MIAMI, Nov. 9 Finnish workers at Kvaerner Masa- Yards yesterday laid the first block of the massive keel destined to frame Royal Caribbean International's newest, most futuristic ship. In lowering the 443-ton block into the drydock, Royal Caribbean used the start of construction to announce the name of the new ship -- Freedom of the Seas -- and comment on the thinking behind the name. Throughout preconstruction, the ship has been called Ultra Voyager.
"Freedom of the Seas will be the most head-turning, most innovative and most forward-looking ship in the cruise industry," said Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO. "Its name was chosen deliberately to convey the enormity of features and amenities offered on this extraordinary ship."
"Freedom of the Seas is really all about freedom of choice. Freedom to explore. Freedom to relax. Freedom to make one's own vacation plans reflective of one's own tastes and interests," he added.
Royal Caribbean's newest ship again elevates cruise-ship design and innovation to new levels. Freedom of the Seas builds on the line's popular Voyager-class ships, so once breakthrough, now signature, elements such as the Royal Promenade, rock-climbing wall and ice-skating rink are standard on Freedom of the Seas. The company will reveal this ship's major new features as she takes shape in drydock.
One feature the company will share now, in keeping with its "freedom" theme, is the great freedom of space planned for the new ship. Freedom of the Seas will have some of the largest guest staterooms and the most spacious balconies in the industry. One reason for the roominess? Freedom of the Seas will have full-size, yet space-saving, flat screen TVs in 100 percent of the guest staterooms and public areas.
The first-in-the-industry flat screen TVs dovetail with other technologies onboard, earning Freedom of the Seas the distinction of being the most digitally advanced cruise ship at sea. The new ship will be free of wires by having extensive WiFi capabilities and connectivity for regular cell phones. Other functions will enhance the ship's security, navigational and environmental-management systems.
Freedom of the Seas will be the world's largest cruise ship when she enters service in April 2006 at 158,000 gross registered tons. The 3,600-guest ship (double occupancy) will sail year-round, seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami. Bookings are scheduled to open in spring 2005.
Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 19 ships in service and two under construction, including Freedom of the Seas. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. For additional information about the cruise line, please visit the company's Web site at http://www.royalcaribbean.com
or call 800-327-6700.