On Board the World’s Largest Cruise Liner – Harmony of the Seas:
They say that size isn’t everything but sometimes “they” are wrong. Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas is the largest cruise liner in the world and I was invited to take part in its inaugural trip, a weekend’s cruising around the English Channel with several thousand other of the world’s media, travel agents and some lucky regular cruisers having a sneak preview. Her usual destination will be the Mediterranean and Eastern and Western Caribbean so I encouraged Captain Gus Anderson, a Scandi Captain Birdseye, to see if we could make it to Bermuda and back in a weekend but apparently the Caribbean was closed for a private party …Built at STX in St Nazaire in France Harmony of The Seas is genuinely huge measuring 362 meters (1,188 feet) which is nearly four football fields long, and encompasses 226,963 gross registered tons. I don’t really understand those kind of measurements but if I told you they use 12,000 eggs a day you’d get the picture.Harmony has seven neighborhoods as do all of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class of ships which means that there is a huge variety of things for all the family to do and with up to 6,780 international guests staying in 2,747 staterooms and over 2,000 crew you won’t be lonely. With a large US contingent and clientele from an increasing Asia/Pacific market as well as happy sailors from UK, Ireland and Australia, clients come from 110 countries and this year will see the opening up of Cuba as a destination.Features include The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea with a 10-story plunge which is genuinely terrifying.Only slightly less alarming are the robot bartenders at The Bionic Bar who will shake or stir you to oblivion. If having a splash is your sort of thing then the Perfect Storm trio of water slides will do the job.Some suites have virtual balconies with real-time views of the destination but most have their own balcony overlooking the ocean waves. The swankier rooms are more luxurious but all are comfortable and stylish and surprisingly reasonably priced. Harmony of the Seas boasts the fastest internet at sea with its own dedicated satellite beam so you will always feel connected.Captain Gus Anderson explained that Harmony of the Seas is 20% more energy efficient than her sister ships but manages to be faster because of an innovative hull design which has air bubbles pumped out under the hull thus reducing friction between the hull and the water. Apparently the ship’s four huge bow thrusters pump out 7,500 horsepower each allowing it to spin around on its own axis. Frankly that’s quite sexy and a lot of thrust…There is a range of food outlets ranging from the family friendly to the more sophisticated including a steak house, a sushi restaurant, a Jamie’s Italian and an American Diner. Wonderland is their take on Heston style fine dining. I didn’t get a chance to try it, though you can read Fiona’s review of the land based Harmony of the Seas launch event to get an idea. The food that I ate in the main restaurant was actually pretty good considering that thousands were being fed at once.Highlights included a Tuna Nicoise…a seafood pastaand a decent creme brûlée.Perched near the top of Harmony of the Seas is the enormous Windjammer buffet where I went for breakfast and lunch. There was a huge variety of options covering many food cultures so you won’t run out of options!You’ll need to work off those extra calories you are consuming which is where the Vitality Spa and Fitness Centre come in. There is a big gym, lots of beauty treatments for pampering yourself and I loved the running track which skirts around one of the lower decks.Kids are well catered for with the Youth Zone providing everything from teenage discos, to gaming arcades, playgrounds to fantasy adventure games. But for grownups wanting to play in the evenings the options are endless. High rollers can live the Vegas lifestyle in the casino or see one of the excellent theatre productions or ice shows.Grease was most definitely the word!The thing that really excited me about the ship was how much live music there was on board. From the jazz band (yes I had a go on the piano…and no that’s not me in the picture…), to a nifty salsa group, an excellent singer-pianist in a bar, a groovy Filipino jazz-funk combo, a boy with a guitar singing his heart out in the pub, a reggae outfit, 80s and 90s tribute acts and the list goes on. So hats off to Royal Caribbean for investing in so much live talent.After a heavy night out you can clear your head up on deck with a game of crazy golf…or a ride on the roundabout!
You’d have to try quite hard not to have a good time on Harmony Of The Seas. There are so many food and entertainment options, some great destinations and a definite feelgood factor on board that you should give it a try.
Find out more on the Royal Caribbean Site.
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