A cruise ship is an all-in-one holiday destination, where several thousand tourists pile aboard to eat, drink and get sunburned for a week. Harmony of the Seas is the latest and larger addition, where you can lunch at a parkside cafe and jump on a zip line directly afterward.
At 1,188 feet long and 226,000 tons, the Royal Carribean ocean liner is only somewhat larger than its predecessor, Oasis of the Seas . Guests and staff equal around 8,000 people, and tickets range from $1,000 to $7,000. The entire experience is guaranteed to whisk you away on what amounts to a floating Mall of America. It gives you the feeling of traveling without doing it, says photographer Alberto Bernasconi.
When Bernasconi heard about the ocean liner, he had to see the gluttony and grandeur firsthand. He set sail on a four-day trip from Barcelona in July, simply three months after Harmony s maiden voyage. Even in the world of luxury cruises, the amenities were staggering. The ship boasts a 3-D movie theatre, a casino, and” The Ultimate Abyss” slide with a 10 -story drop. For the fitness obsessed, theres a rock-climbing wall, a athletics tribunal, and a 0.33 -mile running track. 1 For the culturally inclined, you can see a production of Grease in the theater or a Victorian melodrama … performed on an ice rink.
And then, there’s the food. The ship is outfitted with 13 restaurants plus a robot bar. One eatery offered sustainable, farm-to-ship dining while another ran a little bit celestial with a themed menu of sunshine, sea, ice, ground, fire and dreams. Several Americans on board wanted to eat hot dog on the 4th of July, but Harmony had that encompassed too with The Boardwalk Hot Dog House.
There was also the glorious Mediterranean Sea, but no one seemed to pay much attention to it. Each afternoon, Harmony docked so vacationers could stray around the many international ports like Marseilles, France and Naples, Italy for a couple of hours. But the barge was the true attraction.
Bernasconi spent most of his time wandering up and down the decks, snapping photos with a small Sony Rx1 00 III so as not to attract “members attention” of other tourists. The bright images feature the tiny vacationers almost swallowed up in the sweeping, shiny scenery. The ship looks like a world all its own. Its so stable, and so big, that you dont realize youre on a boat, says Bernasconi. No matter where you are in the world, youre actually somewhere else .”
UPDATE: 1:55 09/01/ 16: This tale was updated to correct the length of the running track, which is 0.33 miles.