Royal Caribbean’s new ship is the world’s biggest – and it’s also one of the most exciting vessels to set sail this year, says Cruise International Editor Liz Jarvis
Larger than the Eiffel Tower, with 16 decks and capacity for 6,360, everything about Harmony of the Seas is big and aims to be better, taking the very best elements of Royal Caribbean’s fleet and combining them with new, enticing features ensuring that no two days at sea will ever be the same.
High-octane thrills can be had on the Ultimate Abyss, the world’s tallest slide at sea with a 100ft plunge, The Perfect Storm waterslide, and Royal Caribbean favourites the FlowRider, ice rink, zip line and two rock climbing walls.
There are four swimming pools, no shortage of areas to relax, and bars, shops and restaurants galore. There’s also a dizzying array of entertainment and the open-air Aqua Theatre.
Add in the state-of-the-art kids’ clubs, sports facilities and the DreamWorks characters and you have everything families, friends or couples could possibly want. The architecture and design of this ship is simply extraordinary.
It’s a bit like a floating city; there are seven distinct ‘neighbourhoods’ all with their own vibe, including the Boardwalk, lined with laidback eateries and entertainment, and the Royal Promenade, with its restaurants and shops.
Particularly enchanting is Central Park with its real trees and the sound of birdsong, where on a balmy evening you can dine al fresco in one of the restaurants (the best include the New York-style 150 Park Avenue and Chops Grille).
Staterooms are swish, contemporary and extremely comfortable, and the attention to detail is exacting — even the inside staterooms have virtual balconies.
Special mention must go to the aqua class suites, which have superb wraparound balconies, as well as separate sitting rooms and bathrooms with proper baths and showers. For the ultimate indulgence, book a Crown Loft suite, set on two floors.
The ship also boasts some of the best features from Royal’s Quantum class ships, including the robotic bartenders, Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian, and the outstanding experiential restaurant Wonderland.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Harmony of the Seas is that even though this is the world’s biggest cruise ship, you never feel lost or overwhelmed. Somehow it manages to create a feeling of intimacy, and you’ll soon discover your own favourite areas to hang out.
This is an eclectic ship, designed to appeal to a wide range of tastes and interests. Adrenaline-junkies, foodies, style-hunters and families alike will love it.
GETTING THERE A seven-night Western Med cruise on Harmony of the Seas, sailing round-trip from Barcelona, starts from £1,155pp (based on two sharing an interior stateroom). For more information or to book, visit royalcaribbean.co.uk.
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