One of the leading cruise companies in the World the Royal Caribbean set a World record early November when it named and launched the biggest cruise ship in the World.
The naming of the Harmony of the Seas at Fort Lauderdale in Florida was a milestone for the cruise company. To celebrate the arrival of ‘Harmony of the Seas’, Royal Caribbean arranged a historic meeting at Seas off the coast of Florida of the three largest cruise ships in the World. Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Before the arrival of Harmony these were the Largest Vessels on Water. They actually occupy a class of their own called the Oasis class of Ship. After the historic meeting at Sea, Harmony settled into its port at Florida for its maiden voyage from the US. With media and executives from all over the world Harmony sets sail for the Bahamas. With over 2,500 passengers and crew the 6,000 capacity vessels steamed through the Seas.
Hosted simultaneously in three different locations on board the majestic ship the naming ceremony was coordinated by Ken Rush, Abe Hughes and Simeon Kirkiles. It featured the 24 Grammy award singer Jon Secada singing the American National Anthem. There was a performance at the Royal Theatre beamed live throughout the ship of the very popular musical grease. And from the studio the drum line of the Royal Caribbean supported Florida International University and the ST. Andrews Pipe Band entertained the guest. The very exciting show came to a head when the Godmother Brittany Affolter named the ship Harmony of the Seas. To name the ship they released the biggest bottle of Veuve Cliqout Champagne bottle ever made. It flew through the Air via the zip line all through the Central Park and smashed against the wall on the 6th floor. An amazing experience.
In the words of the Chairman of the 46 years old cruise company Royal Caribbean the ship is the biggest, the baddest and the sexiest ship ever made. He invited the guest to have fun. Touted as the most technologically advanced ship its carbon footprint is so small that it is also seen as an environmental marvel. It rides on its own bubbles reducing attrition as it moves through water. Loaded with the latest state of the art fast internet appropriately named VOOM, the media enjoyed quick time and easy streaming of videos using VOOM. With 2,700 rooms or staterooms designed to the highest taste possible at double occupancy the ship can carry over 5,000 passengers. The scale of Harmony is incredible. Imagine 40 brands of beer, 340 brands of wine, 532 restaurant staff and a total of 1,056 culinary team members. 40 varieties of fruit and 80 kinds of vegetables served in eight specialty restaurants with 200 different dishes served on a daily basis. 200 different types of spices and 30 varieties of Herbs,40 types of bread and 100 kinds of pastries. 127 specialty cocktails and 479, 304 gallons of fresh water consumed each day. Of all things food the superstar are the two Ribotic bar tenders at the Bionic Bar.
The Captain Gus Anderson was proud of his vessel and the over 900 staff, who work for about nine months at a stretch. He insisted that Harmony is the best place to be at any time. According to the promotional material from the company, “The Oasis-class ships are architectural and engineering marvels, boasting industry-changing and unexpected onboard experiences. Each ship features seven themed neighbourhoods; a distinctive feature of the Oasis-class ships and a number of spectacular features, adventures and thrills, including the lush and tranquil Central Park with nearly 12,000 plants and trees, flow rider surf simulators; a thrilling zip line 82 foot long that races guests nine-decks in the air, luxurious multi-level loft suites with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, the outdoor Aqua Theater that hosts dazzling high-diving, aquatic and acrobatic performances, a boardwalk with a hand-carved carousel and The Rising Tide Bar, the first moving bar at sea. The newest and youngest of the three ships; Harmony of the Seas, officially claimed the title of world’s largest cruise ship, beating her sisters by a mere foot in length and nearly 1,700 gross registered tons. The ship features a bold line up of new thrilling experiences, imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, including VOOM, the fastest internet at sea.
Harmony combines the iconic seven neighborhood concept with some of the most modern and ground-breaking amenities and offerings that will appeal to guests of all ages. From The Ultimate Abyss, a dramatic 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including broadway’s hit musical grease, sophisticated dining in venues ranging from Jamie’s Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Royal Caribbean’s whimsical restaurant wonderland, which is a unique culinary adventure for the senses, and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for everyone onboard Harmony of the Seas.” Of all the attractions the most famous is the Ultimate Abyss a humongous tunnel that drops from the 15th Deck of the ship all the way to the 5th deck a twisting screaming drop of over 20metres. It’s an excitement only the strong hearted can attempt. At the cost of about $1.5billion Harmony is a state on its own. It generates its own power, recycles and manages its own waste and its own security. It produces its own water and has excellent temperature control.
The President of Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) Nkereuwem Onung, who was among the guests on board the ship for its maiden cruise, thanked Royal Caribbean for the opportunity to sample this world class product.
In his words, “As Royal Caribbean has opened an office in Nigeria it is obvious that the world of cruising will be the way of travel for Nigerians especially families. Our members will market this product. It is a wholesome new travel experience”.
The Chief Executive of Tour Brokers International, Uloma Egbuna, who represents Royal Caribbean in Nigeria and the leading promoter of cruises in Nigeria promise, as Nigerians are coming into the cruise world, Royal Caribbean is poised to provide for all their needs, that’s why they opened a local office in Nigeria.”
Ikechi Uko, who was one of the very few Nigerians on board the biggest cruise ship, “Harmony of the Seas” is the publisher of ATQ News and organiser of Akwaaba Travel Market writes from Lagos.