Independence of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas seized due to unpaid fees


Norwegian authorities temporarily seized Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas after the cruise ship did not pay its port fees.

Independence of the Seas was placed under arrest until the cruise line paid about $101,000 in unpaid piloting and security fees from 2013 to the government.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reports the fees should have been paid last year but had not done so.

Royal Caribbean made restitutions to the government and the ship was released.

In a statement on its website, the administration noted delayed payments from certain cruise lines has been a problem. “There’s a lot of work for us in following up these cases,” Dimmen said. “The ships are often based overseas, and it is dependent on the season when they visit our area. It’s an advantage for us that we can make use of the maritime liens regime. Then we can secure the payment.”

Southampton welcomes back Independence and Adventure of the Seas


Southampton, England is welcoming back two Royal Caribbean ships for the summer 2014 season, Independence of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas.  Their arrival kicks off the 2014 summer seasons for the second year in a row.

Adventure of the Seas arrived back on May 4th while Independence of the Seas will return on May 17.

Adventure of the Seas returns with new upgrades and features, including flat screen TVs in every stateroom. Giovanni's Table, Wi-Fi throughout the ship, a new Concierge Lounge for suite guests, a Diamond Lounge for Crown & Anchor Society members and digital signage throughout the ship.

Adventure of the Seas will offer 7 to 16-night cruises around the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, in addition to shorter sailings closer to home.

Independence of the Seas will offer new itineraries, including more, shorter sailings such as  three-night cruises to Le Havre for Paris and four night cruises to Le Havre for Paris and Zeebrugge for Bruges.

The ship will also offer six night cruises to France and Spain, an eight-night cruise to Norway, various 14-night Mediterranean cruises, plus 11 and 12-night Canary Islands cruises as part of its 2014 summer season.

Man reported missing from Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas cruise


Authorities in the Cayman Islands are looking for a Royal Caribbean passenger who was reported missing from Independence of the Seas early Tuesday morning.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Force said a 65-year-old  passenger from Canada was reported missing by his wife before Independence of the Seas docked in Grand Cayman. 

A search of the 15-deck Independence of the Seas and closed-circuit camera footage has turned up nothing so far.

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Tracy Quan said the missing 65-year-old Canadian was last seen entering his room on the Independence of the Seas just before midnight.

According to police, the man’s wife said they went to bed at about 1 a.m. Tuesday but when she awoke some seven hours later he was gone.

If the man is missing, it's the second passenger to be reported missing this week after a different passenger jumped off Adventure of the Seas and was pronounced presumed dead.

Royal Caribbean set to upgrade Independence of the Seas


As part of Royal Caribbean's Revitalization program to upgrade all of its cruise ships to include amenities first introduced on the Oasis of the Seas, Independence o the Seas has recently been scheduled to have its upgrade take place in April 2013.

Independence of the Seas will receive

  • Outdoor movie screen
  • Cupcake Cupboard
  • Digital Signage
  • Pervasive Wi-Fi
  • Nursery 
  • Giovanni’s Table specialty restaurant

The $7 million refurbishment will take two weeks, at which point Royal Caribbean will deploy Independence of the Seas to Southampton, England where on May 2, 2013 she will begin her summer season.  Some of the itineraries offered include some new shorter sailings such as a two-night cruise to Le Havre for Paris and three-night cruises to Le Havre for Paris and Zeebrugge for Bruges. 

Strikes in Europe force Royal Caribbean to change Independence of the Seas itinerary


To avoid its cruise ships running into issues related to labor strikes that are scheduled to occur in Spain, Portugal and Greece, Royal Caribbean has altered itineraries for Independence of the Seas.

Independence of the Seas will skip a stop in Lisbon, Portugal on November 14 and will instead call upon Lanzarote, Spain.

Royal Caribbean spokesperson Cynthia Martinez commented on the changes, "We were aware of the upcoming strikes and proactively made changes to some itineraries."

The general strikes are expected to last three days and disrupt air travel as well as public transportation. 

Independence of the Seas to receive refurbishment


Royal Caribbean announced that the "Royal Advantage" program that is helping to refurbish the company's ships with ammenities seen first on Oasis class ships, will be coming to Independence of the Seas too. 

The work on Independence of the Seas will not be a revitalization like it has occurred on older ships, but rather will be "a less extensive upgrade".  The upgrade is currently slated to take place March 2013 (see below).

The Royal Advantage upgrades began in May 2011 with the revitalization of Radiance of the Seas with the goal of modernizing the fleet and bringing the closer in terms of amenities to the new Oasis class ships.

