We went on the December 17, 2016, Harmony of the Seas cruise, sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. The following aspects of the ship were excellent: the flow rider, the common areas, the shows (especially Grease), and the expeditious boarding ... Read More
We went on the December 17, 2016, Harmony of the Seas cruise, sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. The following aspects of the ship were excellent: the flow rider, the common areas, the shows (especially Grease), and the expeditious boarding and disembarking of the ship.
However, the following aspects of the "Star Class" were extremely disappointing: the royal genie's overall service, meals in the specialty restaurants, and the excursions.
We stayed in Stateroom 1724, a sky loft suite with balcony. While the room was beautiful, there was hardly any storage space and my family of three had to make use of our luggage for storage. As Star Class guests who were entitled to the privilege of a royal genie. Unlike what was promised, our pre-trip contact with the royal genie was minimal and inconsequential. Before boarding, we booked an over water cabana in Labadee and was informed that the rate was $395.00. The price was confirmed in writing, yet a charge of $495.00 appeared on our statement. After unnecessary arguing, we received the $100.00 credit.
Instead of assisting us before sailing, we inconveniently had to make arrangements with the royal genie after boarding. During this meeting, we explained that we love chocolate, desserts and looked forward to surprises from our royal genie. We understood that we were to have cocktails and fresh fruit brought daily to our room, as a part of the Star Class package. However, we received fruit on only two days and never had any drinks, chocolates, or desserts to greet us after returning to our stateroom. We had no surprises or enhancements to make our trip memorable. Though we were offered a bridge tour, no other special activities were planned for us, as conveyed by the royal genie marketing materials.
Most importantly, our daughter has a nut allergy, which we mentioned at booking and to our royal genie (writing and verbally). We explained that we could not have any type of nuts in the room. On two occasions we received cheese plates with nuts. Additionally, there were long periods of time during which the royal genie did not respond to our texts. Aside from providing front row seats at all performances, we found the genie useless and obscenely priced for the services rendered.
Royal Caribbean also failed us with the meals at the specialty restaurants. In every restaurant, the waiters ran around without assistance, and the food was served sporadically. Royal Caribbean restaurants lack efficiency. We would have had to have dinner at 5:30 p.m. in order to be on time for a 9:00 p.m. evening show or activity. Because we were part of the Star Class, gratuities were included for every meal. However, after seeing that we were Star Class guests and pointing that out to us, some of the servers asked for a gratuity, which we found rude and disturbing. The specialty restaurants were truly a letdown.
--For example, first, the premium dry-age porterhouse steak ordered at Chops was served frozen after a two hour wait, and the other food was generally tasteless served in a disjointed fashion, including the side dishes - one or two dishes at a time. When we asked to speak to the restaurant manager, he refused to come over to our table. After an extraordinary delay, a new steak was brought and the manager appeared, as we were leaving for the show. We did not have time to stay for dessert or find out how this steak was prepared.
--Second, we had dinner at Jamie’s, the Italian Restaurant. The food was much improved over Chops; however, we were still unable to have dessert due to the length of dinner and the unorganized staff.
--Third, we dined at Michael Schwartz 150 Central Park restaurant. The steak was cooked past well-done though requested for medium rare. By the time a new steak appeared, it was too late to eat as we were trying to make a show. Again, we ran out of time and had to demand that a prepaid and ordered birthday cake be brought out for our friend immediately. The manager ran out after us, apologizing, but we were late for the show and had to go.
--Fourth, the next day, lunch was ordered to the room from Jamie’s Italian. Among the order was the prominently displaced Jamie's hamburger - medium rare - with nothing on the burger and ketchup on the side for the French fries. We received a burnt out cinder, drowned in mayonnaise, rendering it completely inedible sans ketchup for the fries. This was a common theme: the food would be dropped off, the attendant rushed out the door, and many of the items requested would be missing.
--Fifth, we ate dinner at Wonderland. Unfortunately, the molecular cuisine was unpalatable, and my family, reluctantly, wanted to get food from another venue. However, by the time we finished dinner, nothing was open. The specialty restaurants, in general, closed at 9:30 p.m.
The excursions were unorganized with no cruise line representatives readily accessible for information. Two of us were scheduled to take the boot camp on the beach in Labadee. We went to the fitness center as directed and were told that someone would meet us when we got off of the ship. We disembarked and went to the beach only to find several others wandering around aimlessly and wondering where to go for the boot camp. Although the start was unorganized, the class was good. Also in Labadee, five of us were scheduled to go on the zip line. We left earlier than recommended, and the driver that was called by the head of the suite section took us to what he thought would be the zip line, telling us to get out and wait in line and even though he was requested to wait, immediately drove off. Once in line, the attendant told us that we were in the wrong place. For the next forty-five minutes, we waited for someone to help get us to the correct location. Due to wind conditions, the zip line was cancelled around 2 p.m. when we finally arrived. Had we been in the right location at the right time, we would have been able to take advantage of the activity.
To conclude the "Star Class" aboard the Harmony of the Seas was extremely disappointing. It's one thing to pay top dollar and get first-rate service, but that's not at all what we received. One should be cautious of spending such extreme amounts on this mediocre service.
In reviewing the online marketing materials published by Royal Caribbean, we make the following observations based upon our experiences:
"Your Royal Genie is the ultimate insider, crafting exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences, all designed around you. You'll have everything you want - and more than you ever imagined." - Untrue.
"Your Royal Genie doesn't just tend to your suite - they make the entire ship your suite. Crafting personalized VIP experiences tailored to your exact tastes. From planning the perfect date night to having your favorite wine waiting after a day of adventures ashore. Your Royal Genie makes sure you have everything you want. And more than you ever imagined." - Untrue.
"After a day in port enjoying customized shore excursions, guests can return to their suite to savor handcrafted cocktails made in-suite." - Untrue.
"The Royal Genie also will assist with making restaurant and show reservations, in-room dining requests, and any other needs - from laundry, pressing and shoe-shining, to luggage handling and unpacking." True in part. The royal genie made dinner reservations and show reservations. There was an extra charge for same day laundry or pressing. We were never offered shoe-shining, luggage handling or unpacking. We also requested to book morning exercise classes (spinning) before boarding only to be advised by the royal genie that it can be done aboard. By that point in time, the spinning classes were completely filled.
"Your Royal Genie can grant you access to one-of-a-kind experiences like personalized shore excursions and private Flow Rider lessons." - Untrue. Private Flow Rider lessons were specifically requested and we were informed that they were unavailable as well as to book a private fishing trip.
"Whether it's sweet treats, fresh fruit or an unbelievable vintage, your Royal Genie knows what you crave and keeps your suite stocked with all your favorites." - Untrue.
"To make sure your Star experience is personalized to your wishes, your Royal Genie will contact you before you set sail." - Untrue.
"Suite benefits include:"
"Fitness classes." - Untrue. We were charge for all classes after the first class.
"Personalized welcome gift." - Untrue. Never received.
"Welcome amenity." - Untrue - Never received.
"Shoe shine service." - Untrue. Never offered.
"In-suite handcrafted cocktail service." - Never offered.
"Spa Thermal Room Access." - Only provided for one day. After that, there was a charge.
"Access to signature activities." Never offered except for bridge tour.
"Pre-cruise communication." - Definitely needs substantial improvement to be meaningful. Read Less