What's New on Board
SPORTS There's no danger of cabin fever on the massive new Royal Caribbean ship Freedom of the Seas, which takes passengers on seven-night cruises to the western Caribbean. Not only is it the world's largest cruise ship, weighing 160,000 tons, but it also has a 40-foot wave pool, a 43-foot rock-climbing wall, an ice-skating rink and a full-size boxing ring where guests can learn how to punch (a bag). SeaDream's yachtlike ships—which sail around Europe, South America and the Caribbean—have retractable marinas that unfold into the water so guests can snorkel, kayak, water-ski or wakeboard (the marine version of snowboarding) off the stern. Guests can borrow Segways (high-tech scooters) to get around the ship or port docks.
FOOD Last fall F&W partnered with Holland America Line to launch Culinary Arts Centers aboard the 13-ship fleet. The show kitchens, outfitted with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, host classes and cooking demos with more than 20 food-world luminaries each year, including F&W Best New Chef 2004 Bradford Thompson, of Scottsdale's Mary Elaine's at the Phoenician, and chocolate wizard Jacques Torres. This summer Silversea worked with Viking to create a show kitchen aboard its Silver Wind ship, which sails to South America and Europe. Next year, Oceania's star culinary director, Jacques Pépin, will sail on a Barcelona-to-Istanbul trip, doing cooking demos and hosting excursions; on recent cruises he has dined with passengers on board.