Here at Premier we work hard to keep up with the newest, most innovative destinations for incentive travel rewards. Just last year we reviewed Harmony of the Seas, launched as the world’s largest cruise ship featuring high-energy attractions including zip lining, water slides, surf simulators, rock climbing and 18 dining venues.
2018 World’s Largest Cruise Ship
Well, Royal Caribbean has done it again – only a year later. The cruise ship company has launched Symphony of the Seas, a 230,000-ton behemoth that takes the title of world’s largest cruise ship away from Harmony of the Seas before the great ship had a chance to finish a one-year reign.
Symphony of the Seas
Symphony can accommodate an astounding 5,535 passengers, a crew of almost 2,000 and comes with all the perks of a big mega-ship, but nearly none of the pitfalls passengers found on Harmony of the Seas. When building Symphony, Royal Caribbean listened to the feedback from Harmony’s maiden voyage passengers and attempted to mitigate the reported negatives through innovative design.
As cruise ships have become bigger and bigger, passengers report that they get lost moving around the ships from venue to venue and can almost never find their stateroom again, once venturing away. On the massive Harmony of the Seas, this disorientation grew to a source of constant anxiety for passengers.
Royal Caribbean has addressed this negative on Symphony of the Seas by designing the ship with an easily navigable neighborhood concept which includes Central Park, Entertainment Place, and the Boardwalk. With plenty of signage and an intuitive sense of orientation, these “neighborhoods” create a brilliant passenger flow that makes it impossible to get lost for long onboard. Even though the vessel is even more massive than Harmony, passengers will readily feel “at home”.
Bigger and Better
Despite having many of the same features as other ships in its class, Royal Caribbean was not afraid to go bigger with Symphony, adding new concepts like “Battle for Planet Z” laser tag; Hooked, a seafood restaurant; Playmakers, a sports bar and arcade; Sugar Beach, an expanded ice cream and sweets shop; El Loco Fresh, a new Mexican eatery; and a Bionic Bar where drinks are served by robots.
It’s an unforgettable experience to sail on a ship that has three multi-deck water slides, four deck-top pool areas, two flow-rider surf simulators, a miniature golf course, a nine-deck high zip-line, and the Ultimate Abyss slide, a nine-deck high twin tube plunge that is the most ambitious attraction ever conceived for a cruise ship.
Incentive Family Travel
As more companies are offering incentive travel rewards that include the employee’s entire family, these extravaganza family cruise ships are the perfect reward. Symphony of the Seas even offers an over-the-top, two-deck ultimate family suite for your company’s top performer. It is a 1,134 square foot playground for families containing a private 3D cinema, an air hockey table, a slide from the kids-only bedroom to the living room, floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall and a 212-square-foot wraparound balcony with a whirlpool, climbing wall, and kid-friendly pool table. The kitchen features a tiny Coca-Cola fridge and an Orville Redenbacher popcorn-maker.
We Need a New Classification
It’s no longer accurate to call these mobile amusement parks, cruise ships. Royal Caribbean has built them so massive, so extravagant, so action packed, and yes, so over-the-top, that they can hardly be called ships anymore. Yes, they float and move through the water, but that’s their only association with the name – ship. They’re more than “hotels” on water. They’re only slightly less than full city blocks. They’re bigger than some amusement parks and contain more residents than some small European countries. They’re not – ships; they’re…Aqua-funations.