RCCL's Independence of the Seas Set to Debut in the UK

Royal Caribbean International announced on Monday that its third Freedom class ship, Independence of the Seas, will get its sea legs in the United Kingdom when it debuts there in May 2008. The cruise ship will be the largest ever to homeport in Europe and is part of a growing trend in the cruise industry to reposition more inventory there, RCCL's chairman and CEO Richard Fain verified. "This step is part of the company's strategy of international business development and expansion into emerging and high-growth cruise markets," he said. "We have already seen tremendous growth of the cruise industry in Europe." Fain added that 21 percent of the company's inventory—Celebrity and the Pullmantur deal included—would be positioned in Europe this year. The 3,634-guest Independence of the Seas will sail the 2008 summer season from Southampton, UK.

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