Royal Caribbean’s new Symphony of the Seas is officially the world’s biggest ship (just) – it eclipses sister Harmony of the Seas by 39 passengers.
With an overall passenger capacity of 6,680, the ship won’t be to everybody’s taste but there’s no denying that Royal Caribbean has built a floating resort with panache.
The 16 decks are packed with breathtaking entertainment, 19 restaurants, more than 25 bars and 19 pools, as well as headline-grabbers like a nine-deck slide, glow-in-the-dark laser tag and the Ultimate Family Suite, a duplex playground with a slide, a private cinema and air hockey table, costing thousands of dollars a week and already sold out for the year.
Brand-new features include Hooked, a bright and cheery seafood restaurant serving fresh fish sourced from ports along the way; Playmakers, a noisy and often packed sports bar on the Boardwalk; and Sugar Beach, a decadent candy and gourmet ice cream shop. A puzzle break room and the laser tag are fun for all ages, while the shows are just spectacular. We were blown away by 1977, the ice show, which uses incredible technology to fly swarms of drones like tiny fireflies and create 3D images on the ice as the skaters glide around.
For all the razzle-dazzle, there’s a quieter, more upscale side to the ship, too. Smart speciality restaurants like 150 Central Park and the fantastical Wonderland, where amazing molecular cuisine matches the quirky décor, are among the finest at sea. There’s a gorgeous spa and a tranquil, two-deck solarium with a glass-walled pool, while the suites have their own private deck and a serene, light-filled restaurant, Coastal Kitchen. The multimillion dollar art collection is spectacular, not least a staircase painted with piano keys that plays music as you run up and down.
This is certainly a ship with broad appeal; it’ll be irresistible to families, it will surprise new-to-cruise millennials and it will thrill lovers of full-on entertainment, glitz and abundant food. Traditionalists may shudder at the thought, but there’s a great deal to love about Symphony.
Full review in the next issue of Cruise Passenger magazine – subscribe to our digital edition here.