Independence of the Seas
Independence of the Seas / Royal Caribbean International / Michel Verdure
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Macbeth Restaurant
Macbeth Restaurant / Royal Caribbean International / Michel Verdure
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Solarium Pool Deck
Solarium Pool Deck / Royal Caribbean International / Michel Verdure
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A Clean Shave
A Clean Shave / Royal Caribbean International / Michel Verdure
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Alhambra Theater
Alhambra Theater / Royal Caribbean International / Michel Verdure
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Ice Show
Ice Show / Royal Caribbean International / Michel Verdure
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Connoisseur Club
Connoisseur Club / Royal Caribbean International / Michel Verdure
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Oceanview Stateroom With Balcony
Oceanview Stateroom With Balcony / Royal Caribbean International / Michel Verdure
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Independence of the Seas

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

The 3,858-guest Independence of the Seas launched in 2008 as the third in Royal Caribbean's Freedom class, and you'll generally find it sailing popular routes from Miami to the islands of the Caribbean in the winter, and out of Southampton, England, to ports around Europe during the summer. This high-energy, family-friendly ship offers plenty to keep everyone entertained during sea days, including active pursuits like rock climbing and surfing. 

An extensive refurbishment in 2013 added a giant poolside movie screen, a cupcake café, and the specialty Italian restaurant Giovanni’s Table. The ship's Wi-Fi also got an upgrade to the line's ultra-fast Voom system. Royal Caribbean then “Amplified” Independence of the Seas in 2018, adding the interactive waterpark Splashaway Bay, The Perfect Storm waterslides, glow-in-the-dark laser tag, Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, Fish ‘n Ships, and Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, as well as Panoramic Oceanview staterooms located at the front of the ship and featuring floor-to-ceiling windows.

What We Love

"Grease": It’s hard to beat Royal Caribbean when it comes to stage shows, especially with the high-energy production of this hit musical. The elaborate set (including an actual car for "Greased Lightening") and costumes for hand-jiving Danny and Sandy and their friends from Rydell High are leaps above what you usually find at sea.

The Relaxation Factor: There are six whirlpools — including two spacious versions that cantilever 12 feet over the edge of the ship in the adults-only Solarium — and an expansive Vitality Spa with an extensive menu of treatments.

Best Known For

Family-Friendly ActivitiesIndependence of the Seas has many ways to keep you fit, challenged, and entertained: Race down the dual racer slides Typhoon and Cyclone; putt a few rounds on the mini-golf course; go one-on-one on the rock climbing wall or FlowRider surf simulator; or practice your three-point shot on the full-size basketball court and your figure eights on the Studio B ice rink. And if foosball’s your thing, this ship has that, too.

Social Layout: The Royal Promenade — lined with shops, bars, and eateries — carves through the center of the ship, serving as a magnet for passengers looking to mix and mingle. It's also the site of some major events on board, including the sailaway party and lively theme nights. 

Who It's Best For

Movers and Shakers: Everything about this big, revitalized ship gets your pulse racing, meaning those who are not content with just sitting by the pool will feel right at home. Independence of the Seas does have four pools, though — in case you decide to take a break.

Families Traveling with Babies: Not all ships have drop-off nurseries that will take kids under the age of three. This ship's Royal Tots and Royal Babies was added during the 2013 renovation and will take little ones as young as six months to play with toys and have story time while parents get a real vacation. 

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Foodies BewareIndependence of the Seas may be a big ship, but there are just 10 restaurant options, only five of them complimentary, which is actually a small number for a vessel of this size.

Donna Heiderstadt
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger
Cruise Expert