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Harmony of the Seas under construction at STX France
The success of the first two Oasis-class ships led Royal Caribbean Cruises to order a third ship of the type in December 2012.Harmony of the Seas was floated out on 19 June 2015, began her first sea trials on 10 March 2016, and was delivered to Royal Caribbean on 12 May 2016. After a construction time of 32 months, the ship first set sail on 15 May 2016 from the STX France docks in Saint-Nazaire, viewed by some 70,000 people. Her first destination was Southampton, England, although her home port was Barcelona until 23 October 2016 when she crossed the Atlantic.
Harmony of the Seas took two short "preview cruises", three nights to Cherbourg and four nights to Rotterdam, after reaching port in Southampton on 17 May. During these voyages, passengers complained of ongoing construction, a lack of hot water, unopened attractions, excessive waits at restaurants, and other issues. The ship's maiden voyage departed from Southampton on 29 May and arrived at its summer home port of Barcelona on 5 June. According to passengers on this cruise, construction had finished and the ship was ready to sail.
On 10 November 2016, the vessel was officially christened by her godmother, Miami-Dade County teacher Brittany Affolter.
For the inaugural season, Harmony of the Seas offered seven-night western Mediterranean cruises originating from Barcelona and Civitavecchia.
The aft of Harmony of the Seas, with the Aqua Theater and "Ultimate Abyss" slides visible
Harmony of the Seas has 2,747 staterooms, with a wide variety of types, to accommodate (at double occupancy) 5,479 guests ranging from small interior rooms to larger rooms and suites, some of which are fitted with wall-mounted 80-inch (200 cm) screens, covering nearly the floor to ceiling, that show the ship's environment as if through a window, named 'virtual balconies'. These screens were first fitted on the Quantum class of cruise ships. A full 43 categories of stateroom types are offered, starting at a size of 180 square feet (17 m2); several types of suites are available, including the new "Royal Class" suites.
An aerial shot of Harmony of the Seas docked at Port Everglades
As the third member of the Oasis class, Harmony of the Seas is very similar to her two sister ships. However, there are some design changes and extra amenities, most noticeably the "Ultimate Abyss" dry slide at the stern of the ship and the "Perfect Storm" water slides.Harmony of the Seas is the second Royal Caribbean ship to feature water slides, after Liberty of the Seas underwent a refurbishment in January 2016 that added water slides and Splashaway Bay. The ship is divided into seven neighborhoods, including Central Park and Boardwalk, like her Oasis-class sisters. Amenities include:
"Vitality" Spa and fitness center
"Splashaway Bay" water play area for young children
"Perfect Storm" water slide complex, featuring three slides
"Ultimate Abyss" dry slide complex, with two ten-story tall enclosed slides
23 swimming pools and 10 hot tubs, including two hot tubs cantilevered over the edge of the ship
^"World's largest cruise ship sets sail from France". CTV News. Agence France-Presse. 15 May 2016. Retrieved 2016. The ship is headed for Southampton in southern England and is to embark on its official maiden voyage on May 22 to its new home port of Barcelona.
^"Harmony Of The Seas Review and Specifications". Cruise Mapper. May 2016. Retrieved 2016. Most Harmony of the Seas staterooms are 180-270-sq.foot Balcony rooms (1772). There are a total of 2744 staterooms in 43 categories. 46 are the wheelchair accessible rooms. The largest aboard Harmony of the Seas are the Royal Loft Suites (142 m2).