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Cruising: the Bigger the Better?

Kevin Cooley Looking aft at Decks 11 through 15 on <em>Freedom of the Seas,</em> the biggest cruise ship ever built.

Photo: Kevin Cooley

Not willing to miss dazzlement by the FOS crown jewel, Elizabeth and I got in line. The FlowRider turned out to be tamer up close than it was from the sidelines; we both stayed on our boards longer than many who tried it and emerged, with relative dignity, to cheers and applause. It was kind of fun and inspired a nice sense of community. But the lasting impression is of a real-time, real-life product of our late-period TV culture: with the FlowRider, those who don't expect to get close enough to see, much less be, a real surfer on a real wave can have their wave and their close-up too.

In between surfing and dining (at the Pan-Asian Jade, the pappadum rivaled that of many land-based Indian places I know), we stopped into the Freedom Day Spa for a decent massage (for me) and one of the best wraps and massage treatments Elizabeth had ever had, courtesy of aesthetician Jaanika Luht of Estonia. We toured the Presidential Suite—1,215 square feet with four bedrooms, a giant living room, and a balcony with its own bar—and the Royal Suite, both decorated in the same terra-cotta–and–moss color scheme. The Royal was smaller than the Presidential but still roomy enough to hold a computer-operated baby grand player piano. We actually preferred our own Ocean View stateroom, a dormlike bubble floating in the spacious sea of the ship. The bed was one of the most comfortable I've ever slept in, thanks to the firm mattresses with two-inch pillowtops democratically installed in all of the staterooms. In this small town on the biggest cruise ship in the world, it was nice to be home.

Alice Gordon is a freelance writer and editor based in New York.

Freedom of the Seas sails seven-night Caribbean itineraries from Miami, calling in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Labadee, a private beach belonging to Royal Caribbean, in Haiti. From $859 per person; 800/327-6700; www.royalcaribbean.com.

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