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Harmony shortened cruise 9-5-19 to 9-8-19


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After all the wait this has been an enjoyable “mini-cruise” from Thursday to Sunday. 

 

We arrived to the port at about 10:30 am Thursday. Lines were pretty long but we were trying the Key for the first time. Zipped right through a special line and checked in immediately. 

 

Upstairs we we had a separate Key boarding waiting area. Right outside it was a Specialty Dinner reservations table. We were also trying the Unlimited Dining Plan this cruise. You can’t reserve ahead of time so it was nice to be able to make our reservations prior to boarding. 

 

We boarded a little before 11:00 - Key members went first (Maybe by mistake).  A lady came and got us and brought us over to the boarding entrance. Another lady said “Key is not yet”... someone else is first. Anyway, our lady said something to her and away we went. 

 

We had to sign up for an excursion and make show reservations so we split up. I was the first to the excursions desk so that went fast. Signed up for the Pearl Island 5 hour beach excursion. 

 

My wife did the show reservations. They were having a problem getting one show reserved as it said we saw it earlier in the week. Then our account got locked up for some reason. The guy said he would manually do the reservations later which he did. 

 

Luckily we did not need to go to Guest Services for anything as the line was really long for the first few hours. Not what I’d want to do on this shortened cruise. 

 

I checked the Royal app and was happy to see the 4 days on board credit applied. Nice to start a cruise with such a large credit. 

 

The Key lunch started at 11:30. We dropped our luggage (only packed carry-on since this was a short cruise) at the Key drop off area. Walked around a bit and then headed to the Key lunch in main dining room.  I had the fillet and it was cooked perfectly. 

 

By by the time lunch was over our cabin was ready so we headed there. This was the first time we tried a Central Park balcony. The shortened cruise was a blessing as we did not like this cabin. I’ve read some of the concerns about noise and hot balconies. All very true. More on that in a bit.

 

We had a nice welcome gift of a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries  as this was our 30th Anniversary cruise. We also had a bottle of wine (part of a Central Park balcony perk), some cookies, and our C&A soda cans, and bottled water.  The counter was quite full. 

 

We changed into our swimsuits and headed up to the adult pool. There were only about 6 people at the pool. Pretty much empty. We stayed at the pool for a couple hours and left before the Welcome Aboard party started.  We had been up since 1am driving to the cruise port so we wanted a nap before dinner and nighttime activities. 

 

And here is why we would never do a Central Park balcony again. We just started our nap when the Welcome Aboard party started up on the pool deck. Wow!!! It sounded like there was a speaker on our balcony!!!  Luckily my wife is a heavy sleeper and fell asleep before it started. 

 

There are also posts about the Central Park balconies being hot and little breeze. Very true. We will stick with the Ocean View Balconies in the future. 

 

Dinner Thursday night was at 150 Central Park. We were one of 4 groups in the restaurant- very empty. I had the scallops, tenderloin and fried cheesecake for dessert. Delicious meal. 

 

After dinner we saw Columbus. We saw it in April... an enjoyable show. An older couple next to us left after 30 minutes. I don’t think they realized it was a comedy / spoof.  I felt bad as there were very few attending this particular showing. 

 

Next up was the comedy show at 10:30. I did not really get an earlier nap so I mentioned we could skip it, but wife vetoed me on that.  So glad she did. BEST COMEDY SHOW EVER!!!  Comedians were Brad Upton and Rich Aronovitch. Great shows and we had a great audience. 

 

We called it a night after that. 

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We had a pretty good sleep Thursday night as we were exhausted. There were some little kids playing somewhere... maybe down in Central Park. It was around 11:00pm and they were yelling and screaming. Strike 3 for Central Park. 

 

Friday we we got up and grabbed a coffee and a couple of waters in the Diamond Lounge. Ok, maybe a donut too. Then headed down to find where we could exit early at port via the Key. Walking by On Air we just happened to see an employee holding a Key sign. She was there to escort Key guests off early. This was no big deal In Nassau. Ship arrived a little before 10am. We were the first ones off but it was at 10:25 and our excursion was meeting on the pier at 10:45. 

