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Freedom of the Seas

A look at Royal Caribbean's suites

In:
20Jan2011

A great blogger Chris at Gadling.com has posted an in-depth look at the suites available on Royal Caribbean ships.  Like so many of us, we're enamored with the idea of luxury and who doesn't dream about staying in a lavish suite on their next cruise?  Because of the many suite configurations found throughout the fleet, Chris uses the Grand Suite aboard Freedom of the Seas as an example.

Grand Suites in Freedom of the Seas are 432 square feet in size. That's considerably larger than a standard balcony cabin on that ship which comes in at about 200 square feet. So right off the bat you have more space, accommodating up to five guests.

But it's not so much the extra space that matters with a Grand Suite as it is what comes with it.

The first stop on the luxury train is the restricted-access Concierge Lounge, exclusively for Suite guests and top-level members of the line's Crown and Anchor Society past-guest program. Inside this special area suite guests will find

  • A dedicated Concierge who is available to assist with anything they might require
  • Twenty-four-hour a day use of the Concierge Club Lounge
  • Continental breakfast every morning and open bar & hors d'oeuvres every evening available in the Concierge Club Lounge
  • Assistance with reservations for Portofino Italian restaurant & Chops Grille Steakhouse
  • Assistance with booking shore excursions, Salon or Spa treatments and Priority tickets for the ice skating show
  • Assistance with the arrangement of private parties, pre-ordering dinner wine and more

Chris has posted lots more detail about the suites along with some great photos in his blog entry this week.

Royal Caribbean Introduces Innovative Chefmakers at Sea Aboard Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas

In:
15Sep2010

Vacationing foodies can now choose from a range of culinary experiences aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise. Royal Caribbean International is partnering with renowned Chefmakers Cooking Academy, a cooking school dedicated to aspiring home cooks of all ages, to bring unique cooking programs to guests, who can share in fond family vacation memories and learn practical skills that can be applied day-to-day. Available now aboard Liberty of the Seas and beginning in the fall aboard Freedom of the Seas, guests, at an additional cost, can choose from over a dozen Chefmakers at Sea classes that are taught in the actual galleys of the ship.

 
"Royal Caribbean continues to be at the forefront of onboard food and beverage offerings, tempting guests with a diverse and exciting lineup of enriching and delectable programs,” said Frank Weber, vice president of Food and Beverage Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “The Chefmakers at Sea cooking experience engages guests of all ages by teaching and honing their skills.”
 
Chefmakers at Sea’s hands-on classes range from $40 to $125 and are ideal for both kitchen newbies and the experienced home cook alike. With several essential programs like Knife Skills, Quick & Easy Fish, and All About Chicken, to highly social and interactive cooking parties like Asian Persuasion, New American Cuisine, and Surf & Turf, there is an appetizing class for every palate. Successfully piloted aboard Mariner of the Seas, the three-hour programs are open to guests 18 and over, who can try their hand at a series of exciting recipes and new skills under the careful guidance of the Chefmakers culinary team.
 
“At Chefmakers, we teach Royal Caribbean guests the tricks of the trade, in turn providing a feeling of mastery and confidence that will last long after their cruise,” said Richard H. Klein, founder and CEO of Chefmakers Cooking Academy, LLC.
 
Other classes include: Small Bites; Quick & Easy Pasta; Tamales; Lazy Day Brunch; California Cuisine; and Cooking Around the World. In addition, Chefmakers at Sea offers a series of festive holiday classes, such as: Pumpkin Carving; Gingerbread House Decorating; Ultimate Thanksgiving; and Entertaining for New Years. Participants will receive their very own Chefmakers apron and recipe cards for all menu items prepared, as well as complimentary wine based on class selection. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase the high quality kitchenware and utensils that they learn to use in the classes.
 
Little ones, from four to 11 years of age, can kick-start their culinary careers with a one-hour “Kids with Kids Baking” class. The future chefs will have fun preparing homemade sweet treats, like mini-puff pastry turnovers, learning lessons in chemistry and kitchen hygiene along the way.
 
Guests may register and learn about the specific classes being offered online using the Chefmakers pre-board reservation system. Private Chefmakers at Sea programs also will soon be available for various corporate groups that offer a very unique team building experience as well as for families looking for another memorable way to enjoy their cruise vacation.

