Read Travel

The FlowRider on the Freedom of the Seas


When it goes to sea in May of 2006, Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world. It will serve 3,800 (yes, 3,800) guests and an unknown number of staff to run it. Like RC's other new ships, the Freedom will have a rock climbing wall, an ice skating rink, a spa, shops, and several restaurants. But it also has something that no other ship in the world has—a FlowRider. Built by Wave Loch Inc. of La Jolla, the FlowRider is a recent (but not new) innovation in water park technology (video demo on their site). Similar to a lap pool, it creates waves and simulates current by passing 30,000 gallons of water over the ride surface. This will be the FlowRider's first installation onboard a ship, which is pretty impressive. It also promises endless lines for the opportunity for one "surfer" at a time to enjoy it.


Other interesting features on the Freedom of the Seas include the 18+ spa area with its cantilevered whirlpools, a dedicated "sports" pool and the H20 Zone (which is very clearly inspired by the Stravinsky Fountain by Jean Tinguely and Nikki de Saint Phalle next to the Centre Beaubourg in Paris). The H20 Zone has interactive sculpture fountains, geysers, a waterfall and a circular current pool. At night it serves as a dry outdoor event space.

The site is worth a visit in itself. It is one of the better Flash sites out there.