May 2017 - Independence of the Seas to Europe - Western Mediterranean
We returned from a two-week Independence of the Seas vacation to the Mediterranean out of Southampton UK this week and had a great time. It was longer than our usual cruises, and we wanted to see how we liked the more relaxing pace - which was great. The service was good, except for trying to get an adult beverage from the bar when there's more than a few people. The bartender will look past you as if you were invisible. Note to managers: A simple "I'll get right to you," will make me much more patient and understanding.
The Dining Room staff service is impeccable. The food was okay - and our table mates turned back a few things that were overcooked, but mostly things are well prepared and elegantly served. It was usually a highlight of the day. I noticed that some cruisers were not all that interested in getting dressed in formal attire on the 3 formal nights we had.
The ship is well cared for although showing some signs of age by way of design. This ship locker room was inadequate and the locks didn't function well. There was one bathroom for women serving the expansive gym and spa covering two floors. There was a dry and wet sauna almost no one used (yippee for me), and when I've been on other cruises, this area has been busy.
The bed in our room was falling apart, which was not a good sign. The room steward made the best of it by putting layers of duvets on top as a cushion, but the thing should have been traded out some time ago.
On the upside, there was some good entertainment with music, comedy and some production shows.
The buffet area "the Windjammer" was always well supplied with an amazing array of choices, and the staff there was excellent.
The stops were well managed logistically. We had a tender in Ville Franche Sur Mer which operated smoothly. One stop in Spain required a shuttle from the industrial port to the shopping district at $10 per person, while also offering a free option that would drop people off in an industrial area that allowed wandering to the beach.
The weather was less than ideal sometimes as this was early May, but if you're looking to avoid cooking in hot summer temps, this might be the best time to go.