The world’s largest cruise ship Thursday set off on its first sea trial from Saint-Nazaire, western France, with just two months to go to delivery.
Royal Caribbean's much-awaited Harmony of the Seas, a 227,000-ton giant, will have a mind-blowing total capacity of over 6,000 people, not including crew.
Now considered to be the world’s largest cruise ship, it eclipses Royal Caribbean's sister ships, the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the current record holders among cruise ships.
Harmony of the Sea is expected to be based out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and will offer alternating, seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages after its maiden voyage scheduled for May 22.
But beyond its size, the ship has many bold features to capture the imagination of travelers. Here are five reasons why Harmony is one of the most-anticipated new vessels in years.
The biggest ship
The newest Royal Caribbean ship snags its title by being 13 inches longer than Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, and slightly wider. Prepared to carry 2,185 crew and up to 6,000 guests comfortably, it is certified to carry a maximum of 8,880 people in total.
Cabins will be bigger
Harmony will have larger cabins in some categories than its sister ships --a decision executives say is a key reason why Harmony has a larger footprint. Also, like others in the line, the windowless interior cabins will feature the brand's Virtual Balconies, which offer a real-time view of the outdoors using projection screens.
The largest water slide at sea
Passengers can take the plunge in the Ultimate Abyss – the longest tunnel slide at sea, which drops a 10 stories from the ship’s sundeck to the Deck 6 Boardwalk entertainment zone at a rate of 9 miles per hour. The Ultimate Abyss is more than 150 feet above sea level is made up of two separate side-by-side cylinders, each with a diameter of approximately 2.6 feet, and audio effects within each tunnel will create a multi-sensory thrill.
More dining options
Harmony also has a whopping 40 restaurants and many bars on board. The Bionic Bar will feature twin robot cocktail mixologists --similar to Anthem of the Seas, but unlike its sister ships, Jamie’s Italian Kitchen will debut on Harmony --and replaces Giovanni’s Table on Oasis and Allure. The Alice in Wonderland-inspired Wonderland restaurant, with a double-deck space overlooking the aft of the ship, will also be a key speciality restaurant onboard and showcases molecular gastronomy.
Harmony boasts of the fastest Internet connection at sea, according to the company. Using Voom, Royal Caribbean's new satellite Internet service, guests can post to social media, including on Facebook and Instagram, and YouTube, as well as stream movies, games and apps via personal accounts with Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon.The line will also use the technology pioneered on its Quantum-class ships to project 3D images, optical illusions and extra dimensions onto the Aqua Theater performers at its high diving, acrobatic performance space.