World's Largest Cruise Ship To Be Based In Miami
April 24, 2006
Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises International is now the owner of the largest cruise ship in the world, with the delivery Monday of the "Freedom of the Seas" from a German shipyard. The new ship will be based at the Port of Miami, and will sail mostly to the Caribbean.
The ship takes the title from the Queen Mary 2, which is operated by Cunard, part of Royal Caribbean's hometown rival Carnival Cruise Lines. It weighs in at 160 thousand gross tons, and can carry nearly 4000 passengers. The Queen Mary 2 can carry about three thousand vacationers.
Royal Caribbean has announced a few firsts for this ship, including a boxing ring and a surf park. Ice cream fanatics will be able to indulge with the first full-fledged Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor at sea, which will cost a few bucks extra. A Sorrento's pizzeria will offer pies on demand at no charge, and the ship will even have a bookstore..
Freedom of the Seas will have three separate pool 'regions', including the H2O Zone, an interactive water park. The surf park, a 32-foot-wide by 40-foot-long FlowRider, sits at a 45% angle, and water actually flows uphill. This allows riders to surf or bodyboard in the pool, which has a flow of 30,000 gallons per minute.
In the solarium pool area, RCCL has created two cantilevered whirlpools placed into a window 112 ft. above the water, each holding 16 people. The signature rock climbing wall will be the biggest at sea.
The ship will also offer the lagtest Presidential Suite in the RCCL fleet, at 1,215 square ft. and an 800 square foot balcony, it's larger than many South Beach condos, and has four bedrooms, and four baths. On the balcony, a whirlpool, bar, dining area and more make it a destination itself.
The ship was handed over to RCCI at a ceremony in Hamburg that drew crowds of onlookers.
After completing sea trials and receiving finishing touches at Hamburg's Blohm + Voss shipyard, the new ship left dry dock on Sunday and is to sail on Tuesday for Oslo, Norway, before setting out across the Atlantic to Miami.
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