Recently I had the opportunity to take a cruise to the Bahamas. Typically I’ve not been a fan of cruises but I have to say I’m quickly changing my mind. Partly because this was not your average cruise. In fact, I set sail on the largest cruise ship currently to date. I was on the Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas.
When people say cruise ships are cities on the sea, the Harmony is clearly no exaggeration. The ship holds nearly 9,000 people (6,180 passengers and 2,100 crew). That’s bigger than many small U.S. colleges. With 18 decks, almost 2,800 staterooms and 7 neighborhoods to wander around, sometimes it was even difficult to tell I was actually on a cruise.
Even more surprising was the fact that the ship can be steered with just three crewmembers. I had the opportunity to meet the captain and see the bridge. It’s a technological marvel akin to the Starship Enterprise. My only disappointment was the captain didn’t let me drive.
My hesitation to cruising stems from a childhood experience on a much smaller ship where I felt trapped and could feel it rocking. On a ship of this magnitude, you definitely do not feel any of that. My other issue was the limited amount of activities. Such is not the case with the Harmony of the Seas. There’s so much to do that many passengers never leave the ship when it docks at its various ports.
Guests can indulge in a variety of entertainment from water and ice-skating spectacles, familiar Broadway shows (on my cruise it was Grease), original productions and a host of live musical acts. And while a mainstay of any cruise is the food, you’re not limited to just the ship’s offerings. Specialty restaurants like Wonderland and Izumi Japanese Restaurant compete to fill your belly along side familiar names such as Johnny Rockets and celebrity Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian. And of course there is a Starbucks!
For the adventurous seafaring traveler, it’s easy to remain active on board. There’s the Ultimate Abyss (a 10 story slide), a zip line, rock-climbing wall, 2 Flow Riders where you can simulate surfing and a trio of water slides. There’s also a world-class gym along with a spa to relax after you’ve totally worn yourself out.
The nice thing aboard a ship is you can do as much or as little as you want. I preferred to lounge by one of several pool and indulge in a boatload of cocktails. The crew serves up 127 specialty cocktails with some being made at the Bionic Bar which boasts 2 robotic bartenders. I also decided to eat my heart out and do a little bit of gambling. I even won a little bit of cash before retiring to my spacious stateroom. And while my room was fantastic, some of the rooms were enormous and could easily rival any luxury apartment on land.
So yes my attitude on cruising has definitely made a change especially if I’m heading back on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. If you’re planning to go and need a luggage handler or can fit me in your suitcase, sign me up!