Independence of the Seas to homeport in UK in 2025

Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas will return to UK waters in 2025, with the line predicting the move would prompt “one of its biggest-ever on-sale-now performances”.

Freedom-class ship Independence of the Seas last sailed from Southampton six years ago and will replace Quantum-class Anthem of the Seas, which will sail ex-Southampton next summer.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, EMEA vice-president Ben Bouldin said he expected Independence of the Seas to be well received by agents as the ship is “synonymous with the growth of cruise in the UK market”.

“She was the biggest ship at the time when she launched and she spent a lot of years [in the UK] in her early life and I think she’s a brilliant ship for the UK market,” he said.

“I know it’s not a new ship but I genuinely believe Independence will drive one of our biggest ever on-sale-now performances from a booking perspective.”

He added: “Our audience is predominantly families and Independence has the biggest pool space and pool deck of any ship in the fleet, an ice rink, water slides and the best sports bar we have in the whole fleet, as well as the West End musical Grease, so there’s loads of great activities and entertainment for everybody.”

Royal Caribbean will do some “pre-registration work” to give agents a head-start on securing bookings, which will go on sale within the next week.

Bouldin encouraged agents to revisit their databases of customers who sailed on Independence of the Seas when it previously departed from Southampton, as well as urging fans of Anthem of the Seas to secure a final sailing on the ship next summer.

He said: “There are two opportunities for agents here: it’s a great chance for people to go on Anthem next summer, and if they are a fan of Independence then they should make two bookings.

“A change [of ship] is important because we have a number of guests that like to sail from Southampton every year so having a fresh ship, fresh itineraries and fresh entertainment for people to see is key.”

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