A great 'taster' cruise for first timers

Independence of the Seas Cruise Review to Europe - Western Europe

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 29

Overall rating:

4.6 out of 5
Independence of the Seas

5 Night French & Dutch Adventure (Southampton Roundtrip)

Sail date: October 24, 2017

Ship: Independence of the Seas

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 6215

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

We did this cruise as a taster to see what other 'hidden' costs there might be. By getting the drinks package and WiFi we left with a zero room bill. Recommended ship.


5 out of 5
Embarkation was easy and very smooth. We were on the ship within 30 minutes of parking the car. Porters took our bags for us when we parked and could not have been more helpful. Plenty of staff around to direct us. A better experience than airport check in.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Windjammer was packed on the first evening and breakfast the next day. After that it got quieter as people found their way around the ship. A tip here is to go to the main dining room(Romeo and Juliet dining room) for dinner and breakfast especially on the first day as you get better service and don't have to fight for a table. We had 'my time' dining and were seated without a reservation within 5 mins. Waiters are very good and attentive. If you have a celebration let them know and they will bring you a cake and sing to you! Would have liked some better labelling on veggie food but that's a minor point.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
It was a bit too cold to do many activities but we used the gym and jacuzzi. It was lovely to exercise while looking out to sea.


5 out of 5
We went to the magic show, Take That Experience, Grease the musical and the late night comedian as well as numerous quizzes and the street parties. All entertainment was excellent but be prepared to stay out late as the ship comes alive in the evening!

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Staff were really helpful. We particularly liked the fact that the waiters took time to speak with the children, calling them 'sir' rather than ignoring them. It made them feel special as well. Most staff greeted us wherever we went on the ship and made us feel like royalty!

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Could not fault it.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
We were worried that the room would feel cramped but it felt spacious even with the two bunk beds up. The room steward came in most mornings to make up the beds and put the bunk beds away (they are stored into a cavity in the ceiling) and he came back in the evening to sort out the room and get the bunk beds out again. We asked for the bunk beds to be left set up in the end as it made space for the children to rest during the day if needed. We had never been on a cruise before and booked an inside room so that we could afford the drinks and WiFi package. This was definitely the right decision. We didn't really miss having a window as we spent most of our time elsewhere on the ship.

Ship tip

Use the table service dining room, save money with an inside cabin (spend the money on a deluxe drinks package and WiFi if you like to keep up with social media!) and stay on the ship at least one day as it's quieter while everyone is on shore excursions. Use the Promonade Cafe to get a breakfast pastry and a coffee and visit Sorrento's pizza bar in the evening for a late night snack and drink.

Ports of call

Southampton (London), England

4 out of 5
Only used for embarkation and disembarkation .

Rotterdam, Netherlands

4 out of 5
Decided to stay on ship to recover from a party night!

Zeebrugge (Bruges), Belgium

5 out of 5
Lovely area.

Cherbourg, France

4 out of 5
Only got off the ship to take some photos of the ship!


5 out of 5
Had a disembarkation time of 8.45 am. Went to designated meeting point at 8.05 and were in our car driving home by 8.15! A very slick operation which we could not fault.
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