Where Extraordinary Happens
Harmony of the Seas was constructed in the STX shipyard in St Nazaire. The world’s biggest ship has been wowing the English market since its launch.
Spanning 16 decks, Harmony is 33cm longer than sister ship Allure, and just the tiniest bit wider too. She is capable of accommodating 2,185 crew and 5,497 guests at double occupancy. A whopper indeed!
This behemoth features some Quantum and Oasis-class experiences and has lots of great additions including the line’s first ever waterslides. It was the first ship to feature Broadway’s hit musical ‘Grease’, making sure ‘thrills are multiplyin’ on board while ice skating extravaganzas, guest artistes and live high-dices are sure to delight. ‘1887’, an original Royal Caribbean production, is all about love and adventure in Paris on 14 February 1887 at the height of Jules Verne’s career, while the iSkate Showcase is where the ship’s talented skaters put their best blade forward in a dazzling showcase of moves set to their own favourite tunes.
There is a distinct neighbourhood concept across the ship, with seven neighbourhoods including the ‘Boardwalk’ and ‘Central Park’. Dining venues include signature restaurant Chops Grille, wine bar Vintages and a flurry of shops. Kids of all ages can try out the hand-crafted carousel too, inspired by turn-of-the-century designs. The area known as the Royal Promenade is where to find English style Boot & Bonnet pub, a Bionic Bar where robots serve your drinks, the On-Air karaoke club and Boleros latin style lounge, just the place to dance the night away!
2,747 cabins come in many grades and include 15 for solo travellers. Some feature views over the Boardwalk, while for those who like holding parties or need plenty of space, the 1654 square feet Presidential family balcony suite can house 14 people. Guests with cash to splash might fancy staying in the two deck high Royal Loft suite (1,599 square feet, plus 874 square feet balcony) which comes with two grandiose bathrooms, a dining area with dry bar and living room and a whirlpool and separate dining area on the balcony. Accessible cabins are also available in most categories.
Adrenalin fiends will love the zip line above the Boardwalk and the three multilevel water slides, but thrill seekers who really want their hair to be raised might prefer to try the Ultimate Abyss. Not only is this the tallest slide at sea – towering more than 150 feet above sea level – this pair of side-by-side dry slides also feature sound effects to give guests a multi-sensory thrill. Access to the slide starts by walking the glass plank to the boarding platform so guests can look down – if they dare – to remind themselves just how high up they are, before plunging into a series of twists and turns at a rate of nine miles per hour before arriving, suitably exhilarated, one hopes, 10 decks below.
Harmony of the Seas also brings along a familiar cast of DreamWorks Animation characters including Po of Kung Fu Panda; Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots of Shrek; and Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien and the Penguins from Madagascar. If they wish, guests can enjoy DreamWorks Character breakfasts in the main dining room, ‘meet and greet’ experiences throughout the day and photo opportunities that can be shared immediately, thanks to VOOM, fastest internet at sea.
At a multi-national press event on board, I learned that the cost of this behemoth is ‘somewhere north of a billion dollars’, that there is more space available than in the cabins of Royal Caribbean’s other ships as they have been made longer, which applies particularly to those on deck 6 and above. There is also an aerial element involving ‘3D flying’ where acrobats will fly around the AquaTheater.
And finally, for fans of the quirky, there is more good news. Look out for ‘The Stowaway Piano Player’ onboard. This is Royal Caribbean street theatre at its best. No-one knows quite when or where this pop-up guy will turn up next to perform for guests. You could discover him in one of the lifts, in the buffet, or in a corner of the main dining room – anywhere in fact, that a piano can fit. But no ordinary piano this with its hidden compartments and functions and the ability to produce lollipops for kids seemingly from out of thin air.
Gilly Pickup travelled to Gatwick Airport on the Gatwick Express which travels non-stop between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria every 15 minutes. 10% discount on tickets if booked online.
To discover more about Harmony of the Seas, including where she will be voyaging next and for more information about her incredible features, visit the website.