October - November 2013
  • Day1

    It's a smoke screen

    October 29, 2013 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 48 °F

    Recently been informed of Royal's new "improvement" to our Diamond facilities, in a pilot test, which we were informed of one week before sailing.
    The idea is that during the diamond drinks time we will be able to have up to a maximum of 3 drinks, each evening at any bar around the ship.
    All you have to do is show your sea pass.
    On the face of it, it sounds great, but it's a SMOKE SCREEN, the thing they don't tell you is that the overflow lounges for the diamond and concierge will not be used.
    As anyone who has done transatlantic cruises before will know the normal diamond and concierge lounges get extremely full and the overflow lounges are needed.
    Now instead of meeting friends of a similar level to you and relaxing in the overflow lounge, we will now be scattered around the ship perched on bar stools, drinking our MAXIMUM of 3 drinks, like naughty school children.
    This waffle about being able to enjoy the other bars on the ship during the diamond hours is just another Royal smoke screen, it is just a Revenue Dept, COST CUTTING exercise.
    I and a few others have already contacted Adam Goldsteins Miami office, and we've got the usual company spiel about it being an enhancement to our C&A amenities, in reality they have shortened the hours from 5pm - 8.30pm to 5pm - 8.00pm, half hours saved and with no overflow lounges available they will save a huge amount in free drinks.
    We have spent thousands of pounds (dollars) getting to our respective levels, and the majority of us enjoy meeting like minded cruise friends each evening in the diamond and concierge lounges.
    Well on this particular trip it's going to be impossible, because once the diamond/concierge lounges are full, which will be VERY quickly, we will have to spread ourselves around the ship, thus making the ships bars more crowded.
    Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day3

    southampton port

    October 31, 2013 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    Well from all the email contact I've had this week about this drinks thing on the Independence,
    it's going to be an interesting cruise.
    Everyone is up in arms, and some of us are planning to get hold of the guy running the trial, as soon as we get on board.
    So watch this space! !

  • Day6

    Phew!! got a seat on the first night

    November 3, 2013 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 54 °F

    Last night in the concierge lounge most of our group managed to get a seat, but it was heaving and lots of people couldn't get in.
    We saw suite guests complaining, as they had no where else to go for their free drinks.
    Lots of diamond plus and pinnacle also couldn't get in.
    The diamond lounge on deck 14 was worse with the olive and twist lounge packed with people complaining.
    Even the bartender said he was overrun and the "trial" wasn't working.
    There will be a lot of people complaining at the pursers desk tomorrow.
    Anyway, we left the concierge lounge at 7.15 as a group of us were booked in Chops Grill for our BOGOF deal on the meals.
    We had a lovely night and once again met some lovely people.
    Read more

  • Day8

    A bit better

    November 5, 2013, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 54 °F

    The concierge lounge last night although full, was much better than the previous night.
    But most people are still not happy.
    We found the outcome of the management's meeting, and it was to carry on with the trial, as they said most of the feedback was positive.
    No one believed this and we asked for the hotel director to come and see us all in the concierge lounge.
    A couple of guests talked with him, but got the usual waffle about it being for our benefit and that it was an enhancement to our Crown and Anchor entitlements.
    I got to have a chat with him on my own and I asked him about the 'positive' feedback he'd received, and he did admit that it was only a couple of positives, but they needed to let the trial continue at least a little longer.
    He did take my name and room number, which either means he's getting back to me as he said he would, or he's marking my card lol.
    Tonight Sheila and i are going to give the concierge lounge a miss and try the Diamond lounge, which is our favourite lounge anyway.
    Also in the Diamond lounge you don't find people as concerned about cruise points and trying to outdo each other with how many points they've got and how many cruises they've done as you do in the concierge.
    Anyway day two and the sun is shining the seas are like a mill pond and it's 80°.
    Then I woke up and back to reality with grey skies high winds and very rough seas and about 4° outside.
    That's it for now, I'm getting back to Alex Fergusons latest autobiography.
    Read more

