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Titanic meets Ferrari on world's top glitzy cruiseliner

ONBOARD FREEDOM OF THE SEAS, Norway, April 27, 2006 (AFP) - Four times heavier than the Titanic and with decks big enough for 25 football pitches, the Freedom of the Seas is the world's biggest cruiseliner, and yet as easy to manoeuver as a zippy sports car, its capitain insists.

Docked on Thursday in the grey fjord of Oslo on its maiden voyage before crossing the Atlantic, the Freedom of the Seas humbles traditional ferries, making them look like minor in comparison.

Built for US-Norwegian company Royal Caribbean International, the Freedom of the Seas can accomodate 4,375 passengers and 1,365 crew and is, with 158,000 tonnes, the world's biggest cruiseliner, beating Queen Mary 2 which can take up to 2,620 passengers.

But big does not mean clumsy, according the ship's captain, William Wright.

"Once you get the knack of it, despite her size, she basically drives like a sports car," he told AFP.

Two propellers, moveable by 360 degrees, allow a smooth manoeuvering of the ship, which is 339 metres (371 yards) long, 56 metres wide and 72 metres high, he said.

"Size is not really what matters here. What matters is not to be the largest passenger ship in the world, it's to offer the most numerous and the best activities which our size allows us to," Wright said.

The ship's imposing exterior is reflected inside, with seemingly endless salmon-pink corridors, a plethora of pools and 240 staff in the kitchens alone.

Freedom of the Seas boasts a pool with with artificial waves big enough to surf, a 135-metre long shopping mall, a rock-climbing wall, an ice rink, a minigolf pitch and, of course, a casino.

Indeed, the glitzy spirit of entertainment mecca Las Vegas seems omnipresent here, mock antiquity and all.

Areas have names such as Pharaoh's palace, the Crypt or Arcadia amphitheatre and are lined with columns and obelisks inspired by ancient Greece.

There are also three F-16 fighter jet replicas, and a real Morgan sports car, just for decoration.

"We're gobsmacked by all the things on offer. So many different things to do," said Anne Steenhamar, a young Norwegian, on board with her friend Haakon Engeby.

"It's really very good even if it's a bit American, for better or for worse," commented Bengt Rasin, a Swede, accompanied by his wife Kerstin.

Security is tight, and includes metal detectors, X-ray scanning of luggage, video surveillance, guards and positive passenger ID measures.

"Typically you'll go through more security measures to board this ship than while boarding any aircraft," Wright said.

The ship, which will predominantly be used to cruise the waters of the Caribbean, arrived in the Norwegian capital from Hamburg, and will set sail this week for ports of call in Southampton, Britain, and New York before arriving in its home port of Miami.

The Freedom of the Seas will leave on its first Caribbean cruise on June 4.

The ship will, however, lose its top slot title soon.

In addition to two other twin ships to be delivered in 2007 and 2008, Royal Caribbean International has also ordered an even bigger vessel.

The Genesis is expected to be able to carry 5,400 passengers and is due to sail in late 2009.
 

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Bada Bing!
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Scruffy88 said:
Does anyone know when she will be visiting New York?
No idea, thought she was off to Florida next, she sailed Southampton yesterday.
She is absolutely massive but I have to say that QM2 looks more stylish and impressive in real life compared to this. The climbing wall on the tallest part of the ship looks fun though. :)
 

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BUMMED
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That's one lovely cruise ship! Reminds me of the 2006 movie Poseidon though I highly doubt that a 25-meter rogue wave would be able to capsize that beauty!
 

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I'm really not keen on the big new ships. I think you should have a proper deck that you can walk all the way round on, not just on the roof bit. I much prefer the classic profile of a liner. Amazing engineering though!
 

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kmia said:
where is the ship know?
I don`t know . I believe on the way to Miami.I' ve seen it recently in Hamburg , Germany.It was there for some last paintings in a Dock in Hamburg .Then it started out for a test ride to the northern sea and came back again to Hamburg to the cruise terminal for one or two days, with tens of thousands interested people lookink for the ship.Then it started in direction USA to its maiden journey.
 

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Hope to be board it someday !
 

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Bada Bing!
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It looked especially big in Southampton as there were other cruise ships in at the time that looked tiny next to it.
 

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Abso-lute-ly friggin' incredible!
That's not a ship! It's a floating nation!
Anyone know how much water she draws? Are there that many ports in the world that could handle her?

And there are bigger ships on the ways? Inbelievable! :eek2:
 
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