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I travelled with three children aged 6, 10 and 13 on a three night, midweek cruise to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. I was slightly nervous as the only adult on the trip as to whether we would all be kept amused but we all had great fun for the whole time we were away and would do it all again in a heartbeat. After we got through the heavy traffic into Southampton and found the cruise parking embarkation was really easy and quick. Our bags were whisked away from the boot of our car and we walked into the terminal and were at the doors of the Windjammer within 30 minutes. The check in was easy and the staff friendly. We were onboard at around 12.30 and there was a queue outside the Windjammer but they let around 30 people in at a time, the queue moved quite quickly, and once in there were tables available. We ate in the Windjammer for all our lunches and breakfasts. We only queued one other time and always found a table, three times by the fantastic big windows at the back of the ship. We were all happy with the food in the Windjammer. I especially enjoyed the salad bar at lunch and the freshly made to order omelettes at breakfast. We also enjoyed the Washy Washy song at the entrance with the ever cheerful guitar playing man who welcomed us in and who got the biggest cheer at the waiter's parade in the MDR on the last night. We finished lunch on the first day shortly after 1 and went to find our cabin which I have reviewed separtely. Our bags were waiting for us there when we arrived and we were blown away by our amazing windows. We spent the afternoon making a start on the on board activities. We managed to do everything was wanted to but could not repeat much in the time available. The waterslides are brilliant fun. There was never too much of a queue for these. Minimum height 48" so our six year old could not do them sadly. She could do the much smaller water slides in the splash zone which stopped her from being too upset. The splash zone was fun with three slides, a little pool, various fountains and some hot tubs. There was also soft serve ice cream available there. The main pool was warm enough and deep enough for some proper swimming. Both of these areas did become quite packed at busy times but there were always sunbed available there when we wanted them. The Sky Pad was ok. The queues were longer for this one. The view from the queue was good! The vertual reality was ok but I think it would be more fun without. Minimum age as 5, minimum age for the Virtual reality headset was 7. Without the virtual reality you are allowed to do flips. It was a 2 minute go. The VR involved moving through a world trying to hit balls or sweeties or music. The older kids had a go on the flow rider. Min height 48" for boogie boarding and 58" for stand up boarding. This was quite fun to watch and the queues were never more than about 8 people long. There was a climbing maze in this area which kept my 6 year old amused while the others were on the flow rider etc. The climbing wall was fun - queues not too bad. They only had the easy walls open during our cruise so my 13 year old got a bit frustrated as he would have liked more of a challenge. They had 3 ropes going all on self belay. I think it was done by minimum age of 6. Whatever the rules were, we could all do it which was good for us. The lazer tag was quite fun. This was in studio B. Up to 14 people at a time for 7 minutes each in a blow up maze in two randomly chosen teams. We did wait for around 4 or 5 groups to go ahead of us sitting in the seats at the side of studio B. This queuing was not much fun as it was dark, noisy and we could not see what was going on in the maze. We were all allowed to do this. The ice skating was great. They run 30 minute sessions for up to 50 people with 10 minute breaks between. We arrived during one session and were in the next one. We waited in the same place as for the laser tag but it was much brighter and we could watch the skaters so the waiting was more fun. We were all allowed to do this, can't remember if there were any restrictions. We played mini golf on sailaway. Quite fun and a great view from deck 13. We had a quick go at table tennis on the way past on deck 11. We enjoyed a brisk walk around deck 4 and up to the helicopter pad. We went to the Main Dining Room each evening and had requested a table for 4 by the window by e mail in advance of the cruise which we got. It was a fantastic veiw from deck 5. From our table, we saw the pilots get off the ship after leaving Southampton and Rotterdam down a little rope ladder onto his launch. The waiting staff were really friendly and helpful. The food was good if not fantastic. The mushroom soup and seeded bread were particularly good. The guests generally did dress up quite smartly for dinner even on casual nights and there were lots of dinner jackets and suits and ties to be seen on formal night. We spent the evenings at the shows which we really enjoyed. We saw the ice skating show - strings, the end of a magician show, Greece and the Take That experience. We arrived about half an hour before the ice show and Greece and got reasonable seats. These two shows were both full with people standing. We did not have any problems with Brits behaving badly despite this being a short cruise out of Southampton. We were impressed by Joff the cruise director who was visible at all the shows and very funny. We did not go to any of the bars but when walking through the Royal Prominade in the evenings I saw available seats. We didn't eat in there either as the children loved the Windjammer so much but I did have a look and the venues were much less crowded than the Windjammer and the food looked ok. We did go shopping in Sugar Beach which is a pick and mix sweet shop. The kids loved it but the dispensers go very fast and it is very easy to get more than you wanted. They did let us put some back when it got a bit out of hand! I didn't really "get" the Royal prominade and would not miss it if it wasn't there. All the windows on deck 5 were blocked with lifeboats. I think I prefered the centrum on Radiance class as a gathering place. We stayed on board in Rotterdam with a great view of the Erasmus Bridge. We took a taxi into Bruges for 55 euros each way. The journey was about 20 minutes. We went into the chocolate museum which was ok but probably would not do that again (25 euros for the four of us). We queued in the market square for a 30 minute horse and carriage ride/city tour for 50 euros which was brilliant. Disembarkation was very easy and quick. We took our own bags off so could leave at anytime before 8am. There was a queue to use the lift to bring the bigger bags down a level but it moved quickly and we were able to just walk out and back to the car. The traffic leaving Southampton was lighter than on arrival. In summary we had a great time on Independence of the Seas. Lots to do, great views and friendly helpful staff.

