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How much can you fit into 5 hours onboard Independence of the Seas?

By JoTuesday 31st July 2018

We've been pretty excited to welcome the refurbished Independence of the Seas® back to Southampton, and we wanted to find the perfect way to celebrate the ship's fantastic new facilities. So on 30th June we invited a team of 24 bloggers onboard for the short time in port as the ship prepared for its next cruise around the Mediterranean. Their mission: to pack as much thrill and chill as they could into a five-hour window with the epic new activities and features onboard Independence of the Seas®.

Half our guests were family bloggers – parents and kids charged with making the most of the epic thrills onboard. They based themselves on the top deck among the action. The younger children couldn’t be torn away from Splashaway Bay and the older kids spent their time dashing between the FlowRider surf simulator, the Perfect Storm water slides and the Sky Pad experience.

The other 12 guests were travel and lifestyle bloggers, with a remit to soak up our chill vibe and experiences on the ship. During their guided tour of Indy, they got a taste of onboard dining at Chops Grille, went hot-tub-hopping in the adult-only Solarium and had a good gawk at the spa treatment list.

While each of our guest’s days were structured differently, their mission remained the same: max out the thrill and chill. Here’s how they got on…

First impressions: What our guests thought

For many of the guests, seeing a ship the size of Independence of the Seas® was a first – and they were pretty impressed.

Young Bella from Dear Mummy described the ship as “even bigger than a tall house”, while the Littlest Darlings’ youngest decided that they couldn’t buy the ship because “it wouldn’t fit through the door”.

But it wasn’t just the children who were surprised by Indy’s scale. Alex from A Life Well Travelled described it as “a giant floating city that has more to offer than many towns. Even the harshest of cruise cynics wouldn’t run out of things to do.”

And we have to agree that Independence of the Seas® is a big one – at 1,112ft it’s the length of three football pitches, and the width of six double-decker buses (185ft).

Family favourites: the kids' picks

Lara from Adventures of a Mum found her boys a natural home on the ship right away: “there was no peeling the children away from the amazing Splashaway Bay water park”.

Adventures of a Mum

For the slightly older children, Sky Pad was the highlight. The kids from Global Mouse Travels thought “this was the best thing ever as they bounced along to games, lost in their own world”.

Global Mouse Travels

This same family of thrill-seekers also loved battling for Planet X in a game of glow-in-the-dark laser tag. Mum Nichola said, “I was really worried that my nine-year old might find it a little scary. It was really dark with music thumping. I shouldn’t have worried though – as the action started I looked down and spotted her darting about, laser gun at the ready, the biggest smile across her face.”

And what about for adults?

The travel and lifestyle bloggers gravitated towards the adult-only Solarium, which was perfect relief with the blazing June sunshine. Rebecca from Bright Lights Big City escaped for a “dip in the pools and the whirl pool hot tubs. It was so relaxing and the views across the water were a spectacular backdrop. I can imagine sitting in here with a few cocktails as the sun goes down!”

Bright Lights Big City

Dining on Indy: Onboard treats

A few of the bloggers (particularly those with kids eager to explore) headed to Windjammers for a quick meal. The restaurant has “everything a gourmet heart could desire” said Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi, who enjoyed “lobster, juicy prawns and then a selection of desserts, including tidbits from the chocolate fountain – call it method blogging if you will.”

Adventures of a London Kiwi

Meanwhile, our luxury chill-seekers had a private lunch at Chops Grille, the onboard steak restaurant, which was a hit even with those who weren’t big meat-eaters. Jenny from Ramblings of a Jaffa Cat thought Chops Grille was the fanciest restaurant on the ship – of course, we love Izumi too, but we can't argue with her!

Ramblings of a Jaffa Cat

Disembarking with a smile

Our blogger guests were pretty much unanimous on their least favourite part of the day – disembarking. Nicole from the Littlest Darlings said "I wanted to just grab my husband… grab our suitcases and passports and check in for our next adventure!"

The Littlest Darlings

In just five hours, our bloggers had toured the ship, played Laser Tag, played some very competitive mini-golf, surfed the FlowRider, whooshed down the Perfect Storm water slides, chilled in the adult-only Solarium, and most had spent a lot of time at Splashaway Bay.

Want to see more? Check out our bloggers' posts for of the full lowdown on just how much they got up to in their five hours onboard Independence of the Seas.

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