7 surprising facts about Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas
1. Freedom of the Seas' godmother is Katherine Louise Calder
You may be aware that cruise ships have godmothers, who serve in ceremonial roles at the ship's launch and Freedom of the Seas' godmother is a woman named Katherine Louise Calder of Portland, Oregon.
Ryal Caribbean looked beyond a celebrity and instead, launched a nationwide search for an extraordinary "everyday" person to serve as godmother to Freedom of the Seas.
Calder was selected to be the ship's godmother as part of a contest to find a true "godmother" in the world.
For over 27 years, Calder was a foster mother to some 400 children over the years and was chosen by popular vote on The Today Show on NBC.
After being selected for the role, Calder flew up to New York City and broke a bottle of champagne across Freedom of the Seas' hull.
Calder also receives one free Royal Caribbean cruise per year for the rest of her life as part of winning the contest.
You can find a photo of Ms. Calder near Guest Services on deck 5.
2. Freedom of the Seas used to be largest ship in the world
When Freedom of the Seas launched in May 2006, she was the largest cruise ship in the world by gross tonnage.
Freedom of the Seas came in larger than the previous largest cruise ship in the world, Cunard's Queen Mary 2.
Freedom of the Seas enjoyed this distinction until Royal Caribbean built Oasis of the Seas in 2009.
To put that into scale for you, the Titanic was only 46,000 gross tons.
3. Ultra Voyager was the original name for the class
Every new Royal Caribbean class of cruise ships has a project name before the company eventually settles on the official class name.
The Freedom class was known as "the Ultra Voyager class" because it essentially was designed to be a larger copy of the Voyager class that proceeded it.
The Freedom class is roughly 15 percent larger than the Voyager class ships.
4. Ben & Jerry's Sweet
On the promenade there is a special stateroom that overlooks the promenade area, cabin 6305, which is unique because it is themed to the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream shop that is below it.
The stateroom is directly above the Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop on the Royal Promenade. And because on the porch of Ben & Jerry's two life-size cow figurines, the passengers look through their window behind these cows.
If you happen to stay in this stateroom, you will get certain extra amenities such as complimentary Ben & Jerry's ice cream as well as access to the concierge lounge.
5. Clarissa Parish designed many murals aboard Freedom of the Seas
Anglo-Italian muralist Clarissa Parish designed many of the beautiful murals found around Freedom of the Seas.
If you walk around Freedom of the Seas, you will see her work without ever knowing one person was largely responsible for the art.
In fact, Parish also created a number of murals again for Royal Caribbean on the Oasis class cruise ships.
6. There used to be a rare bookseller shop
When Freedom of the Seas launched in 2006, guests could find on the Royal Promenade the Book Nook, a room filled with over 3,600 books.
Royal Caribbean designed the space to have the ambiance of a rare bookseller's shop. There was cafe seating and invited guests to sit down with a book or magazine and enjoy a light snack.
Royal Caribbean had actually attempted to create a Book Nook earlier on Radiance of the Seas, but abandoned the idea because of the shop's remote location.
The idea did not last very long and in just a few short years, the Book Nook was regularly closed to guests and was eventually replaced by the Loyalty Ambassador's office. Today, the Next Cruise office is situated there.
7. There used to be a barber shop
Like the Book Nook, there also used to be a barber shop on Freedom of the Seas known as "A Clean Shave".
The idea behind A Clean Shave was to offer men a spa experience that was more masculine than the salon upstairs in the spa.
Men could choose from a basic haircut, shoe shine or opt for a full facial shave. Royal Caribbean designed the space to look like a classic barber shop.
A Clean Shave was replaced by the Cupcake Cupboard following a refurbishment in 2011.