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Harmony of the Seas review 21st July 2019


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Just got back from our first holiday to the USA. Thought Id write short review of the cruise. Feel free to ask me any questions.

 

About us

Myself (49), Wife (50) and our 18 year old daughter. This was to be our tenth cruise, our fifth with Royal and the others all with P&O. All are other cruises have been either Mediterranean or European.

Pre Cruise

We stayed a week before our cruise in Orlando at the Doubletree Seaworld hotel in order to experience both Universal Studios and two of the Disney Parks. The hotel was great and the room very comfy and we had a good time at Universal and Epcot but we were disappointed with Animal Kingdom.

Embarkation

On the day of our cruise we drove the hour or so’s journey to Port Canaveral from our hotel. We dropped the rental car at the Alamo centre and was told that there may be a little wait for the shuttle to the cruise terminal. However just as we got into the depot a man came and shouted for anyone for Harmony, so we jumped straight onto a shuttle and made our way to the terminal. Check in was a total breeze and within twenty minutes we were on board. We quickly went to deck 8 and found a restaurant that would take our Unlimited dining package bookings and with this soon done we headed of for our Key lunch. Unlike what we were expecting this was in the main dining room I’m guessing due to the number of Key guests. Anyway, it worked well, and lunch was great. After a quick wander around we were allowed in our rooms to unpack. Then the dreaded muster drill, this was fine, but the scrum afterwards was ridiculous, and we very nearly missed sail away as it took so long to get out of Studio B

The Ship

We have never been on an Oasis class ship before, so we were very impressed with scale and finish of the ship. The ship was very well maintained and well laid out. It rarely felt busy except for muster drill and the pool decks on sea days which I described as ‘human soup’. In fact, we never got into the pools as they were always full to the brim with kids. On se days we spent some time in the Solarium but due to the lack of a pool it was just too hot and humid in the afternoons. We found the small sitting areas at the front of the running track and often camped out our afternoons here. We never tried to zipline, slides (see above for pools!) or flow riders, too much like hard work to fight the lines and heat. We loved Central Park and the promenade area. Didn’t visit much of the shops, in my opinion Royal have missed a trick here. The shops are just too expensive with high end goods. I never saw anyone in any of the watch or jewellery shops, maybe some slightly cheaper venues might be a good idea. I know most don’t like to hear it but Royal is a mainstream cruise line catering to normal people and not the uber rich so most don’t have thousands to spend on a Tag watch. Just a thought.

Our Stateroom.

We were in 8606, a Seaview balcony room. This is just before the hump that has the bigger balconies and thus ours was ever so slightly bigger even though we didn’t pay for the bigger balcony. This was great as there were three of us in the room and the extra space was welcome. The room was very clean and had plenty of storage space for the three of us. Sofa was near the balcony and the brilliant room attendant converted this to the bed on the first night and left it like that for the week.

Food

We had paid for the Unlimited dining package and after speaking to a few who hadn’t was glad we did so. Many were saying that food in the main dining room just wasn’t up to standard, but as we never dined there ourselves I cannot comment on how accurate that was. Anyway we dined at the following:-

Jamie’s (First and last night) – We loved Jamie’s the first time, great food and great service. My wife is Gluten free and they (and everyone else) were very accommodating about this. I had the Penne Carbonara and the streak the first time and the pasta was amazing, the sauce was to die for. But I was very disappointed the second time we went as the sauce was watery and tasteless, so I guess it depends on what night you go.

Chops – (second night). Very good food, very good service and happy to help my wife with her gluten free choices.

150 Central Park (Third night). I was expecting good things for this restaurant, but sadly was disappointed. The service was great, but the food was just ok. Nothing special and we all felt underwhelmed. In fact, it was the same standard as what the main dining room used to be ten years ago when we first cruised with Royal.

Wonderland (Fourth night) – Well it was different! as expected this was an experience. Food was interesting and, in some cases, fantastic. Other bits were just a bit odd. We enjoyed the experience, but would we do it again? Not sure. The waiters seemed to spend a very long time explaining the food to you, it just seemed a bit OTT.

Sabor (Fifth night) – Great Mexican food, if rather a lot. They even had a great gluten free choice. Enjoyed it.

Hibatchi – (Sixth night) – Amazing, just amazing. Best meal we had all week. The show by the chefs, the quality of the food, the choice – all top notch. Only down side was it was a little crowded, with my wife perched next to a sink.

