Top 10 Coolest Things Aboard the Biggest Cruise Ship in the World
All photos by Jason Leppert
Royal Caribbean International’s new Harmony of the Seas has set sail, and now that we’ve had a chance to experience it, we’ve gathered out list of top 10 cool things to check out onboard the largest cruise ship in the world.
The Ultimate Abyss
At first it may seem odd that the tallest slide at sea is not a water slide, but this dry slide really is quite thrilling as riders spiral down over ten decks from the FlowRider surf simulators above to the carousel on the Boardwalk below. Special sound and lighting effects line the run as guests hop into a friction-reducing sleeping bag-like pouch prior to the speedy descent.
The Perfect Storm
Besides the Ultimate Abyss, there is a trio of more traditional water slides onboard called the Perfect Storm. Some of Royal Caribbean’s first ever water slides, two are racer body tube varieties and the third is a centrifugal champagne bowl one, and they are thrilling, although not quite to the degree of their dry cousin at the back of the ship.
Continuing with the theme of water, the AquaTheater is one of Harmony of the Seas’ main entertainment venues, and this one is outside with a deep pool, retractable stages, high dive platforms, kinetic fountains and an aerial acrobatic rig that activates the entire space above and around the stern in the evenings for spectacular shows. “The Fine Line” is especially captivating as water becomes a character. It even cleverly sets up a dance battle between the live performers and the fountain array.
The AquaTheater is part of the Boardwalk “neighborhood,” and a number of other ones divide the mega-ship into more discernible districts, the classic of which is the Royal Promenade that stretches the better part of the ship’s length with a mall-like horizontal atrium. Similarly, Central Park sits above with living plants and trees lining foot paths to specialty retail stores and restaurants, all under the naked sky. In true neighborhood fashion, there’s even a Starbucks to be enjoyed along the Boardwalk.
One such specialty dining room onboard is the whimsical Wonderland that overlooks the Boardwalk with an expansive glass wall. The restaurant has doubled in size from its namesake on the Quantum-class ships and here features an attached bar for fanciful pre- or post-dinner libations that suit (hearts in honor of the queen perhaps) the creative cuisine.
Of course, a Royal Caribbean favorite below Wonderland continues to be Johnny Rockets and its sock hop-style fare along the Boardwalk. Juicy Rocket Doubles topped with Tillamook cheddar cheese go down nicely with a syrup-flavored soda pop, and classic American apple pie is ready as a sendoff a la mode or also donned with cheese. Of course, a side of frings (fries and onion rings) is also great to dip into a smiling plate of ketchup.
You can continue to keep the 1950s alive by catching a performance of “Grease” which actually licenses the music from both the Broadway show and the famous film to craft the best version of the musical story. The high school narrative is conveyed with all the hit tunes and performed with gusto by a top notch cast of singers and dancers, as well as a welcome live orchestra, that take it home like nobody’s business.
Meanwhile, Studio B hosts genuine ice-capades at sea like the Steampunk “1887” that is a bit of a narrative mishmash but visually stunning nonetheless, set to fantastic music and special visual effects. The skaters themselves are incredibly talented to bring their craft to a unique cruise ship ice rink and perform marvelously.
Even the drink bars on Harmony are entertaining, from the Bionic Bar and its robotic bartenders to the Rising Tide Bar that literally elevates guests’ spirits, pun intended. The former takes Makr Shakr technologies for a ride as a pair of robot arms are employed to mix signature drinks and even dance on occasion, and the latter impressively raises an entire bar and seating up and down three decks from the Royal Promenade to Central Park.
Escape the Rubicon
Last but not least is Escape the Rubicon, which takes popular shoreside escape room experiences and puts the first specifically designed iteration on a cruise ship. The science-fiction-themed venue requires groups of up to a dozen people to apply teamwork to solve interactive puzzles that will set them free from otherwise impending doom, that is missing the buffet lunch.
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