The world’s largest cruise ship, the Harmony of the Seas, has come home to her new home port in Port Everglades, Florida. The massive vessel can be seen in port on Saturdays, arriving around 6am from cruises in the Caribbean, and leaving again in the late afternoon. She occupies the berth vacated by her little sister, The Oasis of the Seas, which went to Port Canaveral. It’s a case of sibling rivalry - the Harmony outsizes Oasis by a mere 1.1 feet in length.
For the big sister, it was a long and winding road to her new home in Fort Lauderdale. The Harmony of the Seas took just under three years to build, first splashing in June, 2015. After sea trials the following March, the ship was delivered to Royal Caribbean International in Southampton, England in mid-May of 2016.
Two short preview cruises to Cherbourg, France, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, revealed some construction problems, and a few passengers complained of cold water in the showers, restaurants not being open, and construction still going on. By the time the ship left England for her summer home port of Barcelona, Spain, these problems had been resolved. That is, of course, the purpose of preview cruises – to shake out the kinks and fix the last-minute disappointments.
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After her official maiden voyage from Southampton, the big ship arrived in Barcelona on June 5, 2016. A summer of Mediterranean cruises followed, and in October 2016, she crossed the ocean to arrive in Fort Lauderdale. From Port Everglades, the Harmony will offer both eastern and western Caribbean cruises, usually leaving on Saturday afternoon and arriving home very early the following Saturday. Ports of call include Nassau, St. Thomas, Phillipsburg, Basseterre, San Juan, Labadie, Falmouth and Cozumel.
Fun Facts about the World’s Largest Cruise Ship, Harmony of the Seas
- Passenger capacity: 6,360, not including crew of 2,300
- Cost to build: $1.35 billion
- Length: 1188.1 feet
- Beam: (width at the widest point) 155.6 feet, a full 10 feet wider than her sisters
- Draft: (depth of ship below the water line): 30.6 feet. This is how much water it needs to float.
- Decks: 18; 16 with passenger cabins
- Has a bionic bar with robots mixing and serving drinks
- Has an ice skating rink and thrilling zip lines
- Interior staterooms have “virtual balconies,” floor to ceiling screens showing the scenes outside.
- There are more than 12,000 live plants in the Central Park area in the middle of the ship.
If you happen to be on a small boat in the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale on a Saturday, look to the west as you pass the inlet at Port Everglades. You’ll see the light blue hull of the Harmony of the Seas with its 18 decks towering above its dock-mates. Be sure to get well out of the way if it’s pulling in or out, or you’ll be blasted by the very loud horns of multiple tugboats. It is a majestic sight to see - from a safe distance.
By Kay D. Harrison
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