Designed for vacationers who love big, bustling mega-resorts, the Oasis Class vessels have made waves in the cruise industry since they began debuting in 2009. All of the Oasis Class ships currently at sea are in excess of 225,000 tons — more than 30% larger than the next largest cruise vessels.
Symphony eclipses sister Harmony by more than 1,000 tons and offers several new features including a revamped Boardwalk amusement area, a new laser tag attraction and a new-for-Royal Caribbean seafood restaurant. The ship also has a first-of-its-kind, two-deck-high family suite with a slide between floors.
In total, Symphony will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or the ship’s signature “Boardwalk” neighbourhood – one of seven themed areas. In a bid to eliminate queueing at terminal-side check-in desks, passengers will be able to register using a new mobile app, which will allow them to upload a “security selfie” to their account prior to their arrival and head directly to their cabins after a screening.
Symphony will share some features in common with Harmony of the Seas, including its VOOM technology – touted as the fastest internet at sea – and a Bionic Bar, where drinks are served by a robotic arm.
For children, there are two new play areas: “Battle for Planet Z”, Royal Caribbean’s first glow-in-the-dark laser tag game; and “Escape the Rubicon”, a sophisticated, custom-built “submarine” room, with a collection of puzzles to solve.
In terms of entertainment, highlights include performances of the Broadway musical Hairspray, as well as a new acrobatic aqua show, Hiro, in the ship’s open-air AquaTheatre and, elsewhere on board, an ice-skating show.
And guests certainly won’t be going hungry. More than 20 restaurants will serve a wide variety of food, at venues including Jamie’s Italian, and an open-air restaurant in the Sports Zone that seats 100.
Symphony has been under construction since early 2015 at the giant STX France shipyard in St. Nazaire, France — the same shipyard that built Harmony. Delivered to Royal Caribbean on Friday, it’s currently is on its way to Barcelona, where its first voyage with passengers is scheduled for Saturday.
The ship’s official maiden voyage, a seven-night Mediterranean jaunt, departs on April 7 from Barcelona, manned by a 2,200-strong crew that represents 77 nationalities. Symphony will be based in Barcelona all summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Provence in France; and Florence, Pisa, Rome and Naples in Italy.
As of November 10, however, a new 170,000 sq-ft state-of-the-art cruise terminal in Florida – nicknamed the “Crown of Miami”, for its striking crown-shaped design when viewed from the water – will become her year-round home.
From there, the ship’s seven-night Caribbean cruises will call at ports including Philipsburg (St. Maarten) and Charlotte Amalie in the US Virgin Islands in the Eastern regions; and on the Western Caribbean itinerary, Roatan (Honduras), Costa Maya and Cozumel (Mexico), and Nassau in the Bahamas.