  • Day9

    Things have calmed down

    November 6, 2013, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 54 °F

    Things have calmed down inside and outside.
    The sea is like a mill pond, and even the Diamond lounge, things have calmed down.
    We were able to get seats in the Olive and Twist bar and bring our drinks out of the diamond lounge, although we did have to queue for them.
    We did have a more pleasant evening than down in the concierge lounge, where the main topic of conversation seems to be how many points you have and how many more cruises you've done than anybody else.
    The clocks went back another hour last night, so I was wide awake at 2.30am so i forced myself to stay in bed for a few more hours, as even for me 2.30am was to early to get up.
    We started the progressive quiz yesterday and did ok.
    It's still a brilliant quiz, even though I've done it so many times I still can't get all the answers correct.
    Read more

  • Day10

    Almost fisticuffs!!!

    November 7, 2013, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    Yesterday at the quiz, two shall we say older guys were arguing over a chair that had h been moved.
    Well thirty years a ago it probably would have ended up with a fight.
    But i it was so funny watching two old men posturing and puffing their chests out trying to get the testosterone pumping but neither succeeding.
    It ended very quietly after a few F words from each bloke, and they were muttered rather than shouted.
    Anyway as far as the quiz goes, first day we were 25th and the second day we'd moved up to 11th, but yesterday day was hard so we may have dropped back some, I'll find out this morning.
    Last night was nice, spending time with some old friends.
    The Diamond lounge has steadied out, but there are still none diamonds getting in for the free drinks.
    The hotel director and a couple of other officers have a conference call with Miami today the outcome of which we will be told this evening.
    Watch this space. Lol
    Read more

  • Day10

    It looks like a done deal

    November 7, 2013, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 54 °F

    Things have have settled down in the diamond lounge of an evening.
    People seem to have accepted the so called trial, and quietly queue for their drinks.
    So to me it looks l like a done deal that this is the way it's going to be on all ships in the future.
    I'm sure this fall of in complaints from the passengers was expected by the cruise line.
    Also I think that this is the lead up to Diamond plus being moved out of the concierge lounge and up to the Diamond lounge.
    With the diamonds moved out of the diamond lounge and having to use the three drinks on their seapass around the ship, just my opinion.
    The rest of the day was a usual sea day, in other words a lazy day.
    The weather has improved each day and the seas have calmed right down.
    Read more

  • Day12

    Way past my bedtime

    November 9, 2013, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    Last night we stayed up till turned 11pm! ! Way past my bedtime.
    We had our usual drinks with everyone but this time mainly in the concierge lounge.
    Then a group of us went to the Royal Promenade for a bite to eat.
    With me having the perfect pre bedtime meal of two steak and kidney pies.
    After which we decided to go to the 50s and 60s quiz in the Pyramid lounge, which a was a great laugh, even though we were all rubbish.
    We split up into two teams of six boys and six girls, with the couple of us who were over joining a couple of American guests who were on their own.
    As I said we were all rubbish, but at least the team I was on managed to beat the boys and girls teams, so no prize but a moral victory.
    Read more

  • Day13

    Chops Grill again

    November 10, 2013, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    We were allowed to use the second BOGOF voucher last night.
    So the same twelve of us went again, and once again the meal was brilliant, as was the company.
    The only problem was that Rich, from Arizona, took ill during the meal and he went back to his cabin.
    I've not seen him this morning so I don't know how he is, probably won't find out till evening drinks tonight.
    The weather is fantastic today, with calm seas and beautiful sunshine and temperatures in the high 80s.
    We've got two beds in a great spot in the solarium and I've not got a quiz this morning.
    So I'm just going to chill out and continue reading Alex Fergusons autobiography, which up to now has been very good.
    Read more

  • Day14

    Rich is OK

    November 11, 2013, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    Rich who took ill at the meal in Chops Grill last night is okay today, which is a relief.
    Everyone was talking about heart attacks etc, but he's fine, probably just indigestion.
    We had a great night in the concierge lounge again last night, once again with friends old and new.
    Today we stop at Phillipsburg on the island of St Maarten, and the weather forecast is brilliant, so, Maz, Sue, Sheila and I are having a walk in to the town.
    This Island is supposedly the best place for all your duty free, be it booze, cigarettes, or diamonds.
    But we'll not be s shopping, just going to find s some free wifi and phone the kids.
    Read more