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  4. 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
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Harmony of the Seas

Itinerary

The "middle city" of Florida's Gold Coast, Fort Lauderdale sits between Miami to the south and Palm Beach to the north. The city blends nicely with its metropolitan neighbors, and elements of Miami's chic vibe and the affluent nature of Palm Beach are recognizable. But Fort Lauderdale is a destination itself. Operating one of the busiest cruise ports in North America -- more than three million people pass through each year -- helps define Fort Lauderdale as a robust tourism spot.

Fort Lauderdale started out as a swampy outpost with a fort, built to protect against the Seminole Indians. The swamps were transformed in the late 1800s into a series of canals by scooping out parallel waterways and creating long peninsulas between them. This created more than 300 miles of navigable waterways (twice that of Venice) -- hence the city's nickname "Venice of America." The abundance of waterways that wind up and down the coast make Fort Lauderdale a boating hot spot, with 42,000 registered yachts.

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Nassau, with its blend of influences from West Africa to England and from Haiti to the United States, is one of the most popular (and often congested) cruise ports in the Caribbean and Bahamas.

The yellow and blue stripes on the Bahamian flag represent the nation's sandy beaches and surrounding ocean, while the black triangle stands for unity and the people's determination to develop the land and the sea. With endlessly developing hotels, resorts and shopping areas, it isn't hard to make this connection in Nassau, the capital of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

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  • Day 3

If you cruise regularly to the Caribbean, chances are you'll end up in St. Thomas. Its popularity as one of the world's most heavily trafficked cruise ports is well-earned. The island offers something for just about everyone and has the infrastructure that can accommodate a huge daily population influx. In addition to a duty-free shopping scene that's virtually unparalleled, other on-the-beaten-track sites include the world-famous beach at Magens Bay and a scenic tram ride to a mountaintop.

Nearly every ship sailing an Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes St. Thomas as a port of call, as do many Southern Caribbean voyages. You'll even see St. Thomas on Panama Canal and South American itineraries (when a Florida port such as Fort Lauderdale or Miami serves as a port of embarkation or debarkation). It's not uncommon, particularly during the Caribbean's winter high season, to see six ships or more docked or anchored in a day -- and that can mean an extra 20,000 people mixing into a population hovering in the mid-50,000s.

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In 1493, Christopher Columbus was allegedly so smitten with this volcanic island that he named it after St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Since its discovery, St. Christopher (later shortened by British sailors to St. Kitts) has been fought over by the British and French who, tragically, made it a center of the West Indian slave trade. Pirates, including the notorious William Kidd who was marooned on Nevis after his crew mutinied, enjoyed lucrative careers in Basseterre Harbor.

St. Kitts and sister isle Nevis were part of the British Empire until 1967, earning semi-independent status when they were named associated states of Great Britain. In 1983, the 68-square-mile St. Kitts and Nevis became an independent, two-island nation with a parliamentary government headed by a prime minister. While British holdovers such as cricket and driving on the left side of the road remain, the Kittitians are extremely proud of their history and how far they've come on their own.

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  • Day 6
  • Day 7

The "middle city" of Florida's Gold Coast, Fort Lauderdale sits between Miami to the south and Palm Beach to the north. The city blends nicely with its metropolitan neighbors, and elements of Miami's chic vibe and the affluent nature of Palm Beach are recognizable. But Fort Lauderdale is a destination itself. Operating one of the busiest cruise ports in North America -- more than three million people pass through each year -- helps define Fort Lauderdale as a robust tourism spot.

Fort Lauderdale started out as a swampy outpost with a fort, built to protect against the Seminole Indians. The swamps were transformed in the late 1800s into a series of canals by scooping out parallel waterways and creating long peninsulas between them. This created more than 300 miles of navigable waterways (twice that of Venice) -- hence the city's nickname "Venice of America." The abundance of waterways that wind up and down the coast make Fort Lauderdale a boating hot spot, with 42,000 registered yachts.

Read More
Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
4.5
1,238 reviews
Why Choose Harmony of the Seas?

Pro

Largest cruise ship in the world offers plenty of choice

Con

Can feel crowded and busy, despite clever design to combat congestion

Bottom Line

Fantastic ship for families and those looking for great entertainment and activities

Harmony of the Seas Overview

The world's biggest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas is literally packed with fun. The ship has so many features that will keep you entertained at all hours of the day and well into the night. It's constantly buzzing with energy.

Passengers seeking more active pursuits will love the ship's three water slides (dubbed The Perfect Storm), two rock climbing walls, two surf simulators, ice skating rink, zipline and The Ultimate Abyss, a 10-story dry slide that plummets passengers down a heart-pounding ride through twists and turns with loud noises and flashing lights. Those who prefer more leisurely pursuits won't be disappointed, either. The ship has three big pools and lounging areas, an adults-only Solarium space, a relaxing spa and live music at every turn.

