Symphony of the Seas Ready for Delivery
Royal Caribbean International is taking delivery of its newest ship, the Symphony of the Seas, this month. The 25th ship of the fleet, she will also be the fourth member of the Oasis class and due to a few design changes will become the largest cruise ship in the world. She will be about 1,100 gross tons larger than the Harmony of the Seas and about 2,800 gross tons larger than the first two ships of the class.
The second of three Oasis class ships to be built at STX France, the Symphony of the Seas uses the same hull design as the Harmony of the Seas that was introduced in 2016 and is slightly larger than the first two ship of the class that were built at STX Europe in 2009 and 2010. However, a number of design modifications are further increasing her gross tonnage to an estimated 228,081 GRT and changes to the cabin configuration resulted in a net increase of 12 cabins. Double occupancy will be 5,518 passengers versus 5,479 on the Harmony of the Seas and 5,484 passengers on each of the first two ships. Total capacity will be 6,680 plus a crew complement of 2,200.
Each new ship has incorporated the latest technologies and advancements designed to improve operating efficiencies including fuel consumption, energy efficiencies and environmental impact. For the Symphony of the Seas this includes an improved air lubrication system on the hull that makes her both more fuel efficient and faster than her sister ships.
With facial recognition software, Royal Caribbean hopes to improve the embarkation process for passengers. Once aboard the ship, passengers will find a number of enhancements, including 14 more balcony cabins and 14 additional cabins overlooking the central Boardwalk area as well as a new “virtual balcony” screen for inside cabins. The most attention-getting new accommodation is Royal Caribbean’s first two-deck high, 1,346-square foot family suite. Able to accommodate up to eight, the suite includes a slide between its two levels, an air-hockey table, TV-movie room and kitchenette. On the balcony there is a bumper pool table, climbing area and a Jacuzzi.
Other changes include the addition of a new extra-tariff seafood restaurant and a new Mexican-style eating area. The Symphony of the Seas will offer a total of 20 specialty and complementary restaurants.
Changes in the entertainment areas include enlarging the Boardwalk area with more space in the fun zone, the addition of a sports bar and a new ice cream and candy bar. The zip line stretching across the top of the Boardwalk area will be the longest at sea. The ship will also feature a glow in the dark laser tag game and a new escape room experience for passengers.
A number of the alterations address issues identified on the earlier ships. For example, a plunge pool has been added to the Symphony of the Seas, and light-weight panels that have been problematic on the previous ship were replaced with glass panels in the Solarium.
Construction of the Symphony of the Seas began in October 2015 with the ship being floated out in June 2017. Fitting out has been on-going at the STX shipyard, and between February 15 and 18, 2018 she undertook her first official sea trials. A second, shorter sea trip is planned for early March with handover scheduled for March 23. The Symphony of the Seas will then sail for Barcelona, Spain where she is scheduled to board her first revenue passenger on March 31. After cruises in the Mediterranean, she will reposition to Miami, Florida in November 2018.
While the Symphony of the Seas will continue to be the largest cruise ship, she will quickly yield the title of the newest to Carnival Cruise Line’s 133,500-gross ton Carnival Horizon which sails on its maiden voyage on April 2. Royal Caribbean will also continue the introduction of new ships, with the fourth member of the Quantum class, the Spectrum of the Seas, due to be delivered by Meyer Werft in the spring of 2019 and the fifth as yet unnamed Oasis class ship due from STX France in 2022.
Symphony of the Seas under Construction