too! Very few of the officers spoke to anyone when they were passing through the ship and the only time we saw the Cruise Director was his 10 second introduction to the stage acts, we never once saw him out and about chatting to people anywhere. It seems like all RCI want to do now is pack 'em in tight and get as much money as possible out of 'em without putting in too much effort - other than at selling! All a bit of a shame really as they used to be so good. We did get a good price on this cruise but to be honest, it really wasn't worth it. We won't be travelling with them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
Wife and I just got back from a 13 night Canaries cruise on Navigator of the Seas (sailed on 28th October 2016), we are diamond + members and this was our 17th cruise with RCI on numerous ships. Embarkation at Southampton: Very ... Read More
Wife and I just got back from a 13 night Canaries cruise on Navigator of the Seas (sailed on 28th October 2016), we are diamond + members and this was our 17th cruise with RCI on numerous ships. Embarkation at Southampton: Very smooth no problems Dining: We were on a table for 10 but only one other couple ever turned up for the evening meals and they were fantastic company Terry and Audrey, our two waiters were great. The food was not up to the usual standard of RCI in our opinion, on some occasions only warm and not a great selection on the menu. We didn't book any excursions on board and did our own thing in each port, we would recommend doing the cable car and down in the baskets in Madeira this is great fun. Poolside entertainment was limited mainly due to the weather, service on board was good and all staff very helpful and pleasant.. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Cruised with RCI last year on Explorer and enjoyed it so much we booked to sail on the impressive Independence this year. Great food and plenty of it.AMAZING waiting staff in the Romeo and Juliet dining room. May we mention Pedro and ... Read More
Cruised with RCI last year on Explorer and enjoyed it so much we booked to sail on the impressive Independence this year. Great food and plenty of it.AMAZING waiting staff in the Romeo and Juliet dining room. May we mention Pedro and Nicolae .First class service. Easy boarding and embarkation. Our cabin attendant kept our room spotlessly clean and tidy. Thoroughly enjoyed the shows . The Queen tribute act has us all clapping and singing (Freddie Mercury is a hard act to follow but this guy did him justice ) .West End show Grease was also good ..once again we were all singing along! Very funny comedian. Ice shows very good although we thought they were better last year. pool party under the stars with cocktails and hot sunny weather in the Canaries ..Dolphins swimming alongside our ship. A wonderful sight!..couldn't ask for more . See you next year !!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Canary Islands. We liked the boat and our disabled cabin was excellent as was our cabin steward. The waiters also gave good service however we found the food disappointing. For example ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Canary Islands. We liked the boat and our disabled cabin was excellent as was our cabin steward. The waiters also gave good service however we found the food disappointing. For example on one night there was salmon done three different ways with no salmon for the next few nights. Also a honey and orange glazed chicken was served with ordinary gravy. One day our cabin had a terrible smell in it - people in the corridor were holding their noses. We reported it and came back after an hour but it was just as bad. Fortunately a member of staff was going along the corridor, we asked her to smell it and she said that she would have something done. So after about three hours we were able to go into our cabin which from then on had a chemical smell in it. This was difficult for me as I am disabled and need to lie down every so often. Guest services then delivered a beautiful orchid as an apology which I thought very kind. We assumed that it must be artificial as you are not allowed to take plants into the U.K. However on unwrapping it at home we found it to be living!! We found that there was not a lot to do on 'sea days' if you did not like quizzes or bingo, the air craft talks were interesting but not enough of stimulating things like that. Lastly it would be good if you were able to offer disabled excursions. We had to go everywhere by taxi on the islands and put my fold up scooter in the boot. There were a lot of disabled people on the boat and unless they could climb into a coach there was nothing for them. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We booked this cruise to enjoy some decent weather, for most of the cruise, as we had awful weather at home. Unfortunately we didn't realise that schools in some parts of the country, were on holiday....bad idea when sailing from ... Read More