To help passengers really find the things they love, Harmony of the Seas uses a "neighborhood" concept, which first debuted on nearly identical fleetmate Oasis of the Seas in 2009. The idea is that similar areas or activities are grouped into neighborhoods. The ship includes seven neighborhoods: peaceful outdoor space Central Park; bustling amusement park style Boardwalk; the Royal Promenade for shopping, dining, drinking and dancing; Entertainment Place, for comedy, jazz and production shows; Youth Place, for the kids; Vitality Sea Spa and Fitness Center, for working out and getting pampered; and Pool and Sports Zone, for playing, swimming and being active. The neighborhood design is meant to reduce traffic flow, with the idea that people will naturally gravitate to the areas they love over and over again. And it does that, somewhat. So many activities are offered all day, every day, people will find their favorites. But when you sail with 5,497 passengers, you will never be alone. Harmony of the Seas is always busy, and when it's sailing in inclement weather, everyone moves inside the ship, avoiding the wonderful outdoor spaces.

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 resort-like. It also means you're less likely to feel the waves, a big plus for those prone to seasickness.

What Harmony of the Seas has in spades is variety, whether you're talking cabins, entertainment or dining. 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. Quality is fairly varied, as well, and a number of the included restaurant options are just OK, while the venues that cost extra generally are very good. If you're going to splurge, dine at 150 Park Avenue. If you really want to go all-out, try the wine-pairing dinner there.

Children's facilities, especially when combined with the number of activities onboard, are virtually flawless. You'll find lots of space for kids of all ages, fun and entertaining programming as well as a partnership with DreamWorks that makes movie time a blast. Parents can spend time playing with their kids all day, then feel comfortable heading off on date night knowing their children are in good hands.

Service onboard is a bit spotty; brilliant in some venues and apathetic in others. Likewise, lines at the guest services desk get long quickly, and problems aren't always promptly resolved. Phone calls to guest services or restaurant venues often go unanswered.

The Ultimate Abyss slide, certainly the most talked-about feature on Harmony of the Seas, perfectly encapsulates the ship: It's innovative, fun, bright, exciting and slick. While the slide -- and the ship -- aren't for everybody, those who love high-energy activities and action will be in heaven.

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Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: January 2018
Reason for taking this cruise was to try the largest cruise ship. Never again. Small State Room; refrigerator, sink, ice bucket. Too many passengers. Long lines everywhere. Not able to get anyone to answer phone when calling ... Read More
Reason for taking this cruise was to try the largest cruise ship. Never again. Small State Room; refrigerator, sink, ice bucket. Too many passengers. Long lines everywhere. Not able to get anyone to answer phone when calling different departments. Too noisy, "Constant" Public Addresses about "nothing". The Windjammer too crowded with too small tables and lousy access. Plenty food, but not very good quality. No food after 9 pm. Even the New Your Strip Steak in the main dining room was miserable; and you would have to pay an additional $20+ for a Filet Mignon that has been free on the last 13 cruises we took. The Good news: Our Stateroom Attendant Mr. Tedi xxxxxxxx was outstanding. The Bad news: The Harmony of the Seas is apparently designed for maximum amount of passengers, in as little space as possible, spending as much money as possible. I don't know what else to say. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose Harmony of the Seas because it was one of the biggest cruises in the world and we wanted to have the experience of traveling on it. The social areas of the ship are breath taking, suppose it was due to the amount of details in ... Read More
We chose Harmony of the Seas because it was one of the biggest cruises in the world and we wanted to have the experience of traveling on it. The social areas of the ship are breath taking, suppose it was due to the amount of details in the decoration. Amazing generosity of food both in quality and amount, the variety of restaurants, the kindness of the waitresses, the quality of the shows was amazing and the amenities like the mini golf, the rides, the zip line the surf pool, absolutely fantastic, never thought of been in a cruise with all that. The space in the room was generous enough considering that we were on a cruise. All the family and specially my 6 and 10-year-old boys had so much fun that they say that this was an unforgettable experience, and I believe so. Didn’t like much the Labadie and Jamaica port, I wish there were some other places to visit. Also found the excursions a little bit pricy, but overall I highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
I wanted to go on Harmony Of the Seas for my 70th Birthday. The ship is beautiful. The cabin was decorated for my birthday and a beautiful birthday cake and robes were sent by our children. I have been on Oasis, Allure and now The ... Read More
I wanted to go on Harmony Of the Seas for my 70th Birthday. The ship is beautiful. The cabin was decorated for my birthday and a beautiful birthday cake and robes were sent by our children. I have been on Oasis, Allure and now The Harmony of the Seas. The addition of the “Costal Kitchen “ and the Concierges made our trip perfect. Raj and Mohaman were wonderful. Royal gave me $50 toward a Spa treatment. The main dining room was very noisy and the service was very good. Food was good but was not happy with the Swordfish which was over cooked. The salmon was very.good. They were very nice and I ordered another main course. We met quite a few lovely people at thr “Costal Kitchen”. A great vacation with wonderful memories and especially having a tour of the bridge: We did plenty of walking around the ship as there is always something going on. The Water show was fabulous. We saw the one at night. This was the best that I have seen. Entertainment very professional as always on Royal: Read Less