The biggest and most expensive cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas, built by the STX French yard on an expense of around $1bn, was handed over yesterday to its American owners Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited.
A sumptuous ceremony marked the handover and took place in Saint-Nazaire on the 1400-seat aqua theatre designed on the boat. The festivities included a surprise acrobatic performance and blaring music completed the atmosphere.
Mr.Richard Fain, Chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, gave a speech to the audience saying that: ‘We have prepared and thought about this ship for years. To finally see it all come together and see how special the vessel is, how special the crew is, is really something that few people get to experience in their lives and I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity.”
The huge vessel can house 8,500 passengers and crew on 16 decks and has some innovative features never seen before on a ship. “The Ultimate Abyss”, a 10-storey slide from the top to the main deck is the world’s biggest ship-mounted waterslide. Among other impressive attractions found on board are: floating jacuzzis, 1400-seat theatre playing Broadway musicals, a giant climbing wall, a casino and a surf simulator.
The exquisite ship also offers its own shopping avenue, a park featuring 12,000 plant species and a ‘Bionic Bar’ where the passengers will be served by two robot barmen. It will produce 20% less CO2 emissions than other vessels built so far, partly thanks to the air pumped into the hull to lighten its load.
Harmony of the Seas will start its official maiden voyage on the 22nd of May to its new home port of Barcelona and then will begin regular cruises on the Mediterranean before repositioning in November to Fort Lauderdale.