My son and went on a different kind of trip last weekend: we were invited to spend a day at the newly refurbished Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas ship on turnaround day, learning about its new features and activities and just generally enjoying the ship’s fantastic swimming pools, great food and, well, having a go on their incredible waterslides.
It was our first ever experience stepping foot on a cruise, so we were both incredibly excited at the prospect of spending a day discovering this huge, fun-filled ship. We left Brighton bright and early, and jumped on a train on our way to Southampton. A super quick taxi ride away from the station and we were there – meeting at the iconic zebra.
We well and truly lucked out – the sun was shining in Southampton and excitement was rife between all passengers waiting to board on their holiday. Having never been on a cruise, we didn’t really know what to expect. The minute we placed our eyes on it we got it – you could see the waterslides from the ground, and that alone had us convinced. And I say ‘we’ because my son immediately started dishing out ‘oohs and ahhhs’, which if you have a 7 year old boy know that they’re reserved for the truly special experiences.
What can you expect in the Independence of the Seas
One thing you can expect is a fun-packed holiday. This ship has well and truly been built to give kids the biggest amount of fun, while at the same time keeping parents happy and relaxed with a variety of clubs for all ages.
The ship has been part of the Royal Caribbean fleet for 10 years, but with a multi-million pound refurb it’s now even better than before. Keep reading to find out all that’s new onboard the Independence of the Seas.
The winner area for us as a family was without a doubt Splashaway Bay! With ample seating for parents, super cute kids deckchairs, a pool with two brilliant waterslides and a myriad of pools this is where we spent most of our day. Oh, did I mention the free ice-cream?!
I also just loved the decor in the seating with its beautiful blue, orange and white scheme – right out of my look-book!
We’re both big adrenalin junkies, so the idea of a ship with the Perfect Storm waterslides (both excellent), FlowRider – a surf/bodyboard wave pool – AND Sky Pad, a virtual reality bungee, are the perfect ingredients for us to have a stellar holiday! That little boy going through the transparent bit of the slide is my 6 year old – how cool is that?
Unfortunately my son was too small to go on the wave machine and the Sky Pad, but my friend Nell’s son did and it looks incredible. You can see some photos on her blog.
I loved all the emphasis in a ‘no plastic’ ship, with a ban on plastic straws and recycling bins virtually everywhere – very impressive!
The ship’s shopping quarters were brilliant, with a myriad of unique shops, include a sweet shop that is any kids dream! Most hadn’t opened when we visited, but it was great to see the offering. We also sneaked into the Theatre, which was such an impressive space! I can imagine fabulous evenings spent there.
Most restaurants were still closed during our short stop, but we got to eat at the ship’s huge buffet restaurant – Windjammer. This was a buffet restaurant like none I’ve visited before. There was food from virtually every place in the world, from gorgeous noodles, all-American for easy meals, a carvery, curries, lots of fresh salads, a vegan area and desserts for days. Oh, and did I mention the chocolate fountain (see below!)
Find our more about the Independence of the Seas food offerings.
Our first cruise experience was truly memorable and my son keeps asking me to go on one for a ‘proper cruise holiday’. I’ve had a really good browse on the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas website and can honestly say that I am a bit more than tempted!
One thing I think is worth mentioning is just how quickly my son my friends during our 6 hour stint onboard. As an only child this sort of ease to meet kids, and keep meeting them for the duration of the holiday is by far the most important thing. Friends from Splashaway bay, the waterslides, the hot tub, the chocolate fountain and undoubtedly the kids club had he gone to one. It was simply amazing to watch.
We’re fully convinced – are you?
nb: We were guests of the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, but as always opinions are our own.
Find out more about the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas