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jaz33

Live - Independence of the Seas - 15 June 2019 - 29 June 2019

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Posted (edited)

Hi all

 

We’ve been on the Independence of the Seas now for 6 days of a 14 night Western Mediterranean cruise.  I thought that I would offer my impression of the cruise so far.

 

We have cruised RCCL and Celebrity many time before but unfortunately, due to illness, we have not been able to cruise for the last three years. 

 

Ok, so embarkation was a breeze.  I was concerned about this because we had about 70kg of medical supplies as well as luggage to get onto the ship.  After much liaising with RCCL Special Services we were met outside the terminal in Southampton by a porter who unloaded the luggage from the car and took it straight to our stateroom.  The time was 10.10am.  I then parked the car and went to check in.  I had completed our set sail passes online and had expedited check in which was a breeze.  A quick scan of the Royal app on our phones, a few questions and straight through security and into the lounge to wait for boarding to commence. By 10.35am we were in the Schooner Bar.  Well done to all involved for such a smooth boarding process. 

 

After a quick drink in Schooner we went to Guest Relations to ask if we could make sure our medical supplies had arrived in the room.  Usually you can’t go to the stateroom until 1pm but they allowed us to go early to check everything. All had been delivered so now time to relax and enjoy the next 14 nights and days.

 

Neither Tracy or myself are big drinkers but the drink package was included in our cruise fare, I won’t say it was free because we all know that you get nothing for free.  The first evening of the cruise was crowded. Two things stood out, after the late seating dinner had finished you could not get a seat in any of the bars, and there was a distinct lack of bar servers.  This may be because there is the impression that the Brits will go to the bar if they want a drink, which I suppose is not wrong, but if you are trying to encourage people to go to the bar for there drinks it might be a good idea to remove the seating from around the bar so people can get to it.  Personally, I prefer to be served my drink when I am on a cruise so maybe I’m not a ‘typical Brit’.

 

The other thing that we discovered was that our stateroom was directly over the Pub!!!!  This is by no means a criticism of Royal Caribbean, I should have done my research first.  Let’s just say that if you don’t anticipate being out until around 12.30am then try to avoid the rooms over the Pub.

 

The second day was the first sea day and as the ship was crossing the Bay of Biscay it wasn’t really outside pool/Sunbathing weather.  Everyone was inside.  Once again the bars were full and finding a seat was difficult.  Not only that but there was a distinct lack of drink menus in any of the bars.   There are now drinks men’s on most tables but the bar servers are still missing. Perhaps they abandoned ship before the started its season in Southampton knowing what some Brits are like with tipping!!!

 

We’re going to dinner now, I’ll update tomorrow. Any questions? Ask away.

Edited by jaz33
Typos

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We were on the first cruise out of Southampton and we too noticed the lack of bar servers and the difficulty in finding a seat. They were our only complaints though so hopefully you are having a great cruise.

Look forward to hearing more.

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Thanks Kernow. We did follow your posts and enjoyed them very much. We are having a great time thanks. Definitely dinner time now. 😄

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We will be jumping on as you are disembarking. I hope you have a great time. I want to know more too....

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We are on our first cruise in July , we are sailing on Indy.

 

i have read reports regarding the lack of bar attendants, I assume this is an issue that will run all summer long. I would love to read further updates from you.

 

have a great time 

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1 hour ago, kernow said:

We were on the first cruise out of Southampton and we too noticed the lack of bar servers and the difficulty in finding a seat. They were our only complaints though so hopefully you are having a great cruise.

Look forward to hearing more.

We were on the next cruise after you Julie and everything was how you described and like the current op is describing.

I am following along and hope the op has a fabulous cruise.

Graham

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I will be following along as well.   We are on the July 13 sailing, and doing the same itinerary as you are.   From the photos on the webcam, it looks like you have had good weather so far.

 

I am one of the few, it appears, that will be crossing the pond for this cruise.  Did your group have a Meet and Mingle?  If so, what day was it, and where?   What about formal nights? I am anticipating three.  I assume your first on was the first sea day.  Any idea when the others are?

 

I am sure I may have other questions, so thanks in advance for doing this.

