Travel Happiness: Royal Caribbean Unveils Its Newest Ship...Freedom of the Seas

Travel Happiness
Royal Caribbean Unveils Its Newest Ship...
Freedom of the Seas
by Art Richards

Royal Caribbean International offered a preview of its newest ship, Freedom of the Seas in early May in New York City. At 156,000 tons, Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world when it debuts in May 2006 according to chairman and CEO Richard Fain.
"Our goal is not to build the largest ship, but the most exciting, with the most things to do," he said as he welcomed the media, travel agents and a group of frequent Diamond cruisers to inspect mock-ups of the ship that had been assembled in the Lexington Avenue Armory.
"Freedom" is currently under construction at Aker Finnyards in Turku, Finaland, and is intended to be an all-inclusive vessel. Mr. Fain stated "whatever you want to do, you have the freedom to choose."
Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, noted that in addition to the Voyager-class features--such as a rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink and Royal Promenade--the 3,6000 passenger ship, the first in Royal Caribbean's new Freedom class, will feature a number of innovations.
The H20 Zone will feature oversized sculptures, spraying water in all directions, a circular current pool and a swimming pool fed by a waterfall. The sculptures will be spread throughout a large central wading area that also will include a number of spray cannons, water jets and ground gushers.
The adults-only Solarium will feature tropical foliage, rainforest-inspired mosaics, and cantilevered whirlpools. It will extend 12 feet out from the sides of the ship with views down to the ocean 112 feet below. A dedicated sports pool will be used for team competitions ranging from water volleyball to synchronized swimming contests.
Mr. Fain noted that Freedom of the Seas' combined pool area is 43% larger than on Voyager-class ships, "giving us the ability to create three distinctive spaces to appeal to our varied audiences. Guests will have the freedom to splash in the family pool area, relax in the adults-only Solarium or soak in the sun at the main pool area."
At night the main pool area will be transformed into an open-air nightclub with a large dance floor situated between the two pools.
There will also be six different family-focused stateroom categories specially designed to accommodate larger families and groups of friends. The largest, the Presidential Suite, is 1,215 square feet, sleeps 14 and features four bedrooms, four baths and 810 square feet of outdoor living area with whirlpool, wet bar and al fresco dining table. Other family accommodations include four eight-person Royal Family Suites; one six-person Accessible Family Stateroom, eight six-person Family Ocean Staterooms, and two six-person Inside Family Staterooms. There will be flat-panel televisions in all staterooms.
Freedom of the Seas will sail 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami calling in Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Caymen; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Royal Caribbean's private destination, Labadee, Hispaniola. If you're ready to cruise on the most innovative ship on the seas, stay tuned for Freedom of the Seas.

Art Richards is the owner of Richards World Travel, Inc. in Hagerstown. (www.richardsworldtravel.com)