Royal Caribbean – Harmony of the Seas – 8/11 to 8/18/18
Celebrating our 30-year anniversary, we decided to go on a cruise as we did on our honeymoon. We had a wonderful week!! Although there were little things to nitpick, RC did a ... Read More
Royal Caribbean – Harmony of the Seas – 8/11 to 8/18/18
Celebrating our 30-year anniversary, we decided to go on a cruise as we did on our honeymoon. We had a wonderful week!! Although there were little things to nitpick, RC did a great job handling the 6600 people on board.
Embarkation was simple as long as you complete everything online before sailing. Don't waste your money on the wrist bands (in lieu of the sea pass card). As long as you don't mind carrying it, it works just fine.
The ship is huge!! After a week, we still got lost trying to find our cabin. It is super clean and the crew doesn't get the credit it deserves. It's the people you sail with that suck. Our fellow shipmates would leave empty glasses, towels, etc. around like slobs. If everyone did the right thing and returned towels, glasses, etc. it would've been better. Regardless, crew walked around 24/7 cleaning up.
Our cabin was bigger than expected, we had an outside cabin (porthole). That being said, it was still a little tight at times, especially when sitting on the bowl. Room service is available (with a service charge of $7.95 and 18% gratuity). Forget about watching tv for the week, there are maybe 12 channels, half devoted to RC. MSNBC and Fox News are your news sources, lol… ESPN – Caribbean and some kids channels. They did have the movie Like Father on a continuous loop and pay per view movies available.
There was plenty to do, it was actually hard to keep up. Reserve shows beforehand, but don't stress out if you don't. RC's policy is to release seats 5 minutes after line-up time (first come/first served even with reservations) giving you plenty of time to find a seat before show time. The Fine Line in the aqua theater was excellent! Grease was very good, Columbus was good. The Ice Skating show (1887) was very good. Comedian Jeff Tracta was very funny as was the Last Laugh Comedy Show featuring Robbie Printz and Miguel Washington.
There are three pools, a mini splash/water park, many Jacuzzi’s, three water slides, the Abyss which you slide down on using a mat, two rock climbing walls and the zip line. There are two arcades, ping pong, a full-size basketball court, a walking/running track around the ship and a huge gym with yoga and spin classes. If you or your kids are bored – it’s you and your kids, not RC.
We stopped in Labadee, Falmouth and Cozumel. If you zipline in Labadee – go early so you can enjoy the rest of the day. Labadee was by far our favorite! We weren’t interested in expensive excursions and were perfectly content to visit a beach at each stop. Labadee had beaches, a water park, two spots set up for lunch, bars (even a floating bar!), and the crazy people ziplining overhead. Falmouth was a gated shopping community to shop and meet to go on excursions. We went to the Blue Water Beach Club which was a short 10 minute bus ride. They have a VIP package which offers food and drinks but we kept the basic package for $32 per person. Drinks and food are available, we had a couple of drinks but I wasn’t interested in the jerk chicken. Cozumel was also gated shopping but you could venture outside to get a cab or rent a scooter. We thought we would outsmart RC and take a cab to a place called Mr. Sancho’s. The cab ride was $17 and when we pulled up the cabbie asked us if we had reservations. We didn’t and he said it was all inclusive for $55 per day/per person. We asked if there was a cheaper place close by and he brought us to Paradise Beach. What a beautiful place!! For $3 per person, we enjoyed the beach and pool. Only requirement was to buy $10 in food or drink per person. We had two buckets of Sol beer (4 @ $4.50=$18) and some chips and salsa ($6). For a total of $48 (plus taxi fare and tips), we had a great day. The Mayan ruins were probably cool but I wasn’t there for a “class trip.”
