Royal Caribbean Cruise Line launched the new ship—the world's largest ever built—in May 2016. Among its most popular features are its three waterslides, together referred to as The Perfect Storm: the Cyclone, Typhoon, and Supercell. Polin Waterparks manufactured the waterslides using two of its most popular waterslides namely the Aquatube and Space Hole.
• Aquatube. Polin installed two of these slides—individually named on Harmony as the Cyclone and Typhoon—to form the ship's signature attraction, which RCCL calls The Ultimate Abyss. Guests enter the slides on Deck 18 in the Pool and Sports Zone at the back of the ship. They zip in whooshing circles through its enclosed tubes, alternating between transparent and dark sections, before dropping about 100 feet and exiting to the Boardwalk onto Deck 15.All of Harmony of the Seas' waterslides are produced using Polin's innovative Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) technology. This process which is the latest technology in waterslide manufacturing creates waterslides components that are smooth and shiny on both sides. This feature—which Polin calls Magic Shine—means the tunnel components don't get dirty as quickly and are easier to clean—definite advantages for the variety of weather conditions a cruise ship can encounter. It also means the slides are stronger—yet lighter—and easier to install. Especially important, it provides the slides with extra strength to stand up to high wind loads. Plus, the waterslides offer Polin's patented Natural Light Effects technology.
• Space Hole. This ride—named the Supercell on Harmony—features a giant basin that some reviewers have referred to as an elegant "champagne bowl." The attraction is one of the largest slides available for speed riding. Guests zoom through an enclosed tube that deposits them into the open bowl. There, centrifugal force whirls them around the interior before they exit through the center and make a breathtaking splash below. Guests access the slides from a glass platform, which provides a feeling of being suspended in mid-air, giving many riders pause before they even begin the 10-story plunge. (More than a few, in fact, change their minds about taking on the challenge, which begins 150 feet in the air.)
Polin worked with project-management partner Myrtha Pools (Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy) to oversee the special engineering and installation requirements that the project required. Despite the unique considerations that a cruise ship offers, Polin's waterslides on Harmony of the Seas still deliver the same heart-thumping thrills of slides on terra firma. In fact, the slides on RCCL's ship offer a wholly different kind of excitement.
A Special Section for the Littlest Guests
While being the largest ship in the world is reason enough to get guests' attention, and offering a 10-story slide to boot, Harmony is also the first ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet to feature a mini waterpark area for kids: Splashaway Bay. The aqua play structure is a colorful waterscape specially created to entertain the ship's youngest guests. It features sea-creature water cannons, winding slides, a gigantic tipping bucket, and a multiplatform jungle-gym.
Following the Trend in Attracting Families
Between waterslides for all and the splash park for little ones, Harmony's inclusion of a variety of aquatic attractions is now considered crucial by many within the cruise industry. The different slide options are attractive to family members of all ages but are especially critical for entertaining teens who want options where they can spend time with others their own age. It's no surprise, then, that including highly engineered and exciting waterpark options was important to RCCL. In fact, being asked to develop the plans for Harmony's family-friendly offerings followed a trend Polin Waterparks has seen coming. Over the last several years, Polin Waterparks has been involved in innovative installations on many other cruise ships.