We booked this cruise to enjoy some decent weather, for most of the cruise, as we had awful weather at home. Unfortunately we didn't realise that schools in some parts of the country, were on holiday....bad idea when sailing from Southampton ! Our Junior suite was very comfortable, plenty of storage space in the walk in wardrobe, & the shower, over the bath, was powerful & hot. Valerio, our stateroom attendant was attentive, & cleaned our room early, as he knew we were early risers. Jacki, Ralph & Antonio in the Concierge lounge, were delightful people, helpful, efficient & engaging. This lounge was a haven to which we could retreat from the masses, in the late afternoon & early evening. We met some lovely people here & enjoyed their company in the evening. We did not attend many events, although enjoyed the Bohemians, as did all the audience. The two ice shows were spectacular, especially Freeze Frame. We have seen both shows before, but thought that FF was the best ever, with experienced, energetic performers. The violinist in Strings, was, as usual, very good, & it was a joy to listen to some classical music, instead of a modern, loud cacophony of noise ! Captain Ted McCourt, enrichment lecturer on aviation, was outstanding. We have heard him on a previous cruise, when he gave many lectures, but on this cruise, he was limited to only four. His knowledge & delivery was superb, and we could have listened to him for much longer than the allocated hour. The only criticism,which had nothing to do with him, was the venue. Goodness knows why he was allocated the Conference Room, a small, hot, airless place, but maybe RCCL thought the majority of the cruisers would not be interested in attending a lecture.....by the last day, we were in the theatre. The last time we heard him, we were moved to the theatre after a couple of lectures, as the numbers wishing to listen to him grew rapidly. I hasten to add, on that cruise, we did not sail from Southampton. The best news we heard was that smoking, at long last, has been banned from the casino. We have been complaining, as have others, for many years, about the smoke in that venue, which permeates through to other areas. Alas, some people smoked on their balcony, but even that ceased after a few days, so maybe their anti smoking policy is working. We suspect that the people concerned were advised about going against the rules, or at least we hope so ! We ate our breakfast in the Diamond Lounge, as it was very civilised to have a plate of fruit, followed by coffee, looking out over the sea, in quiet surroundings. Normally, we were the only ones in the lounge,apart from Laura, Diamond Concierge & John, Giovanni's waiter, who looked after the food & coffee machine, as we stated, we are early risers. Both these people were again, friendly & helpful. Lunch, if taken, was a light snack in the Windjammer, which was adequate, or a slice of pizza on the Promenade. Dinner was either in the MDR on deck 5, or again in the Windjammer. We have sailed quite a few times, so know the restaurant menu intimately, thus our choice of alternating venues. Dining in the speciality restaurants was not worthwhile, as we are not big eaters, preferring to have one course of various items. In the MDR, we had a light starter & only a main course, forgoing anything else. Normally we have never found fault with the food, but this time, oh dear, we had a couple of culinary disasters, most notably, the Duck leg confit. This dish was disgusting....dripping in fat, tasteless, totally unhealthy and in fact, inedible. The other dish, which my husband chose, on a different night, was mince & onion...far too salty, and again not appealing. The aged Manhattan steak, which is normally a good standby, was not very good and again I was unable to finish it. I hope that the company is not trying to cut cost by purchasing inferior quality food, as that would be false economy,causing much waste. We enjoyed the ship, but we will never again sail from Southampton during the summer months, as the standard of clientele was much lower than we have ever experienced during our years of cruising. Many people were obviously on the drinks package, either purchased, or included in their fare, and were determined to make full use, & more of it. Regardless of what time we walked along the Promenade, the seats were full of people drinking alcohol, talking loudly & not caring about fellow cruisers. Unfortunately, the majority appeared to be unaware of others, as their behaviour & language was most unacceptable. On port days, sun loungers were occupied by people not interested in experiencing new places & cultures. The reason for many to be on board appeared to be able to go home sunburned,looking like a cooked lobster. Many of the older children became feral by the end of the cruise, going around in packs, being rude, and trying to outdo each other in being offensive to others. One night in the Concierge lounge, three boys stood in the doorway of the lounge when the door opened, making remarks & eventually swearing, before running away....totally uncalled for. We are going on this ship again, when she makes her return transatlantic crossing in April, so we hope we shall have a better experience than this cruise ! Finally, we must congratulate the crew for being so upbeat & friendly, in circumstances which must have been very trying for them. I certainly would not like to whistled to, or having to respond to finger snapping, in order to serve them. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
As a way of explanation we are a retired couple and cruise about 3-4 times a year and our mantra is Cunard for ourselves and Royal Caribbean when we take the grandkids. In the last three months we have cruised twice by ourselves, once on a ... Read More
