November 10, 2016
Royal Caribbean Premieres Harmony of the Seas for Bahamas Cruise
Design Studio Manager Samantha Milson shares her experience creating the water slides and children’s splash area on board Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, and being one of the first to come aboard during its North American debut.
When the team here at Martin Aquatic Design & Engineering (Martin Aquatic) first started working on Harmony, I was super excited. My family is big into cruising so I was thrilled at the prospect of actually doing creative work for a ship. I had never gone on a Royal Caribbean cruise, so everything about it was a new experience, from learning the brand to understanding the target audience.
While the design was a long process to create a set of three slides as well as the children’s wet play area, it made me appreciate how much care and consideration go into the decisions for every detail on board. We worked closely on the creative direction with the architect and build teams at Royal Caribbean, and everyone had a lot of ideas for fun and innovative things we could do.
Having poured all our passion and creative energy into designing the aquatic amenities onboard Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, the Harmony of the Seas, it seemed only fitting that some members from Martin Aquatic come aboard for the first North American sailing of the largest cruise ship in the world.
This past weekend, we watched as the ship’s 5,479 passengers stared in awe (myself included) at the impressive three water slides that tower over the pool deck and peek through the trees from the lower deck’s open-air “Central Park.” Getting to experience firsthand the anticipation from the guests as they climbed the stairs to the slide tower was a real joy, and seeing them emerge with huge smiles from the darkened tubes at the bottom was even better. As designers, it is exciting to be a part of benchmark projects like this one, but it is even more rewarding seeing them come to life.
Looking back on the design process now, that project was so big for our team at Martin Aquatic and not just because it was the largest cruise ship. It really launched us into working in 3D and designing our own slides. Because this ship was being built from the ground up, we had a completely blank slate to decide where to place the slides and how they could be arranged around the deck. Using that 3D software, we designed slides for multiple locations all over the ship, which served to give us a lot of practice
In addition to the three water slides, Martin Aquatic also designed the kids aqua park, dubbed “Splashaway Bay.” With two areas, one for toddlers and another for older kids, the wet play structures include four slides, spraying play elements and a giant dumping bucket. Not only was it wonderful to see the big kids enjoy splashing around, but it also felt special getting to see the parents of young toddlers playing with their little ones in the water as a family.
On this first cruise around the Caribbean, Harmony set the bar high for fun at sea, and our team at Martin Aquatic was proud to have played a role in making this ship one of the best in class.