Harmony of the Seas will be the third Oasis-class ship for Royal Caribbean International, the cruise line with more diversity in their existing fleet than any other on the planet. Building the next biggest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean might have simply tweaked a feature or two and called it a day. After all, siblings Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are consistent hits with cruise travelers, wherever they sail. Instead, the truly innovative company took a good hard look at what works and what might work better, producing what we believe will be the perfect biggest cruise ship in the world.
Fans of Oasis class ships or those who have dreamed of sailing one of the unique vessels some day, relax: All the features you have come to love or dream about experiencing some day are still there. In addition, Royal Caribbean has made some thoughtful changes and added some appropriate attractions. Starbucks coffee, for example, has been moved from the often-congested Royal Promenade to the less-crowded Boardwalk. Also in the family-friendly Boardwalk neighborhood, a new classic games arcade and a new climbing play area.
Popular Features From Quantum Class
Taking an early cue from their recently launched and popular Quantum class ships, Royal Caribbean is bringing to Harmony of the Seas a number of unique features introduced on Quantum of the Seas. The Bionic Bar will feature dancing robot bartenders serving up unique crafted cocktails. Guests onboard Harmony of the Seas will enjoy Disney Park- introduced RFID technology with Royal WOWBands that provide them access to their staterooms as well as make onboard purchases and reservations.
“The Oasis class ships continue to astound and delight both new and experienced cruisers. They shatter preconceived notions of what cruising can be and continue to stand in a category by themselves,” -Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Troubling Dining Options Fixed, Magically
Also taking a page from Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean seems to have found a solution to their troubling notion of doing away with traditional dining entirely. Instead of slapping the Quantum-class dining procedure on a ship not built for it, Harmony of the Seas will debut with a modified version of the same spirit.
Those preferring a more traditional cruise dining style may select the “Classic” option which will offer two set seating times. Dynamic Dining’s “Classic” option allows guests to rotate through each of the main complimentary restaurants at an early- or a late-seating time throughout their cruise with their dining group and the same assigned waiter each evening. Rabid fans of traditional dining: Book this one as far in advance as possible to be confirmed in your preferred dining time.
Culinary Focus Continues
When we began sailing as a family, one of the side benefits was introducing our children to the unique and more formal dining experiences offered in the main dining room of just about any cruise ship. But that was the choice and now the choices are many.
In the spirit of Holland America Line‘s extreme culinary focus and display kitchen, Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine will give guests the chance to experience a unique culinary adventure for the senses. In this venue, Royal Caribbean chefs will “twist their culinary kaleidoscopes in a whimsical setting that challenges the imagination with never-before-seen fare.”
New specialty restaurant concepts will provide even more variety for guests including Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, with a new teppanyaki menu, and the Sabor Modern Mexican restaurant.
It’s All About The Kids
Another interesting addition to Harmony of the Seas and one new to the Royal Caribbean fleet: Not one, not two, but three multi-story waterslides, all of which twist and turn over Central Park 10 decks below. One of the slides also will feature a champagne bowl that swirls guests around as they make their approach to the end of the ride. That’s great news for families who just can’t get enough top deck attractions, but not so good news for those who preferred the more serene feel of the Central Park neighborhood. Especially if they enjoyed the often-reduced pricing in that area of the ship or looking up to the unobstructed clear blues sky from their interior-facing balcony.
Some other notable features:
- Super-speed Internet service will bring guests the ability to stream video, Skype with family and friends back at home and share their vacation via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms instantly while at sea. If they price it right, this will be a solid hit.
- Larger Staterooms– Again looking to draw more families or make an Oasis-class vacation their preferred choice on Harmony of the Seas the company has made some stateroom categories even larger.
- Virtual Balconies- Interior accommodations also will be outfitted with Royal Caribbean’s exclusive Virtual Balconies which offer a view in every stateroom,
- Solo Staterooms- Perhaps looking over their shoulder, Royal Caribbean may have noted the success Norwegian Cruise Line has had with single travelers by offering studio stateroom choices.
- Ship Within A Ship– Suite guests also will have exclusive new areas to enjoy, from a well-appointed suite lounge and a private suites-only restaurant called Coastal Kitchen to an exclusive full-service Suite Sun Zone sun deck.
Harmony of the Seas will span 16 decks, encompass 227,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,747 staterooms. Set to launch in April 2016, itineraries will be announced and go on sale in March.
Photos- Royal Caribbean International
Chris is not a paid spokesperson or brand ambassador. Not compensated by cruise lines, what you read here are his observations, thoughts and interpretations, biased only by a positive outlook and appreciation for what cruise vacations have to offer travelers.