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2 hours ago, h20skibum said:

I will be following along as well.   We are on the July 13 sailing, and doing the same itinerary as you are.   From the photos on the webcam, it looks like you have had good weather so far.

 

I am one of the few, it appears, that will be crossing the pond for this cruise.  Did your group have a Meet and Mingle?  If so, what day was it, and where?   What about formal nights? I am anticipating three.  I assume your first on was the first sea day.  Any idea when the others are?

 

I am sure I may have other questions, so thanks in advance for doing this.

Quick reply before bed. The weather has been good so far.  Slight swell on the bay of Biscay but to be honest you could hardly feel it.  Gibraltar was 26C and sunny, today, Villefranche, was the same and tomorrow is expected to be warmer.  Very calm in the Mediterranean. 

 

Meet and Mingle was day 3 (2nd sea day) at 10.30am (I think) in the Viking lounge.  We had a prior engagement so couldn’t attend. The first formal was also on day 3, the second will be day 9 and third will be day 13.

 

Night night. 

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Can you also tell us what day was the Captain's welcome and which day was Grease - I am on 13 July sailing and want to book the Izumi but want to avoid formal nights and any other event I want to attend. Also do you know the hours for ice-skating on day 2? I am also booking my-time dining and want to avoid anything my daughters might want to do. Thanks for posting -it is so helpful to read about your experience.

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We are on the 27th July Sailing 14 nights and are looking forward to it. We sailed on the Indy on a transatlantic a couple of years back and really enjoyed it. Thanks for your information, look forward to more. 

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We get on Indy on the 29th June so am reading avidly.

 

In the Royal App for my cruise it says late sitting dining is at 8pm. It is normally 8:30pm when sailing from the UK, can you confirm which time it is for you please. Also the menu's in the App differ from what kernow posted on the May voyage i.e. they had an always available pie instead of always available chicken, they had more Indian themed dishes (which I like) whereas the menus displayed in the Royal App don't. So can you confirm what style menu you are getting.

 

I know you have the drink package so you might not have noticed, but did they do the welcome aboard sparkling wine at embarkation? If not I think we will bring Cava as our 2 allowed bottles and create our own welcome abroad drinks, otherwise I will bring Red for pre-dinner drinks during the cruise.
 

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2 hours ago, db51 said:

Can you also tell us what day was the Captain's welcome and which day was Grease - I am on 13 July sailing and want to book the Izumi but want to avoid formal nights and any other event I want to attend. Also do you know the hours for ice-skating on day 2? I am also booking my-time dining and want to avoid anything my daughters might want to do. Thanks for posting -it is so helpful to read about your experience.

 

Captains Welcome was day 3 on the promenade. I’ve just looked at the app and it looks like Grease hasn’t had a confirmed date or time yet. If I was to have a guess I would say day 11 which is the day at sea before Cadiz. 

 

No no ice skating on day 2 but day 3 it was 5.30pm. It changes day/time depending on what else is happening.  There are over 2000 top tier C&A members on board so they used Studio B for the top tier event. They also use it for laser tag as well as ice skating. 

 

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5 hours ago, smokey01 said:

We get on Indy on the 29th June so am reading avidly.

 

In the Royal App for my cruise it says late sitting dining is at 8pm. It is normally 8:30pm when sailing from the UK, can you confirm which time it is for you please. Also the menu's in the App differ from what kernow posted on the May voyage i.e. they had an always available pie instead of always available chicken, they had more Indian themed dishes (which I like) whereas the menus displayed in the Royal App don't. So can you confirm what style menu you are getting.

 

I know you have the drink package so you might not have noticed, but did they do the welcome aboard sparkling wine at embarkation? If not I think we will bring Cava as our 2 allowed bottles and create our own welcome abroad drinks, otherwise I will bring Red for pre-dinner drinks during the cruise.
 

Late dinner is 8.30pm. The app will only show the correct menus when onboard.  There is a pie on the classic menu every night and they have an Asian inspired dish every night as well. 

 

There wasn't any welcome aboard bubbles when boarding.  

