Cruising!

Move over New York City, because I have found another “City that never sleeps” and it floats too, although it’s not an island! It’s the newest addition to Royal Caribbean’s International fleet, a ship called Freedom of the Seas and it has the distinction of being the world’s largest passenger cruise ship. I was on-board and sailed during the inaugural gala celebration and naming ceremony in earlier this year and had an opportunity to explore and experience each magnificent deck.

So just what does it mean to be the world’s largest passenger ship? Aside from dwarfing everything else in port; it means in real terms that she’s/he’s a big lady/guy at 185 feet wide (wider than the White House is long), towers 208 feet tall (think two Statues of Liberty) from the waterline to the top of the funnel and . . . if stood upright on the bow, it is taller than New York’s Chrysler building and Paris’ Eiffel Tower! Needless to say she carries a lot of weight and 3,634 passengers, (think enough staterooms to host all the NBA, MLB and NFL players and their coaches in one single sailing) . . . don’t miss that boat! Seriously, if you are looking for a new vacation experience, cruising is a really wonderful option well worth considering. Why? Read on . . .

Freedom of Seas Cruise Director, Ken Rush describes the experience, “A cruise is simply one of the best bargains out there. For the price of your ticket you get all your entertainment, meals, and activities including sports, the list goes on and on. The only exceptions are liquor, shore excursions gambling and gratuities.” Another added bonus if you crave adventure, is the opportunity to spend time exploring multiple ports of call during your cruise.

So what kind of an experience are you looking for? If you want to be pampered, do the spa thing. At the Freedom Day Spa you can retreat, relax and revitalize with a therapeutic stone massage, acupuncture, massage, facials or even whiten your teeth all while your significant other (if you bring him) enjoys the spa’s “Time for Men” a special menu of treatments for the guys. There is also a sauna and steam room, but why not luxuriate by the pool in the Solarium and sip a protein drink instead?

Want to hold onto that girlish figure, or start an exercise program to get back the one you once had? If you are the active type, head for the fitness center (the largest one found on any cruise ship). Whether you are a novice or body builder, you will find equipment and fitness programs that meet and exceed your expectations. Choose anything from a sunrise stretch class to step classes, indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates, power boxing(in the only boxing ring at sea), Bosu X-Training, trekking or skip it all and try Power Plate Training(I tried it and . .. wow).

If the gym doesn’t wear you out, go rock climbing, the ship has a rock-climbing wall that is 44’ tall and 43’ wide, complete with a central spire and 11 climbing routes. Or “hang ten” as they say, at the first ever shipboard surf park called FlowRider®, a surf simulator that allows riders to surf or body board against a wave-like water flow of 34,000 gallons per minute! Still raring to go? Then head over to one of the sports pools for a quick game of water volleyball or brush up on your synchronized swimming!

Speaking of dining, if that’s your thing then worry not, because there are 10 restaurants to satisfy your every culinary desire. Feeling guilty for eating too much? Attend one of the many Shipshape Seminar Series to find out if your body is older than you with the Polar BodyAge system; or join the head chef and onboard nutrition expert for tips on how to prepare perfectly balanced, filling and tasty meals to manage your weight once you get back home; or discover the best nutrition program for your body type at another seminar called The Great Diet Debate; then learn how to create a new you through Detox for Weight Loss.

Are you the partying type? There is no reason to miss a beat because there is always something to do . . . Think you can do Patti La Belle better than, well . . . Patti . . . then prove it in their state of the art karaoke bar, the On Air Club. Join your adoring fans later at The Crypt for some clubbing, then stroll over to Boleros for some serious live salsa music and dancing; stop by the Champagne Bar for a bit of bubbly, and top the night off with a roll of the dice at Casino Royale or take a romantic moonlight stroll on deck before retiring for the night. Not sleepy yet? How about a little jazz and a martini at Olive or Twist or a relaxing dip in one of the cantilevered whirlpools that extend 12 feet out from the sides of the ship . . . and I might add 112 feet above the water!

With so much going on, Ken Rush recommends that you carry the “Cruise Compass” with you at all times, it’s the schedule that lists the day’s activities. He also suggests that you plan your cruise to include days dedicated exclusively to either relaxation or fun-filled activities and “To never miss one of the shows, because the entertainment aboard Freedom of the Seas is out of this world.” The shows, held in the plush Arcadia Theatre, are spectacular and are on par with many Broadway or Las Vegas productions.

Like to shop? They have that covered too; stroll the Royal Promenade, a shopping, dining and entertainment boulevard, which also hosts nightly street parades and a descending bridge, lasers, music and lights. The ship really feels like a city, every deck is like exploring a new neighborhood, each with a different view of the world each day. When you’re ready to go home, a comfortable cabin awaits you with all the amenities of home, a flat screen television and bed suitable for a sleeping beauty like you! Feeling spoiled yet? Oh, did I mention that if you decide not to go to the dining room for breakfast that room service is always available? I told you, they thought of everything!

Freedom of the Seas seven night cruises depart from Miami to the Western Caribbean with stops in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Royal Caribbean’s private destination, Labadee, Haiti.To make reservations, go to www.royalcaribbean.com or call (800) 327-6700. ©The Adams Report

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