We made a point of reading all the reviews for IOS before we sailed and I have to say that the majority were poor so we were expecting the worst. However, we were pleasantly surprised and will attempt to give you an honest and fair review o our holiday.
We joined the ship with my brother and sister in Law age range 59-65. We were asked to arrive at Southampton at 1pm but circumstances dictated that we arrived at 10am, we were booked in and was on the ship by 1130 hrs the process was painless.
We had a cabin with balcony and my brother had an ocean view, both cabins were spotless and for such a relative small space storage was amazing. The beds have to be the most comfortable we have all ever slept in. The steward could not do enough for you.
MEALS: Most reviews we read stated that the Windjammer Cafe (Breakfast/lunch) was always chaotic and finding a table was near impossible. Rubbish...we never waited more than 3/4 minutes for a table the whole cruise. The food was fantastic with every taste catered for. We chose my time dining for evening meal so could eat when we wanted, again food quality and service immaculate.
SOCIAL: Loads of bars on the ship, prices were a little high a beer $5 spirits $8 but that equates to around Â£3.50/ Â£5 and hey...your on holiday. Theatres and Ice Rink on board with shows every night either West End style or comedian/singer/magician/illusionist all top drawer also other bars with entertainment and regular shows/parades along the length of the promenade impossible to get bored on ship.
SMOKING: We were smokers, we could smoke on our balcony and one side on decks 4,11 and 12, we could also smoke upstairs in the labyrinth disco which was quite enjoyable at night as there was always music playing and not to loud or head banging. Cigarettes on board very cheap Â£50 for 400, you can only bring 200 each of the ship but customs were non existent when we disembarked, if you visit Spanish ports you can bring back 6000 each but keep your receipts.
EXCURSIONS/PORTS: We didn't do any excursions or port transfers prices expensive with the cheapest excursion being $49 per person, port transfers were also expensive but every port had taxis on the dock and cost no more than 5/6 euros for four of us to get int town, most ports you could walk. Taxis also did tours for around 100 euros per taxi.
PHOTOS: Biggest rip off of all, photographers everywhere and pics cost $24 each, we stuck to two 'formal' pics but did purchase the cruise DVD at the end well worth the $14.99.
PAYMENT; We charged all on board expenses to credit card which saved joining huge ques on the final day, everything is bought using your ship card and is automatically debited when you leave the ship.
CHILREN/WHEELCHAIRS: Our cruise had full capacity with lots of children and elderly people with motorised scooters, non of them were a problem we never once found a corridor blocked with scooters and the children we saw were all well behaved.
All in all an excellent cruise and holiday we would definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again and look forward to booking our next cruise.
Hope this helped.