A family suite with a slide, so children can whizz from their bedroom to the living room, and a mobile check-in service that uses facial recognition technology are among the “cutting edge” features to be offered on Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel, Symphony of the Seas.
Launching in April 2018 Symphony will usurp Harmony of the Seas as the world’s largest cruise ship. It will carry 5,500 passengers (versus 5,479 on Harmony of the Seas) in 2,774 cabins (27 more than its predecessor), and has a total volume of 230,000GT (a shade bigger than Harmony's 226,963).
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The ship’s new 1,346 sq-ft family suite, built with two bedrooms and sleeping up to eight people, will feature a host of other facilities including a 3D cinema room (complete with a popcorn machine and a library of video games), a whirlpool on its 212 sq-ft wrap-around balcony, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO climbing wall, and an air hockey table.
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.
It will have some features in common with Harmony of the Seas, including a 10-storey Ultimate Abyss waterslide – which has a 100ft-drop, making it the tallest at sea; and a Bionic Bar, where drinks are served by a robotic arm. The Boardwalk, one of several neighbourhoods on board, will feature a new sweet and ice-cream shop, Sugar Beach, while a new sports bar and arcade will have 30 large-screen televisions.
At 1,188 feet long and 215 feet wide, the new 16-deck ship will spend its inaugural summer season – from April to October 2018 – in Europe, calling at Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Provence, Florence, Pisa, Rome and Naples, before arriving at a new 170,000 sq-ft state-of-the-art cruise terminal in Miami.
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Nicknamed the “Crown of Miami”, for its striking crown-shaped design when viewed from the water, the new terminal is expected to be completed by late 2018 in time for the arrival of Symphony of the Seas.
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The ship, which is the 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, will be based there from November 24 2018, offering seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.