 

We had chosen the Pearl Island excursion. 5 hours with a boat ride to and from a little island with activities. They have snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding as part of the excursion and it also included lunch. It was a relaxing beach trip. Would I do it again?  Probably not as I think we lucked out as there were only about 50 of us on the excursion.  The island typically has a couple hundred from what I heard. That would have been too busy / too crowded. But it worked out great for us. 

 

Here are some picks of the island. You can see all the empty beach chairs this day. The food was pretty good. The fish was delicious, the rice was good, and the chicken was very dry / over cooked. 

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Thanks for you update.  I have enjoyed your positive, roll with it, attitude during this whole storm.  Seems like you are having a good time on Harmony.  We board Sept 29th, so keep the review coming.  Enjoy your last day on the ship.

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I forgot to mention passenger count. The cruise director Thursday night mentioned 3900 passengers but then we heard 3,090 from someone else yesterday.  Definitely the least crowded Oasis Class cruise we’ve ever taken. We were out by the pools at 10am today and still some front row chairs available right in front of the pool. 

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2 minutes ago, VaTech8912 said:

Thanks for you update.  I have enjoyed your positive, roll with it, attitude during this whole storm.  Seems like you are having a good time on Harmony.  We board Sept 29th, so keep the review coming.  Enjoy your last day on the ship.

 

Thank you - we will keep the ship clean for you!!!

 

if I can take a momentary break from my positive attitude for one comment. People - please leave your portable Bluetooth speakers at home!!!  There is a group on board that I am told brings it to the pool. We also unfortunately had someone from our ship on our Pearl Island excursion bring one. They played their preferred music and drowned out the local more relaxing beach music.  Just self-centered behavior at others expense. 

 

Okay, back to positivity. 

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After returning from the Pearl Island excursion we cleaned up and headed to the Next Cruise desk to book or “do-over” Anniversary cruise. We chose the Jan 12, 2020 Allure Perfect Day Cruise as we have not been to CocoCay yet. We now have 4 cruises booked for 2020!!! 

 

Dinner was the Hibachi Experience. Had 2 other couples with us. Excellent food and very fun experience. We have done it on land before but never onboard. With the Unlimited Dining Plan we enjoyed trying new things. Note - the plan includes 1 protein but you pay the difference if you want the 2 protein option. It was $49 versus $45 so only $4 more if chosen. 

 

Here is what I like about the Unlimited Dining Plan. You can make multiple reservations each night if you desire. We loved the fried cheesecake dessert at 150 Central Park so we skipped dessert at Hibachi and went back to Central Park for dessert. We had pre planned this with a reservation. Okay, I love scallops so I may have had their scallops appetizer too along with dessert. 😀

 

After dinner we had the Ronn Lucas comedian / ventriloquist show. We arrived 15 minutes before the show started and sat front row. Better than the reserved Key seats way up in the balcony I feel for this type of show. 

 

He put on a great show. Theater seemed about 1/2 full for this show. After the show the cruise director mentioned CocoCay was reopening tomorrow (Saturday). People were excited but then he said “we aren’t going”. Too bad - that would have been a great way for RC to give us an unexpected positive twist to this sailing. We will have to wait for January to experience CocoCay. 

 

My my wife was tired so she headed back to relax in the room. I decided to go donate to the slot machines. I was heading down to casino and remembered we were still in port so Casino not open. I decided to check it out anyway and surprise... Casino was open. Never knew they did that before leaving a port. Maybe Nassau is special.  Put in $20 and about 4 minutes later won a little “jackpot” and cashed out with $45. Decided to take the $25 winnings and enter the Slot Tournament on Saturday. 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, kernow said:

Not Explorer, she's currently in Tenerife! Spoke to my parents who are onboard about an hour ago.

 

Enjoying the review, glad you are having a good time in spite of all the hiccups.

Thanks for the correction. I couldn’t read the name but a guy sitting there said it was Explorer. 

