How to navigate around the world’s largest cruise ship


Seven days, seven neighborhoods, one ship

How does one navigate the world’s biggest cruise ship?

One step at a time.

Royal Caribbean has carefully crafted seven “neighborhoods” on Harmony of the Seas, and they can help cruisers from feeling overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the vessel.

Launched in 2016, the 5,550-passenger ship makes its home in Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades, sailing seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

>>Related: Travel tips for Vero Beach, Florida

The heart of the ship is the Royal Promenade, a neighborhood that boasts shops, restaurants, bars — along with a striking piece of artwork created by Czech sculptor David Cerny. The three-dimensional rotating head is mesmerizing, and just one part of the ship’s 3,000-piece art collection.

Scout out a good spot for the street parade, Let’s Celebrate!, which brings music and marchers to this main thoroughfare during the week at sea.

One sight not to miss is the Bionic Bar, where robotic bartenders do the mixing. Also on this deck is the Rising Tide Bar, which “rises” up three decks while you sip and savor the view.

A verdant oasis beckons in Central Park, a soothing space filled with trees, plants and winding paths. It will make you wonder — are you really miles out to sea?

There are restaurants and bars lining both sides of this neighborhood. Stop in at Vintages, pour yourself a glass of wine and step outside to one of the café tables. It’s the perfect spot for people watching.

Choose one of the restaurants for dinner under the stars. Jamie’s Italian, by Jamie Oliver, raises the bar for specialty dining cuisine. Here you can relax over the signature antipasti planks heaped with assorted meats, cheeses and garnishes, or sample the freshly made pasta dishes.

A salute to the good old days by the beach, the Boardwalk neighborhood features a carousel, an arcade and casual dining. Hot dogs and french fries on your mind? Stop by Johnny Rockets or Boardwalk Dog House to satisfy your craving. If you need your caffeine fix, there’s a Starbucks.

On Boardwalk you can watch the brave souls who’ve taken the plunge down the Ultimate Abyss reach the end of the ride, which starts 10 decks above. 

 Also part of the neighborhood: the AquaTheater, home to high-dive shows and aerial acrobatics. Be sure to find a seat in the Splash Zone!

Entertainment Place is the neighborhood that includes Casino Royale, Royal Theater and Studio B. Slots, stage or skates?

It’s game on in the Vegas-style casino, with poker, blackjack, slots and roulette, while the fun moves on stage in the theater, with full productions of “Grease” and “Columbus, the Musical.”

Studio B is home to the ice show “1887: A Journey in Time,” a tale of time travel, and the high-energy “iSkate.”

Late nights can take their toll. Revitalize, refresh and recharge in the Vitality Spa and Fitness neighborhood, which has a variety of services, seminars and fitness classes. Indulge in a massage, facial or medispa treatment, or sign up for Beach Bootcamp.

The wet set will want to head to the Pools and Sports Zone neighborhood to try out the five water slides and the cruise line’s signature Flowriders. For the little ones, there’s Splashaway Bay, with water slides, cannons and the always exciting drench bucket.

It’s here that the Ultimate Abyss lurks, the ship’s iconic slide that challenges cruisers to take a 10-story plunge — no water needed.

A rock-climbing wall and zip line add to the adventures for thrill-seekers. 

 Kids can find a neighborhood created just for them in the Youth Zone, which caters to youngsters of all ages. The Royal Babies and Tots Nursery keeps the littlest cruisers busy, while Adventure Ocean offers age-appropriate activities such as story time, crafts and scavenger hunts. Teens have their own supervised hangout as well.

As you make your way back to your cabin after a full day of fun, be sure to save time to peruse the next day’s slate of activities listed in the Cruise Compass — it’s right next to the towel monkey on your bed.

Then fall into a blissful night of sleep. rocking gently aboard the world’s largest cruise ship.

Do your homework before you sail:

• Read about the ship at www.royalcaribbean.com/harmonyoftheseas

• Come up with a list of what you want to see and do. Prioritize so you won’t be disappointed when the week is up.

• Take advantage of your online planner once you’re booked. Make reservations for dining, spa appointments, shore excursions, entertainment, etc.

• Study the ship’s layout, so you can hit the deck running.

• Check out reviews from fellow cruisers at www.cruisecritic.com

FIVE THINGS NOT TO MISS

1. The Ultimate Abyss — It’s the tallest slide at sea, plummeting 10 stories.

2. “Grease” — The thrills are multiplying in this musical production on stage in the Royal Theater.

3. AquaTheater — Enjoy aerial acrobatics in “The Fine Line” or the comedy dive show, “Hideaway Heist” under the stars.

4. Let’s Celebrate! — The party never stops in this street parade with music, costumed marchers and a holiday theme.

5. The Perfect Storm — Get wet and wild on a trio of waterslides named Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell.

 


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