August 20, 2005
Aker Yards floats out world's largest cruise ship
If the definition of "afloat" means having water under the keel, then the largest cruise ship afloat is now Royal Caribbean Cruises' Freedom of the Seas. The vessel, the first in a series of three ultra-sized cruise vessels for Royal Caribbean on Aker Yards orderbook was floated out yesterday.
"Seeing a new ship floated out for the first time is a momentous occasion," said RCCL CEO and Board ChairmanRichard D. Fain. "A tremendous amount of highly skilled work goes into constructing these ships and we are pleased to be working once again with Aker Finnyards to build what is sure to be the most innovative and exciting ship afloat."
"Aker Yards« challenge is to ensure innovative customer focus", says Yrjo Julin, President of Aker Finnyards and responsible for Cruise & Ferries in Aker Yards. "We are proud to build this cruise ship with spectacular inventive features for RCCL."
Ordered in September 2003, the newbuilding floated out yesterday will be handed over to Royal Caribbean in April 2006 and is due to enter service in May 2006. Until then, the title of the largest cruise ship in service remains with Cunard's Queen Mary 2.
The second and third vessel in the Freedom series will be ready for delivery in spring 2007 and 2008 respectively.
The Freedom class is a lengthened version of the Voyager of the Seas class, of which five ships were delivered in 1999-- 2003.
Roughly 15 percent larger than Voyager, at 100 percent double-occupancy, Freedom of the Seas will carry 3,600 guests and a crew of 1,400 and has the following dimensions:
339 m long
38.6 m wide
8.5 m draft
21.6 knots cruising speed
15 passenger decks
1,800 guest staterooms
Royal Caribbean has gradually been releasing details of some of the ship's spectacular features,
The ship will, for example, offer guests a top-deck aqua environment featuring three massive pool areas. Each area will introduce innovative new concepts, including an interactive water park, the most dramatic whirlpools afloat and a dedicated sports pool.
"Freedom of the Seas' combined pool area is 43 percent larger than on our Voyager-class ships, giving us the ability to create three distinctive spaces to appeal to our varied audiences," says Richard Fain. "Guests will have the freedom to splash in the family pool area, relax in the adults-only Solarium or soak in the sun at the main pool area."
The jungle-themed Solarium will feature two large hot tubs cantilevered out 12 feet from the sides of the ship and suspended 112 feet above the ocean.
Royal Caribbean is also using the extra space available in Freedom of the Seas, to offer six different stateroom categories designed to accommodate larger families and groups of friends.
The biggest addition will be the 14-person Presidential Suite, the largest stateroom the line has offered to date, with 1,215 square feet of interior space and an 810-square-foot outdoor living area. The oversized suite will have dual entryways as well as two master bedrooms, sleeping two people each, with 30-inch, flat-panel televisions and en suite bathrooms with bathtubs. Two additional bedrooms will accommodate four people each, with convertible twin/queen beds and two Pullmans. Both of these rooms will feature a 23-inch, flat-panel television, which also will be found in all staterooms shipwide.
The common area will include two additional bathrooms with showers, a spacious living room with a sectional sofa that sleeps two, a card/dining table and an extensive entertainment center, including a 42-inch, plasma TV.
The suite's spacious balcony is equipped with a whirlpool, wet bar, eight lounge chairs and a 14-person table for dining al fresco.