Independence of the SeasRoyal Caribbean Cruises
- Cabins 1817
- Crew 1360
- Passengers 3634
- Decks 15
- Launch Year 2008
- Registry Bahamas
Independence of the Seas traveller reviews
First time cruise - lived up to expectations
"Balcony room, good size and very good house keeping services, Hairdryer in drawer (took us a couple of days to find it!). Tea only in the room, which was fine for us, but coffee available around the ship - or bring a jar to use in room. Food very good, but Windjammer a bit chaotic - so we tended to use the formal dining rooms.Ice shows very good as was the Queen tribute show and hypnotist.Waiter service very good. Swimming pools lovely, and towels were removed after half an hour, from unattended beds, so able to get a bed easily."
- Travel date: Fri 26th of September 2014
Generally poor cruise line
"The ship is lovely, clean and well kept. Staff are great except the very off hand guest services, supposed to be the best staff on the ship. Rude and dismissive mainly. It's an expensive holiday so you expect good value. We didn't get if. Avoid unless you know the company well and are prepared for the constant pushing to buy something, maybe the Americans like this. English don't. AVOID "
- Travel date: Fri 29th of August 2014
Great for adults but not for young children!
"Traveled on 21st September 2013 to Mediterranean with my husband and 2 children, aged 2 & 4.
This was our 1st cruise, we had 2 ocean view staterooms.
Good points - Ship was impressive, extremely clean and stunning in decor. There were lots of nice bars, restaurants, shops, swimming pools, lovely Jacuzzi s, a spa and nightclubs. We ate in King Lear on deck 5 and had my time dining. The staff were fantastic, really attentive and entertained the children well (Mervyn, Michael and Mary were especially great) they had highchairs and booster seats ready, made paper hydroplanes for the children and even rescued my son when he leaned a little too far back. They were extremely helpful. The Windjammer was also good for breakfast and lunch although it got very busy.
We had staterooms 3320 and 3322 which were interconnecting and we were pleasantly surprised by the space and amenities in the cabin. The biggest surprise for me was that we had expected a lot of extras that would bump up the cost but we hardly spent anything inboard as we used our on board credit. The ice show was fantastic and the staff in the kids club (aquanauts and royal tots) were very good ... now time for the negatives.
Bad points - The bed was so uncomfortable, I was unable to sleep for the last few days (my husband was the same). Our toilets in both cabins got blocked on numerous occasions, despite us not putting anything down there we shouldn't and one time even flooded the bathroom! My main disappointment however related to the lack of facilities/entertainment/shore excursions for young children. For those who are happy to leave their children in kids clubs all day and night, they will have no problem, but my son (age 4) didn't wish to stay in his for more than a couple of hours and as my daughter is just under 3, we had to pay 8 dollars an hour for her to be there and to be honest, although she was happy enough, there wasn't much there for her to do, it was just a small room with nothing much in it. Before I left I rang Royal Caribbean to ask if there was soft play and they said there was so we were disappointed to find there was nothing of the sort! Neither were there many activities for young children outside the kids clubs. There was no cinema or films screened for children and there was no bowling alley etc. There was a nice splash pool (no slides) just spray fountains but in the poor weather, we were struggling to find anything to do with them. We used a room on deck 2 which had some toys in but that was it and a lot of parents were saying the same thing. The restaurants weren't geared for young children and the main restaurants had the same limited children's menu every night (for 12 nights!). My children were asking when we were going home, which was heart breaking given how much we'd paid for the holiday and how much we were looking forward to going. The last point refers to the shore excursions. Given that this is supposed to be suitable for families, there were no child-friendly excursions, we had to do all our research before we left. There were no trips such as water parks/theme parks etc and when we asked at guest services and the shore excursion desk (presuming they would have knowledge about what was available for kids at the ports we were visiting!) they actually told us to get off and ask at the port!! They were actually rude, unhelpful and just couldn't be bothered. Awful! One man on Guest Services actually handed me a form to complete for in cabin babysitting that was intended for staff!! They really were useless.
Overall, I would return if it were me and my husband but children really are an afterthought so I would never return with young children to this ship ... may try a Disney Cruise though!!"
