I went on the newly remodeled Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas cruise last year and had a great time! I am sharing the highlights of the ship, the excursion, some tips to make your cruise the best, and some things I wish I would have known about this ship.
This ship was remodeled about 8 months before I went on my cruise, so everything still felt very clean and new.
What to do on the Independence of the Seas?
Overall, I was really impressed with the variety of things to do while we were on the ship. I had only been on one other cruise before this one and there weren’t nearly as many things to do while we were on the ship. I went to the pools and hot tubs, but I especially enjoyed the entertainment that was a little more exciting. They have laser tag, ice skating, water slides, virtual reality trampoline games, and a FlowRider.
I was really excited to try the FlowRider, until I started watching other people do it. If you haven’t ever been on a FlowRider before, know that the best thing you can do is wear a secure swimming suit. I saw a lot of men’s bare bottoms, while standing in line. One of my friends I was with had a wardrobe malfunction of her own as well. The employee working at the FlowRider was very professional and good about her situation, so I am assuming it happens a lot. Just play it safe and wear a one piece suit that doesn’t let anything “fall out”.
The water slides were more fun than I thought they would be. They weren’t the craziest water slides I have ever experienced, but considering the fact that we were on a moving ship, they were pretty decent. I liked that there wasn’t a big wait to ride them. We were able to ride on them several times in a row, without waiting at all.
The concept of an ice rink on a cruise ship is pretty amazing, but that is about where it ends for me. The ice rink switches between being an ice rink, having ice skating shows, and turning into a laser tag arena. If you want to go ice skating, you need to make a specific plan to do it. It also isn’t something that you can just go from the pool and try out. You have to wear pants and socks. Because it was something that took more planning to do, we didn’t ever participate.
Sky Pad Virtual Reality Trampoline Games
To be honest, this was pretty underwhelming. I think that because it is a new thing, it was hyped up a lot. We had to make reservations for it, so I assumed it was going to be something spectacular. It was fun, but it wasn’t anything I was dying to try again. We weren’t given a choice of what game we were playing or even given instructions. They strapped us in, put the goggles on, and just started jumping. We played some version of Candyland, I think? Again, I wasn’t exactly sure what was happening!
The laser tag was in the same place as the ice skating rink. It is a giant inflatable maze that goes up periodically. You do need to check the schedule to see when it goes up, but it was fun. We had to wait in line for a while to get a turn, but it was fun to do something a little different on the ship. I was playing with a lot of people that I am pretty sure had no idea how to play laser tag, but it was still a lot of fun! It is something that people of all ages would enjoy!
Entertainment on Independence of the Seas
Again, I had only ever been on one cruise before this experience so I wasn’t sure what to expect with Royal Caribbean. The last cruise I went on was full of very cheesy entertainment. Like, painfully cheesy! I was totally impressed with the entertainment that Royal Caribbean offered.
I learned that Royal Caribbean gets to offer actual Broadway shows on their ships and was so excited to see Grease! We got their early to get good seats and we all loved the show! The actors were great, the music was awesome, and I totally forgot that I was on a cruise ship! It was nothing like the cheesy shows I experienced on the cruise I went on before.
The shows offered are different for each cruise because they bring in outside entertainment for them. We were able to see an acapella group that was on America’s Got Talent. They were phenomenal! Again, we totally forgot that we were actually on a cruise ship. There were other shows offered but we weren’t able to make them work with our schedule.
I wasn’t sure what to expect for the dance parties that were offered. We attended two of them. One was the 70’s themed dance party that happened right inside the main part of the ship. My friend brought 70’s outfits for us to wear, which made it more fun. But overall, it was super cheesy.
I had never experienced a silent disco before this but we went to two of them during our cruise. They were so much fun! Basically, you wear headphones that have different stations on them and you dance to the music on the station that you choose. You are surrounded by people wearing headphones too. The colors of the headphones show what station they are listening to. Some are dancing fast and others are jamming out to a slow tune. It makes fun a hilariously fun experience!
Food on Independence of the Seas
When you think of going on a cruise, one of the first things that comes to thought is the food, right? Thankfully, there are lots of dining options on this ship to keep everyone’s stomachs happy! There are a number restaurants that you can pay extra money to eat at that include sushi, fish and chips, and a grill. I opted to stick with the food options that were included in the price of the cruise. I did pay for the beverage pass that included soda and non alcoholic beverages. If you enjoy soda, I recommend doing one of the beverage passes!
Main Dining Room
On the first cruise that I went on, I loved dining in the main dining room. The feelings weren’t the same with this cruise. The food wasn’t ever really impressive and it took 1-2 hours to eat from start to finish. The location of the dining room also resulted in some pretty rough dining conditions. I couldn’t really ever feel the ship moving, unless I was in the main dining room. I wish I would have skipped the main dining room all together.
This pizza is actually kind of awesome! I loved that it was included in the price of the cruise, that it was conveniently located, and the pizza was delicious. We stopped at Sorrento’s often! Their hours work really real for random times that you find yourself hungry as well.
The Windjammer is what you think of when you think of cruise food. Lots and lots of buffets. You start by washing your hands, complete with songs being sung about washing your hands. Then you can treat yourself to anything you find in the Windjammer. It was nice to get in, find the food we wanted, and get out. We didn’t have to wait around for help or waste more time than necessary at each meal. If I could do the cruise over again, I would eat at the Windjammer each evening, instead of the Main Dining Room.
Overall, I was impressed with the dining options on the Independence of the Seas. I didn’t ever find myself hungry, which is just how you want it to be on a cruise.
Packing for a Cruise
There are hundreds of articles about what you should pack for a cruise, so I will just share a few of my top tips for items that I am so glad that I packed for my cruise, rather than give you the same list that you can find on several other sites.
Luggage Tag Holders
Cruises require you to print out luggage tags to attach to your luggage. This is separate from your airline luggage tags. The cruise line will go through your luggage to insure that you aren’t bringing anything banned from the ship. After they check your luggage, they place your luggage at your door. Your luggage tags tell them where to put them. You do not want those tags to fall off! That is why I recommend investing in cruise ship luggage tags. They allow you to slip your printed ticket right in and it keeps it nice and protected.
Waterproof Phone Case Dry Bag
Nothing makes you look like a nerdier tourist than one of these phone cases but it keeps your phone, your room key, etc dry and it makes it easy to keep track of. We especially loved having these on our excursions. Let’s face it, the cruise ship is full of tourists. So embrace it and keep your stuff dry and safe.
Power Strip Extension Cord
Cruise ships don’t have many outlets in the rooms. Bringing an extension cord is a great idea! But did you know that you can’t bring any surge protectors on a cruise ship? If you try, they will be taken out of your bags and will be waiting for you when you get off the cruise ship! Invest in one of these power strips that will allow you to plug in all of your electronics and won’t get taken away.
Cruise ship rooms are full of magnetic surfaces. Most have magnetic walls and ceilings. Magnetic hooks are a great way to allow wet swimming suits to dry, hang up towels, hang bags, etc. The rooms aren’t very roomy, so keeping as much stuff off the floor, is best! These magnetic hooks are a great solution for that!
I hope you find these tips helpful! What it all comes down to is enjoy your cruise! Schedule the time to do the things you really want to do and enjoy your time on vacation!