As a way of explanation we are a retired couple and cruise about 3-4 times a year and our mantra is Cunard for ourselves and Royal Caribbean when we take the grandkids. In the last three months we have cruised twice by ourselves, once on a 10 day Cunard Round Britain cruise and once on a 10 day Canaries cruise with Royal Caribbean. This review I by means of a direct comparison. PRICE Very similar as for both 10 day cruises we paid a bit under £2k per person. In the case of Cunard it was for a Superior Balcony and we got free parking and a bit of on board spend and on RCC we had a junior suite with the free basic drinks package (more of which later). A DRAW EMBARCATION and DISEMBARCATION Both superb, as they now have it down to an art form. We were on board within about 15 minutes on both ships and similarly leaving the ship did not entail any waiting. A DRAW CABIN Both were fine and much the same price but the Junior Suite (7714) on RCC was superb. The notion of it being a suite, is a misnomer as it gives no specific advantages apart from being at the back of the ship with a bit more room, a bigger balcony and a bath/shower rather than a shower. The Cunard cabin was just fine but the totally balcony privacy and the superb view of the wake made the RCC cabin a real winner A WIN for RCC SERVICE I cannot speak highly enough about the service on both ships and I marvel at the high and consistent level achieved by both crews. We never had a reason to complain on either ship and both crews could not do enough to make things special. It does help if one walks around oneself with a smile on ones face and treats the crew positively but that is obvious as the 'moaners' never do this, as seasoned cruisers all know A VERY HIGH SCORING DRAW. FOOD I had imagined Cunard would win this hands down but they only did on one category, the high level speciality dining. On both ships we found the normal restaurant food and the buffet food to be of a surprisingly high standard. For example both presented really good protein options with the salads such as prawns, smoked salmon, Italian meats etc and there was no evidence of cost cutting in this aspect. The choice in both of the main restaurants was very good. As to the high end speciality restaurants, which we frequent a lot on board, as we find them a real bargain given their standard, we have to say that Cunard came out on top here. Their Verandah restaurant is in our view at least 1 star Michelin level and we had the pleasure of meeting their chef, Trevor and he was a total class act and a genuine star chef. In comparison the Chops Grill concept is a bit outdated.....and although there is nothing wrong it is all a bit formulaic with the emphasis on huge jumbo prawns and huge steaks etc rather than being on culinary finesse. In comparison we thought the lower level RCC speciality restaurant of Giovanni's much more interesting and a very good Italian standard with a good choice and an excellent wine list. However we have to give the edge to Cunard but not by much and both cruise lines maintain a very high standard. A WIN FOR CUNARD JUST LOYALTY PROGRAMMES As these link with free drinks, I will talk about these first. We are Diamond members of RCC and Platinum members of Cunard... which is about equivalent in terms of numbers of cruises. However one loyalty programme is streets ahead of the other and that is RCC. By comparison Cunard is Scrooge like and this is one thing they need to look at. On RCC we were provided with a discrete lounge with free coffee, a large deck, three free drinks of any type per evening and canapés plus a free photograph each plus a number of other incentives. It says much but I can't remember what Cunard give as it so measly in comparison. A WIN FOR RCC BY A LARGE MARGIN DRINKS If you cruise you get used to all cruise lines charging high prices with high compulsary tips. It is a fact of life and so no use moaning to no avail. However RCC now push drinks packages as the solution and I for one find this unattractive. We were given the free standard package which was quite useless unless you drank beer, as the $8 wine, one could get on this package was quite undrinkable unless you had no interest of wine. It was New World garbage and we found ourselves having to buy higher priced wine. The alternative was to pay $40 a day per person for the premium package but that did not cover bottled wines for dinner, only the glasses of wine up to $12 and we had the free loyalty drinks provided each evening. However there were a lot of people on drinks packages and as a result they were drinking more alcohol, with some less than attractive side effects. We even found one guy having vodka at breakfast. In comparison there is no such emphasis on drinks packages with Cunard and I believe they are more civilised as a result and they have kept sommeliers in the dining room, a thing that is now fazed out on RCC. If one took the package element away the choice of drinks and the choices of good wine were much the same, which meant you had to pay around $50 for a decent bottle of vino. However wine is taken much more seriously on Cunard and their sommelier system is outstanding. A BIG WIN FOR CUNARD ENTERTAINMENT This is an area where there is a marked difference. If you want activity then RCC predominates with climbing walls, flow rider surf, ice skating, putting etc etc as opposed to mainly bowls and croquet on Cunard. As to indoor activities Cunard provides far more high brow activity in the form of lectures, specialist activities such as ballroom dancing and more classical as well as popular music whereas