Harmony of the Seas, the third in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class of ships, has launched! She is nearly four times the size of Big Ben in length, cost almost £800 million to build and will be the world’s largest cruise ship! Impressive, right?
The lucky www.CRUISE.co.uk team were on-board to try out everything she has to offer and find out about her fantastic features and how she betters her sister ships! Read on to find out what we made of her…
Décor and Atmosphere:
Royal Caribbean, like their other ships, have continued to go above and beyond with Harmony. With the return of the neighbourhood concept there’s a solution for every mood you’re in and you can expect to find all sorts of imaginative sights and that once-in-a-lifetime feeling we all love.
Did you ever think you would see multi-storey waterslides that twist and turn ten decks above Central Park? You can’t even do that at the actual Central Park in New York City! Experiences like this are exclusive to Harmony of the Seas.
Take a look at the vibrant personality of the ship here which comes in the form of the impressive Aquatheatre and the Rising Tide Bar- the world’s first moving bar at sea (the list of reasons to make the family and friends more jealous is endless!)
Did you know? Harmony of the Seas even features the first hand painted carousel at sea!
Let’s start with the real variety of activities on the ship because even if you aren’t a massive thrill seeker and would prefer not to opt for the Ultimate Abyss, there’s mini golf, zip lining or rock climbing to tickle your fancy.
Did you know: the Ultimate Abyss will officially be the tallest waterslide at sea! With its height of ten storey’s plus the chance to skydive and learn to surf on-board, you’ll be feeling like your floating holiday is actually a combination between a grand themepark and an exotic waterpark (which is the best of both worlds).
If you’re not quite brave enough for the slide that sits 150 feet above sea level (we wouldn’t blame you!), you can have a go on the Perfect Storm: a trio of water slides that twist and turn around Central park and perfect for racing your friends on.
Not only is ice skating an activity for you to get involved in on-board- one that’s rare for Royal Caribbean ships- you can also immerse yourself in a story created by the professional skaters on ice: in 1887 a young woman travels through time and space, discovering the wonders of the universe (chilling, huh? No pun intended!)
These dazzling shows are also available at the Aquatheatre. Here you’ll find gravity-defying displays through diving and acrobatics with two 10 metre high diving boards! The wonders in the technology of the ship means your eyes will witness a real treat with 3D images and optical illusions…not like your average trip to the cinema, eh? Although there is actually an outdoor screen for you to see a real plus-size cinematic experience.
Now you just can’t beat that homey feeling and Harmony’s neighbourhood concept gives you just that with a title for every designated area and an answer to every type of day you’ve imagined ahead.
Just like on her sister ships, you’ll find Central Park where you’ll find places to eat like its own cafe and places to shop like Kate Spade. The lovely landscape makes it the perfect place to go for somewhere a bit more peaceful, because even on our getaway break we need somewhere quiet to read our holiday book other than our cabins!
We have to mention that you’ll find a Starbucks in the Boardwalk neighbourhood (because even on holiday we can’t start the day without an extra hot skinny cappuccino). This will be amongst a range of your favourite restaurants that never disappoint (but we’ll tell you more about that later) and a Tequila bar that some of your eyes will be lighting up at (you know who you are). Who would ever need to have a weekend break in Weston Super-Mare anymore just for the classic carnival and arcade games, because you’ll find skeeball, ring tosses and all of the rest right here on Harmony for the little (and big) kids.
Did you know: Harmony carries an Escape Room- a guest favourite- where you must use the clues you are given to help solve the puzzles that’ll let you escape the room, all under a time limit (very Saw-esque we think!)
Even having your drinks made is now something to get excited about with the Bionic Bar. Harmony is very showcase esque in this sense but come on, who can say no to robotic arms that mix your requested cocktail after you’ve pressed a few buttons- we think this is our new favourite way to have our drinks made!
If you fancy something a little more traditional, there’s Vintages wine bar, Boleros bar, mast bar, wipe out bar, the Solarium bar that sits right at the top or Dazzles bar lounge where those of you who love to dance will be going!
You’ll understandably feel beat after a day filled with this madness so sit back, relax and let someone else do the entertaining with a West End Show at the Royal Theatre (we don’t know about you but we never tire of watching Grease and Harmony can offer you a fantastic performance of this to start your evening in the best way!)
If you prefer to relax in more of a luxurious, self-treating way head to the Vitality Spa! It has a fitness centre too so you can keep active with the running track and state of the art gym facilities (what better place to keep feeling on top form!)
You haven’t experienced variety until you’ve come across the list of dining options on-board Royal Caribbean’s newest ship. Whether you’re looking for casual eateries included in your holiday prices or the fancier ones with a fee, Harmony gives you an answer.
