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tvlworm

Harmony Review - March 1st - 8th

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Bags are unpacked, real life reality has set back in, along with the post vacation doldrums! I plan our annual spring break vacations as soon as the school district releases the calendar, which typically happens in March. This trip was literally a whole year in the making! 
 

Cruising has been our favorite spring break tradition for 6 of the past 8 years for myself, 2 teens—DS 16, DD 14, and my mom. DH tags along every other year as his annual vacation time allowance is a bit less than mine, so he was left out of the fun this trip.  Most of our previous cruise experience has been on Carnival and NCL, I was really excited to see if this would be a game changer to try RCL and finally an Oasis class ship. Even though many have said all 3 lines are more similar than different, I admit to spending countless hours here on CC reading tons of helpful tips and reviews! 
 
The last couple of weeks prior to our trip, were a bit hectic to say the least. I’m a planner and I plot out packing lists in advance to try and not forget anything.  This was the first time I felt like I packed half a drugstore and a cleaning supply store for vacation, needing 5 suitcases for 4 of us, which is a lot for us 🙂 Between that and reading of not so calm sea reports, I wasn’t sure what to expect of our annual pilgrimage to escape MN for sun and sand.     
 

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Posted (edited)

Our adventure started on Leap Day, leaving behind the cold and snow for Orlando. We had a midday flight which worked out fantastic! The airline cleaning crew must not have received the memos on the virus going around because the plane was GROSS and looked like it hadn’t seen a vacuum in weeks. Out came the clorox wipes which only further proved that point 🤢.  Flight itself was uneventful and we soon found ourselves at home for the night at the Country Inn and Suites MCO Airport.  Good location with several restaurants nearby, free airport shuttle and breakfast included.  Was a comfortable stay for the night and price.  
 

The real fun started Sunday morning! Shuttle service from the hotel to port was reserved with Cortran’s based off their many recommendations on CC and did not disappoint! Friendly driver, nice shuttle and punctual (early actually!). We were the last pick-up and left the hotel just before 10am.  I was more excited than a kid on Christmas coming over the hill when the ship came into view! My DS and mom both were in shock seeing just how large of a ship we were about to board!  

Royal deserves major kudos to the boarding process, it was 1045am when we arrived and was a walk through the entire time, directly to the ship only stopping for the document verification and sail away boarding picture. Best boarding experience ever!  First impression of the ship was simply amazing. I could not get over this was a ship and I was on it, completely in awe.  


It felt like we all walked around aimlessly for hours checking everything out. Even though I read lots about avoiding it for lunch, we worked our way up decks in our sightseeing and after the pools and sport areas, ended up at the Windjammer. Similar to the entire ship, hand sanitizer stands were everywhere and they had staffed queue lines to enforce going through the hand washing area prior to entering. I wondered just how many times each day the attendant said “washy washy or no yummy yummy”.  It was busy but not as chaotic as I had imagined it would be.  Everything was still self serve, with the exception of ice cream.  


Mission exploitation continued until the announcement was made about rooms being ready. To our surprise, all of our luggage was waiting inside. Was nice to see first hand our home for the week, cabin 6702, which was an oceanview balcony.  I loved the multiple outlets and charging options. The room was clean, had decent storage and I really did like the bathroom shower door versus a curtain. I’m not sure what it was but the room felt smaller than other balcony cabins we’ve had, even more so, with the trundle pulled out from the couch. So I did miss the 4th bed being from the ceiling, especially since it allows you to still access the balcony which the trundle does not.   
 

Before we knew it, it was time for muster and then sail away party! I thought the location of the party was kind of awkward but it worked, just a different challenge with the split pool areas. 
 

The rest of that evening was calm and quite relaxing as we enjoyed the ship and sailed away for our first stop at Coco Cay.
  
Pictures from around the ship! 

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Our home for the week-6702

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More of the ship

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Goodbye Florida! 

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Our first sunset at sea! 

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Edited by tvlworm

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I wish we were on this sailing. Our kids are pushing us to cancel our March 28th one. 

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1 hour ago, jagsfan said:

I wish we were on this sailing. Our kids are pushing us to cancel our March 28th one. 

I really hope they reconsider! Obviously a lot changed the week we were gone but I’d still go again and wishing I had enough vacation time to take advantage of these amazing deals out right now!

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15 minutes ago, tvlworm said:

I really hope they reconsider! Obviously a lot changed the week we were gone but I’d still go again and wishing I had enough vacation time to take advantage of these amazing deals out right now!

