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Age: 49


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Independence Of The Seas

Sailing Date: 2011-06-11

Itinerary: Italian Med

First time cruising and a little worried beforehand after reading other reviews, but was absolutely fabulous! First time ever on a holiday I genuinely did not want to come home! The ship is magnificent, hygiene and cleanliness on board first rate, excellent food & service, friendly helpful staff. My only negative comment would be that the coffee everywhere on board is really bitter, and there is none in the cabins, so take a small jar of your own if you are a coffee drinker.

Food was absolutely excellent. Breakfast used the Romeo & Juliet dining room, Windjammer and also Cabin room service - all had an excellent choice, and hot food was hot. Lunch used the Windjammer or Sorrentos - never had to wait more than a few minutes in Windjammer for a table for the 6 of us and such a great choice of food - unbelievable choice something for everyone. Dinner had My Time Dining, but we booked the same table each night in the King Lear dining room as our waiters Reynaldo and Gerard were so good - genuinely nice people giving an excellent service.

Stateroom was excellent (Cabin no 6360). Much bigger than I expected, and with friends in adjoining cabins, we had the balconies open between us which was great to sit together and watch the world go by. Cabin was clean comfortable and bigger than many hotel rooms I have been in. The bed was absolutely massive and so comfortable. Our stateroom attendant was so friendly and helpful and kept our cabin spotless. Sachets of coffee would be the only improvement I would request.

On board activities were numerous and varied. I must admit we were very lazy and did not do many activities, but we did try ice skating and the climbing wall, and these were great fun, with no queueing when we went each time. We watched both ice shows which were fabulous - but wear long trousers and a jumper - we froze at the first one! We watched two evening shows which were scheduled at 10.45pm and both were really good. Unfortunately, most days they were on at 6pm (when we were getting ready for dinner) or 9pm (when we were having dinner), so missed most of them. Being in a group of 6 we made our own entertainment, but if I was to go just with hubby I think we would try and catch more of the shows.

We only booked one excursion and that was the private train into Rome, which was excellent and removed the worry about whether or not public transport would get us back to the ship in time. The guide on board was helpful, and took us the short walk into St Peter's Square, where we then went off independently. Rome is a city not to miss. We took an open top bus tour which was excellent for seeing all the major sights and is recommended - not very expensive and saves lots of walking! At other ports, we did our own thing, except at Livorno where we took the shuttle bus into town (not being allowed to walk through the port at this location). We would recommend doing the boat trip here - we booked it independently at the tourist office right next to where the bus dropped us off. At Gibraltar, I would recommend taking a cab up the Rock - we walked to the cable car and the queues were so long we did not have time to go up. The cab would have taken us to all the major sites and back to the ship for around 25 Euros each. I would definitely do this next time! In Lisbon we took an open top bus tour - do not use the Blue Route bus - it was very dreary and took us through all the industrial areas! Take the Green Route for the historic area instead! In Cadiz we similarly took an open top bus, and this was excellent for seeing the city.

In summary our trip was absolutely fantastic - I would not hesitate to book again or to recommend to others. Other passengers were very friendly and I did not hear any complaints - many were experienced cruisers, who said they preferred this ship to any other they had been on. Marvelous!

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