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Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas propulsion problems will slow ship

13 Dec 2014

Royal Caribbean is informing passengers set to embark on this week's Freedom of the Seas cruise that the ship, "is currently experiencing a small restriction on her top speed."

As a result of the speed reduction, the ship will have to change the Eastern Caribbean itinerary.  The ship will skip a port call at the company's private island of CocoCay and reduce the time the ship will spend in St. Maarten.

Emails and text messages were sent to guests today informing them of the change.  Royal Caribbean assures guests that the ship is fully operational and there is no impact on the maneuverability of the ship or on the safety of our guests and crew.

There is no word on what caused the propulsion problems.  Freedom of the Seas is scheduled for a dry dock session in January 2015.

Royal Caribbean is also giving all passengers an undisclosed amount of onboard credit.  A letter with the credit amount will be delivered to each stateroom.

Passengers tha had shore excursions booked in CocoCay through Royal Caribbean will have their excursions fully refunded in the form of onboard credit, although unused money can be refunded after the cruise back to passengers.

Freedom of the Seas is set to leave Port Canaveral on December 14 as scheduled.

DEC 15 UPDATE: Blog reader Sean shared with us some more details on the problem affecting Freedom of the Seas.  There is a recorded message from Captain Tor Olsen playing in all staterooms explaining the problem.

The center fixipod is having the trouble, which is similar to the problem Allure of the Seas had earlier this year.  Captain Olsen described one of the bearings as being "in very bad shape".

As a result, the main thurst propeller blade has been removed from the center pod and Freedom of the Seas is operating only with the port and starboard azipods. The result is a reduced top speed by 5 knots, with a new max cruising speed of 18 knots.

Royal Caribbean confirms Dynamic Dining is not coming to Freedom of the Seas

16 Oct 2014

Royal Caribbean released a new Dynamic Dining Q&A document and one bit of news to come out of is the fate of traditional dining on Freedom of the Seas.

The document reads:

As leaders in innovation, Royal Caribbean International is reimagining dining at sea with the launch of Dynamic Dining aboard the Quantum class of ships. This revolutionary program also will be introduced to the Oasis Class, the world’s largest and most innovative class of cruise ships, during their upcoming scheduled dry docks. Dynamic Dining is a strategic initiative for Royal Caribbean and based on the positive response from our guests, it is our intention to implement this program across as many of our ships as possible, as part of our Royal Advantage program — our ongoing commitment to offer the best experience in the industry to our guests. At this time, there are no plans to implement Dynamic Dining on Freedom of the Seas during her upcoming dry dock due to certain limitations including time restrictions. We will continue to communicate any implementation of Dynamic Dining across the rest of the Royal Caribbean fleet as those decisions are made.

Royal Caribbean has scheduled Freedom of the Seas for a drydock refurbishment in January 2015 and there was speculation that perhaps Freedom of the Seas would be getting Dynamic Dining just like Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

Freedom of the Seas Photo Report - July 20, 2014

20 Jul 2014

One of our blog readers, Shawn Wallace, is beginning his cruise this week on Freedom of the Seas and took some time to share photos of areas around the ship. Enjoy!

The Royal Promenade

KIds pool area, H2O Zone

Mini golf

Enjoying a drink to celebrate the beginning of a Royal Caribbean cruise

Adventure Ocean Explorers Room

Little People poster in Nursery

Galileo main dining room

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Freedom of the Seas Listener Cruise Preview

21 May 2014

Listen to the Show

It’s time once again to invite one of our awesome podcast listeners to join us on the podcast, and this week we have Marie Coschigano of New Jersey, who is going on Freedom of the Seas later this summer over July 4th. We’re going to discuss her cruise plans onboard and onshore.

Share with me your thoughts, questions and comments via...

On this episode:
Running time:

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas rescues sailors

19 Dec 2013

Freedom of the Seas rescued two sailors early this morning that were adrift at sea.

Cruise Critic reports the Royal Caribbean cruise ship found the two after the sailors shot a red flare to signal for attention.

Royal Caribbean Director of global corporate communications Cynthia Martinez issued this statement regarding the incident, "the rescue occurred today at approximately 5:30 a.m. as the ship sailed from San Juan to Philipsburg, St. Maarten. After sailing toward the red flare, the ship encountered a small boat with two passengers. Crew lowered a boat into the water and rescued the two men, both from the Dominican Republic."

After being rescued, Cruise Critic indicated that the Royal Caribbean crew gave the sailors food, water and medical treatment until they could be transfered to the United States Coast Guard in St. Maarten. Ice Skating Show Review

04 Sep 2013

Perhaps one of the more underrated shows on any Royal Caribbean cruise is the ice skating shows that are performed on the Freedom, Voyager and Oasis class ships.  Ice skating shows don't usually grab people's attentions but the show on Freedom of the Seas is exciting and very entertaining.

The Show takes place in Studios B and is a mash up of different eras of music set to interpretive ice skating dance.  I know that may not sound like the most riveting thing you could do on your cruise but it is a lot more interesting than you may think.

