Last updated: 05:33 PM ET, Tue October 11 2016

Sailing In Harmony

Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas offers familiar favorites along with new innovations

Vacation Agent | Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Jason Leppert

Sailing In Harmony

PHOTO: THe Ultimate Abyss spirals down 10 decks. (courtesy Royal Caribbean International)

It’s now well known that Royal Caribbean International’s 226,963-ton Harmony of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world, but just what else about it is so special? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Harmony of the Seas, the third Oasis-class ship following the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, is a hybrid of sorts. It houses the Wonderland restaurant and Bionic Bar from the Quantum ships, for instance, as well as such completely new features as the Perfect Storm, a trio of waterslides, and The Ultimate Abyss, a dry slide that spirals down 10 decks from the FlowRider surf simulators to the Boardwalk.

Another innovation aboard Harmony is Escape the Rubicon, where teams solve puzzles in order to be released from the sci-fi-themed space. The production quality of both the venue and the support media is top-notch, and the experience is both challenging and rewarding. Just remind your clients to sign up as soon as possible, as spots fill up fast.

Fanciest and Most Common Accommodations: The 1,524-square-foot Royal Loft Suite is the grandest of accommodations on board, and is set in an aft-facing corner of what had traditionally been the Viking Crown Lounge on older generations of Royal Caribbean ships. Suites are perched on top of the ship and have exclusive access to the Coastal Kitchen restaurant and suite lounge. The Royal Loft Suite, which sleeps six, has a master bedroom and bathroom on each level, with two twin beds convertible to a Royal King in each. It also features a sofa bed, a secondary bathroom and a balcony with a whirlpool. The most common accommodations are the 1,768 balcony staterooms of varying sizes, which either face outward to the sea or inward to the onboard “neighborhoods.”

READ MORE: TravelPulse Onboard: Harmony of the Seas Review

What’s Included: Harmony of the Seas features a number of complimentary dining options, including a trio of main dining rooms and the Windjammer Buffet. Several specialty restaurants, drinks beyond basic water and juices, shore excursions, tips and Wi-Fi Internet packages are all extra. Spa services and arcade games are also additional.

Best Entertainment: Harmony of the Seas excels on the entertainment front. Its headliner production of “Grease” is a flawless combination of numbers from the Broadway show and film. Ice shows in Studio B and water shows in the AquaTheater are also excellent. Respectively, “1887” is a steampunk-style abstract narrative set in France as a couple in love find themselves, well, on thin ice; and “The Fine Line” masterfully makes use of the outdoor dive tank, retractable stages, fountains and aerial acrobatics. Plus, there’s so much more – including comedy shows, theme parties and live music throughout the ship.

What’s for Dinner? The triple-deck main dining room features three distinct themes, one for each level. Food quality is very good right down to the quick-serve Mini Bites offered on the pool deck. Specialty restaurant fare is excellent. Recommend that your clients try the spicy Mexican flavors of Sabor or the Asian cuisine of Izumi. Wonderland has also made its way from the Quantum-class ships to a venue that has doubled in size, and the Bionic Bar, where robotic arms mix drinks, has been reprised with a more intuitive interface. Meanwhile, such perennial favorites as Johnny Rockets and Jamie’s Italian remain popular dining choices on Harmony.

Who Goes on This Ship? The guest complement on Harmony of the Seas skews to young couples, multigenerational families and groups. Because of its size, the ship requires passengers to traverse longer distances, so keep that in mind when qualifying clients.

Insider Booking Tips: The balcony suites overlooking the AquaTheater are quite remarkable – particularly since they feature inward- and outward-facing views while most other accommodations are outside staterooms or face one of the ships’ neighborhoods. Still, virtual balconies make even inside staterooms rather appealing, because digital screens display live views from outside the ship. If noise is a concern, recommend that your clients avoid staterooms overlooking the Boardwalk and those within earshot of the Ultimate Abyss and zipline.

Harmony of the Seas is an excellent choice for your clients looking for a wide range of onboard experiences. Considering its size, the ship never feels overly crowded.


Cruise line: Royal Caribbean International

Ship: Harmony of the Seas

Size: 226,963 tons

Capacity: 5,479 guests double occupancy and 6,780 guests total

Entered Service: 2016

Itinerary: The ship will reposition from Europe to its homeport in Fort Lauderdale in November, where it will offer seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.

Price: A seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary out of Fort Lauderdale was priced from $1,083 for the Jan. 28 departure.


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Vacation Agent Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the October 2016 issue of Vacation Agent Magazine.


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