As a frequent Royal Caribbean cruiser, Crown & Anchor member Emerald status, we were highly disappointed (along with many other travelers that voiced complaints) with many different things on Harmony of the Seas, from original booking ... Read More
As a frequent Royal Caribbean cruiser, Crown & Anchor member Emerald status, we were highly disappointed (along with many other travelers that voiced complaints) with many different things on Harmony of the Seas, from original booking of the cruise until departure. We traveled as a Family with 2 other Families. We drove from Virginia and flew the children aged 18 & 25 (from college). The children were also disappointed compared to the over 15 other Royal Caribbean cruises we have been on over the years. Embarkation and Disembarkation went smoothly. Luggage arrived before dinner & we carried luggage off the ship to get off earlier. Ship is huge and beautiful. Shows sold out before cruise even started, so book on-line as soon as possible. Cabin was beautiful-4 person balcony room-small as usual. Bring extra hangers and a clock, there were only 5 hangers in the room for 4 people. Just sink soap bar and a liquid pump of soap in the shower. Dining was not the quality normal for Royal Caribbean (specific details below). Entertainment was good, Grease show and Journey concert. Aqua show full of technical issues (details below). Many activities cost now (see below for details). Nothing memorable about the Cruise Director, only saw him at Parade and explaining Aqua show difficulties. Labadee and Cozumel were excellent. Falmouth was great until leaving the gated shop area. Local Police were everywhere and I felt scarred the entire time with constant hassling to buy items and the narrow alleys. Recommend no book bags, purses or jewelry when visiting Falmouth area. Very poor area, people and dogs sleeping in the streets and smoking weed.
1. Originally booked almost a year prior to the cruise, we expected to get the best deal. Normally we book through travel agents, but the last 3 cruises were booked directly with Royal Caribbean (thinking we would get the best deals going directly through the cruise line along with booking early for best rooms and prices). However, after final payment was made 90 days prior-I saw deals on Royal Caribbean’s website that were “drastically” lower, almost ½ less, than what we paid for an inside cabin for 4. I called and after staying on the phone for almost 2-hours, we were moved to a balcony room after paying $300 more, and losing all the cabin cash credit incentives ($250). I thought we would be given a free upgrade and/or discount based off the new decreased room prices offered. But had to pay the penalty since it was 90 days prior to cruise and final payment was already made. I was told that a travel agent could have given us a better deal and the cruise line did not want to give us a better deal than the travel agents. I was also told everything would transfer over to the new room, shows, etc. Bottom line-we could have had 2 separate rooms with balconies, or even a suite for less than the price we paid for the one inside room. Learned lesson, the best deals are obtained by those that can wait until 90 days or less to book a cruise, regardless of Crown & Anchor status and/or use a travel agent versus booking directly with cruise line.
2. In the process of switching to the 4-person balcony room, we lost all of the room cash credit on the ship incentives ($250) that were on original booking and one family member was left off all of the originally booked shows on the cruise. When I called to get him added back on I was told all of the shows were sold out and he would have to go 15 minutes before each show and wait in the stand-by line to see if he could get into the show. We were traveling with 2 other families and all were booked on the original shows. I asked to speak to a supervisor, was told the same thing and told to submit a written concern to the cruise line. I did this and 1 day prior to cruise got a call stating they were able to get the one family member at the same shows. Yeahhh!
3. Drink packages concerns. Every day on the cruise I had to call or visit Guest relations to get drink charges (that should have been included with Premium drink package $529) removed from my bill. The worst location was from the Bionic Bar, and Island drinks (Labadee). Also bar tenders seemed to frown upon those with drink packages and intentionally avoided them, unless additional tips were given along with the automatic 18% gratuity added to every bill. I also watched bar tenders ignore people who were waiting, and serve others with burgundy colored SeaPasses first? I assumed they were Suite guests? Also all drinks were very weak, and/or watered down. If ever ordering fresh squeezed orange juice you will be finished with meal before it arrives. Servers seemed irritated when asking for fresh squeezed juice. This was the case every time.
4. The cruise line advertises all inclusive, but each year most of the food options (restaurants, Starbucks, Johnny Rockets) and activities involve a cost. On the daily agenda—every hour, most events had a $ dollar sign in front indicating payment was required. There were only a few activities every hour that were included, and/or free. Most Vitality spa free events were geared towards buying a product, and if you did not purchase a product you were snubbed. One female employee laughed and said she hoped we did not expect to win the free raffle. I honestly think she never turned our tickets into the raffle, only probably for customers that purchased a spa item or service.