Port Canaveral readies bigger 2011 budget plan

In:
19Aug2010

Port Canaveral, Florida officials released on Wednesday a healthy 2011 year budget proposal that's nearly 22 percent bigger than the 2010 plan. Thanks to expected larger-capacity cruise ships, such as Freedom of the Seas as well as cargo shipping, revenues from those two sectors are forecast to increase more than 23 percent, from the current $39 million to $48 million in 2011.

Port officials will vote on the 2011 budget plan in September and Port Canaveral's chief executive officer expects an even better budget picture in 2012.

Port Canaveral has been raking in the money despite other municipalities seek ways to shore up budget gaps. How does Port Canaveral do it? The port's revenues come mostly through lease arrangements with tenants, ship tariffs and other business dealings.

"It's amazing how well these numbers look," said Tom Goodson, chairman of the port commission, "because the real world is nothing like this."

Earlier this month Port Canaveral CEO J. Stanley Payne said that he wanted to add a brand new multimillion dollar cruise terminal to Port Canaveral.  Port Canaveral is home to Freedom of the Seas as well as Monarch of the Seas.

Upgrades coming to some Royal Caribbean ships

In:
18Aug2010

The very successful debut of the Oasis of the Seas also came with some new amenities and entertainment options that were never seen on the Royal Caribbean fleet and now Royal Caribbean is set to copy some of those new innovations to existing ships.

Starting in early 2011, passengers will soon enjoy new dining opportunities, entertainment, children’s programming and other enhancements on select Royal Caribbean ships already in service.  These vessels include Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.

Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas will receive...

  • Broadway show (yet to be named and Liberty of the Seas only)
  • Royal Babies and Tots Nursery
  • Large 18.5-foot video screen overlooking family pool area
  • LCD wayfinder system
  • Cupcake Cupboard restaurant
  • Vintages lounge will be redone

New Falmouth port in Jamaica to open by November

In:
16Aug2010

The new cruise port in Falmouth, Jamaica now has a tentative opening date of November 2 according to E Pihl & Son Project Manager Jes Olsen. Olsen says the first two ships to use the historic port will be arriving on November 2.

Despite the port welcoming in ships by then, construction work will not be complete by then yet and at that time, "it will be a construction site", Olsen said.  Visitors who do dock in November will be taking buses to nearby Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.

The goal is to have the port fully operational by March 13, 2011 when Oasis of the Seas will dock there.

Olsen would not say how much of a dent the overrun will put in the budget, but he noted that the longer the work takes, the more costly the project becomes.   According to Olsen, the delaying factors include soft soil at a spot where all the utilities are to be run, as well as coral which has had to be removed.

Royal Caribbean has a vested interest in the port opening, as The Port Authority of Jamaica is responsible for the port infrastructure, while Royal Caribbean committed $102 million to the land structures, such as the shops and restaurants.

In addition to Oasis of the Seas, other Royal Caribbean ships are scheduled to stop at the port.  Navigator of the Seas has a visit scheduled as well as Freedom of the Seas a bit later.

Photo of the Day: H20 Zone on Freedom of the Seas

In:
13Aug2010

Photo by Carlos Fernandez

Guest blog entry: What’s New with Royal Caribbean?

In:
12Aug2010

Friend of the blog, Melissa DiCato of Possible Vacations has graciously taken some time to write this guest blog entry!  Today, she looks at what Royal Caribbean is doing to keep things new and fresh across their fleet of ships.  Take it away Melissa!

Royal Caribbean is doing all they can to ensure all of their clients’ needs are being well taken care of.  Oasis of the Seas has been such a huge success for Royal, they are starting to take the ideas that were only implemented on Oasis of the Seas and place them on the rest of their fleet.  Below you will find a breakdown of what you can soon find onboard Royal Caribbean Ships.

