With its rich history, beautiful architecture and idyllic beaches, there are so many reasons to visit Puerto Rico. Now, Royal Caribbean is giving you one more: In 2020, San Juan, the oldest European-founded settlement in the U.S., will welcome the newly reimagined Freedom of the Seas.
Following a $116 million amplification, the largest ship ever to make San Juan its home will return to fuse the newest, boldest experiences with top-rated destinations in the Southern Caribbean. Freedom will make her grand debut on March 8, 2020, continuing seven-night cruises to a lineup of the region’s most colorful coasts, from St. Lucia and Antigua to the ABC islands—Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
Read on to find out why a cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas should be at the top of your travel bucket list.
An All-New Caribbean Poolscape
Much like the destinations she’ll visit, Freedom will truly deliver on the notion of island time with a redesigned, resort-style pool deck offering plenty of chairs, in-pool loungers, hammocks, day beds and casitas to keep sunbathers cool while sailing. Savor the Caribbean vibes throughout with live music, activities and excitement day to night and even an outdoor movie screen for watching films under the stars. The new signature bar, The Lime & Coconut, is at the center of the action: It spans three levels and serves tropical cocktails that can be sipped on the rooftop sun deck (by day) or moonlit lounge (by night).
After scaling the summit of Mount Liamuiga volcano in St. Kitts, trekking through the Gros Piton Nature Trail in St. Lucia and diving for a look below the surface in Curacao (have you heard about Royal Caribbean’s PADI program?), the action will continue on board with the debut of dual racer waterslides—Typhoon and Cyclone—at The Perfect Storm. The youngest of travelers have buckets full of memories to make at Splashaway Bay, which features slides, water cannons, fountains, whirlpools and, of course, a drench bucket.
Searching for thrills inside? Rounding out the adventures on board is glow-in-the-dark laser tag, where guests come head to head in Clash for the Crystal City.
Fun fact: Freedom was the first cruise ship (ever) to introduce FlowRider, the iconic, 40-foot-long surf simulator that brings big waves on board. You don’t want to miss it, the rock-climbing wall or the ice-skating rink indoors!
Authentic flavors are sure to have taste buds tingling, beginning with Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, a new take on a guest favorite. This reimagined, rustic spot will serve up all the Italian classics—from made-to-order pizzas hand tossed front and center and baked in the new pizza oven, to piping hot pastas—and a wide selection of wines and limoncellos. Chops Grille (a must-try American steakhouse on our ships) will be just across the way.
Back on the pool deck, guests can grab fresh Mexican fare from El Loco Fresh, which offers a menu full of favorites like tacos, burritos and quesadillas. No fiesta is complete without tequila—now served at the fully stocked bar—so don’t forget to grab a margarita.
If you’re craving Asian-infused cuisine, Izumi Hibachi & Sushi is a reservation worth making. It’s the only spot on board where you can have a meal that doubles as a show! With several hibachi tables, the restaurant serves a variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees and more, plus there’s an intimate sushi bar. Meanwhile, at Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, you’ll find ice-cold brews, the signature Playmakers Burger, buffalo wings and a four-scoop Touchdown Sundae—not to mention arcade and tabletop games, and more than 80 TVs to cheer on your favorite team. If you’re cruising with a large group, reserve the Owner’s Box, an area that seats up to 20.
Fun for Kids of All Ages
Freedom delivers on its name when it comes to redefining playtime for young travelers. Royal Caribbean’s award-winning Adventure Ocean program takes on a whole new look with spaces that have been entirely transformed from top to bottom. The creative layout encourages kids to venture into a world of interactive experiences—from thought-provoking exploration at Play Place to art, science and tech activities at Workshop—and friendly challenges at Arena. Kicking back is just as fun with gaming consoles and places to chill at Hangout. Babies and 3- to 5-year-olds will each have personalized areas with AO Babies and AO Junior.
The dedicated teen spaces, which have also been completely redesigned, are exclusive venues (complete with an outdoor patio) for guests ages 13 to 17 years old. A secret entrance leads to their lounge with the latest in games, music, movies and more. It’s the perfect spot to make new pals.
This is just a sampling of all that’s in store on the amplified Freedom of the Seas. Is it time to start planning your Southern Caribbean getaway? Book your next tropical vacation aboard this bold, high-energy ship here.