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IOTS a Review

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    IOTS a Review

    Returned from a two week Med cruise on the IOTS, first 2 week cruise having done a 4 day cruise with Disney around the Bahamas some years ago.
    I was a little concerned as a result of reading lots of negative reviews on the ship, I needn’t have worried! It was fabulous and anyone who moans about the ship or has had a bad experience then I think it must be a one off.

    Embarkation

    Smooth and easy, arranged parking at the dock, pulled up, cases unloaded and taken by a porter, parked car, check in took 5 minutes and we were on board.

    Accommodation

    We were told by our tour operator (Virgin) that we had been upgraded to a 4 berth stateroom. It really was a two berth, with two bunk beds that came down from the ceiling. My daughter slept in one of these. The cabin was a little cramped for 3 of us, but as we only showered, slept and changed there it was of little concern. The room was kept spotless at all times, the housekeepers were fantastic and nothing was too much trouble.

    Ports of Call

    We decided to do our own thing, which worked out really well. There were people we met that arranged excursions through the ship for every trip and they did end up paying top money for them. All we paid was a couple of shuttle bus fares and then we were on our own. We met one family (family of 5) that had forked out $1000 to go on the ships excursions!
    BEWARE of Barcelona, lots of pick pockets and conmen on the streets, especially the ones that do the ball under the match box trick (the old find the lady scam), there are 2 or 3 that get you involved by betting and once you take interest they will pounce on you, we saw several scuffles along the way.
    At all ports of call both dis-embarkation and embarkation were smooth, even when we had to be tendered to Cannes.

    Food

    We choose to have second sitting at Romeo and Juliet’s (8.30), which worked out well as it gave us time to change and have a few drinks before dinner. The food was first class and the menu changed every day with a great choice of starters, mains and puddings. All food arrived hot and all was delicious. We ate in the Windjammer twice, again a great choice of food and all fresh and lovely. A tip is find a table first and then go and get your food. We never had trouble finding a table. We ate breakfast in the Windjammer just the once and the eggs were fab! One visit to Johnny Rockets, I had a burger, which was yummy, my wife had the chicken, which she found very greasy. The staff do a little dance every 20 minutes and keep you entertained. We used the buffet breakfast, a very good choice from cereal, fruit and yoghurt to an American style fry up. We did use the al a carte breakfast dinning room, no where near as good as the buffet or the Windjammer.
    Snacks and coffees along the promenade were plentiful and I did have a few cheese and onion pasties, delicious!

    Drinks

    Heard a lot of moans and groans about drinks prices on this ship. We got a soda package for my 15 year old daughter, but decided not to get a package for us, as my wife does not drink that much during the day and you BOTH had to take out the package. I drank mostly Magners, which was $7.50 a large bottle, about £5, not that bad as my local pub sells it for £4.15. Spirits were $6.50 (£5), very good value as the measures are large. The cocktails started at $8 and went up to about $10.50, again no dearer than a London bar or hotel. So I have no gripes with the drinks prices EXCEPT the wine. Wine was a rip off, although we did have the cheapest bottle of red ($32) with every meal.

    Queues?

    What queues? Never had a problem with getting a sunbed, table at the bar or a stool at the bar. A good tip is to watch when the bars become empty and then take a seat! First sitting diners went in at 6.00pm, the bar is now empty till about 7.15 PM when they come back out and the second sitting diners start to have a drink before dinner. I got down to our favourite bar (Bolaros) at about 6.45, secured a seat for my family and we were there until we went in for dinner, simples!

    TIP

    Adopt a few waiters! We used 2 bars regularly and got to know the waiters quite well. A small tip every few days of a few Euros ensured that as soon as you sat down they would be there taking your order. This also meant that I never had to go to the bar as they would go and make the drinks themselves, (yes they do not use the bar to get your drinks, they go to a private area where they make up the drinks) and they are very liberal with the measures as well. I did see that the waiters stood in for the barmen if the bar was busy, so they are used to making drinks and know all of the cocktails.

    Poolside

    Poolside was busy when we were at sea, but as I said no problems getting a sunbed for the 3 of us. Again ‘adopt’ a waiter and you never have to go to the bar. Sprinkles Ice-cream was yummy and the entertainment around the pool was fun. I did not see any action being taken against those selfish people that reserve a sunbed then go on an excursion! This is just not fair and I did have words with one couple, who offence

    Shows

    Cannot comment as we don’t do shows, but people we met said they were very good.
    Activities
    As much as you want to do, or not do, it is up to you. There is something going on all the time. So you never need get bored.

    Kids

    Tons of the little blighters LOL. They were no problem, a few running around un-supervised and causing mayhem, but remember they are kids, blame the parents for letting them do it in the first place!

    Disembarkation

    Smooth and hassle free, we took our own cases off after a nice breakfast. It took about 20 minutes to collect the car and we were off on the way home.

    Conclusion

    The IOTS is a stunning ship, a huge ship and a fantastic ship. Only once did we feel the motion of the sea, all other times you would not know you were on a ship at all. It rated as one of the best holidays we have had (in the top 4 at least) and I would easily go again.
    Do not listen to all the rants and raves, go with an open mind and with the mindset that you are on holiday so enjoy it!
    A big thanks to all of the lovely staff who bend over backwards to help you and they all do it with a smile on their faces.
    Just one special thank you, to the croupier who cannot count! A few of us always tried to get on the same Blackjack table when she was dealing LOL.
    Last edited by portsmonkey, Warifled; 5th September 2011, 08:10 AM. Reason: mistakes

    #2
    Hi Portsmonkey,
    Firstly, Many thanks for this brilliant review, It has answered many questions i was about to ask,
    Regarding embarkation could you please advise what time is best for ariving at the port,
    Cheers.
    Colin.

    Comment


      #3
      Can I suggest your re post this in the Review Section. You will receive a free Fodors Cruise Guide

      http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-revie...e-of-the-seas/
      Wilba

      Comment


        #4
        Yes Wilba will do. @Colin Anytime appeared fine as passengers were staggered when they left, we had time for breakfast and took our time.

        Comment


          #5
          Wilba I cannot seem to find add new topic on that page?

          EDIT Cancel found it :-)
          Last edited by portsmonkey, Warifled; 5th September 2011, 10:06 AM.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by portsmonkey, Warifled View Post
            Wilba I cannot seem to find add new topic on that page?
            Try This..........

            http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/write/details/
            Wilba

            Comment


              #7
              All done and published I have also posted a couple of interior shots of Indy in the photos section, took 100's will post more as and when I get around to editing them.

              Comment


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