NEW YORK -- The
travel industry got its first taste of Freedom, which will arrive
next year in the form of the worlds largest cruise ship with a
giant water park for kids and family-size suites that can sleep up
surprisingly, a bigger-than-ever rock-climbing wall.
International, building on its penchant for introducing shipboard
features by staging large-scale events, rented a 27,000-square-foot
space here to unveil some of the new spaces and places on the
158,000-ton, 3,600-passenger Freedom of the Seas.
We always have more
ideas than space, said Richard Fain, the CEO of parent company
Royal Caribbean Cruises, as he presented an array of full-scale
wood mock-ups that were trucked in from Miami.
The Freedom is
under construction in Finland and will debut next May, offering
seven-day cruises from Miami. Two additional Freedom-class ships
are under contract.
The lines new
president, Adam Goldstein, addressed guests from atop a lift (just
pretend this is our rock-wall, he said) and also pointed out to
Travel Weekly some of the Freedoms features, which are roughly
divided into three zones: Family, young adults, all adults, he
The water park,
which will be called the H2O Zone, includes water spouts in the
shapes of giant, rainbow-colored plants and animals. Another set of
pools will be set aside for water sports like volleyball,
synchronized swimming contests and jousting tournaments.
And on the other
side of the sports pools is the Solarium, which will feature
pools-with-a-view, including two whirlpools that partially hang
over the edge of the ship. Passengers in the whirlpools will have
an unobstructed view of the ocean -- from a 112-foot perch. Another
pool has views into the Freedoms main atrium.
The pool areas,
collectively, will be 43% larger than those on the lines
impressed with the new cabin configurations: six new family-focused
staterooms that accommodate between six and eight people and forego
the pullout berth for real third beds in separate alcoves. Some
have bunk beds.
The top-level suite
is the Presidential, which sleeps up to 14 people and includes a
living room, four bathrooms and an 810-square-foot outdoor deck
with a whirlpool, a wet bar, lounge chairs and a 14-person dining
This is bringing
the family market to the ship, said Ira Kaplan, owner of Cruise
Holidays in Englishtown, N.J.
A lot of people
want to take their families [on cruises] and are worried the kids
will be bored, worried the kids will be climbing the walls, said
Aaron Gowell, the CEO of Woburn, Mass.-based NLG.
Gesturing to a
mock-up, he continued, In this case, they will literally be
climbing the walls.
And Kaplan joked,
So I said to Richard [Fain], Wheres the bowling alley?
To contact the
reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Rebecca Tobin at [email protected].