Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas arrived in her new UK homeport of Southampton on 12 May following multi-million pound renovation.
Spanning 15 decks, the revitalised Independence of the Seas has been dubbed the ‘ultimate family ship’ thanks to its new dining and entertainment offerings.
New entertainment highlights include Sky Pad, a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience; glow-in-the-dark laser tag; Puzzle Break, a timed escape room experience; interactive aqua park Splashaway Bay; and The Perfect Storm, a duo of racing waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon.
Elsewhere on the ship, guests will be able to head to the new Sugar Beach sweet shop, the Fish & Ships poolside eatery and the Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, which will show live sporting events and serve food. In addition, they will be able to enjoy an Asian-inspired dining experience at Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, where chefs will cook on tableside teppanyaki grills.
Royal Caribbean has also added new lounges and Panoramic Oceanview staterooms with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling views to the 3,858-guest vessel.
“Holiday time is precious, and travellers today have higher expectations and more options than ever before,” said Ben Bouldin, managing director of Royal Caribbean International UK and Ireland. “We don’t just want to meet these expectations, but smash them and redefine how to holiday. From our largest hibachi restaurant yet, to a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, Independence of the Seas is set to be the most spectacular ship sailing out of Southampton this coming season.”
Following a ‘shakedown’ preview cruise for media and other invited guests, Independence of the Seas will embark on her official inaugural two-night cruise to Paris, France on 15 May. Guests will be able to visit the Musée d’Orsay, the Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame, L’Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower in central Paris, and will also be able to explore the Normandy coast.
Following her inaugural sailing, Independence of the Seas will sail itineraries from Southampton to destinations across Europe and the Mediterranean until November 2018. Each ship visit is worth an estimated £2 million (US$2.7 million) to the local economy, which will amount to £44 million annually.
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