World’s Largest Cruise Ship Isn’t Merely A Clone Of Her Sisters
It’s official: Royal Caribbean’s brand-new Harmony of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship. The third Oasis Class cruise ship following 2009’s Oasis of the Seas and 2010’s Allure of the Seas bests her predecessors by some 2,000 gross tons. Christened last week in Southampton, England, she carries 5,479 guests at double-occupancy, and an amazing 6,780 if she’s fully booked to third and fourth-berth capacity.
But while she might look like her Oasis-class sisters, Harmony of the Seas is noteworthy in her own right. Royal Caribbean isn’t just covering old ground here. Like the Vision Class ships that came two decades before her, the line has made a number of changes and alterations to Harmony of the Seas, adding new features found aboard the revolutionary Quantum of the Seas and other little niceties – some of which are a first for the line.
Here’s five reasons we’re as excited about Harmony of the Seas as we were seven years ago when Oasis of the Seas first made her debut:
Big Ship Appeal
It’s true that there’s a certain cachet to Harmony of the Seas, based purely on her size alone. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to boast that they’ve been on the world’s largest cruise ship?
It’s that kind of word-of-mouth that Royal Caribbean is banking on. After all, they now have another 6,780 berths to fill each week, and the line is looking for eager cruisers to come and experience their masterpiece of maritime engineering.
Consider this: Harmony of the Seas is 1,188 feet long, with a beam of 215.5 feet. That’s 58 feet longer and over 80 feet wider than Cunard’s massive Queen Mary 2, which claimed the title of “World’s Biggest Passenger Ship” following her debut in 2004. Royal Caribbean would reclaim that title shortly afterwards, and save for one brief exception, has held onto it ever since.
There’s something dramatic about standing aboard a ship that big, pulling into port, and knowing you’ve chosen the largest ship in the world for your cruise vacation.
One of the big reasons to be excited about Harmony of the Seas is that it’s going to be relatively easy to get the chance to sail aboard her. Unlike newer ships that have long European or Asian cruise seasons, Harmony of the Seas will sail the warm waters of the Caribbean once she arrives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 5.
If you want to try her out for yourself, Royal Caribbean has a short three-night cruise aboard Harmony of the Seas to the Bahamas departing on November 5, 2016 from Fort Lauderdale, with a single port call in Nassau. Following that, Harmony of the Seas begins a series of weeklong voyages to the Western and Eastern Caribbean.
Harmony’s Eastern Caribbean voyages will typically call on some of the Caribbean’s most popular ports of call, with stops in Nassau, St. Thomas, and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Most Western Caribbean voyages stop in Cozumel, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Royal Caribbean’s private oasis, Labadee, in Haiti.
These sailings are easy to get to for most North Americans – and they won’t break the bank, either. If you’re looking for a warm family getaway to the Caribbean, Harmony of the Seas certainly looks poised to offer up just that.
Royal Caribbean’s First Waterslides
If you’ve got kids (or are just a kid at heart), your ship has come in: Harmony of the Seas will feature Royal Caribbean’s first true waterslides. These include an intricate waterpark positioned high above the Central Park area that runs along the centerline of the ship, with three massive slides known as Cyclone, Monsoon, and Typhoon that traverse several decks in height for a thrilling experience.
At her stern, Harmony of the Seas will boast the largest waterslide at sea – by a long-shot. The Ultimate Abyss is a 10-story waterslide that will travel from the ship’s uppermost deck down her stern, emptying out on the boardwalk below. Guests will travel a total of 216 feet at a speed of nine miles per hour as they spiral down to the decks below.
That sounds like fun to us!
Harmony of the Seas will also receive some of the best features that Royal Caribbean introduced in 2014 with the launch of Quantum of the Seas, including the first Bionic Bar aboard an Oasis-class ship; a two-story version of Royal Caribbean’s unique Wonderland dining experience; and virtual balconies that feature digitally-projected exterior images for that balcony view at a fraction of the cost.
New features include a private oceanview lounge exclusively for suite guests; an exclusive deck area known as the Suite Sun Zone; and the new Coastal Kitchen restaurant – exclusively for suite guests – that offers Californian and Mediterranean fusion cuisine.
The Royal Caribbean Experience
Of course, the best reason to sail aboard Harmony of the Seas is for the Royal Caribbean experience itself. Although ships carrying over 6,000 guests aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, you have to hand it to Royal Caribbean for coming up with some of the most innovative ships afloat; vessels so intricate and extravagant that they become a destination unto themselves. That Royal Caribbean can still provide a quality cruise experience while serving so many people is nothing short of astonishing, and the line has crowd-control down to a science.
The debut of Harmony of the Seas showcases the evolution of the Royal Caribbean product and brings the line into the next chapter of its long and storied history. We’re excited to hop onboard – are you?
contributed by Aaron Saunders
An avid traveler and an award-winning journalist, Ralph Grizzle produces articles, video and photos that are inspiring and informative, personal and passionate. A journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ralph has specialized in travel writing for more than two decades. To read more cruise and port reviews by Ralph Grizzle, visit his website at www.avidcruiser.com.