T+L's Take on Royal Caribbean's Newest Ship, 'Harmony of the Seas'
Just when we think cruise ships can’t get any bigger, Royal Caribbean debuts Harmony of the Seas. The ship, which can hold up to 6,780 guests, is the cruise line’s largest vessel to date and is making sailings to and from Spain, France, and Italy this summer before arriving in Florida, where it will begin regular jaunts to the Bahamas and Caribbean in November.
Though Harmony of the Seas technically falls under Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class of ships, it also features standout touches from their newer Quantum Class, making it a unique, up-to-date hybrid. For example, you’ll find Quantum class hits like the Bionic Bar, which has robotic bartenders, and Wonderland, a whimsical restaurant popular for its “imaginative cuisine.” Additionally, guests staying in windowless interior rooms can enjoy real-time virtual balconies, a feature which Royal Caribbean debuted on Navigator of the Seas in 2014.
Other than being dubbed the “world’s largest ship,” Harmony has also created buzz for its 10-story dry slide. The Ultimate Abyss has guests lining up all day to race down its two twisty purple tubes. The thrill is definitely not for those afraid of heights, as riders step onto a glass-bottom platform before hopping in.
As far as the crowd is concerned, you can expect a blend of people similar to that found on other Royal Caribbean cruises: everything from multi-generational families to couples looking for a relaxing getaway. The best part? All types can find exactly what they’re searching for onboard.
Travel + Leisure was recently invited as a guest by Royal Caribbean to experience Harmony of the Seas as it prepared for one of its maiden voyages. Here are some of the standout features on the ship.
The ship has 2,747 staterooms, so you’re bound to find one that fits your needs. More than half have balconies, and each is designed with the same sleek blue-and-grey color scheme. Staterooms range in size from a 149-square-foot interior cabin to a 1,524-square foot Royal Loft Suite, which comes with a living room, whirlpool, baby grand piano, and private balcony bigger than most staterooms on the ship. Additionally, Royal Suite guests will enjoy service from one of the ship’s Royal Genies. These staffers are there to coordinate events and offer priority access to most onboard activities. Better still, they’ll have your favorite wine waiting for you after a long day of exploring.
The Harmony offers tons of dining options, and each gives guests a different experience. Those looking for fine dining can choose from Michael Schwartz’s 150 Central Park and the Chops Grille steakhouse. Mini Bites, on Deck 15, is a perfect place to grab snacks like mini corn dogs and grilled cheese great for the kids in between jaunts to and from the waterslides (a great option for the kids). Wonderland, the ship's most daring dining venue, draws on Alice and Wonderland to develop a fantastical dining experience. The menu, which is revealed after wetting a blank canvas with a paint brush, is filled with small sharable dishes. Expect the presentation of your dish to be over the top, as the use of liquid nitrogen, smokers, and scented air is common. Your desert may arrive on a smoking dish, and your vegetables may appear to be growing out of the bottom of your plate. Other Royal Caribbean favorites including Johnny Rockets and Jamie’s Italian can also be found on the ship.
Voom, Royal Caribbean’s high-speed Internet service, is available to all passengers for a fee. Sometimes the cruise line offers special packages that include Wi-Fi. Is it worth it? Let’s just say it works very well. We made multiple FaceTime calls from the middle of the sea without any problems. Another cool technological perk is the WOWband. Guests can opt for the silicon bracelet, which takes the place of their SeaPass card and can be used to pay for dinner, drinks, and souvenirs onboard.
It's safe to say you should never get bored on the Harmony. At the rear of the ship is the AquaTheater, where guests can enjoy stunt and diving shows. On Deck 4 are the Royal Theater and Studio B, each of which provides performances most nights. The Royal Theater, a Broadway-style venue, regularly fills each of its 1,400 velvet seats for performances of popular stage shows like Grease and
Deck 15 hosts three pools: the Main Pool, Beach Pool, and Sports Pool, and you’ll want to arrive early to get a seat if you plan on spending the day poolside. If you’re looking for a relaxing dip, head to the Solarium, the adults-only space on the same deck. You’ll find multiple whirlpools spread throughout three glass-enclosed decks. Grab a drink and enjoy the view.
The Ultimate Abyss, the ship’s 10-story dry slide, has everyone buzzing. Riders of all ages brave enough to make the plunge can grab a mat on Deck 16 before shooting down the twisty, LED-lit tubes to Deck 6. (Pro tip: The line can get pretty long, so make sure to take your turn toward the beginning of your trip.) There are plenty of other opportunities for adventure, including two 43-foot climbing walls and two FlowRiders. (For surfing newbies, a FlowRider is a manmade wave in which guests can boogie board and surf.) Additionally, daredevils can swing from one end of the ship to the other via a zip line nine decks in the air.
The Vitality Spa and Fitness Center is mostly the same that you will find on other Royal Caribbean ships. There are spin and boot camp classes as well as massages, wraps, facials, and medi-spa treatments. Additionally, the Vitality Café offers healthy snacks and wraps for your post-workout meal. The running track is a bit longer on Harmony, which means fewer circles to run to hit that mile.
The most popular bar by far is the Bionic Bar, where a pair of robotic bartenders will create any drink you want. Place your order on an iPad and watch as the robots pulls mixers from the ceiling. Another hot spot is the Rising Tide Bar on the promenade. You can enjoy your favorite cocktail as the entire bar ascends three stories. At Dazzles, a two-story music and dancing club, guest can relax to the sound of jazz music one night and billboard hits the next.
Harmony of the Seas is the largest ship at sea at 1,188 feet long and 215.5 feet wide. It has a capacity of 6,780 guests and houses 2,100 international crewmembers. In November, the ship will begin jaunts to the Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale.