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Picture Imperfect: Live on Harmony


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Great review! Thanks for sharing your cruise with us. 😎

 

Hope those of you who spent today in Epcot didn’t get washed away with the lovely weather we had here in Central Florida today and those of you who were flying home were able to do so.

 

I will be back to see more pictures!

Edited by perfect match
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Yes. We were caught in the monsoon at Epcot. More specifically the French pavilion. That’s about as far away from the exit as you can get. 

 

We we were trapped under a small crepe cart with a minimal awning smashed up against a trash can. 

 

Then an we made a run for it...

 

We were soaked to the bone. 

 

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Edited by rsharp83
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On ‎5‎/‎23‎/‎2019 at 12:43 PM, OCSC Mike said:

It's beyond hot.  It's disgusting here right now.  Not supposed to be 92-95 in May.  😞

 

Those afternoon breaks are key.  My wife always tells her friends when they come down to visit to do it exactly how you did.  Unfortunately, most people try to cram in as much as possible... and I can't really blame them between the cost and only being able to visit X number of times.  That said, we sometimes refer to it as the "UNhappiest place on Earth" due to all the cranky tourists (parents and kids alike).  It's not uncommon to see little ones completely passed out in their strollers by evening.

 

As you said, there's so much new stuff that a lot of it will be unrecognizable.  Next trip, find some time to visit Disney Springs, maybe for dinner and walking around after.  It's what used to be Pleasure Island but the night clubs are long since gone and replaced by a much much larger area filled with stores and restaurants (many from celebrity chefs, some overpriced, some reasonable).

 

We actually haven't been to the parks much in the past few years but were recently gifted annual passes by my wife's generous parents so there's some stuff we haven't even seen yet.  We were going to activate the passes in early June but since we booked Harmony last minute for 6/16 (that's why I'm in your thread btw), we decided to wait until after we get back so they will stretch into the beginning of next summer when my teacher wife is off work.

 

I'd apologize for the rambling tangent but I blame you since you started this topic early and posted your Disney plans.  🙂

I am total Disney addict.  My husband and I find ourselves there almost every year.  Next year we may skip because it will be our 25th wedding anniversary and we may do a cruise, but possibly a Disney cruise.  LOL   We have been taking full advantage of the perks we get using military discounts and staying at Shades of Green for a fraction of the price that the general public usually endures.   I keep hearing that these great benefits may come to a crashing halt soon, but we will keep coming back as long as we can reasonably afford it.  Since we have been numerous times, we definitely build in time for breaks.  


I see there is a stay at Beach Club. I walked around over there on my most recent visit. It is beautiful.   You have probably already cruised and come back by now, but I hope you had a great time.

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Thanks so much to you both for sharing your vacation with us!  It was a lot of fun to follow along with you guys all week, and you gave us some great info and pictures that are very helpful!  Our family will be on Harmony for the July 14th sailing and your live review only made us more excited for our trip!  😄  Thanks again, you guys are awesome!!

Edited by PlanetX
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Yes, Legal Jen we did stay at Beach Club! It’s beautiful. Can I tell you I got the room for 1/2 the rack rate by “buying” other people in who own the Vacation club DVC points through a third party. Check the unofficial guide to Disney,  they list some very reputable brokers, we used one and had very good experience. The price of Beach Club studio was half the price. We didn’t get daily maid service just trash and towel service every couple of days. It was a great location for us because we spent a lot of time in EPCOT with the garden festival. 

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Rsharp83, sorry our weather was so inhospitable to you. That really wasn’t very nice, of Mother Nature, especially after how you’ve been so generous in sharing your vacation with all of us. Hope you were able to have a good time in spite of how wet you got! 

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VIDEO CABIN TOUR HARMONY OF THE SEAS 9676 OCEAN VIEW BALCONY

I literally didn’t have the “band width” 🤣 to post this on board. Just a quick walk around a typical larger Ocean View Balcony. This was a very convenient location vertically (4 or 5 flights down to dinner and shows, and 4 or 5 flights up to WJ, solarium and pools) as well as convenient horizontally- close to elevators and very stable mid ship. 

