Cruise NewsRoyal CaribbeanRoyal Caribbean Cruise Ship Returns to Service After $116 Million Renovation

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Returns to Service After $116 Million Renovation

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas is the cruise line’s latest cruise ship to receive a massive makeover with new waterslides, restaurants, and public spaces.

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After a $116 million renovation, Freedom of the Seas has returned to service in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The transformed cruise ship unveils new adventures from bow to stern, including The Perfect Storm duo of high-speed waterslides, a vibrant Caribbean poolscape, the cruise line’s first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and new, dedicated spaces for kids and teens.

Now sailing, Freedom of the Seas offers travelers 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises that visit a new, idyllic island each day, from Barbados and Antigua, to the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao).

Thrills on Deck

The Perfect Storm – At three stories high, guests can choose Cyclone or Typhoon to go head to head through winding twists and turns in a heart-pumping faceoff.

A resort-style Caribbean poolscape – Featuring a whole new look, signature poolside bar The Lime & Coconut, live music and a wider variety of seating and shade with the addition of casitas, in-pool loungers and daybeds, the reimagined pool deck is where pool days become an all-day affair. The youngest of travelers can enjoy the new kids aqua park, Splashaway Bay, and adults looking for soothing downtime can head to the renewed Solarium.

Amped-up Flavors

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen – New to Royal Caribbean, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen serves up a reimagined menu of authentic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair, from fresh pastas to custom pizzas hand tossed high in the air. The cruise line’s take on “Sunday supper” is complete with limoncello and a wide selection of wines.

El Loco Fresh – Guests can enjoy a poolside fiesta of flavors, including tacos, burritos and quesadillas, at the casual grab-and-go spot. The venue is the first El Loco Fresh that includes a full-service bar with a wide selection of tequilas.

Izumi Hibachi & Sushi – From sushi to sashimi and hibachi, Izumi offers an Asian-inspired dining experience. The menu spans a variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees and desserts – each made to order with fresh ingredients and impeccable presentation.

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade – At this hangout, all ages can have a seat at the table to catch live games on more than 100 TVs, make legendary plays on arcade classics and refuel on classic bar fare and ice-cold brews.

Adventures for Everyone

Clash for the Crystal City – Two clans, the Yetis and Snowshifters, collide in this glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure for control of a mystical frozen city.

Adventure Ocean – The award-winning youth program reveals a 360-degree transformation. Its new layout encourages kids to choose their own immersive adventures across several rooms: Play Place, the whimsical space with climbable creations; Arena, where there’s friendly competition; and Hangout, a space to chill and call their own. Three- and 5-year-olds and the tiniest of travelers at 6-36 months old each have dedicated spaces with AO Juniors and AO Babies, respectively.

Social033 – Teens will rejoice in their exclusive hangout, entirely redesigned to feature the latest in movies, gaming and music, plus a new, private outdoor deck.

The top-to-bottom transformation also adds Freedom to the lineup of ships now available on the Royal Caribbean International mobile app. Guests can check in for their cruise from their personal device and arrange Expedited Arrival, prior to setting sail, for a seamless boarding experience at the port. On board, it is an effortless transition into vacation mode with the app’s easy-to-use features such as the ability to plan activities for each day, view onboard expenses and make reservations for dining, shore excursions as well as shows, and the in-app TV remote available for each stateroom.

Extending the adventure to shore, the amplified Freedom Class ship is sailing week-long Southern Caribbean itineraries that are rich in destinations. Guests can set course for the ultimate, island-hopping vacation to discover many idyllic locales, including Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; Bridgetown, Barbados; Saint Johns, Antigua; and Kralendijk, Bonaire.

Freedom joins her sister, Independence of the Seas, as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernization effort. An investment of more than $1 billion across 10 ships in four years, Royal Caribbean’s program touches every facet of the guest experience and introduces a wide range of new adventures spanning one-of-a-kind attractions and experiential dining and nightlife.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise NewsRoyal CaribbeanRoyal Caribbean Cruise Ship Returns to Service After $116 Million Renovation

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