Review of Independence Of The Seas deck 5 (Promenade-Lobby-Shops-Helideck)
The fore-located Helideck (helicopter-landing platform) serves as Observation Deck and is accessible to passengers. This Outdoor Deck area has a helipad used in cases of medical emergencies. Here are also held outdoor Yoga classes (at surcharge).
*"Star Lounge" (formerly "Pyramid Lounge", capacity 299 seats) is the ship’s second main show lounge with dance floor and its own full-service bar. The lounge hosts daily art auctions, receptions, karaoke, popular game shows, trivia quizzes, bingo, dance lessons, also the “ImagineOcean” puppet show.
*(drydock 2018 refurbishment) "Connoisseur Club" was transformed to "Library - RC Online" and increased in size. Connoisseur Cigar Club (capacity 30 seats) is the ship’s smoking-allowed lounge bar with a cigar humidor and comfortable sitting. Here can be purchased at duty-free prices fine cigars, accessories, quality cigar and pipe tobaccos, as well as premium liquors by the glass. The room’s age restriction is 18+ years old. This is a quiet place to relax and enjoy sophisticated drinks, and also to meet interesting people and share discussions. ”Cigars under the Stars” (pre-scheduled night events) are occasionally offered at some of the outdoor bars – ask the club’s manager about it.
RC Online (Internet computers room) is the ship's combined Library-Internet center open 24 hours. Royal Caribbean Internet rates are per minute, with available discount packages of 60-100-150-250-500 min.
Sorrento’s Pizzeria (open between 11:30 am – 3 am, capacity 79 seats) is a complimentary cafe restaurant offering fresh, oven-baked pizzas (3 slices at a time) and pies for lunch, dinner and late-night. The decor features brick walls, a wood-fired oven, Italian jukebox. The pizzeria’s menu has traditional items (with meat, cheese, vegetables, gluten-free, incl Hawaiian, Florentine, pepperoni, barbecue chicken, four-cheese), custom-made pizza/pie, daily specialties, antipasti (olives, mozzarella, grilled vegetables), desserts (biscotti, gelato ice cream, raspberry mousse, amaretti, chocolate panna cotta). Drinks are at extra charge.
Royal Promenade is a huge interior (shopping mall-like) area linking both atriums (forward and aft). Royal Promenade is designed as a shopping and entertainment district. It resembles a street lined up with multiple lounges, bars and restaurants (most with outdoor seating on the Royal Promenade), also duty-free priced boutiques and shops and numerous overlooking Atrium Promenade cabins on the decks above. Signature entertainment events here are live performers’ shows (jugglers, comics), nightly organized parades (with DreamWorks characters meets and greets /photo ops). The Royal Caribbean’s Royal Promenade (as a cruise ship design concept) is a technical wonder and an astonishing naval architecture achievement.
Royal Promenade Shops is a duty-free shopping arcade with shops and name-brand boutiques. Their list includes Fashion Boutique (portside- handbags, leather goods, brand clothing and accessories by Bijoux Terner and Guess, Swarovski crystal, luxury sunglasses), Perfume Shop (starboard- luxury perfumes and cosmetics, skincare products), The Shop (portside- Royal Caribbean logo merchandise, souvenirs, DreamWorks toys, teddy bears, special occasion gifts, sundries), Gift Shop and Jewelry Shop (both starboard- designer jewelry and watches), Port Merchants (portside, General Store- alcohol, cigarettes, sweets, books, pain killers, essential goods and necessities), Get Out There (starboard- sports apparel, beachwear, airbrushed tattoos), Seasons (activewear /sportswear, beachwear/ by name-brands like Roxy, Nike, Puma).
"Ale and Anchor Pub" (formerly "Dog and Badger Pub", capacity 96 seats, menu) is a traditional English/Irish pub bar with indoor and outdoor seating (onto the Royal Promenade). The bar’s menu offers a selection of draught beers, ales, international beers, cocktails, spirits. The pub has a large TV, dartboard, and offers as entertainment darts tournaments and live music performances (by a guitarist-singer duo) in the evenings.