An action packed, fun filled, 3 night family getaway

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by Nettee

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I travelled with three children aged 6, 10 and 13 on a three night, midweek cruise to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. I was slightly nervous as the only adult on the trip as to whether we would all be kept amused but we all had great fun for the whole time we were away and would do it all again in a heartbeat.

After we got through the heavy traffic into Southampton and found the cruise parking embarkation was really easy and quick. Our bags were whisked away from the boot of our car and we walked into the terminal and were at the doors of the Windjammer within 30 minutes. The check in was easy and the staff friendly. We were onboard at around 12.30 and there was a queue outside the Windjammer but they let around 30 people in at a time, the queue moved quite quickly, and once in there were tables available. We ate in the Windjammer for all our lunches and breakfasts. We only queued one other time and always found a table, three times by the fantastic big windows at the back of the ship.

We were all happy with the food in the Windjammer. I especially enjoyed the salad bar at lunch and the freshly made to order omelettes at breakfast. We also enjoyed the Washy Washy song at the entrance with the ever cheerful guitar playing man who welcomed us in and who got the biggest cheer at the waiter's parade in the MDR on the last night.

We finished lunch on the first day shortly after 1 and went to find our cabin which I have reviewed separtely. Our bags were waiting for us there when we arrived and we were blown away by our amazing windows.

We spent the afternoon making a start on the on board activities. We managed to do everything was wanted to but could not repeat much in the time available. The waterslides are brilliant fun. There was never too much of a queue for these. Minimum height 48" so our six year old could not do them sadly. She could do the much smaller water slides in the splash zone which stopped her from being too upset. The splash zone was fun with three slides, a little pool, various fountains and some hot tubs. There was also soft serve ice cream available there. The main pool was warm enough and deep enough for some proper swimming. Both of these areas did become quite packed at busy times but there were always sunbed available there when we wanted them.

The Sky Pad was ok. The queues were longer for this one. The view from the queue was good! The vertual reality was ok but I think it would be more fun without. Minimum age as 5, minimum age for the Virtual reality headset was 7. Without the virtual reality you are allowed to do flips. It was a 2 minute go. The VR involved moving through a world trying to hit balls or sweeties or music.

The older kids had a go on the flow rider. Min height 48" for boogie boarding and 58" for stand up boarding. This was quite fun to watch and the queues were never more than about 8 people long.

