The Freedom of the Seas (ordered in September 2003) is the first of a trio of Freedom-class vessels commissioned by Royal Caribbean International. The ship had the accolade of being the world’s largest ship when it was delivered in April 2006. Since that time two more Freedom-class vessels have been launched: the Liberty of the Seas in 2007 and Independence of the Seas in 2008.
The Freedom was constructed at Aker Finnyards’ Turku Shipyard and has its home port in Miami, US. The Freedom was floated out in August 2005 and christened at Bayonne, New Jersey, in May 2006. The Freedom made her maiden cruise to the Caribbean in June 2006 and offers six- and seven-night cruises in the region.
The cost of the ship is estimated at $800m.
The ship has an overall length of 338.77m; a perpendicular length of 303.21m; a breadth of 38.60m at the waterline (56.0m at the extreme due to the bridge wings); a draft of 8.5m; a height of 63.7m; and a gross tonnage of 154,407t. The ship has a cruising speed of 21.6kt. The Freedom can accommodate 4,375 passengers in 1,817 cabins. A crew of 1,360 creates a total on-board maximum complement of 5,730. The ship also has 16.5ha of deck space for passengers.
POWER AND PROPULSION
The Freedom of the Seas is powered by Six Wartsila 46 V12 diesels each rated at 12.6MW driving electric generators at 514 rpm. Total engine output is 75,600kW. The ship is fitted with three ABB Azipod podded electric propulsion units, two of them azimuthing, one central fixed unit (each pod can deliver 14MW of thrust power). There are also four bow thrusters for manoeuvring.
In addition to the propulsion gear, ABB Maritime also supplied medium-speed switchgear, including 43 panels of 11kV uniGear with protection devices, six generators, 19 transformers and low-voltage distribution apparatus.
CABINS AND CONSTRUCTION
Orsap Oy of Finland designed, supplied and installed 800 cabin modules for the vessel. The company also supplied cabin modules for four officer’s suites, four family suites, double cabins and the bell box. TeleDimensions International installed the on-board sound systems, supplied by MeyerSound.
The Freedom’s on-board facilities are state-of-the-art. The 445ft-long Royal Promenade forms the central area of the ship and features the majority of the shopping, restaurant and entertainment areas.
The promenade also features a library with 3,600 books; a barbershop; and an Italian-style pizzeria. Restaurants include Johnny Rockets 50’s-style diner; Portofino Italian restaurant; Chops Grille; and a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream parlour. Bars include Vintages wine bar; Wipe Out bar; Squeeze juice bar; and the Bull and Bear English-style pub.
The entertainment areas on-board include the Arcadia Theatre, which can hold 1,350 guests; studio B TV studio; and the ‘On-Air Club’ karaoke club. There are also smaller venues such as the Viking Crown jazz club; the Pharaoh’s Palace night club; and Boleros Latin lounge. The ship also has a full-size ice skating rink for shows in the evening and free use during the day.
The Sports Deck has a nine-hole miniature golf course; a golf simulator; a basketball court; a paddleball or volleyball court; and a ten-route rock climbing wall. The Ship Shape Fitness Centre provides a full range of cardio vascular equipment along with a full-size Everlast boxing ring.
The spa offers a full range of treatments, along with various massages, and a sauna and steam room. The ship also has several completely new features such as the FlowRider artificial sheet wave surfing simulator. There are two cantilevered whirlpool baths suspended 112ft over the ocean in the solarium. There are also several swimming pools including one surrounded by hammocks and one dedicated to sports in the H2O Zone water park.
The Freedom of the seas is currently being used on routes in the West Caribbean, leaving and returning to Port Canaveral, Florida, and Miami, Florida. It takes in ports such as Puerto Rico, San Juan and Cozumel. The company has confirmed that in the 2010 and 2011 cruise seasons the ship will be kept on these routes and its home port will be Port Canaveral.