LEADING INTERNATIONAL MARITIME MAGAZINE

Newly amplified Freedom of the Seas makes Southern Caribbean debut

A new wave of island flair has arrived in the Southern Caribbean as Royal Caribbean International’s newly amplified Freedom of the Seas has debuted its $116 million transformation in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

With a crowd-pleasing combination of new thrills, guest favorites and top-rated destinations, the transformed ship unveils new adventures from bow to stern, including The Perfect Storm duo of high-speed waterslides, a vibrant Caribbean poolscape, the cruise line’s first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and new, dedicated spaces for kids and teens.

Now sailing, Freedom offers travellers 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises that visit a new, idyllic island each day, from Barbados and Antigua, to the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

At three stories high, guests can choose Cyclone or Typhoon to go head to head through winding twists and turns in a heart-pumping faceoff.

Featuring a whole new look, signature poolside bar The Lime & Coconut, live music and a wider variety of seating and shade with the addition of casitas, in-pool loungers and daybeds, the reimagined pool deck is where pool days become an all-day affair.

The youngest of travellers can enjoy the new kids aqua park, Splashaway Bay, and adults looking for soothing downtime can head to the renewed Solarium.

New to Royal Caribbean, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen serves up a reimagined menu of authentic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair, from fresh pastas to custom pizzas hand tossed high in the air. The cruise line’s take on “Sunday supper” is complete with limoncello and a wide selection of wines.

Guests can enjoy a poolside fiesta of flavours, including tacos, burritos and quesadillas, at the casual grab-and-go spot. The venue is the first El Loco Fresh that includes a full-service bar with a wide selection of tequilas.

From sushi to sashimi and hibachi, Izumi offers an Asian-inspired dining experience. The menu spans a variety of hot and cold appetisers, entrees and desserts – each made to order with fresh ingredients and impeccable presentation.

At the Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade, all ages can have a seat at the table to catch live games on more than 100 TVs, make legendary plays on arcade classics and refuel on classic bar fare and ice-cold brews.

Two clans, the Yetis and Snowshifters, collide in the glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure Clash for the Crystal City for control of a mystical frozen city.

The award-winning youth programme, Adventure Ocean, reveals a 360-degree transformation. Its new layout encourages kids to choose their own immersive adventures across several rooms: Play Place, Arena, and Hangout.

Teens will rejoice in the exclusive Social033 hangout, entirely redesigned to feature the latest in movies, gaming and music, plus a new, private outdoor deck.

The top-to-bottom transformation also adds Freedom to the line-up of ships now available on the Royal Caribbean International mobile app. Guests can check in for their cruise from their personal device and arrange Expedited Arrival, prior to setting sail, for a seamless boarding experience at the port. On board, it is an effortless transition into vacation mode with the app’s easy-to-use features such as the ability to plan activities for each day, view onboard expenses and make reservations for dining, shore excursions as well as shows, and the in-app TV remote available for each stateroom.

Extending the adventure to shore, the amplified Freedom Class ship is sailing week-long Southern Caribbean itineraries that are rich in destinations. Guests can set course for the ultimate, island-hopping vacation to discover many idyllic locales, including Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; Bridgetown, Barbados; Saint Johns, Antigua; and Kralendijk, Bonaire.

Freedom joins her sister, Independence of the Seas, as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernisation effort. An investment of more than $1 billion across 10 ships in four years, Royal Caribbean’s programme touches every facet of the guest experience and introduces a wide range of new adventures spanning one-of-a-kind attractions and experiential dining and nightlife.