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Independence of the Seas Cruise
Royal Caribbean International (RCI)
Page 1: Southampton - Friday 25th March 2011
Sea Day - Saturday 26th March 2011
Ship Name: Independence of the Seas - Ship Type: Passenger - Year Built: 2008 - Length x Breadth: 339m x 38m
Dead Weight: 10600 t - Flag: Bahamas - Call Sign: C6WW4 - IMO: 9349681 - MMSI: 309374000
This page is under construction
This page is one of a series showing mainly shipping and other transport images from an 11 night cruise on Independence of the Seas in March 2011 to Vigo, Lisbon and the Atlantic Isles. We travelled in balcony cabin 7548, Deck 7 on the port side, adjacent to the forward end of the Royal Promenade. This page covers embarkation and departure from Southampton.
My first impression of the Independence of the Seas was that she impressed with her sheer size and facilities, but that none of the interior spaces were particularly stylish or interesting. Decoration and furniture in most rooms was pretty dull, with the Pyramid Lounge and Labyrinth Disco just being weird. The exception was the artwork throughout the ship which I found fascinating. All works followed the theme of re-interpreting earlier masterpieces, with extremely varied and interesting results. This is the only area of the design which I thought rivalled the style of sister company Celebrity's Solstice Class.
The Royal Promenade which runs along the centre of the ship with cabins looking into it is innovative for a cruise ship (although used by Silja Line on ferries in the 1990s) but gets extremely busy at times. The use of the deck below, walking through the little-used (in Europe) casino is a much faster way to get from one end of the ship to the other. Nearly all the cabins facing into to the Royal Promenade kept their cabin curtains permanently drawn, since passengers soon learnt they were extremely exposed at all times of the day. The ship has probably the best open promenade deck of any ship I have been on, albeit not wooden. This deck, combined with a total lack of high glass screens around upper decks, makes this ship one of the best for photographing other vessels. Her great height allows almost aerial shots of most vessels.
The enormous three-floor restaurant actually feels quite cosy when seated. The lower two floors each have two sittings each evening whilst the top floor is used for My Time dining which worked very well for us. We could decide each day when to eat and book it before 4pm and sat in the same area overlooking the sea at a twin table each night. Food is more than adequate but not very adventurous. Puddings are typically US over-sweet concoctions and the 'International Cheese Plate' consists of the same four tasteless industrial grade cheeses each night. Americans just do not understand cheese. My birthday fell during the cruise and we celebrated in the Chops Grill, which costs $25pp. The food is mainly steaks, very simply but beautifully prepared and it was probably the best filet mignon I have ever eaten. However, the limitations of the menu meant that we did not return. Other eating options were rather dull and we did not bother with the Italian restaurant which offered the usual mainstays for $20pp extra.
Whilst we made little use of them, the three pool areas looked superb, particularly the area for younger children. This is very much a warm weather ship and none of the three pool areas had a roof, fixed or movable. This meant that when the weather was poor the Royal Promenade became extremely busy. The Captain said that the first of the new 'Sunshine Class' ships would replace the Independence of the Seas at Southampton, allowing the Indy to be moved to the Mediterranean. Maybe the new design will be more suited to the uncertainties of Northern European weather.
Service throughout the ship was excellent, with a multinational crew that was always cheerful, friendly and helpful. All aspects of the running of ship were extremely efficient and impressive. Technically the ship is very impressive too. The power of the Azipods and thrusters is amazing and this enormous ship moves away from the berth or spins on her axis faster than any other ship I have seen. There is no vibration whatsoever when moving forwards or moving sideways. Aft, she has two Azipods and one Fixipod (a term I had not heard before), with four thrusters at the bow. We did not meet any rough seas to test her sea keeping and in fact movement was so minimal for the first 24 hours it was hard to tell that one was on a ship at all. The cabin was absolutely silent apart from a minimal hum from the air conditioning.
Would I rush to travel on this class of ship again? Probably not. I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, and appreciated many aspects of the design, particularly the generous promenade deck, a neglected feature on many recent designs. However, I felt no affection for the ship, as I did almost immediately for the Celebrity Eclipse in September 2010 and in Spring 2012 we have booked on Eclipse again.
Sections on this Page
Independence of the Seas Images
Independence of the Seas - Cabin 7548
Ventura - P&O Cruises
Ships on this Page:-
Independence of the Seas
Fri 25th March 2011 - Southampton
Sat 26th March 2011 - At Sea
Sun 27th March 2011 - Vigo, Spain
Mon 28th March 2011 - Lisbon, Portugal
Tue 29th March 2011 - At Sea
Wed 30th March 2011 - Tenerife, Canary Islands
Thu 31st March 2011 - Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Fri 1st April 2011 - Funchal, Madeira
Sat 2nd April 2011 - At Sea
Sun 3rd April 2011 - La Coruña, Spain
Mon 4th April 2011 - At Sea
Tue 5th April 2011 - Southampton
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