• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More

Independence of the Seas Review

2018 Best for Embarkation
2018 Best for Entertainment
2018 Best for Entertainment
View More

Find a Independence of the Seas Cruise from £199

Independence of the Seas
4.5 / 5.0
1776 reviews

Pros
Outstanding entertainment including "Grease," the musical; vast number of daytime activities
Cons
Food quality varies considerably; upcharging for certain activities can be wearing
Bottom Line
2018 refurb has reaffirmed the ship as one of the best family-friendly cruise ships afloat

About

Passengers
3,858

Crew
1,360

Passenger to Crew
2.84:1

Launched
2008

Shore Excursions
205
Sails To
Western Caribbean, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Royal Caribbean Cruise Deals
Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic UK Managing Editor

Independence of the Seas Overview

Independence of the Seas is the third and final of Royal Caribbean's ground-breaking Freedom-class ships -- once the largest in the world before the launch of Oasis of the Seas and its sister ships.

Free Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

In May 2018, Indy, as the ship is known to its many fans, went through a massive refurbishment that saw a host of new features introduced onboard including Sky Pad, a virtual reality trampoline experience; a laser tag arena, a puzzle break room, The Observatorium; two water slides and a kids' aqua park, as well as new dining and drinking venues -- and 107 new cabins. The upgrade was part of Royal's $900 million "Royal Amplified" program, which will see similar features rolled out on nine other ships in the fleet.

The ship has won multiple accolades from cruisers over the years and lays a strong claim to being the U.K.'s favorite family ship. (It's less popular in the U.S., where the Oasis-class ships hold that honor.) A lot of thought went into the last refurbishment, and it really shows, giving Indy a fresh, contemporary feel, as well as cutting-edge (Sky Pad) and on-trend (puzzle break, laser tag arena), new features. Installing new bars and restaurants, as well as the entertainment facilities on the outer decks, is a huge project, yet all of it fits seamlessly into the ship, almost as if it's always been there. With that said, Independence of the Seas is still a 10-year-old ship and some of the cabins and bathrooms are looking their age in terms of decor and in-cabin fixtures and fittings.

Where Indy really excels is in its family offerings. The ship has an extraordinary amount on offer for youngsters -- from kid-oriented entertainment and enrichment to recreational options that range from surfing and body boarding to ice skating and the aforementioned VR-enhanced trampolines -- making it a superb choice for family travelers.

 

However, adult passengers will still find plenty of space for more grown-up pursuits, with a great selection of restaurants, a vast number of bars and huge amount of entertainment options. The fitness facility is excellent and always busy; adults-only spots beyond bars and the casino range from the Solarium pool and specialty restaurants to late-night adult-themed comedy. Travelers of many different stripes coexisted comfortably. (The ship also has outstanding facilities for passengers with accessibility needs.)

If you're after an almost limitless number of activities and forms of entertainment, whether that's watching a Broadway show, enjoying movies by the pool, or perfecting your surfing skills; or if you want fine dining and a wide bar choice, or if you just want a great kids' club and kids' facilities -- Indy delivers, time and time again.


Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

  • Meals in three main dining rooms, the Windjammer Marketplace, Sorrento’s Pizzeria and snacks at Cafe Promenade; continental breakfast room service
  • Shows in the main theater
  • Most activities and events, including ice skating in Studio B
  • Use of the fitness center, but not most classes
  • Use of the sports court, Perfect Storm water slides, mini-golf, Sky Pad, Flowrider surfing simulator and rock climbing wall
  • Adventure Ocean kids club programming through 10 p.m.
  • Gratuities, only if you booked your cruise in Australia and New Zealand in AU and NZ dollars

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Daily crew gratuities ($14.50 per person, per day for Junior Suites and below; $17.50 per person, per day for Grand Suites & higher)
  • Drinks, excluding water, tea (including iced tea), coffee and juices from the Windjammer buffet
  • Room Service ($7.95 per order, excluding free continental breakfast)
  • Most specialty dining
  • Spa and salon treatments and services
  • Most fitness center classes
  • Auto-gratuities of 18 percent applicable to salon, spa, and beverage purchases, and all specialty dining reservations
  • Activities like the behind-the-scenes ship tour, arcade games, bingo, sushi demonstrations, arts and crafts classes, the bottomless galley brunch and all alcohol tastings
  • Nightime kids supervision programs after 10:00 p.m. in Adventure Ocean
  • Shore excursions
  • Internet access/packages
  • Photos and retail purchases

