Freedom of the
Royal Caribbean Gives
Passengers Even MORE Freedom to "Get Out There"
Three—Sunshine At Sea
humming "where's the sunshine?" from the previous night's
Age of Aquarius ice show segment when the sun popped out—a
good beginning to our sea day on Freedom of the Seas.
how better for a coffee lover to start the day than with a Seattle's
Best Experience? While my palate isn't highly developed when it
comes to identifying different tastes, the various coffee blends
were enough to jump start my brain. A good thing, because next on
the schedule was a Meet & Greet with Adam Goldstein, President
of Royal Caribbean International.
& Jerry's Cows
burning question was suggested to me the previous afternoon by a
Diamond-plus passenger... her concern was that people would take the
elegantly embroidered sheets as a 'souvenir.' So, I asked if Royal
Caribbean was planning to offer them for sale. Happily, the answer
is yes—retail capability is in the planning stages. Goldstein also
shared that the upscale bedding has been well received, not only
meeting consumer desire, but adding to guest comfort as well.
aspect of the Freedom of the Seas design/decor that caused initial
consternation was the positioning of two cows atop the Ben &
Jerry's marquee. When shipboard operations personnel realized their
posteriors were aimed at the bay window of an atrium-view stateroom,
they suggested the occupants should be offered free ice cream treats
during their cruise. And, thus was born the Ben & Jerry's
"Sweet"—the only stateroom like it at sea.
For unlimited Cherry Garcia ice cream, stateroom 6305 is the Ben
& Jerry's "sweet."
the introduction of Freedom of the Seas to Miami, Goldstein
explained that other large ships in the fleet were free to venture
further afield, offering the diverse, worldwide itineraries that
research shows are important to passengers.
importance to passengers as well is the efficiency of getting on and
off the ship. In docking ports, Goldstein indicated the operation
was pretty smooth and we'd experienced the ease of tendering ashore
the previous day. The congestion challenges are not ship specific
and obviously Royal Caribbean has them well in hand according to
their high consumer ratings in that regard.
all, Goldstein reported that Royal Caribbean "delivers on their
brand promise," by not only launching new vessels, but,
additionally, by revitalizing the fleet to upgrade features on a
From the Bridge
A special treat was
announced during our media question and answer meeting—the
group was invited to tour the bridge. As expected, the world's
largest cruise ship has a huge area devoted to navigation and
safety. Captain Carlos Pedercini (at right), from Argentina, explained that
Freedom of the Seas is powered through the water by an azipod system
with one fixed pod in the middle and two outside pods that move. The
latest in technology makes operating his vessel easier and safer,
according to the master.
don't begin to claim I understand how things work on a cruise ship
bridge, but it was pretty impressive when Captain Pedercini
demonstrated how the little joystick located on the enclosed bridge
wing could be used to dock
writers can only go so long without eating, so I headed from the
bridge to Sorrento's Pizza for a couple slices and a tall beer... a
perfect lunch combination. Opinions varied, but I liked the thick
cheese and pepperoni pizza.
Greatest Show At Sea...
The "Baby Elephant
Walk" kicked off one of the most charming events on board, the
Freedom Circus at Sea.
banners, the Royal Promenade came alive with Big Top thrills for
children and adults alike... the circus parade, trapeze act, clowns,
and even a bearded lady. It was dazzling and fun, but I couldn't
spend the entire afternoon inside because...
The afternoon's highlight
could have been called Hanging Ten with the Top Surfer Dude.
Sometimes I just have to see something to be convinced that it's as
exciting as promised. The Flowrider®
surf-simulator is just such a feature. At 32 feet wide by 40 feet
long, and perfectly safe for even us non-swimmers, it appears to be
way more fun that I imagined.
& CEO Richard Fain leads the Freedom Surf Challenge
Mind you, I was just a
spectator, but I would definitely have attempted to surf the Flowrider®
if only there had
been more time. There's no reason to not try riding a boogie board—nearly
everyone was wiping out, except one little boy who seemed to be the
perfect size and weight to go with the flow for several
minutes. It was even fun to watch from the shaded bleachers.
Wipe outs were common,
that is, until Royal Caribbean's Chairman & CEO Richard Fain set
the board pretty high during the Chairman's Surf at Sea Contest.
Travel agents responded by rising to the challenge and giving him a
wild ride. Personally, I thought the Chairman was The Dude, but he's
obviously had a lot of practice (and some coaching, don't you
think?). All in fun... the contest was rigged in favor of the
underdog travel agents. I admit, though, they exhibited some winning
of the Day—Dinner
& Another Show
Although my preview cruise was
short and couldn't possibly contain all the activities one would
normally find aboard Freedom of the Seas, our Royal Caribbean hosts
managed to squeeze as many of them into the schedule as possible. For instance, this evening was
Formal Night and we dined in Portofino, the Italian-specialty
restaurant. I overdid it a bit on the risotto, ordering it as an
appetizer with tiger shrimp and again as a side dish with my veal entree.
I polished off every bit.
was almost too pretty to eat—miniature servings of four sweets artfully arranged—trust
me, I managed to leave nothing on that plate either.
after-dinner show was one I looked forward to all day. How often do
you see Blood, Sweat & Tears these days? Not often enough in my
opinion. They aren't cutting edge anymore, but the horns and jazzy
under-tones brought a new dimension to rock in their heyday and they
haven't missed a beat. Also appearing with the band, Chuck Negron,
formerly of Three Dog Night, performed that group's greatest hits.
Those of us who attended were blown away by each group's timeless
sound and the stage presence of the lead singers.
the water? In the next segment of my Cruise Diary I'll wrap it up by
sharing the most playful pool afloat and other impressions.
of the Seas, Part 4
Back to--> Freedom
of the Seas, Part 1
of the Seas, Part 2
of the Seas, Part 3
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© Linda Coffman