Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The world's largest cruise ship begins its maiden voyage before it heads to Florida

Posted By on Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 10:00 AM

  • Image via Royal Caribbean
After years of construction, the world’s largest cruise ship is now on its maiden voyage. Royal Caribbean has once again beat its own record with what is the world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas. Clocking in at 228,021 gross tonnages, roughly 1,118 gross tonnages more than its sister ship the Harmony of the Seas, Symphony shows an updated design. The Oasis class of ships also include the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas. A lot has happened since the Oasis class of ships first began their design more than a decade ago.

At five times the size of the Titanic, Symphony of the Seas is filled with plenty of exciting activities, many of them. The 5,535-passenger ship claims some interesting titles including what it claims to be the “largest laser tag arena at sea,” but other unique offerings are less of a stretch including a massive new sports bar in its Boardwalk neighborhood called Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade. With more than 30 televisions missing that must-see match while cruising is a thing of the past. The skeeball and other classic arcade games will surely be a hit as well.

All seven neighborhoods of the ship have an updated feel with the most significant change being amongst the food offerings. With over three dozens dining options Symphony has a bit of something for any taste. Playmakers replaced the Mexican restaurant Sabor that is found on other Oasis-class ships. Instead a new Mexican restraint with fresh made to order tacos and burritos. It will seat more than 100 guests.

In a first for Royal Caribbean, a New England-style restaurants will also call the ship home. Hooked Seafood will offer expansive views from the front of the ship and a raw bar with oysters shucked to order.

Jamie Oliver is back with Jamie’s Italian, 150 Central Park will have a seasonally fresh American menu. Both Park Café and Izumi Hibachi and Sushi will feature an updated design and new menu offerings. One of the most talked about additions has been Sugar Beach, a Willy Wonka meets Katy Perry candy and ice cream shop. A nearby Johnny Rockets will help keep that ice cream theme going with their classic milkshakes. There’s also a separate shop that specializes in cupcakes.

Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse Chops Grille is here as well as is Rising Tide Bar, the iconic rising bar that slowly ascends into the air eventually reaching Central Park more than three levels above. The robot staffed Bionic Bar makes its return and the 24-hour build your own pizza venue Sorrento's Pizzeria and Café Promenade.

Entertainment includes the now iconic AquaTheater that has been a massive hit for Royal Caribbean. This ocean facing amphitheater is home to intricate fountain and diving shows. New high-diving and acrobatics show, HiRo, debuted with the ship. British inspired ice skating, 1977, will feature some of the same characters and be in the same cinematic universe of 1887, the ice skating show on Harmony of the Seas. The Royal Theater will see the return of Hairspray, the first Broadway musical the Royal Caribbean ever hosted. It will be complemented by a brand new original comedic play called Flight.

Studio B, where the ice skating shows take place, will transform into the aforementioned laser tag arena. A comedy club that transforms into a late night lounge and a separate jazz club give the Entertainment Place neighborhood a Pleasure Island vibe. The Casino Royale, the largest casino at sea, reminds you this isn’t a Disney cruise.
  • Image via Royal Caribbean
The Central Park neighborhood is back with its lush tropical gardens. With more than 12,000 plants this quieter area provides the perfect venue to just sit and relax for a few minutes.

Dueling WaveRunner surf simulators, two rock climbing walls, a submarine-themed escape room, a zip-line, and the huge Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea keep passengers busy every day. The Ultimate Abyss slides give the back end of the ship a unique style and numerous water slides on-board make this ship look more like a theme park than the floating hotels that ships typically look like. The Perfect Storm, a water slide filled pool area is a refreshing change for Royal Caribbean, which some have criticized for their lack of water park like offerings.

The ship also lays claim to the largest spa and fitness center at sea. It also lays claim to the fastest internet at sea.

  • Image via Royal Caribbean
Despite all the records it claims the most exciting aspect of Symphony is its suites. More than half the ship is staterooms. Altogether Symphony has 28 more cabins than Harmony. Two story suites with formal dining areas are available but the most talked about suite is the Ultimate Family Suite. This kid-friendly suite features two bedrooms in a multi-level suite that can sleep eight. The 1,346 sq. ft. suite is filled with kid-friendly items include a 3D TV in a theater-style room, air hockey, an in-room popcorn machine, a private hot tub on a 212 sq. ft. balcony that also has a net climb for the kids to burn even more energy on.

click image The new PortMiami Royal Caribbean Terminal - IMAGE VIA ROYAL CARIBBEAN
  • Image via Royal Caribbean
  • The new PortMiami Royal Caribbean Terminal
The ship will stay close to the port that built it for this summer, with itineraries around the Mediterranean. Then this fall it will make its transatlantic voyage to its long-term home at PortMiami where Royal Caribbean is currently building its bold new $247 million jewel-like terminal known as the ‘Crown of Miami.’ Once finished the new terminal will see an expected 1.8 million guests per year, roughly 1/3 of PortMiami’s passenger traffic. Symphony of the Seas is the first ship to use Royal Caribbean’s new mobile check-in. This will harness facial recognition systems in the new terminal for a stress-free check-in that will take a fraction of time current check-ins require.

If all of this seems like not enough for you, then don’t worry. A fifth Oasis-class ship is slated to debut in 2021, and it’s expected to have even more ground-breaking features.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 24, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation