After a successful first trial, Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas expects to take guests in May.
The world’s largest cruise ship, the Harmony of the Seas, can fit 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crewmembers spread out over its 16 decks, and if the Eiffel Tower was laid down next to it, the ship would be 160 feet longer. It’s absolutely massive, costs “somewhere north of a billion dollars,” and it just completed its first voyage.
Harmony of the Seas, part of Royal Caribbean International, departed Thursday, leaving from Saint-Nazaire, France—with the help of six tugboats—for a three-day sea trial. There were no passengers on board for the quick trip, but 500 crewmembers made sure that the vessel’s electric power plant works well and that the mammoth cruise liner can be maneuvered properly. (When it does carry passengers, they’ll be given GPS-equipped wristbands to help them navigate the intricate vessel.) Three pilots worked on a simulator for more than a year to help the captain steer the ship out of the Saint-Nazaire estuary on its way to the sea, according to AFP.
Royal Carribean reported that the ship’s performance was "as expected," and if the trials go according to plan (the next one will take place in April), the ship will take its first passengers headed to Southampton, UK, in May. They’ll enjoy cocktails served by robot bartenders at the ship’s “Bionic Bar” and take on the "Ultimate Abyss,” a water slide that Royal Caribbean claims is the “tallest slide at sea.” The ship will also feature a casino, a movie theater, and an ice skating rink.
Construction started on the estimated $1.1 billion watercraft in September 2013. It joins some of the other cruise ship superlatives in Royal Caribbean’s fleet—the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.