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We are in La Spezia today and although there is some cloud it is hot.  For those not wanting to venture too far the town is a short free shuttle bus away. The bus drops you off at the port gates.  

 

Gibraltar was our first port of call.  We like Gibraltar, even though we have been here many times before.  The town is a 15-20 minute steady walk from the ship and is relatively flat. Once you go through the arch of the wall to the town you are in Casement Square. This area is filled with Bars and restaurants, some exhibitions and also duty free shops for your tobacco and alcohol.  Through the Square is Main Street which takes you through the town and eventually to the cable car that takes you up the rock.  We didn’t have much time here so we just wandered into town, browsed around and had a drink in the square. 

 

After Gibraltar we had another day at sea. This was the first sea day where people could use the outside decks without having to wrap themselves up.  A nice warm day with plenty happening around the pools. 

 

Wherever you you go you will always come across people who feel that the rules of common courtesy don’t apply to them. In this instance I’m referring the the sun bed hoggers who place their belongings on the bed and disappear for an hour or two or more and believe that it should be available for them when they return. I’m not talking about those who use the bed, go to Windjammer for a bite to eat and come back within a reasonable time. I  think 30 minutes away is acceptable. There are signs all over the pool deck and in the cruise compass asking people not to reserve seats and it was refreshing to see that Security was patrolling and taking towels and other personal items from the sun beds left for longer than 30 minutes.  A few people were not too happy when they came back to find someone in ‘their personal sun bed’. 😂

 

Before I finish this a couple of tips:

 

If you can, download the Royal smartphone app and complete the set sail pass on the app a few days before cruising. Then, when at the terminal use the Expedited check in. It will make the check in process so much easier and quicker. 

 

Once on board, use the app to find out what’s going on and to view your onboard account. You can even see the dining room menus as well. 

 

Got to go now as I’m sharing the WiFi with Tracy and she wants to use it. I will let you know about Villefranche and the tendering process next time.

 

Take care

 

ian 

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Villefranche is a small coastal village in the South of France. It is situated next to Nice and within 30 minutes of Monaco by train. Most cruises use the bay at Villefranche to anchor and tender passengers ashore as Nice is unable to accommodate the larger ships. 

 

The communication onboard regarding the tendering process process has been excellent. The cruise compass detailed what to do, it was reiterated in the theatre the previous night and also on the morning TV show. Let’s just say that it hasn’t been kept a secret!!!  In a nutshell, upward of 4000 people need to get off the ship in small tenders. There was a ticketing system. If you wanted to get off early you could go and get a ticket for your group from 7.30am but you must be ready to get off as soon as your number is called.  If you are not ready and you miss your number you go and get another ticket and wait. Easy right?  Apparently not.  The vast majority thought it was easy but a few felt that they deserved special privileges and either wanted to get off without a ticket or long after their number was called and then sit on the stairs blocking legitimate ticket holders from joining the line for the tenders. Some people eh??  Anyway full credit to the Royal Staff for getting people off and back on the ship with relatively few hitches. 

 

My my advice is if you want to travel to any of the towns and cities away from Villefranche then get your tickets early. If you want to stay around Villefranche get your ticket later (after about 11am) then be prepared to wait up to an hour after getting your ticket to get a tender. Open tendering started around 1.30pm. 

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Posted (edited)

I’ve already mentioned that the public spaces get very crowded, especially at night and the bar servers are somewhat lacking, however that shouldn't’ put anyone off cruising on this wonderful ship.  She is obviously a family oriented ship and even outside of school holidays there are still 400 children of all ages on board, but they are well catered.  Even the older kids at heart can enjoy the amenities.  I love the flow rider, but have only tried boogie boarding. I’m going to try the sky dome before the end of the cruise, strapped in a harness with VR goggles on jumping on a trampoline.  I can’t wait.  Yes I am a 55 year old kid 😂😂.

 

There are some areas I could be critical about, Windjammer can be a cattle market at times, but if you choose your times carefully then you can avoid this.  The food in the main dining room can be hit and miss, more of a miss tonight as everything I had was over cooked and dry, but generally I would say that 90% of the time the food is good to great.  

 

The staff are are always polite, helpful and will do anything to please.

