Gay travel group set sail with world’s largest cruise ship

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Atlantis Events, a company specialising in all-gay and lesbian cruises and resort vacations, has announced it will charter the world’s largest passenger ship in January 2007 for a Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas ship will cater for over 3000 passengers with high tech facilities once completed in Finland.

“Freedom sets a new standard in the cruise industry with innovative settings for unique guest experiences throughout,” said Rich Campbell, Atlantis’s chief executive.

“Royal Caribbean has clearly raised the bar in terms of what is possible in cruising today.

“Atlantis is very proud to be able to partner with Royal Caribbean to bring the excitement of the largest ship in the world to our gay and lesbian guests,” Mr Campbell said. “We’ll be able to create a spectacular experience for them that fully utilises this fantastic ship with our signature entertainment and parties.”

At 160,000 tons and with a capacity of 3,700 guests, Freedom of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world when she enters service in June 2006. By comparison, the Queen Mary 2 displaces approximately 151,000 tons and accommodates up to 2,620 passengers. Freedom’s length of 1,112 feet is nearly equivalent to four football fields laid end-to-end.

Freedom of the Seas will offer guests a top-deck aqua environment unparalleled in the industry. It will introduce four new concepts, including, an interactive water park called the H2O Zone; dramatic whirlpools cantilevered off the sides of the ship; a dedicated sports pool; and FlowRider, the industry’s first-ever shipboard surf park.

The ship will also feature an ice skating rink, the largest shipboard rock-climbing wall anywhere, and the line’s longest Royal Promenade, a 427-foot long interior street packed with shopping, dining and entertainment options. Her 1,817 staterooms will be some of the largest guest rooms, featuring some of the most spacious balconies in the industry.

It will also be the most digitally advanced cruise ship at sea, offering wireless technology throughout the ship for Internet and cell phone access, as well as first-in-the-industry flat-panel televisions in all staterooms and public areas.

“With all the guest amenities, innovations, and groundbreaking facilities on this spectacular ship, it’s easy to see why Royal Caribbean named her Freedom,” said Mr Campbell. “Our guests will have the freedom to choose a vacation that fits their own individual taste and style. And that is what an Atlantis vacation is all about.”

Atlantis’ Caribbean sailing on Freedom of the Seas will depart Miami on January 28, 2007, visiting San Juan, St. Maarten, and the private island of Labadee, before returning to Miami on February 4, 2007. Staterooms start at $1,049, based on double occupancy.

Atlantis will offer a record seven all-gay cruises, and two all-gay resorts in 2006, handling more guests than any other gay and lesbian tour operator. Destinations include Europe, Alaska, South America, Hawaii, Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Caribbean Islands, and the Baltic.

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