Freedom of the Seas

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.

DVR Alert: Man-Made: Ultimate Cruise Ship - Freedom of the Seas

In:
06Aug2010

Set your DVRs (or VCRs if someone actually still has one) for Sunday night to check out National Geographic Channel's series "Man-Made", where they will take a look at the Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas ship.

Freedom of the Seas debuted in 2006 as the worlds largest cruise ship: a fast, fabulous floating city with nearly 6000 people on board almost every day. Freedom has a reputation for everything thats bold and beautiful, and her first New Year's is set to be an extravagant celebration with a week of intense preparation leading up to the biggest ever New Year's Eve party at sea. She is equipped with the technology to handle almost anything: rogue waves, hurricanes, terrorist attack and even contagious diseases - threats no captain can ignore. In the lead up to the big bash, Freedom and her crew of nearly 1500 will not only battle the elements but also a full complement of eccentric guests. The first New Years Eve on the worlds biggest cruise ship: plain sailing or a nautical nightmare? This is the inside story.

Remember how I said to set your DVRs? Well that's because it's airing on the National Georgraphic Channel at 2am on Sunday, August 8th.  I don't know about you, but I'm not usually up that early/late, so I'll opt to record it instead.  Here's a quick clip from the episode.

Royal Caribbean launching specialty food cruises

In:
21Jul2010

Do you consider yourself a foodie?  Or maybe you're just a fan of great food?  Well, Royal Caribbean is launching a new series of themed cruises that is right up your alley. There will be 12 specialty voyages onboard Freedom of the Seas that are part of the cruise line’s “Epicurean Discovery” series.

Designed for culinary enthusiasts, the package features a variety of special events throughout the week devoted to cuisine and fine dining.

Each cruise is by a different celebrity chef for the cruise. Here is the schedule of celebrity chefs:

  • Chef Cindy Hutson - September 19, 2010 
  • Chef Johnny Vinczencz - October 3, 2010
  • Chef Tim Andriola - October 17, 2010
  • Chef Carlos Fernandez - October 31, 2010
  • Chef Lauren De Rouen - November 7, 2010
  • Chef Roberto Treviño November 14, 2010
  • TBD - December 5, 2010
  • TBD - December 12, 2010
  • Chef Michael Schwartz - January 2, 2011
  • Chef Nick Weber - January 9, 2011
  • Chef Spike Mendelsohn - February 6, 2011
  • TBD - February 20, 2011

By booking into this package, here are the exclusive options you can look forward to:

  • Participate in Exclusive Culinary Experiences
  • Enjoy a Cocktail Reception Meet & Greet Photo Opportunity with Celebrity Chefs
  • Receive Special In-Suite Gifts
  • Private Dining Experience with Celebrity Chef in our Specialty Restaurants
  • Take a VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of our Private Galley
  • Sample Appetizers in a Private Tapas Welcome
  • Savor Succulent Vintages in a Special Wine Tasting Event
  • Attend a Question & Answer Session with Celebrity Chef and Ship's Executive Chef
  • Receive a Special Kit with Photos, Recipes, Menus and Guest Chef Signature
  • Learn Cooking Tips from the Pros
  • Take Home a Commemorative Epicurean Discovery Apron & Chef's Hat
     

The Epicurean Discovery is available exclusively to guests booking suite accommodations or higher.  Price begins at $1,874 per person, based on double occupancy.

Waterslide and aqua park fad started by Royal Caribbean

In:
19Jul2010

Today it seems like every cruise ship has lots of different amenities to choose from like water slides, pools or other fun recreational activities.  HospitalityNet wrote an article about the advent of water based fun on cruise ships and looks back to Royal Caribbean pioneering the idea of physical entertainment on a cruise ship when they debuted rock climbing walls, mini-golf and ice-skating rinks in 2005.  Then in 2006, Royal Caribbean launched the industry’s largest passenger ship at the time, Freedom of the Seas, with an onboard surf simulator called a FlowRider and an H2O Zone aqua park. Ever since then, it's been a competition among the cruise lines to out do each other.

The article talks about what the different cruise lines have, but here is the write up on Oasis of the Seas.

Oasis of the Seas is the largest cruise ship at sea. It is the first to have a carousel, a full Broadway show, a zipline, two FlowRiders, a beach pool and an aqua theater that offers synchronized swimming and high-dive performances.
 
It is the first ship to offer seven distinctly themed neighborhoods --- (1) Central Park, (2) Boardwalk, (3) Royal Promenade, (4) H2O & Sports Zone, (5) Spa & Fitness Center, (6) Entertainment Place and (7) Youth Zone. Think you might be bored? Think again.
 