RCC were more into quizzes with everything and less demanding fare. The theatre shows were more to our taste on Cunard, as they tended to have better known vocalists and comedians but RCC had the one real showstopper with a stage production of the musical Grease, which was exceptional. Overall however Cunard was far more to our taste. A WIN FOR CUNARD AMBIENCE To be fair both have a fairly high level feel to them with luxury fittings and glitzy atrium areas and a variety of bars and speciality restaurants. Cunard puts more emphasis on formality and on standards but RCC is not hugely far behind and the standard is quite acceptable for most people. In fact the concept of having a 'main street' area in RCC is very successful and probably more interesting than the rather staid shopping precincts in Cunard. I believe although there is not a huge difference at the moment that there is going to be a considerable difference in the future due to the drinks package syndrome being pushed by RCC. This will attract less family orientated people and the ambience will change accordingly. A SMALL WIN FOR CUNARD WHCIH IS LIKELY YO TURN INTO A HUGE WIN FOR THE FUTURE THOSE LITTLE EXTRAS This is the area where Cunard wins hands down and which RCC should really so something about. When on holiday one wants to feel pampered rather than at a Travel Lodge but RCC do not seem to understand this. At the bars Cunard provide nibbles, not so RC.....Cunard provide branded toiletries, good size and quality bath towels and such things as gowns, slippers and bathroom extras .....in comparison it is real basic level stuff on RCC and the whole experience suffers as a result. Have the accountants been in to strip any semblance of luxury to save a few dollars? If so they on this count alone they will lose a great many customers. A RESOUNDING AND GAME WINNING VICTORY TO CUNARD CONCLUSION There are many very good things about both Cunard and RCC but Cunard seems to have a settled product and a settled marketing niche. In comparison RCC seem to be moving away from its trusted niche of being a family orientated ship and putting this at conflict, by trying to be an 'all in' standard brand with a high emphasis on alcohol packages and on cutting out any 'nice' extras. As such it risks being seen as more akin to such as the P&O and Travel Lodge level which if you are attracted by that is a fine thing but if not is going to be a further step away from the level Cunard and Celebrity. Going on both cruise lines, within a few months has made up my mind who I will cruise with next but as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Sailed on 10 night cruise including Madeira, main three Canary Islands and Vigo. Our slot for embarkation was 11.00 am to 12.00 am. Embarkation went very smoothly, very few queues at check in and we were onboard by 11.15. From parking ... Read More
Sailed on 10 night cruise including Madeira, main three Canary Islands and Vigo. Our slot for embarkation was 11.00 am to 12.00 am. Embarkation went very smoothly, very few queues at check in and we were onboard by 11.15. From parking car to getting on took no more than 20 minutes. Whether this was the same for later times I am unsure but certainly looking from our cabin around 2.00 pm there were no queues for the car park we could see. Also heard no complaints from fellow passengers about embarkation. We ate in the MDR all cruise and the standard seemed very much as it was three years ago when we last cruised with Royal Caribbean. We did My Time dining and although there were queues at 8.00 pm when we tended to go for dinner they moved fairly quickly. I suppose one down side there seemed to be mashed potato with everything. Waiting staff were excellent as ever and we never had a problem with drink orders after the first night. Once the waiters understood our preferences they made sure that our wine was topped up and even asked if we needed top ups without us asking. The wine package seems awfully expensive and cost over £1,000 (bad exchange rate). However with a decent bottle of wine $53 including tip and water at $4 it did not take long for to be worthwhile. Basically five drinks a day. (yes I do drink a lot). Cabin was well maintained and the cabin staff, as always, excellent. Always a smile and even a couple of towel animals. Not had those for a few years. The production shows were ones that we had seen before and probably need new ones as I believe they have been the same for the last five years. Early seating was never full whereas the second seating seemed to be always full with problems getting seats. Seen some comments about the Queen act. I must disagree with fellow critics and say it was probably in the top ten best acts that I have seen on 15 cruises. Could have seen it again. The two ice shows were excellent but again they were the same as 3/5 years ago. The ship seemed quite crowded on the first two days but probably due to the weather being too cold to be outside. The ship probably needs to be refitted soon and we did notice that it was not as clean as a Celebrity X ship. However much better than Princess. The street parties were fun as always but very crowded. Ports of call seemed very short and I cannot understand visiting Madeira on a Sunday when everything is closed. Now for the moan and hence the title of the review. My wife and I have fairly specific reasons for going on a cruise. They are good food, live entertainment and dancing. Part of