Well, Liberty of the Seas has now settled into "real" life after hosting preview cruises from London, New York and Miami, and ultimately being christened by Godmother Donnalea Madeleyand during a one-night charity bash on behalf of the United Way of Miami.
But one aspect of Liberty of the Seas' launch will continue infinitum. Cruise Critic member Becci Wells, one of nearly 200 readers in April who submitted a ship-based poem in hopes of winning the grand prize -- a free cruise -- found that her "Tribute to Liberty of the Seas" ditty was rated the favorite by fellow readers. The free cruise, a two-night cruise-to-nowhere that took place in mid-May was plenty fun, Becci tells us. But the real highlight was the chance to present her poem -- beautifully designed and framed -- to Royal Caribbean's Richard Fain, the company chairman, and Ken Rush, Liberty of the Seas' cruise director. The event took place at an invitation-only sailaway cocktail party as the ship meandered out of its dock in Miami.
Writes Becci, "What could be more perfect than boarding Liberty of the Seas for a pre-inaugural voyage, being celebrated and entertained by the chairman, and getting to present your winning poem to Liberty? Not much!"
Becci admits she "read it very self-consciously. I fortunately got through it without stumbling over the words. With the head honchos standing there, it was a little intimidating."
Becci, who is part of a group of "Pirates" who met on Cruise Critic and are sailing on Liberty of the Seas in September, came up with the idea to write an ode to the ship when last year, the Pink Boa Society (another gaggle of members who were cruising on the then-new Freedom of the Seas) were able to present theirs to management -- and have it hung onboard. This year, she wanted to take a shot.
"I wanted to beat the pink boas to it," she says chuckling, "And I did."
Indeed, Ken Rush, cruise director then of Freedom and now of Liberty, actually hung Becci's framed poem in the very same spot (on the different ship): on deck five near the Champagne Bar and just outside of his office.
For that day, Becci felt like a celebrity, especially when she met some other Cruise Critic members who wanted to take her picture in front of her poem. But, as with Andy Warhol's famous "15 minutes of fame" decree, Becci says she's had her moment of starlight. "One of our 'pirates' said we should start working on a poem celebrating Independence of the Seas (Editor's note: The third in the Freedom family, it's due for launch in spring 2008). But I think it's time for someone else to have fun in the sun.
"Still, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, imagine that something you have written is actually on a ship for thousands to see."
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor