Royal Caribbean International [www.royalcaribbean.com]
on Monday laid the first block of the keel of its newest vessel and used the occasion to announce the name of the new ship. Throughout preconstruction, the vessel had been called Ultra Voyager, but its official name is Freedom of the Seas. Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, says the name was chosen to convey the scope of features and amenities the vessel offers. "Freedom of the Seas is really all about freedom of choice," he adds. "Freedom to explore. Freedom to relax. Freedom to make one's own vacation plans reflective of one's own tastes and interests." The vessel is slated to enter service in April 2006, and will be able to accommodate 3,600 passengers. It will sail year-round seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami; bookings are set to open in spring 2005.