Freedom of the Seas
Year built: 2006
Speed: 22 kn
The Freedom of the Seas currently sails 7 to 8 night Southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
On July 19, 2012, 36 passengers from the ship were involved in a bus crash accident during an organized by Royal Caribbean shore excursion on St. Maarten. They were on a zip line tour called “Loterie Farm Treetop Adventure.” The tour bus lost control while descending a steep road on a hill, hit a speed bump, struck a taxi, then hit a tree and and plummeted into a ditch. The land tour operator was “Dutch Tours Enterprises NV”. Six of the cruise passengers (all US citizens) and the driver were injured. The taxi driver suffered a broken foot. The injured were transported to Louis Constant Fleming Hospital. Staff members and a doctor from the ship remained with them during the hospital stay. All embarked the ship the same day.
On July 22, 2015, upon entering into Falmouth port, Jamaica, the ship experienced a fire incident. Royal Caribbean announced that “a small fire” started in a “mechanical area”. All passengers were gathered to the respective muster stations. No injuries among passengers were reported, but a crew suffered 1-degree burns. The fire broke out at 9:15 AM. The ship’s fire suppression system in the area activated immediately and quickly extinguished it. All the vessel’s systems were functioning normally. Freedom was on a 7-day round trip itinerary from Port Canaveral to Labadee, Falmouth, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. According to unofficial information leaked via active crew on the ship, during the fire accident, Royal Caribbean was installing on the ship a new generation emission purification system, often referred to as “scrubber.” Excepting the newest vessels, RCI ships use high-sulphur cheaper diesel fuel instead of low-sulphur diesel fuel. To comply with the industry’s norm and the IMO’s requirements, the line decided to upgrade the existing equipment by installing the new AEP system. These new units are located in the engine room, positioned in and around diesel engines and exhaust systems. Usually, for passenger safety reasons, such works are done during dry dock refurbishments. A passenger reported that he saw the equipment being loaded on the ship. When he asked the crew, he was told it is for the water filtration system. Also, the night before, many cruise cabins suffered toilet malfunction, so passengers had to use the public restrooms. The man also said, that upon leaving the ship, he walked through stairwells and hallways that reeked of urine and feces. On upper decks there was a smell of welding, mold and toxic fumes. An anonymous crew member reported that the Freedom of the Seas fire in Jamaica was not contained within the mechanical spaces. According to the insider, the fire started near the engine and spread up to the top deck (above the lounge “Viking Crown”) through the exhaust system. Many photos and videos published online confirmed this information. They all showed big flames burning and a billowing smoke erupting from the ship’s top. As compensation for the port hours missed in Jamaica, all passengers received $200 in on board credit. If the shipowner Royal Caribbean had shut down the vessel in Jamaica for a SOLAS inspection (abbrev from “Safety of Life at Sea”), this would have resulted in huge financial losses from passenger lodging, flights to Miami, Florida, and refunds. When the fire incident occurred, the ship was on a 7-day Western Caribbean round trip Port Canaveral cruise itinerary to Haiti, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. The voyage started on July 19, and all call ports dates and times were as scheduled. The ship was back in home port of Port Canaveral on July 26, 2015 at 6:00 AM. The vessel docked at Cruise Terminal 1 and was boarded and inspected by an USCG team. At 4:30 PM, the ship left the port on the next scheduled 7-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary to Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.
On August 10, 2012, local newspaper reported a 19-year-old female passenger being drugged and sexually assaulted by four Senor Frog’s employees. When she boarded the ship, she experienced pain and had bruises on her body. The girl’s family decided to end the cruise and stay in Cozumel to report the incident to the local police.