Going on a cruise has been something that has intrigued us, but up until this point, we haven’t quite done. So, when an invite landed in my inbox to explore the Independence of the Seas for a day down in Southhampton, it piqued the curiosity of this landlubber, and down I went.
Disclaimer: We were sponsored guests of Royal Caribbean but my (very many) thoughts, nautical cliches and enthusiasm are only ever genuinely mine and mine alone.
To be a blogger, you need to be curious about the world. Especially as a travel blogger.
MS Independence of the Seas is a Royal Caribbean cruise ship operated by the Royal Caribbean cruise line which entered service in April 2008. The 15-deck ship can accommodate 4,370 passengers and is served by 1,360 crew. At 154,407 GT, she joined Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas as the largest cruise ships and passenger vessels yet built. She is 1,112 feet (339 m) long, and typically cruises at 21.6 knots (40.0 km/h; 24.9 mph).
Boarding honestly couldn’t have been easier – Binny and I hopped on the hour or so train from Waterloo to Southampton, spent an afternoon in the sunshine sipping cocktails, snoozed in our hotel for the night (full disclaimer: the event had earlyish start that we *could* have done directly from London, but chose not to), awoke, rolled onto the ship brandishing our passports and then there we were.
As press guests, we were allowed on an hour or two before guests began to check in (for their 14-day cruise) which gave us the perfect amount of time to explore, before the cruise ship really came to life and we got to experience the first day of their holidays.
It is huge – we couldn’t get over just how much there was to do. So much that I’m tempted to book a purely sea voyage in order to thoroughly do everything.
With 15 floors of entertainment, multiple pools and whirlpools, umpteen children-friendly activities, epic slides and lounges for the adults to relax into, why wouldn’t you want to spend plenty of time on board?
So quick to skiddle from lounger (of which there were SO many) to lounges perfect for whiling an evening away.
There is fine dining, lunchtime buffets, simple seaside fish and chips, a grill restaurant and most importantly unlimited soft serve on the top deck.
Everything a gourmet heart could desire, not to mention a good selection for those with specific dietary needs.
Yes, the selections included lobster, roast beef, American-style burgers and just about everything that you could think of.
And yes, my plate included lobster, juicy prawns and then a selection of desserts including tidbits from the chocolate fountain – call it method blogging if you will.
It’s no wonder that guests lose track of the days.
It was definitely American-style service with an exquisite attention to detail. The staff interactively so cutely with the excited kids, sympathised with the relaxing parents and made sure that we all were enjoying our time with them (they just assumed we were normal guests which was awesome.)
After lunch we were lucky to get a sneak peek of some on their cabins, including the suitably grand Royal Suite.
Anything for a shoefie oppurtunity…
Much bigger than the average London flat, it was an opulent space that even had a hot tub on their private balcony – who wouldn’t want to enjoy those waters with a flute of bubbly in hand as the ocean passes by.
We popped into another one of their normal suites (with a balcony) which was also lovely.
…and briefly checked out the shopping mall.
I didn’t take many action shots of images of other guests simply because we were having to much fun – so here’s a random selfie that I discovered to have taken…
We spent the afternoon mostly on the upper deck, soaking in the Mediterranean-style sunshine…
…envying the whirlpool views…
…having a crack at some mini-putt shots – both literal…
…and photographic #ActionShot. It was hard to remember at times that we were on a ship.
The kids (both young and old) demonstrated the brilliant jungle gyms, flowrider – a high pressure surfing stream, had lazer tag games…
…and we, um, posed at the bar. You can take the girl out of London…
It was breathtaking, it was in beautiful condition and it was easy to see how much fun a trip aboard would be.
…no matter what your hobbies are. This is literal escapism.
The idea of waking up every day somewhere new fascinates me – and the idea of enforced relaxation definitely intrigues me.
Thank you so much for hosting us Royal Caribbean – it was an utter pleasure to discover the many charms of the Independence of the Seas.
Have you ever thought about or been on a cruise?