Symphony of the Seas: World's largest cruise ship sets sail

After three years of construction, the world's largest cruise ship just set sail from Barcelona, Spain, on its inaugu...

Posted: Apr 11, 2018 12:40 PM
Updated: Apr 11, 2018 12:40 PM

After three years of construction, the world's largest cruise ship just set sail from Barcelona, Spain, on its inaugural voyage around the Mediterranean.

But the ship's record-breaking size isn't its only claim to fame.

The Symphony of the Seas is home to the tallest waterslide at sea, the ocean's fastest Internet and more works of art than the Louvre has paintings.

"The most surprising and memorable thing for me was that first sight of the ship -- seeing how big and immense it is," Balwin Yeung, Royal Caribbean's director of sales and marketing in Hong Kong, tells CNN Travel.

"You can actually see it the moment you almost step out of the airport in Barcelona, since the port is just 10 to 15 minutes away. It makes a huge first impression."

By the numbers

As the world's largest cruiseliner by volume, Symphony of the Seas stretches 1,188 feet long and is filled with 22 restaurants, 24 pools and 2,759 cabins.

At capacity, the ship can host about 6,680 guests -- plus 2,200-some crew members for a total of nearly 9,000 people.

"Eight out of 10 of the largest ships in the world were built by Royal Caribbean, but this one really pushes the envelope," says Yeung.

"At the same time, you don't really feel crowded because there are 18 decks on the ship. It's like a building, right? There are 24 elevators and seven neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own personality, so it tends to naturally segregate the crowds."

"Neighborhoods" such as the adults-only Solarium lounge or leafy Central Park aim to provide a refuge, whereas a dedicated Splashaway Bay water park is packed with families.

"Central Park is really peaceful, with more than 20,000 tropical plants and an alfresco wine bar," says Yeung.

"Others will like the Boardwalk, which is much more outdoorsy and fun for families with a carousel."

Slip 'n' slide

For daily dopamine hits, the new cruise ship provides an ambitious lineup of performances and thrills.

Peppered around the vast deck, there's a glow-in-the-dark laser tag, an "Escape the Rubicon" puzzle in a custom-built escape room, rock climbing wall, surf simulators and a nine-deck-high zip line.

But the jewel in the crown is the spiraling "Ultimate Abyss" slide -- the tallest on any cruise ship to date, at 150 feet above sea level.

Featuring a 10-story drop, the serpentine slide winds toward the deck below at a steep 27-degree incline, which takes about 13.14 seconds from top to bottom to descend.

Also on board, dance and musical enthusiasts can settle in to watch boundary-pushing acrobatics and high dives at the AquaTheatre or head to the Royal Theatre to experience an upbeat rendition of "Hairspray."

"Actually my favorite part of the experience was the shows," says Yeung. "It's beautiful to see the outdoor dives at the back of the ship, with all the lighting and the music and professional acrobatics."

A family affair

When it comes to accommodations, the most over-the-top is the "Ultimate Family Suite."

Decked out in bold colors, these two-level suites include a host of unusual amenities -- think an in-room slide, private cinema, ping pong table and floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall.

Meanwhile, the adults in the eight-person duplex will gravitate toward the private balcony and whirlpool.

Should travelers need an extra hand, a butler -- dubbed a Royal Genie -- will look after the entire family, while an "Instagrammer-in-Chief" is on hand to ensure guests snap shareable pictures.

A new route

This year, the ship will be traversing the Mediterranean with voyages to Palma de Mallorca, Spain and an Italian sojourn to Florence, Pisa, Rome and Naples.

Come autumn, Symphony of the Seas will move its home base to Miami, Florida, and launch a series of Caribbean cruises.

On the itinerary? Stops in Bora Bora or perhaps a "Perfect Day at CocoCay" -- a private island owned by Royal Caribbean that's home to the tallest waterslide in North America, hot air balloon rides and the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean.

Of course, massive cruise ships often draw ire from conservationists due to their impact on small communities and less developed destinations.

