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Cruise News & Reviews

1 March 2016
Author: Vernon Buxton



Today's cruise liner is another 'creature' altogether, taking the fantasy known as 'cruising' to levels that exceed one's wildest imaginings.


As the 227,700gt Harmony of the Seas will look like when she sails from Rome and Barcelona this European Spring. It's a sight to stop anyone in his or her tracks, as this vast moving mini-city sweeps by on the horizon. The entertainment options defy comprehension, and the eating choices will nullify any thoughts of culinary restraint. Yet, this remains mass-market cruising, not to everyone's taste. Some seasoned cruisers seek smaller, more intimate and more luxurious vessels..but there must surely be few cruise lovers who could resist a peek at how mega-liners actually flourish and continue growing. Where is this going..500,000gt? Imagine that..

Harmony of the Seas is an Oasis-class cruise under construction at STX Europe shipyard. Upon completion, she will be the largest passenger ship in the world, surpassing her older sisters Oasis and Allure of the Seas by some 2,000 gross tons. She will grace Mediterranean waters in May, before heading off to her permanent homeport, Port Everglades in Florida for their winter season.


Nearing completion at the STX yards (with just the 'S' of her name in place), Harmony of the Seas will be 33 centimetres longer than her sister ships..and will also be 20 percent more fuel efficient. Progress and innovation continue from one new-build to another. Just 10 years ago we could never have imagined how large, how diverse and how sophisticated would become the ships we know as cruise liners. Think back to Union Castle's WINDSOR CASTLE and consider maritime progress since then (not that the Windsor Castle is to be pooh-poohed in any way..she was a jolly splendid ship.)


Towering layers of cabins to house 5,479 passengers, many accommodations with balconies or virtual reality screens of outside views. Still, as large as these vessels are, the recent experience of ANTHEM OF THE SEAS being tossed around like a cork (in more than 114km/h winds) off the coast of Florida shows that the cruel sea cannot be tamed by any vessel yet built, and any disbelieving captain disrespects this reality at his or her peril. Luckily, it doesn't happen often.

Vernon Buxton