BEST HOLIDAY WE'VE EVER HAD!!!!!!!!!: Independence of the Seas Cruise Review by Chizzi

Independence of the Seas 5
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating


Sail Date: July 2010
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Southampton
BOOKING. My wife booked the cruise directly through Royal Caribbean and the lady she spoke to Samantha was extremely helpful. We received $500 on board spending for booking area and booking direct and free parking at Southampton. We were able to look at the excursions prior to departure and book them online which was also useful.

DEPARTURE. We stayed at The Holiday Inn right across the road from where the Independence of the Seas docked. I arranged this seperately and would definitely recommend staying overnight as it made the whole experience stress free. i.e no worries about being delayed and missing the ship. On arrival at the terminal staff were waiting and took our cases from the car and we then drove to the car park on site which was excellent and secure. After a short walk from the car park we were checked in quickly and efficiently and only waited in the departure lounge for 10 minutes before boarding.

INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS. The whole ship is immaculate More with staff constantly cleaning and hand gel everywhere. The facilities are second to none on the ship and we loved everything about the ship.

I had read reviews prior to travelling where people were calling it Royal Chavibbean and such like but everyone I met on board were fantastic normal friendly people.

I never saw anyone drunk and did not hear any abusive language from anyone. The kids on board behaved impeccably and generally stayed on the 11th and 12th deck near the amusements and teen area and could not be heard elsewhere. Our stateroom was a family interior room which had two bunks pulling down from the ceiling and we found it perfectly adequate in size. I am pleased I didn't pay the extra for a balcony or other upgrade because there is so much to do we were hardly ever in the stateroom. That said it was kept immaculate by our attendant and the room was very well insulated so we did not hear other guests when in the room. Great nights sleep on the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. All staff on board were very friendly and helpful.

ENTERTAINMENT. Cruise director Joff and his sidekick Steve were fantastic. Hilarious double act and they presented a daily show on the TV which kept guests informed. Cruise compass delivered daily to the room along with an itinery for both our boys. The kids absolutely loved the ship, the kids clubs and their new friends. We hardly saw our 14yr old during the evenings as he was with his new friends at the clubs. The only criticism of the entertainment was that it was difficult to find a seat in the theatre for the evening shows. The shows I saw were all fantastic except for the comedian Kelly Monteith who was so bad most guests walked out. Freeze frame ice show was amazing. Flowrider was good fun and my sons enjoys the sports court and climbing wall. Staff on Flowrider were very good in teaching us the tricks.

FOOD. The Windjammer was always very busy but we always found a table. Plenty of variety on offer and I found the food hot and good quality contrary to some reviews I read. We did not eat at Portofino or Chops Grill because the food in the main restaurant was superb. Our waiter Dennis and his assistants were very attentive, great with the kids and really looked after us. Dennis always brought us other dishes from the menu to try. (That's why I've put on 7 pounds) The drinks waitress Liling was very friendly with everyone and taught our son some Chinese. We ate at Johnny Rockets one night and the staff were great putting on a show and getting us up dancing but the food was not as good as the main dining room. We had the My time dining option and never had a problem getting a table for Dinner. In addition to the ports listed below we also visited Lisbon and Vigo which were both nice places to visit. Lisbon was out favourite place but very hot 36C. Less

Published 08/04/10

Cabin review: FI9483 Family Interior Stateroom

Adequate space even for 4 people, quiet location of the ship, no engine noise, quite stable area of ship. Hallway very quiet

Read All Family Interior Stateroom (FI) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

The port was an industrial port and not the most attractive place. We took the organised trip from RCCL to visit Pisa and Florence. Trip included transport only and was sufficient. Only a short stay in Pisa in the morning but once you seen the tower and the church and had a quick walk round you've seen everything. There is a long walk from the coach park to town which would be difficult for anyone with walking difficulties. Florence in the afternoon was again a long walk from the coach to the meeting place and then we were free to explore. Beautiful city and easy to explore on foot.

Gibraltar was a nice place to visit for a day with some interesting history. We walked from the ship to the cable cars in 15 minutes and after a short wait of about ten minutes we were off the the top of the rock. If you are fit and young enough then walking is the best way because transport really isn't needed. We saw the Apes at the top and admired the views for a while before returning to the bottom. We didn't explore the tunnels or the Apes Den due to the time. We then had a pub lunch which was just like being at home but hotter and then returned to the ship. Not much to see if you are British because we've seen similar at home.

We took the RCCL private train shuttle to Rome which was comfortable and thankfully air conditioned. On the train we bought tickets for the Hop on Hop off bus which enabled us to see the city. Obviously there are so many things to see you can't possibly do Rome in a day so the bus was a great way to get a flavour of the city so we can revisit on a city break in the future with no kids!!! The queues for everything were enormous so we only saw the attractions from the outside due to the lack of time. Returned to port by train which all went smoothly.

The port was very close to the main town so we just took the free shuttle and had a wander around town. As we were in port on Sunday it was very quiet so we returned to the ship around lunch time. Streets away from port are very steep. We saw people struggling with wheel chairs to get up the hills but it looked too strenuous so best to either stay on the ship or book a trip.

Read 189 Sardinia Reviews

Docked near centre of town. We booked trip to Aqualand through Royal Caribbean as the kids had done enough sight seeing. AVOID THIS TRIP The queues are terrible. We had to queue to get in despite having tickets. Once inside the park was clean but that's the only good thing to say. I waited for half an hour in a queue for a locker before giving up so my wife had to sit with our bags all day while I took the kids on the slides. They wanted money for sun loungers and even more money, 12 Euros, to rent an inflatable to use the two best slides. The lifeguards continually stopped people from going down the slides for ages after the last person had gone resulting in massive queues for all slides. (All five of them) The food in the park was a rip off and tasted disgusting. The whole park was a rip off. Avoid at all costs.

The only port we had to Tender to but this was well organised and we were ashore very quickly. Once ashore we used the train to visit Nice and all four of us got return tickets for 12 Euros which worked out much cheaper than using an organised trip. Nice was nice (pardon the pun) but Monaco is a nicer place to visit and could also easily be reached by train. After wandering around Nice and having lunch we returned to Villefranche by train and looked around Villefranche which is a beautiful village. Once back on board we went for Dinner in and the views of Villefranche from the restaurant window would have been worth hundreds of £'s alone.

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