- Travel date: Fri 4th of October 2013
Independence of the Seas - Never Again
"Having just returned from our second cruise on the independence of the seas, the last one being in 2011 I felt that I had to make comment on our latest experience.
On our first trip the ship, service, in fact everything was great, we came home relaxed and full of praises for RCI.
Was I naieve to expect the same quality the second time around? Obviously so.
The standards had to my mind had dropped across the entire spectrum of the ship with the emphasis on packing as many people on board as possible and also charging exorbitant prices for everything on board, from $12 (Â£8) for a shuttle bus ticket to $61.00 for a bottle of very medioca red wine. The Food although fairly well presented was bland and samey with to my mind very little variation in the menu. Room service was a joke used it only twice, first time for breakfast where on ordering two meals only one arrived. The second time we tried it was for lunch. The meal took 40 minutes to arrive and when it did the food and coffee were cold and the steak (if that's what it was) was inedible.
Although we chose my time dining and paid around Â£80.00+ each extra for the privilege, we constantly found ourselves being jostled in the food queue reminiscent of buffet time in one of the cheaper hotels.
On our first visit we dined in Portofino's Italian restaurant a truly wonderful experience. Although Portofino's restaurant is still advertised on the website it no longer exists and has been replaced by another 'Italian' restaurant, the reason we were told by a member of staff was that Portofino's was too upmarket for the customers they were now trying to attract, a comment which I felt personally quite offensive. We dined at the new restaurant' and as was to be expected it could not even be compared with the original Portofino's. The cover charge to eat there and purchase a mediocre bottle of wine was an exorbitant $109.00 which added insult to injury.
On one occasion we witnessed a drunk who was unable to stand unsupported being manhandled by his friends from the audience of an ice show where children were present (Which as a point of interest was the same show we saw in our first trip in 2011). On another, an elderly lady in a lift shaking with fear because she had nearly been knocked over by a group of young children rampaging through one of the public areas unchecked either by parents of ships staff. She told us that after her evening meal she shut herself in her room because she was frightened of all the children running about. No way to enjoy a holiday.
The list is endless. This was the worst cruise experience we have ever had. I could go on but all I will say is 'Sailor beware' I personally could no longer recommend Independence of the seas to any one who asks or will we ever sail with her again. Very, very Disappointed."
- Travel date: Sat 18th of May 2013
Wonderful Cruise on the Independence of the Seas
"From the moment we got to Southampton we had a stress free experience getting on board, okay you have to queue for a little while, but you have to do that anywhere you go. Our promenade view cabin was beautifully clean and was kept like it throughout our 11 day cruise by Anthony who does amazing towel displays and it was quite amusing to come back at night to see a monkey hanging from a coathanger wearing my sunglasses. The ship is so big and there is something for everyone. The food range was amazing, so much choice and water, juice and hot beverages in abundance. The Windjammer got busy at times, but there was always someone there happy to find you a table. My time dining was great and for the majority of the cruise we had table 566 and our two waiters William and Charlie were fantastic, pity I couldn't fit them in my suitcase to bring home with me. Had to get to the theatre early to get a seat to see the show, but again no problem, a time to chill out with a drink. James Andrews works so hard to keep the guests entertained and is so funny with his little quirky comments. The shows were fabulous and everyone works so hard. The ice skating show was amazing. Everywhere was kept clean and on entering every eating place hand gel or wipes had to be used, which is good to see. Constant reminders to wash your hands when you use the bathroom to try and avoid a risk of Norovirus on board, pity some people don't take any notice of it and just walk out after using the toilet. Only did one excursion which was arranged by the ship to Mount Teide in Tenerife, found it to be good value for money, all other visits to ports we explored ourselves easily by taxi or cable car. Where else can you rock climb a wall, then have a go on the Flow Rider, then a spot of ice skating, have a trip to the gym all for nothing. Everyone on board works so hard to keep the guests happy. Disembarkation was so easy and stress free and well done Royal Caribbean and Independence of the Seas. We will be back."
