This was my first time cruising and I chose to start with Harmony. This was an excellent cruise with phenomenal shows, activities and services. Were there occasional issues? Absolutely; however, I still immensely enjoyed my cruise. The ... Read More
This was my first time cruising and I chose to start with Harmony. This was an excellent cruise with phenomenal shows, activities and services. Were there occasional issues? Absolutely; however, I still immensely enjoyed my cruise. The main pitfall is that it does get crowded at times.
I arrived at the cruise port at 12:50 PM. By 12:57 PM, I was walking on the ship. The process was quick and pain free.
The ship is absolutely stunning. With plenty of artwork and design, it made walking around to be an incredibly pleasant experience. Likewise, there was never any issue finding chairs in the Solarium (adult only section). The only pitfall was that the 3 pools on deck 15 were always incredibly crowded. There were signs saying "maximum 21 people" in the pool, with nearly 75 people in it.
The 3 waterslides were excellent and the wait for each was always reasonable. The flow-rider was a fun activity to try once. Likewise, riding the Ultimate Abyss at least once is a must on the Harmony. This was an excellent experience.
The variety is excellent. However, immediately before/after port days, it gets very crowded here. There were times where the line to get in snaked down the hall. Likewise, once inside, it was occasionally a bit difficult to find a table. That said, the egg stations, pancakes, fruit, salads, meats, burgers, desserts and more can satisfy anyone.
MAIN DINING HALL
This was definitely a highlight. I chose My Time dining and was assigned Silk, on deck 5. The food was excellent throughout the week. Note that making reservations for large parties is a must. They often closed the restaurant to walk-ins. In particular, the lamb shank, lobster tail, lamb chops and more were excellent. Likewise, the warm cookie with ice cream is amazing.
IZUMI SUSHI ($)
Unfortunately, this was disappointing. The sushi was nothing special and the service wasn't great. Likewise, this was the only time during the week where the waiters seemed to ask people systematically to rate them favourably in the post-cruise survey. The mochi for dessert was decent though.
I only ate here once. However, the specialty roast beef sandwhich was very good.
JOHNNY ROCKETS ($)
Although this place costs extra, my room included 1 meal here. The milkshakes were excellent. The burgers were nothing spectacular.
This was on the pool deck (#15) and had a decent selection. However, the line was generally quite long, especially after port days.
This was a fun show. The acting, production value and orchestra were excellent. However, just remember that it is not the full show. At 90 minutes long, a lot of key components were cut. As a result, the plot does not entirely make sense.
This show was made by Royal Caribbean. It is a loose story about Columbus exploring the sea, with tons of popular songs thrown in. The singing was excellent. The ending was very cheesy (Columbus joins Royal Caribbean...).
The 2 comedians were the same all week during my sailing. They were both excellent at Improv and generally made each show entertaining. However, there were times where they started repeating jokes from earlier in the week.
On this sailing, "The Edge Effect" performed. They are an A Capella group similar to Pentatonix. This was absolutely excellent. The only negative... it was only 50 minutes long.
THE FINE LINE
This is the nighttime aqua acrobatics show. The performance, production value and tricks were phenomenal. The open air setting of this performance made it even more enjoyable.
1887 A JOURNEY IN TIME
This was interesting. It was definitely enjoyable. It's largely a figure skating show with fancy costumes.
I am glad I attended this. As a first time cruiser, I had no clue what to expect. This was amazing. It is an ADULT ONLY show with audience participation.
JAZZ ON 4
This was a small jazz group from Italy. The area has a nice vibe. However, on some nights, with so many activities going on, the area was lacking people.
HARMONY OF THE SEAS HOUSE BAND
This group performs in various areas throughout the week, including the Promenade, as the music for Grease, as the nightly jazz band on 1 occasion and more. They are excellent.
This is on deck 5 each night. It is well animated and well attended.
The room attendant for my room was great. When I asked him to come at certain times, he always accommodated.
This was probably the only area that I struggled with. I had an issue with my on-ship charge account and I received inaccurate information from multiple people on multiple occasions. This included 2 senior guest services officers. The lines for guest services are long 4 or 5 days per sailing, so some time was definitely lost trying to deal with this. I expected a bit more when interacting with these individuals.
Atlantis half-day adventure. Although this was incredibly costly, it was definitely worth it. I still had enough time to go on all the major rides and really enjoy my day there. That said, as the new Coco Cay waterpark in the Bahamas opens soon (owned by Royal Caribbean), I think this port will be visited less frequently. The transportation to/from the park was well organized with everyone gathering in the ship's theatre to be processed.
ST THOMAS (US VIRGIN ISLANDS)
Mountain Top and Botanica Gardens. The botanical gardens was beautiful with lots of natural wildlife and nature. The mountain top, which included the "world famous banana daquiri" was fun, but very much a tourist trap.
BASSETERRE (ST KITTS)
Dolphin Push, Pull & Swim. This was fun, even if it was short. The opportunity to have a dolphin push you on a boogie board, pull you to shore while you hold on was definitely great. Note that no photos are allowed and the company's photos are not cheap.
ALL ACCESS TOUR (on the ship)
For a first cruise, this was a must for me. It was definitely interesting to see the galley, engine control room, bridge and more. Each section took the time to answer our questions without making us feel rushed (with the exception being the bridge, our time was limited there).
This is a busy morning. By 8:15 AM, the announcements were playing in the staterooms telling everyone what numbers were being called. That said, it was a quick process and the baggage claim/customs was easy. The only negative is that I purchased transportation to the airport from Royal Caribbean and they didn't have my name on the list. Fortunately, I had my receipt from guest services.
This was the first time that I cruised and I didn't know what to expect. The key thing is to make the most of your time. Between the food, the service (overall), the shows, the activities and atmosphere, I had an excellent vacation and would absolutely return to this ship or another new Royal Caribbean ship (like Symphony of the Seas) in the future. Read Less