Cruising the Seas



Harmony of the Seas is the World’s Largest Cruise ship

By Shereen Shabnam

I got hooked on cruise holidays seven years ago when I set sail with Royal Caribbean from Barcelona for a week exploring different European cities along the way. Even for a seasoned traveller like me, I was impressed and came to the conclusion that to really unwind, there is no better way than being on a luxury cruise miles away from distraction.

More recently I boarded Harmony of the Seas which is the biggest cruise ship in the world. At 361m in length, it’s longer than both the Eiffel Tower and Burj Al Arab. Spanning 16 decks, it weighs 227,000 gross registered tonnes and has the capacity to house 5,497 guests at double occupancy.

In short, Harmony of the Seas, is a ship of monstrous proportions; more of a floating city than a luxury cruise liner. This nautical marvel boasts spectacular on-board features, many being firsts-at-sea, something award-winning Royal Caribbean International is renowned for.

For me, the most impressive feature was The Ultimate Abyss, which at 150 feet above sea level is the tallest slide on the high seas and will challenge the nerve of even the most daring of guests. In addition, The Perfect Storm trio of water slides twist and turn over Central Park® some 10 decks below and will thrill water-babies of all ages on board.

Keeping you high up in the air with a birds-eye view is the first zip lines at sea, where you can partake in an exhilarating ride across an open-air atrium suspended above the breath-taking neighbourhood of the Boardwalk with its family friendly activities, eateries and shops. Here, the young (and the young-at-heart) can ride on the full-size carousel, which has been handcrafted just for Royal Caribbean and is another fantastic first, before replenishing at one of the many cafes and restaurants found here which include international brands.

Activities on board included rock-climbing on two 43ft tall climbing walls which flank the open-air AquaTheater, home to a full spectrum of awe-inducing aquatic aerial displays and FlowRider® surf simulators.

If you are travelling as a family, the kids are treated to days with their favourite DreamWorks® characters; from breakfasts in the main dining room to special ‘meet and greet’ experiences during the day and the renowned Adventure Ocean® Youth Program also offers those aged between three and eleven years an entertaining line-up of activities and games.

For guests looking to just chill out without an adrenaline rush, Harmony of the Seas offers relaxation in droves too. Sit back and soak up the sunshine around one of four pools or inside the adults-only solarium with its serene whirlpools. Pamper yourself at the advanced VitalitySM Spa with the fitness centre and extensive number of treatment rooms.

As the sun sets, the ship comes alive. Take a stroll through Central Park® with its bustling al fresco piazza before stopping in one of the many signature restaurants such as Chops Grille, for a bite to eat. On board Royal Caribbean you can even enjoy restaurants featuring celebrity chef partnerships such as Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver.

My favourite place was the futuristic Bionic Bar, a technology-forward venue complete with two robotic bartenders that shake, muddle and mix a wide variety of drinks made to order. In fact, Harmony of the Seas is the first Oasis-class ship to feature this photo-worthy outlet.

As a theatre lover, I have watched international productions around the world and the ship’s Broadway’s hit musical Grease in the spectacular Royal Theatre left me impressed with its talented cast and performance. Just when you thought you’d seen it all, prepare to be dazzled by the theatrical grace of world-class skaters in one of two extraordinary ice shows.

Following a day of exploring the world, its exotic cuisine and interesting cultures, there is nothing better than returning to the comfort of your private stateroom. Harmony of the Seas features 2,747 beautifully appointed staterooms that offer luxurious and comfortable accommodation, many with spectacular views out towards to the sea, and with four main categories there is something for every preference.

For a real taste of luxury at sea, book yourself into one of the stunning suites where guests will get to enjoy the benefits of Royal Suite Class including your very own Royal Genie, the ultimate insider, crafting exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences just for you.

Highlight of my travel was also a day tour of the Bahamas as the ship docked to lets us explore the local sights. On board Harmony of the Seas, you’ll find everything you want from a cruise holiday and then more than you’d ever imagined possible. Guests’ leave with stories to tell and travel that has inspired, for Royal Caribbean’s biggest ship is a destination in itself, a cruise that’s unlike anything else at sea.

Not a brand to rest on its laurels, next year Royal Caribbean International will launch an even bigger cruise ship Symphony of the Seas which will claim the title of the world’s largest – and most adventure filled cruise ship. Touting new features and amenities for guests, she also will boast all the groundbreaking innovations and thrilling experiences that have garnered world-wide recognition for Harmony of the Seas.