Harmony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s newest ship is the largest in the world, carrying 6,780 passengers. Rather than a reinvention of the brand, this ship is part of the Oasis class but combines elements of Quantum class, blending highlights from each to create a new experience, with the addition of some new spaces, such as a dedicated jazz lounge and a comedy club.
What We Love
"Grease" Is the Word: We never rave about the stage shows on cruise ships, but this new production floored us. Great costumes, sets, props, acting, and singing … it has it all, and we actually saw the first performance.
The Ultimate Abyss: The most popular new feature on board is easily The Ultimate Abyss, the 10-story slide that loops off the back of the ship from deck 16 to deck 6. Lines grew quickly and stayed long from the first day as cruisers queued up with mats to stand up on the glass platform overlooking the ocean and feel like they were going to be plunged into the sea.
Super-Fast Internet at Sea: The ship's Wi-Fi, called Voom, has its own dedicated satellite beam, resulting in the fastest internet at sea. You can post images on Facebook, stream your favorite TV shows, and Skype with folks back home. For cruisers who fear being unplugged, this is an impressive improvement.
Fast Embarkations: While there’s no denying the ship is big, the line has found a variety of ways of reducing the pain points that usually come with mega-ship cruising. As on the last two new ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, online check-in means the embarkation process is far less painful than it can be on ships that are half the size — most passengers can walk straight from the curb, up the gangway, and right to their cabin, where the key cards are waiting on the door. We’re not sure why every line hasn’t copied this process yet, but they should. Added bonus: You can upload a photo at home, rather than having one taken at the port, where your bedraggled travel-weary image is memorialized.
Small Cabin Upgrades: There are little design improvements that will stand out to past passengers, such as luxurious, satiny drapes dividing rooms in suites, and well-designed bathrooms with plenty of drawers, ledges, and medicine cabinet space to stash all of your stuff.
Best Known For
The Perfect Storm: This colorful trio of corkscrew-shaped racing slides provides lots of twists and turns as you travel down the height of three decks. These are the first waterslides on any Royal Caribbean ship, a surprising fact for a line that's known for pioneering high-adrenaline activities on board.
Central Park: This outdoor space — with grass and plenty of landscaping — is really the highlight of the Oasis-class ships, and it doesn’t disappoint here either. An array of shops and restaurants line either side of the garden, and on a warm night it’s a lovely place to sit outside for lunch or dinner.
Bionic Bar: As on the Quantum-class ships, this bar manned by robot bartenders draws a crowd night and day.
Studio B: Like the Oasis class, Harmony has the Studio B ice rink. In addition to seeing shows on ice, passengers can rent skates and take a spin on the ice themselves.
Wonderland: This fanciful "Alice in Wonderland"-themed restaurant uses molecular gastronomy techniques to wow guests. (Picture noodles that melt into their broth and olives that explode in your mouth.) On this ship, the restaurant is two stories, with a bar that is quickly becoming the best place to drink on the ship.
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Who It's Best For
Families with Kids or Teens: Royal Caribbean’s DreamWorks partnerships means kids can meet characters, such as Shrek and the "Madagascar" animals. There are also 3D DreamWorks films and big, beautiful kids clubs. The teen space, the Living Room, is elegant enough — with chic bonnet chairs and chandeliers — that parents may wish they could take it over.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
You Might Miss What’s Missing: Some fabulous features weren’t ported over from Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas — including the cover band venue, Music Hall. Instead, bands play street party-style in the echoing mall-like Promenade space, making the ship feel … louder. Adrenaline seekers will also miss the skydiving simulator and bumper cars, and food and drink lovers will feel the loss of Michael’s Pub and the Solarium Bar, where fresh juices are turned into creative cocktails. And the design is just less dramatic: The Solarium doesn’t have the same sexy, oasis-like feel, and the Two70 Lounge — the most spectacular space on the Quantum-class ships — isn’t here either.
Sherri Eisenberg is the New York City-based editorial director of ShermansCruise.com.
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Harmony of the Seas at a Glance
- Line: Royal Caribbean
- Class: Oasis
- Number of Passengers: 6780
- Ship Size: Mega
- Launch Date: 2016