Independence of the Seas joined the Royal Caribbean fleet in May 2008 and underwent a multi-million makeover in April 2018. New features added include Perfect Storm's two wild waterslides, Splashaway Bay water park, an Escape Room, Sky Pad Trampoline Bungee Dome, and Izumi Japanese restaurant; not forgetting the new panoramic staterooms, all-new Fish & Ships eatery, Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade, Laser Tag, and Sugar Beach Candy and Ice Cream Store. This all-in-one floating resort now really does have something for everyone - from the shops and bars on the Royal Promenade to some of the best dining venues, activity facilities, and entertainment shows at sea. On top of all this, Independence of the Seas sets sail a great selection of cruise itineraries from Southampton again in 2018 and also visits some fascinating ports of call where you can enjoy sightseeing and adventures galore ashore.
The King Lear and Romeo & Juliet Dining Rooms offer the option of traditional two-sitting dining or you can dine at a time to suit with My Time Dining; both venues feature daily-changing, multi-course dinner menus. Windjammer Cafe is the ship's casual, serve-yourself dining venue or you can sit outside and tuck into fresh fish and chips at Fish & Ships. Savour sweet treats and speciality coffees in the 24/7 Cafe Promenade, indulge in freshly baked cupcakes at Cupcake Cupboard, or choose your favourite sweets, confectionery, and homemade ice cream at Sugar Beach Candy & Ice Cream Store. A selection of speciality restaurants enhances your culinary journey - fries, milkshakes, and gourmet burgers are served in the 1950s-style American diner Johnny Rockets, take your seat for perfect pizza and a selection of daily specials at Sorrento's Pizzeria, or savour fresh seafood and premium steaks in Chops Grille. Feast on Italian, home-style cuisine in Giovanni's Table or Asian-inspired dining and teppanyaki at Izumi.
Quench your thirst with a refreshing drink at Squeeze juice bar or order waterside cocktails at the Pool Bar and Plaza Bar. Burgers, ice-cold beers, live sports, and arcade games are on the menu at Playmakers Sports Bar. Celebrate that special occasion with a glass of bubbly in the Champagne Bar or savour imported ales in the informal setting of the Ale and Anchor Pub. Indulge in exotic signature cocktails at Schooner Bar, while wine lovers can enjoy their favourite glass of Chardonnay or Shiraz at Vintages wine bar. Sip exotic mojitos and caipirinhas and shake your hips to the Latin music in Boleros Lounge.
By day, discover water-based family fun at Splashaway Bay and The Perfect Storm or bounce on the trampolines at Sky Pad. Learn to surf on the FlowRider surf simulator or glide around like Torvill & Dean on the ice skating rink. Meet the challenge of the rock climbing wall or the Escape Room, or simply indulge in a hot stone massage in Vitality at Sea Spa. There's fun for tots or teens at the Adventure Ocean, Video Arcade, The Living Room or Fuel Teen Club. After dinner, thrilling musical extravaganzas and production shows light up the stage in the Royal Theatre. Live music, dancing, and entertainment set the scene at both Star Lounge and Sky Lounge or show off your vocals in the funky and fun On Air Club karaoke bar. 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 Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas for your fourteen-night cruise.
Day 4: Gibraltar, Spain
Gibraltar is a vibrant slice of Britain at the heart of the sunny Mediterranean. From its helmet-wearing policeman and fish and chips to familiar stores such as Marks & Spencer, this place truly feels like home. Take a cable car up to Europa Point to meet the famous Barbary macaque tailless monkeys and admire all of Gibraltar. Explore the labyrinth of the Great Siege Tunnels and St Michael's Cave inside The Rock. Enjoy a stroll to the Moorish Castle or discover the 100 Ton Gun at the Napier Magdala Battery beside Rosia Bay. Indulge in VAT-free shopping on Main Street and uncover local artisan shops and Gibraltar Crystal Factory on Casemates Square.
Day 6: Villefranche (for Nice), Italy
Villefranche on France's Cote d'Azur is today's port of call. Located on a picturesque bay, with Cap de Nice to the right and Cap Ferrat to the left, this port town is the perfect place to spend the day. Meander around the harbour and sea front Quai Courbet, before stopping for morning coffee at Place Amelie Polonnais. Discover the pastel-coloured buildings of the Old Town and view the trompe l'oeil paintings on the facades of house on the main Rue de Poilu. The baroque Church of Saint-Michel, Chapelle St-Pierre, and La Citadelle are well worth a visit too. Villefranche is also gateway to the nearby popular resort of Nice, the inland medieval village of Eze, and Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild on Cap Ferrat.
Day 7: La Spezia (for Florence/Pisa), Italy
The port town of La Spezia is found in north-west Italy on the Ligurian coastline. Home to the country's largest naval base, La Spezia has a rich history and is an important cultural and commercial centre. You can enjoy the winding streets of its old town and relax in a trattoria before visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cinque Terre — historic fishing villages dating from the medieval era. Discover sandy beaches and rocky coves, before visiting popular landmarks such as Castle of San Giorgio and the 13th-century Santa Maria Assunta church. Enjoy a selection of pasta and seafood dishes, local red and white wines, and cheese and salami platters at bistros and restaurants throughout and around La Spezia during your time here.
Day 8: Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy
History is around every corner in Rome. ‘The Eternal City’ is one of the world’s most historically significant destinations, home to the Pantheon, piazzas, and Vatican City’s Sistine Chapel. Discover cultural remnants of the Roman Empire, awe-inspiring Renaissance art, numerous historic landmarks, as well as the culinary delights of la dolce vita - the sweet life.
Day 9: Naples, Italy
Naples on Italy's Amalfi Coast is your next port of call. Visit Piazza del Plebiscito to admire the Royal Palace, Galleria Umberto and San Carlo Theatre. Step inside the Duomo to view the Cappella di San Gennaro, the baptistery, and colourful frescoes and mosaics. Enjoy family-time at Acquario Della Stazione Zoological Di Napoli. Join a tour to the ruins of Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius and picturesque Sorrento and Positano. Or take a scenic boat trip to the beautiful island of Capri.
Day 10: Cagliari, Sardinia
Cagliari is the capital of the Italian island of Sardinia. Golden-hued palazzi, domes and buildings wind their way up the rocky hillside to Il Castello and the Old Town district. Stroll along the tree-lined boulevards by the seafront Marina. Stop by the impressive Cattedrale di Santa Maria or step back in time at Museo Archaeologico Nazionale. Take the lift from Piazza della Costituzione to Bastione San Remy for sweeping views. Spend a few hours soaking up the sun on Poetto Beach or enjoy a glimpse of local life at Mercato di San Benedetto. A visit to the pink flamingos at Parco di Molentargius is a must-do too.
Day 12: Cadiz (for Seville), Spain
The ancient port city of Cadiz lies on a peninsula on Spain's south-west coast. From its bustling harbour to its Moorish-style old town, Cadiz is awash with things to see and do. Explore Museo de Cadiz and Museo de las Cortes de Cadiz, or visit the cathedral to see more of the city from its Toree de Poniente. Soak up the sunshine on Playa de Caleta beach and escape to Parque Genoves. Relax with a plate of fried fish on Plaza de Flores, before shopping in the adjacent Mercado Central de Abastos. Venture further afield and experience flamenco and fiestas in the tree-lined streets of Seville or uncover the art of sherry making in Jerez.
Day 15: Southampton, UK
Today your cruise comes to an end. Disembark and make your way home.