Independence of the Seas Revisited

Royal Caribbean cruise ship Independence of the Seas

This week, we’ve updated and expanded our section on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas.

Independence was the third and final ship in Royal Caribbean’s Freedom class. Until Oasis of the Seas entered service, she was the largest cruise ship in the world. She remains in the upper part of the top ten largest cruise ships.

Because she is big, Independence offers a lot to do. Her glamorous interior is geared to those with an active life style.

Since she entered service in 2008, Independence has been Royal Caribbean’s primary entry in the British cruising market. Indeed, before she entered service the crew were schooled to understand some of the language differences between British cruise passengers and American cruisers, which most of the crew were more familiar. Independence has sailed each summer since she entered service from Southampton and has developed a considerable British following.

Although Royal Caribbean experimented with having Independence do winter cruises from Southampton, the ship has spent most winters cruising the Caribbean from Florida. As a result, she also has an American following.

After Allure of the Seas entered service in late 2010, Royal Caribbean embarked on a revitalization program for the rest of its fleet. The idea was to give the rest of the fleet some of the popular features from the Oasis class ships. Because Independence was the last ship built before Oasis, her refit, which took place earlier this year, was less extensive than some of the earlier ships.

Still, there were some significant changes. A giant LED television screen was added to the pool deck. A Cupcake Cupboard took the place of the barber shop on the Royal Promenade and the line up of the shops along the Promenade was changed including the addition of a Michael Kors shop. Family cruising was further facilitated by the addition of a Royal Babies center where the youngest passengers can spend some supervised time away from mom and dad. These and other changes ensure that Independence remains a first tier cruise ship.

We have updated our photo tour of the interior and public areas of Independence to reflect the changes made in the 2013 revitalization. It begins at

We have also added a new menus page presenting a collection of menus from Independence’s main dining room and specialty restaurants.

Similarly, we have a new daily programs and informationals page. I find that a good way of getting a feel for what cruising on a particular ship is like is to browse through the daily programs to see the types of activities and entertainment the ship offers. The informational leaflets distributed aboard can also be helpful in getting a feel for the way the ship operates.

Finally, we have added a slideshow showing Independence docked in Falmouth, Jamaica. Independence has good lines for a modern cruise ship and so is a good subject. This slideshow augments our previous photo essays and slideshows of Independence in Southampton, Fort Lauderdale and St. Maarten.


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