Royal Caribbean International held a traditional delivery and flag-changing ceremony for Harmony of the Seas in Saint Nazaire, France on 12 May.
To mark the end of the 32-month construction project at STX France’s Saint Nazaire yard, which involved thousands of shipyard employees, sub-contractors and suppliers, Royal Caribbean held a celebration ceremony in the ship’s AquaTheater. It was attended by the 2,100 crew members, as well as members of the project team and executives from both the cruise line and they shipyard. These included Laurent Castaing, general manager at STX France; Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International; and Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
“Harmony of the Seas is the product of our zealous spirit of continuous improvement, where we have combined revolutionary ship design with the technological strides that have defined the Royal Caribbean brand,” said Fain. “Thank you to STX France for their ongoing partnership in building our ships, which continue to introduce unexpected industry innovations.”
Costing more than US$1billion, Harmony of the Seas is the 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet and will be the largest cruise vessel in the world when she launches. The 227,000gt vessel spans 16 guest decks, can carry 5,497 guests at double occupancy and features 2,747 staterooms, as well as Royal Caribbean’s exclusive seven neighbourhood concept. This includes Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Centre, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.
Innovative onboard features include robot bartenders, interior staterooms with virtual balconies, an AquaTheater, a theatre, 20 dining venues, 23 swimming pools, whirlpools, two FlowRider surf simulators, the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, Splashaway Bay waterpark, the first two-storey Wonderland restaurant, and The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea. In addition to 11,252 pieces of artwork, the ship will also have the Central Park, which features 10,587 plants, 48 vine plants and 52 trees, some over 20ft high. Guests will also benefit from VOOM, the fastest internet at sea.
“Harmony is truly magnificent in every sense of the word, from her architecture and design to the level of care and attention to detail with which our incredible crew are taking to prepare for our first guests,” said Bayley. “The ship is the ‘best of the best’ of what our guests love most about Royal Caribbean, combined with new and thrilling experiences never before found in one place but it is the passion and dedication of our crew that will make everlasting memories for our guests.”
Following a call at Southampton in the UK, Harmony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona, Spain and embark on the first of 34 seven-night sailings in the western Mediterranean on 7 June. In November 2016, the ship will reposition to Port Everglades in Florida, US to offer seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings. The newest member of the fleet will join sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, sailing from Port Canaveral and Port Everglades respectively, on the east coast of Florida.