5. Examples: Items that used to be free, below charges:
-Sauna in gym is $37 per day per person
-Cotton candy $2 plus automatic 18% gratuity=$2.38 (for kids—should be free)
-Popcorn $2.50 plus add on automatic 18% gratuity
-Haircut only (female) no style, no blow dry, no curling- $75 (plus automatic 18% gratuity added on)
-7-day Premium drink package with $ service fee (almost $80) and 18% gratuity costs totally $529 per person (listed as much lower)
-Non-Alcohol or alcohol drinks on ship- most cost $14 each with gratuity, etc already included
-Johnny Rockets -$6.00 plus automatic 18% gratuity (they say all you can eat, but will add on an additional $6 for anything other than fries and onion rings)
-Johnny Rockets shake only-$4.50 plus automatic 18% gratuity
-Room Service-pay after 11pm & only vegi and chicken wraps are free, burgers, hotdogs etc cost money ordered at any time.
-Photos on thumbdrive-$300, or $20 each photo (if more than 10 photos ordered, cannot get both prints and thumbdrive, only one or the other); if ordering photobook they do not have any example books to show you, and you will get it in the mail 6-8 weeks after ordering.
-Starbucks-Everything costs, nothing included free
6. Crown and Anchor coupons/discounts: No more free drinks or Royal Caribbean cruise line updates with the Captain for Emerald members. All events listed on cruise were for Diamond Plus members and above. Some only got free drinks (only specific alcohol, not all) from 5-7 pm. During dinner time, so most do not even get to use the full benefits. Coupons that used to be in a book so members could see the discounts, or just keep certain coupons were now preloaded on Seapass, so nobody ever knew what was on there. You had to carry a sheet of paper with the list of discounted items, not many, to remember what was offered. And the staff always acted confused, or it was an inconvenience to give any discounts. The only thing we used was buy one shake for $4.50 plus automatic 18% gratuity and get one free.
7. The Dining room staff was the worst, and we figured it was because tips were pre-paid and they did not have to work to earn tips anymore. Or they wanted us to "pay" to eat in one of the 5 other restaurants on the ship. Wrong food orders were passed out, some orders for appetizers never arrived at all. Medium-well meat was bleeding, ice-cream melted, and water glasses empty never refilled. No communication with servers as in the past (i.e. how was your day, what are you doing on Island tomorrow, etc). Only after we complained to Guest Relations, because we waited over 30 minutes for ordered desserts, and never did receive them, did service improve, then it was over exaggerated, filling glasses every minute only after a sip was taken. We finally got to meet the head waiter, etc, because they hovered over the table the next day after complaint. We also were made to feel guilty because we complained.
8. Tips-Be prepared to start tipping for suitcases to be put on ship at arrival (or maybe your suitcase won’t make it). If you don’t tip after the automatic 18% gratuity, even with prepaid drink packages, be prepared to get slow service, or be ignored completely if at a table, or with others in bar area. Tip for free lounge chairs on Labadee.
9. Shows-The Aqua show stopped 4 times, over 5-10 minutes each time, for technical difficulties. After 3rd stop people left. We went to show on another night and same technical difficulties were in full effect and people once again were leaving.
10. No more Omelets in Wind Jammer, have to go to Johnny Rockets or somewhere else where other breakfast options are not available.
11. Room Service- Only get choice of 3 soups, a few desserts, and vegi or chicken wrap free. Burgers, hot dogs, any pizza type other than a child’s cheese pizza now costs money along with the fee if room service is used after 11pm. Also any room service order will take over an hour to arrive. Very disappointed at the new free menu selection for room service.
12. Don’t expect to be able to get cash from Guest Relations on SeaPass card anymore, you must be able to use the ATM or no cash. Also told we could connect to Royal Wifi free to download photos, but Guest Relations said we would have to pay Internet fee—$24 a day, confusing..
13. Parade was good, room Stewart was good, other shows were good, ship was beautiful. Recommend smaller ship for better service. Will not go on this cruise ship again. Oasis was much better, not sure what happened here, but from reading other reviews....many are the same. Read Less