- Travel date: Sun 4th of November 2012
First time cruisers
"We've just returned from the Med cruise out of Southampton. Our holiday was booked only 10 days before departure so we were offered an Oceanview room on deck 2, which was fine though we would prefer the option of fresh air in future with a balcony room, rather than 24/7 air-conditioning for ventilation. Our room attendant was fantastic and kept our room beautifully clean and tidy every day, as well as providing some 'entertainment' on several nights with crafted towel animals (wearing our glasses) on our bed. The beds are so comfortable and the quality of the bedding is good.
The embarkation and disembarkation service is very organised and we were off the ship and into our car within 15 minutes which beats any airport!
We went with an open mind and were pleasantly surprised by our experience. We were slightly nervous about the sheer volume of passengers aboard, but generally it was ok. Peak times can be congested though. There weren't a lot of children aboard and we didn't experience any problems with those we did see. Due to the main age group being very elderly, they seem to favour the earlier dining time and then go to bed early, so we didn't experience difficulty going to the later shows in the theatre. There were always plenty of seats available. Generally the daytime entertainment is geared towards the older age group, but we were expecting that.
Dining: The Romeo & Juliet dining room was quite impressive and opulently furnished, and the waiting staff are very good. They are always cheerful and professional at all times. Nothing seems too much trouble for them. The food is nicely presented but sometimes it was served at a tepid temperature. The desserts are not to a very high standard but adequate. The buffet breakfasts served in the same restaurant were very good, with a good selection to choose from. We tended to avoid lunch at the Windjammer as it could be very busy though. The cafeteria style layout seems to attract the type of diners who really go for quantity rather than quality! Unfortunately, the mostly British passengers were rather embarrassing in this department. No matter what time of day you visited, there were the same loyal patrons waiting for another meal or snack! Breakfast/lunch/afternoon tea/dinner/snacks - it was endless.
We enjoyed the formal evenings when it was an opportunity to dress up but sometimes other diners just didn't want to participate, so that was a shame to find yourself next to somebody in a t'shirt and jeans! The souvenir photography is expensive but it's nice to have a memento of the occasion. I can't get my husband into his tuxedo very often!
The ship is enormous but impressive, and the crew all work extremely hard to keep everything clean and well maintained. The ritual of sanitizing your hands before entering any restaurant became second nature but seems to keep any sickness at bay. It did become rather annoying to hear the automatic 'don't forget to wash your hands' on entering and leaving the restrooms though!
We were fortunate with good weather for most of the voyage. If you are a dedicated sun worshipper though, sunbeds are rather tightly packed together on sunny days to accommodate the volume of people. We didn't use the rather small swimming pools and found the constant piped loud rock music rather irritating. This deck seemed to attract the less mobile passengers (and there were a lot of them). Generally the age range was well above us but people with mobility problems are well catered for, so no wonder they book up. We chatted with lots of people and most of them are seasoned cruisers, so it suits them.
The shore excursions are very expensive though and some aren't worth the money at all. For example, the cost of the coach trip into Rome was over $99 per person though we travelled in on the local train for Euro 12 each (55 mins each way). Some of the shorter tours just don't give you enough time ashore to enjoy the destination, which is a shame. Guest Relations unsurprisingly aren't very forthcoming with information on the ports and travel arrangements if you aren't booking up a tour.
Drinks: these are also very expensive and soon add up. We didn't order any wine at all and over 14 days the extra costs can mount up. Beverage Packages are available. We did get the impression that RCI don't miss a trick when it comes to making money aboard.
Entertainment: We went to most of the evening shows, which were good and well presented. Joff the Cruise Director is great fun and has a good team of entertainers.
We enjoyed our cruise and it was an experience but generally it is quite an expensive holiday when you count in all the extras. We are usually independent travellers all over the world and have visited most places over the years.
Pick your time of year carefully, avoid school holidays and you should be fine!
- Travel date: Sun 7th of October 2012
"IOTS, August 2011.
This is our 2nd time on board this ship and we had a fantastic time, staff are lovely and people we meet where nice (especially in the concierge lounge).
We will be cruising again but we are going to try P and O next year and only because we have been on this ship twice and would like to try something new.
Entertainment was good, food was good and service was excellent in Windjammer and especially from Lancelot from Jamaica, and Markis from Brazil: Thanks for your service x
Plenty of sun lounges on decks for sea days and the sail away party was really good.
