Freedom of the Seas is the next ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet to go under the knife as part of the cruise line’s US $1 billion amplification project across 10 ships in its 26-strong fleet.
The lead ship in the eponymous Freedom-class, she’ll receive a US $116-million upgrade that will introduce high-energy features and guest favourites such as the Perfect Storm duo of waterslides, a redesigned Caribbean lido, a redesigned Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and completely transformed kids and teens spaces.
To get an idea of the scale of work going into the ship’s refurbishment, take a look at the video of Mariner of the Seas’ refit last year.
The refurbishment will be carried out ahead of Freedom’s 2020 Caribbean cruise season, with the ship due to begin sailing roundtrip from San Juan, Puerto Rico on 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises to idyllic destinations, from Saint Lucia and Antigua to the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
The Perfect Storm, the heart-pumping duo of racer waterslides, will join favourites like the FlowRider surf simulator, mini-golf and the rock-climbing wall at the stern of the ship.
“On Cyclone and Typhoon, guests are in for the ultimate race as they go head to head through twists and turns for bragging rights,” Royal Caribbean says of the two new slides.
Further forward, a reimagined pool area will channel the Caribbean and feature a larger variety of seating and shade with casitas, daybeds and hammocks, and the Splashaway Bay aquapark for children.
To get away from the kids, guests will be able to escape to the renewed, adults-only Solarium.
The Lime & Coconut, Royal Caribbean’s new, poolside signature bar, is at the centre of it all. The three-level spot serves up live music, a line-up of cocktails and a rooftop deck for a bird’s eye view of the action.
Freedom’s amplification will also introduce more dining venues, spanning Italian, Asian and Mexican cuisine.
Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen is a fresh, new twist on a guest favourite, where passengers can have their pick from authentic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair, including made-to-order pizzas hand tossed front and centre, and baked in the new, in-house pizza oven.
With a wide selection of wines and limoncellos on the reimagined menu, it’s “Sunday supper” Royal Caribbean style.
Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, the Asian-inspired restaurant with teppanyaki tables and a sushi bar, features a variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees, desserts and more.
Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade will feature 80 TV screens, as well as arcade games, and a menu of classic bar bites and ice-cold brews on tap.
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 an extra kick.
For the first time, the venue will include a full-service bar, with a selection of tequilas on offer.
Adding to the roster of activities on board, Royal Caribbean will offer glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure Clash for the Crystal City, and the debut of a floor-to-ceiling redesign of Freedom’s dedicated teens spaces and award-winning Adventure Ocean.
Adventure Ocean takes on a whole new look after a makeover that will touch every inch of the spaces specially designed for babies and kids.
The imaginative layout encourages young vacationers to venture into a world of interactive experiences, from thought-provoking exploration at Play Place to art, science and tech activities at Workshop, and friendly challenges at Arena.
Babies and 3- to 5-year-olds will each have personalized areas with AO Babies and AO Junior.
Teens will get an exclusive hangout, entirely transformed to feature the latest in movies, gaming and music, plus a new, private outdoor deck.
Freedom joins her sister, Independence of the Seas, as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernization effort, an investment of more than US $1 billion across 10 ships in four years.