This cruise was our 16th - the 12th with RCI so straight away, you'll see that we are biased towards Royal Caribbean or 'loyal2royal' and whenever they launch a new class, we usually sail during the inaugural season. ... Read More
This cruise was our 16th - the 12th with RCI so straight away, you'll see that we are biased towards Royal Caribbean or 'loyal2royal' and whenever they launch a new class, we usually sail during the inaugural season. We're a couple with children in their twenties, who needless to say don't come on holiday with us any longer!
We sailed from Barcelona and didn't stay before or after because we've done that on previous occasions. Embarkation was the best it's ever been. I'm not sure whether that's because we were relatively early at 12;30pm, but we didn't need to queue and were on the ship and in our stateroom - deck 7, room 270 - by 1pm.
We'd booked a balcony stateroom, it wasn't the biggest but it was enough. It was decorated in blues/silvers/greys. The bathroom was the usual pod size and didn't look any different to any of the other RCI ships, but it was fine. One negative is that on all previous ships, inc all other RCI, P & O, Celebrity and Princess our TV has always had an abundant amount of British TV and a selection of movie channels. This time, you had to pay. My husband wasn't happy all he could get was CNN when previously we've had Sky News.
The ship has a boutique feel (similar to the Britannia) and is, understandably very modern. Technology is everywhere, in the shape of ipads where you can sign in using your Seapass card and make reservations for the many restaurants or excursions and check your diary for booking clashes. It isn't new, this was on the Anthem last year but we could never get it to work then.
We paid £132 for 3 x speciality restaurants and this was excellent value. We chose Jamie's Italian, Chops Grille and Wonderland. We also went to Johnny Rockett's, which has a cover charge (increased now from $5 to $6.95). All of them were exceptional but actually, we preferred Jamie's. Wonderland is fantastic for something a little bit different and Chops is great for steak. We only went to the dining room twice. It was fine and the service is great, but we've got a bit of a liking for the speciality restaurants and they'll probably always feature during our future cruises.
The entertainment is absolutely fantastic and is one of the main reasons we enjoy cruising so much. Land based holidays can't compare with cruises in this respect. We watched a 90 minute, full length version of Grease, a 45 minute aqua show, an illusionist and two different ice shows. If you don't want to 'be entertained' then there are plenty of pubs you can go to. We don't usually bother with them unless it's between shows. Most evenings at 10:45 they have a Royal Promenade party with a theme and the dancer's get everyone to join in. On Friday night they had a 'Hush' party in the nightclub. Everybody gets a set of headphones and there are 2 different channels tuned in. You switch channels whenever you want and everybody dances in silence but it's great. I don't club now, apart from on holiday, maybe this is the thing, but I haven't seen it before and loved it.
With regard to the ports, we visited 5 from Monday to Friday - I can't remember the order, but they were Marseille, La Spezia, Naples, Civitivecchia and Palma. We've been to them before apart from Marseille and I have to say I was impressed as I'd been expecting an industrial port but it was far better than that. We rarely book excursions on the ship preferring instead to do things under our own steam *** As we didn't even bother looking at the excursions because we knew where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do, I have marked this as 'excellent' because there isn't an option to say 'not applicable' and if we had done them, I'm sure they would be!! ***
We booked Harmony because we like big ships, the smallest we've been on is the Navigator class. If anyone is thinking of dipping their toe in the water, we'd (a) recommend Royal Caribbean in a heartbeat because their attention to detail and service with a smile attitude is highly commendable, and (b) recommend this ship. It sails with about 6,500 passengers and was full the week we were on. Surely that many people can't be wrong? Read Less