What’s longer than three NFL football fields, houses about 6,800 passengers and cost an impressive $1.5 billion? The world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas, is a remarkable vessel.
Even a week-long cruise may not give you enough time to experience all the incredible features of this ship. Here, then, is your guide to the 9 Harmony highlights you can’t miss.
Plunge down the longest slide at sea
A giant, macabre fish head (with plenty of sharp-looking teeth) may discourage less hardy souls from the Ultimate Abyss. The sculptural head is the entrance to one of the signature highlights on the world’s largest cruise ship: the tallest slide at sea.
You’re outfitted with a custom friction-reducing mat and shown how to lie on it and grip it. Then you step inside the fish head and walk up stairs to a glass platform. When you reach the entrance to the two 10-story dry slides, your heart pumps faster. After the light above the mouth of the steel slide turns green, you push off (screams at this point are common). This begins your 13-second wild ride down a 100-foot rapidly twisting drop. The slide is adorned with hundreds of brightly colored LED lights, graffiti art and audio effects, but you’ll barely take them in as you’re whizzing by at a speed of nine miles an hour.
Sip a cocktail made by a robot
In the ship’s Bionic Bar, two very busy robotic arm bartenders pump out cocktails with incredible efficiency. Order a drink from a tablet on your table and see your order pop up on the display screen, along with a wait time. Watch the robotic arms dispense ice, alcohol and mixer into your glass, choosing from 30 spirits and more than 20 mixers. They even squeeze lemons and expertly shake concoctions. When your cocktail is ready, you tap your ship ID card on a sensor at the bar, and the drink slides your way.
If you prefer human mixologists, enjoy the literal ups and downs of the Rising Tide Bar. The entire bar slowly rises three floors as you sip your drink, then lowers itself back down.
Harmony’s impressive variety of drinking establishments also includes a British-style pub, piano bar with a nautical theme, wine bar, karaoke bar and two-story dance club. Fun facts: the world’s largest cruise ship offers 127 specialty cocktails, 40 types of beer and 340 brands of wine.
Dine with a celebrity chef
Harmony of the Seas offers two specialty restaurants helmed by acclaimed chefs. At Jamie’s Italian, enjoy rustic classics with creative touches served up by British chef Jamie Oliver. The restaurant’s signature antipasti planks are one must-have – choose from seasonal vegetables or cured meats. Another is the fresh pasta made on board each day, such as the truffle tagliatelle and spaghetti with clams. The ultimate in casual fusion cuisine is the Italian burger, featuring British chuck and flank steak, smoked mozzarella, mortadella and balsamic onions.
Miami culinary legend Michael Schwartz, a James Beard award winner, is the mastermind behind 150 Central Park. It’s multi-course, leisurely dining at its finest. Seasonal ingredients from small South Florida farms inspire the menu. Start with duck confit with creamy cauliflower or a baby beet salad with yogurt-poppy seed dressing. For your main course, savor pan roasted scallops in saffron-clam broth or an incredibly tender short rib with charred leeks. The restaurant’s signature cucumber martini, prepared tableside, is just one of the many options to accompany the cuisine.
Another noteworthy dining experience on board the world’s largest cruise ship: the two-deck Wonderland. You may feel as though you’ve stepped into Alice’s alternate universe with its whimsical, mismatched décor. Your menu is blank at first, but when you paint over it with water, the dishes emerge. Offerings are arranged in six categories: sun, sea, ice, earth, fire and dreams. Fans of molecular gastronomy will revel in the creative dishes, and can even watch them being created in the open kitchen. Surprising techniques such as dry ice, foam, and food configured in playful shapes abound. A few examples: liquid lobster, truffled egg in the shell and Key lime lollipops.
Get your adrenaline pumping
As if the Ultimate Abyss weren’t enough, plenty more adventure on board Harmony lies in wait for thrill-seekers. Two FlowRider surf simulators let passengers hone their surfing or boogie boarding expertise, thanks to 34,000 gallons of water pumped in each minute. The 82-foot zip line is suspended nine decks over the Boardwalk neighborhood. You’ll speed along it in just seven seconds.
Two rock-climbing walls reward those who reach the 43-foot top with incredible sea views. The Perfect Storm is the collective name for the ship’s three waterslides, each three decks high. Cyclone and Typhoon twist swiftly downward, and Supercell swirls riders in a “champagne bowl” slide with clear sections before they splash down in the Beach Pool.
