A few weekends ago, I was invited to experience two nights onboard Harmony of the Seas; the largest ship in the world. I had never been on a cruise before, let alone anything close to the size of this ship. And this Royal Caribbean cruise liner was huge. As I walked down to where the ship was docked in South Hampton, the monumental structure towered over me like a giant.
Along with the grand size of this thing, here a few facts that blew my mind: the ship is longer than the Eiffel tower, it has a total of 23 pools, 42 bars and lounges, it can accommodate up to 5,479 guests, it has the tallest slide at sea and a running track that goes around the perimeter of the ship. Not to mention the Bionic bar that has robots pour and shake your cocktail orders. A big WOW is the right word to describe this ship.
Here are few more details about my WOW experience onboard:
I was quite surprised at the size of the superior state room which we stayed in. I had envisioned a very narrow room, but the size of our room was bigger than many hotel rooms you find in London. The bathroom however was a little on the small side, but it did the job. In the room there was plenty of hanging space, a small bench lounge, mini fridge and a generous balcony with two deck chairs. The only thing I would bring next time is my own hairdryer as the one in the room was small and not very powerful.
The variety of food establishments was quite astonishing. Along with the complimentary buffet style restaurants, there are 20 restaurants in total, spread over 7 different neighbourhoods. You can make your own pizza at Sorrentos, enjoy a meal at Jamie’s Italian or delight the senses with an imaginative experience at Wonderland. There are also soft serve machines and snack bars dotted throughout, so no one goes hungry. You can be as healthy as you want but be warned that there are loads of temptations!
Where do I start? In the 36 hours on board, I attempted to count all 23 pools, went to the gym, did a yoga class, sang at a karaoke bar, walked through central park, rode the bespoke merry-go-round, danced at a 90’s street party, watched the musical Grease, indulged in a bit of retail therapy, enjoyed the thermal room at the spa, walked around the running track, dined at 6 different restaurants and drank a cocktail that was made by a robot.
I didn’t even have time to ride the zip line or the largest slide at sea, and the rain stopped me from climbing the rock climbing wall and surfing the Flow Rider wave. And just in case that’s not enough, think again. You also have an ice skating ring, a casino, an aqua theatre and a full schedule of entertainment to keep you busy. If you think you will get bored out at sea (which was my original preconceived idea of cruising) you are wrong. There is just so much to do on the Harmony of the Seas.
I think most people believe that a cruise has to be all indulgence; eating and drinking as much as you can during the trip. But if you do want a more active experience, the Harmony of Seas has all the facilities and fitness programs to keep you in shape during your holiday. You have the running track that is 0.7km in length, a full sized gym and a daily fitness schedule that includes yoga, pilates, spinning and core classes. And once you are all done working out, the Thermal room in the spa is the perfect place to unwind and relax your muscles in the steam room and sauna.
I always like to play the game of “if I designed the ship, what would I add,” and it was quite hard to come up with anything as the ship literally has everything that you could want and more. However, if I could add a few things I’d love to add a lap pool to swim off all that yummy food, and indoor hot tub when it’s cold outside, a set of robe and slippers made available in your room and the robots should make healthy smoothies in the AM. I also missed having a kettle in your room to make a morning tea. Maybe a tea station on each level could be an idea too?
So there is my 36 hour experience in just under 800 words. Have you thought about contemplating a cruise for your next holiday? If you want to see more, check out my travel vlog that I posted last week or visit the Harmony of the Seas website.
PS – I forgot to mention that the ship is home to $6.5 million art collection of more than 3,000 works. Another WOW moment right there.
Phoebe was invited as a guest onboard the Harmony of the Seas in May 2016.