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Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas heads for 24 day drydock


Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas is headed to drydock to begin her 24-day ship-wide refurbishment tomorrow.

The ship is headed to Freeport, Bahamas to have work done on the ship that will consist of cleaning up the entire ship as well as add new facilities and options for guests.

UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has announced a list of changes coming to Freedom of the Seas. Royal Caribbean has been tight lipped on what exactly will change on Freedom of the Seas, but it's safe to say the major propulsion problem that has been plaguing the ship will be fixed.

Some of the work has already begun on the ship even before it left for dry dock.  Carpeting and other areas of the ship were quietly worked on during a quick 2-night cruise that ended today.

A lot of carpeting starting to get ripped up on #FreedomOfTheSeas in preparation for her refurbishment

A photo posted by Royal Caribbean (@royalcaribbeanblog) on

Many Royal Caribbean fans have been speculating on other changes coming based on what other Royal Caribbean ships have had as well as information crew members on Freedom of the Seas have told passengers that they've heard.

Rumors are generally regarding new specialty restaurants coming to Freedom of the Seas, including potentially Giovanni's Table, Izumi and Sabor Modern Mexican.  There's also rumors of a new Diamond Member lounge and Concierge lounge.

VIDEO: Royal Caribbean hotel manager discusses Quantum of the Seas rumors


On our cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas last week, Hotel Manager Michael Rasmussen discussed briefly the new Quantum of the Seas cruise ship that Royal Caribbean is developing and addressed some of the rumors floating out there.

What features do you think Quantum of the Seas will have and what amenities do you want on the new cruise ship?

Could Quantum of the Seas be sailing out of Port Liberty, New Jersey?


Ever since Royal Caribbean announced their new class of ships, originally called Project Sunshine and now officially called Quantum Class, there's been rampant speculation as to where these cruise ships would sail from.  Over the last two to three months, we've received a lot of tips from our readers that the new Quantum of the Seas or Anthem of the Seas will sail out of Port Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey.

We haven't had any solid proof other than second or third hand reports but today we found two interesting tidbits that could point to where one of these new cruise ships will sail from.

The port of St Maarten in the Eastern Caribbean publishes the schedule of cruise ships that will call on the island at any given time.  For its December 2014 schedule, it lists a stop on December 5 by a ship called "Sunshine", which many believe is a reference to Project Sunshine.  This is followed by other monthly or bi-monthly calls by a ship of the same name.

Moreover, a dedicated fan took the time to compare cruise schedules in St Maarten for the next three years between Explorer of the Seas (the current Royal Caribbean ship based out of New Jersey) and this mystery "Sunshine" ship.

Monday, May 6, 2013 12:15 - 20:00 Explorer of the Seas
Monday, May 20, 2013 12:15 - 20:00 Explorer of the Seas

Monday, May 12, 2014 12:15 - 20:00 Explorer of the Seas
Monday, May 26, 2014 12:15 - 20:00 Explorer of the Seas

Monday, May 11, 2015 12:15 - 20:00 Sunshine
Monday, May 25, 2015 12:15 - 20:00 Sunshine

Adding more fuel to the fire of this rumor is the fact the Royal Gazette, a newspaper in Bermuda, published an article detailing a proposed wharf expansion that would accommodate larger cruise ships. In particular, the paper mentioned, "to determine the docks’ capacities to accommodate the latest cruise ships in production by both the Norwegian Cruise Line and the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line."

Since Explorer of the Seas currently sails out of Port Liberty and offers cruises to Bermuda in addition to the Caribbean, this seems like another indication that Quantum of the Seas or Anthem of the Seas might be based out of New Jersey.

All of this is speculation and we have no "silver bullet" proof quite yet.  Royal Caribbean is still slowly announcing details about the two new cruise ships and we will post news immediately about these two ships as they are announced.

Report: Finland agrees to fund new Royal Caribbean Oasis class cruise ship


According to America World City  Inc, the Finnish government has agreed to provide financial backing for Royal Caribbean to build a third Oasis class ship at STX's Turku shipyard for around one billion euros.

"The Government of Finland has agreed to fund a third of Royal Caribbean cruise ship in order," said the America World City in a statement.

Finnvera, the Finnish state-owned specialized credit institution, did not comment in any way on Friday because the law prohibits them to discuss financial target confidentiality.

Turun Sanomat reported on Friday that the government's deliberations with Royal Caribbean for the cruise ship order financing will probably be postponed next week. Economic Policy of the Cabinet meeting schedules and agendas are secret.

Basically, Finnvera gives the buyer money for burrowing & guarantees the loan repayment period.  The Finnish government granted 3.0 billion euros in September in funding to Finnvera. This allows a new form of export credit financing, for the benefit of Finnish export companies to compete.

