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A Review of the Newly Refurbished Independence of the Sea.

Whats new onboard Royal Caribbean Independence of the sea?

The refitted Independence of the Sea was refurbished in May 2018 and as of 2023 she’s is still proudly sailing the sea. In this Review of the multi million pound newly Refurbished Independence of the Sea we see Royal Caribbean amplifying their older cruise ships to be flashier and more exciting than ever.

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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. Lets not forget the Splashaway Bay and the speedy Perfect Storm waterslides for having a cool time too!

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.

Everything you need to know about Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas newly refitted ship 2023

What is the Symphony of the Seas like for teens? find out here.

Facts about Independence of the Seas

The independence of the Seas is a Royal Caribbean Freedom Class Ship which were built between 2006 to 2008. She can hold a total of 4560 passengers and 1440 crew. The ship weighs a total of 155,407 gross tons and is 1,112 feet in length making her a pretty large ship. The Godmother of Independence of the Seas is Elizabeth Hill, who was chosen for her outstanding contribution to her local community.

So whats new on the Independence of the Seas refit?

There has been so much added to the ship since its refit such as new shops and food and restaurants. There is a new Escape room, perfect storm slides and even a sky pad for soaring adventures.

Restaurants of Independence of the seas

Check out these newer restaurants on the Independence since its refit;

Playmakers bar

The first thing I noticed was as soon as we hopped onboard Independence of the Sea 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!

Playmakers Bar and arcade onboard Independence of the Seas
Playmakers Bar and arcade onboard Independence of the Seas

Izumi Sushi and Sashimi on Independence of the Seas

Now you can now find the new Izumi Royal Caribbean dining restaurant 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 )

Fish & Chips new pool bar

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, freshly battered fish and crispy chunky chips. The whole bar area has been updated with new contemporary tables and stools. You can even get Calamari here too with a frosty beer.

Fish and Chips pool deck bar on Independence of the seas.

Sugar Beach on Independence of the Seas

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.

What other restaurants are on Royal Caribbeans Independence of the Seas?

There’s are many dining options on Royal Caribbeans Independence of the Seas in fact 14 in total here are a list of all of the eateries on Independence of the Sea;

  • The main dining room for food from around the world ( included in your stay )
  • Windjammer Cafe for all buffet requirements ( included in your stay )
  • Cafe Promenade for all day and late night snacks, cookie, coffee and hot chocolate ( included in your stay )
  • Sorrentos for amazing pizza late in to the evening ( included in your stay )
  • Chops Grille a specialty steak house for an extra charge ( extra charge )
  • Giovanni’s Table ( extra charge )
  • Chefs Table exclusive dining ( extra charge )
  • Vintages wine bar and tapas ( extra charge )
  • Johnny Rockets a fun American retro diner ( extra charge )
  • Ben & Jerrys finest ice cream ( extra charge )
  • Sugar Beach for all your candy treats ( extra charge )
  • Izumi for Teppanyaki, Hibachi and Sushi( extra charge )
  • Fish & Chips British style classics ( extra charge )
  • Playmakers Bar and Arcade for burgers and game favourite’s ( extra charge )

New shop Micheal Kors

Another new shop is Micheal Kors for all of your precious handbag needs.

View our Guide to Royal Caribbean Drinks packages here!

What activities are there on Royal Caribbean Independence of the seas?

There is plenty of fun now onboard 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 of instagram! )

Independence of the seas Splash-away bay

Splash away bay is the perfect place to let off steam and cool down. The new mini slides have a a minimum height requirement of 42” and a maximum height requirement of 45” for the yellow slide.

 Perfect Storm Slides

Furthermore for the older children and the adults there are now the Perfect Storm Slides. There are two slides on Independence of the Seas the Cyclone and the Typhoon. The Slides 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.

Childrens climbing frames the lily pads

Also in the sports area of the Independence of the Seas 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.

The Royal Suite lounge has also been updated to bring it in line with the new Royal Suite tier program.

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 pub is no more, it now is the Ale and Anchor pub 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 Breakout Centre

The Independence of the Seas has an Escape room! I was totally in awe of this room, what once was the Chapel on deck 15 is now the Breakout centre. 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 by solving puzzles and riddles and finding clues.

Children have to be 14 and over to take part in the challenge in 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 of the Sea.

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.

Take a look at the latest drink packages guide and menus here

One thing that hasn’t changed on the Independence of the Sea is the views!

We sailed on a two day cruise out of Southampton on the Independence of the sea. 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.

Donna x


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  1. Donna it looks incredible thanks so much for sharing the updated kids facilities – they really do look quite spectacular and like you’ve had loads of fun onboard! Thanks for linking up to Monday Escapes.

  2. OMG, the Indy looks stunning! I’ve always avoided Southampton departures – prefer flying direct to Med but these photos look fab. Just wish they’d upgraded the cabins too, not touched those at all. With the extra cabins added, I wonder if it makes the ship feel much more busy… #mondayescapes

    1. Hi Sanna, it is a shame the cabins were not upgraded a bit but they were spotlessly clean. It did feel a little busy but it was quite a lovely cruise but I could always get a seat somewhere though. Thank you x

  3. We have sailed in the Independence three times and going again! Besides the Oasis Class ships it’s one of our favorites! If we can’t get an Oasis class we go Independance!

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