of the Seas
Freedom to "Get Out There"
May 2007, Miami,
more than a decade of new ship arrivals, and just
a year after the launch of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas,
her almost-twin Liberty of the Seas still created quite a buzz when
she arrived in the Port of Miami. At 160,000 tons and 1,112 feet in
length, almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall, the
Freedom-class vessels can't help but impress even those who think
they've seen it all.
familiar with the Freedom-class (and if you aren't, here's an
introduction to Freedom
of the Seas) will recognize Liberty of the Seas' most exciting
onboard features. Of course there's Studio B for ice skating, a
massive rock climbing wall, a water park-style swimming pool for the
entire family, a boxing ring, all-adult solarium with hammocks and cantilevered
hot tubs, and the Flowrider®
of Life I—by
day and by night
wait, there's more... Liberty of the Seas sports an art collection
befitting the world's largest cruise ship. Use your imagination to
decide if the works are "Illusion or Reality?"
of it is digital—the
Ribbon of Life I found in the main Centrum integrates structures suspended from overhead that come
alive with projected light forms as the sun sets; some is
three-dimensional and simply stunning, as are the Tequila Sunrise
glass wall hangings that create "a garden of giant agave
blossoms" in Boleros, the hottest Latin-style lounge afloat.
The only way to explain the penguins spotted beyond the fitness
center windows is to return to the "Illusion or Reality?"
theme. Yes, they are really there... aren't they? Which goes to show
that art doesn't have to be serious to be taken seriously.
There's no way to deny the
fact that Liberty of the Seas is huge. And it's that hugeness that I
find most appealing. Seriously! Sure, I got turned around a few times
and was late to my assigned dinner seating one night because I
entered on the wrong deck, but it was a lot of fun to use the touch
screen on the interactive deck plans when I needed a bit of
assistance. It's the sheer size of the Freedom-class vessels that
allows them the 'freedom' to offer so many choices to passengers.
on board Liberty of the Seas aren't limited to show lounges and the
usual Broadway or Vegas-style reviews. Yes, those are certainly
spectacular, but there are also the ice skating reviews, which I
find even more entertaining because they are on a cruise ship and
because I can actually ice skate myself during passenger skating
sessions. At the heart of Liberty of the Seas, the Royal Promenade
is the ideal setting for parades, well-scripted events yet with the
feel of a small town celebration. Pirates, wenches, acrobats, oh my!
However, often overlooked are
the other entertainers—the
ones performing in more intimate venues... the bars and lounges. To uncover their
talents I set out to lounge-hop and what
I found ran the gamut from easy-listening jazz and classical to fun
and get-down funky. No lounge is more hopping than Boleros where
dancers swinging to the Latin band pack the floor. If you'd rather
sing than dance, drop into The Schooner Bar to croon along with the
piano bar crowd. For variety, Olive or Twist alternates entertainers—a guitarist,
jazz quartet, and pianist. An island band performs poolside, both
in the afternoon and into the evening and the Rosario Strings set a
soothing mood in the formal dining rooms. But, what could go better
with a beer in the Hoof & Claw Pub than a vocal guitarist,
unless it's one with wit and an attitude? Nothing! And he was my
favorite. (Hey, I wasn't just drinking, this is research!)
tuned because Liberty of the Seas has more than Bingo for those of
us whose idea of "activity" includes a bit less than
working up a sweat.
of the Seas, Part Two
CruiseDiva.com © Linda Coffman