When Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Symphony of the Seas, launches in April of 2018, it will be the largest cruise ship in the world.
Just how big is it? Definitely larger than some small cities, carrying a whopping 6,780 passengers in 2,775 staterooms — that’s 28 more rooms than the current largest ship in the world, its sister Harmony of the Seas.
Luckily for budget-conscious travelers, the largest ship in the world does not come with the world’s largest price tag. You can now book a 7-night Western Europe cruise in April 2018, from Barcelona to Naples starting at $798 per person. That’s not bad, considering a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise with the same itinerary this year starts at $1,048 on one of the line’s older ships, Freedom of the Seas. And, if you book before March 31, you can also take advantage of the line’s fleet-wide 30 percent off sale — and see for yourself if bigger really is better.
The ship’s 18 decks will pack in so many activities you’d almost need to take two trips just to try everything. There will be room for the tallest slide at sea — the 10-story Ultimate Abyss — as well as a trio of racing waterslides, an open-air theater with fountain shows, Broadway shows, more than 15 restaurants, plus, Royal Caribbean’s signature rock climbing wall and surfing simulator.
You can even wander around seven “neighborhoods” on board (also found on Oasis-class Royal Caribbean ships), including a boardwalk with Coney Island-inspired attractions and a Central Park with restaurants and real plants.
A ship so large also comes with a trade-off: it only sails to well-trodden ports that are large enough to accommodate its size. It’s good news then, that Royal Caribbean is enhancing its private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay, to enrich the itinerary. The company plans to construct a pier and debut new shops and amenities, with plans for completion in 2019.
Symphony’s massive size (it weighs 230,000 gross tons) has also led Royal Caribbean to build an entirely new terminal for the ship in Miami that will be finished just in time for its fall 2018 season in the Caribbean. The ship’s inaugural season will be in Europe, but will then transition to its home port of Miami starting in November.