Independence of the Seas joined the Royal Caribbean fleet in May 2008. This incredible cruise ship will astound you from the time you step on-board - whether it's the shops and bars on the Royal Promenade or the H20 Zone water park and surf simulator on the amazing Pool Deck. With some of the best dining venues, activity facilities and entertainment shows at sea, this really is an all-in-one floating resort with something for everyone.
Inside or outside, Independence of the Seas has abundant facilities to amuse from dawn until dusk. Learn to surf like a professional on the FlowRider surf simulator, glide around like Torvill & Dean on the ice skating rink, meet the challenge of the rock climbing wall, or just splash around in the H20 Zone water park. You can safely send your tot or teen to the Adventure Youth Programme clubs, while you take an exercise class in the fitness centre or indulge in a hot stone massage in Vitality at Sea Spa. Independence of the Seas docks at some incredibly exciting ports with stunning sightseeing and amazing adventures galore.
There's plenty to tempt your taste buds in the on-board restaurants and eateries. The King Lear and Romeo & Juliet Dining Rooms present formal, two-sitting dining for a sophisticated evening of fine cuisine. On the other hand, you can dine any time you wish with My Time Dining, which features daily-changing five course menus. Windjammer Cafe is the ship's casual, serve-yourself dining venue, whereas the adjoining Jade eatery offers Asian-themed dinner buffets. Enjoy a quick sandwich or a leisurely salad in the Park Cafe, savour breakfast pastries, mini sandwiches, desserts and speciality coffees in the 24/7 Cafe Promenade, or indulge in freshly baked gourmet cupcakes at 1940s-style Cupcake Cupboard. Even better, you can sit outside and breathe in ocean views as you enjoy a light-snack at Seven Hearts on Deck 14.
A selection of speciality restaurants enhances the on-board culinary journey. Johnny Rockets, a 1950s-style American diner, serves up hamburgers, sides, milkshakes and desserts, or you can head for a perfect pizza and selection of daily specials at Sorrento's Pizzeria. Savour filet mignon and mesquite-grilled salmon in Chops Grille or tuck into Italian, home-style cuisine in Giovanni's Table.
From beers and fruit juices poolside to champagne and cocktails after dark, the plethora of bars and lounges on-board Independence of the Seas meets all your needs and desires. Quench your thirst with a refreshing drink at Squeeze juice bar, or order a mocktail at the Pool Bar. Celebrate that special occasion with a glass of bubbly in the Champagne Bar or savour imported ales in the informal setting of the Dog & Partridge Pub. Wine lovers can sip their favourite glass of Chardonnay or Shiraz at the relaxed Vintages wine bar, while the Viking Crown Lounge is a relaxing venue with panoramic scenery by day, and a lively dance club at night.
The evening scene on Independence of the Seas can't fail to impress. Thrilling musical extravaganzas and production shows hit the stage each night in the Alhambra Theatre. Live music, dancing and game shows entertain you at Pyramid Lounge or you can discover evening jazz sessions, dancing and classical recitals at Olive & Twist on Deck 14. Sip exotic mojitos and caipirinhas and shake your hips to the Latin music in Boleros Lounge or dance until late at the Gothic-style, two-storey nightclub The Raven. But if you're feeling lucky, dice with Lady Luck at the blackjack tables and slot machines in Casino Royale.
Day 1: Southampton, UK
Arrive in Southampton and board Independence of the Seas for your eleven night cruise.
Day 3: La Coruna, Spain
La Coruña overlooks the Bay of Coruña in the north-west corner of Spain. Step ashore and visit the Tower of Hercules, Castillo de San Anton, and Castillo de San Diego. Explore the Roman wall, historical buildings and the medieval Church of Santiago in Ciudad Vieja. Get a culture hit at the Museum of Sacred Art, Archaeological Museum and Military Museum. People-watch at La Marina and Plaza Maria Pita, or relax on the Playa Riazor and Playa del Orzan beaches. Enjoy some family fun at Aquarium Finisterrae, Science Museum and Domus — an interactive museum. Venture further afield to visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Santiago de Compostela, Betanzos and Ferrol.
Day 5: Funchal, Madeira
It is very easy to see why Madeira has gained the name of 'The Garden Island'. Lush greenery with an array of tropical fruits, this island is a favourite on many cruise itineraries. Take gondola ride to the mountain village of Monte to experience some of the most breathtaking views of the island, then take the thrilling way down on a local toboggan, winding and bending over the cobbles; this is something you won’t want to miss. For wine lovers, venture out into the vineyards and experience some of the famous wine of the region.
Day 6: Tenerife, Canary Islands
Snow topped mountains contrasted with sandy beaches make Tenerife a firm favourite with tourists. Loro Park, the islands famous water park, is a popular choice for those looking to see the whale and dolphin shows and then head into the city centre and take in some local tapas whilst shopping in the array of shops here. With year round sunshine the beaches on the island will always welcome you to sit back relax and enjoy whilst topping up your tan.
Day 7: Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Arrive in Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria. Explore the impressive Santa Ana Cathedral, Plaza de Santa Ana, Palacio Regental, and the Bishop's Palace in Vegueta - the oldest part of the city. Spend the day sunbathing on Playa de Las Canteras, regarded as one of the world's best beaches, or enjoy live Canarian folk music and dancing at Pueblo Canario. Relax in the idyllic surroundings of Parque Doramas or enjoy a leisurely coffee on Plaza Cairasco. Discover national treasures dating back from Roman times at El Museo Canario. Admire the indigenous flora and fauna at the Jardin Botanico Viera y Clavijo, travel to the famous Maspalomas dunes or join a trek to the Bandama Caldera.
Day 9: Lisbon, Portugal
Spread across seven hills on the shores of River Tagus is Portugal's capital city, Lisbon. Pavement cafes, bustling squares and serene gardens sit alongside palaces, bridges and castles in this waterside city. Immerse yourself in culture at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and National Museum of Contemporary Art, or enjoy the colourful marine life at Oceanarium. Take a vintage tram ride through the city's cobbled streets, admiring Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower on the way. Haggle for bargains at the lively Thieves Market, or explore designer shops on Rua do Carmo, Rua Garrett and Avenida da Liberdade. Venture further afield and discover the fairytale places and ornate villas in Sintra or go dolphin-watching in Setúbal.
Day 10: Vigo, Spain
Spain's Atlantic coastline is home to the Galician town of Vigo and its many attractions. Explore the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Vigo and Plaza Constitucion in Casco Vella, before admiring the views from Castro Fortress. Immerse yourself in culture at Museo do Mar de Galicia, Museo Municipal de Vigo, and Museum of Contemporary Art. Discover the El Sireno sculpture at Porta do Sol or go shopping on Rua do Principe. Watch the fisherman at O Berbes and spend some time on Playa de Samil beach. Venture further afield to Santiago de Compostela and Pontevedra or even take a boat trip around the Cíes Islands.
Day 12: Southampton, UK
Today your cruise comes to an end. Disembark and make your way home.