MS Freedom of the Seas
Freedom of the Seas in Port Canaveral, Florida in 2016, after its 2015 refurbishment
|Name:||Freedom of the Seas|
|Owner:||Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.|
|Operator:||Royal Caribbean International|
|Port of registry:||Nassau, Bahamas, Bahamas|
|Route:||San Juan, Puerto Rico & Caribbean|
|Builder:||Aker Yards Turku Shipyard, Finland|
|Laid down:||November 9, 2004|
|Maiden voyage:||4 June 2006 (Caribbean)|
|In service:||4 June 2006|
|Class and type:||Freedom-class cruise ship|
|Length:||1,112 ft (338.94 m)|
|Beam:||126.64 ft (38.60 m) waterline 184 ft (56.08 m) extreme (bridge wings)|
|Height:||209 ft (63.70 m)|
|Draught:||28 ft (8.53 m)|
|Decks:||18 total decks, 15 passenger decks|
|Installed power:||6 × Wärtsilä 12V46 (6 × 12,600 kW)|
|Speed:||21.6 knots (40.0 km/h; 24.9 mph)|
MS Freedom of the Seas is a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International. It is the namesake of Royal Caribbean's Freedom class, and can accommodate 3,634 passengers and 1,300 crew  on fifteen passenger decks. Freedom of the Seas was the largest passenger ship ever built (by gross tonnage) from 2006 until construction of the Royal Caribbean International's Oasis-class ships in late 2009.
Although the ship is registered in Nassau, The Bahamas, it was homeported in Barcelona, Spain until October 2017, when it moved to Port Everglades, near Fort Lauderdale. In May 2018, the ship started homeporting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Freedom of the Seas was built at the Aker Yards Turku Shipyard, Finland, which built the ships of the Voyager class as well as the other ships of the Freedom class. Upon its completion, it became the largest passenger ship ever built, taking that honor from Cunard's Queen Mary 2.
Freedom of the Seas is 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) narrower than QM2 at the waterline, 6 metres (20 ft) shorter, has 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) less draft, is 8.3 metres (27 ft) less tall and 10 miles per hour (16 km/h) slower. Freedom however is the larger ship in terms of gross tonnage. While its gross tonnage was estimated to range from 154,000 GT to 160,000 GT, its official rating by Det Norske Veritas, a Norwegian marine classification society, is 154,407 GT, compared with QM2's 148,528 GT. Freedom of the Seas had the highest gross tonnage of any passenger ship yet built, until the 2009 completion of MS Oasis of the Seas, the 2010 completion of MS Allure of the Seas, the 2016 completion of the MS Harmony of the Seas, and the 2018 completion of the MS Symphony of the Seas.
The design of the Freedom of the Seas is similar to that of the second-generation Voyager class ships: Navigator of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas. The extra 91-feet of length allows for the addition of additional cabins, an interactive water play area on the pool deck, a dedicated 24-hour pizza venue, and an expanded main dining room. The added width of the ship is utilized by two adults-only whirlpools cantilevered out from the ship's sides in the adults only solarium of the ship. Other new features include the FlowRider surf simulator, a boxing ring in the gym, and a Ben and Jerry's branded ice cream parlor.
The ship has an interior promenade 445 feet (136 m) long called the "Royal Promenade", which features a coffee shop, Sorrento's Pizzeria, the Ben and Jerry's ice-cream shop, Vintages wine and tapas bar, the Bull and Bear Irish pub, and many Duty-free shops. The Royal Promenade, first seen on Royal Caribbean's Voyager-Class in 1999, extends through the upper decks of the ships. This gives most upper level cabins a window, either to the port or starboard side or inwards to the promenade. This design was first used in the cruiseferry M/S Silja Serenade in 1990 and its twin ship, M/S Silja Symphony in 1991.
The ship has three swimming areas: an interactive water park, a dedicated adult pool, and the main pool. The 13th deck has a sports area with a rock climbing wall, the FlowRider surf simulator, a miniature golf course and a full size basketball court. Other items include an ice skating rink, a casino, a Johnny Rockets restaurant, and a three-deck-high broadway-style theater. Technology amenities include Wi-Fi capabilities throughout the ship, interactive flat panel televisions in all staterooms, and cell phone connectivity. Many of the ship's interiors were extensively decorated by muralist Clarissa Parish.
Freedom of the Seas was docked at Blohm und Voss in Hamburg, Germany on 17 April 2006 to repair a damaged bearing in one of the three Azipod propulsion units and to put on some of the finishing touches prior to her official handover to Royal Caribbean International on 24 April 2006. She then departed to Oslo, Norway on 25 April for official festivities. She then sailed for Southampton, England on 27 April and arrived at 9am on 29 April. The ship sailed on its first transatlantic crossing on 3 May 2006.
Freedom of the Seas arrived in New York Harbor USA for its official naming ceremony on 12 May 2006 which was broadcast live on NBC's The Today Show from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey (the ship's official New York berth), and thereafter traveled to Boston for the weekend of May 19–22. The ship's godmother was selected as Katherine Louise Calder, a Portland, Oregon foster care provider. It began operations out of Miami with its first cruise and maiden voyage on June 4, sailing to western Caribbean locations in Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica as well as Labadee, in Haiti, one of Royal Caribbean's private resorts.
On May 4, 2009, Freedom of the Seas moved its home port from the Port of Miami-Dade to Port Canaveral, where it replaced Mariner of the Seas. Then in winter 2016, Freedom of the Seas repositioned to Port Everglades, where it alternates between a six-night Western Caribbean and an eight-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary. After homeporting in Barcelona in the spring and summer of 2017, Freedom of the Seas will again return to Port Everglades until May 2018. In May 2018, she will start sailing seven-night Southern Caribbean sailings out of San Juan, Puerto Rico until March 2019.
The ship underwent its first dry dock refurbishment in late March 2011, where it received some of the new features found on the Oasis and Allure of the Seas such as new touchscreen kiosks around the ship as well as making the theater capable of showing 3-D movies. A Clean Shave was removed from the promenade and replaced with the Cupcake Cupboard. Also, a large movie screen was fitted on the pool deck.
In January 2015, the ship underwent another 24-day dry dock. During the dry dock, the lower floor of "The Crypt" nightclub and other areas on deck three received new interior and oceanview cabins. The upper floor of the nightclub was transformed into the "Sabor Modern Mexican" restaurant. The forward lounge was renovated and renamed the "Star Lounge", and the Champagne Bar became the 1950s style "R Bar". On the Royal Promenade, a Romero Britto store was replaced by a new Next Cruise office. New interior staterooms were added on decks six, seven, eight, and nine. The "Portofino" Italian restaurant became "Giovanni's Table", a family style Italian restaurant. Finally, new interior, panoramic oceanview, and balcony staterooms were added to deck 12 forward, taking up an area that used to be part of the beauty salon and spa.
The ship experienced a fire while entering the Port of Falmouth, Jamaica. July 22, 2015. No major injuries were reported and the ship was able to continue with its itinerary.
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