If the famous Jamie Oliver’s cooking gets your taste buds excited head straight to Central Park where it is worth paying that little bit extra for your favourite, fresh Italian dishes. Although…
Did you know: if you are a stateroom guest in Central Park you’ll be automatically given lunch for two at Jamie’s Italian for free, and a complimentary bottle of wine to top it all off!
Other speciality restaurants include Wonderland where the Alice in Wonderland themed décor goes great with the dreamy menu that’s bursting with imagination and innovation! If you’ve never heard of molecular gastronomy before (don’t worry, we hadn’t either) then you’ll get to know about it here when the chefs twist their culinary kaleidoscope to invent an elaborate dreamscape never seen before.
All your complimentary restaurants are varied and family friendly- the best combination for those of you in groups with different ages or preferences. Head to Sorrento’s Pizzeria, a Royal Caribbean staple- for their unbeatable freshly cooked pizza (Pizza Hut who?!) If you fancy a change of scenery there is Park café in Central Park where you can build your own bagels or if you’re a suite guest you’ll have free access to the suite sun zone and Coastal kitchen where you’ll find a blend of Mediterranean and California cuisine.
If you’re a fan of themed restaurants then Johnny Rockets is for you; you’ll find this 1950’s style diner in the Boardwalk neighborhood where you can choose from French fries, hamburgers and ice cream shakes- don’t forget your rollerskates! But if you prefer something a bit simpler that serves its purpose you can always head to Windjammer Marketplace for a buffet of carved meats, pasta’s, soups, salads and particular Asian favourites.
Harmony will also feature Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse, Chops Grille, which is a date night favourite with your choice of filet mignon, lamb chops and New York strip. If you’re on a health kick Vitality Café is perfect for you with smoothies and fresh fruits or if you’re treating yourself head straight to the ship’s most exclusive restaurant, 150 Central Park, for a multicourse tasting menu and a specially priced wine pairing menu (after all you are on holiday!)
For those of you who just love those home comforts, Boot & Bonnet is an English-style pub serving pints and finger foods, although for a taste of a different culture the ship offers you Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, a pan-Asian restaurant with a wide selection of sushi rolls, rice dishes and noodle bowls. There really is something for every person and every mood on-board Harmony!
Royal Caribbean have created an entire neighbourhood just for the youth: it’s Kid’s Avenue. It’s time to break the stereotype of that boring holiday that the young ones are dragged around on by their Mom and Dad and show you the variety there is to do for not just kids, but teenagers too.
From the Royal babies and Tots nursery to the Adventure Science Lab to the Adventure Ocean theatre, Harmony has something for every age and personality. And here’s one for the adults: these supervised programmes means you can have a guilt-free visit to the Casino or karaoke club (we know you want to) or even the Vitality Spa that has its own cafe and bar- you won’t want, or need, to leave all day!
Fun fact: there’s a Scrapbook workshop where you can make your own jewellery, too- come on, I think even the adults want a go at that!
For the teenagers there’s a teen-only hangout called The Living Room, a video arcade, pool parties and open mic nights strictly for that age group! Meanwhile there’s themed play areas and supervised kids programmes for those moments where the parents want a short guilt-free getaway (why not pop to Central Park just a few decks away for a nice stroll).
For all of you passengers that love to upload that obligatory new Facebook profile picture sitting on deck with a cocktail in hand or from your balcony with that sunset backdrop to make the family and friends jealous, you’ll be over the moon about Harmony holding the fastest internet connection out at sea!
The Royal WOW Bands are one for you technology lovers out there who might get excited at making onboard reservations and even purchasing items solely with your own high tech wristband (we can all admit that remembering to carry cash round with us can be a tad annoying). Oh, and don’t forget about that oh so smooth iPad check in!
And just when you thought cruise ships couldn’t get any bigger, Harmony has bettered her sister ships (Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas) with her extra width, making cabins a little longer and the corridors a little wider- bonus! This means no chance of any claustrophobia round the ship with a whole 18 decks for all 6000 passengers to roam around on- and don’t worry, no chance of the big queues you’re anticipating, with the 2000 crew members she’ll carry to assist you all.
She’s 20% more fuel efficient than her sisters (woohoo!) and she will feature the new and unique bubble system- all you need to know about it is that it’ll make sure you have a smoother ride through the waves (it just gets better and better).
So there you have it! She is set for a few more tests this month but will sail from Southampton to Barcelona in May stopping off at exotic ports such as Palma, Florence and Naples. The ship’s permanent homeport will be Port Everglades in Florida and is booked to sail seven night Caribbean cruises from the autumn.
What are your thoughts? Will you be able to say you’ve sailed on the world’s largest cruise ship? Do you want to sail on her? Let us know in the comments below!