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Freedom of the Seas

Grandfather pleads guilty in death of toddler who fell from a Royal Caribbean ship


The man who dropped his granddaughter from the window of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship pleaded guilty to negligent homicide.

Salvatore “Sam” Anello of Valparaiso changed his not-guilty plea in order to put the case to rest.

“This decision was an incredibly difficult one for Sam and the family, but because the plea agreement includes no jail time and no admission of facts, it was decided the plea deal is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter and turn their focus to mourning Chloe and fighting for cruise passenger safety by raising awareness about the need for all common carriers to adhere to window fall prevention laws designed to protect children from falling from windows,” Family attorney Michael Winkleman told media outlets following the guilty plea was entered by Anello.

In July 2019, 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand fell to her death after her grandfather dropped her from an open window on Freedom of the Seas.

Sentencing for Anello will take place on December 10, 2020.

Defense attorney Michael Winkleman said in a statement that Anello will not face any jail time and that he will serve probation in Indiana.

Puerto Rico prosecutor Laura Hernández said, "We have found justice for Chloe."

According to the maternal grandfather's testimony, Chloe asked be raised up by her grandfather. He put her on a rail by a window, thinking the glass would hold her. However, the window was open.

Royal Caribbean said that surveillance video shows Anello leaning out the window for about eight seconds before lifting the girl by and out of the open window for 34 seconds before he lost his grip. 

There is a civil case against Royal Caribbean that is still ongoing.

The current litigation against the cruise line from the family centers around why the window was left open.

“We are deep into the process of discovery in the Civil case having already taken several depositions and numerous upcoming depositions including the Captain of the ship. Sadly, all of the discovery and evidence taken so far in the case confirms that this was a tragic, preventable accident and that there are absolutely no grounds to bring criminal charges against Sam Anello,” Family attorney Michael Winkleman wrote.

Royal Caribbean has moved for the lawsuit to be dismissed, noting Mr. Anello was "reckless and irresponsible" in her death.

“His actions, which no reasonable person could have foreseen, were reckless and irresponsible and the sole reason why Chloe is no longer with her parents,” the cruise line said, according to the Indianapolis Star.

“This is a case about an adult man, who, as surveillance footage unquestionably confirms: (1) walked up to a window he was aware was open; (2) leaned his upper body out the window for several seconds; (3) reached down and picked up Chloe; and (4) then held her by and out of the open window for thirty four seconds before he lost his grip and dropped Chloe out of the window,” Royal Caribbean said in its legal motion.

Freedom of the Seas denied entry to return to San Juan and will remain at sea for two extra days


Guests onboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas are reporting the ship was denied entry to San Juan, Puerto Rico and as a result, is heading to Miami, Florida to disembark.

The cruise was scheduled to end today, but instead will add two more days to the sailing and let guests leave in Miami.

The ship was concluding a 7-night Southern Caribbean sailing, with San Juan being Freedom's homeport.

Our friends from are onboard Freedom of the Seas can corroborate the reporting.

A letter to guests indicates the Port Authorities of Puerto Rico advised Royal Caribbean that they have closed the port to cruise ships.


Freedom of the Seas has no reported cases of COVID-19 onboard, and the cruise line has been employing extra stringent sanitization methods. Moreover, Freedom of the Seas had no issues visiting any of her scheduled ports of call during the sailing.

Any internet, beverage or dining packages purchased for the cruise will automatically be extended for guests at no additional cost for the extra cruise days, along with a complimentary hour of wifi access so that guests may make necessary travel arrangements.

Freedom of the Seas is one of the last Royal Caribbean ships still at sea, having departed before Royal Caribbean announced a global suspension of its cruises for 30 days due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Freedom of the Seas completes $116 million Royal Amplification


Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas completed her $116 million amplification, and is back in service offering cruises to the Southern Caribbean.

The ship underwent a bow to stern makeover, with new features being added including water slides, a new Caribbean pool deck look, the cruise line’s first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and new, dedicated spaces for kids and teens. 

Here is a look at the new changes:

Thrills & Chills

Perfect Storm Waterslides:  Cyclone & Typhoon slides.

