Royal Caribbean Reveals Independence's Post-Europe Home

October 30, 2007

After its maiden season in Europe, Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas -- currently under construction at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland -- will reposition to Ft. Lauderdale for Caribbean voyages, becoming the largest ship ever to call the Florida port home.

The 154,407-ton, 3,634-passenger Independence of the Seas will reposition across the Atlantic on a 13-night cruise departing November 6, 2008. Thereafter, the ship will sail six-night Western Caribbean and eight-night Eastern Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale throughout the winter of 2008 and spring of 2009.

The fact that a mega-ship will be cruising the Caribbean is hardly noteworthy; what is interesting, however, is that the homeport, long in the shadow of cruise super center Miami (which homeports both Liberty and Freedom of the Seas), is snagging the sibling -- and vying for the even larger Genesis prototype launching in October 2009.

The question of just where a ship of that size will port has been on cruiser's minds; just recently, we reported that a new Jamaican port, Falmouth, will be ready to accommodate not one but two of these 220,000-ton 5,400-passenger mega-liners when the first launches two years from now.

So, which port do you think Genesis will call home sweet home? Vote now in Cruise Critic member RCCLCARIB's poll.

--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor