CruiseExpert’s Exclusive on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship
Get an insider look as Julie from CruiseExperts.com tells of her whirlwind 2 days on the world’s largest cruise ship!
I just got back from the Inaugural Cruise of Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise ship. Currently, this is the world’s largest cruise ship, with a capacity for over 5400 passengers plus another 2500 crew members. Harmony truly is a small city on the seas.
Though the ship is very large, Royal Caribbean has designed the ship with different “neighborhoods” on board. Each neighborhood is designed with its own unique look and feel that sets the neighborhood apart from other areas of the ship. As an example, I fell in love with the Central Park neighborhood. This neighborhood features an outdoor green space full of live plants and trees. You can stroll through the neighborhood on pathways that feature benches to sit and enjoy the park-like atmosphere. This neighborhood featured a choice of optional dining options, including a Bistro Café with an amazing salad bar, a wine bar, and an outdoor bar. Other neighborhoods include the Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, and an adults only Solarium.
Harmony of the Seas has some of the best live entertainment at sea. Onboard the Harmony we were treated to an authentic Broadway-caliber production of Grease. My traveling partner, Martha, and I fully enjoyed this show and were encouraged to sing along with all the songs.
Another fabulous live show is in the Aqua Theater, which features a mix of dance, aerialists, high divers, synchronized swimming and more. Everything comes together in a performance that is similar to what you would experience at a Cirque du Soleil performance. In order to produce a show that featured dancers, swimmers, divers and more, the venue transforms instantly from a deep pool to a full stage and dance floor. The tra nsformation happens seamlessly, in just a matter of seconds. The effect is almost magical, and I was amazed to watch this happen over and over during the show.
Other great entertainment choices include performances in the ship’s Ice Skating Rink, Comedy Club, Jazz Club and more……With only 2 nights onboard, I was disappointed that we weren’t able to take in all the shows available.
The ship has so many activities to offer – there are so many things to do onboard, I don’t even know where to start. There are pools, rock climbing walls, slides, zip lines, flow rider surf simulator and more. I really enjoyed the full size carousel on the Boardwalk. I never worked up the courage to try out the Ultimate Abyss slides that span 10 decks!
There are over 20 different dining options onboard, and many are included in the cost of the cruise fare. The main dining room spans 3 decks and the menu includes gluten free and sugar free items. Royal Caribbean still includes menu items like lobster and filet mignon for no additional cost. Others cruise lines now charge for these items. Casual dining venues include a large buffet, a hot dog shack, Johnny Rockets, a taco bar, and an authentic English Pub.
Finally, I want to mention some of the impressive technology onboard this ship. The Harmony of the Seas features Voom Internet, touted as the fastest internet connection at sea. Martha was able to download movies to her tablet and guests could also enjoy Netflix. Onboard key cards were “tap” only, allowing faster and easier use of the card for everything from opening the stateroom door, to making a purchase in one of the shops onboard. Show reservations, dining reservations, and more are all stored on the card. Royal Caribbean also has their own app, Royal IQ, where one can make reservations for dining, entertainment and shore excursions.
Personally, I have always thought that I wouldn’t enjoy sailing on such a large vessel. But having been able to experience the Harmony of the Seas for just 2 days, I can now say I would welcome the chance to take a longer cruise. The Harmony of the Seas has 2 “sister” ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet—Oasis and Allure, and both ships have many of the same features as Harmony. This cruise ship exceeded my expectations in every way, and I look forward to taking a full 7 day cruise on her very soon!