Rooms are very comfortable especially the beds. And rooms are also soundproof you cannot hear any noise from the other rooms, although we could hear children running up and down the corridors day and night. On many occasions this woke us up in the morning time.
Customs are very keen also, so anybody buying over duty allowance be aware that customs will take them off you. However, if you buy in Spain, Portugal etc you can carry the normal allowance for those countries providing you keep hold of receipt so customs can check. We didn't buy any from Vigo as the cigarettes where 42 euroâs for 200 and 67 euroâs for 10 packs of Golden Virginia, so we just purchased duty free on board the ship and stuck to the allowance. We were stopped by customs at Southampton and had our bags searched.
All in all, good holiday beautiful seas, good calm seas and we saw lots of dolphins and lovely sunsets.
- Travel date: Wed 24th of August 2011
Loads to do
"This was our first cruise and we had a great time. The ship was kept spotless and the food was fantastic, particularly the evening meal in the restaurant.
Lots to do all the time - the shows were great and the cruise director Joff an excellent compare.
This is an ideal holiday for people with teenagers as there was lots for them particularly. I wouldn't choose to go in the school holidays unless you have children as it was rather chaotic!
We were disappointed that after paying a fortune for a balcony we could not use it as the couple next door stayed in their room at all times and smoked continuously on their balcony and so we could not use our balcony!
Word of warning - don't choose a wine package - it is more expensive than the individual bottles!
We took some excursions which were fine but you get little time to do your own thing and were expensive. Rome is easy to see using the train.
The ship is very clean and the staff make sure that everyone's hands are always clean with anti-bacterial gel. We did not suffer any illness at all and found the attention to hygiene standards excellent. The room was cleaned twice a day and nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff!
It was a good holiday - just a shame about the smoking problem!
- Travel date: Tue 23rd of August 2011
What can i say
"The best ship aflote, the crew are so helpful the food is out of this world, the cabins just great, and the ship is spotless clean,the best cruise we have had, carnt wait for next year, if you are thinking of a cruise, think no further than the Independence of the seas, you will have the time of your life, "
- Travel date: Tue 23rd of August 2011
like being in a fairy tale but.....
"My husband and I have just returned from a cruise on the independence of the seas. We have had an absolutely fantastic time. The staff are beyond compare to any other organisation. Being curtious, helpful, friendly and all that they could possibly be. Our room had a balcony and was spotless. The food was incredible with vast choices. The entertainment was very good.
There are hidden charges and we were not expecting the drinks to be so expensive, so we took out the drinks package...I am a little disappointed here because the cost of individual drinks were very expensive.
There is only one downside to the cruise...the amount of children on board. There were many that were rude and ill mannered. They used the lifts as a playground pressing every single button for every single floor, thus jamming the lifts. But the company did try to retify the problem by placing security along the floors. I do believe one family was evicted off the boat for not controlling their children.
All in all I had a fantastic time and certainly didnt want it to end. I would return but to a cruise ship that was adult only. I must add that I do not dislike children but when on holiday I do like peace and quiet when I want it."
- Travel date: Sun 21st of August 2011
"returned from the italian med cruise on the 23rd july. my husband and i knew we were going to enjoy because we have cruised with rc before. relatives and friends have been on this ship. it was he first time we have sailed from southampton and found this so easy. the crew and staff on the independence were amazing. we had been on there one day and they knoew our names. fred, gabriella, claire and of course our brilliant cruise director goff were fantastic and deserve awards. we will definately travel with them again. thanks for a wonderful holiday, see you all soon love helen and lyndon xx"
- Travel date: Wed 17th of August 2011
"This was our 3rd cruise on independence of the seas and it was just as enjoyable as the first two times. We had a balcony but the down side was smoking. I personaly think they shouldn't smoke on balconies, it sploit our tim on the balcony
The food was good, the chicken was bland.
The entertainment we found was the same thing but without the parades down the promenade.
All in all, we probally wont be going on independence again but we might try another royal caribbean ship.
Oh and i know everyone has their own opinions but this ship is fabulous i dont really see anything wrong with it. "
- Travel date: Sat 13th of August 2011