First off I would like to say this is going to be a fantastic ship, but not everything was completed when we sailed on it. We recently cruised on allure, so for lots of things it's the same, but there are many changes, mostly ... Read More
First off I would like to say this is going to be a fantastic ship, but not everything was completed when we sailed on it. We recently cruised on allure, so for lots of things it's the same, but there are many changes, mostly improvements! We only had 3 nights so didn’t get to experience everything, but I’ll tell you about the things we did see!
Check in took 25 mins from arriving in a taxi to being on the ship with a drink in hand! This includes sitting for 10 minutes because we were so early. When you register online they give you an appointment time, but you can turn up earlier and they don’t mind. Make sure you do everything online before though, such as photos and credit card info, as the wait to add these things seemed a lot longer.
Layout is very similar to Allure (obviously!), but some things have moved, Starbucks is now on the boardwalk where the coffee and doughnut stand used to be, and shore excursion desk is now just iPads with a couple of staff in the middle of the promenade. Next cruise has a larger comfortable office with a waiting area now. Central Park is a fantastic space, great to sit and relax, there seems to be more seating in the side walk ways this time, with a couple of great spots looking down to the royal promenade, great for people watching on a warm evening. Spa has more hot lounger but only one steam and one infrared sauna, good quality though, much warmer than previous ones we’ve been on. Great pieces of art around the ship. Size is immense but well laid out. Puzzle break is so much fun! Classic escape the room but very well themed, highly recommended. Again don’t forget to pre-book, all slots were booked u on sailing, although you can just try turning up as they normally fit you in. Pool deck is fantastic, not busy on this sailing, but will be when Harmony goes to Mediterranean and Caribbean. 3 pools, one open 24 hours I think. Children’s play area looks awesome, makes me wish I was a child again! Numerous hot tubs, I love the cantilevered ones, views that can’t be beaten. Karaoke is always fun and was packed on our first night. Wow bands will cost you $5, but if you already have some can be reprogrammed, so don’t forget to bring them. Suite guest get them free. Royal IQ is much better on this ship. Most things seems to work, no dropouts and can book most things and view cruise compass and your account, but you can't do waivers and some restaurants availability was incorrect, so always call before. App Store on iOS works on Wi-Fi, even without paying for an internet package. This is supposed to allow you to download Royal IQ, but also any other app!
Our cabin was an inside stateroom and is very spacious with a sofa and desk, bathroom compact but well laid out. There are 2 US, 1 EU and 2 USB power ports on desk with other US sockets around room. The virtual balcony is amazing, great to have a view on and inside, but on ours we were unable to turn sound on or picture off! We did ask our stateroom attendant but he was not able to help, was a very new ship! Tv worked very fast, quick to sign waivers, check account etc. There were some nice touches in the room like art of harmony of the seas book. No kettle and hair dryer is a bit poor so bring your own if you have long hair!
Restaurants can be booked on board, wonderland showed as no availability on pre-planning but we got a table for two first night. And you have to do it. Absolutely amazing food, nothing like it. Cocktails are great and location, overlooking boardwalk, especially at sunset, can't be beaten. Windjammer is standard cruise buffet appears well laid out, but no dedicated seating area outside. Wide selection of food and the bits we tried seemed well prepared. Park cafe is our favourite, bagels in the morning and roast beef sandwiches and salads at lunch. More food to grab and go now, so don't have to wait in line. Sorrento’s and promenade cafe are as good as you expect, nothing changed here. Promenade café is the only place food is available 24 hours a day. Filter coffee is available all over and very good quality. Decaf also abounds, with a variety of about 10 different teas. No coffee and doughnuts on the boardwalk anymore, but may come back with Starbucks opening. Main dining room was good, very quiet when we went, about half 6, but with so many other places to try and so little time this wasn't a surprise. Food was good but nothing special. Good service also, very attentive and polite.
Activities wise, zip line is great fun, but beware the line can go slowly, about 40 minutes with 20 people in it. Ultimate abyss is brilliant, queue goes quickly even when busy. It's VERY fast, but you don't get much of a dropping sensation. Quick way to get to the boardwalk! Rock climbing wall was good, very high and some challenging routes, but while staff were safe and fit harness correctly, they did not seem to know best technique for climbing. Large well laid out gym, not that we had time to use it!
Things that need to be worked on. It’s a new ship so some crew are unsure about some aspects of it, but this will be sorted out in a short space of time. Some things were not open (suite sun deck, Starbucks, ice skating, water slides, Aquatheater show and some hot tubs amongst others.) The cruise compass was good, but some things were in-accurate on it, so if there is something you really want to do, especially sports activities then phone before to check. We were given a note upon checking in at the terminal that said things were still being finished off, but that Royal Caribbean hoped the deal we got on our cruise offset this! It would have been good to have been told this at booking, but once we got back we received an email giving us a voucher for 25% of the value we paid for the Harmony cruise. This seemed appropriate to us, made the price for the cruise much more reasonable.
Overall though we were very pleased with this ship, and once it’s completed (which should be now!) it’s going to be one of the best ships in the world! I would have preferred that royal Caribbean told us beforehand that the ship wasn’t completed, but I’m happy with the way they have resolved the situation. Obviously that’s my opinion, and if you prefer the smaller more intimate ship then this giant is not for you. If you want an all singing, all dancing holiday where there is always something to do, then I’d recommend Harmony. Read Less