We had wanted to go on IOS for a long time and although wasn't disappointed, wasn't for us. Several reasons really, far too big, twice the size of others we have been on and this was our 10th.
Firstly when we arrived on the ship, we couldn't find our cabin, it didn't matter who we asked and was sent in one direction, once arriving there, was told it was another so initially very frustrating. Eventually after three quarters of an hour, one of the staff requested someone to take us to Cabin 3309. Unfortunately the chap who was taking us couldn't find it either. However, eventually after a couple of days we were able to find the cabin ok - as long as you knew which end you were!!!
Secondly, due to excessive noise above our cabin (3309 Deck 3), on the third night with very little sleep, I rang Guest Services and in turn Security came to see us. At first the lady couldn't hear anything, blaming it on the "rocking of the ship" and then heard what we did.
Unfortunately for us, and obviously didn't know this when booking, the Playmakers Bar was above us (and affected other passengers on that deck). It wasn't passengers, but the cleaners and basically having a "party" by rolling the trolleys around, thumping on the floor and talking/screaming loudly. I was told by the Security that I would get a phone call from Guest Services within half an hour to inform us what was happening. Still at this time wasn't aware of "Playmakers Bar" above.
I didn't receive the phone call but the noise did stop and didn't know any of the above until I went to Guest Services the following morning to discuss and make sure that the complaint had been logged. The next couple of nights were quieter but then started again on about the 5th night and carried on, and each morning I went up to complain. Although Guest Services are very nice and apologetic it didn't bode well at all.
A lady at Guest Service's asked me if I'd booked direct with RCI. I explained that we booked through our travel agent, but that should make no difference, as clearly if they - whoever you booked with - explained that this Bar is above the cabins, no one would book them, which she didn't comment on.
There was a wedding family on board which made themselves known day and night and also drank as much as they possibly could and actually thought the cruise was just for them. We sat and tried to watch the "movie under the stars" but in all honesty couldn't hear anything due to the noise they were making so left. They didn't talk, just shouted and screamed. On another occasion one of the children was seen running around on the stairs and messing about with the lift buttons. A gentleman asked him to behave to which he had a torrent of swearing and abuse thrown at him from this child.
On another occasion, two children were in the "hot tub" on their own, jumping in and out. I did ask the Lifeguard if it was safe and actually were they allowed in there on their own. He did go and ask them to get out but they didn't. Another lifeguard came over and spoke to us and said "I can't ask them to get out as they are allowed in there on their own (??) and when I asked where the parents supervising them, he said "parents are up at the bar" at the other end of the pool !!
On a plus, the entertainment was excellent, especially the ice shows which were fabulous. Grease was ok, but personally still prefer the film and maybe the actors are a little tired of doing it all too, just my opinion of course. The entertainment on the Promenade is brilliant too, although there isn't enough seating area for passengers but not sure how they could make this different.
The food was excellent, both in the MDR and Windjammer. The Windjammer having far more choice though.
The staff are amazing and cannot do enough for you, whether it's housekeeping (Maria Deck 3), the waiters in MDR (Table 442) and also in the Windjammer - they work so hard and nothing is too much trouble whatever you ask for. All the staff deserve this praise and more.
The places we visited were great too. We just did our own thing, apart from Cadiz when we took an excursion to the beach. Well worth the money as you wouldn't be able to walk to it from the ship.
Didn't see much of the Captain (nor his Crew) and to be honest, was a man of very few words whilst speaking over the tannoy. Whilst we didn't expect to meet him personally it would have been nice to have a few more sentences from him!!
All of the above is obviously just our opinion, as everyone has their own.
Excellent and Maria (housekeeping) first class. Nothing too much trouble and always with a smile!!