Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship and the 25th ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet, departed from Southampton for its maiden voyage on 20th May. I was invited by Royal Caribbean, together with other journalists and bloggers, to get on board of Harmony for two days and experience the ultimate cruise holiday before the ship left England to begin its journey around Europe.
Harmony of the Seas is the third and latest ship of the Oasis-class, known as the world’s largest and longest passenger ships. In a market that is fast growing (cruise holidays are more and more popular, while orders for new ships are a a record number), a ship like Harmony is set to make news.
Harmony was intricately built with more than 500,000 individual parts and it measures 362 meters, that’s nearly four football fields long!
“A holiday only bigger, better and more extraordinary” Royal Caribbean, Harmony of the Seas
As we approached the City Cruise Terminal in Southampton I couldn’t help but marvelling at this incredible engineering feat. There are 16 passenger decks; 7 distinct neighbourhoods; 20 dining venues; 1 ice rink; 1 basketball court; 24 guest lifts; 2,100 dedicated crew members; and 2,747 staterooms that accommodate 5,479 guests.
A cruise holiday is not for everyone; until today it wasn’t my kind of holiday either. I love active holidays packed with activities and sightseeing, so the idea of being on the same ship for several nights had never appealed to me.
I must admit that experiencing Harmony of the Seas has changed my mind. There are plenty of choices for dining and entertainment (from music shows to comedies, from casinos to bars). In just one evening I went to the gym, watched a musical, had dinner, listened to live jazz, had a drink at the bar and played video games. Not my usual kind of night out, sure. But it was fun and afterwards I was in my room in just a few minutes and ready for bed. It’s all like a big resort, with the convenience of it, but also the downsides (long distances from A to B, queues, etc.).
One thing that won’t happen on Harmony is getting bored: there is so much to do on board that I couldn’t even see it all in two days. You may easily get lost though! ;)
I was amazed (and a little overwhelmed) as I stepped on board Harmony of the Seas and checked into my Superior Bedroom with balcony and sea views. The accommodation was very comfortable with a small but convenient bathroom, nice furniture and great balcony views.
There is wifi everywhere on board, and Royal Caribbean prides itself for offering the fastest wifi at sea (it’s called VOOM).
“This isn’t a ship. This is a journey like no other where nothing’s ordinary. The everyday is spectacular. This is where extraordinary happens, the ultimate adventure.”
The maiden voyage of Harmony of the Seas lasted for two days and it was a round trip from Southampton, England. The weather in the English Channel was cloudy and chilly that weekend, but that didn’t stop us from having fun during two days packed with activities and entertainment on board of Harmony.
These are my top ten favourite features of Harmony of the Seas:
A lush green sanctuary filled with 12,000 live plants and trees.
One of the seven neighbourhoods on Harmony, the Boardwalk is an outdoor area featuring a classic American diner, a Starbucks Coffee shop, and a handcrafted carousel which takes inspiration from the nostalgic seaside boardwalks of the past.
The world’s tallest slide at sea takes guests from the top deck to the Boardwalk. It is ten floors high and 72 metres long: a one-of-a-kind ride that will leave you breathless.
There is a state-of-the-art open air theatre with performances of synchronised swimming high-diving and lavish aqua productions.
A kids water park and The Perfect Storm – a trio of thrilling water slides.
23 pools, including adults-only hot tubs, waterslides and flowriders.
A magical two-floor restaurant serving imaginative cuisine surrounded by avant-garde decor.
6.The Royal Theatre
Harmony of the Seas’ theatre is hosting a first time at-sea production of the hit Broadway musical, Grease. I was a guest at the preview show and had a lot of fun singing along to “Greased Lightning”, “You are the one that I want” and “We go together”.
In addition to the all-inclusive buffets at WindJammer restaurant, Harmony offers an amazing choice of dining experiences. I loved dinner at The Coastal Kitchen on the 17th deck, a beautiful restaurant with fusion food from California and the Mediterranean, and fantastic views.
As well as the American style breakfast at the American Grill Dining Room.
8.Royal Promenade and Bionic Bar
The Bionic Bar is a modern bar located in the Promenade deck where drinks are ordered through an app and mixed by robot bartenders. It’s a revolutionary new concept that’s exclusive to Royal Caribbean.
Harmony has more works of art than the Louvre has paintings. Royal Caribbean prides itself for the extraordinary art showcased on board of their ships, like The Head, Harmony’s signature smart art piece, a five ton three-dimensional metallic human head by Czech artist David Cerny.
10.Vitality At Sea Spa, Fitness Centre and outdoor Solarium
The spa is the perfect place to unwind. You can join a class of yoga or body conditioning at the gym or relax with an indulgent treatment at the spa.
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas. will be sailing in the Mediterranean all summer, before following her sister ships (Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas) to various Caribbean destinations. The adventure awaits…
Disclaimer: I was a guest on a press trip organised by Royal Caribbean. All opinions are my own.