Published on July 12, 2016
MS Independence of the Seas is a Freedom-class cruise ship operated by the Royal Caribbean cruise line that entered service in April 2008. The 15-deck ship can accommodate 4,370 passengers and is served by 1,360 crew. She was built in the Aker Finnyards Turku Shipyard, Finland, builder of Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, her sister ships of the Freedom class. At 154,407 GT, she joined Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas as the largest cruise ships and passenger vessels yet built. She is 1,112 feet (339 m) long, and typically cruises at 21.6 knots (40.0 km/h; 24.9 mph). The vessel operates from Fort Lauderdale, Florida during the Fall and Winter months and Southampton, England during the Spring and Summer months.
Independence of the Seas is the third of the Freedom-class vessel. In October 2009, Oasis of the Seas, the first ship in the Oasis-class, displaced the Freedom-class as the world’s largest passenger ship.
Independence of the Seas generally sails from Port Everglades, Florida during the winter and Southampton, England during the summer. Between 2010 and 2012, Independence of the Seas sailed from Southampton year-round. From fall 2014 to spring 2016, Independence of the Seas sailed from Port Everglades, Florida year-round offering Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.
As of 2016 Independence of the Seas is scheduled to sail 4- and 5-night western Caribbean and Mexico cruises during the winter and spring, and a variety of European cruises during the summer and fall, including three-night cruises to Le Havre (near Paris) and Zeebrugge (near Bruges), 8- to 14-night cruises to Norway, 10- to 14-night Mediterranean cruises, and 12- to 14-night cruises to the Canary Islands.
Like the other Freedom-class vessels, Independence of the Seas features an interactive water park, the H2O Zone, a dedicated sports pool for volleyball and basketball, and whirlpools which extend from the ship’s sides. It houses an internal shopping “street”, the Promenade, lined with shops, pubs and wine bars. The Promenade features a “sky bridge” which can be lowered from the ceiling to provide a performance space above the crowds during parades. There is also the two story Alhambra theater, seating 1,200, and a complete conference center. The show cabaret lounge, called the Pyramid Lounge, is themed to ancient Egypt. On a lower level is an ice skating rink named Studio B, which home to a series of professional ice shows and is also available for personal skating. This facility was first featured on the Voyager-class and Independence of the Seas is the eighth ship to feature a rink. The ship also features a range of eating outlets, Wi-Fi and mobile phone connectivity throughout, and flat-screen televisions in all staterooms. Independence of the Seas is also the first Royal Caribbean ship to feature heated, fresh water pools, although the pools are only heated when sailing from the UK. On the Sports Deck, there is a rock climbing wall, a basketball/hockey court, a mini golf course, and a FlowRider for surfing. It also has 3 seating areas around the FlowRider to allow people to watch.