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Click photo to book Freedom Of The Seas.

Royal Caribbean has taken world class cruising to a new level with innovations that are truly futuristic and mind boggling, fulfilling a type of euphoria that cruisers have long dreamed about and are now implementing.

When Royal Caribbean launched its 208 feet tall Freedom of the Seas in June, it established itself as the world’s leading cruise line, not only in terms of the largest ship, but one that has paved the way for guests to enjoy ‘freedom from want and realize the true wonders of world class cruising.

Freedom Of The Seas; A New Era For Cruisers.

With the launching of Freedom of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has also carved a niche for itself with its staff of 1,360 from over 40 different countries and languages, setting the staff for guests to feel at home ‘away from home’ with the distinct likelihood that everyone on board could relate to a member of the staff in their own language.

Royal Caribbean already takes its cruising to over 150 amazing ports and delivers a wide range of value, energizing onboard and shore-side activities, incredible and innovative ships, remarkable destinations, and a cruising experience that appeals to the young, young at heart, single, married and families.

Much has already been written about the worlds largest cruise ship built in Aker, Finnyards in Turku, Finland, but enough cannot be told about the design, a top deck aqua environment unparalleled in the industry including an interactive family water park, cantilevered whirlpools, dedicated sports pool and the incredible Flow-rider, an onboard surf park, apart from the customary ‘all you can eat’ program.

The World's Largest Cruise Liner.

The 32-foot wide by 40 foot long Flow-Rider, the first ever on board Surf Park, generates a thin sheet of water that flows at over 34,000 gallons per minute over the ride surface, creating a wave-like shape. Similar to swimming against a current in a stationary lap pool, riders surf or body board against a wave like water-flow, carving turns and trying tricks.

The rock climbing wall.

Activities on board are endless. For example, the famous rock climbing wall is even bigger with 11 different routes to climb and an additional spire. The 43-foot tall by 44-foot wide, free standing wall adds a new dimension to the activity which even the most experienced will find challenging.

For the first time ever, experienced boxers looking to hone their skills or novices wanting to try something new can get their fill while on board. Guests can test their chops with a variety of boxing related activities, including none on one training sessions with an experienced instructor inside a full size 20’ by 20’ Everlast boxing ring. Multiple Everlast speed bags, jump ropes, heavy bags and padded punching mitts are available.

Guests looking for a more serene workout will find plenty of options onboard the most innovative ship at sea. For starters, the six reformer machines in the Life Fitness Peak Pilate System studio give Freedom of the Seas the first ever dedicated Pilates reformer group exercise program found on a cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean has also teamed up with Life Fitness, the largest health club exercise equipment supplier in the world, to provide nearly all of the fitness machines aboard Freedom of the Seas. New to cruise line gyms is Life Fitness Cable Motion Series, which provides strength training and gives exercisers the freedom to move limbs independently of one another or to use different weights for each limb.

The massive pool deck in the H20 Zone.

Other programs include walking and running activities utilizing the onboard running track, self service kiosk to service cruisers with running 5K, 10L or Marathon and walking training programs, as well as stretch and fitness tips at intervals along the onboard running track. For those into golfing there is a nine hole miniature golf course, a golf simulator, basketball, paddleball or volleyball.

Freedom of the seas offers a top-deck environment unparalleled in the industry, featuring three massive pool areas. Each area introduces innovative new concepts, including an interactive water park, the most dramatic whirlpools afloat and a dedicated sports pool.

Freedom of the Seas combined pool area is 43 percent larger than on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager class ships, giving the ship, the ability to create three distinctive spaces to appeal to a wider audience.

One of the most spectacular spaces on Freedom of the Seas is the H2O Zone, the farthest aft of the three areas. H2O Zone is a colorful wonderland of large, brightly hued sculptures doubling as interactive fountains that spray, sprinkle and spurt water in every direction.

The beautiful Atrium.

The oversized sculpture depict family members of all shapes and sizes,  including the family dog, and give guests numerous ways to get soaked, by turning wheels, setting off sensors and dodging dumping buckets. The sculptures are spread throughout a large, central wading area that also includes a number of spray cannons, water jets and ground gushers.

In one corner of the water playground, a circular pool shoots a current of water and guests can float with the flow as they are misted by one of the fountain sculptures. Next to the circular pool, a shallow pool, fed by a flamingo-shaped fountain creates a secluded space for the ship’s youngest cruisers. At the back of the park, a rectangular swimming pool is flanked by wading areas and fed by a waterfall cascading from an overhanging bridge.

Boasting of a length of 1,112 feet, 184 feet wide, 15 passenger decks, 4,375 total guest occupancy and weighting some 160,000 tons, Freedom of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas  also offers superlative dining and entertainment options to satisfy even the most serious or recreational and epicurean endeavors.

