Pools, Spa and Open Decks..........................Page Two
Shops, Children, and Other Public Areas.......Page Three
Bars and Lounges.........................................Page Five
Independence of the Seas is the third of Royal
Caribbean’s Freedom-class ships. (See also Freedom
of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas,)
Independence uses her large size not just to carry
more passengers but to provide a greater variety of
features and amenities. This enables her to provide a
greater mix of experiences for passengers and to
satisfy a larger spectrum of cruisers. For example, on
her open decks, the ship has an adults-only area for
those who simply want to relax, a traditional cruise
ship swimming pool area, a 5,380 square foot water
park for children, and for the adventurous, a rock
climbing wall and a surfing simulator. Along the way,
there is also a jogging trail, a full size basketball court,
a miniature golf course and, of course, deck chairs. In
short, there is something for everyone.
Beyond the facilities, the ship presents a plethora of
activities and entertainment. In addition to the cruise
ship staples, there are dancing waiters and colorful
parades. “We try and add a little bit extra to it . . . .
You can do as little or as much as you like but if you
did want to do something from when you wake up
until you go to sleep, there it is,” comments Cruise
Director Allan Brooks.
The activities continue even when the ship is in port.
“The ship has become a destination in itself. A lot of
people have been to the ports several times, they have
done the tours and been to the beaches, they have had
the experience. So, on any given port day, there will
be from 800 to 1,200 people on the ship who do not
get off at all,” explains Brooks.
Royal Caribbean was so satisfied with the first two
ships of the class that there is little difference between
Independence and her two earlier sisters. This does
not mean, however, that if one were suddenly
transported to the Royal Promenade on one of the
ships, one could not tell which ship it was.
Independence is slightly more subdued than her
sisters. For example, there is no giant figure diving
down from the ceiling of the Royal Promenade and no
jet planes in the Forward Centrum.
There are sections of the ship that dazzle the eye.
Other sections are more restrained with contemporary
sophistication. Throughout, good quality materials
have been used. Lighting is used effectively and an $8
million dollar art collection enhances the décor.
Independence spent a large part of 2008, her first year
in service operating out of Southampton, England. On
these voyages, most of her passengers were British.
In 2009, she returned to England, staying until late
November The next year, she remained throughout
the year but returned to a seasonal schedule in 2011,
sailing from Southampton to the Mediterraean, the
Canary Islands, the British Isles and to Norther
Europe. “To a certain degree, I think the
Independence is embraced as a UK ship because we
home base out of Southampton. We also cater a little
better to the British because we understand them a
little better because we spend more time with them.”
comments Hotel Director Darren Budden.
“The core product is the same Royal Caribbean
product with a few little tweaks, here and there to
customize it [for the British market]” Budden
elaborates. “They have likes and dislikes that we cater
to because they are our primary audience.”
Still, it may seem surprising that a ship that is so
essentially American in nature would do well in
Britain. “The reason I can absolutely understand it
working is in some respects we bring a little bit of Las
Vegas to the UK. Our product is different. Our
product is about options, it is about wide-open spaces,
it is about action and fun. It is very different, almost
brash American, which [British] people really enjoy
because they don’t really have other products that are
like that. There are a lot of people over there who
want the entertainment and action that comes with the
ship that is designed like Independence of the Seas,”
In 2013, Independence experienced her first significant
revitalization. This included adding a giant LED
television screen to the pool deck, the addition of a
Cupcake Cuboard and several other shops on the
Royal Promenade, the conversion of the Portofino
specialty restaurant into Giovanni's Table and several
other changes. These changes were made as part of a
fleetwide program to bring some of the features of
Royal's Oasis class ships to the rest of the fleet.
The Royal Promenade is the heart of
the ship. It is part shopping mall, dining
venue, and part entertainment feature. At
either end it is bounded by multi-story atria
called "centrums." Above: The Royal
Promenade from the aft or main centrum.
Below: As seen from the forward centrum.
Food and Beverage Manager Johann
Petutsching and Hotel Director
The stairs at the forward end of the
The art collection on Independence
was built around the theme "the
Contemporary Spririt of the Old
Masters" and includes works by
contemporary artists that drew
inspriation from the art of the past.
Larry Kirkland's "Kylix" (left)
dominates the Main Centrum and is
based on the design of an ancient
Greek drinking cup.
"After Magritte" (right) by Devorah
Sperber utilizes 20,800 spools of
thread to make a mosaic inspired by
the Belgian surrelaist Rene Magritte.
Displayed in a corridors linking the
staterooms is a work showing
portraits of past masters (middle left).
A glass mosaic "Tigers in the Jungle"
(middle right) recalls the work of
post-impressionist Henri Rousseau.
Hanging in the Forward Centrum is
Brad Howe's "Constellations In the
Sea," (below left) shows the influence
of sculptor Alexander Calder.
Morten Slettemeas' "Untitled"
(below) draw upon expressionist
"Tequuila Sunrise", a work by Peter
Zsiba and Maura Smolover, is
featured in the Boleros Lounge.
Above left: The Shore Excusions Desk.
Above right: Immediately next door is Guest
Left and right: Guests can book future cruises
and inquire about Royal Caribbean's Crown and
Anchor Loyalty Program in Adventures.
Below: The Business Services office.
A 2008 model Morgan Roadster V6 is
parked in the Royal Promenade
Above: Looking up the Forward
Below: Looking up the aft atrium
known as the Centrum.
A bit of whimsy, a larger than life dog
looks down from a balcony int the Aft
Cruise ship photo tour - Independence of the Seas - Royal Caribbean - page 1
Above: The view down the Centrum.