When it debuted in late March 2018, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas replaced its classmate -- Harmony of the Seas -- as the largest cruise ship in the world. And while the line put the extra square footage to use adding extra cabins and a longer Boardwalk zipline, those aren't the only differences between Symphony and the other Oasis-class ships.
In addition to having the largest Solarium in the Royal Caribbean fleet, Symphony of the Seas has a slightly redesigned Boardwalk boasting the all-new Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade; the ship is also home to a second all-new dining venue, Hooked, where fresh fish is served up daily.
Other elements of the ship are basically the same, with a few standout differences that loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers will spot within minutes. We've rounded up some pictures from our time onboard Symphony of the Seas during a February 2018 shipyard tour and compared them to the finished product to give you a before-and-after look at the world's largest cruise ship.
One of the most popular neighborhoods on Oasis-class ships, the Boardwalk on Symphony of the Seas is six feet longer and has the longest zipline in the Royal Caribbean fleet. It's also the exit point for the adrenaline-pumping Ultimate Abyss slide, and home to two new-to-Royal Caribbean attractions.
The two new-to-Royal Caribbean Boardwalk venues that debuted on Symphony of the Seas are the Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, and Sugar Beach. At Playmakers, which runs the entire length of one side of the Boardwalk, cruisers will find 23 amusement park-style games (both inside and out), as well as big-screen TVS for watching all of the sporting action and delicious pub-style snack food to accompany it. Sugar Beach is a candy and ice cream shop offering a rainbow of sugary flavors, as well as cupcake-decorating classes.
The most buzzworthy new feature on Symphony of the Seas is the two-level Ultimate Family Suite, which features among other attractions, a slide which kids (or kid-at-heart adults) can use to get from the second-floor bedroom to the ground floor.
The single Ultimate Family Suite also has an air hockey table, a giant Connect 4 game, floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall and an oversized LED TV screen for family movie nights.
The largest adults-only Solarium in the Royal Caribbean fleet, Symphony of the Seas' Solarium is also the heaviest.
The bright, airy Solarium on Symphony of the Seas uses glass panels rather than the canvas coverings used on other Oasis-class ships.
Royal Caribbean looked through a lot of passenger feedback when designing Symphony of the Seas and made a number of decisions based on what loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers said they wanted.
The most visible reflection of past-passenger demand on Symphony of the Sea is the return of the Solarium pool, which the line had axed on Harmony of the Seas much to the chagrin of many cruisers.
Though Royal Caribbean has had a number of specialty restaurant selections for many years, the line has never had a dedicated seafood venue before Symphony of the Seas.
Located on Deck 16, above the Solarium Bistro, Hooked offers fresh seafood -- including a large raw bar -- in New England-inspired surroundings for dinner and the occasional lunch.
Symphony of the Seas' Royal Promenade has all of the standard dining and drinking venues that you would expect on an Oasis-class ship: Boleros, On Air, Rising Tide Bar, Sorrento's, an English-style pub and more.
But there are some differences. Notably, the photoworthy classic car that has always adorned the Oasis-class ship promenade has undergone quite the transformation on Symphony of the Seas. (And we're not just talking the switch to a VW Beetle.)
One spot that's stayed the same on Symphony of the Seas is its tranquil Vitality at Sea spa, where cruisers can go for a break from the ship's busy schedule.
Even here you'll find examples of the colorful artwork that pervades the ship. Royal Caribbean claims that its onboard art collection on Symphony of the Seas is worth tens of millions of dollars.
Updated January 08, 2020