Our age is why everyone is concerned...not just our family. Friends are bombarding me with emails. 

Just had one forward an email from Medicare saying no one on Medicare should cruise. 

We’re definitely in the upper age of the elderlies, and I’m subject to bronchitis, but otherwise, we’re fine. 

I don't want to cancel, but I may be being stupid to risk our lives. Ugh!

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20 minutes ago, jagsfan said:

Our age is why everyone is concerned...not just our family. Friends are bombarding me with emails. 

Just had one forward an email from Medicare saying no one on Medicare should cruise. 

We’re definitely in the upper age of the elderlies, and I’m subject to bronchitis, but otherwise, we’re fine. 

I don't want to cancel, but I may be being stupid to risk our lives. Ugh!

I can see that being a really tough call in that situation! 

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Loving your review.

 

Pictures are awesome.

 

Question.... I saw you took pictures in the casino.  Do you happen to know if those slot machines are all computer screens or do they have any of the older pre-computer screen ones.  TY

 

My eyes get bothered if I am on a computer slot machine too long, and I would like to only donate my money on the old fashioned kind.

 

Safe travels.

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Posted (edited)

Day 2 - Perfect Day at Coco Cay! 
My excitement level was still going strong! I was so excited for our day here. Since it was our first RCL cruise, and it being completely new for us all.  
 

Watching the weather the week and days leading up to our trip, the forecast wasn’t looking the greatest. Initially was showing high temps in the upper 60s 😳 but slowly improved to 74, with moderate wind, which  is what we had. Unfortunately this meant most excursions were cancelled including the snorkeling trip, swimming with pigs, the balloon ride and parasailing.  Eventually they even closed off the shore snorkeling which was a big bummer for me as that was my plan.  The walk down the pier was the worst part—especially back to the ship, the wind made for a good workout!  But the sun was fully shining and it felt so good around most areas of the island.  
 

Shockingly, my teens did not want to do the water park and me wanting to see everything on the island, pretty sure they hated me by the end of the day, as we ended up moving to different spots every 30-45 minutes 😂 as I wanted to see all that was there.  It is really a beautiful place and did not at all feel crowded and more than enough places to spread out with or without shade.  We walked around everywhere and it’s easily in my opinion the best private island out there, somewhere and something to make a perfect day out of.  

Goid morning from Coco Cay! 

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Almost ready to let us off

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view of Thrill island 

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ship from the bridge crossing to chill island 

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chill island cove 3 

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chill island cove 1 

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new over the water bungalows 

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oasis pool

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free waterpark area 

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found an iguana hanging out 

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a stingray was entertaining us skipping the water next to the pier walking back to the ship

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Edited by tvlworm

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13 minutes ago, Lionesss said:

Loving your review.

 

Pictures are awesome.

 

Question.... I saw you took pictures in the casino.  Do you happen to know if those slot machines are all computer screens or do they have any of the older pre-computer screen ones.  TY

 

My eyes get bothered if I am on a computer slot machine too long, and I would like to only donate my money on the old fashioned kind.

 

Safe travels.

Thank you! They have both screen and reel style slots 🎰 🙂 

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Posted (edited)

Day 2 Continued - 

It was a full day of sun and lots of walking around Coco Cay.  Sadly between the wind and the cold water temps, we didn’t fully get to enjoy everything and only walked in and out of the water, both at the pool and beach areas, but we logged over 20,000 steps that day!  There are frequent trams circling around if needed. 
 

After returning to the ship, I lost a couple of people who decided that kicking up the feet was needed, so DD and I happily roamed around the ship. Evenings on ships are my favorite, they have a whole different vibe and look when all lit up, Harmony being no exception!  
 

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Above the Abyss, it looks like there is light  turned on the entire week. 
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Not sure how I didn’t know the roaming piano man was a thing but was a fun surprise in the elevator!

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Had fun watching the bionic bar robot arms! 

Edited by tvlworm

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Wonderful review and great pics! We will be sailing on HOTS May 24th-can't wait!

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Thanks for the great review so far and pictures.  What type of camera or phone did you use for the CocoCay pictures?

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1 hour ago, red-dragon said:

Thanks for the great review so far and pictures.  What type of camera or phone did you use for the CocoCay pictures?

Thank you—all pictures were with an iPhone X. 

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Day 3 - Sea Day!  
Mission for the day was to sit out, soak up as much sun as possible and see what kind of fun activities would be available throughout the day.  The winds followed us out of Coco Cay, and was the first day could really feel movement on the ship, which surprised us a bit! It wasn’t bad, but was noticeable.  Enjoyed our breakfast at Johnny Rockets and made our way up and outside. 
 

