Return to Cruising Ship Guide: Independence of the Seas

Independence of the Seas - Photo by Royal Caribbean

When is Independence of the Seas slated to resume operations?

Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas resumed cruising from Galveston on August 15, 2021. The ship is sailing a number of 3- and 4-night itineraries from Port Canaveral, Fla. and making port stops in the Bahamas (Nassau) and Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay. 

All Royal Caribbean guests ages 12 and older must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, with the final dose administered at least 14 days before sailing. Guests under the age of 12 who are not vaccinated will complete COVID-19 testing requirements depending on the length of the cruise and departure port. Kids age 5 to 11 who have been vaccinated may present proof of full vaccination and follow the protocols for vaccinated guests.

Royal Caribbean requires all guests ages two years and older (regardless of vaccine status) to complete a COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken no more than two days prior to the sail date, and present proof of negative results at the terminal at check-in. 

Cruising on Independence of the Seas? Here’s our guide to everything you need to know before you board. 

About the Ship: Independence of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean’s large-sized, Freedom-class ships. The vessel was built in 2008 and last went through a refurbishment in 2018. Its latest update added cabins, the first trampoline park at sea, laser tag, waterslides and an escape room. At full capacity (prior to COVID restrictions) Independence of the Seas can carry 4,560 total passengers and 1,440 crew members. There are 1,929 total cabins, broken down into 28 category types. 

Explore Photos of Independence of the Seas

Activities + Entertainment: Like most of Royal Caribbean's fleet, Independence of the Seas is designed for fun and adventure. The ship’s highlights include a Sky Pad, The Perfect Storm, Laser Tag: Battle for Planet Z, Escape Room: The Observatorium, Flowrider Surf Simulator, Rock-climbing Wall, and Studio B Ice-skating Rink. 

Entertainment options on Independence include live Broadway at Sea productions and Mystery dinner theatre shows. Adults looking for a fun night ‘out’ can sample cocktails and craft beers at the numerous lounges and bars onboard, or belt out their favorite tune at the karaoke lounge. 

Explore All Activities on Independence of the Seas

Dining: Independence of the Seas dining options cater to both families and foodies. With a number of included eateries and specialty restaurants, there’s certain to be something to please palates of all varieties. Restaurants that are included for all passengers are the Main Dining Rooms, Windjammer, Sorrento’s Pizza, and Cafe Promenade. Specialty venues include Giovanni’s Table, Chops Grille, Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, Fish & Ships, Playmaker’s Sports Bar & Arcade, Sugar Beach, and Johnny Rockets.

Explore All Independence of the Seas Dining 

Pricing: Sailings are filling up quickly with Independence of the Seas return to cruising. With a high demand from travelers to sail on this popular ship.

Right now you can expect to pay about $40 per person per night for entry-level accommodations. Considering a balcony cabin? For just a little bit extra, this class of room currently starts at around $80 per person per night and goes up from there based on location and category. We recommend booking NOW as prices are likely to only go up! 

Find a Deal on an Independence of the Seas Sailing

What to Expect at Embarkation & Onboard Protocol

There are a number of evolving protocols that Royal Caribbean has implemented for the embarkation process. All guests ages 12 and older (regardless of vaccination status) will need to take a COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) with an accredited test provider no more than two days before arriving at the terminal for embarkation. Unvaccinated children ages 2 to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than three days before boarding day. Kids age 5 to 11 who have been vaccinated may present proof of full vaccination and follow the protocols for vaccinated guests.

Prior to sailing, Royal Caribbean suggests passengers download the Royal Caribbean App to check into their cruise as well as select a time slot for arrival on boarding day. One day before departure, all guests must complete the app’s Guest Health Questionnaire. When you arrive to board the ship, all passengers should be prepared to present the following: Passport/Passport Card or a state-certified U.S. Birth Certificate, COVID vaccine card, COVID-19 test result, proof of travel insurance, and the completed health questionnaire. 

When indoors on the ship, CDC guidelines require all guests two and older to wear masks unless they are actively eating or drinking. Per the guidelines, Royal Caribbean will make allowances for guests to remove their masks in venues and events dedicated to fully-vaccinated parties. Masks are not required in your stateroom when you are with your traveling party, outside on the open decks, or at Perfect Day at CocoCay unless in a crowded setting. 

Explore Royal Caribbean’s Healthy Sail Center Guidelines 

Member Reviews

We did a last-minute cruise, and it was just what we needed. The sun was warm, the beers cold and the staff were great. We have two cruises already scheduled for 2022. We thought RCCL did a great job on keeping up the health protocols. - roybubenhofer43

We had a wonderful time and learned so much. I feel more comfortable in planning our next trip. - iamjanks

We were so anxious to go on a cruise again, we selected this one because we could drive there, the price was excellent, and the ship wasn't filled more than half, so we felt really safe. It met our expectations. - judithh1

First time we were on a cruise. We had all fun. We love it! - voraexim

Read More Member Reviews and Tips for Independence of the Seas

Shore Excursions

With so much to see and do in Nassau and at Perfect Day at Coco Cay which Independence of the Seas visits, we recommend planning your shore excursions before you get onboard. Top-rated excursions by port include:

Perfect Day at Coco Cay

Nassau, Bahamas - Pearl Island Beach Escape, Swimming Pigs, Discover Nassau Town and Atlantis

See All Nassau Excursions 

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