Tom Gierada has been on more luxury
cruises than most people ever dream of
-- enough to have a well-developed pair
of sea legs and an appreciation for the
finer things of shipboard life.
When Gierada, who operates Sunsational
Cruises on west Elliot Road, says,
“Wow!,” you can bet a cruise ship is
When he says, “Double wow!” it can only
be the world’s largest cruise ship,
Royal Caribbean’s “Freedom of the Seas.”
Gierada and his wife, Cyndy, recently
got a chance to preview the latest
floating resort on a two-day “cruise to
nowhere” that Royal Caribbean hosted to
show off “Freedom of the Seas.”
It was rainy and cold most of the trip,
which began and ended in Boston, but the
unfriendly weather didn’t spoil the fun,
“If the sun broke out at all, it was
still cold and windy,” he said. “Nobody
was sitting by the pool!”
“But there was so much to do on the ship
that it (the weather) didn’t bother us a
bit. There was enough to do.”
Enough, indeed. For “Freedom of the
Seas,” too much is just enough.
Here are some stats on the floating
palace that hit the water earlier this
year and is booked months – even years,
for prime times – in advance for its
seven-day cruises in the Caribbean:
158,000 gross tons, making “Freedom”
larger than the Queen Mary 2
1,112 feet long, which makes “Freedom”
longer than New York City’s Chrysler
Building is tall.
3,634 passengers at full capacity, with
a crew of 1,360.
15 decks with a total of 1,800 cabins
fine-dining restaurants in addition to
the typical cruise-ship eating
extravaganza that includes a three-level
Oh, and a water park called the H2O
Zone, a rock-climbing wall, ice rink,
boxing ring, FlowRider wave simulator
for on-board surfing, and 445-foot,
shop-lined promenade to make passengers
think they are strolling the quaint
streets of a tourist town instead of
steaming majestically from Caribbean
island to Caribbean island.
Tom Gierada said the new “Freedom” ship
is, “without a doubt, the absolute best
Cruise ships are classified by size and
amenities. Until now, Royal Caribbean’s
premier class has been its “Voyager”
series of ships.
“We’ve probably been on – either
together or separately – about 50 or 60
cruises. I counted them up once a couple
of years ago,” Gierada said.
“We’ve been on a lot of ships (but)
when I first walked on my first
Voyager-class ship a couple of years
ago, all I could say was, ‘Wow.’ My jaw
just dropped,” he recalled.
“Freedom of the Seas” has been called a
“super-voyager class” vessel. Royal
Caribbean says it creates a new class –
the Freedom class.
“Everything is bigger. The gymnasium is
bigger and they put a boxing ring in it.
The ice rink is bigger and the ice shows
are more extravagant.”
Prices vary by stateroom size and
location and also by time of year. But
Gierada did up some numbers for an April
2007 cruise and came up with a price of
$1,299 per person for the least
expensive cabin and $1,859 for more
expensive staterooms. Double occupancy,
of course. If rooms are available.
Off season prices are about $300 less
per person, he said.
Cruise prices fell dramatically after
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but are
now back to pre-9/11 prices, according
And going up,” he cautioned.