Yeung says the mega ship will stick to well-oiled tourist destinations, where there's an existing infrastructure to handle an influx of travelers.

"This summer, the Symphony is sailing one of the most popular and common Mediterranean itineraries, stopping in established tourist destinations such as Rome and Naples," says Yeung.

"These places are very experienced with tourism and hosting guests from ships. We're not cruising to any small villages."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37210

Reported Deaths: 1495
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin12048782
Ramsey4777222
Stearns231219
Dakota224890
Anoka2155107
Nobles16616
Olmsted107615
Washington104840
Mower9322
Rice8277
Scott6844
Clay58037
Kandiyohi5661
Wright4535
Blue Earth4422
Todd4002
Carver3611
Lyon3052
Sherburne3035
Freeborn2890
Steele2231
Watonwan2150
Benton2123
St. Louis17415
Martin1615
Nicollet15512
Cottonwood1340
Goodhue1278
Winona12015
Crow Wing10412
Pine1030
Chisago971
Otter Tail921
Le Sueur911
McLeod850
Carlton830
Dodge830
Unassigned8237
Polk812
Chippewa761
Isanti650
Itasca6412
Waseca620
Douglas610
Meeker591
Morrison591
Becker550
Jackson550
Faribault540
Murray540
Sibley532
Pennington510
Mille Lacs342
Brown312
Pipestone311
Wabasha310
Beltrami290
Rock290
Yellow Medicine290
Renville282
Fillmore270
Houston250
Swift211
Norman200
Wilkin203
Redwood170
Wadena150
Aitkin140
Big Stone140
Cass142
Kanabec141
Koochiching141
Marshall120
Grant100
Lincoln100
Pope100
Roseau100
Clearwater70
Mahnomen71
Lake60
Hubbard50
Traverse50
Lac qui Parle40
Stevens40
Red Lake30
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30173

Reported Deaths: 718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6275178
Woodbury320144
Black Hawk218058
Buena Vista170511
Linn123882
Johnson12318
Dallas122329
Marshall103519
Story7463
Pottawattamie71911
Scott70410
Wapello70230
Crawford6752
Muscatine62444
Dubuque60922
Sioux4610
Tama45829
Wright3771
Louisa36013
Jasper32117
Plymouth3134
Dickinson2592
Warren2581
Washington2349
Hamilton1871
Webster1702
Boone1421
Cerro Gordo1381
Clarke1272
Clay1270
Allamakee1264
Mahaska11517
Shelby1110
Clinton1041
Poweshiek1048
Pocahontas931
Carroll911
Bremer906
Des Moines862
Henry853
Franklin840
Cedar801
Taylor790
Emmet780
Cherokee751
Monona740
Floyd682
Marion680
Hardin650
Guthrie644
Sac630
Benton621
Jefferson580
Osceola580
Jones560
Harrison530
Humboldt531
Butler522
Buchanan511
Iowa510
Lee502
Monroe506
Hancock490
Calhoun482
Delaware481
Lyon400
Madison402
Clayton393
Davis391
Mills360
Palo Alto360
Winneshiek360
Grundy350
Fayette340
Mitchell340
Kossuth330
Lucas304
Greene280
Howard280
Chickasaw270
Jackson270
Union270
Winnebago270
Ida230
Cass210
Appanoose203
Keokuk201
Page200
Van Buren190
Audubon161
Adair150
Ringgold150
Worth150
Decatur110
Montgomery102
Wayne90
Adams80
Fremont70
Unassigned70
Rochester
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 85°
Mason City
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 84°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 85°
Austin
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 86°
Charles City
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 85°
HOT AND HUMID
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Minnesota baseball players get a sense of normalcy

Image

Sean's 10pm Weather 7/2

Image

Mask Mandate in Cerro Gordo County

Image

Raising Kids to be Tolerant

Image

Student Athlete Speaks Out About Racist Comments

Image

Volunteer of the Month

Image

June Jobs Report Shows Promise

Image

Intermittent Fasting may slow aging process

Image

Extra enforcement to keep boaters safe and sober

Image

All State Award for local VFW

Community Events