- The Harmony of the Seas – set to be the largest passenger ship in the world – will make its maiden voyage on May 20
- MailOnline was granted access to the SFX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire where it’s in the final construction phase
- Harmony of the Seas will span 16 guest decks, weigh 227,000 tons and carry 5,497 passengers at double occupancy
In three months’ time the biggest cruise liner in the world will make its maiden voyage – and at a shipyard in north-west France it’s all hands to the pump for some 3,000 workers to get her ready.
Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, complete with its 10-storey slide that turns in a serpentine movement, robots mixing cocktails at the Bionic Bar and 12,000 different types of plants and trees, will sail out of Southampton on May 20.
When it makes its sea debut, this massive vessel will be the largest passenger ship in the world.
MailOnline was granted access to the SFX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire to get a measure of a ship that is set to rule the waves – in the world of cruising, anyway.
Harmony of the Seas will span 16 guest decks, weigh 227,000 tons and carry 5,497 passengers at double occupancy
When it makes its sea debut, this massive vessel will be the largest passenger ship in the world
MailOnline’s John Hutchinson took a tour around the Harmony of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise ship, while under construction, pictured here John sits in the captain’s seat
HARMONY OF THE SEAS – KEY STATISTICS
218ft wide and 1,187ft long
16 guest decks and 24 elevators
Cruising speed of 22 knots
227,000 gross registered tons
5,497 double occupancy guests, total of 6,410
2,300 international crew on board.
With Mediterranean itineraries, Harmony of the Seas will span 16 guest decks, weigh 227,000 tons and carry 5,497 passengers at double occupancy.
On walking around the ship, which is very much still a construction site, two things are striking.
The first is the incredible size of the vessel. From standing outside trying to squeeze it into a photo, to walking up and down 18 decks, you really do feel like an ant on a giant, floating island.
But with this abundance of space brings huge potential of innovation, which Royal Caribbean has certainly exploited.
The most talked-about feature is the Ultimate Abyss 10-storey slide towering more than 150ft above sea level.
Described as President Michael Bayley’s dream feature, the slide will be the biggest of its kind at sea.
Children (and perhaps their parents) will be excited at the prospect of whizzing down these water slides
This is the solarium area on one of the upper decks being constructed on the behemoth of a cruise ship
This is the view from the captain’s deck, which in a few months’ time will be of something far more enticing than a shipyard
It plunges from the 16th deck down to the sixth, and should be a great thrill for adults and children alike.
Unfortunately for this trip, the slide was still under construction in Germany, so MailOnline Travel cannot verify thrill levels.
High-diving shows at the Aquatheatre, a nine-deck high-zip line, the Splashaway Bay children’s water park and Central Park, containing a restaurant and shopping promenade and scintillating greenery are just some of the other attractions set to be on board.
As expected with a multi-million pound project, attention to detail is key on every deck
Workers toil away just outside one of the ship’s main bars, as the maiden voyage edges nearer
Most of the ship is still going through the wiring and construction phase, but the deadline is expected to be met
And this is where MailOnline was struck for the second time – by the sheer amount of blood, sweat and tears that goes into building such a behemoth.
With our hard hats and safety goggles on, we were shown most areas of the ship, with company representatives pointing out what would fill the blank spaces.
We were greeted by hanging wires and electrical equipment, huge scaffolding structures, and workmen on their knees grafting away.
When the scaffolding has been removed, the true splendour, and size, of the ship will be revealed
The views from the top deck will be ones to treasure for customers on board the Harmony of the Seas
Unfortunately on the shipyard tour the waterslides were still in the building stage
So it only seemed right to ask the question: ‘Is this definitely going to be ready to sail in eight weeks?’
And without hesitation came a firm answer from our tour leader and Royal Caribbean’s Head of Operations, Raimund Gschaider, who said: ‘Of course.’
The maiden voyage was actually brought forward by a week, showing the trust Royal Caribbean has put in the SFX shipyard workforce.
The first few voyages will centre on popular Western Mediterranean destinations, with seven-night itineraries taking travellers to Barcelona, Mallorca, Provence, Florence, Pisa, Rome and Naples.
Then, in November 2016, the ship will head home to Fort Lauderdale, where seven-night eastern and western Caribbean sailings will begin.
Harmony of the Seas is the third vessel in the cruise line’s Oasis class series. The other two being the Anthem and the Quantum of the Seas.
Entertainment will be taken to extremes on board, with several rooms forming the ‘Entertainment Palace’
There will be 24 passenger lifts on the Harmony of the Seas to a total of 16 guest floors
This chill-out area was more developed than some of the other rooms on board
The ship holds nearly 100 more than the other two Oasis class vessels.
The first two Oasis ships debuted to massive fanfare with dozens of eateries, bars and fun-zones on board, though none boasted such expansive aquatic offerings.
The Harmony will have the ‘fastest internet connection at sea’ and contain the Bionic Bar.
At the onboard drinking establishment, robot bartenders will ‘serve up one-of-a-kind crafted cocktails while dancing to a fluid beat’.
Live shows from top comedians will be on offer in this room, providing firm family entertainment, Royal Caribbean said
It’s often hard work, but there is no let up by the team of skilled teams on board who are transforming the ship
In three months’ time the biggest cruise liner in the world will make its maiden voyage
In addition to 2,747 staterooms and 20 dining options, the Harmony will have two rock-climbing walls, zip lines, an ice skating rink, a full-size basketball court and a miniature golf course.
Stuart Leven, Managing Director UK and Ireland, said: ‘There aren’t many holidays where families can visit multiple destinations, try their hand at ice skating, body boarding, a zip wire and learn how to Blongoball all in one trip.
‘Harmony of the Seas offers holiday makers the opportunity to explore amazing destinations and enjoy a world of new experiences, with an activity to cater for every age and every taste.’
On the evidence we’ve seen, Harmony of the Seas will be a surefire hit with holidaymakers.
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online