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Royal Caribbean International Takes Delivery of Independence of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International Takes Delivery of Independence of the Seas

Category: Worldwide - Industry economy - Hotel opening
This is a press release selected by our editorial committee and published online for free on 2008-04-18

Third in Famed Freedom Class of Ships, Independence is the First to Sail in Europe

Continuing its legacy of
creating revolutionary vacation experiences, Royal Caribbean International
took delivery of its newest innovative ship - Independence of the Seas -
during a ceremony at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland, today. Just days away
from her debut in Europe, Independence of the Seas, is the third of the
line's Freedom class of ships and will be the largest cruise ship ever to
be home-ported in Europe, when she sails out of Southampton, United
Kingdom, for her inaugural season. Independence shares the title of world's
largest and most innovative cruise ship with sister-ships Freedom of the
Seas and Liberty of the Seas, which launched in the U.S. in May 2006 and
2007 respectively, and which offer Caribbean cruises from Miami, Florida.

In the first nationwide search of its kind in the United Kingdom, Royal
Caribbean is bestowing the title of Godmother of Independence of the Seas
to an ordinary woman who has done extraordinary things to further the well
being of youth in her community. The search was conducted with the cruise
line's charity partner and British five-time Olympic gold medalist, Sir
Steve Redgrave. The four Godmother finalists - who were nominated by peers
or family members - joined Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. chairman and CEO,
Richard Fain at Aker Yards, to welcome Independence into service. The four
finalists are Barbara Natasegra, Elizabeth Hill, Madeleine Henry and Sue
Stones. The Godmother, who will be announced on April 18, will be selected
by a distinguished panel of judges, including Sir Steve Redgrave; Royal
Caribbean executives and guest judges. She will have the honor of
participating in the inaugural celebrations and official naming ceremony in
Southampton on April 30.

"We are delighted to welcome Independence of the Seas to our fleet and
to introduce her to vacationers throughout the United Kingdom and Europe,"
said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
"Positioning one of our largest and newest ships in Southampton reaffirms
Royal Caribbean's strong commitment to the region and will provide the
opportunity for more European guests to experience the distinctive and
award-winning vacation our brand has become recognized for throughout the

Following a series of preview sailings in Oslo, Norway and Southampton,
Independence will embark on her maiden voyage on May 2. Through the summer
of 2008, she will sail 14-night 'Mediterranean Treasures' and 'Italian
Mediterranean' itineraries round-trip from Southampton. Ports of call
include Gibraltar.; Barcelona, Malaga, Vigo and Seville, Spain; Nice and
Cannes/Monte Carlo, France; Florence/Pisa and Sardinia, Italy; and Lisbon,

Guests also can enjoy two, four-night getaways from Southampton to
Cork, Ireland and St. Peter Port, Channel Islands. Three, 11-night Canary
Islands itineraries, also roundtrip from Southampton, will close the fall
season, calling on Madeira, Portugal; Tenerife, Las Palmas and Lanzarote,
Canary Islands; and Vigo, Spain. Independence then heads to the United
States to begin a series of warm weather Eastern and Western Caribbean
sailings from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. starting in November 2008.

At 160,000 GRT and a capacity of 3,634 guests, Independence of the Seas
will feature all of the industry-first amenities which are trademarks of
the Freedom-class ships: a FlowRider surf simulator; the H20 Zone water
park with its interactive sculpture garden for families; cantilevered
whirlpools suspended 112 ft. above the ocean in the adults-only Solarium; a
full-size boxing ring and a 14-person family suite. Unlike her
sister-ships, all pools and the water park on Independence will be heated.

Independence also will feature some of the other distinctive offerings
the global cruise line is known for including, an ice-skating rink; a rock-
climbing wall; an award-winning children's program; fine to casual dining
venues; Broadway-style entertainment and the Royal Promenade - an
entertainment boulevard stretching the length of the ship with its shops,
restaurants, bars and lounges, which provides guests with an endless
variety of choices and experiences to suit their taste and preference.

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