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Its been over 12 year since I have done RC.  I think it was on the Sovereign of the Seas for 4 days.  Looking at next June and its down to the Freedom or the Harmony? A dad and 2 teenage boys if that matters. 

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3 minutes ago, hospsafe said:

  Looking at next June and its down to the Freedom or the Harmony? A dad and 2 teenage boys if that matters. 

Assuming price is somewhat close, Harmony.

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Check out the flight prices to San Juan and that may help you decide. 

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The prices are about the same and the airfare isnt't an issue.  I will be using miles.  Looking at a suite on both.

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Freedom is more port extensive and Harmony is more about activities on the boat.  Are you guys more of the go go type of people?  Then Freedom might be your better choice.  If you want more of a relaxing vacation Harmony might be better.

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Ooooh, this is a tough one since we love them both! I think I would base it on the ports...which ones you would like to visit more. Just remember, whichever one you choose you will have a great time. You just can't go worng:)

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Just got off Harmony last week -  Did freedom four years ago.  I loved all the activities on Harmony.  The Water slides and dry slides, zip lines which Freedom doesn't have are nice.  There were always teenage boys on the sports court and the youth programs were always full.  Just my opinion.  They did show several different movies but they are down by the dive show where as Freedom does movies up by the pool.

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36 minutes ago, hospsafe said:

Its been over 12 year since I have done RC.

 

Hi there. I'm sure when this post has had a few more views, the majority will suggest Harmony, it's newer and larger, but is a very different experience than a regular cruise.

 

I guarantee that at some points while on Harmony, you'll forget that you're on a cruise at all, and feel like you're in a small shopping mall with a park outside, some very nice restaurants, and a crowded waterpark on top.

 

I'm not saying that I don't like the Oasis class (of which Harmony is one) I actually love all four and have sailed them all. BUT, I would never recommend it to an (almost) first time cruiser.

 

Unless you have an Oceanview Balcony on Harmony, you can easily go for days without actually seeing the ocean.

 

Central Park Balconies have no sea view at all, but are beautiful at night while watching the park below beautifully lit up (and hear the cicada/cricket sounds which are actually played through hidden speakers in Central Park and also at night on the Pool Deck.

 

Some Boardwalk Balconies have a very restricted sea view (the further back you are, the better it is.)

 

A lot of people try to watch the Aquashow from their Boardwalk Balcony. Don't do that, you really don't get the full incredible experience, it's all included in the fare so just go to the Aqua-Theater where it is designed to be viewed from.

 

My first cruise was Liberty, a 99% identical twin in almost every way to Freedom. It was absolutely the best time of my life, I'll seriously never forget that cruise.

 

Freedom still is an enormous ship, and there are SO many awesome things for you to do, and for the kids to do, the age specific kids groups are perfect, and many people with kids say goodbye to them in the morning and the next they see them will be bedtime.

(Personally, I wouldn't recommend doing that, depending on their ages) but that really shows how much there is to do on Freedom.

 

The main reason I say to do Freedom before Harmony, is that you will experience all of the amazing features of the Freedom Class, and love all of them.

 

Freedom does have a beautiful Royal Promenade, so many awesome other features, the most beautiful main dining room of any RCI ship in my opinion, and all staterooms have recently been refurbished.

 

Don't forget that before Oasis was launched, Freedom was the world's largest cruise ship.

 

Compared to the Sovereign, which was huge for it's time, you will be astounded by the size of Freedom.

 

So trust me, don't start with an Oasis class ship. Slowly work your way up to it.

 

And after all that info, my favorite ship is Navigator! (Just a slightly shortened version of Freedom.) I adore Navigator and in the nine times I've sailed on it (2 Med, when it was homeported in Rome, 1 Northern Europe from Southampton, and 6 back to backs from Miami.)  I know I will never get bored.

 

(Although I was terribly disappointed when the beautiful Navigator Diamond Lounge was moved from deck 14, where it had wonderful views and a lovely outdoor seating area, from which we would always sit with a few drinks and watch the sunset before dinner.)

 

So, in answer to your question, and sorry for going off topic slightly, it really has to be Freedom. I promise you'll absolutely love it!

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 I am not a fan of Freedom at all...in my family we call it the "cursed cruise ship". Hahaha. My teen boys love the Oasis class ships and the unlimited amount of places to go and things to do.  Since you are talking about getting a suite, the Suite sundeck on the Harmony is very nice. The Coastal Kitchen has AMAZING food. Good luck on your decision! 

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So far with Royal, I have sailed Harmony and Navigator.   Having tried Harmony first, Navigator felt like a bit of a downgrade.   The Oasis class spoiled me.  

Interesting advice earlier was to work your way up.  That seems like a good idea for someone such as the OP.

And if someone wants to see the ocean on an Oasis class ship, it is very easy to see the ocean.

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Just FYI; Freedom is getting drydocked and will be "AMP'ed " with new stuff on it March of 2020

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Go for the itinerary...not the ship.

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I prefer Freedom class (I like meeting people and running into them again throughout the week -- on Oasis, you can meet someone on Day One and never see them again at all!), my son prefers Oasis class.  

Honestly, I don't think you can go wrong with either.  

