Review of Independence Of The Seas deck 13 (Sports-FlowRider-Waterslides-Golf)
The fore-located Independence Dunes and Sun Deck (sunbathing area with padded sun loungers) are accessible only via stairs from Spa Deck 12 (below). Independence Dunes is a 9-hole Mini-Golf Course (complimentary, 24-hour, equipment provided) with an indoor golf simulator (virtual golfing at surcharge per hour).
Sports Deck is a huge aft area that includes sports court, golf course (golf simulators), in-line track (rollerblading), some ping-pong tables, plus a rock-climbing wall.
The full-size Sports Court can be used for playing basketball, volleyball, tennis, football/soccer, paddleball, table tennis (ping pong). Daily are organized group game competitions.
Rock-Climbing Wall (height 44 ft / 13,4 m) is complimentary (first come first served basis) and used in 30 min sessions. Equipment is provided (shoes, helmets, harnesses). Daily are organized climbing competitions. The min age limit is 6 yo (waivers must be signed by a parent/legal guardian). Children 6-12 yo must be supervised by an adult at all times.
WipeOut Bar (20 seats) is a complimentary burger bar (also for FlowRider bookings).
*(drydock 2018 refurbishment) On Deck 13, the "Independence Dunes" (mini-golf course / aft-portside) and Roller Skating Track (aft-starboard) were replaced with waterslides ("The Perfect Storm"), "Sky Pad" (bungee trampoline with optional virtual reality headset) and FlowRider (surf simulator). The Inline Track (Roller Skating Track) was used exclusively for rollerblading. It was also complimentary, with rollerblades provided.
The waterslides complex is named “THE PERFECT STORM ”. It is complimentary (cruise fare inclusive) and includes the RCI’s newest super-fun attraction “Tidal Wave” (aka Boomerango) plus 2 racer slides (“Cyclone” and “Typhoon”). Both spiraling slides are positioned portside and go around the Flowrider. Starboard is positioned the “Tidal Wave” (raft slide). It provides Independence cruise ship passengers with the unique opportunity to ride in rafts plummeting down a very steep drop. Then the rafts shot up a nearly vertical wall into the air for experiencing the sensation of weightlessness and free fall. Then follows a swift return below. The slides builder WhiteWater. The company specializes in designing and manufacturing of water park products and family-fun attractions for major clients around the world. The company also owns the FlowRider patent (acquired from WaveLoc).
There are no age restrictions for using the waterslides, but there are passenger height and weight requirements - min 48 inches (122 cm) and max 300 lbs (136 kg).
SKY PAD is a bungee trampoline with optional virtual reality gaming headset. Age restrictions are 5 yo (jumping) and 7 yo (jumping with virtual reality headset). Passenger weight requirements are min 20 lbs (9 kg) and max 240 lbs (109 kg).
The aft-located FlowRider is Royal Caribbean’s surf simulator. Pumps project high-speed water (20-30 mph / 30-50 kph) across a small area creating sheet waves (stationary waves) to simulate ocean surfing. FlowRiders were first created as land-based facilities and were implemented by Royal Caribbean for guests to enjoy traditional surfing and skimboarding on cruise ships. The Royal Caribbean FlowRider is a complimentary (cruise fare inclusive) facility and reservations are not required. Equipment (bodyboards, flowboards) is provided. Private surfing lessons are available for booking at additional cost per person. Groups are 6 to 8 guests. FlowRider’s restrictions include min-height (52″/132 cm to use bodyboard, 58″/147 cm to use flowboard). Not allowed are footwear, goggles, go-pro cams. Guests can surf at the simulator until they fall off the board. The facility is supervised by sports staff (safety, assistance, advice).golfing at surcharge per hour).