The world's largest cruise ship is almost here, and there's tons onboard to get excited about. Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas sets sail in Europe in March 2018, before moving to Miami in the fall, where it will homeport out of a brand-new cruise terminal. From all-new shows and restaurants to expanded hangouts and reimagined spaces, Symphony of the Seas promises to be an over-the-top experience for everyone. We've highlighted just a few of the awesome attractions you can expect, including a galactic laser tag arena and a Boardwalk sports bar where football is on the big screen and lager is on tap.
Royal Caribbean's first foray into the adrenaline-pumping, infrared-beaming game of laser tag will be on Symphony of the Seas. The space-themed "Battle for Planet Z" arena will be glow-in-the-dark and located in Studio B, the same area occupied by the ship's ice skating rink. Blasting laser guns to save the day in the middle of the ocean -- what more could you want?
"Hairspray," John Waters' story of overcoming segregation on a popular dance show in Baltimore during the 1960s, hit the screen in 1988 and now, 30 years later, it will take to the stage on Symphony. A Broadway mainstay for years, "Hairspray" won eight Tony Awards, including best musical, in 2003. The show is a tale of black and white but told in neon -- there's tons of bright costumes, musical numbers, lots of retro dancing and, running through it all, a tale of embracing diversity and self-confidence.
The Boardwalk on Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class ships is a family-friendly concept, reminiscent of seaside resort shops and attractions. On Symphony, this space includes an all-new arcade with amusement park games, as well as a huge new confectionary called Sugar Beach Candy & Ice Cream, which will also offer cupcake decorating and other classes. Satisfy your sweet tooth, your impulse to shop and that urge to be a kid again -- all in one place.
Another part of the Boardwalk redesign debuting on Symphony of the Seas is the addition of Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. This new venue is a sports bar that runs the entire length of the Boardwalk; includes 30 TVs streaming pro football, college basketball, soccer and more; features classic games like Skeeball and Ms. Pac-Man; and offers a selection of craft beer and pub fare like wings and burgers. We're just taking a guess here, but this might become the ultimate dad hideout onboard.
Whether you're climbing to new heights on the rock wall, trying out your sea legs on Royal's trademark FlowRider surf simulator or taking the wet and wild way down on the Perfect Storm water slides, there's no shortage of fixes for thrill-seekers on a Royal Caribbean ship. Symphony is no exception. Royal's newest vessel takes all the onboard adventure from Oasis, Allure and Harmony of the Seas, and turns up the volume even higher, amplifying its offering for active cruisers.
We've all been there: Flight cancellations, delays and the dreaded middle seat. Luckily you can now turn the experience you might have had getting to your cruise into a cathartic trip to the Royal Theater to laugh about it. "Flight" is an all-new stage production designed for Symphony of the Seas, and promises to be a historical satire on the evolution -- and future -- of air travel. There might not be any tiny bags of pretzels, but we can promise you a light-hearted homage to the legacy of the Wright Brothers.
You might recognize some of Royal Caribbean's well-known restaurants like Jamie's Italian, Solarium Bistro, Izumi, Chops Grille and Wonderland, but Symphony of the Seas is also introducing two new dining concepts. (If you're keeping count, that's 20 restaurants.) El Loco Fresh (replacing Sabor) will serve up "crazy fresh" and quick tacos and other Mexican fare in a casual atmosphere. Meanwhile, Hooked Seafood evokes New England with its fresh seafood and raw bar -- also in a laid-back setting. Nothing like more places to grab a bite without putting on real pants.
The bi-level Ultimate Family Suite is just that -- ultimate in about every way you can think of, including how kids can get from their second-story bedroom to the ground floor (that would be a slide). The unique, 1,134-square-foot mega-cabin is its own destination offering a private 3D movie theater for family movie nights (yes, complete with popcorn machine), an air hockey table, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall and a 212-square-foot wraparound balcony that has a whirlpool, climbing wall and kid-friendly pool table. If you're looking for ways to splurge on the ones you love, this might be the golden ticket.
Another thing to love about Symphony is how fast you'll be able to get onboard and start having fun. A redesigned check-in process, still under development, will enable cruisers to design profiles and fill out check-in information on an app, then use their smartphones in conjunction with facial recognition technology to experience a smoother embarkation at the port. The only thing between the curb and the cabin will be a security checkpoint. The improved check-in is expected to be available in Barcelona and the new Royal Caribbean cruise terminal in Miami.
The land-based trend of escape rooms is alive and well at sea. Puzzle Break is Royal's version of the problem-solving team game, which debuted on Anthem of the Seas as a bookable experience. On Harmony, Puzzle Break got its own dedicated space, and the same goes for the new escape room on Symphony, which challenges players with the somewhat unsettling task of escaping from a submarine.
When Symphony of the Seas debuts, it will hold the title for largest cruise ship in the world, carrying approximately 79 more passengers than its Oasis-class fleetmates and measuring 230,000 GRT. But it's not just the ship's huge size that's impressive. According to Royal Caribbean , there are more works of art on Symphony of the Seas than there are paintings in the Louvre. That's a lot to look at!