Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas completes Oasis class upgrades

In:
31Mar2011

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas has completed a series of upgrades it received at the Grand Bahama Shipyard.  Freedom will return to service this week with a slew of new changes to the ship.

Freedom of the Seas received these upgrades while in drydock

  • 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
  • DreamWorks Experience
  • 3D movie screen
  • Imaginocean! puppet show
  • outdoor LED video walls

The upgrades, part of Royal Caribbean's Royal Advantage program, invested $70 million in ship upgrades to help keep Freedom and other Royal Caribbean ships more appealing to consumers with newer and bigger ships coming online.

Royal Caribbean vice president of hotel operations Lisa Bauer thinks the upgrades to Freedom of the Seas will make a difference based on what they've seen for Liberty of the Seas, “The outdoor video screen installed aboard Liberty of the Seas in January has already been so well received that we have decided to deploy it aboard all the ships scheduled to undergo the Royal Advantage revitalization in 2011."

As of today, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas have finished their upgrades with Radiance of the Seas set to be changed in May and Splendour of the Seas in October.

Enhancing Freedom & Liberty: Royal Caribbean Ships in Drydock

In:
30Mar2011

Video of the Day: Royal Caribbean ship upgrades

In:
02Mar2011

Royal Caribbean to introduce 3D theater to Allure of the Seas

In:
01Mar2011

Royal Caribbean announced it will partner with FUNA International to provide stereoscopic 3D digital cinema to Royal Caribbean's brand new Allure of the Seas.  Thanks to Royal Caribbean's partnership with Dreamworks Animation, the deal with FUNA will make it possible for guests on Allure of the Seas to enjoy all the current 3D DreamWorks titles as well as other 3D movies, in the ship's Amber Theater.

Christopher Vlassopulos, Entertainment Technology and Technical Direction for Royal Caribbean International had this to say about the new deal, "We called upon FUNA and their team to come up with creative technical design solutions in a number of areas including physical placement, additional cooling and power and integration with the existing audio system, and the result is a 3D movie experience as good as or better than any land-based theater.  On testing the finished product, people at the highest level at Barco [projection supplier], DreamWorks and Dolby [sound system supplier] were 'blown away' with the result. We wanted to do a good job but to impress them out of the gate was a real bonus and obviously something the guest will really enjoy. It looks and sounds great."

In addition to Allure of the Seas, other Royal Caribbean ships are set to receieve the 3D theater upgrade. Vlassopulos confirmed that Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas will reveive the 3D upgrade.

In addition to the new theater, FUNA has provided technical design, engineering, integration and consulting for entertainment, display and communications in most of the theaters, restaurants, clubs, and public spaces - as well as the crew recreation and support areas.

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

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