A resort-style Caribbean poolscape – Featuring a whole new look, signature poolside bar The Lime & Coconut, live music and a wider variety of seating and shade with the addition of casitas, in-pool loungers and daybeds, the reimagined pool deck is where pool days become an all-day affair.

Splashaway Bay kids aqua park.

Renewed adults-only Solarium.


Photo by Linken DSouza

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen: Freedom of the Seas is the first to receive this refresh of Royal Caribbean's Italian specialty restaurant, it serves up a reimagined menu of fresh pastas, custom pizzas, and more. It also features a wide selection of wines and limoncello.

Photo by Linken DSouza

El Loco Fresh: Complimentary Mexican serviced poolside including tacos, burritos and quesadillas. The venue is the first El Loco Fresh that includes a full-service bar with a wide selection of tequilas.

Izumi Hibachi & Sushi: From sushi to sashimi and hibachi, Izumi a variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Photo by Travis Kamiyama

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade: Catch live games on more than 100 TVs, play arcade classic and enjoy classic bar fare and ice-cold brews.

Things to do

Clash for the Crystal City Laser Tag : Two clans, the Yetis and Snowshifters, collide in this glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure for control of a mystical frozen city.

Adventure Ocean: Royal Caribbean has revamped its youth program on Freedom with a new layout that encourages kids to choose their own immersive adventures across several rooms:

  • Play Place, the whimsical space with climbable creations
  • Arena, where there’s friendly competition
  • Hangout, a space to chill and call their own.

Three- and 5-year-olds and toddlers (6-36 months old) each have dedicated spaces with AO Juniors and AO Babies, respectively.

Social033: Teens will rejoice in their exclusive hangout, entirely redesigned to feature the latest in movies, gaming and music, plus a new, private outdoor deck.


Royal Caribbean has also added Freedom of the Seas to its new app. Guests can check-in for their cruise and take advantage of Expedited Arrival.

Onboard the ship, the app can plan activities for each day, view onboard expenses, and make reservations for dining, shore excursions as well as shows, and the in-app TV remote available for each stateroom.

Freedom offers 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Itineraries from Barbados and Antigua, to the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) are available to enjoy.

First look at Giovanni's Italian Kitchen menu on Freedom of the Seas


Among the many changes Royal Caribbean has made to Freedom of the Seas in the ship's $116 million amplification, is the addition of the first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen.

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen is Royal Caribbean's new take on its Italian specialty restaurant. It features authentic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair, including made-to-order pizzas hand tossed front and center, and baked in the new, in-house pizza oven. 

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader (and avid Flowrider and roulette spinner) Nick Vitani spotted the menu for the new restaurant in Royal Caribbean's app.






Kids Menu

The app lists dinner cover charge at $34.99 per guest.

Giovanni's Italian Kitchen will debut on Freedom of the Seas when she returns to service this month.  It will also be added to Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas during their upcoming amplifications later this year.

Freedom of the Seas added to Royal Caribbean app


Royal Caribbean has expanded its new app to include support for Freedom of the Seas.

Freedom now appears in the list of supported ships that can be found from within the app.

The new app is being actively developed, which means not all features area available on the app yet.  Moreover, the cruise line is slowly rolling out support for more ships.

The app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean adds new visits to St. Maarten in 2020


Royal Caribbean announced it has added 15 port visits to St. Maarten in 2020.

The new visits run between May 2020 and December 2020 on Freedom of the Seas sailings, and signifies a closer relationship between the cruise line and the Caribbean island.

We received reports from readers that a sea day on Freedom of the Seas has been replaced with a visit to Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

“In order to grow our partnership, we are taking the proactive step of enhancing our Eastern Caribbean itineraries by replacing a day at sea and adding a coveted visit to St. Maarten,” said Vice President of Port Development, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Joshua Carroll. “It’s part of our culture at Royal Caribbean to focus on continuous improvement and this extends to our relationships with destination partners. It makes perfect sense for us to embrace the win-win opportunities with the additional port calls by Freedom of the Seas that brings not only economic benefit to a great partner like Port St. Maarten, but also offer our guests an amazing travel destination.”

