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FREEDOM OF THE SEAS - NAMING CEREMONY On May 11, 2006, I was lucky enough to sail on Royal Caribbeans newest ship Freedom of the Seas. This special one-night sailing was to celebrate the new ship,name it and christen it. The day began with a trip to Cape Liberty and our first look at this mammoth vessel. It is almost overwhelming when you see the gigantic hull of this ship. After a speedy and efficient check in we were ushered onto the ship. At check-in we were given a Special Event program and the key to our stateroom. When we entered Freedom, we were met with what seemed like a crew of very happy workers and handed a flute of champagne with welcome aboard smiles. We quickly found our stateroom which was a balcony cabin on deck 8. The first thing you notice about this cabin is the new linens that Royal Caribbean has adopted. The linens are white and dark green and the bed is decorated with various size pillows in the same colors. The look is crisp, clean and inviting. The white sheets are embroidered with the Royal Caribbean emblem which gives the cabin an upscale look. The cabin is nicely appointed with plenty of drawer space and the closets are roomy -- One point that struck me as new is that the lifejackets have their own little cubby inside the closet and therefore, they are not in the way when you are organizing your clothing in the closet. The closet also has a safe that is easy to use and there is a small refrigerator adjacent to the dressing table. Since the weather was threatening, our first order of business was to check out the outdoor facilities. We made our way to the new Flow Rider where you can surf on a wave simulator. It was easy to find since there are signs pointing the way to Deck 13 Aft. This newest addition to the RC ships is a marvel. Smaller than I anticipated it to be, but nonetheless something to behold. It was being demonstrated by professional sufers and there is a seating area around it so you can sit and watch all the action. As I understand, some of the specifics, it is an engineering feat of accomplishment to get this equipment onto a ship (let alone at the back of a ship) when the weight of it is so immense. The professionals seemed to be doing just fine and after watching them take a few rides and get wiped out a few times&we headed down to the children's pool area known as the H2O Zone. The H2O Zone s a pool specifically built for children and families. The sculptures and fountains that are built around and into this area are a joy to see. They bring a smile to your face&and every child is going to love playing in this area. Families can spend quality time together enjoying this special area. The rock climbing wall that was initially seen on the Voyager class ships has now been improved upon and is bigger and has more trails than every before -- we noticed quite a few enthusiastic climbers as we strolled by. There is also a Full Basketball Court and a 9-hole miniature golf course. After burning up so much energy watching other people exercise, we made our way to Lido Deck and entered the Windjammer Cafe for some lunch. The usual buffet fare is served here and we didnt notice anything that merits special attention, the food was nicely arranged and the staff is helpful and friendly. We spent most of the afternoon strolling through the ship and taking photos of the public rooms. The bars and Clubs are all decorated nicely and the Casino is large with plenty of room. One of the unique areas of the ship is a club named the Crypt. It looks as if it is a Egyptian temple and it serves as a disco and bar in the evenings. The Promenade has all the usual shops as well as the new addition of a barber shop (and shoeshine area). Ben and Jerry's was my next stop -- Cherry Garcia for me as I strolled along and admired this tastefully decorated area. The Promenade is now 10 feet wider than the ones found on the Voyager class ships, and for some reason,,,it now feels just right. We were treated to a 5 oclock Ice Show at Studio B on Deck 3. Well worth seeing -- The costumes and music are astounding and it is truly remarkable that these skaters can do jumps and lifts on such a small surface of ice. This ice rink has limited seating but I would suggest that you try to get to one of these performances -- it is extremely entertaining and fun for the whole family. Dinner was open seating at 7 oclock and a black tie event. The dining room is three tiered and boasts a magnificent chandelier and staircase. Dinner started with white asparagus appetizer, followed by Vietnamese Fish soup, choice of Orange Roughy or Loin of Lamb. The entrees were served with wine and the entire meal was elegant and unique. The dessert was a chocolate mouse topped with a chocolate surfer on a white chocolate surfboard. Truly a work of art. We were given beautifully printed souvenir menus. After dinner it was off to the three leveled Arcadia Theatre. The curtain on the stage is so beautiful that I spent my first few minutes just looking at it and wondering how much it weighed. It looks like a work of art with its bright colors and sequins. We found ourselves seated directly behind former Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield and right down the row from former Lakers Star Magic Johnson. Many passengers had their pictures taken with them and they were very kind and accommodating to everyone. Tonight was the