MS Freedom of the Seas
Freedom of the Seas in Port Canaveral, Florida in 2016, after her 2015 refurbishment
|Name:||Freedom of the Seas|
|Owner:||Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.|
|Operator:||Royal Caribbean International|
|Port of registry:||Nassau, Bahamas, Bahamas|
|Route:||San Juan, Puerto Rico & Caribbean|
|Ordered:||September 18, 2003|
|Builder:||Aker Yards Turku Shipyard, Finland|
|Laid down:||November 9, 2004|
|Launched:||August 19, 2005|
|Christened:||May 12, 2006|
|Completed:||April 24, 2006|
|Maiden voyage:||4 June 2006 (Caribbean)|
|In service:||4 June 2006|
|Class and type:||Freedom-class cruise ship|
|Length:||1,111.46 ft (338.774 m)|
|Beam:||126.64 ft (38.60 m) waterline 184 ft (56.08 m) extreme (bridge wings)|
|Height:||209 ft (63.70 m)|
|Draught:||29.61 ft (9.026 m)|
|Decks:||19 total decks, 15 passenger decks|
|Installed power:||6 × Wärtsilä 12V46 (6 × 12,600 kW)|
|Speed:||21.6 knots (40.0 km/h; 24.9 mph)|
MS Freedom of the Seas is a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International. She is the namesake of Royal Caribbean's Freedom class, and can accommodate 3,634 passengers and 1,300 crew  on fifteen passenger decks. The vessel also has 4 crew decks below the waterline. Freedom of the Seas was the largest passenger ship ever built (by gross tonnage) from 2006 until construction of her sister ship, Liberty of the Seas in 2007.
Freedom of the Seas was built at the Aker Yards Turku Shipyard, Finland, which built the ships of the Voyager class as well as the other ships of the Freedom class. Upon her completion in 2006, she became the largest passenger ship ever built, taking that honor from Queen Mary 2 (QM2), an ocean liner.
Freedom of the Seas is 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) narrower than QM2 at the waterline, 6 metres (19 ft 8 in) shorter, has 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) less draft, is 8.3 metres (27 ft 3 in) less tall and 10 miles per hour (16 km/h) slower. Freedom of the Seas however is the larger ship in terms of gross tonnage. Its gross tonnage as verified by Det Norske Veritas, a Norwegian marine classification society, was 154,407 GT, compared with QM2's 148,528 GT. Freedom of the Seas had the highest gross tonnage of any passenger ship yet built until the 2007 completion of Liberty of the Seas.
On July 22, 2015, a fire started in a mechanical area of the ship around 9:15 AM when the ship was en route from Cape Canaveral, Florida to Falmouth, Jamaica. All passengers were sent to their muster stations, and one crew member sustained first degree burns. The fire was extinguished after an hour and a half, and the ship was able to continue on its planned itinerary.
Death of Chloe Wiegand
On July 7, 2019, 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand died after falling through an open window on the 11th deck while the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her 51-year-old grandfather, Salvatore Anello, had placed her on a railing and lost his grip while holding her. Anello claimed that he was colorblind and didn't notice that the window was open, but the cruise line released security camera footage that they claim shows Anello leaning out the window shortly before lifting the toddler up to it. On December 11, 2019, Chloe's parents sued Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. over the death of their daughter, alleging that the company was negligent for not properly securing the windows. Anello pled guilty to a charge of negligent homicide on February 25, and will be placed on probation.
The ship has an interior promenade 445 feet (136 m) long called the "Royal Promenade".
The ship has three swimming areas: an interactive water park, a dedicated adult pool, and the main pool. The 13th deck has a sports area with a rock climbing wall, the FlowRider surf simulator, a miniature golf course and a full size basketball court. Other items include an ice skating rink, a casino and a three-deck-high broadway-style theater. Many of the ship's interiors were extensively decorated by muralist Clarissa Parish.
The ship docked at Blohm und Voss in Hamburg, Germany on 17 April 2006 to repair a damaged bearing in one of the three Azipod propulsion units and some minor modifications prior to her official handover to Royal Caribbean International on 24 April 2006. She then visited Oslo, Norway before sailing for Southampton, England. The ship sailed on its first transatlantic crossing on 3 May 2006.
Freedom of the Seas arrived in New York Harbor, United States, for her official naming ceremony on May 12, 2006 which was broadcast live on NBC's The Today Show from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey (the ship's official New York berth), and thereafter traveled to Boston for the weekend of May 19–22. The ship's godmother was selected as Katherine Louise Calder, a Portland, Oregon foster care provider. She began operations out of Miami with her first cruise and maiden voyage on 4 June, sailing to western Caribbean locations.
In January 2015, the ship underwent another 24-day dry dock. During the dry dock some new interior passenger cabins were added.
In winter 2016, Freedom of the Seas repositioned to Port Everglades, from where she undertook cruises in the Caribbean. After homeporting in Barcelona in the spring and summer of 2017, Freedom of the Seas returned to Port Everglades. In May 2018, she commenced sailing Southern Caribbean sailings out of San Juan, Puerto Rico until April 2021.
Freedom of the Seas is scheduled to undergo a $116 million dry dock early in 2020.
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- Baynes, Chris. "Young girl falls to death from cruise ship 'after being accidentally dropped by grandfather'". The Independent. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
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- Scott Stump (2019-12-12). "Parents of toddler Chloe Wiegand speak out on suing Royal Caribbean". Today. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
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-  Archived November 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- www.clarissaparish.com Archived 2017-12-08 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved January 2012
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- "Port Canaveral". portcanaveral.org. Archived from the original on 2008-04-12.
- "Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Completes Dry Dock, Features New Cabins and Restaurants". Cruise Critic.
- "Royal Caribbean announces 2016-2017 Caribbean cruise ship deployments". Cruise Critic. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
- "ISLAND HOPPING MEETS CHART-TOPPING THRILLS ON AMPLIFIED FREEDOM OF THE SEAS". www.royalcaribbeanpresscenter.com. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
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