Liberty & Freedom of Seas

  • Broadway Shows
  • Nursery
  • Outdoor Screens
  • Cupcake Cupboard
  • Vintages
  • Way Finder (currently only on the Oasis of the Seas, this device is located next to all elevators to help clients find their way around the ship)

Fleetwide

  • Family Library
  • Royal Bedtime stories
  • Sitters @ Sea (Sitters will come to your stateroom and watch your children while you enjoy the night with your loved one)
  • Nintendo Wii

Family programming – Royal Babies & Royal Kids

  • Fisher-Price toy lending program
  • Crayola beginning workshops
  • Babies 2 Go! (pre-order service for parent to order baby food and diapers)
  • Stroll & Roll

Dinning

  • My time dinning
  • Exclusive food experiences
  • My family time dining (for family with children ages 3-17)
  • Expedited service
  • Adventure Ocean pick-up (youth counselors will come and pick up your children and take them to their kids clubs)
  • Leisure dinner for parents

Suite Enhancements (Grand Suites & Higher)

  • Distinct Seapass cards
  • Luggage Valet
  • Complimentary Dry Cleaning
  • Cocktail Reception in Captains Quarter
  • Reserved seating in shows
  • Upgraded suite amenities
  • Breakfast & Lunch in specialty restaurants

If you are looking to take a Royal Caribbean Cruise, these enhancements will be sure to delight any family at sea.  Every cruise ship will offer you something a little unique and different which is why people cruise time and time again.  Most families enjoy taking cruises because they can just sit back and relax while everything around them is taken care of, including their most precious cargo…their children.  Something to consider is taking a Royal Caribbean themed cruise such as Romance, Music, Cruise4Haiti amongst many others.

Thanks again to Melissa for her great blog entry.  You can find Melissa on Twitter as well as on her own blog, Possible Vacations: Friends sharing travel stories.

Star-Tribune reporter takes a cruise on Freedom of the Seas

In:
11Aug2010

Neil Clarridge of the Star-Tribune, a Virginia newspaper, chronicled his recent cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas.  In part one of a three part series, Clarridge embarked on the cruise as a graduation gift for his oldest daughter.  Clarridge chose the cruise over the traditional beach vacation to avoid the "most disturbing teenage debauchery accessible to high school graduates in our area" and off they went.

Clarridge seemed to enjoy his time on the ship, and tried a few different venues on the first night of their cruise.  Here are some of his thoughts...

  • Balcony stateroom: After supper we retired to our stateroom until the show began at 9. Since we had a balcony in our stateroom, we sat outside and watched the ocean go by.  There was nothing but blue water as far as the eye could see. Luxury surrounded by beautiful desolation.
  • Entertainment for the night: The show was very entertaining. The singers could sing, the dancers could dance, and the comedians were funny.
  • Windjammer: Deck 11 was home to the Windjammer caf/. The quality and quantity of the food was superlative.  We went to the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch.

Photo of the Day: Two decks at once on Freedom of the Seas

In:
09Aug2010

Photo by Andrew Ryno

Port Canaveral proposes idea of new cruise terminal

In:
08Aug2010

Port Canaveral CEO J. Stanley Payne wants to add a brand new multimillion dollar cruise terminal to Port Canaveral, Florida to help stimulate the growth of the cruise ship industry in the popular port.  

Royal Caribbean already home ports a few of their ships at Port Canaveral, including Freedom of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas.  

Payne believes that while no tenant is specifically interested in the terminal right now, by building a new terminal, it will catch the attention of the cruise industry and generate interest in adding ships here.  "Once cruise lines start seeing you as a port that can't grow, then you have a problem," Payne said.  Payne also pointed out the fact that Jacksonville and Miami are building or upgrading terminal spaces in their ports.

A new cruise terminal could cost between $40 million to $75 million, depending on the amenities port officials decide to include in the terminal. Port Canaveral's existing three terminals for cruise passengers handles the six ships.  The newest port is terminal number 8 and was built specifically for Disney in 1996, with a nearly complete new $22 million upgrade for the terminal that is needed for its two new ships that will call Port Canaveral home in 2011 and 2012.

The cruise industry is the port's No. 1 revenue generator and it has been responsible for millions of dollars in new investments in Brevard County. A study released earlier this year by Lancaster, Pa.-based Martin Associates, which specializes in analyzing the operations of ports throughout the world, said the port helps generate $1.1 billion in revenue across all of its businesses, and $48 million in state and local taxes.

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