the reason for choosing Royal Caribbean/Independence is that it has a fairly large dance floor in the Pyramid Lounge and a live band where we can dance. Unfortunately on this cruise a small minority of passengers with young children (under 7) decided to turn it into a children's play area which not only made it impossible to dance until around 11.30 pm but was downright dangerous. One evening (9.45) whilst dancing we ended up with a child between our legs which could have been dangerous to the child (stiletto heel through hand) or us falling on them. The parents/grandparents could not have cared a less. Although there were some efforts by the band and a short notice in the Cruise Compass stating that unaccompanied child were not allowed on the dance floor this was not enforced. I also asked one of the parents of two children who persistently were running on the dance floor to control them and was told it was their cruise as well so go poke it. Although there were only a few people who did dance when there was a good attempt to rid the floor of children there was a loud applause. I fully understand that my wife and I have specific ideas on why we want to cruise which need not apply to many people but in our view there should be a curfew in the Pyramid Lounge after 9.30 for children under 10. We certainly will not be cruising with Royal Caribbean again whilst this continues. After speaking to other members of the entertainment staff it would appear that this problem is becoming more prevalent. However if your idea of a fun night out is watching kids doing cartwheels to music and crawling all over the dance floor then this could be the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
We were a little apprehensive as this was our first cruise and because my dad is paraplegic we were unsure how we would manage. From parking the car to getting on board was easier than an airport and the inside of the ship from our ... Read More
We were a little apprehensive as this was our first cruise and because my dad is paraplegic we were unsure how we would manage. From parking the car to getting on board was easier than an airport and the inside of the ship from our cabin to all communal areas were lovely and spotless clean. We were really looked after by our stateroom attendants Ayi and in accessible room nothing going was too much for Jack. We loved romeo & Juliet restaurant as Maria, Misael and Juan Carlos treated us with such kindness always smiling great service and even found time to talk to us when they were busy they really made our 1st cruise so special We present paid our drinks package and found it easy to get served at most bars and enjoyed the waiter service in the theatre. Our favourite act on stage was Gareth Oliver(not being biased cause he's a Yorkshire man at all) Both ice skating shows were brilliant too. Would we all go again? Without hesitation The ship all the staff........ WOW Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our fifteenth cruise. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean on five occasions and this was our third trip aboard this ship the others being Brilliance and Adventure of the Seas. We have also cruised with Cunard, Princess and ... Read More
This was our fifteenth cruise. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean on five occasions and this was our third trip aboard this ship the others being Brilliance and Adventure of the Seas. We have also cruised with Cunard, Princess and Celebrity X. We very much enjoy life on board and although Independence of the Seas was visiting ports we have been to a few times before, we are happy just to relax and enjoy what the ship has to offer and hopefully a bit of sunshine. We had a Grand Suite which entitled us to a gold card with some extra privileges such as the concierge lounge and reserved theatre/ice show seats and also permission to use Chops Grille to eat our daytime meals instead of joining the scrum for a table in Windjammer. Together with the extra comfort of the room these little extras make life on board much more enjoyable. Obviously this comes at a cost but we feel it is worth paying the extra. Our room was always cleaned quickly and efficiently by our steward who was delightful as were all the staff. We always find the staff and crew to be smiling and pleasant but as a previous review so rightly states - it really is important to smile and treat them in a friendly and respectful manner rather than some of the surly attitudes that they certainly don't deserve. They are all so hard working in order to make our cruise pleasurable and they spend months away from their families so a little kindness and interest in them goes a long way. So to the actual brief .... We stayed in the Premier Inn in Winchester overnight and made our way to the port around 11am. Embarkation was a breeze and so slick. From parking the car to boarding the ship probably no more than 20 minutes. Absolutely excellent. Also disembarkation was similarly easy. Our stateroom was lovely and spacious with everything we needed. Bed was very comfy and balcony was roomy too. Dwi our room steward was excellent. The ship is still beautiful although looking a little tired in places. One gripe about it though would be that it isn't kept quite as spotless as a Celebrity Ship. Finger marks were apparent on screens and glass that had not been cleaned during the night, whereas on a Celebrity ship everything is absolutely spotlessly