Having been ordered in May 2014, the world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas was on show last week in the port of Malaga ahead of her maiden voyage taking in Spain, France and Italy. She will spend the summer in the Mediterranean before repositioning in the fall to join her slightly smaller sisters, Oasis, Allure and Harmony in the Caribbean with home-port Miami.Symphony of the Seas is the 25th and now largest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet with a reported capacity for up 6,680 guests who will have the opportunity to enjoy every conceivable form of entertainment and relaxation spread over 20 restaurants and six bars.
Built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Saint Nazaire (STX France)
Owned and operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Delivered March 2018
Beam 47.5m at waterline, 66m maximum
GRT 228.081 tons
Main propulsion 3 x 20 MW (27,000 hp) ABB Azipod Units
Thrusters 4 x 5.5 MW (7,400 hp) Wartsila WT-55
Speed 22 knots cruising
Cost US$ 1.4 billion
Responding to the challenge of embarking and disembarking so many guests in a few hours, Royal Caribbean now offers the use of a mobile app which leverages a combination of bar codes, beacons and facial recognition, to speed up the process of check-in. The company is also offering RFID wristbands or “WOWbands” to replace traditional SeaPass cards, When it comes to onboard amenities there are a number of new innovations including:
- The Ultimate Family Suite (picture above right), which can accommodate up to 8 guests, boasts a slide from the children’s bedroom to the living room, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, an air-hockey table, a 3D movie theater-style TV room, with popcorn machine and a library of video games. The 212 sqft wrap-around balcony has a bumper pool table, climbing experience and full-size whirlpool.
- Laser Tag: State-of-the-art and special effects.
- 1977: A spectacular ice-surface video taking projection technology to a new level.
- HiRo (Aqua Theater): A show combining cutting-edge technology, unexpected stunts, innovative acrobatics and future-forward choreography.
- Flight (Royal Theater): One-of-a-kind show taking guests through the history and future of flying and the evolution of air travel which ends with homage to the Wright Brothers
The company describes Symphony of the Seas ship as a novelty mixture of Oasis-class deck layout and Quantum-class innovations. Other new additions include the first-ever Royal Caribbean waterslides created by ADE (Aquatic Design & Engineering), a climbing play area for youngsters of all ages and just to keep everyone’s caffeine level up there is a traditional Starbucks coffee bar in the Boardwalk neighbourhood. The vessel has an amazing 19 pools to keep the fun going and 15 Studio cabins designed for solo travellers.
See the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzYH2GfXnvM
Royal Caribbean International was founded as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 1968 by three Norwegian shipping companies: Anders Wilhelmsen & Company, I.M. Skaugen & Company, and Gotaas Larsen. The newly created line put its first ship, the Song of Norway, into service two years later. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is the holding company for Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisieres de France.
Ship of the Week contributed by Capt. Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd. www.westpacificmarine.ca