 

What we loved: 

-streamlined design,  with no upper cabinets to visually clutter the cabin

-larger balcony with two 3 position chairs with foot stools that allowed real “lounging” on the balcony, clear panel for unimpeded views. 

-2 large separate closets making getting ready at the same time easier 

-full size drawers in the “dresser” and huge horizontal surface to use on top

-enlarged shower with big single door. No line, but two hooks on the showers for wet suits and a shave bar near the floor.

-usb and plugs (us and euro) on the vanity/desk

 

What we didn’t love:

-loudest cruise cabin we’ve ever stayed in, people moving, banging next door or upstairs was very loud. It didn’t feel “sound proofed” the way past cabins have. Not so much voice, but vibration from doors drawers opening and walking/jumping in the other cabins was “felt” . 

-the beds and pillows felt very hard, firm and uncomfortable. We slept well, but it didn’t feel plush. 

-Closet door and bath door bang into each other if people are opening both at the same time.  

-master switch and electrical plug only on one side of the bed

 

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PORT CANAVERAL SAIL AWAY

Were any of you at the park? I took video of Harmony sailing away. One of the things I found refreshing was how excited everyone we encountered in PC seemed to be about HOS sailing from PC! Even after a few sailings there was still an enthusiastic crowd at the park cheering, the folks working in the port before and after the cruise had a lot of enthusiasm and willingness to create a good guest experience for cruisers arriving and leaving. Even the customs agents were smiling. It was a very warm welcome and farewell! 

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9 hours ago, perfect match said:

Rsharp83, sorry our weather was so inhospitable to you. That really wasn’t very nice, of Mother Nature, especially after how you’ve been so generous in sharing your vacation with all of us. Hope you were able to have a good time in spite of how wet you got! 

 

The first part of this story I shared was a group of us running through EPCOT in a downpour. Here's the rest of the story...

 

We got to the bus and entered looking like drowned rats. But everyone else was some bit of wet as well, maybe not as wet as we were. The bus to Coronado Springs was uneventful. After we got off the bus it got more interesting. 

 

We had never been to our rooms. And if you've ever seen Coronado Springs you know that it is HUGE. There are 1,920 rooms set around a 14 acre lake. The buildings are 3 story with exterior walkways. More rooms are being built in a large tower that should be open later this year. There are 3 villages around the lake and getting from A to Z requires a hike. sometimes a long hike. Note: They just opened a new bridge across the lake that cuts down on some of the walking. It is so new that it isn't yet on the maps at the resort. So. in brief the resort is very spread out and getting to the main hub is a pretty good walk.

 

The pods of rooms are in a village and in that village are (I think) 17 buildings that look very much the same. At night in the rain and lightening, they look exactly the same. After exiting the bus the next job was finding our building. that wasn't too hard. However, finding our rooms was a bit trickier.

 

First of all there is only ONE elevator in each building. it took forever to find the elevator because we didn't know better. The bellhops don't even use the elevators!  We eventually found the elevator. And when we started up it shook and made a loud noise that scared us all! But by this time we were on the verge of collapse anyway. 

The trek to find our rooms was another adventure. Things are marked everywhere but it is a maze the first couple of times you do it. And again, night and storming conditions didn't help. 

 

We got into our rooms and of course our luggage is not there. Used to be Disney would bring your bags and leave them in your room so when you returned from your Magical day your luggage was there to greet you. Not anymore. Probably for liability reasons. We all called the bell service desk. Only to be told that all luggage delivery had been suspended until further notice because of the storm. We were told that we could come get our luggage at the main building. We had no clothes and we were soaking wet. 