Royal Caribbean calls third Oasis-class ship "a rumor"


We reported on Wednesday that a newspaper in Finland claims Royal Caribbean was getting ready to order a third Oasis-class cruise ship from STX Finland's Turku Shipyard.

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez responded to the report by saying, "It's a rumor.  We don't comment on rumors."

Martinez also added to a request by USA Today, "As we have done in the past, if/when we have something to announce, we will do so through an official company press release."

The rumored ship order stipulates that Royal Caribbean is looking for financial assistance from the Finnish government to help pay for the ship order.

If the rumor proves to be true, the third ship would be sister to Oasis and Allure of the Seas.  It would also be the third ship Royal Caribbean currently has on order, with two other smaller ships known as "Project Sunshine" under construction in Germany.

Royal Caribbean to order a third Oasis class ship?


Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat is reporting that STX Finland's Turku Shipyard is possibly close to receiving a contract from Royal Caribbean to build a third Oasis-class ship.  This would be the sister ship to Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

The possible 1 billion Euro order hinges on if the Finnish government is willing to offer export credit construction financing. The newspaper reports the matter will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday of the Finnish Cabinet Committee on Economic Policy.

Royal Caribbean already has two other smaller ships on order, known as Sunshine Class, from a shipyard in Germany.

Rumors of a second Project Sunshine ship swirl


Royal Caribbean has been tight lipped about its new class of cruise ships known as Project Sunshine  but the cruise community has been speculating about how many ships Royal Caribbean will order.  

As of today, there's just one 4,200 passenger ship on order (which is due to be complete by the fall of 2014) but there's room in the contract for up to 4 ships.  So among the many questions out there, many are wondering if more than one Project Sunshine ship is on the way.

According to Seatrade Cruise Review, the Finnish air condition contractor Koja Oy recently said that it had signed a contract with Meyer Werft " for the delivery of air conditioning systems for the first two Sunshine-project ships".  Included in that contract is an option for delivering air conditioner systems for third and fourth ships, if Royal Caribbean orderes them.

Based on that snippet of information, it sounds like Royal Caribbean is eyeing two ships to start with but we'll have to wait to get a better idea of what's to come when Royal Caribbean is ready to talk.

Could Royal Caribbean be bidding for the naming rights of Florida Marlins new stadium?


A story speculating about the possible name of the new baseball stadium that is set to open next year for the Florida Miami Marlins names Royal Caribbean as a possible contender.  

The Florida Marlins currently play in Dolphins Stadium in Miami, Florida but managed to get a new stadium built that will open for the 2012 baseball season.  Like any new stadium, the naming rights are sold to a corporation to make some extra money to cover expenses and a number of Miami based companies are in consideration currently.

The Marlins have said a deal is in the "final stages of completion" and the companies talking to the Marlins are "multinational companies that are looking to get their name in Miami," according to Marlins senior vice president of communications P.J. Loyello.

Considering the "multinational" approach, the field suddenly expands to a broader one but it might still include the favorites thought by many to be Bacardi (a local corporation; producer of rum) and even a cruise ship company perhaps Royal Caribbean, Norwegian or Carnival (all have headquarters in South Florida).

Some guesses at what future Royal Caribbean ship will look like


Ever since Royal Caribbean hinted at its next class of cruise ships that is has on order, Royal Caribbean fans everywhere have been guessing at the possibilities. 

Our friends at posted some educated guesses as to what the next class of Royal Caribbean ships, dubbed Project Sunshine, could look like and what features we're likely to find.

Included in their list are

  • A split superstructure with neighborhoods that were big hits on Oasis and Allure of the Seas
  • Different cabin layout
  • Ship capable of being used worldwide, especially in the Mediterranean
  • Central Park area with retractable glass roof
  • Use of green tech onboard, such as solar panels
  • Perhaps similar to Celebrity Solstice class of ships in design?

Will Royal Caribbean's new Project Sunshine ship be more crowded than ever?


We've been conditioned to believe the newest cruise ships are the best cruise ships and when Royal Caribbean announced earlier this year its new class of cruise ships they have ordered, dubbed Project Sunshine, many of us got excited for what we could see someday.

FoxBusiness wrote a piece about how the next generation of cruise ships, such as Royal Caribbean's Project Sunshine, will be different than previous classes of cruise ships because these ships are being developed to be "optimized for the new economic reality".

Ships like Project Sunshine will carry substantially more passengers per square foot so that the ship can have optimal fuel efficiency and get a greater return on investment per passenger.

To put this in perspective, the Project Sunshine ship will be a 158,000-ton ship that will hold 4,100 passengers.  If we compare that to a different Royal Caribbean cruise ship of similar size, such as Freedom of the Seas, Freedom is 160,000 gross tons but only carries 3,634 passengers.

While details on Project Sunshine are still scarce, one thing is for certain: you will see a lot more passengers on the ship than you may have thought.