(11 a.m. EDT) -- A new-to-the-line cabin category, restaurants, entertainment and Boardwalk venues are slated to debut on Royal Caribbean's next new ship, Symphony of the Seas. The fourth Oasis-class ship launches in April 2018 and will begin homeporting November 2018 in Miami.
Royal Caribbean revealed the details today in a virtual news conference, hosted by the line's president and CEO Michael Bayley.
Bayley opened by saying, "What can you say when the best keep getting better?" He added that the new ship is already outpacing Harmony of the Seas -- the line's most popular ship -- in terms of sales.
Below is a breakdown of the new features in store for Symphony of the Seas.
Symphony of the Seas also will introduce a new mobile check-in service (details to come) that uses facial recognition technology, which the line said will speed up the process in the terminal. In addition to the new features, the ship will offer a combination of Oasis- and Quantum-class staples, similar to Harmony of the Seas. Among them will be the Central Park "neighborhood," the Bionic Bar and the Ultimate Abyss slide.
After its launch, the ship will offer seven-night Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona; it will then reposition to Miami and sail seven-night Caribbean cruises. Symphony of the Seas will become the fourth Oasis-class ship in Florida when it arrives at PortMiami's Terminal A, which is under construction and expected to be completed by October 2018.
Royal Caribbean has not provided details on whether some of the new dining and entertainment venues on Symphony of the Seas will incur a fee.
New Cabin Option for Families
A new Ultimate Family Suite will cater to those with little ones in tow, with features such as a slide from the kids-only bedroom to the living room; a movie theater-style TV room with a popcorn machine and library of video games; a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall; and an air hockey table.
The cabin also will have a 212-square-foot wraparound balcony with a full-sized whirlpool, climbing wall and kid-friendly pool table. There will be only one Ultimate Family Suite on Symphony of the Seas. Passengers must call to book.
Symphony of the Seas' Boardwalk -- a much-loved space on the Oasis-class ships -- will be enhanced with a new entertainment venue Bayley described as a "day/night experience."
The Playmakers Sports bar will span the length of the Boardwalk and will be aimed at families, with more than 30 TVs streaming sports games (such as professional football, college basketball and soccer) and a variety of arcade games including Ms. Pacman and Skeeball. A menu offering craft beer and pub-style fare such as wings and burgers also will be available.
"It will be the best sports bar -- we hope -- in the world," said Bayley.
Passengers also will be able to satisfy their sweet tooth at Sugar Beach, the Boardwalk's candy shop -- an expanded version of the candy shop found on other Oasis-class ships.
"We're bringing a whole new level of energy and interactive experience -- both with technology and of course with programming in terms of the experiences in these venues," Bayley added.
New Dining Venues
Symphony of the Seas will introduce two new eateries to the line. El Loca Fresh will be located in the Sports Zone and focus on quick bites such as tacos and Mexican food to-go.
In the Solarium, seafood lovers can get their fill of New England-inspired fare at Hooked Seafood. The casual venue will feature a menu of fresh seafood and a raw bar; it will be open for lunch and dinner.
New Production Shows and Laser Tag Arena
In addition to its headlining show "Hairspray," which Royal Caribbean revealed only a couple weeks ago, the Royal Theater will host "Flight," a historical satire on the evolution of air travel, with homage to the Wright Brothers.
The AquaTheater high-diving outdoor theater and Studio B ice rink theater also will feature new shows: HiRo (a high-energy acrobatic show) and 1977 (inspired by time traveling), respectively.
Another highlight for families, Symphony of the Seas will boast a laser tag arena -- which Royal Caribbean touts as the world's-largest laser tag arena. The experience, which will take over Studio B, will be glow-in-the-dark and boast a galactic theme. Another new cruise ship debuting April 2018, Norwegian Bliss, also will feature a laser tag arena.
--By Gina Kramer, Editor