Last week I spent two nights on the newly revamped Independence of the Seas.
We sailed from Southampton in glorious sunshine to Le Havre and back. This was my third time on board this ever-popular ship and I was keen to see the changes to her after a big refit. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 which had everything we needed for a comfortable break. I’m not generally a fan of mini-cruises. They offer an excellent way for someone like myself to see the ships but I do not think they are a good way to see what a longer cruise would be like for anyone trying cruising for the first time. There were a lot of groups on board with several hen and stag parties which could be off-putting for a couple or a family looking for a more sedate holiday. There were also groups of friends and I met a charming gentleman celebrating his 80th birthday so you could say something for everyone.
The main additions to her were aimed at the younger generation with water slides and a bungee trampoline. One missing attraction was Labyrinth, the popular nightclub, which has been replaced by more cabins and you can now go to Studio B which is the ice rink to dance (on a floor over the ice of course).
Entertainment is always good on Royal Caribbean and during our brief stay, we enjoyed the stage show Grease, The Take That Experience, comedian Mick Miller and a great pianist in the Schooner bar as well as the brilliant street party on the promenade. We also watched the incredible ice show.
The food was very good, as ever, and we enjoyed a quiet table for two in the beautiful main restaurant and way too many other delights in Windjammer, the buffet restaurant as well as late night pizza in Sorrentos.
All the crew were very friendly and attentive and made us very welcome.
When you consider the food and entertainment included over two nights as well as a lovely day in France, mini-cruises are brilliant value. If you want a real taste for a cruise though, go for longer.