Cruise aficionados love to gather “bragging” rights for sailing on the latest new cruise ships.
But, australiancruisingnews.com has often wondered “Will everything be shipshape when the first passengers arrive?”
The first sailing on the world’s largest new cruise ship Harmony of the Seas – from Southampton to Rotterdam – has shown that is not such a silly thought.
That May 26 sailing caused criticism in British newspapers and on social media, and the ship was branded “a floating construction site”.
Passengers reported an army of workmen on board in repair mode fixing flooding/drainage issues, sanding floors, erecting safety panels on decks, and clearing building rubbish. Hazards such as loose cables, open paint tins, and power tools were also reported.
One social media post said, “They should be giving us refunds! It is making a lot of people angry that we’ve paid full fare. I’ve been on many brand new ships and never encountered a ship with such a huge work force still remaining on board.”
A few days later Michael Bayley, the president of Royal Caribbean International, which has Harmony of the Seas in its fleet, wrote to guests, “On a ship of such scale and complexity, we were hopeful all work would be complete in time for your cruise, and recognize there were simply too many projects still being completed during the voyage. Please accept our sincere apologies.”
Guests were offered a future cruise certificate for 25% off the fare paid for that sailing, to be used within the next 18 months.
Harmony of the Seas, with 5479 guests and 2,394 crew, has 4 swimming pools, three giant water slides, a park with real trees and plants, computerised robot bartenders, 20 dining venues, and a swag of other amenities and entertainment.
Top travel agents and international cruise writers have just sailed on Harmony of the Seas on a 5-day round trip from Barcelona to Rome, so all must now be shipshape!