Cruise consultant Jennifer Crivelli offers this advice: “Mom can visit Central Park right on Deck 8, complete with trees, gardens and dining. In the evening, she can attend the Broadway musical Hair Spray on board in the Opal Theater. She can even visit the Vitality at Sea Day Spa to enjoy a massage or facial. Dad can spend his days at sea on Deck 16, practicing his surfing on the FlowRider in the H2O Zone. Who wants to climb a mountain, when you can climb a 30-foot rock wall a hundred feet above the ocean? And there is even a zipline. Sports practice is not a problem either. Oasis of the Seas has a full-sized basketball/volley court and fitness center in the Sports Zone. At the beach, Junior can walk the Boardwalk, eat cotton candy and ride the carousel. Sis can lounge by one of the four pools and work on her tan.”

Photo of the Day: Freedom of the Seas coming in

In:
12Jul2010

Photo by Mike Rahlmann

Freedom of the Seas: Four Must Do Activities

In:
09Jul2010

If you've got a cruise coming up on Freedom of the Seas, then this is your week as we have even more tips for your next cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas, as provided by CruiseMates.com

  1. Explore the Promenade
  2. Sample the Cuisine
  3. Experience the Entertainment and Nightlife
  4. Activities for Kids

Here is one of the tips, explore the promenade

The Promenade is longer than on other RCI ships, and is similar to a large suburban mall. Three miles of corridors connect the public rooms, and are well marked so passengers don't get hopelessly lost. Boutiques that are on the other Voyager-class ships are on Freedom. The Royal Promenade has special lighting effects for the Mardi Gras-style parades. The Royal Promenade features several spots for snacks and has a book shop, The Book Nook.

Five more tips for Freedom of the Seas

In:
08Jul2010

Last week, Andy Mayer posted tips from his recent cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas and he's back this week with more tips to share.  As always, these tips are specific to Freedom of the Seas, but I believe they can be applied to nearly any Royal Caribbean sailing.

  1. Get up early if you want lounge chairs near the pool on the days at sea
  2. Book your own excursions
  3. Get private lessons on the Flowrider
  4. Get a “cabana chair” in Haiti
  5. Return to the ship earlier than normal in Grand Cayman
  6. Depart on your own term

Here's a good tip Andy posted about regarding the best place to rest in Labadee

 

Unfortunately, we found information lacking about RC’s private beach at Labadee, Haiti.  We checked for maps at guest services and asked around, but could learn almost nothing.  The head of the excursions desk on deck 5 knew zero!  I want to pass one thing on to you.
 
When you get off this ship, go straight and take the path almost as far as you can take it.  By walking straight and far, you come to a less rocky area, from which you can swim.  However, you will also find “cabana” chairs.  These are two normal chairs pushed under a half-moon, umbrella like cover that provides shade and a bit of privacy.  They are first-come, first-serve.  If you don’t care about swimming, then find some shade under a tree.  But, if you want to swim and want shade to relax, go directly for a cabana chair.

Five tips for Freedom of the Seas

In:
01Jul2010

Andy Mayer posted some great tips from his recent experience aboard Freedom of the Seas and they are some good advice.  Here's a quick rundown of them.

  1. Buy Bottles of Wine Not Individual Glasses
  2. Try the Buffet for Dinner
  3. Get the Early Dining Seating for Dinner
  4. Get the Fountain Soda Package
  5. Prepare to be Disconnected

Here's one full tip is posted about the bottles of wine being a better deal than by the glass

My colleague Mike told me about this before we left, and he was right.  Glasses of wine in the dining room can be expensive – in the $15 range.  However, if you know that you want wine every night and don’t mind the same wine for two nights or more in a row, buy a bottle.  At the end of the meal, your waiter marks the cork with your table number, takes it away, and then brings it back the next night for you to finish.  Since we had only two drinkers (my wife and I), this worked better than the RC Wine Plan, where the fewest number of bottles you can buy is five.  The per bottle cost of the Wine Plan is less than we paid, but we couldn’t have possibly drunk five bottles in a week.

Royal Caribbean largest reason for increase in tourism in Bahamas

In:
21Jun2010

The Ministry of Tourism in the Bahamas released new tourism statistics for the country that first quarter numbers for 2010 are "a new Dawn of Hope" for a country that has been hit hard by the global recession.  Cruise arrivals for Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama as first ports of call up by 22.9 per cent and 41.8 per cent for the three months of 2010 and the largest reason? Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas.

Assessing the reasons behind the increase in cruise passenger arrivals, the Ministry of Tourism said: "Most of the increase by first port of entry to the Bahamas overall came from Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas. Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas helped to push the increase in cruise arrivals even higher. With the introduction of the Oasis of the Seas and the Freedom of the Seas to the Bahamas itinerary, it increased the number of passengers brought in by Royal Caribbean by 68.3 per cent.

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