Decide if you want more port days or sea days, and which ports you want or don't want, and go from there.

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I did a back to back a few years ago started with 7 days on the Harmony and then we got onto the Freedom for another 8 days, the kids definitely preferred Harmony, I like them both but I didn't enjoy how on Freedom basically almost everything shut down by Midnight. 

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We were not impressed by our experience on the Freedom BUT the ports more than made up for it.  If you're sailing out of San Juan, that's what it's all about.  If you're wanting a ship with all the bells and whistles, non stop entertainment and activities, Harmony is the way to go.  

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For teenage boys, I'd say the Harmony for sure. As someone else mentioned, the Freedom will be Amp'd up soon, but since you are doing a suite and have teenagers, and everything else is equal, go for Harmony. 

 

I'm looking at doing the Freedom with my teenagers solely for the ports. The biggest ships don't often go to the ABC islands, so if ports aren't your main POV, they will love Harmony. My kids are still talking about the Symphony and we were on her over a year ago.

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On 7/19/2019 at 3:08 PM, hospsafe said:

Its been over 12 year since I have done RC.  I think it was on the Sovereign of the Seas for 4 days.  Looking at next June and its down to the Freedom or the Harmony? A dad and 2 teenage boys if that matters. 

The Harmony is the very best bang for the buck. The Broadway shows are Superior to those on other ships. The ice skating show is awesome, the water show is excellent. Food is superior also. The buffet is fantastic. The ship itself is a wonder. Zip line and fantastic water fun. On and on. Check out youtube for reviews of the Harmony. It was our very first cruise on a mega ship and were worried about the amount of passengers. The ship is so big, it was never an issue. Your 2 teenagers will love it. A lot for them to do and enjoy.

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Why not book both?  I’m on Harmony in September and on Freedom in December.  I know that it’s not an option for everyone.  I haven’t sailed on either but did sail on other ships in the same class and am really looking forward to Freedom.  We’re going to the ABC islands which I haven’t been to in a few years.

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Lots of interesting replies. Most saying Harmony. Honestly it's a fabulous ship. But may I ask the 'Harmony' people if for any of you that was your first cruise?

 

If not, do you remember how amazed and delighted you were on your first cruise? Maybe even astounded. I know I was. I didn't stop smiling the for whole week.

 

I bet you couldn't wait to go back again for another cruise, right?

 

Maybe on the same class of ship or another class, just as wonderful.

 

My first Oasis class cruise was my 7th.

 

Before that, I'd done Voyager class, Freedom class, and Radiance class.

 

I was so pleased that I enjoyed Freedom so much, it was the world's largest cruise ship not too long ago, it had all the great features that Royal are so well known for. Each ship just impressed even more, and of course I loved every single one.

 

Could I also just mention that the ABC Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, are the most beautiful places I've ever been.

 

The blue of the water and the white sand beaches in Aruba are unbelievable.

(Please do a Google Image search for Aruba.)

 

The wild Flamingos in Bonaire are the pinkest in the world because of an unusually high level of Beta-Carotene in the inland lakes.

 

I'm not too sure what route Harmony is doing at the moment, but I do know it will be around for a long time yet.

 

So my opinion (which you don't have agree with of course) is Freedom. It is a wonderful, enormous ship, and will soon be even more incredible with new waterslides for the kids and all the other features that it has always had, and are being added to.

 

Apologies for typing the equivalent of a hardback novel!

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Just back From the Freedom last march, awesome trip and ship. Going on Harmony next year....

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Posted (edited)

We (me, H and 17 yo son) have been on both Freedom and an Oasis class ship (Oasis). We usually pick our cruises based on itinerary, then ship.    

 

We did do Freedom first when it was doing the Eastern Caribbean itinerary out of Port Canaveral in Summer 2015 when son was 13.  We had a balcony cabin. We loved everything about her and the itinerary.  The service was outstanding and the food was wonderful.  We remarked after how great the crew was.  This was of course before the ship had slides, etc. which it will get during it's 'Amp'.  It did have a rock climbing wall, flowrider and ice skating rink, all of which my son enjoyed.  The ice skating show was fantastic.  We never felt crowded on the ship.

 

We did Oasis the next year for Spring Break out of Ft. Lauderdale on a Western Caribbean itinerary.  We had a balcony cabin this time as well. The ship was awesome for the most part - Central Park was so relaxing!  We did enjoy our 150 Central Park meal and the aqua theater show was amazing.  This cruise was also before being 'amp'd'., so she also didn't have the slides, etc. She also had the rock climbing wall, flowrider, ice rink plus the zip line that my husband and son did once. But, for us, the ship was just too big and crowded, we sailed at capacity on both her and Freedom and we could definitely tell a difference...a capacity of 6,000 passengers was just a little too much - the 4,500 capacity Freedom was more our pace.

 

We're not cruising again until next June and for this one we are going back to the Freedom and an awesome Southern Caribbean itinerary which is very port-intensive and includes 4 islands we have never been to before.  We all wanted to sail her again and her itineraries out of San Juan were a plus.

 

These two ships have many similarities, but I would likely only sail an Oasis class again if an itinerary had several sea days or it was one we had done before.

Edited by palmettostatecruiser

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