Symphony of the Seas will have tricked-out family suite

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To get from the loft to the main floor in the Ultimate Family Suite, take the stairs or the slide.
To get from the loft to the main floor in the Ultimate Family Suite, take the stairs or the slide.

Royal Caribbean International revealed some of the features of the Symphony of the Seas, the fourth and largest of its Oasis-class ships slated to debut in April 2018.

The ship's superstructure in the Boardwalk area was stretched to make the ship about 3,000 gross tons larger than its predecessor, the 226,963-gross-ton Harmony of the Seas.

The Symphony will have a capacity of 5,535 passengers at double occupancy. After a summer in the western Mediterranean, it will move in November to Florida, where it will become the first Oasis-class ship to be homeported in Miami.

The Ultimate Family Suite will offer activities on its balcony.
The Ultimate Family Suite will offer activities on its balcony.

Among the features new to the Oasis class will be the two-level Ultimate Family Suite that sleeps up to eight guests. It will have a loft that connects to the main floor with stairs and a curving tubular slide. A movie room will feature an 85-inch video monitor and a popcorn machine. The suite also will have air hockey and a floor-to-ceiling Lego wall. The 212-square-foot wrap-around balcony will have a climbing structure and a kid-friendly pool table.

Royal Caribbean anticipates demand will be high so it won't book the suite online, only over the phone, said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales, trade support and service.

The Playmakers sports bar will be in the Boardwalk neighborhood.
The Playmakers sports bar will be in the Boardwalk neighborhood.

Symphony will have a redesigned Solarium area, Royal Caribbean president Michael Bayley said. It will be home to a new restaurant called Hooked, which will be a casual New England-style seafood establishment with a raw bar.  Also new, the 100-seat El Loco Fresh will serve Mexican fare such as tacos and burritos. It will be located in the ship's Sports Zone and will replace Sabor Taqueria, a Mexican specialty venue on some other ships, including Harmony of the Seas.

The Boardwalk neighborhood on Symphony will be significantly different than the Harmony's. A sports bar and arcade called Playmakers will occupy one side of the area. It will have 30 TVs tuned to a variety of sports, and arcade games such as Skeeball and Pac Man.

"1977" will be the ice show performed on Symphony of the Seas.
"1977" will be the ice show performed on Symphony of the Seas.

Opposite Playmakers will be Sugar Beach Candy and Ice Cream, an expanded candy store that will take the place of some retail shops on the Harmony, including the Starbucks. On the Symphony, the Starbucks will be relocated to the Royal Promenade.

Travel agents can participate in a sweepstakes to create and name a new ice cream flavor, Freed said. Details will be released Oct. 30.

"Hairspray" is being revived as the Broadway show on Symphony, paired with an in-house production called "Flight," billed as a historical satire on the evolution of air travel. There will be a new show for the Aqua Theater and an ice show called "1977," which follows the exploits of a time traveler in London trying to recover stolen Crown Jewels in time for the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

Studio B also be the venue for "the world's largest laser tag arena," Bayley said.

Symphony also will debut a new check-in process Royal Caribbean calls "Frictionless Arrival."  Guests will download an app to their smartphones before departure and use it to skip through check-in.

El Loco Fresh will serve tacos and burritos.
El Loco Fresh will serve tacos and burritos.

"Outside of the security check, there will be no other touch points," Bayley said.

It wasn't specified where in the process guests will acquire key cards or wearable devices, or how check-in will be handled for guests who don't use the app.

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