Enjoy a range of unusual entertainment
You probably weren’t expecting acrobats, divers and skaters to be part of your nightly entertainment. On the world’s largest cruise ship, they take center stage. The ship’s trademark AquaTheater, which holds more than 700 people, features two shows:
- The Fine Line, with high-flying feats, amazing stunts and mind-blowing acrobatics performed by top extreme-sport athletes
- Hideaway Heist – a comedy show that takes place in, on and around the pool
At Studio B, ultra-high definition and video technology transforms an ice rink into multiple locations around the world. A global cast of skaters displays its talents in two productions: 1887, a time-traveling story of love and adventure; and iSkate Showcase, a freewheeling performance set to music the skaters themselves select.
If you’re looking for more traditional entertainment, Harmony also offers that (of course). Musical fans have their choice of an all-new production of Grease, as well as an original show called Columbus, The Musical! Clubs dedicated to comedy and jazz provide other entertaining options.
Test your escape skills
At the Puzzle Break Center, you’ll bond with a team to try to solve a challenging problem in just one hour. In “Escape the Rubicon,” you’ll board a spaceship that malfunctions. Your task: to get the ship up and running quickly.
Participants work together to discover hidden clues around the room, which feels like it’s straight out of a sci-fi film. Word puzzles and brain teasers will challenge you as you try to flee the spacecraft in just 60 short minutes.
Share a suite with 13 friends or family members
You’ll feel like a rock star staying in one of Harmony of the Seas‘ incredible suites. Unique to the ship: the spacious, two-level Presidential Family Suite. The four-bedroom, four-bathroom suite can house a maximum of 14 people (eight is the minimum). Two master bedrooms feature their own bathrooms with tub/shower combos. The other two bedrooms contain two twin beds and two pull-down bunks. Also included in its 1,142 square feet: a huge living space with a dining area, sofa bed and dry bar. The wow feature is the 476-square-foot balcony, with a dining table (seating 14, naturally), a wet bar and jetted tub.
The largest suite on board the world’s largest cruise ship, the Royal Loft Suite, stretches over 1,524 square feet and two floors. It includes two bedrooms, spacious living and dining areas, large closets, baby grand piano and dry bar. The 843-square-foot wraparound balcony features a hot tub, lounge chairs and dining table.
If you’re looking for a smaller suite, Harmony offers seven other types. The coolest might be the six AquaTheatre Suites. They offer views of the AquaTheatre so you can ensconce yourself on your 600-square-foot balcony and watch the show from there.
Explore all its neighborhoods
It makes sense that a ship big enough to be a small city would have its own neighborhoods. Seven of them, in fact. Each has its own character and is worth a visit:
- Central Park, with 12,000 trees and plants, acclaimed specialty restaurants and high-end shopping
- Royal Promenade, which feels like an upscale mall with its drinking, dining and shopping opportunities
- Boardwalk, which inspires nostalgia with its handcrafted carousel and arcade with games like skeeball and Whac-A-Mole
- Entertainment Place, the nighttime destination for everything from music to laughs to stage productions to trying your luck at Casino Royale
- Youth Place, the area for young people from babies to teens to hang out, with arts and crafts, a science lab, the first children’s theater at sea and video games
- Vitality Sea Spa and Fitness Center, where you’ll recharge body, mind and spirit with saunas, steam rooms, massage treatments, anti-aging therapies, a youth spa and state-of-the-art workout area
- Pool and Sports Zone, with thrilling activities such as rock climbing and water slides, lower-key fun such as a nine-hole miniature golf course, or just pure relaxation beside four pools
Browse around this floating modern art museum
Harmony features more than 3,000 works of original art worth an impressive $6.5 million. Artists from more than 60 countries are represented in the collection of paintings, sculptures, photography and even videos. The theme uniting the bold, colorful and contemporary works: The Wonder of Our World, The World We Live In.
You’ll see art everywhere: in your stateroom, hallways, stairwells and atria. Most of the eye-catching works were created especially for the ship. Allow some time to wander the world’s largest cruise ship and take in the incredible diversity of striking creations.
Want to experience the world’s largest cruise ship yourself?
Harmony of the Seas is getting rave reviews – view them here. Would you like to see the ship for yourself?
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