It’s official: There’s a new world’s largest cruise ship. Royal Caribbean International on Friday morning took delivery of the much-awaited, 228,081-ton Symphony of the Seas from the French shipyard that has been constructing the vessel for more than three years.
“It is a proud and exhilarating moment to welcome a new member to the family,” Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley said at a ceremony marking the event at the giant STX France facility in St. Nazaire, France. “Symphony will take family vacationing to an all new level with energy and options never before found in one place.”
Eighteen decks high and 1,188 feet long, Symphony is a slightly larger version of the current size leader in the cruise world, Royal Caribbean’s 22-month-old Harmony of the Seas, and two other Royal Caribbean ships that make up the line’s groundbreaking Oasis Class of vessels.
Symphony is more than 1,000 tons bigger than Harmony and offers several new features for passengers. Among differences, the ship has more cabins than its sibling including a first-of-its-kind, two-deck-high family suite with a slide between floors. It also has a revamped Boardwalk amusement area, a new laser tag attraction and a new-for-Royal Caribbean seafood restaurant.
Designed for vacationers who love big, bustling mega-resorts, Symphony boasts dozens of lounges, bars and restaurants in all as well as an array of deck-top amusements. It’ll be able to hold up to 6,680 passengers.
Symphony has been under construction since early 2015 at the STX France shipyard — the same shipyard that built Harmony. It’s one of the few shipyards in the world capable of building a cruise vessel of Symphony’s size.
Symphony will depart the STX France shipyard on Saturday for Barcelona, where its first voyage with passengers is scheduled for March 31. The ship will spend its first few months sailing in the Mediterranean out of Barcelona before moving to Miami to operate cruises to the Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class vessels have made waves in the cruise industry since they began debuting in 2009. All three of the Oasis Class ships currently at sea are in excess of 225,000 tons — more than 30% larger than the next largest cruise ships.
With the arrival of Symphony, Royal Caribbean has 25 vessels.