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Compare Symphony to Harmony


janazaz

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The bathrooms in the Harmony are much smaller in their non-PH rooms, with only one sink in the bathroom. I much prefer the set up of the closets on the Harmony---they appear to be larger than the ones on the Symphony. The basic layout of the ships are pretty much the same, with the major difference being the Palm Court. On the Harmony, it's a little farther back and there's another lounge at the bow of deck 11 called the Vista Lounge. Another difference is the location of the Stardust lounge. First of all, it's not called Stardust on the Harmony, it's Club 2100 and it's located on deck 6 aft instead of midship.

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Here is an excerpt from my review of our first Symphony cruise (May 2005), comparing the two:

 

Since this was our first on Symphony after three on the Harmony, comparisons are in order. At first, being on a new ship without staff who knew us felt like being a kid visiting your aunt’s house, when “Mom’s” is more comfortable. But in a day or two, that was quickly dispelled, as we dismissed the notion that Harmony might have a warmer “personality” due to the fine service from the Symphony staff. I noted especially that the deck stewards and bar servers exceeded my expectations from the similar areas of the Harmony, with the average on Symphony being comparable to our old favorites on Harmony.

 

Example: Even though I do not recall having been a regular customer of his, bespectacled Palm Court bar steward Jonathon Joanino learned my unusual and difficult-to-pronounce last name (not my pseudonym here), and greeted me by name each time. The evening after I splurged on a special cognac at the late show, Jonathon greeted me at the Captain’s farewell party with: “would you like a cognac, Mr. X_____?” Like a generous host, and truly acting with hospitality on behalf of the captain, he was encouraging me to enjoy another $15 drink, on the house. I ordered something else, but took more pleasure in what I received, knowing that it was my host’s “pleasure” that I enjoy an indulgence.

 

Overall, I prefer the design and layout of the Symphony over the Harmony in virtually every respect. The cabin décor was more pleasing, the storage (especially bookshelves) seemed better, and the second sink and associated shelves were a very useful benefit. As always, that bed is wonderful, and hard to leave some mornings. The rocking of the ship, with those fine linens makes for a very restful vacation.

 

The location and layout of the specialty restaurants is vastly superior, feeling like fine restaurants, and not a breakfast buffet room. The public spaces flowed better, and were more intuitive. The mid-ship location of the Starlight Lounge is wonderful, especially with the three entrances providing better feelings of connectivity, and a more gracious way to peek in and pop out of an event. It is a more gracious venue for the Captain’s parties than the Harmony’s Palm Court, and would seem to provide better facilities for dance lessons. I prefer the smaller Palm Court, as I think the old one was too large and empty feeling in almost all circumstances (except a Panama Canal transit). The larger main lobby is much nicer, especially for the Grand Gala Buffet, which is no longer the crush it was on the Harmony. The only thing I miss from the Harmony is the open forward deck on 11 that lets you oversee the Captain on sailaways, but the change to allow more room elsewhere is worth it. Overall verdict on the Symphony: “just like the Harmony, except better!”

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In reality I think what you will find as the biggest difference on your next cruise is that fact that you are booked in a PH vs a non-PH, rather than the ship itself. This is because in the PH (regardless of which ship) you will receive the additional amenities of butler service. I've stayed in the PH on both the Harmony and the Symphony and thought the PH itself was essentially the same on both ships. While there are subtle differences between both ships, I thought the major difference was with the Palm Court on the Harmony vs the Symphony. That is the one room that we enjoyed more on the Harmony as it was more of a focal point for a variety of activities.

 

As I said, I think the other differences are subtle ones and for most people other than the Palm Court Differences and the non-PH difference of one sink vs two would essentailly think that they were on the same ship.

 

Enjoy your next cruise.

 

Keith

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Reference Harmony's vibration - probably a result of an engine room fire early in its career, which "distorted" a propellor shaft mount & bearing, causing a lope which is noticeable at service speed.

 

Had friends aboard when she had that fire - and they drifted for a few hours in the Caribbean - and received a good discount on future cruises for any inconvenience caused.

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For what it's worth, I did not experience any noticeable vibration while we were on our Alaskan Crystal Harmony Cruise.

 

And, in the end, both ships (Harmony and Symphony) were wonderful, regardless of a few differences between the two ships.

 

Quite frankly, in my eyes, it's the service, food, itineraries, passenger's and overall ambience that makes the cruise. So, if there are a few differences between the ships (eg., one has a larger palm court) in the end these won't influence the enjoyment that we will experience from the cruise. The big items are the ones that will.

 

Happy cruising.

 

Keith

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I definitely felt a significant and continual vibration on the Harmony when at speed. I was midship, deck 10 and it was like someone had a never ending stack of quarters for the bed! It's not a bad thing, but it's there.

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