We also get lunch on sea days with the package but other than the last day at Johnny Rockets we didn’t take advantage of this as we just couldn’t face three big meals a day. Johnny Rockets were ok, and they were happy to provide a gluten free burger for my wife.

We ate breakfast and most lunches in the Solarium Bistro and this was great, not too busy and a good choice. I only ate one lunch in the Windjammer as I was on my own that day and it was fine. Never ate any pizza or any of the hot dogs so cannot comment on those.

Entertainment

We saw Grease, The Fine Line, 1887 Ice Show and Columbus. Grease was fantastic, just like the film, with my only criticism was the vocals were sometimes a little hard to hear clearly.

The Fine Line! Wow this is amazing, we say it twice it was so good. The divers and dancers are just amazing and its well worth watching. We came away awed by their skill.

1887, again amazing dancers and skaters. The story is a little thin but that’s a minor problem as it’s the skating that’s the main draw and boy do they work at it.

And then there was Columbus!!, we watched it with open mouths and at the end all three of us just couldn’t believe what we had witnessed. The singing and acting was great, the set design was amazing, but the story!? Was the person who wrote it on drugs at the time?? Dancing sharks, dancing hamburgers and magic pickles?? I felt sorry for the cast having to speak the drivel they had been given. Was not impressed!

Overall all though the quality was great and enjoyable.

The ‘Key’

We found this well worth the money, it was great to drop off the bags on the first day, and the Key lunch was nice. Internet was fantastic, and we found it fast enough to stream Netflix etc. Priority seating at the entertainment venues was well worth it and very useful. We were able to get off the ship at all ports using the Key with little trouble. Final day breakfast was nice, and we disembarked using our own line. Didn’t use the priority hours for the flowrider etc.

Ports

First port was Cococay, ‘A Perfect Day at Cococay’, or so they kept telling us. We had booked a beach bungalow and we were looking forward to a relaxing day at South Beach. However, first of all we were told a few days before the cruise that South Beach was closed and that the bungalows had all moved to Chill Beach. A bit closer but much busier. And no one had told the weather that it was supposed to be perfect. The morning stated off with a rain shower, and it was kinda dry for a few hours after that but just around lunch time the wind whipped up and along came the rain. It was not just a shower either, so we gave up on the Perfect Day and decided to cut our losses and go back to dry of the ship. Problem was, so had the other 6000 people and the lines for the ship were long…..very long. Took us over an hour in the pouring rain to get back on board. Obviously not Royals fault, but I did wonder why they were making everyone go through the security scanners when it’s a private island. Everything on the island is what Royal has brought so what did they think we were gonna smuggle on board? But I guess the rules are the rules. So half a day in a damp bungalow and an long line in a rain storm….. not so much the Perfect Day, but no one’s fault other than the weather gods I guess.

Second port was St Thomas, we had booked a day on a catamaran and a visit to Honeymoon cove. Really enjoyed the day, saw sea turtles and tons of fish whilst snorkelling, (My wife saw her breakfast again after getting a bit seasick on the initial trip to the snorkelling place). Nice BBQ lunch at Honeymoon cove. The crew of the catamaran were brilliant. Worth the money!

Last Port was St Marteen. I didn’t do much on this island as my wife and daughter had booked to go horse-riding and I don’t do horses, so I stayed on board and chilled. Wife and daughter enjoyed the horse riding but were concerned that the horses were very underfed in some cases and the safety equipment was not good. They were given cycling helmets instead of riding helmets and most did not fit well and would just come off. One young girl was given a proper riding helmet, but it didn’t have a chin strap and would just slide of her head making it useless if she came of the horse. She mentioned this when she got back to the shore excursions people who said they would feed it back to Miami.

Final Thoughts

We enjoyed our experience on the Harmony, and would love another cruise on an Oasis class ship, maybe in the Med as the nine hour flight is a bit of a killer. Food was great on the dining package and other than a few moans it was a high standard cruise.

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44 minutes ago, mondas42 said:

The ‘Key’

We found this well worth the money, it was great to drop off the bags on the first day, and the Key lunch was nice. Internet was fantastic, and we found it fast enough to stream Netflix etc. Priority seating at the entertainment venues was well worth it and very useful. We were able to get off the ship at all ports using the Key with little trouble. Final day breakfast was nice, and we disembarked using our own line. Didn’t use the priority hours for the flowrider etc.

