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Independence Refit: Guest Favourites Removed

Independence of the Seas will soon receive her multi-million dollar refit, offering great new features including water slides, Sky Pad and a number of new bars and dining venues. Aside from what is new, we look at what will be removed from this much loved ship during her dry dock later this year…

The Raven Nightclub

Night owls will have fond memories of this popular two-story venue featuring a Gothic theme. It will be removed and replaced with Izumi which will now sit across from the Schooner Bar on Deck 4. The lower floor of the nightclub will be replaced with additional inside cabins.

On Air Club

Karaoke fans (or those that like making a fool of themselves in the sound booths) will be disappointed so see the dedicated karaoke venue is going to be removed. Seven new inside cabins will replace the area formally occupied by the club.

Photo Gallery

The large space occupied by the Photo Gallery Shop on Deck 4 will be removed and replaced with Playmakers Sports Bar. The photo gallery will be re-located down to deck 3 across from the Art Gallery. The former Art Gallery will be reduced in size to allow for the Photo Gallery (assuming this will be the new style digital screens rather than printed photos) and to accommodate the addition of new inside cabins in this area. It also appears the grand sweeping staircase above the gallery may be removed – although this could just be missing from the deck plan.

Connoisseur Club

A perhaps unknown venue to non-smokers, the Connoisseur Club was a indoor smoking room just off to the right of the Pyramid Lounge entrance. Ideal for those long transatlantic cruises where smokers didn’t want to brave the elements! This room will be replaced with a Library and RC Online. The spaces previously occupied by the Loyalty Desk, RC Online and the Library will be replaced with…you guessed it, additional inside cabins.

Cupcake Cupboard

Did you enjoy getting a cupcake at this venue? Nope? We never used it either and perhaps this is why it will be replaced with Sugar Beach, also premiering on Symphony of the Seas. This space was originally a Barbour shop when the ship first launched.

Café Promenade

You read this correctly, right now the deck plans show the removal of this popular 24-hour eatery. This is perhaps not a surprise when you consider the newly added Playmakers Sports Bar, a venue launched on Symphony of the Seas, will also serve bar food and possibly offer a 24-hour snack menu.

Spa & Fitness Centre

Okay, they haven’t removed it, but they have greatly reduced it in size. The reduced space will allow for three new junior suites, two inside cabins and an ocean view cabin. Perhaps ideal for guests that want to roll out of bed straight into the gym?

Squeeze Bar

The outdoor bar will be replaced with “Fish & Ships”,  a new eatery within splashing distance of Splashaway Bar, formally the H2O Zone.

The Running Track

You might find doing a lap around the running track becomes much easier post-refit because it is getting shorter! The walk-way area around the front of the Vitality Spa will now host a whopping 38 new Panoramic Ocean View cabins, two Suites and four interior cabins.

Golf Simulator

An indoor golf simulator is so last year, right? This area will now host Sky Pad – A virtual reality trampoline experience. Guests can bounce across a lunar landscape or if they prefer “actual reality” – enjoy the ocean views.

Independence Dunes & Wipe Out! Bar

The mini golf area will be removed and moved to deck 14 forward to make way for Perfect Storm, the two new water slides. It appears the Wipe Out! Bar will also be getting the chop.

Deck 14

Okay this is where things get a little odd… the large area that was formally home to the Viking Crown Lounge, Olive or Twist, Card rooms and the Diamond Club appears to have vanished? We can only assume this was an error or they haven’t finalised the plans for this area yet? If anyone knows, please leave a comment below. UPDATE: Okay it still exists, we managed to find an image of the deck from Royal Caribbean and the only change is the card rooms will now become a lounge for Suite Guests.

Skylight Chapel

The former dedicated wedding chapel will be no longer, replaced instead with an all new escape room experience.


That is the list so far – did we miss anything? Please leave your thoughts and comments below and tell us if you are looking forward to the new Indy coming later this year.



Hey! I'm Matt, owner and curator of CruiseOholics, a blog dedicated to Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines across the industry.