This may seem rather trivial to most (I have to remind myself I’m not writing to “most“), but a large part of my appreciation and embellishment for an enriched life consists of surrounding myself with a rich sensory aesthetic that speaks to my inner core.  Therefore, based on my own personal tastes and passions, that aesthetic always involves elements of knowledge, discovery, learning, beauty, truth.

On a recent Royal Caribbean cruise with my beautiful wife, daughter and son-in-law on the Freedom of the Seas, we found ourselves looking for interesting places to relax and unwind after a day of exciting excursions.  The Bull & Bear pub on the the ship’s interior promenade was such a welcoming place. While I haven’t yet traveled to the British Isles it did give me a feeling of a unique and inspiring place to imbibe and converse – one that may perhaps exist in spirit somewhere in Great Britain.

Bull & Bear Pub - Freedom of the Seas (Exterior)
Bull & Bear Pub - Freedom of the Seas (Exterior)
Bull & Bear Pub - Freedom of the Seas (Exterior)

The place was rather empty during the day while travelers were either on the pool deck or if docked, on an excursion, but in the evenings it was packed with patrons sampling beer and partaking in the wonderful music of a lone guitarist/singer who did such an incredible job rendering vintage hits from the 70s and 80s. Debbie and I are not beer drinkers but they did have a decent selection of wine.


The specific aesthetic elements that caught my attention and spoke to my soul were part of the interior, and to some extent the exterior, which seemed to cater to the knowledge adventurer and discoverer! Along the side of the pub was a wall lined with what appears to be a well-stocked library (probably a facsimile). And in the middle, a display case of “evolutionary” skulls (no doubt replicas).

Bull & Bear Pub - Freedom of the Seas (Library)
Bull & Bear Pub - Freedom of the Seas (Library)
Bull & Bear Pub - Freedom of the Seas (Library)

Still . . . . . . not only did the interior speak to me, but the exterior also held some interesting surprises.  In a similar manner to the skulls display inside, the exterior windows held an interesting (although nearly hidden) shadow-box-type display of a Cabinet of Curiosities!  The frustrating part was the glass covering this display was colored/frosted in such a way that its contents were nearly hidden in their entirety.  I attempted to snap some photos in an attempt to capture their mysteries:

Bull & Bear Pub - Freedom of the Seas (Kunstkammer)
Bull & Bear Pub - Freedom of the Seas (Kunstkammer)
Bull & Bear Pub - Freedom of the Seas (Kunstkammer)

Much in the same way that the Kunstkammer of old attempts to display an array of interesting and inspiring discoveries, this window shows a skull, armillary, coral, atlas, fish, shells, intellectual diagrams, etc – all items of discovery and adventure.

If I have to choose a place of relaxation and satiation – this type of establishment calls to my soul in spades – compared to someplace of sterile blandness.

Live life fully! Pursue experiences and settings that satiate your soul!