Up atop Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas sits a scary looking fish – a scary fish with a tall and even scarier slide. For those brave enough to make the trek forward, The Ultimate Abyss awaits.
Dramatic storytelling intro aside, the Ultimate Abyss is the first slide of it’s kind at sea – a dry slide spanning 10 decks of Harmony’s aft, tricked out with psychedelic lighting effects from top to bottom. And is it fast? Oh, why yes, it is. If you’re like me, upon first glance, you expect the slide to be thrilling, but you may not yet truly appreciate the speed and insanity that is the Ultimate Abyss. As you climb the stairs and reach the top, before you get to the fun part, you’re given a short safety briefing to inform you of the proper sliding technique. For me, I really only paid half attention, thinking to myself, “It’s a mat with handles, how hard can this be?” Only moments later would I regret not having paid closer attention.
So, channeling my inner (only slightly) younger self, I sat down on the mat and loosely grabbed the strap ahead of me as I began my journey into the dark tunnel. Even as I was leaving the station, my grip was already loosening, reaching for my iPhone to take a Snapchat. Bad idea. Within seconds, the psychedelic plunge went off the deep end and I wasn’t holding onto anything, now almost completely outside of the protective foot wells of my mat. I found myself literally trying to re-secure myself, trying to put my phone back in my pocket, and laughing hysterically all at the same time. It was a combination of sheer terror and fun. I soon recovered myself and locked in for the photo finish at the end of the slide on the Boardwalk. I quickly barreled into the finish line, still laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of my short adventure down the Ultimate Abyss.
Later in the sailing, I hilariously found myself using the Ultimate Abyss no longer as entertainment, but as quick transport between Decks 16 and 6 – because elevators are lame. However, the memory of my little misadventure earlier in the sailing instilled a firm grip on the handle on my later rides. A fun time for all to be sure, just follow my advice and hold on as if your life depended on it.