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A legendary lineup of boxing champions was on hand yesterday to officially "inaugurate" cruising's first-ever boxing ring at sea onboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. Present to help Royal Caribbean chief Adam Goldstein cut the ribbon that was wrapped around the ring were Roberto Duran, Joe Frasier, Jose Torres, Larry Holmes and Mia St. John, all looking regal with blue and gold silk boxing robes worn outside their more conservative business suits.
One of a series of innovations created expressly for Freedom of the Seas, the concept of a boxing ring onboard seemed to raise a lot of eyebrows when it was announced, which didn't dissuade Goldstein. "As the quality of our vacations becomes more and more important to all of us, we [Royal Caribbean] are constantly pushing for new ideas and new concepts," he said. "We're constantly striving for the next idea and watching people line up for this experience has more than exceeded our expectations."
We'll admit that the boxing concept puzzled most of us here at Cruise Critic -- until we learned that the bottom-line advantage of the onboard program is to promote physical conditioning rather than actual sparring. Benefits include improved cardio, strength, power and speed. Plain and simple, noted Belinda Parsons, a fitness center staffer who leads workouts onboard Freedom of the Seas, "it's a good workout that has, so far, attracted more women than men."
Legendary boxer Jose Torres noted that boxing is, however, more than a physical activity. "The main ingredient in boxing and what separates champions from good fighters is not physical but in their mentality. It's a contest of character that, yes, is manifested through punches, but being able to connect with the right place at the right moment is made with your brain and not your hands."
The boxing program, available only on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, offers private and group instruction.