On Saturday, Royal Caribbean International will break its own record for operating the world's largest cruise ship. Symphony of the Seas will welcome more than 5,500 guests for the first time and embark on a five-night preview voyage that will call at the Italian ports of Naples and Rome.
The new ship holds 39 more passengers than the vessel that formerly held the title, Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas. A new, still-unnamed Royal Caribbean ship will grab the title when it launches in 2021.
Symphony of the Seas has 16 decks, carries 5,518 guests at double occupancy (surpassing the capacity of 5,479 on Harmony of the Seas), with 2,759 staterooms, and features a 10-story slide called Ultimate Abyss, which the cruise line said is the tallest slide at sea.
"Every time we introduce a new [ship] we always try to make it a little bigger so that it is the world's largest cruise ship," company president and CEO Michael Bayley said this week.
On April 7, Symphony of the Seas will begin a spring and summer season of Mediterranean cruises, with the first weeklong voyage departing from Barcelona, Spain. Ports will include Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy.
Beginning in November, the ship will homeport in Miami's new Terminal A, sailing south on seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.
Besides being slightly bigger, the ship is a bit faster than its sister Oasis-class ship, Harmony of the Seas.
The ship, which took three years to build, also has 28 balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or Boardwalk neighborhood and a multi-story family suite that has a slide connecting the kids' room to the family room.