Whats new onboard the Independence of the seas?
We have just disembarked the newly refitted Independence of the Seas after its refurbishment. Royal caribbean are in the process of refurbishing and amplifying their older cruise ships. If you are looking to book a Royal Caribbean cruise this is the low down on what to expect onboard the latest updated ship. There have been quite a few changes with the recent refit. From new soda machines, new seating areas, bars and entertainment. We hopped on for a two day break to find out what its like and enjoy some cocktails and find out whats new on the Independence of the Seas.
So whats new on the Independence of the Seas refit?
The first thing I noticed was as soon as we hopped onboard deck 4 was the Playmaker Bar and Arcade.
A fantastic sports bar that is huge and roomy with large screens and the latest games. There are arcade games and also pool tables in this area and it has a real buzz.
They even do a chicken wings challenge!
New food and restaurants and shops
Now you can now find the new Izumi on deck 4, serving sushi and sashimi for an exotic Asian inspired meal. This has taken place of the old nightclub, but fear not if you still want to dance you can do so in Studio B late night or in the newly revamped Star lounge. ( planner permitting )
The new fish and chips bar on the pool deck is a fun addition and is an extra charge. This new restaurant Serves mushy peas, battered fish and chunky chips. The whole bar area has been updated with new contemporary tables and stools.
There is also a new sweet shop on the Promenade called Sugar Beach. You will see this on the bigger ships too. Ben and Jerry’s is still there for your yummy ice-cream ( extra charge ) as well as your soft serve ice-cream on the pool deck which is free.
Another new shop is Micheal Kors for all of your precious handbag needs.
There is plenty of fun now on board for the kids too.
The newly updated Splashaway bay is fantastic for kids. The new aqua park features slides and buckets of water including water cannons. They have added new mini beach chairs for kids which are also great for photos. ( I am always thinking instagram! )
The new mini slides have a a minimum height requirement of 42” and a maximum height requirement of 45” for the yellow slide.
Furthermore for the older children and the adults there are now the Perfect Storm Slides.
Two slides the Cyclone and the Typhoon whizz down 3 stories of the ship. There is a minimum height requirement of 48”. Both of these slides are up on deck 13 alongside the Flowrider and the new Skypad.
The new Skypad
The skypad was a revolution in its self! A huge bungy jumping trampoline where you strap in and adorn a virtual reality head set. You can choose from different virtual reality worlds or launch in to space. One minute you can be crushing candy the next flying through space.
Children as young as 5 can jump but you have to be 7 to adorn the virtual reality headset.
Also in this area are new play areas for the children. The lily pads are safe and fun, there are also hammocks and swings for hanging around.
More kids fun with the battle for Planet Z
New Planet Z laser is blast kids will love it! Battle out in glow in the dark against you opponents. The new outdoor Crazy Golf the Dunes are bright and fun too.
New pool chairs and comfortable outside areas on Royal Caribbean
Along side the outside pool areas are pockets of new chairs and tables. Areas to get comfy and watch movies or have a few cocktails. Whats new on the Independence of the Seas is simply a multitude of things.
Indoor Comfortable bars and entertainment on the Independence
The old Pyramid lounge is now the Star lounge and looks new and contemporary. Karaoke is still up in the in Olive and Twist for those wishing to sing the night away. Furthermore for Suite guests the new concierge Suite lounge is now on deck 14 with new table and chairs, it was the old playing cards room. There are lovely views of the ship in the Suite lounge and an outside area with wicker chairs and tables overlooking the Skypad.
The Dog and Badger is no more, it now is the Ale and Anchor and still has nightly entertainment. Perhaps my favourite entertainment was the pianist who turns up randomly all over the ship. Catch him and his travelling piano even in the lifts!
The show at the moment is Grease the Musicall and we were lucky enough to catch the Take That tribute onboard this time.
The New Puzzle Break Centre
I was totally in awe of this room, what once was the Chapel on deck 15 is now the Escape room. This room alone cost over a million pounds to make and every effort to make it the perfect game has been included. With one hour to escape you can test your skill and knowledge. Solve puzzles and riddles and find clues. Children have to be 14 and over to take part in the challenge and it teams up to a maximum of 10. As of writing this post the The Observatorium was free but on some cruises they charge to make sure that people turn up and they do not have to cancel smaller groups.
Book onboard as soon as you embark to ensure a place, booking can be done on deck 14.
Drinks packages onboard the Independence.
With new soda machines that have over 100 choices you will be spoilt. You can find the machines outside Sorento’s and also in the windjammer. The price of drinks has recently gone up and the package now covers the cocktails and drinks up to $14. There is still plenty of choice and new menus are dotted about the ship.
It still works out better to purchase your package before you board. Royal Caribbean do lots of offers before you sail so watch out for them. If for instance you purchase your package in Spain for instance you will be charged tax for that country.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the views!
We sailed on a two day cruise out of Southampton on the Independence of the seas. These cruises can get quite busy with party goers and people celebrating. These are considered a taster cruise but are not always a good representation of a normal Royal Caribbean cruise.
I was not compensated for this cruise and all thoughts and opinions are my own.