 

We started the journey to the luggage. Lucky for me I only made it half way before I got a call from one of the other people in our group. They were with all the luggage in the main building and the all clear had been given by whatever benevolent Disney being does those sorts of proclamations. We headed back to the room to await luggage. The others dragged their luggage back to their rooms. 

 

My wife said, "I have to get out of these clothes and into a shower. When they show up just tell me so I don't walk out of the bathroom at an inappropriate time." Our bags eventually arrived, being lugged by one of the managers! They were so overwhelmed that she was delivering bags. That's Disney service, they really do try to go the extra mile. And she couldn't even accept my tip. 

 

 

 

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As always – Captain Bob Delivers 

And why I try to avoid ship sponsored excursions

 

In 2015 I took my first cruise and we booked Capt Bob, AKA: Soualiga Destinations. When we arrived at the dock Bob met us and said that conditions were very rough that day and there were big swells and high winds. He told us that he would take us out if we wished but it wouldn’t be a good experience. He refunded our money that day. He helped us make other arrangements in SMX. And he said that he’d rather take a loss of revenue that day than to give us a poor experience.  He said when you come back to the island, I’d be happy if you gave us another opportunity. That sold me on Bob Cass and his operation. 

 

This was our second time on the tour. And we brought a lot of first-time cruisers as well as some experienced cruisers that hadn’t done this excursion. We had an entire boat of 24 people. I started talking to Bob almost a year ahead of our trip because I wanted to get a full boat of our people. He’s always responsive and provides good information. 

 

For those of you that cruise and do excursions I want to emphasize the differences between a private tour operator like Capt Bob and the cruise line sponsored excursions. Many people are too afraid to book private operators and only use cruise line providers. That’s unfortunate. 

 

We did a boat and snorkel tour the day before in St. Thomas. We booked it through the cruise line because we had a very strange port docking time (noon) and most of the private operators leave well ahead of that time-frame. So, I bit the bullet and booked an excursion for 25 people. They crammed (or tried to cram, because 3 people walked off before the tour began) 130 people on to their boat. People were standing, sitting on coolers or sitting on the edge of benches to try and make room. It was not a pleasant experience. It’s a cattle call tour. And 3 staff members to service 130 people. One crew member for every 43 people on board. Music was blaring so loudly you couldn’t even talk. The 2 places we went were fine but getting around in that boat was awful. 

 

Contrast that experience with Capt Bob the next day. Several boats went out on his tour. 20 or so people in each boat. Personalized service and interaction from the moment we arrived at the dock. Bob’s son was running the boats that day, Bob was watching from his office on the port camera. We did our sign-in and wavier stuff and then we were escorted by our 2 crew members to a beautiful and fully shaded boat. I commented that I’d never seen a boat like it and that’s because Bob had it custom built for his tours. It was the best excursion craft I’ve ever been on. I’ve been on quite a few. 

 

Notice Bob is running a 1 to 12 crew/passenger ratio. That’s the service level you want on a tour. We made numerous stops for snorkeling, swimming, visiting beaches and seeing the airplanes at Maho Beach fly right over us. We did a full circumnavigation of St. Maarten because the water was fairly calm that day. Every aspect of Bob’s tour is well planned and executed. You literally couldn’t be a better tour operation. 

 

Less than 20 minutes into the tour my first timers that had also done the St. Thomas tour came up to me and said, “OK, I understand why you were not happy with the tour yesterday. This tour is completely the opposite experience. This is fantastic!” 

 

The beaches and water that day were unbelievable. The water was crystal clear, like a post card. Everyone who went on this tour – even the very experienced cruisers – said it was a great tour. One of, if not the best tour they had ever been on. 

I am headed back to SMX in 2020, It’s highly likely we will be back on tour with Soualiga Destinations and Capt Bob. Cruise line passengers, skip the cattle call and book this tour. You won’t regret it. 

