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Overall Rating
Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions
Jayne Joy

Age: 45

Occupation:Computer analyst

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Independence Of The Seas

Sailing Date: 2009-07-18

Itinerary: Western Mediterranean

This was our first ever Cruise and it proved to be a fantastic experience! We loved it!

The Main Dining room experience for our Evening Meal was fantastic. We used the 'My Time Dining' and on the first night were seated by a window which was floor to ceiling glass. On a number of nights throughout the Cruise we were lucky enough to spot Dolphins as we were eating our meal which made the whole experience even more exciting for our daughter. The Waiters, John and Olare were very attentive especially to her, and we tried to book in with them every night. The 'My time' just meant we could be a little more flexible with our times if we wanted but we mostly stuck to an 8:00 slot. The food was exceptional and there was plenty of variety. We discovered that if it wasn't on the menu you could always ask and it could normally be sourced.

Contrary to other reviews, we found the food in the Windjammer restaurant to be extremely good too. The variety was extensive for both breakfast and lunch and throughout other times of the day. Additionally there was always plenty of free Tea, Coffee, Water and Ice cream available.

We didn't try the specialist restaurants as we just didn't have the time. I am sure they would have been great. Our daughter did visit Johnny Rocket's with the Kids club one evening and she said that was great too!

There were three formal evenings and people looked great in their smart dinner suits and dresses. Many of the teenagers looked fantastic in their suits and proms dresses too!!! My daughter loved dressing up. It was great to see!!!

The rest of the evenings were a mixture of smart casual and casual which showed up what peoples different ideas of casual are. We tended to stick to smart trousers and shirts and blouses and smart trousers, but many people wore jeans.

Our stateroom was on the second floor and was very comfortable. We had two queen sized beds pushed together and our Daughter had a bunk bed which came out of the ceiling above us.
There was also a sofa and flat screen television. The Bathroom had a good deal of storage space and the shower was just right. It was extremely quiet for the whole of our holiday and we were not disturbed at all by noise.

Our stateroom attendant was great. The room was always kept tidy and my daughter got great delight in discovering what animal he had created out of a towel each evening!

The sporting facilities - Climbing Wall, Flow rider, Gym, Ice Skating Rink, Cray Golf, All Weather Pitch, to name a few, were exceptional.

There was something for everyone on board. The Theatre and Ice Skating shows were all really good and there were numerous other things going on in other bars throughout the ship all day and night! There were a number of parades down the main Promenade and also a Pool Party. Quizzes, films, shopping, dancing, spa, casino, bingo, exercise classes, craft classes, karaoke, art exhibitions, library, internet cafe to name but a few!

The children's clubs were fantastic and very secure and well run. They were open for most of the day and well into the night. After 10:00 p.m. a reasonable $5 per half hour was charged which we used once so that we could go to the Adult late Night Comedy Show.

My daughter made so many friends by the end of the holiday that was all she wanted to do. We were even able to leave her on ship when we went on a trip to one of the ports of call! There were also clubs for the teenagers with their own area and disco as well. However by the end of the holiday they were beginning to become a nuisance by gathering in groups on stairs etc. However,this wasn't too bad as the ban on alcohol to under 21's, (18 to 21 year olds could drink if their Parents signed a waver) did mean there wasn't any drunkenness as well.

The shore days were good. We had pre booked trips for each of the Ports of Calls as we were first time cruisers. This meant we didn't fall out over what we were going to do at each location and waste time trying to decide.

Gibraltar 'Upper rock Walking Tour' - was excellent! Really good tour guide who knew the place inside out.
Sardinia 'Beach Trip' - Wouldn't do again as was not really a good stretch of beach. However live and learn!

Livorno 'Leaning Tower of Pisa' - Really good trip. Good tour guide and if you want to go to the top of the tower this is the only way to do it as we had a pre booked time slot to climb it as part of our organised trip. We were talking to some Australians who went to Pisa on their own and they weren't able to get a slot as it was fully booked that day. Well worth the experience and my 8 year old really loved it!

Cannes 'Monaco /Monte Carlo' - This was the one stop where we experienced tender boats! All three resorts were brilliant. Very clean, lots of shops and Monaco showed how the other half live! Lots of fantastic cars and very exclusive clothes shops! It was well worth the trip. I would well consider visiting again one day.

Barcelona 'Picasso trip' - Very interesting. We had visited Barcelona before and experienced the football stadium, magic fountains and Las Ramblas. This was a little more cultural this time, but we managed to go off on our own after the tour had completed and took a stroll up Las Ramblas and also around the Quay side. Lovely day.

Malaga 'Marbella' - This was the one place I would never really want to visit again. It was very commercial and seemed to be one continuous sprawl of high rise hotels and buildings. Still a well organised trip.

Lisbon 'Walking tour' - Well organised tour and an excellent very entertaining guide. A real laugh!

Vigo - Our daughter decided she didn't want to come with us on this tour. We knew 48 hours before so were able to cancel it and get our money back! It was much cooler than Southern Spain and we had a nice trip to a small fishing village. It was really ideal for a good walk. Certainly somewhere I would visit again.

If we went again we would probably do some trips ourselves, now we know which ports are easily accessible. However for first time cruisers or first time visitors to these ports then pre booking trips is definitely the best option. We could always cancel any 48 hours before if we wanted and it definitely stopped us arguing over where what we were going to do once we were on shore!

Also if you have young children then the children's clubs were always open all day on shore days and they would arrange the children's lunch etc. so it was an ideal opportunity for them to stay on board with their new friends and for the adults to explore.

Overall, an absolutely fantastic trip. I would recommend the Independence of the Seas to anybody.

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