Freedom of the Seas is about to complete a $116 million amplification that will add a variety of new enhancements, including the Perfect Storm duo of waterslides, a redesigned Caribbean poolscape, a new take on a signature venue with Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and completely transformed kids and teens spaces.

The new visits will increase the number of cruise arrivals to St. Maarten to more than 68,000 guests.

Photo tour of 2 Bedroom Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas


A family looking for a combination of space and amenities are to enjoy the Two Bedroom Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas.

I recently had the opportunity to stay in this rather large room. Photos of this cabin are from stateroom 8714.

This Grand Suite features two bedrooms, each with two twin beds that convert to a Royal King (one room with third and fourth Pullman beds). There is a private balcony, two bathrooms, and a living area.

It is essentially an inside room, along with a balcony room that as a common living room to share.

The master bedroom features a large porhole window that looks into the balcony.

The master bathroom features a full bathtub. The second bedroom's bathroom is a standard standup shower.

The two bedroom grand suite offers 587 square feet of living space. A coffee maker and mini-fridge is found in the living room.  There are mini-fridges in both bedrooms as well.

The balcony features 270 square feet of space.

Looking down, you have a view of the lower part of the aft of Freedom of the Seas.

Balcony cabins offer some great views of the sunrise or sunset.

Freedom of the Seas to get $116 million amplification in Spring 2020


Royal Caribbean announced today its major plans to enhance Freedom of the Seas with an extensive $116 million amplifcation. 

The cruise line will add the Perfect Storm duo of waterslides, a redesigned Adventure Ocean, a Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and a reimagined pool deck that will feature Splashaway Bay, El Loco Fresh and The Lime & Coconut.

Beginning March 8, 2020, the reimagined Freedom will sail year-round, 7-night Southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, Puerto Rico and will include stops in St. Lucia, Antigua and the ABC Islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.

Here's a full list of the changes coming to Freedom of the Seas:

Pool deck fun

  • The Perfect Storm waterslides: duo of racer waterslides, Cyclone and Typhoon.
  • Reimagined poolscape with a larger variety of seating and shade with casitas, daybeds and hammocks
    • Addition of Splashaway Bay aquapark for the youngest travelers.
    • Renewed, adults-only Solarium

  • The Lime & Coconut, Royal Caribbean’s new, poolside signature bar is a the three-level spot serves up live music, a lineup of cocktails and a rooftop deck for a bird’s eye view of the action.


  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen is a fresh, new twist on a guest favorite. Pick from authentic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair, including made-to-order pizzas hand tossed front and center, and baked in the new, in-house pizza oven. With a wide selection of wines and limoncellos on the reimagined menu, it’s “Sunday supper” Royal Caribbean style.
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, the Asian-inspired restaurant with teppanyaki tables and a sushi bar, features a variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees, desserts and more.
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade features more than 80 TV screens, arcade games, and menu of classic bar bites with twist and ice-cold brews on tap.
  • El Loco Fresh will sit poolside and offer fresh grab-and-go Mexican fare, from tacos and burritos, to quesadillas, along with an array of salsas for an extra kick. For the first time, the venue will include a full-service bar with a selection of tequilas on offer.

Family & Activities

  • Glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure – Clash for the Crystal City.
  • Floor-to-ceiling redesign of Freedom’s dedicated teens spaces and award-winning Adventure Ocean
    • Adventure Ocean will get a makeover that will touch every inch of the spaces specially designed for babies and kids. The imaginative layout encourages young vacationers to venture into a world of interactive experiences, from thought-provoking exploration at Play Place to art, science and tech activities at Workshop and friendly challenges at Arena. Kicking back is just as fun with gaming consoles and places to chill at Hangout. Babies and 3- to 5-year-olds will each have personalized areas with AO Babies and AO Junior
    • Teens will rejoice at their exclusive hangout, entirely transformed to feature the latest in movies, gaming and music, plus a new, private outdoor deck.

Freedom of the Seas will be the latest Royal Caribbean ship to join the Royal Amplified Fleet.  Royal Amplified is the cruise line's fleet moderinizaation effort that will encompass 10 ships in four years at a cost of more than $1 billion.