PARK, whirlpools cantilevered off the edge of the ship and
family-size suites are some of the features the Freedom of the Seas
will introduce to the cruise industry next spring. The 158,000-ton,
3,600-passenger Freedom, which is under construction in Finland,
will debut in May 2006. Royal Caribbean added to the buzz by
renting a giant space in New York to showcase some of the new
pool-deck features. And though time will tell whether Royal
Caribbean has another winner on its hands like the rock-climbing
wall, the line also is enlarging its signature showpiece: The
Freedoms rock wall will be 10 feet higher and 10 feet wider than
those on the Voyager-class ships.
AS THE big target market for the Freedom. The kid-friendly
water park, called H20 Zone, will be filled with colorful statues
that spray water. Royal Caribbean also is rolling out family-style
cabin configurations that can sleep between six and eight
passengers. The largest suite has room for 14 and an
810-square-foot balcony. For the young-at-heart grownups: Another
pool zone, the Solarium, will have two whirlpools that protrude
over the edge of the ship.
THE VOYAGER OF
THE SEAS will venture across the ocean to Europe next
summer, taking up homeport residence in Barcelona, Spain, for
seven-day Mediterranean cruises. But sister-line Celebrity isnt
reaching a planned destination for 2006: The line decided not to
sail to Asia on the Summit, as previously announced.
CRUISE LINE added an entry to its order book: Another
Norwegian Jewel-style ship, which will come on line in late 2007.
The ship will be built at Meyer Werft, which is building two other
similar ships for NCL. The third Jewel will take the place of a
ship deal with Aker Yards that never materialized.
NORWEGIAN DAWN, meanwhile, is back in the news. Rough
weather on the final leg of its May 1 cruise delayed the Dawn on
its way back to New York, forcing NCL to cancel a one-night Mothers
Day cruise that was scheduled to depart May 8. Passengers on the
canceled cruise were give a full refund plus a 50% cruise credit
the line is doubling the cruise credit certificate for a selection
of dates out of New York.