Harmony of the Seas: Sailing on the Biggest of Them All

Royal Caribbean just put the largest cruise ship in the world to sea, and we were onboard to sample the Harmony of the Seas.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

Royal Caribbean International likes to go big with its cruises and the ships carrying its customers to their many ports of call. In the case of the new Harmony of the Seas, the company went bigger than any other travel firm in the world. At almost 1,200 feet long and with a gross tonnage of more than 250,000 (about a deck chair shy of half a billion pounds), Harmony of the Seas is the largest cruise ship ever built and one of the most modern.

During a recent, short shakedown cruise for media, Harmony of the Seas showed off its extensive attractions and diversions before a capacity crowd.

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One of the biggest civilian ships on the water, the Harmony of the Seas is a floating resort city capable of carrying 5,497 passengers in complete comfort and with constant amusement. Some 2,747 staterooms offer 43 sizes and luxury classes, with views ranging from seaside to the ship’s promenades. She carries a crew of more than 2,300 working in the ship’s 20 dining spots and other attractions.

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Obviously, so much of the ship’s identity is wrapped up in its insane statistics. She’s more than 50 yards wide at the beam and displaces more than 120,000 tons. Her 27,000 horsepower engines can drive Harmony of the Seas up to about 25 knots. More than 11,000 original works of line her corridors, stairwells and decks.

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The Total number of attractions onboard seem impossibly packed onto the ship, but pedestrian space remains ample. Travelers can enjoy the “Vitality” Spa and fitness center; full-size basketball court and miniature golf course; The “Perfect Storm” water slide complex; The “Ultimate Abyss” dry slide complex; Four swimming pools and 10 hot tubs; Two Flowrider surf simulators; The “Casino Royale” gambling space; The “Puzzle Break: Escape the Rubicon” Escape Room; The Aqua Theatre (an open-air stage which hosts diving, aerial and acrobatics shows); The 1,400 Royal Theatre and two rock climbing walls.

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The ship’s most impressive features is also it’s most understated. The center of the vessel includes its own Central Park – a literal city park set amongst a blend of cabins and restaurants “on the green.” For logistics reason, technicians pipe in bird song and cricket noises. But, otherwise, the space is a park with real greenery and benches where anyone can take a load off away from the noise and haste. By their nature, cruise ships are boisterous, kinetic environments. Providing a little peace was a great idea by the ship’s accomplished designers and engineers.

While based out of Europe, Harmony of the Seas conducts most of its cruises throughout the Caribbean. It’s in service now and sails year round.

All photos by John Scott Lewinski