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 4: 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 5: Tenerife, Canary Islands
Tenerife is largest of the Canary Islands. The island is dominated by the dormant volcano Mount Teide; hop on a cable car to marvel at the views or take a hike along the trail. Tenerife is also known for its famous Carnaval de Santa Cruz with its spectacular parades, music, dancing, and colourful costumes. Siam Park is a Thai-themed water park packed with swimming pools, exhilarating slides, and plenty of family fun. Experience up-close encounters with gorillas, tigers, penguins, and other species at the landscaped Loro Park. Party animals can discover Playa de las Americas and its famed nightlife scene. Try your hand at windsurfing, kite surfing, or parasailing on El Medano Beach. The island’s capital, Santa Cruz, is home to Auditorio de Tenerife, Museum of Fine Arts, and Museum of Nature and Man. The UNESCO-listed colonial city of San Cristobal de la Laguna is well worth a visit too.
Day 6: Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
The Canary island of Gran Canaria is famous for its beaches, water sports, food, and marine life. Beach lovers will delight in a day spent sunbathing, watching people body board, and enjoy a mojito or two on the promenade at Playa de las Canteras beach. Learn how to paddle board, surf, or scuba dive in Arguineguin where there’s also a collection of shisha bars. Adventurers delight as you hike Caldera de Bandama and admire the views that extend the entire north-east and central areas of the island – and on the way down enjoy a well-earned glass of Rioja at the nearby Vino Del Monte. Get close with wildlife and see dolphins, turtles, seals, toucans, and much more at Palmitos Park – the biggest zoological park in the Canary Islands. Or, swap seals for slides at Aqualand Water Park which is only ten minutes away from the Zoo.
Day 7: Lanzarote, Canary Islands
The ship drops anchor today on the island of Lanzarote. Admire Castillo San Gabriel and Castillo San Jose that form the backdrop to Arrecife harbour. The beautiful golden sand of Playa del Reducto is ideal for a morning's sunbathing, or take a stroll along the seafront promenade to the peaceful Playa del Cable. Venture inland to explore the landscape of Timanfaya National Park's fire mountains or uncover the spectacular natural concert hall and subterranean lagoon at Cueva de Los Verdes.
Day 9: 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 10: 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 12: Southampton, UK
Today your cruise comes to an end. Disemark and make your way home.