clean every morning although we never hear the actual cleaning process so I think it must be the fairies that come during the night!! Another small issue - again regarding tidiness and cleanliness ... we found the toilets in general, weren't up to the standard that we have come to expect when sailing with Celebrity. Brown paper towels (Celebrity provide individual flannel towels and the toilets are inspected very regularly and constantly attended every evening during the busiest periods and each cubicle is mopped between users). On the Independence I visited a cubicle at 6pm and again at 10.30pm. The same debris of cardboard roll holder and bits of tissue were littering the floor showing no cleaning had taken place in over four hours. The bins were overflowing with used brown paper towels and it was generally untidy. I felt this was substandard. We thought the food in general was good. Having read other reviews prior to our cruise we were sceptical as many said the food had really deteriorated. Windjammer always had a good selection although we didn't eat there in the evening. We ate in the Main dining room every evening and sat in the same section of Romeo and Juliet Dining Room. Our waiters were Jonathan and Dewa who were both fantastic and we always enjoyed chatting to them and looked forward to our evening meal. The menu was mostly good with a couple of evenings having less attractive choices but we ate some wonderful beef and we felt in general that the food was very acceptable and enjoyable. I have to say we are quite critical of food as both my husband and I are very capable in the kitchen, so I would go as far as to say that I think some previous reviews have been a bit harsh in their criticism of the food. Entertainment wise we enjoyed the shows. We loved the Queen tribute band "The Bohemians" and the ventriloquist was good although we have seen him before on board this ship but we still laughed a lot and he was very entertaining. The ice shows were brilliant even though they were same shows that we saw many years back. They are incredibly impressive - Freeze Frame is particularly good. The RC Singers and Dancers were putting on the same shows that we have seen too many times before so we did give these a miss this time. Our one grumble about the evening entertainment was the amount of children that were freely running around in the Pyramid lounge and taking over the dance floor. The band would start to play at 9.15pm and parents would not call their children off the dance floor. We wanted to dance but it became dangerous to do so and despite announcements being made and a mention of this in an edition of the Cruise Compass, nothing was done to enforce this. This issue needs to be addressed by Royal Caribbean before there is an injury. Also, adults want to be able to enjoy the live music and use the dance floor once the musicians start to play. The band "Pulse" played some excellent numbers and I think it is disrespectful to such talented musicians if parents allow their children to run riot whilst they are performing. We ended up going into The Labrynth nightclub where Paul made us feel very welcome and played some decent dance music so that we could do a bit of ballroom dancing though the dance floor in there is much smaller than in the Pyramid Lounge. We made the best of the situation anyway and still had a good time. (Thank you Paul !!) We didn't go ashore apart from in Vigo as we have visited all the ports on previous cruises and as previously mentioned we choose to cruise for what we enjoy on board the ship as much as for the destination. So all in all we had a good break although not our best cruise. We prefer Celebrity X as a cruise line but Royal Caribbean still have plenty on offer. Will we book again with RC? They need to sort out what is happening in The Pyramid Lounge with the kids running around and until there is some sort of curfew or rule made about children during the evenings ... No we won't be booking again. But perhaps Royal Caribbean are now trying to encourage a different type of cruiser in looking towards young families which isn't our scene and therefore we will choose a different cruise line in future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our seventh cruise on the independence, our second this year, and having previously experienced and registered our many complaints about the deterioration in the standard of food in the main dining rooms, we were shocked to find ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise on the independence, our second this year, and having previously experienced and registered our many complaints about the deterioration in the standard of food in the main dining rooms, we were shocked to find nothing had been done to improve this. Other passengers were also very critical. We spoke to the Executive Chef in June and are very disappointed that nothing has changed. Do RCI really care?. We also found the on deck service to be painfully slow, the result of further staff cuts, and it really is time that Royal Caribbean insisted on standards of dress in the dining rooms. On the plus side we found the staff were , as always, extremely courteous and helpful and some,not all, of the entertainment well worth support. Embarking and disembarking from Southampton was slick. In summary, however, the Independence experience continues to slip and invite criticism. Read Less
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