One of our Senior Travel Consultants, Mandy, was lucky enough to first-hand familiarise herself with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Ship – Independence of the Seas in May 2018 with a few other travel agents. She had an absolute blast on-board this ship and can’t wait to answer any queries you have about this ship or Royal Caribbean Cruise Line itself.
Mandy’s Recommendations & Highlights:
- Best Overall Tip?
Consider cruising from Southampton – the convenience of the direct Belfast to Southampton flights and a short 15 minute transfer from the airport means you can be relaxing on your cruise ship less than 2 hours from leaving Belfast!
- Best Café/Restaurant on-board?
All food outlets on board looked amazing. It depends on what your mood on the day is – the Windjammer Buffet restaurant is great for casual dining and has such a huge variety that there is sure to be something to suit even the pickiest of diners. If you are looking for something more formal the ships main dining restaurant is superb but if you want to treat yourself head into Chops Grille Steak House one of the speciality dining restaurants on board. For family fun try out Royal Caribbean’s signature American burger bar Johnny Rockets where the milk shakes are to die for (extra charge applies)
- Your favourite ship feature?
As an Ice Cream fanatic – I was pleasantly surprised to find a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlour on board! However the hammocks located on the top deck just hit the spot for a bit of relaxation in the sun.
- How would you describe the cabins?
I stayed in a balcony cabin on mid-ship deck 8 which was in a great location with easy access to the Royal Promenade. The balcony had 2 deck chairs and a small table. The bathroom was compact but the cabin itself had plenty of storage options.
I had the chance to view some other room categories on the ship and if you are celebrating a special occasion I would certainly recommend upgrading to the Grand or Owners Suites.
This ship also has some great options for larger families – I viewed a spacious inside cabin which had 2 large windows looking down onto the Royal Promenade, this room had 1 double bed, 1 double sofa bed and a set of bunk beds – sleeping 6 people. I also had a look at a 2 bedroom balcony cabin which had 2 separate bedrooms – bedroom 1 accommodating 4 people, bedroom 2 suitable for 2 people, a lounge area that slept 2 people bringing the capacity to 8 people with the option to open an interconnecting door to bring the occupancy up to 10 people.
- Why would you advise this ship to first-time cruisers?
This ship has a number of ‘wow’ factors that will mesmerise first time cruisers. Having gone through a multi-million pound revitalisation the new features on board this ship add to what was already a pretty amazing ship. The flow rider surf simulator, skypad virtual reality bungee experience.
- Tips for cruising as a family?
This ship has lots of family features including an on board kids splash park, dual water slides, large outdoor climbing frame, laser tag and a fabulous kids club to name but a few! A number of kid friendly touches like mini life vests were readily available along with mini kids size deck chairs at the poolside. Take the opportunity on-board to get some nice relaxed family pictures taken by the photography shop which they will download for you and you can print when you get home.
- Tips for booking excursions?
On this particular cruise we didn’t have a chance to get off the ship but having cruised many times before I would suggest that you take a look at the types of excursions on offer by the cruise line itself as they will have something to suit all tastes and levels of exertion. The cruise lines shore excursion programme does take the hassle out of working out how to get to certain attractions ideal for those travellers who want to be ‘lifted and laid’ when they arrive into port. Listen to the advice of your travel consultant as some ports of call on an itinerary can be explored independently.
- Tips for dining/meal times?
Most cruise lines offer a ‘My Time’ dining option now – if you plan to be off the ship on your days in port you don’t need the hassle of racing back to the ship to catch your dinner reservation. Likewise keep an eye on your cruise planner which you will receive in your stateroom every evening for the times of the evening entertainment shows and plan your meals around the shows you want to see.
- How would you describe the nightlife/entertainment?
Royal Caribbean has a fabulous entertainment programme to suit all tastes with lots of live music throughout the day and wonderful stage productions in the Royal Theatre in the evenings. On my short cruise I viewed the Take That Experience and stage production of Grease which was amazing! The on-board ice rink also had a nerve wracking musical production where the actors done some very tricky manoeuvres on the ice that left the audience sitting on the edge of their seats. This is really a ship that doesn’t sleep – with street parties on the Royal Promenade, music in the star lounge, discos in Studio B and the beauty is you can do as little or as much as you wish!
- Tips for the spa/leisure facilities?
I had a tour of the Spa on board, it did seem lovely with a huge range of treatments, if you are thinking of doing a spa treatment the cruise lines usually run offers for the days the ship is in port –so if you’re not planning to get off the ship this is a good time to catch a deal in the spa. The gym on board had a huge number of machines – not that I tried any!!!
