Home / Comfort & Crew / A cruise aboard ‘Harmony of the Seas’ most captivating of cruises- By ADACHI UCHENDU
Aerial view of Harmony of the Seas - Offshore Barcelona (Spain) June 6, 2016 Harmony of the Seas - Royal Caribbean international

A cruise aboard ‘Harmony of the Seas’ most captivating of cruises- By ADACHI UCHENDU

resized-shipSHE is the biggest, the boldest, and the most beautiful of them all! Longer, wider and heavier than any other ship ever built, weights: 1000 tons and costs: $1billion. introducing to you, the royal caribbean’s magnificent new cruise ship, and her name is harmony of the seas! the world’s largest cruise ship ever built.

With some of the most modern and groundbreaking vacation amenities, cruising at top speed of 22 knots (25mph), 215.5ft wide, 1,188foot long, 4 bow thrusters and more horsepower than 28 Ferraris. Harmony of the Seas took just 32 months and cost a billion dollars to build at St Nazaire. France. This beauty certainly defies all superlatives! The technology and the engineering exceeded what you’ll find on any ship in the world.

I was invited on board her inaugural sailing, on the of 8th Nov 2016…by “tour brokers international”, the official Royal Caribbean cruise agent in Nigeria, and I was incredibly thrilled by it.

Adachi Uchendu by the gigantic cruise ship
Adachi Uchendu by the gigantic cruise ship

Although, I am not a newbie to cruising neither am I a frequent cruiser. I’ve gone on a cruise before; but I’d say technically, this was my second cruise experience. nothing could have prepared me for my first sight of this wonder! and “the real big experience on board her. I had an incredible two-day experience, sailing from port everglades to the Bahamas. and I must say that the excitement at sea couldn’t be more adventurous.

Check-in was quick and efficient, I found my way to the elevators and my stateroom on Deck 9. it wasn’t the claustrophobic small cabin I’d imagined. It was considerably very spacious, (all were spacious) though I didn’t get a balcony room and loungers, but my room was strategically positioned overlooking the beautifully lush avenue of central park and boasted wall-to-ceiling French doors, the king-size bed was very comfortable (double occupancy) and the compact bathroom had an excellent power shower.

The cabin had a great amount of clothes space, double wardrobe and other storage areas to store all of your items. plugs in the cabin are European and they also have usb ports to power all of your electronic devices –which is very convenient plus, a widescreen television set, with great channels which also has an added function that lets you order your free room service via the TV.

Superior Ocean View Stateroom with balcony Cat. D8 - Room #7614 Midship Starboard Harmony of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International
Superior Ocean View Stateroom with balcony Cat. D8 – Room #7614 Midship Starboard
Harmony of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International

CAST-OFF

Before we set sail, teams of fly boarders from aqua fly hydro flight sports escorted her off to start her first sailing from her new homeport everglades in fort Lauderdale Florida, all the while performing extraordinary stunts. there, on the east coast of Florida, harmony of the seas was introduced to younger sisters, oasis of the seas and allure of the seas, for the first time. (Oasis and Allure were heralded for being the largest and the most technologically advanced ships in the world when they came out) a team of fly boarders sending off the biggest cruise ship in the world.

These three ships are mega-floating cities; harmony of the seas is the Royal Caribbean’s 3rd cruise ship in the oasis class and now, the largest cruise ship in the world. taking the title from her sibling, allure of the seas, which dethroned her other sibling; oasis of the seas in 2010.the new oasis class ship is simply amazing! this ship will astound and delight both new and experienced cruisers. you have to see it to believe it! from all indications, its apparent Royal Caribbean is determined to keep the “world’s biggest” crown in the family.

3 Sisters meeting at sea - Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas offshore Port Everglades, FL Royal Caribbean International
3 Sisters meeting at sea – Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas offshore Port Everglades, FL
Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean international’s Oasis-class ships, oasis of the seas, allure of the seas and the new harmony of the seas, struck a chord today, greeting each other at sea for the first and possibly only time. in a meeting of unprecedented proportions, the three record-breaking sisters came together to celebrate the U.S. arrival of harmony of the seas on the eve of the ship’s debut in her new permanent homeport of port everglades in fort Lauderdale, Florida. The three sisters, Harmony, Allure and Oasis were introduced for the first time at sea.

Like drunken teenagers in a mall, we ran around excitedly. our 2 days, ticking away. the ship is so big and packed with vast array of activities and things to do. with more than 2,747staterooms, 20 dining options, 23 swimming pools and a park with more than 10,587 plants and trees and the freedom to do whatever you desire, whenever it suits you.

