The cruise industry continues to amaze. Every year, new cruise ships are built with innovations that nobody had thought of before. With those innovations in mind, the most amazing ship for 2016 was Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. It is now holds the title as the largest cruise ship in the world. We were lucky enough to be invited by Royal Caribbean on a short inaugural cruise in late 2016 from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. These inaugurals are packed with travel industry people, RCL leaders and employees alike, plus many news media, too. The purpose of these cruises is to show off their new ship, and start the “buzz.” Boy, did they succeed at that!
She is such an impressive ship: 1,188 feet long, guest capacity of 5,402; 43 different room categories; ice skating, surfing, zip lining, countless restaurants and bars (including a robot-run bar, called the Bionic Bar), and the list goes on. If you were wondering, those are not even the innovations. Speaking of the Bionic Bar, It was such a hit on RCL’s Quantum of the Seas, they had to include it on the Harmony. Usually, the only actual person you see working at the bar is the DJ. Yes, a DJ; and it really adds to the fun. So, you order your drink on an iPad, it shows up on a screen showing the queue, one of the two “bartenders” will make it, then you swipe your card to pay, it is then put on a short conveyer belt to you. Voila, technology at work!
Now let’s talk about innovation: The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea. Although there are waterslides onboard, this is NOT a waterslide. This is a 13 second wild ride, that goes from the top deck down to the Boardwalk below. It all starts as you walk into the mouth of the impressive Angler fish on the Sports deck. You are then given a mat to sit on, with handles to help you hang on. After 13 seconds of a twisting and turning ride you land on the Boardwalk right near a bar, restaurants and the hot dog stand. It is like nothing else at sea.
On a ship with many people and so many things to do, there are also some very quiet places onboard. The Central Park, which RCL first unveiled on the Oasis of the Seas in 2009, is such a place. There are 12,000 live plants, butterflies and a nice feeling of serenity. There are park benches, paths to meander on, in addition to restaurants and shopping, too. In the evenings there is often a string quartet or other relaxing music playing under the stars.
We have only scratched the surface in describing the many options onboard. There are so many choices of activities, restaurants, etc. onboard it really has something for (almost) everyone. We realize that this amazing ship might not be for everyone – some might want a small intimate sailing experience, or a river cruise – but if if you are looking for a fun experience for the entire family, the Harmony of the Seas fits the bill. Sail On!