The cast of performers is an international assortment of ice skaters who have had various degrees of experience performing both on stage and in professional and amateur ice skating competitions.  Depending on which cruise you happen to be on, there will be one or two special guest stars who seem to have more experience than the rest of the cast and perform some of the more demanding tricks.

During each scene, the skaters come out in costumes set to match the music being played and dance along to the tunes.  Some bits will feature one or two performers while others feature nearly the entire cast.  It's the solo and duet acts that really shine because it gives those performing an opportunity to really show the audience their skills as ice skaters.  Often we will see double and triple axles, flips and other difficult tricks.  Not to be out done, the full cast sets astound for having so many people in such a small rink.

In terms of production value, is really impressive with great choreography, beautiful costumes and elaborate sets.  It's astounding to see how many costume changes the cast does in just one show. In terms of the shows that are available to see on Freedom of the Seas, it's arguably the best.


As someone that wondered how good an ice skating show can be, I was pretty darn impressed by what I saw.  What is really impressive about the show is the presentation of acrobatics, skating and costumes all while on a moving ship.  

Because the ship is moving, it's even more amazing how few falls there are during the performance.  There are times when I would be hard pressed to walk straight because of ship movement but these professionals manage to hit their marks.  While there is a fall here and there, it's rare to witness more than 1 or 2 per show. 

By far the audience relishes the difficult moves, such as the various spins and flips.  I won't pretend to know more than a triple axle is among the most difficult moves, but when it's done properly, it's an amazing sight.  

If you want to see on your cruise, I highly recommend booking your tickets in advance.  Tickets are free but the line for the shows can get very long and quite often Studio B will fill to capacity.  Your best bet is to reserve tickets online before your cruise and be certain to arrive early. is available on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas.  There is no cost to see

In accordance with FTC guidelines, please note that my cruise and food were provided by Royal Caribbean International, of which this show was a part.  However, my opinions and reviews are my own.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode 5: Freedom of the Seas

04 Sep 2013

Hey everyone! Episode 5 of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure.

This week, we're looking at everything Freedom of the Seas, including what makes this ship appealing, our favorite things to do onboard and our not-to-be-missed parts of the ship.

Joining us on this week's show is our good friend Mike Rahlmann, who is as big a fan of Freedom of the Seas as me and shares his experiences on this beautiful ship.  We also have lots of your listener feedback to share as well!

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 4. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Freedom of the Seas

04 Sep 2013

Listen to the Show

On this week’s show, we’re going to look at one of Royal Caribbean’s most popular ships, Freedom of the Seas.  Having sailed on Freedom a number of times, I know first hand just how great this ship is and I’ve invited my friend Mike Rahlmann to join me to talk everything Freedom of the Seas.  

We’re sharing our favorite spots on board, the fun things to do onboard and discuss where she sails.  I have lots more of your listener feedback to share as well. 

Share with me your thoughts, questions and comments via...

On this episode:
Running time:

Royal Caribbean Secrets: Helipad on Freedom of the Seas

03 Sep 2013

We love to share with our readers different tricks, secrets and other lesser known tidbits about cruising on Royal Caribbean so you can take advantage of them on your next cruise.  Today, we've got a great spot to go to for sail away on Freedom of the Seas that will get you a great view without a lot of people around.

The helipad on Freedom of the Seas is located on the bow (front) of the ship and during sailaway, Royal Caribbean permits guests access to the helipad.  This is a great spot to see the port as you leave, especially for those that do not have a balcony stateroom or simply want something a little different.

Photo by Andrew Quested

You can get to this special spot by walking all the way forward on deck 4 outside. There will be stairs that go up to the next deck, and farther forward is the helipad.  Once there, you will find benches to sit on but the best spots are as far forward as you can get.

In addition to sailaway, the helipad is usually open most of the day, but it can close at any time for safety reasons (usually high winds).

In addition to Freedom of the Seas, you should expect this secret to work on her sister ships Independence of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.  Guests may access the helipad on all Freedom, Voyager and Radiance Class ships.

Live Blogging from Freedom of the Seas - Preamble

22 Feb 2013

Hi everyone! As you may already know, we're embarking on a seven night cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas.  We've already posted a few video blog posts talking about our plans for the cruise, the ship and the eastern Caribbean itinerary.

It is my hope to provide to our readers a daily look at what this cruise will be like and share our experiences with you.  This means I will try to post photos every day along with a written report of how things are going (internet permitting).

Our plan for day one is simple.  We live in the Orlando, Florida area so early Sunday morning we will get the family loaded in the car and drive to Port Canaveral.  We'll drop the wife and kid off at the port with the luggage, and then I'll drive the car to the Radisson Hotel to park it for the week (saving a few dollars in parking) and then take the shuttle back to the ship.

We're looking forward to a fun cruise and can't wait to begin our Eastern Caribbean adventure in less than two days.  The weather forecast looks good and the whole family is excited.

Who is going

Matt (me), Marissa (wife) & Gabriella (2 year old daughter)

Our itinerary

Our ship

Next update should be on our embarkation day, Sunday February 24.  Stay tuned for all of our live blog updates right here.

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