Harmony of the Seas The World’s Largest Cruise ship

RCI_HM_aerial_overhead.jpg

My first cruise holiday started with Royal Caribbean seven years ago setting sail from Barcelona for a week exploring different European cities along the way and even for a seasoned traveller like me, I was impressed and came to the conclusion that to really unwind, there is no better way than being on a ship miles away from distraction. Especially as the team at Royal Caribbean looked after my daughter as their own leaving me to enjoy the spa and activities on board.

Few weeks ago I boarded again a Royal Caribbean ship that currently is the biggest cruise ship in the world. At 361m in length, it’s longer than both the Eiffel Tower and Burj Al Arab. Spanning 16 decks, it weighs 227,000 gross registered tonnes and has the capacity to house 5,497 guests at double occupancy.

In short, Royal Caribbean’s latest Oasis-Class ship Harmony of the Seas, is a ship of monstrous proportions; more of a floating city than a luxury cruise liner. This nautical marvel boasts spectacular on-board features, many being firsts-at-sea, something award-winning Royal Caribbean International is renowned for.

1437058073_Launchpad-Overhead.jpg

For me, the most impressive feature was The Ultimate Abyss, which at 150 feet above sea level is the tallest slide on the high seas and will challenge the nerve of even the most daring of guests. In addition, The Perfect Storm trio of water slides twist and turn over Central Park® some 10 decks below and will thrill water-babies of all ages on board.

Keeping you high up in the air with a birds-eye view is the first zip lines at sea, where you can partake in an exhilarating ride across an open-air atrium suspended above the breath-taking neighbourhood of the Boardwalk with its family friendly activities, eateries and shops. Here, the young (and the young-at-heart) can ride on the full-size carousel which has been handcrafted just for Royal Caribbean and is another fantastic first, before replenishing at one of the many cafes and restaurants found here which include international brands.

Activities on board included rock-climbing on two 43ft tall climbing walls which flank the open-air AquaTheater, home to a full spectrum of awe-inducing aquatic aerial displays and FlowRider® surf simulators.

If you are travelling as a family, the kids are treated to days with their favourite DreamWorks® characters; from breakfasts in the main dining room to special ‘meet and greet’ experiences during the day and the renowned Adventure Ocean® Youth Program also offers those aged between three and eleven years an entertaining line-up of activities and games.

For guests looking to just chill out without an adrenaline rush, Harmony of the Seas offers relaxation in droves too. Sit back and soak up the sunshine around one of four pools or inside the adults-only solarium with its serene whirlpools. Pamper yourself at the advanced VitalitySM Spa with the fitness centre and extensive number of treatment rooms.

As the sun sets, the ship comes alive. Take a stroll through Central Park® with its bustling al fresco piazza before stopping in one of the many signature restaurants such as Chops Grille, for a bite to eat. On board Royal Caribbean you can even enjoy restaurants featuring celebrity chef partnerships such as Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver.

My favourite place was the futuristic Bionic Bar, a technology-forward venue complete with two robotic bartenders that shake, muddle and mix a wide variety of drinks made to order. In fact, Harmony of the Seas is the first Oasis-class ship to feature this photo-worthy outlet.

As a theatre lover, I have watched international productions around the world and the ship’s Broadway’s hit musical Grease in the spectacular Royal Theatre left me impressed with its talented cast and performance. Just when you thought you’d seen it all, prepare to be dazzled by the theatrical grace of world-class skaters in one of two extraordinary ice shows.RCI_QN-OceanviewBalcF.jpg

Following a day of exploring the world, its exotic cuisine and interesting cultures, there is nothing better than returning to the comfort of your private stateroom. Harmony of the Seas features 2,747 beautifully appointed staterooms that offer luxurious and comfortable accommodation, many with spectacular views out towards to the sea, and with four main categories there is something for every preference.

For a real taste of luxury at sea, book yourself into one of the stunning suites where guests will get to enjoy the benefits of Royal Suite Class including your very own Royal Genie, the ultimate insider, crafting exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences just for you.

Highlight of my travel was also a day tour of the Bahamas as the ship docked to lets us explore the local sights. On board Harmony of the Seas, you’ll find everything you want from a cruise holiday and then more than you’d ever imagined possible. Guests’ leave with stories to tell and travel that has inspired, for Royal Caribbean’s biggest ship is a destination in itself, a cruise that’s unlike anything else at sea.

*Holiday makers can avail themselves of a 10% discount using the promotion code #VIP-Marine-Life when booking between 10th December 2016 and 10th January 2017 to experience Caribbean sailing in 2017 on Oasis class ships.

 

 

 

Luxury Tropical Escapes W South Beach

Oasis-1.jpg

Miami is a playground for celebrities and on the boardwalk of the coast area where the elite converge, sits W South Beach, a beachfront oasis in the heart of Miami’s most famous and visited coastal line. I stayed there to experience not just their room but their cuisine and enjoyed walking through their manicured garden area.

The W South Beach attracts visitors with its stunning design elements, high-ceilings, a lobby with a warm ambience filled with eclectic furniture an modern art. Before breakfast, I spent an hour exploring the lobby area and enjoyed the art of Damien Hirst and Jean-Michel Basquiat as well as a bit of retail therapy.

The large pool area featured inviting cabanas and comfortable lounge chairs next to the garden. The garden features winding paths amongst the swamp lily and flowering grasses, lanterns from the late 19th Century, sheets of poetry suspended from sea grape trees and 1920s-era objects discovered in French flea markets.

lobby2.jpg

Dedicated poolside attendants pamper guests with all-natural cocktails and organic cold-pressed juices, light fare from WET Bar & Grille and invigorating towelettes. From here, one truly appreciates the calm and serenity of being in an enclosed garden and pool area reading and enjoying the view.

The ocean-facing rooms come with glass balconies and luxurious furnishings while the suites and penthouses feature amenities such as private rooftop plunge-pools, Wi Fi, docking station and services that remain unrivalled amongst luxury hotels.

Not to be missed is a visit to Mr. Chow, a restaurant that serves Chinese cuisine in an glamorous setting with delicious cocktails as perfect pre dinner drinks in the evenings.

The hotel has fitness facilities for the active guests. The high-tech haven has work out machines, a nutritionist and a Pilates program. A walk along the beach naturally provides a more relaxed workout.

The W South Beach is definitely a place I want to go back to for a sabbatical as it offers all that I need at the doorstep. It is the kind of hotel you hesitate to leave in fear of missing out.