MIAMI: The new world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, will be christened Thursday in Miami in a ceremony that amounts to its official coming out party.
Actors and mega cruise fans Carlos and Alexa PenaVega, along with their 17-month-old son Ocean, will served as godparents for the vessel at the event, which was kicked off at Port Miami around sundown.
Royal Caribbean says the christening will mark the first time an entire family has christened a cruise ship. In keeping with longstanding maritime tradition, cruise ships normally are christened by a woman.
Soaring 18 decks high and nearly 1,200 feet long, Symphony is the largest cruise ship ever to sail out of PortMiami, the world’s busiest cruise port.
Initially unveiled earlier this year in Europe, the 228,081-ton vessel is built on the same platform as Royal Caribbean’s 2-year-old Harmony of the Seas, the previous size leader in cruising. But it eclipses its sibling by more than 1,000 tons and offers several new features.
Among additions are a first-of-its-kind, two-deck-high family suite with a slide between floors, a revamped Boardwalk amusement area and a new laser tag attraction. Symphony also has more cabins than Harmony.
While Symphony spent its first few months sailing in Europe, it only was a temporary assignment. The resort-like vessel has long been scheduled to sail in the Caribbean year-round starting this month. The ship arrived in Miami on Friday after a 12-night voyage from Barcelona. The arrival came a day after the vessel made a brief stop at Port Canaveral, Florida — its first call in North America.
Designed for vacationers who love big, bustling mega-resorts, Symphony boasts one of the highest concentrations of attractions for both adults and children at sea. Like its sister Harmony, it has a record-breaking thrill slide that plunges nearly 100 feet and a “bionic bar” with a robot bartender. It also offers three main pool areas, a water slide complex, an adults-only solarium, an ice skating rink, two rock climbing walls, a basketball court and a mall-like indoor promenade with shops, bars and eateries. Like Harmony, it has an open-air, tree-lined area called Central Park with restaurants, bars and upscale shops such as Bulgari.
Symphony can hold up to 6,680 passengers and sails with a crew of 2,200, meaning that on busy weeks it can be home to nearly 9,000 people. It was constructed over three years at the giant Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, the same shipyard that built Harmony. Its cost was more than $1.3 billion.