official naming ceremony and we were introduced to the Godmother of Freedom Katherine Louise Calder. This lovely woman was chosen by the viewers of the Today Show. In my opinion they made a wonderful choice. Mrs. Calder has been foster mother to over 400 developmentally disabled and medically fragile infants and children. She is from the State of Oregon and has received numerous awards for her work with children and the Foster Parent Program. She was ushered in by the New York Police Department Society Pipes and Drums and the whole atmosphere in the theatre was one of Pomp and Circumstance. After a short blessing and an address by Richard Fain (CEO of RCCL). We were treated to a concert by Al Jerreau. Mr. Jerreau is the recipient of 5 Grammy Awards and is one of the finest Jazz artists in the business. After the naming Ceremony we made our way back to our cabin where we stood on the Balcony of our stateroom and watched a wonderful firework display with the Statue of Liberty as the backdrop. The evening ended with a parade down the Promenade by the RCCL dancers and singers. This parade especially appeals to the young set and if they can stay up late enough to see it, it is truly a fun event. Friday morning began early when the members of the Today show showed up to start filming their show from the ship. We spent 3 hours following them from place to place and being part of the audience. It was fun to be up close and personal with the people we usually only see from the screen in our living room. At about 9:00 AM Katherine Louise Calder cut the ribbon for the christening of the ship and a bottle of champagne was broken over the hull and just like that. the ship officially became Freedom of the Seas. Barry Manilow was on board today and provided a private concert for about 150 people. Large screens were set up around the ship so passengers were able to enjoy the concert from all over the ship. Much singing and dancing was seen and heard along the Grand Promenade. The Today show wrapped up at about 10 AM and it was time to get ready to say goodbye to the glorious Freedom on the Seas. We were all invited to a brunch at the buffet and asked to wait to debark in any of the many available lounges. At about 11:45 we were cleared to leave the vessel. As I look back at the time I spent on this ship I am truly awed by the size and elegance of this ship. There is truly so much for families of every size to enjoy. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this wonderful ceremony and it is something that I will always remember. I hope to be able to cruise on this ship in the near future and I believe the Freedom Class of ships will be a big hit for Royal Caribbean.

Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by ROEPOSTI

Trip Details
FREEDOM OF THE SEAS - NAMING CEREMONY
On May 11, 2006, I was lucky enough to sail on Royal Caribbeans newest ship Freedom of the Seas. This special one-night sailing was to celebrate the new ship,name it and christen it.
The day began with a trip to Cape Liberty and our first look at this mammoth vessel. It is almost overwhelming when you see the gigantic hull of this ship. After a speedy and efficient check in we were ushered onto the ship. At check-in we were given a Special Event program and the key to our stateroom. When we entered Freedom, we were met with what seemed like a crew of very happy workers and handed a flute of champagne with welcome aboard smiles.
We quickly found our stateroom which was a balcony cabin on deck 8. The first thing you notice about this cabin is the new linens that Royal Caribbean has adopted. The linens are white and dark green and the bed is decorated with various size pillows in the same colors. The look is crisp, clean and inviting. The white sheets are embroidered with the Royal Caribbean emblem which gives the cabin an upscale look. The cabin is nicely appointed with plenty of drawer space and the closets are roomy -- One point that struck me as new is that the lifejackets have their own little cubby inside the closet and therefore, they are not in the way when you are organizing your clothing in the closet. The closet also has a safe that is easy to use and there is a small refrigerator adjacent to the dressing table.
Since the weather was threatening, our first order of business was to check out the outdoor facilities. We made our way to the new Flow Rider where you can surf on a wave simulator. It was easy to find since there are signs pointing the way to Deck 13 Aft. This newest addition to the RC ships is a marvel. Smaller than I anticipated it to be, but nonetheless something to behold. It was being demonstrated by professional sufers and there is a seating area around it so you can sit and watch all the action. As I understand, some of the specifics, it is an engineering feat of accomplishment to get this equipment onto a ship (let alone at the back of a ship) when the weight of it is so immense. The professionals seemed to be doing just fine and after watching them take a few rides and get wiped out a few times&we headed down to the children's pool area known as the H2O Zone.
The H2O Zone s a pool specifically built for children and families. The sculptures and fountains that are built around and into this area are a joy to see. They bring a smile to your face&and every child is going to love playing in this area. Families can spend quality time together enjoying this special area.
