You would be hard pressed to take part in everything on offer on the 5,479-passenger Harmony of the Seas in a week. The sheer number of entertainment offerings, both day and night, is bewildering; it's a bit like being at a massive floating theme park, with everything from simulated surfing to ziplines, an ice rink, rock climbing walls and a 10-story dry slide.
Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas is part of the hugely popular Oasis class of ships, the largest cruise ships afloat. The ship is almost a carbon copy of its fleetmates, which pioneered a "neighborhood" concept, with deck plans that group activities into different areas on the ship. So, you have the buzzy, amusement park-style Boardwalk; the serenity of Central Park, with its real trees and plants; the Pool and Sports Zone for outdoor activities, including a large kids’ splash park; and the Royal Promenade for indoor shopping and entertainment.
The sheer size of Harmony of the Seas is astounding; it's easy to forget you're on a ship, especially when you're hanging out on the Royal Promenade, which feels more like a Vegas hotel than a cruise ship. It also means you're less likely to feel the waves, a big plus for those prone to seasickness. At this point, you may be wondering just how big the Harmony of the Seas is. The answer is an impressive 1,188 feet long (almost 4 soccer pitches!), which is only slightly smaller than the newer Symphony of the Seas.
In a Harmony of the Seas vs Symphony of the Seas face-off, the latter wins in size, but both ships offer an almost identical experience. Probably the biggest difference between them is the lack of a plunge pool in the adults-only Solarium on Harmony of the Seas. The smaller cruise ship, however, has a great bar in that area, which the Symphony does not.
With 18 decks, 24 restaurants, 23 pools and whirlpools, 2,747 staterooms and suites, a massive casino, and hundreds of onboard activities, Harmony of the Seas stands out for the variety it offers. Even cabins in the ship's lowest category are thoughtfully designed and comfortable, with space for relaxing and plenty of storage.
Likewise, the entertainment onboard, whether small scale, like an acoustic guitarist, or larger than life, like the production of "Grease," is simply outstanding. The ship's restaurants offer everything from low-key grab-and-go meals to multicourse, hours-long culinary extravaganzas, though be prepared for a variety of quality with the extra-cost venues generally being much better.
If you're happy sharing your cruise vacation with 6,779 other passengers (at full capacity), of all ages and with a lot of families, then Harmony of the Seas is about as good as it gets in terms of activities, entertainment and fun at sea -- throw yourself in, and you'll be kept busy all week.
Main dining room, the buffet and select other eateries
All theater shows (including the AquaTheater and Ice Shows); the comedy club and Jazz on 4
Use of the FlowRiders, Ultimate Abyss, Perfect Storm, zipline, water park, climbing walls, mini-golf and other outside activities including riding on the Boardwalk Carousel
Most daily activities unless noted below
Use of the gym, but not most classes
Gratuities, only if you booked your cruise in Australia and New Zealand in AU and NZ dollars
Mandatory daily gratuities (amounts vary depending on stateroom type)
Automatic beverage and spa tips (18 percent for both)
All drinks beyond water, tea (including iced tea), coffee and select juices in the buffet; drinks packages available for purchase online and on boarding the Harmony of the Seas.
Dining at most specialty restaurants
Wi-Fi for nonsuite passengers; Internet packages can be purchased online and on embarkation
Activities including, but not limited to, Skee-Ball, Whack-A-Mole and arcade games
Photos and artwork
The dress code on the Harmony of the Seas is casual for the most part. During the day, anything goes, though cover-ups or shirts and shoes are required for indoor dining -- and indoor spaces, in general. The dinner dress code calls for "Resort casual," which for women means dresses or skirts, capris or slacks and blouses. For men, khakis or dress pants paired with button-down or collared shirts work. Formalwear options for women include evening gowns, cocktail dresses or fancy blouses with slacks. Men generally go with dress shirts, ties, jackets and slacks, full suits or even tuxedos.
Cutoff jeans, shorts and swimwear are not permitted in the main dining room.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.
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If life on land was as loving and peaceful as Harmony of the Seas
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