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The much-loved 3,858-passenger Independence of the Seas is the third and final incarnation of Royal Caribbean's ground-breaking Freedom-class ships - once the largest in the world before the launch of Oasis of the Seas and its sister ships. For most of her career this leviathan has been offering a series of summer-long cruises from Southampton and as such has gained a loyal following amongst cruisers who know when they’re onto a good thing.


Dubbed Britain’s ‘Ultimate Family Cruise Ship’, a multi-million pound makeover in 2018 saw the addition of a host of attractions for active cruisers and dare-devils. There’s a new glow-in-the-dark Laser Tag - where aliens fight robots in the battle for Planet Z. A huge telescope dominates Puzzle Break - an escape room where families can work together to find hidden clues and solve high-tech riddles. At Sky Pad there are four trampolines and a combination of bungee cords inside a massive orange sphere situated atop the ship. Here there’s the chance to don a virtual-reality headset and play a candy crush-style game, join in a pop video, or do battle with aliens.


‘The Perfect Storm’ is made up of two seriously fast duelling slides called Cyclone and Typhoon which send revellers through twists and turns at more than 20 mph. There’s also Flowrider for body-boarding and surfing; a large ice rink; rock climbing wall with 11 challenging routes; and Splashaway Bay Waterpark with slides, water cannons and drench buckets. An arcade room comes with a host of video games, including the latest Star Wars series.


Other new features incorporated on ‘Indy’ include Fish n’ Ships on the pool deck, a Sugar Beach candy store, plus Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade – with 35 TV screens showing non-stop sports as well as a new outdoor ‘Crazy Golf the Dunes’. The spruce-up included a massive poolside screen showing latest-releases, new digital signage, Wi-Fi upgraded to the line's Voom system – perfect for Instagramming, Snapchatting or Skyping.


Suite guests can access the new concierge Suite Lounge on deck 14 where there’s an outside area with wicker chairs and tables overlooking the Sky Pad. The Dog and Badger has become the Ale and Anchor with nightly entertainment which parents can enjoy safe in the knowledge that their little darlings are safely tucked up in the enhanced Royal Babies & Tots Nursery

  • 17th October 2018

Gary Buchanan

Edinburgh-born Gary Buchanan has been a travel writer for over 30 years. He has been a specialist cruise writer for 25 years contributing to leading British publications including national newspapers and consumer magazines. He is the author of five books about cruising and spends over seven months every year at sea sailing the world’s oceans.