Lovely ship but not great for toddlers!: Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by emills

Independence of the Seas 3
Member Since 2013

Overall Member Rating

Lovely ship but not great for toddlers!

Sail Date: September 2013
Destination: Mediterranean
Embarkation: Southampton
Travelled on 21st September 2013 to Mediterranean with my husband and 2 children, aged 2 & 4.

This was our 1st cruise, we had 2 ocean view staterooms.

Good points - Ship was impressive, extremely clean and stunning in décor. There were lots of nice bars, restaurants, shops, swimming pools, lovely Jacuzzis, a spa and nightclubs. We ate in King Lear on deck 5 and had my time dining. The staff were fantastic, really attentive and entertained the children well (Mervyn, Michael and Mary were especially great) they had highchairs and booster seats ready, made paper aeroplanes for the children and even rescued my son when he leaned a little too far back. They were extremely helpful. The Windjammer was also good for breakfast and lunch although it got very busy.

We had staterooms 3320 and 3322 which were interconnecting and we were pleasantly surprised by the space and amenities in the cabin. The biggest surprise for me was that we had expected a lot of More extras that would bump up the cost but we hardly spent anything onboard as we used our onboard credit. The ice show was fantastic and the staff in the kids club (aquanauts and royal tots) were very good ... now time for the negatives.

Bad points - The bed was so uncomfortable, I was unable to sleep for the last few days (my husband was the same). Our toilets in both cabins got blocked on numerous occasions, despite us not putting anything down there we shouldn't and one time even flooded the bathroom! My main disappointment however related to the lack of facilities/entertainment/shore excursions for young children. For those who are happy to leave their children in kids clubs all day and night, they will have no problem, but my son (age 4) didn't wish to stay in his for more than a couple of hours and as my daughter is just under 3, we had to pay 8 dollars an hour for her to be there and to be honest, although she was happy enough, there wasn't much there for her to do, it was just a small room with nothing much in it. Before I left I rang Royal Caribbean to ask if there was soft play and they said there was so we were disappointed to find there was nothing of the sort! Neither were there many activities for young children outside the kids clubs. There was no cinema or films screened for children and there was no bowling alley etc. There was a nice splash pool (no slides) just spray fountains but in the poor weather, we were struggling to find anything to do with them. We used a room on deck 2 which had some toys in but that was it and a lot of parents were saying the same thing. The restaurants weren't geared for young children and the main restaurants had the same limited children's menu every night (for 12 nights!). My children were asking when we were going home, which was heart breaking given how much we'd paid for the holiday and how much we were looking forward to going. The last point refers to the shore excursions. Given that this is supposed to be suitable for families, there were no child-friendly excursions, we had to do all our research before we left. There were no trips such as water parks/theme parks etc and when we asked at guest services and the shore excursion desk (presuming they would have knowledge about what was available for kids at the ports we were visiting!) they actually told us to get off and ask at the port!! They were actually rude, unhelpful and just couldn't be bothered. Awful! One man on Guest Services actually handed me a form to complete for incabin babysitting that was intended for staff!! They really were useless.

Overall, I would return if it were me and my husband but children really are an afterthought so I would never return with young children to this ship ... may try a Disney Cruise though!! Less

Published 10/10/13

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