(10:15 a.m. BST) — The world’s largest cruise ship — Harmony of the Seas — arrived in Southampton, U.K., today (May 17th) after a short crossing from France.
The 5,479-passenger ship, which was handed over to Royal Caribbean last Thursday at an official ceremony at the Saint-Nazaire STX shipyard in France, was greeted with water cannons and crowds as it arrived in the Solent in the early hours of this morning.
Harmony of the Seas is sailing a two-day pre-inaugural cruise this weekend, before setting off on a four-day inaugural cruise on May 22 to Rotterdam. It will operate one more ex-Southampton cruise to France, before heading to Barcelona on May 29th where it will spend the summer, before sailing to Port Everglades, its permanent home.
Harmony of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s third Oasis-class ship, and comes seven years after Oasis of the Seas, and six years after Allure of the Seas became the largest cruise ships in the world.
Its basic design — a hollowed out middle with separate “neighborhoods” and inside cabins with views — remains the same as its sisters, but Harmony has a number of different features. The ship is also larger, by 41 cabins and nearly 100 passengers at double occupancy, as well as 33 centimeters (about a foot) longer.
Harmony of the Seas features a number of new to the line features, such as Royal Caribbean’s first water slides and the Ultimate Abyss, which, at 10 decks high, is dubbed the tallest slide at sea.
The ship has 20 restaurants, 23 swimming pools and 11,252 works of art. The ship also includes a number of features pioneered on Royal Caribbean’s three Quantum-class ships, such as the Bionic Bar, Wonderland restaurant, Royal Suite Class and Jamie’s Italian, which replaces Giovanni’s Table at Central Park.
Last week’s handover of the ship took place just over a month after Royal Caribbean took delivery of its third Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas.
Cruise Critic will be onboard Harmony of the Seas from 20 May. Check back for ship news, our expert ship review, fun photos and more.
In the meantime, get up to speed with our comparison of Harmony of the Seas vs. Anthem of the Seas.