 


 

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Edited by rsharp83
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Bobs was great! I have been to Saint Martin ,any times, both on ship port of call, and as week long stays. I’ve been to many places he visited, but never by boat completely circling the island. The boat was amazing, comfy seating and despite being “fast” it never “slammed” into the water, it always felt like a comfortable ride! 

 

Great tour, and thanks for organizing Randy! 

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Hi Familygoboston! It's been a long time since I saw one of your reviews, and your husbands great pictures. I almost missed this one but caught it just after you arrived home. I enjoyed reading both parties input. We have been downsizing, in ship sizes only, for our last couple of cruises. As we have gotten older we have less need for lots of activities. This seems like it is better for the younger crowd. Correct me if I am wrong. Love the excursion with Captain Bob. We will keep it in mind for the next cruise. Thanks again to both of you for doing this enjoyable review! 

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Happy!

How are you? Lol, we are down sizing houses and upsizing cruise ships! 🤣

 

I loved the entertainment tho! The shows were all blockbusters and I’ve found some on the smaller ships to be pretty lame.  And the dining was far better than smaller ships. The WJ dinners were better than other cruise ships, and the Solarium Bistro dinner was chock full of real seafood! 

 

Kids, there are a lot, but areas built for them funnel them out of traditionally adult areas, on coco cay they were all at the water slides, same on board, at mini bites, sports deck, slides and flow rider. I think ideally I’d choose a big one on a slow kid vacation time for a better value. (I don’t need to cruise when the kids and their families have to vacation. One advantage to being just two is so many big family groups, we just got seated immediately! 

 

I say diff ships for diff stuff, only 70 people on an expedition cruise (going to Baja in Jan) but 6 K if you want shows with a cast the size of the whole crew of the other ship! 🤣

 

im glad you enjoyed the review, and are enjoying cruising! What’s next for you? The only Royal on our calendar is back to back Freedom from San Juan in Winter of 2021. 

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FGB, I have to say I love your enthusiasm! It always comes through on your reviews. You are very right when you mention the shows being better on the larger ships. I did miss that when we were on the Adventure a couple of months ago. We found the food to be very good in the Main Dining room, and the WJ. I am still trying to figure out how they manage to cook their veggies, for so many, and serve them cooked right. 

Not sure what will be next. The last cruise was booked 6 weeks ahead. A last minute decision for us. We are expecting our 2nd grandchild very very soon, so we may stick closer to home for now. Or not! Being retired it is now when the urge hits us, as long as our health is good. In the meantime, I will pop in and out of CC for my cruise fix. It's the next best thing. Happy sailings to you!

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Hello. Can anyone tell me what time you are required to be out of the cabins on debarkation day?  I saw the departure information, but didn't see that detail listed on the sheet.  I'm trying to figure out what time to arrange our transportation pick-up from the port.  Our flight isn't until 2:15, so no big hurry, but when it's time to go, I'm ready to go - not a fan of just hanging around killing time in lounges.  Thanks. 

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There is no set time to be out of the cabin but stewards will start knocking on doors around 8 AM in my experience. You are expected to wait in a departure lounge or dining rooms because you won’t hear when your group is called. It’s not broadcast in cabins,  only  in the departure lounges or dining rooms. If you self disembark, Oftentimes they are far ahead of this schedule and high luggage  tags are called much earlier. 

Your cabin stewards have a big job and need passengers out to do it. We’ve often left the cabin by 8 or 830 the relaxed in the MDR over breakfast till 9 or 930  then left the ship. You can’t stay on the ship past the last luggage tag number time anyway. 

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1 hour ago, CarynRenee said:

Hello. Can anyone tell me what time you are required to be out of the cabins on debarkation day?  I saw the departure information, but didn't see that detail listed on the sheet.  I'm trying to figure out what time to arrange our transportation pick-up from the port.  Our flight isn't until 2:15, so no big hurry, but when it's time to go, I'm ready to go - not a fan of just hanging around killing time in lounges.  Thanks. 

 

I'd want to be out of the stateroom no later than 830am.

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