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Happy Time In The Italian Mediterranean. by Mcpeake, Belfast

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Independence of the Seas

OVERVIEW: This ship’s ‘wow’ factor is its connection with water in the design of a dramatic water theme park on the pool deck – recommended for families with children. It is now based year-round in the UK for cruises from Southampton, although the onboard currency remains the US dollar, which makes

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Happy Time In The Italian Mediterranean.

Overall Rating: 5


Reviewed By: on
My extended family and I have just returned from a holiday on IOTS in the Italian Mediterranean and just want to say how much we enjoyed the cruise. The ship was very busy but service from housekeeping and food & beverage departments was great. We all enjoyed the food and eating options, drinks were expensive but generous but we knew what we had signed up for.

The children in our group entertained themselves but the childrens' facilities seemed very good. I felt my children were safe and happy onboard. It was a little mad around the lifts near deck 12 at certain times because some children (mostly teens) were running around a lot but it was never really bad.

All the staff we dealt with were friendly but not false and all very efficient, courteous and helpful. We paid tips up front and were glad to see the only beneficiaries were those staff who worked on our rooms and tables. The boat was always clean and we were happy with the level of service on the ship.

We did not use shore excursions but do advise that you get off the boat and see what travel options there are or do some research before buying shuttle tickets etc. We weren't very adventurous and stayed in the port towns all of which had different, local experiences and atmoshere to offer. The Italian Mediterranean ports of call were lovely and had plenty to offer The heat during July is something to consider as it makes sightseeing tiring, especially for young passengers. My children just enjoyed the fact they had the opportunity to visit different countries.

There was plenty of entertainment in the various bars and lounges. The family enjoyed different shows etc but didn't rave about anything in particular. We enjoyed the size of the ship because it gave you a chance to stretch your legs and have a change of scene. The boat is lovely, very impressive and well kept. We had an inside pullman room on deck 10 which was big enough as our boys are 12 and 8. If they are much older than that you would probably be better off with 2 rooms. We loved being on IOTS and were delighted with everything.

The sun lounger scavenge wasn't as bad as we had envisaged. We always managed to get somewhere. If you see beds vacant for more than 30 mins, get the deck patrol and do something about it. We had towels moved when people were gone for over an hour. 30 mins is ample to grab a bit of lunch or do an errand, any longer than that and you shouldn't need to hang on to a bed. There were lots of people on the decks but it wasn't Butlins and I enjoyed meeting and chatting to new people.

We found the food to be fantastic. We mostly had dinner in the dining room and breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer. The choice is overwhelming! I have read complaints about the food and all I can think is why? There are different choices of Indian, Chinese, Italian, bakes, casseroles, roasts, burgers, sandwiches, desserts, fruit, salad, cold meats, vegetables sauces, soups etc etc etc. We did find that if you tried to taste too much at one sitting that you could sicken yourself! So our advice would be to keep it simple and don't pile your plate high, you can go back for more if you want to!

The gym was impressive but didn't use it as much as we should have! The children enjoyed the arcade, mini-golf, table tennis etc. I booked an hour lesson on the Flowrider for our 12 year old 'definitely not sporty' son. The staff were brilliant and I'd have paid a £1000 to see his confidence and enjoyment again. He was boogie boarding like a pro by the end of the session

My husband and I went to the Portofino restaurant which was well worth it, we were made to feel very special and had a lovely night. We enjoyed dressing up for the formal nights and loved watching everyone elses' take on dressing up too.

Perhaps, as first-time cruisers not used to the good life ,that we were easily pleased and dazzled. However, I know that all 14 of us, ages ranging from 8 to 51 years old, marrieds and singles had a ball and can't wait for our next Royal Caribbean cruise.

Times cruised before: 0
Sailed: July, 2010
Age: 36-45
Cabin: Inside
Occasion: Family holiday

Quality of Food
Dining room and Windjammer - fab

Plenty of variety

Shore Excursions


Children's Facilities

Onboard Activities


Overall Rating
Review useful?
Brian -
, Swinton - Commented about this Review
Great Review, we are taking our parents on her next sept,there young at heart 70s and if half as good as the Navigator we will have a great time, I dont suppose you can recall on the 14 day trip which days was the formal nights and Ice shows?
14 Aug 10 12:29 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
McPeake -
, Belfast - Commented about a Comment by Brian (14 Aug 10 12:29)
The first formal night was the second night I think and then 2 days after that. The third one was towards the end. I think they were all on 'at sea' days though so you have time to get ready. The ice shows were dotted similarly during the cruise but get organised for those as they were very popular and at times that don't clash with the main shows so check the times carefully because we got caught out making assumptions about times. You do get a daily 'newspaper' left in your room with full details on the next days activities so you can plan ahead.
16 Aug 10 09:43 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Morris - , Bryn - Commented about this Review
I am going on the Independence 1st Sept 2010. Children are 4 & 7 years old. How strict are they with regards to their dress code in the evening?
14 Aug 10 12:05 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
McPeake -
, Belfast - Commented to a Question by Morris (14 Aug 10 12:05)
Not strict at all but most people did dress up. You can just go to the Windjammer for dinner instead of your dining room if you want to avoid formal nights. I just bought cheap black school trousers and white shirts from the supermarket and got 2 dickie bows from Bhs which were about £3 each. So the boys looked smart but we didn't have to fuss!
16 Aug 10 09:47 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Littler -
, Falkirk - Commented about this Review
Good review, McPeake. WE are on her next April and yours is another of a long line of consistantly positive reviews. How old are your kids? Did they enjoy the kids club? Did you have a go of the climbing wall or skating?
14 Aug 10 06:28 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
McPeake -
, Belfast - Commented about a Comment by Littler (14 Aug 10 06:28)
My boys are 12 and 8 and the youngest has autism. Even though they weren't in the same age categories, they were allowed to be together. The clubs seemed very good but our children were happy to stick with their cousins and do their own thing most of the time. We felt very relaxed as to the childrens' safety on the boat. They had great fun ordering room service themselves when they just wanted to stay in the cool of the room and watch TV. You can order films on the TV but they are $12. However, these films can be saved and watched over and over again. My eldest boy has a fear of heights but did do the skating (need long trousers and socks for that). He really loved the flowrider after his lesson and the personal confidence and pride he gained from that was priceless. Your children will have a ball. They will have freedom and you can have 'me time' too without anxiety or pressure. We didn't allow our children to run amok though and did take turns going to the arcade or pool to sneak a peak to ensure they were behaving. Some parents don't do this and we did see some brattish behaviour but not enough to spoil the atmosphere but I was glad they weren't my children!
16 Aug 10 09:59 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Opinion: Agree
Liz -
, Harrogate - Commented about this Review
Pleased you had such a good time, I've done two cruises on her now and although I felt my first cruise was fantastic, it was better this time because the food was hotter. I think it's an ideal ship for a family party as there is something for everyone.....Liz.
11 Aug 10 18:24 - Reply - Was this comment useful?

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