Information about Royal Caribbean’s Ship: Independence of the Seas
Updated and refitted with a tonne of new features this year (2018), Independence of the Seas remains one of the most popular Royal Caribbean ships. Independence comes complete with a state of the art Flowrider — a real wave surfing simulator — plus a rock climbing wall, the Royal Promenade, a sports court and an adult-only solarium. She also boasts extensive Wi-Fi capabilities and connectivity for mobile phones as well as flat-screen TVs in every stateroom.
As well as this, passengers will find an outdoor movie screen, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy movies under the stars with special seating and popcorn. Another feature is the popular Oasis-class Cupcake Cupboard, bringing all your favourite tasty treats to the Royal Promenade. The little ones can make the most of a modern nursery, perfect for parents to take some time out with the youngest members of the family. The Vintages bar and other public areas boast floor to ceiling windows allowing a bright, light environment and wonderful views. Staterooms are fresh and modern, and it’s possible to stay in a Panoramic Stateroom, which enables guests to have a fantastic view of the surrounding seas in their own room.
Cuisine and Dining on Independence of the Seas
The Independence of the Seas offers an incredible range of dining options, with a choice of menus that will leave you speechless. From the 24 hour snack buffets to the sophisticated à la carte restaurants, every taste will be catered for and then some.
Families will love Johnny Rockets, an American diner which plates up hamburgers and fries, accompanied with rockin’ tunes from the tabletop jukebox. Other options include:
- Main Restaurant
- Chop’s Grille
- Giovanni’s Table
- Sorrento’s Pizza
- Fish & Ships
Entertainment on Independence of the Seas
From the majestic 1350 seat theatre to the trivia at Schooner Bar, there’s entertainment on every scale. Also worth checking out is the traditional pub, the Dog and Badger and the funky karaoke bar ‘On Air Club’. From cold beers, to elegant cocktails, there’s a lounge on-board this ship to suit your taste.
The theatre showcases a variety of Broadway-style productions, including hit music ‘Grease’, and you can even find the occasional bit of cabaret on-board. Why not take part in one of the fantastic wine tasting events that are hosted in Vintages Wine Bar? For an evening of sophistication, head for Champagne Bar for live music to accompany your nightcap. If you fancy a flutter, check out the ship’s casino, or merely relax on deck and take in the sunshine.
You can enjoy as much or as little entertainment as suits your mood while sailing on-board Independence of the Seas.
Spa & Fitness on Independence of the Seas
Being such an impressive vessel, the Independence of the Sea comes packed to the rafters with as many spa facilities as you could wish for. Treat youself to some TLC and visit the Vitality Fitness Centre & Spa for a host of health and beauty services including revitalising body wraps and invigorating facials. The adult-only solarium is the perfect place for some tranquil peace and quiet. The only question is will you be able to fit all this rest and relaxation in?
If you’re feeling guilty about your latest indulgent evening, or simply love to stay active, then head to the state-of-the-art gym, join in one of the many fitness classes on offer or take a jog on the running track.
Recreation on Independence of the Seas
Innovative but at the same time filled with traditional cruise ship benefits, Independance of the Seas offers an incredible range of on-board activity options. Children won’t want to leave the Splash Away Bay water park, which boasts a range of slides, water cannons, a jungle-gym, and the well-loved drench bucket. For older guests, there is a dedicated sports pool, an enlarged outdoor rock climbing wall, full-sized basketball court, the FlowRider surfing simulator, and a sports court which can play host to many activities such as dodgeball and football. You’ll also find a Trampoline Bungee Dome in which guests have the option to don a virtual-reality head set, and play in a virtual space world.
Another fantastic option for families is the Laser Tag and Escape Room. Battle it out or work it out- it’s up to you!
Enjoy the boutique shopping in the Royal Promenade, with luxury brands including Michael Kors and Ray-Ban, escape to the piece a quiet of the library, or view stunning artworks in the Art Gallery, where regular auctions are held.
There are also some brilliant, casual places to spend time – including Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, and Sugar Beach Candy & Ice Cream Store.
Whatever your mood, you can rest assured there is always something to do on-board Independence of the Seas — of course, you can also sit back and do sweet nothing at all.
If you would like to know more about Mandy’s first hand experience with Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas please do feel free to get in contact with her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 028 6632 1152 or call into our office and have a sit down discussion with her.