Already a hit with guests is the Royal Promenade on Deck 5. This is a 368 foot long shopping, dining and entertainment boulevard that spans the length of an entire football field. The focus of activity, the Promenade boasts nightly street parades commencing from a descending bridge amidst a fanfare of music, lasers and lights. The bridge transforms into a stage for headline entertainers performing for their audiences below.

Quiet on the High Seas in the library.

Filled with over 3,600 books, the Book Nook has the ambience of a rare bookseller’s shop with café seating that invites guest to linger with a good book or magazine and a light snack. This is used more regularly by guests rather than the Library which offers a quiet area for reading and an opportunity to rent books and guides. The Book Nook is always crowded with a heavy demand for attention.

The Ben and Jerry’s fifties style ice cream parlor, the relaxing Café Promenade with its murals of  paintings by famous artists Matisse, Leger and Braqe and Latte-tudes coffee bar, serving Seattle’s Best Coffee, offer guests a caffeine fix or delectable dessert any time of day.

Sorrento’s pizzeria, a typical small Italian neighborhood eatery, has family photos and other paraphernalia covering every inch of its walls and a jukebox playing the songs of famous American-Italian vocalists. Its lively atmosphere creates the perfect setting for large groups of friends and families to share mouthwatering pizza pies on the ‘sidewalk’ of the Promenade under brightly colored canvas awnings.

At the romantic Vintages wine bar, in a décor reminiscent of a quaint 1930’s stone cottage overlooking a picturesque Californian vineyard, guests can sample superb vintages from an extensive wine list.

A typical lively old world English pub, the Bull and Bear Pub, with its dark and distressed wooden décor, is a great gathering place ideal for watching the action in the Promenade.

The sun splashed Pool Deck.

The Royal Promenade also features a variety of stores, including the Get Out There boutique offering apparel and accessories reflective of Royal Caribbean’s explorer mindset, a General Store, Fragrance Shop and FJ/Watches boutique for jewelry and accessories.

A Clean Shave rekindles the nostalgia of a traditional American neighborhood  barbershop where men would gather for not only their regular grooming but also for social conversation and relaxation., This barbershop combines traditional shaving, scalp and shoulder massages, haircut and shoe-shining services with modern day technology. Flat screen televisions at each barber chair station features international sporting events and hand held wireless video games keep guests in the waiting area entertained.

The Party Around the World parade is put on by the entire staff on the first night of every cruise, while Circus of the Seas, a traditional parade featuring stilt-walkers, jugglers, clowns and aerial performers, takes place on all remaining nights.

Other activities include The Wipe Out bar, a free standing shack near the Flow-Rider surf park, which offers draft beer, wine and icy fruit drinks in a casual and fun environment.

The gothic Crypt dance club.

Festive guests can begin the evening at the elegant Champagne Bar, Cloud Nine lounge or the Plaza Bar before heading to the ship’s signature Schooner Bar, a cocktail lounge and piano bar perfect for after dinner sing longs.

The Egyptian-themed Pharaoh’s Palace is best on special karaoke or themed party nights while the adjacent Connoisseur Club is ideal for classy cocktails, while the hot Boleros provide live Latin beats and flavorful mojitos and caipirinhas

Guests, 18 or older can dance until dawn at The Crypt, a two deck gothic-themed night club, charged with drama and energy.

Those feeling lucky can please their bets on one of the Casino Royale’s 19 gaming tables or 308 slot machines. This glitzy Las Vegas style casino is located below the Royal Promenade and is packed to capacity most times. Guests can try their luck with Caribbean Stud Poker, Let it Ride, American Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Texas Hold’em, and three-card Poker.

There are 308 slot machines and 19 gaming tables and on occasions they are all occupied.

The Galileo restaurant.

From intimate dining to raucous entertainment, The Royal Promenade offers a myriad of experiences providing guests of the Freedom of the Seas with endless choices that has truly redefined the cruise vacation experience.

For entertainment, the Arcadia Theatre seats 1,350 guests and features three shows: Marquee, a medley of performances, the musical Now You Can See It; magic shows and Once Upon A Time, a narrative piece combining the Brothers Grimm’s fairytales.

Studio B houses Center Ice, the ship’s ice rink, where guests can free skate or marvel at Freedom Ice, an interactive, professional ice show, which focuses on the concept of breaking boundaries.

Epicurean Options are limitless. Freedom’s elegant main dining room spans three levels, Leonardo’s on Deck Three, Isaac’s on Deck four and Galileo’s on Deck five, named for scientists Da Vinci, Newton and Galilei. Up to 2,101 guests can feast on classic culinary creations amidst a rich décor of deeply-colored carpeting and upholstery and softwood accents.

With Chefs from a number of countries, the dining advantages are numerous with guests being able to take advantage of the wide cuisine range. The Head Chef is Johann Petutschnig from Austria.