Back to the ship… There are many, many options for food. Most were very good but again it’s the people you travel with that ruin it. Windjammer (buffet) gets crowded and people are like animals acting as if they hadn’t eaten in days. They’ll walk by the hand washing station, cut the line, hover in front of food, put things back, etc. Again, the staff tries their hardest to keep order but people can be rude. The Solarium was much calmer for breakfast, just not as many choices. The dining room is also much more civil for breakfast. Lunch is available EVERYWHERE whether it’s Quick Bites, a hot dog on the boardwalk, pizza at Sorrento’s or Windjammer, etc. The main dining rooms for dinner are very good and if you see two of something you like, don’t be shy, ask for two appetizers, entrees, or desserts. Staff is more than eager to please. We ate dinner one night at Jaime Oliver’s which was OUTSTANDING ($42 per person which included anything you wanted)! We took a guacamole making class at Sabor which was reasonably priced and included lunch (w/margaritas). The “Wines Around the World” was an absolute waste of money. They set up four glasses of wine and one glass of Champaign each containing about an ounce of wine. You get a little lecture and sample some small pieces of cheese left over from the buffet. No lunch, no additional wine, nothing. Left feeling ripped off.
1. $14.50 per person, per day will be added to your bill for “onboard gratuities.”
2. Every purchase you make will be subject to an 18% gratuity. RC is kind enough to give you the option to give MORE, but not LESS, lol. The staff is very good, but personally, I’d rather give what I want to give and not be locked into 18%.
3. Pricing is vague at the specialty ($) restaurants, research them before you go.
4. There are many excursions, all of which are very expensive and some of which require very long bus rides. Again, do your research.
5. Practice saying “NO.” You will be bombarded with RC people trying to upsell things (drink card, dining package, etc.). In Labadee, near the gift shop, local people will try to talk you into looking at their arts and crafts. Just say no. Falmouth wasn’t bad because you were gated in. Cozumel was the worst! Locals hard selling everything! You can talk them down, walk away if you don’t like the price and they’ll follow you and lower the price to make a sale. It was still a pain in the neck walking around with people trying to sell you stuff. On the way back to the ship, we stopped at Margaritaville for a late lunch. While enjoying a couple more Sol beers, a guy walked over to us and put sombreros on our head and asked to take some pictures (you know where this is going). As we were about to leave, he came back to us with the printed pictures, looking for $15 per picture. There is no obligation to buy, just walk away if you don’t want them or offer what you think they’re worth.
6. The drink card!! My wife and I aren’t heavy drinkers but since we wanted to have a good time, we debated the drink card over and over again. Prior to boarding, the best deal we could’ve gotten was $836 for the two of us (all people over 21 in the same cabin would have to get it). Once on board, the discount disappears and the price goes up to just over $1000. That’s a lot of money!!! We decided against it and made the right choice. Our bar tab was less than $300. Budweiser - $7.25, Corona - $6.95, wine starts at $7 per glass, Coke - $3.50, specialty drinks of the day are $8. Beware… your beer choices are extremely limited. You can forget about Sam Adams and craft brews or beer on tap. We went to the “Irish” bar and when I asked for a Harp, she said “what?” I asked for a Guinness and she said nope… She offered me a Heineken, I said no thanks and walked out. If you don't get the drink card and you drink a lot of water, consider buying a case of Evian (online prior to boarding). It's in your room when you arrive and very convenient to have.
7. Be prepared to buy a watch, lol. RC must make a fortune on watches and jewelry because they really push shopping for them. Between the shows on RCTV and the fact that you have to walk past all of the stores (and salespeople) on the Promenade, its almost like they brainwash you. Riding down in the elevator one day, I said to my wife, I think I need a watch!!
8. Consider the luggage valet when leaving. RC offers a service where your bags will be delivered to your last stop (if flying home). They’ll pick them up outside your cabin the night before you leave and you won’t touch them again until you pick them up at your final destination. It’ll cost $25 per person (plus airline baggage fees) but you won’t have to shuffle them from the port, to the transfer, to the airport.
9. Plan on living without WIFI for the week unless you’re willing to pay $15 per day per device. I think RC should lower the price and should even consider making it free.
Overall, we had a great trip. We came back tan, fat, and happy. I only wish cruising returned to the days where all inclusive meant all inclusive. The price you pay at the onset may double if you really want to enjoy everything they have to offer. Bon voyage, hope my review helps!! Read Less