Poolside activities and games are always fun to watch so we made sure to check out the sexiest man competition which was very funny and entertaining! My skin was telling me it was time to take a break from the sun so I checked out the casino and played some trivia, with no luck at either.  Had a late lunch at Park Cafe for the famous roast beef sandwich. Not sure if it was missing something but it didn’t live up to the hype. Apparently it got better later in the week from what I heard from others onboard, the Cuban was good though! 
 

The planned highlight of the day was dinner that night at Wonderland, the only specialty restaurant we ate at (didn’t book a dining package).  My DS is a very adventurous eater, his nickname at home is the food critic, and I was really excited to have this night, mainly for his enjoyment. DD and I were a little more apprehensive for what was to come.  
 

The venue is very fun and I loved the space! Our waiter also was super friendly and really eager to please. I was slightly disappointed in the magic menu, it was pretty worn and could tell what was going to appear before using the paint brush, but still a fun effect!  When he first asked about our food preferences, he must have really focused on my DS enthusiasm when asked about seafood. The first appetizer brought out was the smoking deviled eggs in the nest, which were good, if you enjoy deviled eggs.  The next 4 appetizers were all seafood, including crispy wrapped shrimp, liquid lobster, iced citrus tuna and finally the crispy crab cone. It was a CHALLENGE for DH and me even attempting and making the effort to try each one, but we did and I’m sure our reactions were priceless! DS, was in heaven the entire time and happily helped us out!
 

After the last appetizer was presented and our waiter advised the main courses were coming I did ask that for two of us, non-seafood was needed. Our entrees ended up as the terrior beef, chicken and the sea bass. I only tried the chicken and beef, both were great!  The desserts finished our meal and all three were very good, the world (melting chocolate with ice cream center) being the favorite.  In all, even with the challenging appetizers, it was a great experience and I’m really happy to have tried something that is completely different and the presentation was beautiful!  
 

The remainder of the evening was spent people watching (always fun on formal night!) and strolling about.  
 

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15 hours ago, tvlworm said:

Thank you—all pictures were with an iPhone X. 

Wow, I have the same phone, but perhaps I didn't have sufficient lighting during our sailing.  

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3 hours ago, red-dragon said:

Wow, I have the same phone, but perhaps I didn't have sufficient lighting during our sailing.  

I have to give thanks to my DD for that! She taught me how to use the light adjustment feature when taking pictures with my phone 😁

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Day 4 - Costa Maya 

Our schedule was to arrive in Costa Maya at 10am. This was a new port for us and I used CC quite a bit to find options on how to spend our day. I checked out the port schedule in advance and 3 other ships were scheduled including NCL Escape, CCL Dream and Celebrity Edge—so a very busy day for what I perceived as a smaller port.  That ruled out staying in the port area and hanging out by the pool etc. I was on the fence about going to the waterpark as I wasn’t sure if my teens would change their minds and go to Thrill Island at Coco Cay, and two waterpark days wasn’t going to happen 🙂.   Instead, we planned on using the trolley or taxi and heading to Mahahual, going to the Krazy Lobster.  
 

Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas and altered all plans 😞. When the port area came into view from the distance, I couldn’t see any other ships and all were scheduled to arrive before us. This was the closest we made it to docking before the captain announced the seas were too rough and the port was closed to all traffic.
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I was pretty bummed! It doesn’t seem to be a favorite place but I was looking forward to some place new and a relaxing day near the water and hopefully some snorkeling. 
 

Instead we gained a bonus sea day. Conditions were a bit on the rough side with strong winds, so the upper decks (16) were closed. Made for a challenge in finding deck space so I consoled myself in the casino 😂 and won, not a jackpot but enough to be an instant mood changer 😁

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With the great indoors being more favorable than outside, we played a lot of the new games and trivia that was added for the day throughout the afternoon.  They were very popular, packed and fun! 
 

The upper deck opened late afternoon and we tried catching some rays but it was so windy still that it wasn’t at all enjoyable.  Retreated back indoors for dinner and our fingers were crossed that the Fine Line show would still go on as planned as our reservations were for that evening.  
 

The show went on and so happy it did! We all really enjoyed it with the rubber band jumpers being my favorite part.  
 

We made it an earlier than usual night as our arrival for Roatan the next morning was scheduled for 7am, which seemed a little crazy since that was only 6am local time! 

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