Join me for a day onboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. I’ve never been on a cruise so it was a real eye opener spending the day taking a look around.
The ship has recently had a multi-million pound makeover and has just re-launched with some of its most popular routes.
If you’re thinking of booking a cruise this will give you plenty of insight and I’ve broken it into sections as there’s an awful lot to see and do!
A fantastic group of bloggers kept me company for the day. My main group were from the Southampton Bloggers and South East Bloggers but there were also several cruise, travel and parenting bloggers. You’ll see some of them in the shots and I’ll do my best to point out who they are.
Before we dive in, I’ll just give you a quick heads up that this post is picture heavy to give you a really good idea of what’s onboard.
So let’s crack on, because I squeezed a lot into my day and I’ve got a lot to show you!
Unless you’ve been on a cruise before there’s nothing to prepare you for how big the ship is. I’ve only recently been on a cruise ship for the first time and nothing prepared me for the size when you’re up close.
The sheer scale is a little overwhelming but as soon as I was onboard it felt like a very grand, opulent hotel. Everything is stunning, think lots of marble, fancy carpets and wonderful attention to details. If you’ve been to Vegas it has the same kind of feeling as the hotels there, it was definitely giving me Caesar’s Palace vibes.
What also stood out to me was that you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to park, there’s a larger luggage allowance per person (say yes to all the cute holiday outfits in your wardrobe!) and probably no jet lag if you travel from the UK! Ah, the perks of a flightless cruise!
Boarding is a lot simpler and quicker than at an airport and Royal Caribbean have this down to a fine art – it was very organised. The signs and check in areas resemble an airport, so getting onboard is a very similar process. The only difference is there’s a lot less waiting around and when you board you’re already at your accommodation – win!
The itinerary for the day was fairly fluid and I like that it wasn’t too regimented so I had some freedom to explore.
After boarding we gathered on the top deck at the new ‘fish and ships’ food bar to look around and grab some snaps before actual guests boarded later in the day. Then you could either play a quick game of Laser Tag or explore the ship.
This was followed by lunch at Chops Grille, the ship’s steak restaurant and an afternoon by the pool. At this stage you had the option of a further ship tour or you could take part in some of the ship’s activities like FlowRider or Sky Pad.
Ice cream by the pool was a lovely finish to the day. Yes Royal Caribbean, you know the way into this gal’s heart. The fact there was an actual ice cream stop on the trip was an absolute winner for me – if you haven’t guessed yet, I love ice cream!
Once we had settled in we were guided to the main pool area and entered to the magnificent Splashaway Bay. Now this is my idea of fun, part of me wishes it wasn’t for kids! Bright coloured fountains and mini flumes made this a paradise for children and I should imagine an easy life for parents!
Walking down the ship it opened up into two further sections, a larger swimming pool with hot tubs surrounding it and then another deeper adults only pool area.
There were also plenty of sun loungers. There’s nothing worse than going on holiday and having to fight for a lounger by the pool, I’ve got a feeling this is not an issue on The Independence of the Seas as there were so many on different levels, in the shade and with parasols. No getting up early to put your towel out!
Later in the day we came back to this area and went for a dip in the pools and the whirl pool hot tubs. It was so relaxing and the views across the water were a spectacular backdrop. I can imagine sitting in here with a few cocktails as the sun goes down!
Views from the top deck
I love travelling so, for me, my favourite part of day was seeing the unobstructed views of the Solent. I think that’s what appeals to me the most, getting to see countries from an entirely different perspective and views across famous towns, coastlines and ports from the sea.
Just look at these incredible views of the Solent and sunny Southampton…
As it was easily over 31 degrees our group decided to leave the kids to Laser Tag and spend more time exploring the ship. It was so unbelievably hot that it was nice to be on the top deck enjoying the breeze and then ducking into the lovely air conditioning to explore the ship.
Stop! Hammock time!
I’ve got a lot of time for the ship’s hammocks – unbelievably relaxing! Please can I take one home? 😂
You really are spoilt for choice, the amount of restaurants is crazy and you could literally get any kind of food you wanted. Italian, steak, fish and chips and several buffets provide a wide range of food to pick from. The recent makeover saw new additions in the form of a sports bar called Playmakers and a sushi restaurant called Izumi.
We were booked in for lunch at Chops Grille, the main steak restaurant onboard and I couldn’t believe the standard of the food.
My steak was soft, buttery and very tasty. It’s one of my favourite meals and after stomping my way round the ship I was definitely ready to eat!
It’s also great that the tables are next to the windows so they all have spectacular views when sailing. It’s not often that you have lunch or dinner with an ocean view!
Here’s a couple of snaps of the night club. It also has incredible views and I can imagine it all lit up at night with people sat drinking and staring dreamily out to sea. And, who doesn’t like a short stagger back to their room instead of a taxi!
This was another surprise. I did not expect the gym to be so big and well equipped, and again, it’s the view that makes it amazing. Running or cycling with open sea views – what a start to the day!
Who doesn’t like a pamper?! The spa was a little smaller than I thought it would be but I quite liked that it felt more intimate. It was slightly quieter too, so it had a nice calming feeling. I didn’t have the chance to check out what services they offered but there was clearly a nail area, a foot and massage area and many individual treatment rooms – so I should imagine there’s quite a variety to pick from.
Bars, shops and restaurants, it’s the bustling heart of the ship. Apparently this is a good place to come for a drink and a dance in the evening.
I’d have loved to have seen what the rooms were like, from the standard rooms to the Stateroom, unfortunately this was the only thing lacking from my trip as we ran out of time. But, it’s the perfect excuse to book a trip or head back onboard as a day on this beaut of a ship really isn’t enough!
Things to try next time on #MyIndy
There were so many other things to do and see, there’s no way I could have fit it into one day. You’d never be bored, that’s for sure!
Sky Pad is one of the biggest attractions, it’s a bungee trampoline virtual reality experience above The Perfect Storm water slides with great views out across the ship and sea.
You can either look at the views while bouncing away or play VR games – it’s so unique, I’ve not seen anything like this before.
And, I’ve not even mentioned…ice skating, the Champagne Bar, the basketball court, the Escape room, Laser Tag, poolside cinema screenings and I think there’s even crazy golf! There’s so much more that I’ll have to direct you to the website as I think I’ll probably miss something off! So visit the activities page on the Independence of the Seas website to find out a full list of ship activities.
Time to say goodbye!
I loved my time on Independence of the Seas, it’s really opened my eyes to cruise as a travel option. It’s not something I’ve ever considered before. But, you get the convenience of a sun holiday with the bonus of seeing multiple countries. Everything is sorted on the ship so you could have a proper switch off – and that is very appealing!
The day was very relaxing and by the end I had such good holiday vibes that I really wanted to be heading to Gibraltar with everyone else that evening!
I had so much fun with my blogging girls and just wanted to say a huge thank you to Royal Caribbean for inviting me onboard Indy for the day, I think I definitely discovered #myindy – that’s views, hot tubs and hammocks if you weren’t entirely sure!
*Paid Partnership with Royal Caribbean but, all opinions are my own otherwise what’s the point?!
A huge thanks to the team at Royal Caribbean, Melt Influence and Southampton Bloggers!