The Biggest Cruise Ship in the World Has 20 Restaurants, 19 Pools, and 7 Neighborhoods
When it comes to amazing cruise ship amenities, Royal Caribbean International leads the pack, and it seems to have outdone itself yet again with the pending debut of its latest ship. Founded in Norway and based in Miami, the leading cruise line has won countless awards from leading travel publications and organizations such as Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler, Cruise Critic, AFAR, and Travel Weekly. It has also won the top three spots on the list of the world’s largest cruise ships — soon to be the top four with the launch of Symphony of the Seas, set to sail on its maiden voyage on April 7, 2018.
The ship, which has dethroned its sister vessel Harmony of the Seas as the world’s largest cruise ship, is 1,188 feet long and 215.5 feet wide, with a capacity for 6,680 guests and 2,200 crew from around the world. Sixteen of its 18 decks are reserved for guests, and the ship has 2,759 staterooms and 24 elevators, large enough for it have seven “neighborhoods” (as the company calls the sections of the ship) — such as Central Park, which brings a bit of New York City on deck and is great for a stroll among over 12,000 trees and plants, or Royal Promenade, a kind of Main Street of the ship which includes shops, restaurants, bars, and a place for on-deck parades.
Cruises are known for their superb dining options, and Symphony of the Seas seems to be setting the bar even higher. Among its seven neighborhoods are 20 food options, including four new dining concepts. Families can watch or play games at the Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, indulge their sweet tooth at candy and ice cream shop Sugar Beach, and enjoy New England fare at Hooked Seafood or Mexican classics at El Loco Fresh.
Another new concept debuting on Symphony of the Seas is the Ultimate Family Suite, a two-story, 1,346-square-foot suite for up to eight guests that is the ultimate family hideout. A “Magic Door” crawlspace connects two bedrooms and an in-suite slide enables guests to slide down from the top level down to the living room. The Ultimate Family Suite also includes a private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, complete with a family movie library and streaming services, as well as video games and multiple consoles. Nooks are hidden throughout the suite, which also has a floor-to-ceiling Lego Wall and a 212-square-foot balcony that has table tennis, a full-size whirlpool, and an interactive 3-D vertical maze. To top it off, as with all other suite services, the Ultimate Family Suite includes the services of the Royal Genie, a concierge whose job it is to bring a personalized experience to guests.
If that isn’t enough, the ship is also home to 19 pools, as well as two surf simulators, and Perfect Storm — a thrilling trio of waterslides — as well as Ultimate Abyss, an amazing 10-story slide that’s the tallest at sea. Guests can also enjoy a game of escape-the-room or laser tag, as well as the on-deck ice skating rink, mini-golf course, nine-deck-high zip line, two rock climbing walls, and more. Youth groups are also on deck, divided into six age groups catering to their specific interests and needs. Tony-award-winning Broadway musical Hairspray will also be performed for the first time at sea, and other shows debuting on Symphony of the Seas include HiRo, an acrobatics show utilizing Olympic-height diving boards right on deck; Flight, a show about the history and future of flying; and 1977, a time-traveling ice show.
Through spring, summer, and early fall, the ship will be taking on a European tour. Guests can go on a seven- or eight-night trip to visit Barcelona, the island of Majorca in the Balearic Islands, the Provence region of France, the Italian cities of Florence, Pisa, and Rome, as well as Naples (which has the option of excursions to Capri or Ischia), with ships making round trips from either Rome or Barcelona depending on dates. A 9-night itinerary also includes the Spanish city of Valencia, and a shorter, 3-night journey in October will visit just Rome, Naples, and Barcelona.
In November 2018, Symphony of the Seas will return to its home port of Miami to begin setting sail on cruises to the Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean cruises, depending on itinerary, will hit destinations such as St. Kitts, St. Thomas, the Bahamas, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and Haiti. Western Caribbean cruises will visit Honduras, Mexico’s Costa Maya and Cozumel, and the Bahamas as well. Select itineraries on both types of cruises will also visit CoCoCay, a Bahamian island used exclusively by Royal Caribbean for its cruises. For more amazing cruises that the whole family will love, check out our guide to the best kid-friendly cruises currently already sailing the seas.