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: Ajaccio, Corsica
Ajaccio is a jewel on any Mediterranean cruise, one of the easiest destinations to navigate on foot and one of the most characteristic ports you can see. Around the harbour you can find a bustling world of French and Italian influence, with traditional Mediterranean restaurants and local artists on every street corner. Visit the ancestral home of French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte and see the 16th-century Notre-Dame cathedral which is home to paintings by Delacroix and Tintoretto.
Day 7: 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 8: Livorno (for Florence/Pisa), Italy
Livorno — Tuscany's second-largest city — is home to one of Italy's largest cruise ports. The city's main Terrazza Mascagni square with its grand pavement and seafront promenade is a common meeting place for locals looking to relax. The 16th-century Old Fortress faces the harbour and sits at the entrance to the canal-lined Venezia district. Enjoy gourmet dishes and sample local seafood, which is said to be the best on the Tyrrhenian Coast. Head to Central Piazza Cavour or the car-free Via Ricasoli for shopping, try Via Magenta and pick up some quirky souvenirs, or stop by Via dei Pensieri's street market for a great selection of food, clothing, accessories, and homewares. If you're looking to travel further afield, Pisa is just a short drive away.
Day 9: Toulon (for Provence), France
Your stepping stone to the fields of lavender of Provence and charming villages like Cassis or Les Baux. Drop into one of the restaurants around the colourful Vieux Port (old harbour) and order Bouillabaisse, the hearty fish stew invented here.
Day 10: Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is one of the most famous cities in the world. Located between the gleaming Mediterranean Sea and the Serra de Collserola hills, this cosmopolitan Spanish city is known for its diverse art and architecture. Walk the iconic Las Ramblas promenade and see quirky street entertainers or stop for a coffee at a pavement cafe. View some of Antoni Gaudi's most famous works including the Sagrada Família Church and the mosaic wall in Park Güell. Explore the winding streets of the Gothic quarter and sample tapas in a traditional bar or relax in the city's biggest green space — Park Ciutadella.
Day 12: 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 13: 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 15: Southampton, UK
Today your cruise comes to an end. Disembark and make your way home.