Vintages (open between 12 am - 1 am, 73 seats) is the RCI’s signature wine bar with a la carte tapas menu. The menu has appetizers (at US$5 each) and an extensive selection of fine wines and Champagnes (by the glass and bottle). Vintages Bar offers scheduled daily wine education classes and wine tasting events (with sommelier service), a tapas menu (for lunch/dinner) and sometimes an all-you-can-eat buffet (for a ﬁxed fee).
Ben & Jerry’s Bar (“ice cream parlor”) is an ice cream shop (capacity 9 seats), which means everything costs extra. The interior cabin 6305 (2-passenger capacity Atrium Promenade stateroom overlooking the Royal Promenade) is located directly above the shop. It is called “Ben And Jerry’s Sweet” (suite). This room is also known as “Moo Cabin” and “Cow Butt Cabin” since its window is partially blocked by the shop’s sign (the backside of the cows). As compensation, Royal Caribbean gives the occupants free ice cream vouchers throughout the cruise. Another perk for this cabin is the Concierge Lounge access (otherwise available to suite-passengers only).
Cafe Promenade (74 seats, menu) is a complimentary, quick-food eatery (patisserie-brasserie-cafe bar) open 24-hours for snacks and drinks. Among the displayed foods are croissant sandwiches (mini), fresh-baked pizzas (in slices), biscotti, cookies, pastries, muffins, cheesecake (Lollipops), ice cream. Free of charge beverages are coffee, tea, water (dispenser). Starbucks drinks cost extra (payments via Starbucks cards / phone app are also accepted). Starbucks coffee prices are as follows: cold drinks (Coffee $4,25, Mocha $4,75), Iced Cafe (Americano $2,75, Latte $3,75, Mocha $4,25), Tazo Tea (Shaken Iced $2, Latte $3, Hot Tea $1,75), Vanilla Steamer ($2,75), Soy Milk ($3), Hot Chocolate ($2,75), hot coffees (at $3,50 - Americano, Cappuccino, Latte, Mocha), White Chocoate Mocha and Caramel Macchiato (each $3,75).
*(drydock 2018) the "Cupcake Cupboard" food bar was replaced with the "Sugar Beach" shop (candy store). Cupcake Cupboard (open 11 am - 11 pm, 14 seats) is an a la carte-priced bakery shop. Cupcakes are fresh baked daily, large-sized, with rich frosting and in many different flavors and fun designs. During the scheduled cupcake decorating classes (30-min, for kids and adults), passengers can design their own cupcakes with icing, sprinkles, colored sugar and other toppings. Participants in the classes get bonus points in the dessert checklist.
Next Cruise office (formerly Business Services) serves the Royal Caribbean line’s onboard cruise booking program by the Crown & Anchor Society (past guest loyalty program). The RCI loyalty program offers to its members exclusive (discount) cruise rates (vary by itinerary and cabin category), balcony/suite discounts, onboard booking bonus (savings transferred to future OBC /shipboard credit), early sales access (a day before the general sale).
Guest Services is the ship’s Reception Desk for 24-hour assistance, information, bookings/reservations, luggage and cashier services.
Shore Excursions Desk provides information on Royal Caribbean cruise tours and excursions (sponsored ashore), also planning and tour booking services.
R-Bar (formerly Champagne Bar, capacity 49 seats, menu) is the RCI’s signature cocktail bar (Martini bar). It features sophisticated decor, comfortable seating, Centrum entertainment, hand-crafted drinks by a resident mixologist. The R-Bar’s menu, besides retro cocktails, also includes wines (by the glass and bottle, incl sparkling/Champagne), beers and spirits.
Main Dining Room (upper level 3 of 3, formerly "King Lear Restaurant", capacity 883 seats) is an aft-located complimentary restaurant open for Dinner only (reservations recommended). It offers Club Dining (with 2 fixed sittings – at 6 or 8:30 pm) and Your Time Dining (between 6-9:30 pm).