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 at Southampton where you will board Independence of the Seas and sail onwards to Germany.
Day 3: Hamburg, Germany
Germany's largest port and second-biggest city is found on the River Elbe in the north of the country. Hamburg has been an integral part of German trade since the Middle Ages and its strong maritime history can be seen throughout its culture, atmosphere and UNESCO-listed architecture today. Stroll through the legendary Fish Market, take a scenic barge tour, or visit one of many museum ships to learn more about Hamburg's seafaring past. Tower over Hamburg Airport and the Alps at the home of the largest model railway in the world — Miniatur Wunderland — or start at the Jungfernstieg in the city centre to find shops, cafes and multicultural restaurants.
Day 5: Oslo, Norway
Oslo, the capital of Norway, sits on the country’s southern coast and is known for its spectacular snow-capped mountains and rolling green hills. Take a stroll around the modern city and be mesmerised by the eclectic mix of ancient castles and dazzling lakes. Journey back in time at the Viking House Museum or revel in the enchanted atmosphere at the magic Ice Bar Oslo. Stop by the Vigeland Sculpture Park and become fascinated with the ‘wonder-world’ of stone, iron and bronze human figures.
Day 7: Bruges (Zeebrugge), Belgium
Step ashore today at the Belgian port of Zeebrugge - gateway to the 'Venice of the North', Bruges. Float along Bruges’ network of canals, admiring the heritage buildings that line the shore. Take a stroll around the Markt Square with its towering Belfry or admire Michelangelo's marble Madonna and Child at the Church of Our Lady. Get up-close views of glittering jewels at the Diamond Museum, discover the world of chocolate making at the Choco-Story and learn the art of lace making at the Lace Centre. Visit the tranquil Beguinage commune before stepping round the corner to tour the De Halve Maan Brewery.
Day 8: Southampton, UK
The cruise comes to an end in Southampton, where you disembark and make your way home.