FRANCE: Fresh off launching the previous largest cruise ship in the world last year, Royal Caribbean just floated its newest mega ship Symphony of the Seas out of dry-dock in France on Friday for the first time, marking the (very short) maiden voyage of the 1,188-foot, 230,000-ton vessel and upcoming record-holder.
When it officially sets sail in 2018, the Symphony of the Seas will spend its first summer visiting several Mediterranean ports of call before coming back across the pond for a winter of Caribbean cruises. But there’s a lot of work to be done between now and then—it may be sea-worthy, but it’s basically a shell at this point.
When the interior and its 2,803 staterooms are completed, all 5,497 guests will be able to enjoy a smorgasbord of amenities beyond the usual cruise fare, from a 10-deck slide to an entire water park to a “Bionic Bar” with robot bartenders. Like its sister ships, the Symphony is so large it’s been divided into seven different “neighborhoods,” fitting for a ship whose headcount outnumbers that of most small towns in America. There’s also a new “adventure” teased on the website, with more details to come.
The Symphony and its fellow Oasis-class ships are true leviathans, about 30 percent bigger than the next-largest competitor ships, but Royal Caribbean will have to move quickly if they want to retain their title. MSC Cruises just announced their plans for their own world-beater, promising to carry more passengers than any other ship when it launches in 2022.