 

Glad you had a great cruise! What venue did you have the "Key" lunch?" Which activities had priority hours? 

Edited by FlowRyder
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13 minutes ago, FlowRyder said:

 

Glad you had a great cruise! What venue did you have the "Key" lunch?" Which activities had priority hours? 

Lunch was in the main dining room on level four, and the activities was the flowrider, zip line I think, climbing wall and ice skating.

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I do not understand why they do not cut off the heat to a couple of the hot tubs in the solarium and use them as little mini adult pools. We were on HOTS this past April. Getting in a hot tub when it is over 90 degrees outside is not my idea of a fun time. 

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5 minutes ago, TravisP said:

I do not understand why they do not cut off the heat to a couple of the hot tubs in the solarium and use them as little mini adult pools. We were on HOTS this past April. Getting in a hot tub when it is over 90 degrees outside is not my idea of a fun time. 

Totally agree, the solarium was (not surprisingly) like a green house. The so called mister, wasn’t working very well.

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Thank you SO much!  Im on this same itinerary in 32 days!  :)   We also have the UDP as well!  Also my first ever oceanview balcony (deck 10).    So looking forward to it!  

Edited by ryano
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Thank you for taking the time to share your holiday experience with us! So glad you had a wonderful time. I agree with your opinion of the 9 hr flight! That's why I always stockpile my milage & CC points to upgrade to first class. The lay flat beds help a little but it's still 9 hrs in an airplane!😉

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1 hour ago, TravisP said:

I do not understand why they do not cut off the heat to a couple of the hot tubs in the solarium and use them as little mini adult pools. We were on HOTS this past April. Getting in a hot tub when it is over 90 degrees outside is not my idea of a fun time. 

We were on the same week as this review.  We did go into the hot tub in Solarium on the last day...just so we can say we used it eventhough it was very sunny and hot.  The tub temperature wasn't too hot...just a little more than ambient so I guess they must have dialed down the temperature.  It make the dip nice...almost swimming pool-like.

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Thank you so much for your review! Like you we have the UDP - did you have any problems making your reservations on Deck 8? We also have the Key but not sure whether to cancel but have a couple of months to decide.

Wendy

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Since you had the UDP, you could have gone to Chops or Jaimies for boarding day lunch.  

Also, I saw on FB that the Key folks on Symphony had a priority boarding line for port days

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7 hours ago, mom2tcdx2 said:

Nice review, though I am amazed how anyone could be disappointed with Animal Kingdom.  

I have heard that before. Maybe it’s because it’s more laid back, less of a theme park feeling?

There’s more to do than there was in the beginning, but it’s definitely different from the other parks. I find it more relaxing, if that’s possible at any Disney park!

 

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Very nice review. 

I like the breakfasts at Johnny Rockets but my DH won’t spend money on food on a cruise, so in the past I’ve gone along with him. 

I think I’ll do a couple of solo meals...especially since I like hibachis. 

 

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1 minute ago, jagsfan said:

 ...

I like the breakfasts at Johnny Rockets but my DH won’t spend money on food on a cruise ...

 

 

Not sure I understand, aren't breakfasts at JR free on Oasis class ships?

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3 minutes ago, Host Clarea said:

 

Not sure I understand, aren't breakfasts at JR free on Oasis class ships?

I wasn’t very clear, was I. 

I meant that’s where we get omelets, but other than the free Johnny Rockets breakfasts, we do the MDR or Windjammer. 

But in March, I’n striking  out on my own!

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5 minutes ago, jagsfan said:

I wasn’t very clear, was I. 

I meant that’s where we get omelets, but other than the free Johnny Rockets breakfasts, we do the MDR or Windjammer. 

But in March, I’n striking  out on my own!

 

Got it.🙂

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Enjoyed reading your review.  We will be on Harmony in 11 days.  I am disappointed that there is no pool in the solarium.  Is the Sport Pool an adults only pool?  I'm hoping that there will be one pool that adults only is enforced.  

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7 minutes ago, skoolbusdrvr said:

 thank you enjoyed your review could you please tell me when you had lunch at Johnny Rockets if it was included in the unlimited dining package

 

Hi, yes it was included.

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