Crowds jam Jetty Park for “Royal Homecoming” as world’s second-largest cruise ship, sister ship depart from new homeport
Royal Caribbean International cruise ships Harmony of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas received a “royal” sendoff on Monday as the giant vessels sailed from their new homeport of Port Canaveral.
Tugboats provided a water salute as a the 1,188-foot long Harmony, the second-largest cruise ship in the world, glided past hundreds of cheering spectators who gathered at Jetty Park for a “wave-out” event for the Port’s newest arrivals. Onlookers waved bandanas and some held up signs with large letters that spelled out “Bon Voyage.”
“We are excited to welcome these two magnificent cruise ships to Port Canaveral and proud of our partnership with Royal Caribbean International.” Port CEO Captain John Murray said. “With record numbers of cruise guests visiting our Port year after year, the arrival of Harmony and Mariner shows that Port Canaveral has ensured the confidence of RCI to accommodate two of the largest and most sophisticated cruise ships in the industry.”
In keeping with tradition, Port executives presented Harmony Capt. Johnny Faevelen with a plaque marking the cruise ship’s first visit to Port Canaveral. When asked about the Port’s ability to handle the second-largest cruise ship in the world, Capt. Faevelen, who helmed the Mariner when it first sailed from the Port in 2003, told reporters gathered on the Harmony, “It’s actually easier now during this operation than it was with the Mariner years ago. The Port has really done a great, great job preparing for the biggest cruise ships in the world like we have with Royal Caribbean.”
Port officials also presented Mariner Capt. Angel Oviol a “Welcome Back” plaque. The Mariner first arrived at the Port in 2003 and made her inaugural cruise from the Port on Nov. 14, 2003. Mariner is the first Royal Amplified vessel to sail out of Port Canaveral. Tugboats from Petchem Tugs and Seabulk Towing escorted the Harmony and the Mariner as they sailed from Port Canaveral with a traditional water salute.
Harmony, the largest cruise ship ever to homeport at Port Canaveral, departed on a three-night cruise to Nassau, Bahamas, after having arrived at the Port on May 5 from Port Everglades. The 1,020-foot-long Mariner, which arrived earlier Monday, left on a four-night voyage to Nassau, Bahamas, and Royal Caribbean’s newly opened private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay. Following a $250 million reimagination of the island, Perfect Day at CocoCay redefines thrill and chill with the tallest waterslide in North America, the Caribbean’s largest fresh water pool and the highest vantage point in the Bahamas.
The 226,963-gross-ton Harmony of the Seas began service in 2016 and has room for about 6,700 guests and 2,100 crew members. Only Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean International’s four Oasis Class vessels, is larger. The 18-deck Harmony offers seven neighborhoods, a 10-story slide called Ultimate Abyss, a surf simulator called Flowrider, a trio of thrilling waterslides called The Perfect Storm and a water park for children called Splashaway Bay.
In service since 2003, the Voyager Class Mariner of the Seas weighs 139,863 gross tons. The 15-deck vessel, which underwent a more than $100 million upgrade in 2018, can carry up to 4,000 guests and 1,200 crew. Highlights include Sky Pad, Flowrider, glow-in-the-dark laser tag and an escape room.
After another three-night Bahamas cruise starting Thursday, May 9, the Harmony begins seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises on Sunday, May 12, to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Maarten and Perfect Day at CocoCay. Starting May 26, the Harmony will alternate every other week with seven-night Western Caribbean cruises to Cozumel, Roatan and Costa Maya, Mexico, and Perfect day at CocoCay.
Following a three-night Bahamas cruise starting Friday, May 10, the Mariner begins four-night sailings to Nassau and Perfect day at CocoCay on Monday, May 13, and three-night cruises to Freeport or Nassau, Bahamas, and Perfect day at CocoCay starting Friday, May 17.
Harmony and Mariner will be among the first Royal Caribbean cruise ships bringing guests to the cruise line’s private island Perfect Day at CocoCay.
Hi-res photos can be downloaded by clicking the link below*
*Credit: Canaveral Port Authority
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ABOUT PORT CANAVERAL
Led by the elected five-member Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners and Port Director and CEO, Captain John Murray, Port Canaveral is one of the world’s most dynamic and exciting ports. A world-class gateway for cruises, cargo, recreation and logistics, as well as a gateway to new frontiers, including space, Port Canaveral hosts more than 4.5 million revenue cruise passengers through its state-of-the-art terminals and more than 6 million of tons of cargo annually, including bulk, break-bulk, project, and containerized. The Port is strategically located to service all Florida markets, as well as the Southeastern United States. In addition to world class cruise facilities and diverse cargo operations, Port Canaveral offers more recreational opportunities than all other Florida deep-water seaports combined, including public parks, free public boat ramps, marinas, an entertainment district, and the seven-story interactive exhibit and event venue Exploration Tower. For more information, visit www.PortCanaveral.com
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