Top Independence of the Seas Itineraries

Independence of the Seas
4 night western caribbean holiday cruise

Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Cozumel, Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

View All Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Itineraries (25)

Fellow Passengers

The passenger makeup varies, depending on the time of year and where the ship is based. During the Caribbean season (late fall through early spring), Independence of the Seas' American passengers are in the majority, with a strong showing of travelers from the U.K., Mexico and Spain, in particular. During its summer sojourn in Southampton, when it offers cruises to both the Baltic and the Med, as well as short-break cruises, Brits make up the vast majority of passengers. 

During vacation periods, kids make up more than one-third of the passengers, and a significant number are teens. During periods other than school holiday breaks, the ship feels less like an all-family resort destination, though the ship's Adventure Ocean program operates year-round. 

The ship makes an effort to accommodate travelers with special needs. There are wheelchair-accessible cabins with roll-in showers, transfer lifts in one pool and one whirlpool, and lowered tables in the casino. A room is equipped with an Infrared Assistive Learning System, and the ship's daily newsletter is available, upon request, in braille. 

Although the ambience onboard is conducive for a variety of passenger types, this is a tough ship for solo travelers. So many passengers travel in groups of family members or friends that all but the most gregarious may find it hard to connect with fellow singles, though there are occasional meetups for solo travelers. One suggestion: Consider signing up for Cruise Critic's Meet & Mingle gathering.


Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Dress Code

Daytime: During the day, dress is casual (shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops).

Evening: On cruises longer than five nights, there are two formal nights, though formal on Indy is better defined as "smart casual" -- very few people dress up in tuxedo or full ballgown/cocktail dress attire. Most men wear a jacket and shirt and women will opt for a nice dress. The other nights are resort casual (tropical sundresses and pants outfits for women, khakis and shirts for men).

Not permitted: Tank tops are prohibited in the main dining room and specialty restaurants at dinner. Shoes must be worn in all dining venues at all times.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.


Free Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Find a Cruise

Independence of the Seas Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins4.04.2
Dining3.03.8
Entertainment5.03.9
Public Rooms4.04.2
Fitness Recreation5.04.2
Family5.04
Enrichment3.03.5
Service4.04.2
Value For Money4.03.7

Already Booked?

Get to know who you'll be sailing with

More about Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas

Where does Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas sail from?

Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas departs from Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, Southampton, Southampton and Port Canaveral

How much does it cost to go on Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas?

Cruises on Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas start from £199 per person.

Is Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas a good ship to cruise on?

Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas won 22 awards over the years.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2018 Best for Embarkation
  • 2018 Best for Entertainment
  • 2018 Best for Entertainment
  • 2018 Best for Fitness & Recreation
  • 2018 Best for Families
  • 2017 Best for Fitness & Recreation
  • 2016 Best for Fitness & Recreation
  • 2015 Best for Cabins
  • 2015 Best for Entertainment
  • 2015 Best for Fitness
  • 2015 Best for Families
  • 2014 Best Overall
  • 2014 Best for Cabins
  • 2014 Best for Dining
  • 2014 Best for Embarkation
  • 2014 Best for Fitness
  • 2014 Best for Service
  • 2014 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2014 Best for Families
  • 2014 Best for Families
  • 2013 Best for Fitness
Show More

Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas Member Reviews

Independence of the Seas
BATGUY
Sail Date: Jan 2019
Independence of the Seas is definitely a ship that you should experience. The ship was updated, spacious, fun, and CLEAN! It never seemed busy, and you never had to wait for a drink.... Read More
Independence of the Seas
Vacationing4life
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Multiple boats available but still lots of time wasted. In Cozumel The Independence docked right at the port thank fully. The 24/7 free pizza bar was nice, as well as the free snack bar.... Read More
Independence of the Seas
Medic9701
Sail Date: Nov 2018
A great variety of activities are offered on the Independence of the Seas. I was pleased that the fitness center was large enough to always have available equipment for use.... Read More
Independence of the Seas
Brando54
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Independence of the Seas is a very large vessel but its facilities are not themselves large enough or well-staffed enough to accommodate the passenger population.... Read More

Royal Caribbean International Fleet

Enchantment of the Seas
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

1986 reviews

One of Royal Caribbean's smaller ships; highlights include rock climbing, bungee trampoline, three pools, eight bars and a Ben & Jerry's at sea; holds less than 3,000.

Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas Cruises to the Southern Caribbean View All Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas Cruises
Grandeur of the Seas
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Older ship carrying fewer than 3,000; highlights include rock climbing, two pools, outdoor movie screen and several specialty dining venues including Ben & Jerry's at sea.

Majesty of the Seas
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Offers three- and four-night cruises; features a rock climbing wall, Johnny Rockets at sea and smallish aqua park; can carry a bit over 2,500 cruisers.

Rhapsody of the Seas
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


An older ship carrying less than 3,000; features rock climbing, two pools, for-fee nursery, eight bars and lounges and more than half a dozen dining venues.

Vision of the Seas
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


One of the smaller Royal Caribbean ships, Vision of the Seas carries 2,435 passengers and features six dining venues, rock climbing wall, solarium, outdoor movie screen and age-specific kids' clubs.

Voyager of the Seas
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


In 1999 Royal Caribbean's 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas became the largest cruise ship in the world and was heralded as the most revolutionary vessel ever built.

Radiance of the Seas
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Carries 2,500 passengers, family-friendly and features eight dining venues, outdoor movie screen, casino, mini-golf, pool tables and Adventure Beach with water slides.

Adventure of the Seas
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Bustling atmosphere; features two-slide water park, simulated surfing, rock climbing, ice skating shows, 15 bars and the line's signature Royal Promenade; can carry upward of 4,000.

Brilliance of the Seas
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Brilliance of the Seas' mediumish size -- 2,112 passengers -- allows cruisers to feel they have the best of both worlds: a vessel with ample activities and attentive crew.

Navigator of the Seas
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Carries some 4,400 passengers and features surf simulators, rock climbing and ice skating, 11 bars and lounges and the lively Royal Promenade.

Mariner of the Seas
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Royal Caribbean's 3,114-passenger Mariner of the Seas launched in 2003 and was the first in its class to undergo upgrades designed to create fleet uniformity.

Serenade of the Seas
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Carries more than 2,400 passengers and features six restaurants and bars, rock climbing wall, mini-golf, sports court, outdoor movie screen and casino.

Jewel of the Seas
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


One of Royal Caribbean's smaller ships; attractions include rock climbing and mini-golf, kids' water slide, half a dozen or so dining venues and family-specific cabins.

Oasis of the Seas
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


The first megaship to hold more than 6,000 cruisers; features high-energy activities like zip lining, surfing and the high-diving AquaTheater.

Liberty of the Seas
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Carries more than 4,000; features a three-slide water park, surf simulators, rock climbing wall and "Saturday Night Fever: The Musical." 

Independence of the Seas
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


A favourite with U.K. cruise passengers, Independence of the Seas offers more than 4,000 passengers an ice skating rink, whirlpools which extend over the ship's sides, six bars and six restaurants.

Allure of the Seas
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Mega-ship holding upwards of 6,400 passengers; features zip lining, surf simulators, rock climbing and an open-air Central Park with shops and restaurants.

Quantum of the Seas
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Quantum of the Seas dares its passengers not to have fun. It's a bold ship that screams for your attention via its innovative features.

Harmony of the Seas
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


World's largest cruise ship featuring high-energy attractions including zip lining, water slides, surf simulators, rock climbing and 18 dining venues.

Symphony of the Seas
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Royal Caribbean's newest ship will be one of the largest in the world when it launches in spring 2018; high-energy highlights include zip lining, water slides and surf simulators.

Ovation of the Seas
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Part of Royal Caribbean's Quantum class, Ovation of the Seas boasts high-tech features such as the RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, bumper cars and robot bartenders.

Empress of the Seas
3.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Royal Caribbean's Cuba ship with stops in Havana; features the Cuba-inspired Boleros lounge and a free mimosa or bloody mary at the daily "Sunday" brunch.

Spectrum of the Seas

The first Quantum Ultra-Class ship will launch in the spring 2019. The class will be the next evolution of Royal Caribbean's Quantum Class, though the line has not yet said what its size will be.

Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Cookie Consent