Independence of the Seas docking in Southampton
|Name:||Independence of the Seas|
|Operator:||Royal Caribbean International|
|Port of registry:||Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas|
|Builder:||Aker Finnyards Turku Shipyard, Finland|
|Cost:||~US$828 million |
|Christened:||April 30, 2008 |
|Maiden voyage:||May 2, 2008 |
|Class and type:||Freedom-class cruise ship|
|Length:||338.95 m (1,112.0 ft)|
|Draught:||8.8 m (29 ft)|
|Decks:||15 (passenger); 3 (crew)|
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 vessels. 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 [update] Independence of the Seas was 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.[ citation needed]
Since 2016, Independence of the Seas is home to the successful 70000 Tons of Metal music festival, scheduled yearly in January–February as a 4-night cruise in the Caribbean.
Like the other Freedom-class vessels, Independence of the Seas features an interactive water park, the "Splashaway Bay", a dedicated water area for small children (previously the H2O Zone), 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 Royal atheater, seating 1,200, and a complete conference center. The show cabaret lounge, called the Star Lounge, is also used as a departure lounge on the final day. 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.
The ship underwent an extensive dry dock in April 2018: additional cabins were added, as well as the first trampoline park at sea, laser tag, water slides and a Puzzle Break Escape Room.  The first sailing after the dry dock was a 2-night cruise on May 15, 2018.
On 22 May 2014, the ship was arrested by port authorities in Alesund, Norway for nonpayment of fees. The captain notified Royal Caribbean, who transferred NOK600,000 to cover port fees in less than an hour. The ship was then allowed to depart. 
Around December 11, 2017, 332 of 5,547 passengers on board Independence of the Seas became sick with a gastrointestinal illness (believed to be norovirus-related) after the ship had departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a five-night Caribbean cruise.   Royal Caribbean initiated a deep-cleaning of the vessel after its return. 
- Bill Ebersold (1 February 2008). "Cruise growth: driven by megaships & Europe". Marine Log. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
- "Woman names largest cruise ship". BBC News. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
- "Independence of the Seas will arrive two weeks early". TravelMole. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
- "Independence of the Seas (26747)". DNV GL Vessel Register. Det Norske Veritas. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- Jainchill, Johanna (April 21, 2008). "Royal Caribbean names godmother for Independence". Travel Weekly.com. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
- "Puzzle Break on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
- Kystverket tok arrest i gigantisk cruiseskip; Rederiet hadde ubetalte regninger på rundt 600.000 kroner, by Johann D Sunderg and Andre AAvik, 22 May 2014, E24 Næringsliv
- "More than 500 people fell sick aboard two Royal Caribbean cruises". NBC News. 2017-12-16. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- Rakow, Tim Swift, Erica. "Royal Caribbean cruise ship returns to Florida after more than..." www.local10.com. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
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