San Juan-based Freedom of the Seas to get $116m amp-up

The Perfect Storm duo racer slides will be one of the new features on Freedom of the Seas, sailing from San Juan year-round

Racer waterslides, a redesigned poolscape, new dining and transformed youth areas are in store for the 2006-built Freedom of the Seas. The San Juan-based ship will be getting a $116m amplification next spring.

Open-deck changes

The Perfect Storm will add three stories of twists and turns on the waterslide racer duo Cyclone and Typhoon.

A reimagined poolscape will bring Caribbean vibes, a larger variety of seating and shade with casitas, daybeds and hammocks, and Splashaway Bay aqua park for the youngest travelers. The Solarium will be renewed for adults-only downtime.

The Lime & Coconut, Royal Caribbean’s new, poolside signature bar, is at the center of it all. The three-level spot will offer live music, cocktails and a rooftop deck for a bird’s eye view of the action.

New dining

Freedom’s amplification will introduce more dining venues, spanning Italian, Asian and Mexican cuisine.

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen provides a fresh, new twist on a Royal Caribbean favorite. Diners choose from Italian dishes with a contemporary flair, including made-to-order pizzas hand tossed front and center, and baked in an in-house pizza oven. The menu will give a wide selection of wines and limoncellos.

Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, an Asian-inspired restaurant with teppanyaki tables and a sushi bar, features a variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees and desserts.

At the new Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, patrons can catch their home team on more than 80 TV screens, play arcade games and refuel with a menu of classic bar bites and ice-cold brews on tap.

El Loco Fresh gets a full-service bar

El Loco Fresh will sit poolside and offer fresh grab-and-go Mexican fare, from tacos and burritos to quesadillas, along with an array of salsas. For the first time, the venue will include a full-service bar with a selection of tequilas on offer.

Youth areas

Adding to the roster of activities on board, Freedom of the Seas will offer glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure Clash for the Crystal City, and the debut of a floor-to-ceiling redesign of the ship’s teens spaces and Adventure Ocean youth club.

Adventure Ocean’s makeover will touch every inch of the spaces specially designed for babies and kids. The layout encourages interactive experiences, from thought-provoking exploration at Play Place to art, science and tech activities at Workshop, and friendly challenges at Arena. Gaming consoles and places to chill are available at Hangout. Babies and 3- to 5-year-olds will each have personalized areas with AO Babies and AO Junior.

Teens’ exclusive hangout will be entirely transformed to feature the latest in movies, gaming and music, plus a new, private outdoor deck.

Southern Caribbean sailings

On March 8, the reimagined Freedom of the Seas will resume its year-round service from San Juan with weeklong Southern Caribbean cruises. Destinations include Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curaçao; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. Johns, Antigua; and Kralendijk, Bonaire.

The work is part of the $1bn ‘Royal Amplified’ fleet modernization involving 10 ships in four years.

Posted 21 August 2019

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Anne Kalosh

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Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor, Seatrade Cruise Review Anne Kalosh covers global stories, reporting both breaking and in-depth news on cruising's significant people, places, ships and trends. A sought-after expert on cruising, she has moderated conferences around the world, including the high-profile State of the Industry panel at Seatrade Cruise Global. She created and led the acclaimed itinerary-planning case study for Seatrade's cruise master classes held at Cambridge and Oxford universities. She is the cruise columnist for AFAR.com, and her freelance stories have appeared in a wide range of publications, from The New York Times to The Miami Herald.

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