Royal Caribbean has announced the name of its third Freedom-class vessel ... Independence of the Seas!

Independence of the Seas, slated to launch in May of 2008, will be a sister ship to the 154,407-ton, 3,634-passenger Freedom of the Seas and under-construction Liberty of the Seas, due out in May of 2007. Independence will share the title of "world's largest cruise ship," and includes innovations found on its older siblings such as the FlowRider, H2O Zone, boxing ring, cantilevered whirlpools and 14-person Presidential Family Suite; new features have not yet been announced.

Sure, we had a sneaking suspicion the line's next ship would be called "Something" of the Seas. But with cruise lines continuing to use names that are more often similar than not (Norwegian Jewel and Jewel of the Seas, Carnival Liberty and Liberty of the Seas, as examples), we were anxiously awaiting what that "Something" would be -- and think Independence, not found elsewhere in the industry (at least recently), is a nice change of pace.

The theme here is not patriotic as one might guess; according to a company statement, the monikers of the Freedom-class ships (Freedom, Liberty and Independence) are meant to represent guests' "freedom to create their own unique adventure by choosing multiple onboard options, from active pursuits such as rock climbing, surfing or ice skating; to more relaxing experiences, such as spa treatments, fine dining or world-class entertainment."

Independence of the Seas is currently under construction at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland.

Heard on the Boards: If you ask Cruise Critic member MGoBlue2, "Their next ship, designed for those addicted to cruising, will be called Codependence of the Seas...." Join the discussion!

--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor