RCI brings a Symphony to sea
A new mobile “frictionless” check-in system, the Ultimate Family Suite and one of the world’s largest sports bars are just a few of the unique features that Royal Caribbean International has revealed about its new Symphony of the Seas, set to be the world’s largest cruise ship when it debuts next April.
The 5,535-passenger (at double occupancy) Symphony is the fourth and largest of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships. The ship will spend next summer in the Mediterranean (sailing out of Barcelona) before moving to Florida where it will homeport in Miami for the winter season.
During a recent press briefing on the Symphony, Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, said he’s very excited to share news about the cruise line’s “new baby,” noting “the best is getting better.”
“We’re excited to introduce Symphony of the Seas, our boldest composition yet, offering the best of Royal Caribbean with some new surprises for our guests to create a vacation that adventurers of all ages can enjoy together,” said Bayley. “We set out to create a new level of vacation adventure and deliver the ultimate escape for families of all shapes and sizes. Symphony will introduce the most cutting-edge, customizable, and digitally-enhanced experiences in the Royal Caribbean fleet.”
Bayley also took time to address the situation in the Caribbean, which he described as “encouraging” after visiting Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
“We’re very encouraged in terms of what we saw as to the speed of recovery,” he said. “We’re optimistic. There could be some positive announcements as soon as November.”
Back to Symphony, Bayley said the ship is already selling incredibly well.
And, while it will debut as the largest ship in the world, Bayley said it’s not about being the largest at sea, but about delivering a phenomenal vacation, which Symphony will surely do.
One of the ship’s most unique additions is the two-level Ultimate Family Suite. Sleeping up to eight, features include a slide from the kids’ only bedroom to the living room below, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall and an air-hockey table, as well as a separate 3-D movie theatre-style TV room, complete with a popcorn machine and a library of video games across multiple gaming systems.
And that’s just the inside – the 212-sq.-ft. wraparound balcony touts a bumper pool table, a climbing experience and a full-size whirlpool.
The Ultimate Family Suite spans 1,346 sq. ft., accommodating a family of up to eight in two bedrooms. Guests in the Ultimate Family Suite will also have their own personal Royal Genie to take care of their every need, while they enjoy all the services and premium amenities of the Royal Suite Class.
With only one on the ship, agents with clients interested in this type of accommodation are advised to book early.
Symphony of the Seas will introduce the new generation of Royal Caribbean’s famed Boardwalk neighbourhood, infused with new energy, interactive experiences and lively venues. Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade will be the place to watch the “big game” across 30 big-screen TVs, ensuring everyone has the best seat in the house.
Spanning the length of the Boardwalk, the sports bar and arcade will be a hot spot for families to enjoy wings, burgers and craft beer on draft, as well as friendly competitions of Ms. Pacman, Star Wars Battle Pod, Ice Skee-ball, and other popular games.
“There will be every kind of game imaginable in what we hope will be the best sports bar in the world,” said Bayley.
Other Boardwalk highlights include the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, Johnny Rockets, a 1950s-style diner, and AquaTheater, a show of aquatic acrobatics and high-diving aerial performances found.
On the culinary front, Symphony will debut new food and beverage concepts adding to an already diverse lineup of more than 20 specialty and complimentary restaurants across the ship’s seven neighbourhoods.
Hooked Seafood, Royal Caribbean’s first New England-style seafood restaurant, will feature fresh seafood and a robust raw bar complete with oysters shucked to order. The open-air El Loco Fresh will offer made-to-order tacos, burritos and other popular Mexican fare.
The cruise line’s signature culinary favourites, including Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver, 150 Central Park with its American seasonal menu, Park Café and Izumi Hibachi and Sushi, will also introduce refreshed designs and new menu specialties.
Entertainment options include “Hairspray,” the brand’s first Broadway musical at sea, and a new original Royal Caribbean show, “Flight,” a historical satire on the evolution of air travel that ends with homage to the famed Wright Brothers. In the iconic AquaTheater open-air amphitheatre, a new aqua show, “HiRo,” features high-diving and acrobatics. Studio B will showcase a new time-travel adventure, and a high-tech ice-skating show, “1977,” will bring guests to London on the eve of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee when her Crown Jewels are stolen in the heist of the century.
And for a live-action adventure at sea, guests can take part in an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience. State-of-the-art technology and special effects will transform Studio B into the world’s largest and ultimate laser tag arena as family, friends and foes battle over the fate of the last planet in the galaxy. Vacationers looking for a different kind of challenge can experience a new Puzzle Break experience on Symphony, where teams will race against the clock and learn to work together toward a common goal – to escape the submarine-themed room before time runs out.
For those looking to pamper themselves, there’s the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center.
Getting on the world’s largest ship will also be a little easier thanks to Royal Caribbean’s redesigned check-in experience that eliminates lines and bypasses the counter. The new process will leverage a combination of facial recognition, bar codes and beacons to make boarding fast and frictionless.
Guests will check in via the brand’s new mobile app and seamlessly upload their security “selfie” to create their on-board account from the comfort of their home. Upon arrival, guests will go through a security screening and then head straight to their stateroom, where their key will be ready and waiting. In addition to mobile check-in, Symphony will feature all of the pioneering and award-winning guest technology the cruise line is known for, including VOOM – the fastest Internet at sea, state-of-the-art wayfinding and virtual balconies.
“We’re taking a product that is already delivering and adding all these features,” said Bayley. “We’re taking the total family vacation experience to the next level.