Freedom’s elegant main dining room spans three levels. Leonardo’s on Deck Three, Isaac’s on Deck Four and Galileo’s on Deck Five, named for scientists Da Vinci, Newton and Galilei. Up to 2,101 guests can feast on classic culinary creations amidst a rich décor of deeply-colored carpeting and upholstery and softwood accents. Providing even more options for guests are selections from the Kosher, vegetarian and healthful Ship-Shape menus.

Portofino's for fine Italian dining.

Guests slip back to time at Johnny Rockets, a family-friendly 1950’s style diner, savoring all American favorites like hand-dipped shakes and malts, famous hamburgers and cheesy chili fries.

Freedom’s two specialty restaurants provide a more intimate dining experience. Juicy steaks and fresh seafood tempt palates at Chops Grille, and impeccable antipastos and other classic Italian specialties are found at Portofino. Reservations are required and a $20 charge applies.

Featuring the flavorful fare of Southeast Asia, Jade restaurant give guests the opportunity to indulge in India, Thai and Chinese dishes, as well as innovative sushi and exotic beverages like sake, plum wine and Singapore Slings.

Vintages for cocktails.

Windjammer Café, a casual sumptuous buffer found on Deck 11, serves a variety of cuisines including fast food favorites, fresh salads and international entrees. The airy nautical themed Café offers expansive views and is open almost around the clock, making one of the favorites for guests.

On shore activities on Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, have been increased for children 3-8 years. They can participate in a fun filled around the track experience in a battery operated vehicle, Cadillac Escalades, Barbie Jeeps, etc. They travel approximately three miles per hour. It’s located next to the world’s largest inflatable water slide on the south side of the Island.

Entertainment afloat.

Coca Cay is located in the middle of the Caribbean’s bright blue water. With its white-sand beaches and spectacular surroundings, it is a wonderland of adventure. The tropical paradise has recently been updated with new aquatic facilities, nature trails and a ton of great places to jut sit back, relax and enjoy a tropical drink.

A barrier-free pathway connects the Coco Cay tender Landing, Straw market, food and beverage venues and restrooms for the convenience of guests with disabilities.

On Coco Cay, guests can try the Sea Trek water sport of their choice. Highlights of the day include Sea Trek Snorkeling, Wave-runners, Parasailing, Kayak Adventure, Caylana’s Aqua Park and the Floating Beach Mat.


Royal Caribbean also has another private Island, in Haiti, called Labadee where activities are supervised by trained personnel.  All are certified in CPR.. Other exhilarating adventures on shore include the America’s Cup Regatta, and a dolphin encounter, horse back riding and swimming with stingrays.

Freedom of the Seas has a total of 1,817 staterooms, which includes 1,084 with ocean views and 842 with balconies, and 733 Interior rooms, the taste of most and if not all guests are satisfied. The Presidential family suite can accommodate 14 guests.

Royal Caribbean President Adam Goldstein told journalists on the special cruise before the beginning of the regular runs, that Freedom now provides the ultimate in relaxation with the introduction of a new fleet wide bedding program. It is planned to have the new bedding program rolled out to the rest of the 19 other ships by May 2007. The program, designed to enhance the sleep experience, includes new bed frames designed to prevent sagging, nine-inch thick spring mattresses with separate two-inch thick micro-fiber pillow tops, 2290 thread count long staple cotton blend sheets, two micro-fiber pillows, plus one decorative pillow, duvet with cotton-blend covers, bed skirts and colored bed scarves placed at the end of the beds to protect the duvet. An experience of the new program will attest to the veracity of Royal Caribbean’s innovation.

While it is true that there is a wide choice of cruise lines and an abundant supply of ships and offers, the selection of Royal Caribbean for your next vacation is a foregone conclusion.

Awesome sailing.

Let’s put Freedom in perspective. Standing upright on its bow, Freedom of the Seas would trump New York’s famed Chrysler building which is 1,046 feet and Paris’s Eiffel Tower which is 986 feet.

At 160,000 the GRT of Freedom of the Seas is equal to that of Royal Caribbean’s first four ships put together.

Boasting a width of 185 feet, Freedom of the Seas is actually wider than the White House which is 168 feet.

When measured from the waterline to the top of the funnel, Freedom of the Seas towers 208 feet tall, which is approximately the same height as two Statues of Liberty, placed head to toe.

reedom of the Seas has enough staterooms to host all, NFL, MLB and NBA players and coaches in one single sailing.

The Arcadia Theatre seats 1,350 guests, approximately the same number of passengers housed on three 747 jets.

The Royal Promenade stretches longer than a football field, running 445 feet down the center of the ship. That sums up to be ‘total freedom’.

By Edwin Ali, Florida and Caribbean Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent.

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