 

We are Diamond members and, as there are around 700 diamond and above members on board they have opened the Viking lounge as an extension to the Diamond Lounge in the evening.  I like the fact that there is a nice comfortable place to go for pre dinner drinks and nibbles.

 

Thats is it for tonight.  We were late out of La Spezia tonight due to a medical emergency but are due in Civitavecchia on time tomorrow.  

 

Night all

 

Ian

 

Edited by jaz33

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Civitaveccia today and another warm one, if a little,cloudy.  Lots of people off the ship this morning heading to Rome so we decided not to follow the masses and head on a tour to Tuscania and Olive oil tasting in the afternoon.  A good trip and the village of Tuscania was beautiful. Back in the room getting ready for the evening.  One strange thing that I have noticed on this cruise is how empty the main dining rooms are in the evening.  I would say that they are less than half full every night.  I have never noticed it on other cruises we have done.  Perhaps the whole concept of cruising is changing and people don’t want to be served anymore.  I’m all for change if it is for the better but I think I would like to stick with traditional dining on a cruise.

 

No main show tonight, they are putting on the ice show again tonight.  Oh and the white night deck party is on.  I have brought some white shorts and white plimsoles but I think if I turned up they might think I’ve come as one of the Village People.  Oh well, I’ll see how I feel later. 😂😂😂

 

Right, time for that shower now and out we go.

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31 minutes ago, jaz33 said:

Civitaveccia today and another warm one, if a little,cloudy.  Lots of people off the ship this morning heading to Rome so we decided not to follow the masses and head on a tour to Tuscania and Olive oil tasting in the afternoon.  A good trip and the village of Tuscania was beautiful. Back in the room getting ready for the evening.  One strange thing that I have noticed on this cruise is how empty the main dining rooms are in the evening.  I would say that they are less than half full every night.  I have never noticed it on other cruises we have done.  Perhaps the whole concept of cruising is changing and people don’t want to be served anymore.  I’m all for change if it is for the better but I think I would like to stick with traditional dining on a cruise.

 

No main show tonight, they are putting on the ice show again tonight.  Oh and the white night deck party is on.  I have brought some white shorts and white plimsoles but I think if I turned up they might think I’ve come as one of the Village People.  Oh well, I’ll see how I feel later. 😂😂😂

 

Right, time for that shower now and out we go.

We found the same thing on Celebrity last year. It was very strange. Lots of empty tables evegry night.

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I hate to say this as I’m not a buffet person, but the quality of the food in the WJ at night on recent cruises has been excellent!

The Indian night and the fish night where I ate my body weight in crab 🦀  and prawns 🦐 ....delicious and recommended !   If only they would set the tables like they used to to which would give it a little ambience... but I digress! 

Great review

LB  

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I'm curious if they have any miniature ship ornaments yet, they didn't have anything in April when we were on it.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, detroitavant said:

I'm curious if they have any miniature ship ornaments yet, they didn't have anything in April when we were on it.

 I can’t say I’ve seen any. 

Edited by jaz33

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4 hours ago, little britain said:

I hate to say this as I’m not a buffet person, but the quality of the food in the WJ at night on recent cruises has been excellent!

The Indian night and the fish night where I ate my body weight in crab 🦀  and prawns 🦐 ....delicious and recommended !   If only they would set the tables like they used to to which would give it a little ambience... but I digress! 

Great review

LB  

 

I did go n one night as Tracy wasn’t well and I was hungry. I agree, the food was good but I do prefer the main dining room for dinner. 

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4 hours ago, loveheart said:

We found the same thing on Celebrity last year. It was very strange. Lots of empty tables evegry night.

 

We are on Silhouette in September so we will see if it is still the same. 

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We've noticed the same trend in the half full MDR. We only used the MDR 3 times in our last cruise.  As noted, Windjammer food quality is often good, it's faster if you have evening plans, and the less formal atmosphere means less effort getting ready.  

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12 minutes ago, jaz33 said:

 

We are on Silhouette in September so we will see if it is still the same. 

We were on Reflection in the Caribbean last year and Silhouette for 3 nights this May. Where are you sailing to in  September?

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