From sky diving to surfing, relaxing by the pool, sliding on the first ever multi-story water slides at sea that twist and turn over the exquisite central park to testing your bravery on the 10 story dual slide known as the “ultimate abyss”, (the tallest slide at sea, spanning 10 decks). the ultimate abyss stands at 150 feet above sea level and is located at the pool zone on deck 16 all the way down to the boardwalk on Deck 6.

This one is for the adventurous and brave at heart. I mustered courage to slide on it, and before I knew it, I was sliding the on the high seas.

The ultimate abyss Royal Caribbean international’s harmony of the seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, claims another record as home to the tallest slide and most exhilarating adventure at sea: ultimate abyss.  the hair-raising, 10-story slide is “possibly the most thrilling man-made adventure at sea,” according to thrill engineer professor Brendan Walker, Thrill  Laboratory, U.K., Director

The 45 seconds decent was so scary that I screamed my way down but it was incredibly fun. I highly recommend it for anyone seeking extra adventure and thrill  (but please be warned: do not try it if you are suffering from any heart condition)

Royal Caribbean cruise lines have taken their entertainment expertise to a whole new ground. their innovation and imagination are wild. there are, Broadway show, Mama Mia and the list goes on and on. The ICE show was something that literally took my breath away.

In fact a lady approached me while I was busy relaxing at the solarium, a very beautiful and serene area of the ship meant for adult only, and said, I bet you haven’t seen the grease. I asked, what’s Grease? there will be a repeat around 10.30pm she said, and it’s a must see. glad I listened and not wait for further explanation. thank you friend!

Solarium - Deck 14-15-16 Forward Harmony of the Seas - Royal Caribeban International
Solarium – Deck 14-15-16 Forward
Harmony of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International

Specially adapted by Royal Caribbean productions, Grease is performed on-board harmony of the seas and will boast original choreography, costumes and aerial elements set to amaze the most seasoned theater goers.

Food on board was, plentiful and tasty with an amazing service.

These two are top priority for cruisers. sampling over 20 different restaurants wasn’t something I dared to try, keeping in mind, I had only 48hours to spend on board so, I just stuck to my good old reliable windjammer on Deck 16.There’s always a wide variety to choose from and the best part is that it’s (food) included in your cruise package.

Harmony has about 3,415 sports equipment so you need not worry about those calories. just go ahead and feast. Remember, you are on a vacation of a lifetime!

Spa Reception - Vitality at Sea Spa Harmony of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International
Spa Reception – Vitality at Sea Spa
Harmony of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International

This cruise ship wowed me. she’s multi-generational. on-board enrichment is set to appeal to a wider array of interest. I can’t wait to go on board this ship again. You should try it – there are different activities for all ages. it’s up to you! The ship has 24 lifts, so, getting from point ‘A’ to ‘B’ is pretty easy. Thanks to the large visual decks plan on every nooks and crannies and also inside the elevator to help your bearing therefore making it easier to find your way around and if you choose to take the stair ways, you are welcome to do that.

Beautiful art works adorned each level and for art lovers, head over to Deck 4 as Harmony of the Seas is an art haven. Featuring over $6.5million art collections, with 11,253 spectacular art pieces from over 3000 works curated by international cooperate arts. from paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, to abstract paintings. there is a metallic head installation in the middle of café/royal promenade a meeting point on the ship where you have some of the ship’s high-end boutiques. cafés and bars. the ‘head’ consists 5tonnes of steels and the multiple plates’ that move to form 3d head.

Harmony has more works of art than the Louvre has paintings. More than 60 countries, from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Greece, and Morocco – took part in bringing harmony’s collection to life.

Many of the unique pieces were specifically created for Harmony of the Seas, and designed to intrigue and bring joy and harmony to all, guests and crew alike.

The rising tide bar is the world’s first moving bar at sea that spans three decks and allows cruisers to enjoy a cocktail as they slowly levitate between central park on deck eight and the royal promenade on Deck 5.

 Worried about getting lost on the high seas? never mind! there is a high-speed internet on board “voom” (fastest internet at sea) so you can keep in touch, share beautiful memories with friends and families. it’s very affordable, and reliable. You can visit the futuristic bionic bar and have robots mix a drink of your choice. first ever at sea.1456245912_c2-1

Harmony of the Seas is the first oasis-class ship to feature the futuristic bionic bar, a technology-forward venue complete with two robotic bartenders that shake, muddle and mix a wide variety of drinks made just to order.

Harmony of the seas combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that Royal Caribbean’s oasis class of ships is known for. :

(1) Pool and sports (where perfect storm and the ultimate abyss live); (2) the boardwalk (with the amazing aqua theater), (3) central park (home to a tropical garden as well as some of the ship’s specialty restaurants including Jamie’s Italian, a celebrity chef), (4) the royal promenade, (5) the entertainment parade, (6) the youth zone and (7) the vitality spa areas.

