I have recently returned from a three night voyage on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. We departed on 2nd May 2012 from Southampton to Le Havre and return, with the option of spending a day in Paris.
On arrival at the Docks, I was surprised at how long the queues were for check in, but it did not take long to board the ship. Check in was very swift and organised. Unfortunately we were unable to go into our cabins until after 2pm. However a fabulous buffet lunch was provided, with a huge selection of hot and cold food. I then went to the top deck and enjoyed a glass of wine in the Olive & Twist bar. It is an adult only bar, with floor to ceiling windows, providing fabulous unobstructed views out to sea.
At approximately 2pm an announcement was made, with confirmation that my cabin was now ready. I was assigned an inside stateroom on deck 2. This grade of cabin is quite small and although it could accommodate 4 passengers, it would be a very tight squeeze and not something I would recommend unless you are on a tight budget! Unfortunately the ship was full, so I was unable to visit other cabin grades, to compare.
The ship is 160,000 tons and takes up to 3,634 passengers. She is huge, with a fantastic array of facilities, to suit all ages. Children are well catered for, with the H20 waterpark, flow rider, climbing wall, ice skating, swimming pools and cinema. There are also kids clubs for all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. For adults there is the Spa & Beauty centre, fitness room, golf simulator and some lovely sedate lounges, if you want to get away from the crowds.
The main focal point to the ship, is the amazing Royal Promenade. It lies in the heart of the ship and is 4 decks high. A bustling boulevard lined with a selection of fantastic dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities.
Every day, a cruise newsletter is left in your cabin, listing a huge selection of daytime and evening activities. You can be as busy or relaxed as you want, there is something for everyone.
In the evening you can enjoy a wonderful meal in the 3 tier dining room, alternatively you can eat in the casual Johnny Rockets American diner or the sophisticated Chops Grille or Portofino Italian restaurant. There is a wide variety of bars and pubs, the Mezzanine night club and the Casino Royale. The 3 tier theatre is fantastic, showing Broadway style shows and musicals. The ice shows are also not to be missed.
Independence of the Seas with Royal Caribbean is a fantastic alternative to an All Inclusive in the Med, especially since you can now obtain drinks packages on board. You also have the added benefit of visiting a different port each day, with a great choice of shore excursion to choose from.
I was blown away by the ship and the facilities. The staff on board are very friendly and nothing is too much trouble. She caters for all ages and is suited to passengers looking for a fun filled, lively holiday. It is ideal for families.