Americans on a European cruise

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review to Europe
Experience: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 10

Overall Rating:

3.7 out of 5
Independence of the Seas

Northern European Coastal

Sail Date: August 12, 2017

Ship: Independence of the Seas

Cabin Type: Balcony

Cabin Number: 1330

Traveled As: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review Summary

We're two Americans that flew in to do this European cruise for our honeymoon/graduation trip. In comparison with American based cruises we've taken, we both thought there were less activities offered. Service was great and room was great. We were a little disappointed in some of the ports. The food was our biggest complaint. After 3 days, we were tired of the same selection. Will likely stick to US based cruises from here on out, but it was a great way to see England, France, and Spain with a little safety net! Our favorite part of the trip was the 3 days we spent exploring London on our own beforehand.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Embarkation at Southampton was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal at 9 am. Our email had stated to board at 10 am. They took us right back and checked us in, and then we waited for about an hour in a sitting area in the terminal. There was free wifi, so we didn't mind. They then let us on the boat in the order in which we had arrived. I didn't stand in a single line! Also, the cruise terminal is a 6 pound taxi ride from Southampton Central Train station. Very convenient!

Ship Experiences

Food and Dining

2 out of 5
The food on this cruise was sorely lacking in comparison with other cruises we have taken with Royal Caribbean. 90% of dinner options in Windjammer were the same every night. Nothing was that appetizing, honestly. I'm not sure if this was a European cruise thing, but there was an entire buffet dedicated to Indian food every night.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Three pools, a water park area, and multiple hot tubs. The cantilevered hot tubs were surprisingly not very busy and we got to sit in them a lot. One basketball on the sports court to be shared amongst everyone.

Entertainment

3 out of 5
Grease was excellent. Quality of entertainment declined from start of cruise to the end. The comedian on the first or second night was great.. The comedian hypnotist the next night was a little strange.. By the last comedian of the ship, who apparently doubled as a mediocre stunt performer, my husband and I literally got up and left because it was so bad. Quest was excellent, but no love and marriage show, which we were looking forward to.

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
Only complaint is that we signed up for the bottomless bubbles brunch, which came with unlimited champagne drinks. We were served a drink maybe once for every three requests... Left feeling ripped off.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
We like this class of ships. Plenty big and enough to do, without being completely overwhelming. Very well maintained.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Our cabin was the best part of the whole cruise! Very close to the stairs/elevator that lead to Windjammer & pool deck (just one deck up). It is far away from the Alhambra theater on deck 3/4 and the Pyramid Lounge on deck 5 (both forward), but we still considered it a great location. Very little ship movement felt. We were pleasantly surprised at the square footage of our room. It's wedged between two suites.

Ports Of Call

Southampton (London), England

5 out of 5
Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze!

Gijon, Spain

3 out of 5
20 minute bus ride to city from port, 10 euros per person round trip.

Bilbao, Spain

3 out of 5
We paid for an excursion to the Guggenheim, but it was far too busy at the museum to be enjoyable. It was a bank holiday in Bilbao the day we went. 45 minute bus ride to city from port.

La Coruna, Spain

3 out of 5
We didn't do an excursions. Spent about 45 minutes perusing the little shops before reboarding the ship. Did appreciate that we didn't have to take a bus to the port.

Cherbourg, France Did not visit port

We stayed on the boat, because a quick google search revealed no activities that interested us.

Le Havre (Paris), France

3 out of 5
3 hour bus ride there and back. Were supposed to have 3.5 hours of free time in Paris, but it ended up being about 2-2.5 hours after guided tour on bus. We stopped at Eiffel tower for 10 minutes, and then walked up and down the Champs Elysees before reboarding the bus. Just wish we had more time! It was a long day for only 2 hours of actual Paris time.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
We did self disembarkation and walked straight of the ship with our luggage. Didn't stand in one line!
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