There was a climbing maze in this area which kept my 6 year old amused while the others were on the flow rider etc.

The climbing wall was fun - queues not too bad. They only had the easy walls open during our cruise so my 13 year old got a bit frustrated as he would have liked more of a challenge. They had 3 ropes going all on self belay. I think it was done by minimum age of 6. Whatever the rules were, we could all do it which was good for us.

The lazer tag was quite fun. This was in studio B. Up to 14 people at a time for 7 minutes each in a blow up maze in two randomly chosen teams. We did wait for around 4 or 5 groups to go ahead of us sitting in the seats at the side of studio B. This queuing was not much fun as it was dark, noisy and we could not see what was going on in the maze. We were all allowed to do this.

The ice skating was great. They run 30 minute sessions for up to 50 people with 10 minute breaks between. We arrived during one session and were in the next one. We waited in the same place as for the laser tag but it was much brighter and we could watch the skaters so the waiting was more fun. We were all allowed to do this, can't remember if there were any restrictions.

We played mini golf on sailaway. Quite fun and a great view from deck 13. We had a quick go at table tennis on the way past on deck 11.

We enjoyed a brisk walk around deck 4 and up to the helicopter pad.

We went to the Main Dining Room each evening and had requested a table for 4 by the window by e mail in advance of the cruise which we got. It was a fantastic veiw from deck 5. From our table, we saw the pilots get off the ship after leaving Southampton and Rotterdam down a little rope ladder onto his launch. The waiting staff were really friendly and helpful. The food was good if not fantastic. The mushroom soup and seeded bread were particularly good. The guests generally did dress up quite smartly for dinner even on casual nights and there were lots of dinner jackets and suits and ties to be seen on formal night.

We spent the evenings at the shows which we really enjoyed. We saw the ice skating show - strings, the end of a magician show, Greece and the Take That experience. We arrived about half an hour before the ice show and Greece and got reasonable seats. These two shows were both full with people standing.

We did not have any problems with Brits behaving badly despite this being a short cruise out of Southampton.

We were impressed by Joff the cruise director who was visible at all the shows and very funny.

We did not go to any of the bars but when walking through the Royal Prominade in the evenings I saw available seats. We didn't eat in there either as the children loved the Windjammer so much but I did have a look and the venues were much less crowded than the Windjammer and the food looked ok. We did go shopping in Sugar Beach which is a pick and mix sweet shop. The kids loved it but the dispensers go very fast and it is very easy to get more than you wanted. They did let us put some back when it got a bit out of hand! I didn't really "get" the Royal prominade and would not miss it if it wasn't there. All the windows on deck 5 were blocked with lifeboats. I think I prefered the centrum on Radiance class as a gathering place.

We stayed on board in Rotterdam with a great view of the Erasmus Bridge. We took a taxi into Bruges for 55 euros each way. The journey was about 20 minutes. We went into the chocolate museum which was ok but probably would not do that again (25 euros for the four of us). We queued in the market square for a 30 minute horse and carriage ride/city tour for 50 euros which was brilliant.

Disembarkation was very easy and quick. We took our own bags off so could leave at anytime before 8am. There was a queue to use the lift to bring the bigger bags down a level but it moved quickly and we were able to just walk out and back to the car. The traffic leaving Southampton was lighter than on arrival.

In summary we had a great time on Independence of the Seas. Lots to do, great views and friendly helpful staff.
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Cabin Review

Panoramic Ocean View
Cabin 1L 1864
We were lucky enough to be able to book the wedge shaped Panoramic Ocean View room which was everything we had hoped it would be. 5 large windows looking port and slightly forward. Oodles of floor space. Tea and coffee making facilities and a fridge for milk. A little table and two chairs by the windows for morning tea while watching the sun rise and ship sail into port. Bliss.

No problems with noise. Convenient for the pool decks, mini golf, gym and spa. Friendly and helpful cabin steward. I would recommend booking early to snap this room up if you can as it is the only one like it.
Deck 12 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Suite Cabins