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 embark on board Independence of the Seas.
Day 2: Paris, France
France's capital, Paris, is a global centre for art, fashion, gastronomy, and culture. Its most famous landmark is the Eiffel Tower with steps and elevators leading to observation decks and offering spectacular citywide views. The Louvre Museum is packed with huge art collections, Roman sculptures, and is home to the iconic Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The huge Gothic Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris features flying buttresses and gargoyles. Pay a visit to the impressive Sacre Coeur and then meander through the cobblestone streets of Montmartre. The famous Arc de Triomphe commemorates Napoleon's victories and the adjoining Avenue des Champs-Elysees is lined with elegant restaurants, bars, and boutiques. The Palace of Versailles is an 18th-century palace filled with extraordinary apartments and the acclaimed Hall of Mirrors. No trip to Paris would be complete without taking an evening bateau-mouche cruise along the River Seine to see the city's famous sights illuminated against the night sky.
Day 4: 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 5: 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 8: Southampton, UK
Disembark in Southampton and make your way home.