You’ve all surely heard of the world’s largest cruise ship? Harmony of the Seas took the cruising world by storm back in June this year when she made her official launch as Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel. The Ultimate Abyss, its focal point for all thrill seekers, was named the tallest waterslide at sea and quickly went to the top of every kids (and big kids) must-do list for the summer.
But, there’s another new ship on the block (and it happens to be a lego block). We’re talking about MSC! The Italian cruise line you might know best for its spectacular (and incredibly expensive) Swarovski crystal staircases or for its family-friendly partnership with Lego. Their newest vessel, MSC Meraviglia, is a sure contender for Harmony for the smartest way to cruise!
It is set to be MSC’s most high-tech ship with its partnership with Samsung and the biggest LED dome ever to exist on a ship, so www.CRUISE.co.uk have put Meraviglia head to head with Harmony of the Seas. Which smart ship is actually the smartest? With a slide that sits 150 ft above sea level, an 80 metre long digital sky, robots that replace bartenders and a 5D cinema to choose from, it’s a tough call…
Let’s Start With Statistics:
Harmony of the Seas:
Weight- 227,000 tonnes
Length- 1,188 ft
Height- 210 ft
Weight- 168,000 tonnes
Length- 1,033 ft
Height- 213 ft
State Of The Art:
It’s the 21st century and doesn’t it feel like every day brings another new version of technology that makes life that bit easier? Cruise ships are definitely not exempt from this and if anything, Royal and MSC seem to be at the forefront of all things touch screen, reality that’s virtual and last minute on-board reservations only a finger tap away…
Harmony of the Seas presents you with VOOM, the fastest internet at sea with connections six times faster than what you can find on any other existing ship. This means you can stream videos and music, skype your family and friends back home, surf the web and upload your holiday photos to social media on an internet connection that rivals those on land. You’ll never feel too out of touch with the world even if you’re in the very middle of the ocean!
Even your SeaPass has become something you don’t have to worry about losing or forgetting to carry around with you because you can replace it with a Royal WOW Band. You can access your entire SeaPass account on this simple wristband e.g. stateroom information, dining reservations (and its waterproof). Even opening your stateroom door is now easier with a simple wrist movement in the direction of the door reader! Everything is an arm-swish away…
Your whole holiday can officially sit in one app with the Royal IQ app! You can plan your cruise perfectly with this, from booking shore excursions, reserving evening entertainment, making dinner plans in advance to booking a last minute show for the night.
With only a few taps you can customize your cruise calendar to whatever suits you best and you’ll even get unlimited calls and texts to anyone else on-board with the app with your own unique Royal ID…your holiday is in your hands!
A partnership with Samsung is what will make Meraviglia the first smart ship for MSC and it means guests will find flat-screen HD Samsung TV’s in their cabin’s! MSC’s chief, Gianna Onorato, has stated ‘Samsung is the master of technology and MSC plan to work with best in class partners that can support and further enhance the on-board experiences we offer our guests.’ MSC fans have a real sign of things to come from this…
Samsung also plan to support the ship’s near-field communication technology on-board meaning guests will be able to use a cruise card, bracelet or smartphone to geo-locate themselves, or even their children if they are off having fun at the Aqua Park, as well as accessing their cabin or making payments on-board.
There will also be monitors and tablets at different points around the ship for guests to use to access information from- it’ll also include virtual reality and 360 degree digital experiences! Everything you need is one touch screen away…
Meraviglia will also be the first cruise ship to feature slide boarding technology for an interactive water park game! Slides just got much more interactive, and shopping just got so much easier with the augmented reality device that show’s guest’s shopping what they look like in the designer clothes without having to buy them!
Feast For The Eyes
First things first, we all know that cruise ship interiors get more aesthetically pleasing year on year and Royal and MSC are definitely not exempt from this. Their fleet have beauty and splendour dotted everywhere to impress and, with Harmony and Meraviglia, this comes in the form of crystal staircases, a neighbourhood with 12,000 different types of plants, a dazzling 80 metre LED sky and an all-singing, all-dancing arcade area. But which is smarter: Harmony or Meraviglia?
Royal Caribbean champion the neighbourhood concept that makes you feel at home on-board but nothing is short of ordinary (or anything you’d find in your living room for that matter). Boardwalk presents a colourful neighbourhood with the first hand-painted carousel at sea that immediately catches your eye, an arcade for the kids and the ship’s focal point: the Ultimate Abyss!
The tallest slide at sea can be found on Royal’s latest ship; it begins on the top deck and guests enter it through the large open-mouth of an anglerfish! It twists and turns down ten storeys and a professor of thrills was even consulted in the design so expect a whole sensory experience you don’t get from just your average slide. There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye…
The second neighbourhood to give your eyes a treat is Central Park and that New York feel will come from the vast amount of greenery that surrounds American’s on their daily strolls through the wondrous sights of America’s most visited park!
You’ll be staring metres above you at 12,000 different types of plants and trees whilst dining al fresco with a coffee and a bagel, or you can head there for a romantic stroll; you’ll pass the likes of Café 150, Jamie’s Italian and Vintages Wine bar.
MSC’s big reveal for the newest addition to their fleet is a giant LED screen that stretches 80 metres (which is the majority of the inside promenade that stretches 96 metres!) It will be the biggest LED dome ever to exist on a ship and will give guests a digital sky that means a blanket of stars covers you at nightfall and sunrises and sunsets, too.
The 262 ft virtual sky will shine, or twinkle, down on guests as they shop boutiques or dine away in the restaurants, or head here for an evening of music, parties and entertainment.
MSC brings Cirque du Soleil to sea for the very first time and have even custom designed a lounge for guests to enjoy their performances, so you can expect the best of the best. The 1,000 square metres of space is packed full of technology to fit up to 450 guests who wish to dine with the arty acrobatics above their heads (Note: you can’t do this anywhere else!).
MSC have even raised the bar and made sure that an 180 degree circular glass wall is there to give passengers a unique experience as an audience member.
All Things Water
Who needs a waterpark abroad when you have cruise ships and their affinity for all things water related! MSC and Harmony take swimming pools and turn them into champagne bowls, racer slides, multi-purpose pools and surfing simulators. Which one are you heading to first?
Royal don’t do things in halves and the 23 swimming pools you’ll find on Harmony are only one example of this! This is one for the kids (and the big kids): the ship has three different water slides (the Perfect Trio), two of which are racer slides and the third that is a champagne bowl. However, Cyclone, Typhoon and Supercell is just where you can start; head off to the FlowRider if you want to learn as you go.
This surfing simulator will have an instructor alongside it to teach you all the surfing tricks you’ve always wanted to know without the fear of the ocean!
Splashaway Bay is the answer to the kids’ heart’s when they want more than just a slide: it’s a lively waterscape with sea creature water cannons, a drench bucket and a multi-level jungle gym, too.
MSC’s newest ship has its own Aquapark so you can combine a day at the waterpark with a fancy evening dinner all on the same holiday: this’ll include three waterslides, a splash pool and a champagne bowl. The 25ft long pool, arguably Meraviglia’s best feature, is inspired by Miami South Beach for you to feel that bit more sophisticated.
It’s illuminated at night and has the most generous poolside space at sea so that you’re not forgetting to connect with the ocean (after all, this is why you chose a cruise, right?!)
You’ll have two more pools to choose from too: the inside pool is 10 metres long and has a magradome that opens up when the sun is out or whilst you’re in port, and the aft pool is located at the back of the ship and transforms into a dance space at night so you’ll be heading there in your bikini and your best dress too!
Next Level Entertainment:
It’s the little things as well as the big on cruises sometimes: a chocolate on your pillow can be a pick-me-up regardless of what cabin class you’re staying in or some nice music as background noise as you stroll around the ship can go a long way. In the case of Harmony and Meraviglia, the little things can include the likes of robotic arms mixing your drink, virtual reality racing, a skydiving simulator and a full size bowling alley, so wait there to find out just how far MSC and Royal Caribbean go to bring you the best of the best…
Let’s start with the Bionic bar- yes, an actual robot will mix whatever drink you request by iPad instead of a bartender! It serves its purpose whilst sitting glam as ever along the Royal Promenade, and from here you can head to the rising tide bar that moves from one deck to the other so your drinking experience keeps you connected to the rest of the ship at the same time.
Entertainment on this ship goes from an ice skating rink that turns into a dance floor, to the iFly: a skydiving simulator that gives you all the thrills of a real skydive without the height!
MSC is dedicated to your entertainment with a 10,760 sq ft theatre venue that seats up to 985 guests and even an amusement park designed for the kids; they’ll have access to a DOREMI tech lab with all the latest technology. Meraviglia will also feature a Broadway theatre comedy club and karaoke bar, similar to Harmony, but she’ll feature a TV studio too that’ll show live games, quizzes and talent contests. MSC’s entertainment just got much more interactive…
So there you have it: Harmony VS Meraviglia. Now it’s up to you to decide, which smart ship is the smartest? Harmony’s status as the world’s largest cruise ship rivals any ship but is now head to head with a cruise line being named the most modern fleet in the world! Would you choose MSC over Royal? Or are you just desperate to feel the carefully designed thrills of the Ultimate Abyss? Maybe Cirque du Soleil has won you over instead… Leave us all your thoughts!