Independence of the Seas Gallery
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Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' Brochure cutaway drawing of Independence of the Seas (2008)

Entering service in May 2008, Independence of the Seas was the 3rd ship in the "Freedom-class", an extension of the highly successful "Voyager-class" introduced in 1999 with Voyager of the Seas. Built in Finland, the three "Freedom-class" ships were the largest cruise ships in the World until the even bigger Oasis of the Seas arrived in December 2009.

However, when the brand-new Freedom of the Seas, then the largest cruise ship in the World, arrived in Southampton in June 2006, I was there to see her!

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Sightseers gather in Mayflower Park to see
Freedom of the Seas
A World
of Wonder
Freedom of the Seas
at the City Cruise Terminal
The ship's overhanging Promenade Deck

With a maximum capacity of 4,370 passengers and 1,360 crew, the "Freedom-class" ships boast a 1,200-seat theatre, an ice-skating rink, a basketball/hockey Court, a mini-golf course and the "Flo-Rider", a surfing simulator, as well as the Company's trademark rock-climbing Wall behind the funnel, a main restaurant spanning 3 decks and 6 alternative dining venues providing a range of choice from fast-food to high-class cuisine.
(right) Freedom of the Seas takes a late turn around the harbour
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Our Accommodation
We three guys shared a Junior Suite and at approx.300 sqft, it was the same size as a Sky Suite aboard Celebrity Eclipse/Equinox. While it didn't come with the same extras such as Butler service, it proved ideal for us. Bathroom storage was limited for 3 but the Walk-in Closet was a real plus.

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Junior Suite #9298 The Bathroom
with full-size bath
Walk-in Closet
lots of storage
The Balcony
with 2 loungers & 2 chairs

Show Picture Full Size Meanwhile, the 6 girls had 3 D-grade Balcony cabins in various locations. While approx.189 sqft, they were comparable in size to a standard or Concierge-class cabin aboard Celebrity Eclipse but they seemed more spacious; perhaps it was the furniture? Nevertheless, for the girls this was their first time on a big modern cruise ship and they were all thrilled. Show Picture Full Size

The Macbeth Dining Room
The main restaurant for over 4,000 passengers is arranged over 3 decks, with each deck having a different name and subtly different decor. Ours was the Macbeth Dining Room in the middle; the other two being King Lear on the top (exclusively dealing with "My Time Dining" reservations and Romeo & Juliet at the bottom (although I felt they missed a trick here because Romeo & Juliet should surely have been at the top - with that wonderful balcony over the stairs!)

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The Macbeth Dining Room
(the middle level)
The main central space, the Captain's Table
and the Grand Staircase
King Lear Dining Room
(the upper level)

Our waiters were Hilari & Omdish, who proved to be extremely efficient and friendly, while not being over-familiar. Even though we sat in different places each night, they seemed quickly to learn all our personal preferences and seldom got anything wrong!

Show Picture Full Size After perhaps being spoiled to much aboard Celebrity ships lately, the Menus were surprisingly extensive and it was refreshing (for the "Old Hands" like me!) to have an unfamiliar choice and layout of menu. Meanwhile, the food, while sometimes lacking finesse or imagination on the plate, was actually pretty good too and I was impressed.
(left) Hilario & Omish and (right) The first evening's Dinner Menu
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To see the complete collection of menus on board Independence of the Seas, visit Cruise Ship Menus >>

Show Picture Full Size With 3 pools to choose from, I was disappointed that the Solarium Pool, next to the Fitness Centre forward, was not covered; but it's not really big enough for swimming and the other 2 pools include the Sports Pool, which is a decent size for swimming lengths.
(left) The Sports Pool, one of the ship's 3 outdoor pools

Total Mileage on
Independence of the Seas: 4,941 nmiles

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