In 2017, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Of The Seas will return to Europe for her first series of cruises since being delivered from the Turku shipyard in Finland, back in 2006.
The 154,407 ton ship- first of the three Freedom class ships (Her sibling are Liberty Of The Seas and Independence Of the Seas) has stayed in service out of North American ports ever since her debut.
The deployment of the 3,782 passenger ship brings a temporary halt to the deployment of successive Oasis class ships on the seven night ‘Meddy-Go-Round’ circuit out of Barcelona for Royal Caribbean. In succession, Oasis, Allure and currently Harmony Of The Seas have spent summer seasons sailing on the port intensive Mediterranean run out of the Spanish port.
Thus, this first European deployment for Freedom Of The Seas comes as something of a surprise, and definitely a downscaling of Royal Caribbean’s presence in Europe. On the other hand, the deployment of all three Oasis class ships in the year round Caribbean trade gives the company unparalleled dominance in the US domestic market.
Whether this is a one off deployment (a reaction to falling passenger numbers in general, perhaps) remains to be seen. None the less, with sister ship Independence Of The Seas sailing out of Southampton to the Mediterranean as well, the arrival of Freedom Of The Seas on station in Barcelona next summer still gives Royal Caribbean a very formidable presence indeed in the region.
Interesting times, for sure. Stay tuned for further news.