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Royal Caribbean offers first look inside Symphony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas this month moved into the final phase of its construction when it was floated out into the water at the STX France shipyard.

It floats, and now the cruise line is focused on the interior construction to get what will become the world’s largest cruise ship ready for its 2018 debut.

"Well if you take a look at Symphony of the Seas in the yard, she looks like a cruise ship," said Mark Tamis, senior vice president of hotel operations for Royal Caribbean International. "Now it comes down to the finishing, which is all about detail, and laborious work and really small, fine attributes need to be done correctly."

The line released a video with some of the first images of work on the ship’s interior, although details have been scant about what features will be unique to the fourth Oasis-class ship.

Most of the images show work in two of the ship’s seven neighborhoods, Central Park and the Boardwalk as well as work around the top deck.

"Symphony is coming along beautifully," said Kelly Gonzalez, vice president of architectural design for Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD. "It's absolutely on track, on schedule. It's flowing like a dream. We have of course been flirting with a couple new ideas for Symphony even just recently that are on the drawing board so to speak right now."

Symphony’s sister ship, Harmony of the Seas, was the first Oasis-class ship to introduce the 10-deck Ultimate Abyss dry slide, and also the Perfect Storm water park. Both features have been promised for Symphony as well as Royal Caribbean mainstay features like the FlowRider surf simulator and 40-foot rock climbing wall.

Expected still is the announcement of what would be Symphony’s signature experience, promised to "a new scale of daring. Adventure hits a high note with a whole new challenge.”

So while whatever that item may be, there may still be other features still being considered as work continues on the interior of the ship.

“We're adding a few more elements to Symphony that will enhance the experience even more,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

At this point, sea trials for the ship will be conducted in 2018, and the ship handover will happen in March or April.

“In fact we may actually receive the ship slightly earlier than originally scheduled which is great news so everything is proceeding well,” Bayley said.

Symphony of the Seas' gross registered tons will be more than Harmony of the Seas, which comes in at 226,963 tons, but they will be the same length. Harmony of the Seas currently holds the title for world's largest cruise ship, slightly larger than the original ships, 2009's Oasis of the Seas and 2010's Allure of the Seas.

Symphony will feature 28 more staterooms than Harmony of the Seas with a Royal Suite class, neighborhood balconies overlooking Central Park, virtual balconies on inside staterooms, and the highest number of ocean-view cabins at sea.

Other notable previously announced features include the Bionic Bar, ice skating rink, AquaTheater, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's Italian dining venue, Mexican offering Sabor, Japanese cuisine at Izumi, the Chops Grill steakhouse, Vintages wine bar and Solarium bistro. More than 20 dining options are promised, but details on any new venues have not been released yet.

The ship is set to debut April 21, 2018 with an inaugural sailing from Barcelona as it spends its first season of cruising in the Mediterranean. It then repositions to PortMiami on a 12-night transatlantic voyage that departs Oct. 28 and begins Caribbean sailings on Nov. 9.

More details can be found on www.royalcaribbean.com/symphony-of-the-seas or by calling 1-800-769-2522.

rtribou@orlandosentinel.com, 407-420-5134

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