Freedom of Seas visits

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas did not dwarf the other ships in George Town harbour.

George Town

The giant ship in port Wednesday morning. Photo: Jewel Levy

Anchored well out from the port, the giant ship glistened on the horizon appearing similar in size as the other ships anchored in George Town: Carnival’s Imagination, Inspiration and Princess Cruise’s Caribbean Princess.

But it is the largest cruise ship in the world and yesterday made its inaugural visit to Grand Cayman.

Around dawn the giant ship appeared over the horizon as just a small dot growing in stature as it neared its spot to anchor out past the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal. A few people had gathered on the waterfront to view the sight.

At 158,000 tons, the 3,600-passenger ship dwarfs Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and all the other mega-ships in the cruise market. It beats QM2, with just over 150,000 tons and can carry 1,000-plus more passengers (based on double occupancy).

Compared to her 158,000 tons and length of 1,112 feet, other ships such as Carnival Inspiration can only boast half the weight, at 70,3678 tons and a length of 855 feet.

Freedom of the Seas is sailing 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.

Minister for Tourism Charles Clifford held a welcome reception in the morning at the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal just before invited local residents and officials went on board to view the enormous vessel.

Some of the ship’s top features include a rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink, royal promenade, extensive WiFi capabilities and connectivity for cell phones, full-size, flat-screen TVs in every stateroom, themed bars and lounges, adventure youth facilities, day spa and fitness centre, a casino, interactive water park and a sports pool.

The 1,817 staterooms will include six different categories geared toward families and a 1,215 sq ft presidential suite that can sleep 14 people.

Royal Caribbean has plans to launch an even bigger ship, with a liner able to accommodate 5,400 passengers scheduled for delivery in 2009.

The Freedom of the Seas was to depart George Town port at 5.30pm yesterday.

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