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Well, our “do-over” cruise in January on Allure was about $300 more but just made up the difference. 

 

Decided to take the $25 winnings from slot machines last night to enter the slot tournament and won!!! 

 

Unfortunately it was not a “win a cruise” tournament this time but I’m not complaining about $500. This cruise keeps getting better. 😀  

 

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Today was a relaxing day at sea. Slept in a bit and then headed to the Solarium for a light breakfast. Well, mostly a light breakfast. I must confess one of my “comfort foods” from growing up is corned beef hash. So bad for you but oh so good. I never eat it anywhere except when cruising. I’ve enjoyed it the past 2 days at breakfast. I usually justify it by a 3 mile run on the ships track on deck 5 daily. With the shortened cruise we did not bother with any exercise clothes. 

 

I forgot to mention something else “new” (for me) that I brought along. I had read where others brought those magnetic hooks for extra hanging space. They are great - don’t know why it took me so long to buy these. I included a couple of photos of them. Almost every wall in the cabin is metal so you can hang them anywhere. 

 

We wanted a little break from the full sun so we spent the morning in a cabana in the Solarium. Nice breeze coming in to help keep us cool. I also did a quick FaceTime video call back home with my 3 year old grandson as he wanted to see the “big boat”. 

 

Our plan for lunch as part of the Unlimited Dining Plan was Jamie’s Italian. Unfortunately we got there and they said they had no spots open and were full. This was at 11:45 and there was no one in the restaurant - maybe a big group was coming or there were “no shows”. Next time we will know to make lunch reservations too. We headed over to Chops and had lunch there instead.  They announced a seafood buffet was available for lunch in the main dining room while we were in Chops. I skipped dessert so we could go check that out. The seafood buffet included some nice crab claws so I enjoyed some of those for my lunch dessert. 

 

It was about time for the Slot Tournament so I headed to the casino while my wife opted to read some more of her book back in the cabin. 

 

They only did 2 rounds for the slot tournament qualifying rounds. 12 people each round. I finished the qualifying rounds in 2nd place. On to the final round I went. It was a crazy 3 minutes in the final round. I started strong and was number 1 (which usually is not a good sign). About mid way through, I was in 5th place. Then with 10-15 seconds left I was in 2nd place. They replace your rank with a “?” the last 10-15 seconds so I was excited when it was over to see “WINNER” on my screen. 

 

I returned to the cabin looking sad and then surprised my wife in a shower of bills (LOL - always wanted to do that). 

 

We headed off to catch the afternoon performance of Grease. It was good as always and the fact that I took a little nap during the show was not a reflection of the performance. Just catching up on some much needed rest - especially ahead of our 11 hour drive home tomorrow. 

 

Our reservation for Wonderland is in 30 minutes so need to get ready. This is a first for us and I’m excited for the culinary experience. Many photos of that to come. 

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5 minutes ago, thrifty99 said:

Today was a relaxing day at sea. Slept in a bit and then headed to the Solarium for a light breakfast. Well, mostly a light breakfast. I must confess one of my “comfort foods” from growing up is corned beef hash. So bad for you but oh so good. I never eat it anywhere except when cruising. I’ve enjoyed it the past 2 days at breakfast. I usually justify it by a 3 mile run on the ships track on deck 5 daily. With the shortened cruise we did not bother with any exercise clothes. 

 

I forgot to mention something else “new” (for me) that I brought along. I had read where others brought those magnetic hooks for extra hanging space. They are great - don’t know why it took me so long to buy these. I included a couple of photos of them. Almost every wall in the cabin is metal so you can hang them anywhere. 

 

We wanted a little break from the full sun so we spent the morning in a cabana in the Solarium. Nice breeze coming in to help keep us cool. I also did a quick FaceTime video call back home with my 3 year old grandson as he wanted to see the “big boat”. 

