Very good cruise: Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by vanvleckeren
Overall Member Rating
Very good cruise
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation was the best ever. I practically walked right onto the ship.
This was the largest cruise ship I have ever been on, though it was more similar in basic design to the medium-sized ships than I expected. I liked the look and feel of the ship, and it was easy to get around. I use the gym a good amount, and it has a beautiful and More large gym, with sweeping views out to sea. I was surprised to see a topless deck, though nobody was on it because the weather most of the trip was pretty chilly.
I decided to try out a promenade cabin for this cruise. I was just curious about what it would be like to look down on the promenade. I am glad I tried it, though in the future I think I will go back to oceanview or balcony (depending on the climate/weather). It was nice to look down on the activities, but it was necessary to keep the drapes closed most of the time because otherwise, people not only from the promenade but also the rooms on the other side would be able to see into my room. The cabin itself was quite nice, with a sitting area and the shower had doors rather than curtains, and seemed a little bigger than other cruise ship showers I have experienced. My cabin steward was very nice and did an excellent job making up the room and helping me with laundry and tuxedo rental.
There was a lot of talk on this cruise about how UK law requires the charging of a VAT (value added tax) on the good sold on the ship, and this really curtailed the shopping. That didn't matter much to me because I don't shop much on cruises.
I really liked the decor of the dining room and the service there was very good. We had a great table right next to the window so we had a view of the water. I signed up for early dinner, thinking it would be at 6pm (one of the people in our group was older), but early dinner was moved to 5:30pm, which was really too early for me but we made it work. The food was mostly good. RCCL has very good soups and I sometimes get those. I tried a couple of Indian dishes, which were good. I have learned to stay away from pasta, since the pasta sauces are not great and I suspect the pasta is at least partly pre-cooked since it's pretty starchy. But the beauty of the cruise is that if you don't like your dish, you can easily get a different one. We were very happy with the dining room experience.
I did tours in 3 of the 4 ports. It seemed that relatively few people were doing tours, since the theater was mostly empty when the crowds for the tours were gathered. But I really enjoyed the D-Day Landing Beaches Tour, the Gardens of Normandy Tour and the Gijon Bike Tour.
At the beginning of the cruise, the public areas of the ship, particularly the promenade, were quite crowded. We got some pizza at Sorrento's on the first day, and had to eat it standing up because there was no place to sit. Sorrento's pizza was reasonably good, though far from the best I have had, even at sea. It took until late in the cruise until I was able to get into the Dog & Badger, an English style pub with a singer along the promenade. The singer there was great and did a lot of songs from the late 1960s and early 1970s and some from the '80s and '90s. We found that table service in the bars was spotty, and we often had to get up and get our own drinks. These complaints about the public areas and bar service were my only real issues with the cruise. For some reason, the public areas seemed less crowded as the cruise went on. Maybe people found other less obvious venues, or maybe they just stayed in their rooms more.
I really wanted to see Grease but missed it because I had a minor stomach bug and needed to rest. I heard it was excellent.
All in all, it was a great cruise. Less
Cabin review: PR8609 Promenade Stateroom
As noted above, I was curious about the virtues of a view of the promenade, with all its activities, versus a view of the ocean, which is beautiful but with nothing really happening. Because of the expected weather, I ruled out a balcony room, since I expected to get little use of the balcony. The room itself was pretty spacious with a sitting area, and the shower was bigger than other cruise showers I have experienced. The cabin was well kept and there were no issues with it. I liked certain aspects of the promenade view, like being able to look down and see the level of activity at any time, but it was necessary to keep the drapes closed most of the time, I intend to go back to oceanview or balcony in the future but I am glad I tried this concept.Read All Promenade Stateroom (PR) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Read Cruise Critic’s Independence of the Seas Review >>
Not one of our better cruises!...
First time cruisers great time...
Great Itinerary, Nice Ship.