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 seven-night cruise.
Day 3: Stavanger, Norway
Arrive at the port of Stavanger - gateway to the majestic Lysefjord. Meander through the cobbled streets lined with white-washed wooden houses and see artists at work in the old quarter. Visit the 12th-century Stavanger Cathedral and marvel at its vaulted ceiling and 13th-century Gothic chancel. Stop by the Norwegian Canning Museum to appreciate the town's heritage as the 'herring capital' of Norway.
Day 4: Geiranger, Norway
The ship then drops anchor at Geiranger on the shores of UNESCO World Heritage site, Geirangerfjord. Stroll into the village to view the church and sample reindeer and brown goat’s cheese in a local eatery. Enjoy a boat trip along the fjord for close up views of the famous Seven Sisters and Suitor waterfalls. Venture further afield to explore local farm life at the interactive Norwegian Fjord Centre or take a trip up to the scenic viewpoints at Dalsnibba or Eagle's Bend.
Day 5: Alesund, Norway
Step ashore at the Norwegian port of Alesund. This fishing town is found spread across several islands and is generally considered Norway's most beautiful city. Renowned for its cultural festivals, Alesund was rebuilt in 1904 following a huge fire and now features stunning Art Nouveau architecture to explore. Walk up Mount Askla for spectacular views; see the time capsule and Viking ship replicas at Jugendstilsenteret and Sunnmore Museums; feed the fish at Atlanterhavsparken; and enjoy coffee and cake at a waterfront cafe. There are a variety of hiking, biking and kayaking excursions to enjoy here, as well as lively bars and top restaurants serving local and international dishes.
Day 6: Bergen, Norway
The charming port city of Bergen is framed by seven hills on Norway's south-west shore. Bergen’s bustling waterfront and narrow streets of colourful half-timbered houses combine with a proud musical and maritime heritage. Ride the funicular railway up Mount Floyen for city views. Visit Troldhaugen Museum to see Edvard Grieg's musical heritage comes to life, or explore the artwork on display at KODE. The 900-year old Bryggen, a wharf that features museums and pubs, guides you through the city's sea-faring past, while locally-caught seafood can be found at Bergen Fish Market. Discover family fun at Bergen Science Centre and Bergen Aquarium, or explore the city's sights on a Segway tour.
Day 8: Southampton, UK
Today your cruise comes to an end. Disembark and make your way home.