Photo by Mark Leppert
The two newest cruise ships from Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International are currently making their way across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to the United States, where the Carnival Vista and Harmony of the Seas will respectively begin new deployments, for the first time.
Both ships were constructed internationally with the Carnival Vista emerging from Monfalcone, Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard and the largest cruise ship in the world, the Harmony of the Seas, launching from Saint-Nazaire’s STX France shipyard this past year. After an introductory Mediterranean season, the ships are now on their way to their new homeports where they will next depart roundtrip to the Caribbean.
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The Vista and Harmony each left Barcelona, Spain just days ago with the Carnival ship departing on October 21 and the Royal Caribbean one following shortly behind on October 23. In fact, my parents are on for the 13-night transatlantic cruise, and my father captured the header image of the Havana Pool overlooking the stern as the ship left Bermuda today. Also aboard for the bulk of the journey was Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald, who has been documenting the voyage on his Facebook page before disembarking in Kings Wharf.
My folks have been enjoying the new ship, particularly its IMAX Theatre and SkyRide, having watched four films in the superior cinema format and rode the suspended cycling deck attraction twice. And as for dining, they’ve most appreciated the classic Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse and newer JiJi Asian Kitchen. The Carnival Vista is scheduled to arrive into New York City on November 3 before one Caribbean roundtrip from the Big Apple and then departures from Miami, Florida thereafter.
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Meanwhile, the Harmony of the Seas is also on a 13-night crossing heading to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where it too will begin sailing the Caribbean upon its November 5 arrival. Royal Caribbean released a video commemorating the ship’s initial journey from Europe, hosted at my Popular Cruising YouTube channel. The line is also tracking the ship each day, providing a detailed map of its position and speed.
Royal Caribbean says it will take the Harmony of the Seas 218 hours and 55 minutes to complete the overall transit across three tectonic plates, six time zones and 3,961 nautical miles.
Of course, the Carnival Vista and Harmony of the Seas are just the beginning as their sister ships will soon follow behind. The Carnival Horizon is scheduled to join the fleet in early 2018, and the as-yet-unnamed Oasis 4 is set to do the same in spring 2018.