Royal Caribbean’s newest baby – the Symphony of the Seas – is five times the size of the Titanic (362.1 metres long and 65.5 metres wide), is able to carry a total of 6,680 guests + 2,200 crew members, and boasts 18 decks, 24 guest elevators, and seven different ‘neighbourhoods’ in which passengers of all ages and tastes can find their perfect spot.
Officially the largest cruise liner in the world, the Symphony of the Seas made its maiden voyage from Barcelona in March this year, docking at the Málaga port for its official unveiling before the international market.
The ship will be offering a 12-day Transatlantic cruise sailing through Barcelona, Málaga, and Miami from October 28 to November 9. If you’re up for a voyage on a ship that is as much fun (if not more) than the destination itself, the Symphony of the Seas may be the perfect choice for you and your family.
A Floating Resort
Over 27 million people are projected to cruise in 2018, and visionaries such as Royal Caribbean have plenty to do with it. As architect Tom Wright told Wired’s Oliver Franklin-Wallis, “Most people’s idea of a cruise is ‘Oh God, I’m going to be packed in with five thousand people I don’t want to talk to and getting bored out of my tree.
In fact, it’s like going to a hotel that just moves magically overnight.” Franklin-Wallis rightly notes that cruising is currently undergoing a golden age. Once seen as luxury floating retirement homes or the stuff uninspired honeymoons are made of, cruising is now seen as the ultimate choice for those who wish to be entertained when travelling, while catching a host of destinations without having to worry about check-ins, boarding passes, and of course, packing and unpacking.
In charge of building a cruise liner that would totally redefine the cruising experience was Harri Kulovaara – a Finnish naval architect whose specialisation is passenger ships.
Kulovaara is best known for designing two groundbreaking ferries for Silja Line featuring 150-metre, two-deck promenades and a huge window letting in natural light and creating a vibrant space for passengers to walk through.
This influence is plainly seen in the Symphony of the Seas, whose Boardwalk amusement area is open to natural light and flanked by two rows of cabins that lead out to two 66-metre slides called Ultimate Abyss (the tallest ever at sea. In essence, the ship has been ‘split down the middle’ and is connected by the sun deck up top.
The vessel is 18 decks tall and, like all other ships in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas class, it cost over €848 million to build. Kulovaara was responsible for the conceptual and architectural design of the ship itself.
However, various spaces were designed by individual architects (such as restaurants and cabins) in an effort to remain fresh, creative, and innovative.
Words Marisa Cutillas / Photography courtesy of Royal Caribbean