 

Our plan for lunch as part of the Unlimited Dining Plan was Jamie’s Italian. Unfortunately we got there and they said they had no spots open and were full. This was at 11:45 and there was no one in the restaurant - maybe a big group was coming or there were “no shows”. Next time we will know to make lunch reservations too. We headed over to Chops and had lunch there instead.  They announced a seafood buffet was available for lunch in the main dining room while we were in Chops. I skipped dessert so we could go check that out. The seafood buffet included some nice crab claws so I enjoyed some of those for my lunch dessert. 

 

It was about time for the Slot Tournament so I headed to the casino while my wife opted to read some more of her book back in the cabin. 

 

They only did 2 rounds for the slot tournament qualifying rounds. 12 people each round. I finished the qualifying rounds in 2nd place. On to the final round I went. It was a crazy 3 minutes in the final round. I started strong and was number 1 (which usually is not a good sign). About mid way through, I was in 5th place. Then with 10-15 seconds left I was in 2nd place. They replace your rank with a “?” the last 10-15 seconds so I was excited when it was over to see “WINNER” on my screen. 

 

I returned to the cabin looking sad and then surprised my wife in a shower of bills (LOL - always wanted to do that). 

 

We headed off to catch the afternoon performance of Grease. It was good as always and the fact that I took a little nap during the show was not a reflection of the performance. Just catching up on some much needed rest - especially ahead of our 11 hour drive home tomorrow. 

 

Our reservation for Wonderland is in 30 minutes so need to get ready. This is a first for us and I’m excited for the culinary experience. Many photos of that to come. 

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Congratulations!

i always ask my DH if he won or lost and he always answers “Yes”!

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We had a very enjoyable dinner at Wonderland tonight at 5:30. It was our first time experiencing this restaurant. We had read reviews but were not sure how filling the meal would be so we reserved another late dinner at Izumi at 9:30 in case we needed more food. This was not needed and we cancelled that reservation. 

 

Wonderland was very unique in the presentation and flavors. We enjoyed the “story” of how everything was prepared. The waiter did an excellent job of asking the types of food we liked / disliked to personalize several of the selections. 

 

Below are some of the photos I took during the meal. 

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After dinner we enjoyed a drink while listening to an entertainer in the Schooner Bar singing Billy Joel songs. Next was the parade on the Promenade and then we headed back to the cabin to begin packing. It will be an early night to bed and an early departure to begin the 11 hour drive home.

 

While the cruise was shortened from 7 nights to 3 nights, the additional 2 nights we spent in San Destin at the beach prior to the cruise really made it feel more like a week of vacationing. 

 

Things we learned this cruise:

 

- Unlimited Dining Plan:  we will try this again and will enjoy more days to hit all the restaurants next time. We will watch for sales at Black Friday to get the plan at a nice price. 

 

- Central Park balcony cabin:  not for us. We missed the Ocean View cabin we have always done prior. 

 

- The Key:  we would do it again if the price was right. We paid $19.99 a day per person and it is not worth any more than that to us. The primary benefit is the Internet. If we also did the Unlimited Dining Plan we might skip they Key and just buy the Internet. 

 

- Don’t use Royal Caribbean Visa Rewards certificates for cruises during hurricane season. RC wanted to give us less credit for the hurricane lost days due to using these Visa credits. I spent a couple of frustrating days getting conflicting answers and had to escalate it up the ladder to finally get a resolution in our favor. 

 

Hope you enjoyed this quick quick review of our shortened cruise. 

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On 9/7/2019 at 4:56 PM, thrifty99 said:

Our plan for lunch as part of the Unlimited Dining Plan was Jamie’s Italian. Unfortunately we got there and they said they had no spots open and were full. This was at 11:45 and there was no one in the restaurant - maybe a big group was coming or there were “no shows”. Next time we will know to make lunch reservations too.

 

I always stay in a Central Park balcony because they are a little cheaper. One of the perks of a Central Park balcony is a complementary lunch at either Jamie's, Sabor, or Johnny Rockets.  This can only be used on a sea day, so on this short cruise we only had 1 day we could use it.  Also, Jamie's doesn't open until 12.  I showed up for my 12 reservation and was one of the first tables seated, and ended up staying until they closed at 1:30.  The place definitely filled up!

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