After the Radiance of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas followed in November 2011.  Royal Caribbean continued with their plan has this year with improvements to Rhapsody of the Seas in March, and the Grandeur of the Seas, whose revitalization process ended on June 1.  Work on Serenade of the Seas is scheduled for November and by 2013, the Vision Class ships will begin, starting with Legend of the Seas in January.  She will be followed by Vision of the Seas in March, Brilliance of the Seas in May, and Navigator of the Seas in November, in what will be the first Voyager-class ship to be upgraded.

By 2014 the remaining ships will be Voyager class, specifically the Adventure of the Seas, in January, the Voyager of the Seas in April, and the Explorer of the Seas in November.

Each ship is in dry dock for about a month and, on completion of the revitalization, becomes have new dining and entertainment, a specific area for babies and children from six to 36 months, new family cabins as well as increased coverage Wi-Fi and new technologies such as iPad in all staterooms and digital Wayfinders location.  

UPDATE: Our reader wdwgolfer called Royal Caribbean and heard that the Independence of the Seas refurbishment is scheduled for April 2013, after the 13 night transatlantic cruise that departs from Port Everglades on April 7. The dry dock is scheduled for 12 days.

Royal Caribbean announced winter 2013-2014 Caribbean cruises


Royal Caribbean has released their schedule of cruises to the Caribbean for 2013-2014 and are now open for bookings.

Royal Caribbean is planning cruises for Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas to bring a total of 140 sailings across 31 itineraries what will make stops at 20 different ports.

New to the schedule will be cruises out of New Orleans, Lousiana aboard Serenade of the Seas.  The first cruise out of the Big Easy will be a 9-night Caribbean cruise on December 12, 2013 that will stop at Key West, Nassau, Labadee & Ocho Rios.  Following that cruise, Serenade will alternate between 7-night cruises to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean.

It will be business as usual for Oasis and Allure of the seas.  They will continue their popular 7-night western and eastern Caribbean cruises out of Port Everglades, Florida.

Also calling Port Everglades home will be Independence of the Seas, who will offer 6-night cruises to the western and eastern Caribbean.

Freedom of the Seas will continue to operate out of Port Canaveral, Florida and alternate between 7-night eastern and western sailings.  

Finally, Navigator of the Seas will debut in Galveston, Texas with two western Caribbean cruises.  Both are 7-night sailings and one itinerary calling at Falmouth, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, while the other at Roatan (Honduras), Belize City (Belize) and Cozumel.

Photo of the Day: Independence of the Seas docked in Southampton


Photo by Steph Curtin

Five Royal Caribbean ships make best cruise ships for families list


The Today Show Travel listed their favorite cruise ships for families and five of Royal Caribbean's newest ships made the list.

First up is Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.  The sheer number of amenities are notes for fun things for kids.

The two largest ships at sea each have pretty much everything you need to entertain the kids: a sprawling H2O Zone water park, a pair of rock-climbing walls, a miniature golf course, two surfing simulators, a basketball court, an ice-skating rink, and a hand-carved wooden carousel.

The Freedom-Class ships were also mentioned, including Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas.

Aside from a huge playroom and video arcade aboard the Freedom-class ships, kids can't enough of the H2O water park, rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink, surfing simulator, mini golf course, and basketball court. Kids of all ages love the Ben & Jerry's ice-cream parlor and the Johnny Rockets diner on board for burgers, fries and milkshakes (both venues at an extra charge).

Royal Caribbean cancels All-You-Can-Drink packages for Independence of the Seas


Royal Caribbean has decided to not offer its all-you-can-drink alcohol packages that are currently offered aboard Independence of the Seas when she arrives in Florida for a seasonal deployment.

In November 2012, Independence of the Seas will sail out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the fall and winter Caribbean sailings.  While home ported in the United States, the alcoholic  beverage packages will not be offered.  Royal Caribbean will continue to offer them while Independence is based in Southampton, England as well as on its transatlantic repositioning cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale.

Royal Caribbean spokesman Harrison Liu discussed the decision, "As Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand, our ships' offerings are tailored to the markets from where they draw their guests.  Independence of the Seas [from] Southampton was primarily a British product. When the ship sails in the Caribbean, the onboard offering will be adjusted to cater to a more North American and international clientele, as well as reflect the cultural norms here.  The drinks package will not be expanded to additional ships yet."

The all-you-can-drink packages start at $29 per day and are available on Grandeur of the Seas, Legend of the Seas and Independence of the Seas.  All three of these ships are based outside of the United States.