RCI offers surf Freedom

Ride like the wind: on the Freedom FlowRider

ROYAL Caribbean International has introduced the first surf park at sea aboard Freedom of the Seas, which sets sail as the world’s largest cruise ship this month.

Active cruisers wondering ‘what’s next?’ after onboard rock-climbing walls, ice skating rinks and in-line skating tracks now have the chance to ‘hang ten’ a hundred miles out to sea with the first-ever shipboard surf park.
Created by WaveLoch of La Jolla, California, the 32-foot-wide by 40-foot-long FlowRider generates a thin sheet of water that flows over the ride surface, creating a wave-like shape. Similar to swimming against a current in a stationary lap pool, riders surf or body board against the waterflow of 30,000 gallons per minute, carving turns and trying tricks.
“There’s no greater feeling of freedom than challenging yourself to expand your limits,” says Royal Caribbean International president Adam Goldstein. “In the same way that our rock-climbing walls have inspired cruisers to get out there and try new things, we know the FlowRider will add to our guests’ excitement with an adrenaline-pumping, unforgettable new experience.”
Adventurous guests can try their hand (and legs) at stand-up surfing, known as flowboarding, or opt for less-balance-demanding body boarding. The FlowRider’s design features a tensioned-fabric surface similar to a trampoline that provides a cushion to absorb the impact of falls.
Descending from the aft sports court on Deck 13 down to Deck 12, the FlowRider will be surrounded by plenty of space for spectators to cheer on their friends, family and fellow cruisers. After guests sign up, instructors will walk them through a required safety session with tips for a successful ride. An adjacent sports bar will feature flat-screen TVs with a live feed of the surf park action, while a sports boutique will offer surfing gear and wear. There will not be a charge to ride the FlowRider.
The new surf park is the fourth outstanding aqua environment to be announced for Freedom of the Seas. The ship also will feature an adults-only Solarium with two cantilevered whirlpools extending 12 feet past the sides of the ship; a main pool area with two pools, including one dedicated to team sports and lap swimming; and the colorful H2O Zone water park, featuring interactive sculpture fountains, ground geysers, a cascading waterfall and a circular pool with current. Freedom of the Seas will offer families six ways to be together beyond triples and quads, including the Presidential Suite, at 1,215 square feet, which sleeps 14 and features four bedrooms, four baths and an 810-square-foot outdoor living area with whirlpool, wet bar and al fresco dining table.
At 160,000 GRT and holding 3,600 guests double-occupancy, Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in May 2006. The first in Royal Caribbean’s new Freedom class, she will be the most forward-looking and innovative ship the company has built to date. Freedom of the Seas will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami calling in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Royal Caribbean’s private destination, Labadee, Hispaniola.