Navigating the World’s Largest Ship
Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas made its way to Port Everglades this month and celebrated with three inaugural sailings.
Fascinated by the idea of navigating the largest ship in the world, I wondered how on earth I could possibly see, do (and eat!) everything in just two days.
Spoiler alert: You can’t. But I do have tips to share with you all, my loyal Travelzoo members.
Here are the top three highlights of Harmony of the Seas:
It’s all in the neighborhood(s)
There are seven unique neighborhoods on this ship, but three are most important, in my opinion: Central Park, Royal Promenade and the Boardwalk.
Central Park feels like the real deal, with 12,000 living plants and trees lining paths filled with restaurants, shops and bars – all with outdoor seating. Beneath the open skies, Central Park is filled with twinkling lights, and the atmosphere is so enchanting that you’ll forget you’re at sea.
In contrast, the Royal Promenade feels like a flashy Las Vegas hotel for all the right reasons. You’ll find pizza places, sandwich shops, dance clubs, luxury shopping and even a bionic bar with robot bartenders. This is not a joke, folks – the future is here and it is AWESOME.
If any of you have special memories of Coney Island or Atlantic City, you’ll love the open-air Boardwalk! Ahhh, this place brings out the child in me — the first thing you’ll spot is a hot dog shop with all the fixings. There’s also a carousel, Johnny Rockets, a taco and tequila restaurant and my personal favorite, the AquaTheater. But more on that later.
This ship has so many restaurants that it should honestly have its own version of Yelp.
While I didn’t get to taste everything (that would be insane given that there are 14 dining options), I definitely found some hidden gems. What’s cool is that you’re not confined at all to the main dining room (which is still delish!); instead, you can pay a nominal flat fee to eat at one of eight specialty restaurants, and then you still have the option to order as much as you want.
My favorite spots: Boardwalk Dog House for a Coney Island-style treat, Izumi for genuinely good sushi at rock-bottom prices, Park Café for a to-die-for roast beef sandwich, Wonderland for a quirky and intimate fine-dining experience (think Alice in Wonderland in décor) and my absolute favorite, 150 Central Park. Any true foodie who has visited Miami knows about James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, and this restaurant is crafted by the legend himself. I was joking before, but I’ve discovered that people love this restaurant so much that there is actually a Yelp page for it with rave reviews. The fact that you can get a multi-course dining experience that rivals some of the best restaurants on land for a flat $40 per person is pretty shocking to me. It’s worth every penny.
Prepare to be entertained
I really don’t think boredom is possible on Harmony. In the mood for a show? Go see the Broadway musical “Grease,” with incredible performers. There’s also an open-air amphitheater known as the AquaTheater, which hosts acrobats, aerialists and other high-flying performers in an immersive water show.
Once you’ve done all of that, you can mosey over to the casino to win some cash or dance all that food off at multiple clubs, ranging from a Latin dance spot to a raging nightclub playing Top 40 hits.
There are honestly dozens of other things on the agenda (more musicals, live comedy, three fast-moving waterslides, a zip line, two surf simulators, game shows, you name it) but I want you to stop reading at some point and actually get on this ship.
If you take anything away from this, it should be “get on this ship.” Really, do it. You can thank me later.
Photo from Flickr by adriagarcia