The rock climbing wall that was initially seen on the Voyager class ships has now been improved upon and is bigger and has more trails than every before -- we noticed quite a few enthusiastic climbers as we strolled by. There is also a Full Basketball Court and a 9-hole miniature golf course.
After burning up so much energy watching other people exercise, we made our way to Lido Deck and entered the Windjammer Cafe for some lunch. The usual buffet fare is served here and we didnt notice anything that merits special attention, the food was nicely arranged and the staff is helpful and friendly.
We spent most of the afternoon strolling through the ship and taking photos of the public rooms. The bars and Clubs are all decorated nicely and the Casino is large with plenty of room. One of the unique areas of the ship is a club named the Crypt. It looks as if it is a Egyptian temple and it serves as a disco and bar in the evenings.
The Promenade has all the usual shops as well as the new addition of a barber shop (and shoeshine area). Ben and Jerry's was my next stop -- Cherry Garcia for me as I strolled along and admired this tastefully decorated area. The Promenade is now 10 feet wider than the ones found on the Voyager class ships, and for some reason,,,it now feels just right.
We were treated to a 5 oclock Ice Show at Studio B on Deck 3. Well worth seeing -- The costumes and music are astounding and it is truly remarkable that these skaters can do jumps and lifts on such a small surface of ice. This ice rink has limited seating but I would suggest that you try to get to one of these performances -- it is extremely entertaining and fun for the whole family.
Dinner was open seating at 7 oclock and a black tie event. The dining room is three tiered and boasts a magnificent chandelier and staircase. Dinner started with white asparagus appetizer, followed by Vietnamese Fish soup, choice of Orange Roughy or Loin of Lamb. The entrees were served with wine and the entire meal was elegant and unique. The dessert was a chocolate mouse topped with a chocolate surfer on a white chocolate surfboard. Truly a work of art. We were given beautifully printed souvenir menus.
After dinner it was off to the three leveled Arcadia Theatre. The curtain on the stage is so beautiful that I spent my first few minutes just looking at it and wondering how much it weighed. It looks like a work of art with its bright colors and sequins. We found ourselves seated directly behind former Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield and right down the row from former Lakers Star Magic Johnson. Many passengers had their pictures taken with them and they were very kind and accommodating to everyone.
Tonight was the official naming ceremony and we were introduced to the Godmother of Freedom Katherine Louise Calder. This lovely woman was chosen by the viewers of the Today Show. In my opinion they made a wonderful choice. Mrs. Calder has been foster mother to over 400 developmentally disabled and medically fragile infants and children. She is from the State of Oregon and has received numerous awards for her work with children and the Foster Parent Program. She was ushered in by the New York Police Department Society Pipes and Drums and the whole atmosphere in the theatre was one of Pomp and Circumstance.
After a short blessing and an address by Richard Fain (CEO of RCCL). We were treated to a concert by Al Jerreau. Mr. Jerreau is the recipient of 5 Grammy Awards and is one of the finest Jazz artists in the business.
After the naming Ceremony we made our way back to our cabin where we stood on the Balcony of our stateroom and watched a wonderful firework display with the Statue of Liberty as the backdrop. The evening ended with a parade down the Promenade by the RCCL dancers and singers. This parade especially appeals to the young set and if they can stay up late enough to see it, it is truly a fun event.
Friday morning began early when the members of the Today show showed up to start filming their show from the ship. We spent 3 hours following them from place to place and being part of the audience. It was fun to be up close and personal with the people we usually only see from the screen in our living room.
At about 9:00 AM Katherine Louise Calder cut the ribbon for the christening of the ship and a bottle of champagne was broken over the hull and just like that. the ship officially became Freedom of the Seas.
Barry Manilow was on board today and provided a private concert for about 150 people. Large screens were set up around the ship so passengers were able to enjoy the concert from all over the ship. Much singing and dancing was seen and heard along the Grand Promenade.
The Today show wrapped up at about 10 AM and it was time to get ready to say goodbye to the glorious Freedom on the Seas. We were all invited to a brunch at the buffet and asked to wait to debark in any of the many available lounges. At about 11:45 we were cleared to leave the vessel.
As I look back at the time I spent on this ship I am truly awed by the size and elegance of this ship. There is truly so much for families of every size to enjoy. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this wonderful ceremony and it is something that I will always remember. I hope to be able to cruise on this ship in the near future and I believe the Freedom Class of ships will be a big hit for Royal Caribbean.
ROEPOSTI’s Full Rating Summary
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