I travelled with my husband, we are experienced cruisers, this being my ninth and his eighth. We booked with Royal Caribbean because I have always believed, since my first trip that they are the best and although we have, for my husbands benefit travelled with other cruise lines we always seem to come back to Royal Caribbean.
I read a number of reviews with regard to this ship before booking and all seemed fine - either people lie or my expectations are higher, this is a ship I would suggest is not everyone's cup of tea.
To start with there are 3500 passengers, give or take, within that figure we had 694 under 16's and nearly 300 16-18yrs. My god this is just trouble, the kids H2Zone is next to the adult pool so the whole time you are in or around the pool it is kids noise - yelling, shouting and running (although they are not allowed to run on deck) try to stop them.
As if that was not sufficient, they run throughout the ship so everywhere you go - the restaurant for dinner, the windjammer for lunch, any of the bars (except The Labyrinth) you are swamped by kids; I never did discover if any of them had parents, they where probably having a really quite holiday on the balcony away from their darling little brats.
OK enough about the kids, how about the food, again the King Lear Dining Room food was a big disappointment, on all the past cruises there is approx 8 options with 4 courses, but not on The Independence of the Seas, 4 options remained throughout the trip with just the addition of two further options and only three courses - food was not that good and when it came to the formal nights - well hardly anyone bothered. The rules regarding no shorts in the windjammer was never upheld - why have rules if you are not prepared to impose them????
On a more positive note I will congratulate Royal Caribbean for their staff, without doubt the very best I have every come across, but for the rest of the holiday - if you, like me have grown up children and look forward to a peaceful, relaxing holiday then whatever you do, do not book on the Independence of the Seas.
One last comment - do I feel that I got value for money, leaving the kids aside then answer would still be a big fat NO.