Ship fact sheets

Harmony of the seas was built at: STX France, St. Nazaire, France and its maiden voyage: may 29, 2016, godmother: Brittany Affolter 226,963 grt, 1,188 feet long; 215.5 feet wide, 22knots cruising speed,  number of guest decks   = 16, number of total decks      = 18, number of guest elevators = 24, number of staterooms      = 2,747, number of guests (double occupancy) = 5,479, total number of guests = 6,780, number of crew = 2,100 (75 nationalities)

High lights

Finally, the set date for the ship’s  naming ceremony came around, and incidentally, fell on our departure date. we were invited as special guests. I wasn’t going to miss it for anything in the world.

Captain Gus Anderson, Michael Bailey, president and CEO Royal Caribbean International and Brittany Affolter.
Captain Gus Anderson, Michael Bailey, president and CEO Royal Caribbean International and Brittany Affolter.

Naming of ships are an important and ancient seafarer’s tradition, and Royal Caribbean International takes pride in observing it. “every ship is represented by a noble woman who brings some of her spirit, some of her wisdom, and success to share with the ship and the crew,” says Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean limited.

This has been the tradition in the shipping world for hundreds of years, and still is, an important one till today.

over 1000 nominees were received during a search that span more than six weeks, for an honor usually reserved for celebrities, singers, princesses, queens, scientists etc. because every god mother must have something special.

Hosting the highly anticipated naming ceremony of the harmony of the seas was her godmother, Brittany Affolter, a 23 year-old from teach for America Miami-Dade, who, at a very young age, devoted her life to helping others. she was selected as the god mother of the harmony of the seas for her work in inspiring and instilling on south Florida’s next generation the need to dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo

Brittany Affolter, manager, teacher leadership development, teach for America Miami-Dade. Finalist in Royal Caribbean’s search for godmother of Harmony of the Seas

Breaking of the bottle

To mark this special occasion, Royal Caribbean requested a bottle of champagne bigger than those commercially available from veuve-clicquot, a size they called the “sovereign,” for a not-so-subtle bottle-breaking ceremony. since the ship is too big for a normal seize bottle, after all this is the biggest ship in the world!

 Harmony, is a technological marvel, “ a normal bottle breaking just simply wouldn’t do,” Fain said, so they decided to use a technology inspired bottle breaking carried out by one of the bionic bar robots as an important part of this process.

With more than 800 special guests in attendance, Brittany Affolter, the ship’s godmother, christened the ship by proclaiming:

“I name this ship, Harmony of the Seas, may God bless her, and all who sail on her “.

Brittany Affolter
Brittany Affolter

The champagne bottle was then suspended on a zip line over the central park on the ship.

She then pressed a button that activated the bionic bar robot that sent the three-foot-tall bottle of champagne hurtling down a zip line and bursting against a steel plate above the pool. what a moment! there were fireworks, joyous screaming, and music at the same time.

A performance by singer-songwriter and Miami native,  Jon Secada closed out the celebration.

The bottle breaks at the naming ceremony of Royal Caribbean international’s newest ship harmony of the seas.

The naming ceremony was fantastic and well put together. the godmother’s blessing marked the official start of this vessel’s life. It was indeed a very special and memorable moment. “One I will never forget.”

Final take

Unquestionably, there’s something special about being on board a cruise ship during an inaugural sail. I can’t help but feel elite and part of this ship’s history. How great is it to be able to say, oh yeah! – I was on her inaugural sail and also witnessed her naming ceremony. It’s an experience I will always hold dear to my heart.

Harmony of the Seas is a must see and a must cruise for any frequent cruiser. it’s not just because, she’s the largest and the newest of them all but because of what she brings to the world of cruising and holidaying; although we all love the feeling of enjoying something that is absolutely new. I was in total awe when I beheld her.

She is so large, a sight that completely took my breath away, that standing upright; harmony of the seas is twice as high as the Washington monument at 1,188 feet tall.

2,100 crew, from 75 nationalities, take care of 6,780 guests, totaling the number of people on board the harmony to 8,880 people.

Adachi Uchendu
Adachi Uchendu

cruising is not just all about the ships; it’s also about cruising some of the most amazing and spectacular destinations. harmony has some spectacularly interesting itinerary this year.  So start-booking . You could be off, exploring some of the world’s most amazing destinations. The easiest part of holidaying on this ship is, finding something exciting to do. But the hardest part is choosing what to do first! Enjoy your vacation.

 ADACHI UCHENDU sent in this travel piece to our Comfort and Crew  segment as she was on the inaugural sail of the ‘Harmony of the Seas’

About NigerianFlightDeck

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Nigerianflightdeck is an online news and magazine platform reporting business stories with a bias for aviation and travel. It is borne out of the intention to inform, educate as well as alter perceptions with balanced reportage.

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