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Liberty of the Seas
Even MORE Freedom to "Get Out There"

by Linda Coffman

May 2007, Miami, FloridaAfter 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.

Cruisers 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® surf simulator. 

Ribbon of Life I—by day and by night

But 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?" 

Some 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. 

The WOW Factor
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.

Pirates on Parade

Entertainment options 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!)

Stay 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.

Liberty of the Seas, Part Two

Photos: © Linda Coffman

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