There is something about the routine of daily life that is both reassuring and suffocating at the same time. Even more than most, I live my life at home traversing a very intentional and well-worn rut. I work out on the same three days of the week, on certain days of the week I carry out food from the same familiar places (Thursdays are soup night, don‘t you know?), etc. The upside of having a routine is that this mindless pattern saves a lot of wear and tear on the little gray cells. On the downside, however, life lived in this fashion can slowly and silently suck your bones dry of the marrow of inspiration and spontaneity.
When people ahead of you in the grocery store line start to become irritating, double-wide barriers between you and the checkout counter and when smiling starts to require way more energy than you are willing to expend, perhaps the time has come to book your next cruise (from one of our expert agents, of course) on the Liberty of the Seas. As I write these words, I am sitting in Liberty’s Café Promenade sipping a cappuccino and reflecting on seven ways in seven days to become liberated on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
Liberated To Eat Like A Gourmand
When it comes to food and vacation, rationalization is a beautiful thing. You can devour everything that comes within an arm’s reach and tell yourself it doesn’t really count, you are on vacation after all. The great thing about cruising with Royal Caribbean is that the quantity, although voluminous, is somehow surpassed by the quality.
Here is a very important tip for those contemplating sailing on the Liberty of the Seas. Belly up to the bar . . . a rather apt figure of speech . . . and buy the three dinner specialty restaurant package in advance. It will save you a little money but, more importantly, getting to dine at Giovanni’s Table, Chops Grille and Sabor Modern Mexican will, I promise you, be the highlight of your cruise.
The up charge is modest, the food is divine, the service impeccable and the ambience intimate and inviting. I loved all three but I suppose if I had to choose a favorite it would be Sabor. This comes from someone who is not a raving fan of Tex-Mex (heresy for a Texan, I know). But Sabor offers is authentic modern Mexican cuisine. They make the guacamole tableside as well as the margaritas! Nadia Guevara, the manager, is a true delight (pictured above with my bride) and above, as well, you can see Cocoa making one mean margarita.
Liberated To Imbibe Like A Connoisseur
When it comes to adult beverages, the great thing is you don’t even need to rationalize! Here is another little tip. When you first get on the ship, you can purchase a wine package with several bottles of wine. If you don’t finish one, you can have the remainder brought to you the next evening, regardless of where you are dining. If you don’t consume all the wine during the trip, as we didn’t, you can bring the rest home with you.
One evening at dinner, as we were about to order our wine (you get to choose from a list of about 15 wines), the head waiter, Lucian, told is it was not necessary. He said someone had provided a bottle for us. He then raved about the quality of the wine, a 2013 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon pictured here. We can confirm his estimation as we consumed the entire bottle over a long and lingering dinner! So here is a special shout out to the benefactress whose name I will not mention both for fear of offending her modesty and also being accused of brazen name dropping. Thank you for your gracious contribution to a wonderful evening.
Liberated To Indulge In Shameless Pampering
We rewarded ourselves for our numerous visits to the fitness center with a visit to the spa. Let’s just say it is not exactly every day I am the recipient of a Swedish back message, energizing foot and ankle massage, relaxing scalp massage and a Men‘s Skin IQ MiniFacial. I was very disappointed, though not completely surprised, to discover that my skin has a higher IQ than my brain!
The pampering extended to the way Kevin, our cabin steward, attended to our every whim. (I am pretty sure we exceed our whim allotment the first couple of days.) From tracking down a lost suitcase, to brightening our day with his towel art and much more, Kevin embodied the rock star treatment one unfailingly gets on a Royal Caribbean ship.
Liberated To Explore Like A Latter Day Columbus
Our cruise called at Cozumel, Georgetown, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica. Among the score of offerings at each port of call, Royal Caribbean singles out these three for special recommendation:
- Cozumel – Explore the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Tulúm, majestically perched above the turquoise Caribbean.
- Grand Cayman – Experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure: snorkeling with stingrays at Stingray City Sandbar. These relatively tame creatures will swim right into your arms as they glide around you.
- Jamaica – One of Jamaica’s leading natural attractions, Dunn’s River Falls are terraced, giant limestone stairs, measuring about 180 feet tall and 600 feet long and plunging into the sea.
I would tell you all about these wonderful excursions were it not for the fact that we never ventured out of the fantastic dockside shopping areas each port offered. From the picture above, you might say the one in Falmouth, Jamaica was conveniently situated!
Liberated To Shop Like Paris Hilton
Speaking of shopping, I was particular impressed with the incredible village in Falmouth, Jamaica with the bamboo stores and rum shops. OK, we may have whiled away a couple of hours in this cute little rum shack.
You can purchase all manner of items in these shops. You would be completely off base if you are picturing a Bahamas “Straw Market”. In these shops, you can find diamonds, colored gemstones, jewelry, watches, gold, sterling silver, and even Oriental rugs.
Among my favorite places were the bamboo stores where everything sold was made of bamboo. They sell sheets that are softer than Egyptian cotton. You can find shops offering everything from handicrafts to designer stores such as “C2K, Caribbean Hook, Honora, House of Tanzanite, John Hardy, Kabana, La Nouvelle Bague, Starnight, White Diamonds, Cartier, Concord, Maurice Lacroix, Michele, Movado and more”.
Liberated To Learn Like A Rhodes Scholar
You literally would not believe how many learning opportunities there are on board if you want to expand your horizons to match your growing waistline. We both attended a cooking . . . and tasting . . . demonstration put on by Sabor where they demonstrated how to make some of their signature appetizers. I did not join in on the cupcake decorating class, however, knowing my limitations full well. Sampling is one thing, squeezing icing something else all together.
I was never able to work in the “Puffy eyes and dark circles” seminar. Honestly, the whole subject sounded a little depressing anyway. I wasn’t sure I wanted to surround myself with a room full of folks who felt a pressing need for that information!
Liberated To Transform Former Strangers Into Fast Friends
When we are at home, we seldom approach strangers and when we do, they usually assume we want to sell them something. OK, by way of full disclosure, in my case that is usually true. I tend to place people into two important categories: potential cruisers or possible land tourists. Non-travelers are, truth to say, passing blips on the radar screen.
When you are on a cruise, total strangers have a way of becoming Facebook friends on the elevator somewhere between deck five and eleven. You find yourself asking the couple at the next table at dinner where they are from and, no matter what answer they give, it triggers some long suppressed genius for free association. You will immediately discover what seems (for the moment at least) like a providential connection fated by a mysterious higher power.
Isn’t the time long overdue for you to discover you own seven ways in seven days to liberation? In spite of the length of this post (my apologies), I have only scratched the surface. To experience all this for yourself, trade in your frustration at home for liberation at sea.