Royal Caribbean International, one of the world’s three largest cruise operators, is a mainstream rather than premium line. Many of its passengers are families with children, younger couples and first-time cruisers who relish shows, sun sports, shopping and spas. Accordingly, Royal Caribbean delivers dream vacations by outfitting its megaships — full-scale resorts that happen to float — with shopping malls, water parks and entertainment zones for kids. This makes for what many passengers, especially Americans, consider the ultimate vacation at sea. While Royal Caribbean spans the globe, Caribbean vacations are its forte and megaships its signature. In 2009, Royal Caribbean International launched the world’s largest cruise ship, the 5,408-passenger Oasis of the Seas. The next year, it outdid itself with the debut of a super vessel some two inches longer, Allure of the Seas. This year, the 5,497-passenger Harmony of the Seas surpassed its two sisters to climb to the top of the length and passenger charts. In fact, this newest over-the-top sea-going resort epitomizes much of what Royal Caribbean offers.
Equipped with 18 decks and two dozen passenger elevators, Harmony of the Seas consists of seven “neighborhoods.” A stroll through the Boardwalk neighborhood, a re-imagined Coney Island, turns up a grand carousel, a rock-climbing wall, troupes of aquatic performers and even a Starbucks. The Royal Promenade showcases a Bionic Bar where robots mix and serve the drinks. At the center of the ship lies Central Park, an outdoor space with garden paths and alfresco dining. After dark, the ship’s Entertainment Palace comes alive with a comedy club, a jazz club and, in the 1,380-guest Royal Theater, a Broadway production of Grease. A Youth Zone provides playground diversions for kids, from infants to teenagers, while a Pool and Sports Zone provides everything a land resort does, from a zipline and surf simulator to basketball, volleyball and miniature golf. Harmony of the Seas’ recreational hallmark is the Ultimate Abyss, a waterslide 10 decks high, the tallest at sea. For passengers requiring quieter zones, Harmony of the Seas also provides an adults-only solarium three decks high, as well as a range of top specialty restaurants and luxury suites with concierge services, private decks, multiple bedrooms and lofts. Royal Caribbean’s bread and butter across its entire 23-vessel fleet, however, remains the delivery of a sun-splashed vacation at sea with all the latest bells and whistles, a top choice for passengers with active families who would rather hit the decks running than stretch out on a lounge chair.
The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Hawaiian Airlines will relaunch its service between the island of Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) with flights set to begin in December.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
British Airways launched a new in-flight entertainment channel in honor of its year-long centenary celebration. The new channel, christened Celebrate BA100, highlights the best of British in-flight entertainment.
For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.
European hotel brand Kempinski is expanding into the Americas with a new luxury property in Dominica. Slated for an Oct. 14 opening, the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski will be Dominica’s first 5-star hotel on the island and the brand’s second in the Caribbean.