The next biggest cruise ship in the world is taking shape.
Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas - a behemoth at 227,000 gross tons - had its final block of ship structure lowered into place at the STX France shipyards in Saint Nazaire, earlier this week.
Due for delivery in April 2016 and bound for Florida’s Port Everglades the following November, the ship is slightly larger than its 2 sisters Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Harmony will hold 5,479 pax at double occupancy in 2,747 staterooms, 41 more than either older ship.
It's the 1st of 2 Oasis-class vessels being constructed at the French shipyards, with the 2nd, yet to be named, due in 2018.
The world's largest title - at least for passenger occupancy - will be short-lived for the 16-deck Harmony as soon as the 1st of 4 Carnival Corp.'s announced 6,600-pax vessels come to market in 2019.
With Harmony's arrival, the original Oasis-class vessel Oasis of the Seas will migrate up the coast to Port Canaveral leaving Harmony and Allure sailing 7 night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries from south Florida.
Harmony will be similar to its sister ships with features like Central Park, which has real trees and grass in the middle of the ship. What's new will be 3 water slides that will hang out over Central Park 10 decks below. One set of slides will be racing slides with acrylic sections so riders might catch a glimpse of the park below. Another slide will have a bowl feature that lets riders swirl around before sliding out a hole in the middle.
Royal Caribbean often takes concepts from its newer ships to roll out in new designs, as well as retrofitting older ships when they go into dry-dock. In Harmony’s case that means there will be robot bartenders at sea as featured in the Bionic Bar, which debuted on Quantum of the Seas.
As far as accommodations, inside staterooms will feature screens displaying a live ocean view, while single cruisers will have studio stateroom options. Those paying for suites will get some exclusive areas including a private lounge, sun deck and their own restaurant called Coastal Kitchen.
The line has announced some specialty restaurants aboard including Izumi Hibachi & Sushi and Sabor Modern Mexican as well as Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, a new concept that promises a culinary adventure for the senses in a whimsical setting.
"We are orchestrating a medley of new exciting concepts with the best Royal Caribbean innovations to strike the perfect chord for adventurous vacationers," said RCI CEO Michael Bayley. "That is why we are calling our 3rd Oasis-class ship Harmony of the Seas."