Here is my feedback to RCI. I think that it is a balanced review. I thought that other Cruisers may be interested.
The good bits:
Check-in – arriving at our chosen time, we were directed to a check-in agent, who scanned the Sea Passes, we answered the three questions, and we were on our way. Less than two minutes. Now that is a WOW!
Stateroom cards awaiting us, loaded up with what we had ordered and our benefits as Gold members. Big improvement.
USB charging points in the stateroom – extremely useful.
RoyaliQ. A very useful app which we used a lot.
Staff. They were almost of the usual RCI standard but were obviously fighting the incomplete services. They were most apologetic when something didn’t work or they had run out of things. Despite it all they gave a very good impression.
Grease. We have seen this show numerous times from the West End to amateur productions as well as the film. This beats the lot by a mile! The set, the lighting and the sound were superb. The choreography was divine. The acting was excellent. The singing was great. Only one small gripe. The song which Sandy sings at the end of the records scene with Rizzo, was sung far too powerfully. It was not in keeping with either the song, which is sad, or the character. It did show off the power in the singer’s voice but it did spoil the song completely.
1887. Forget the so called story line (it was invisible to all except the creator!!!!) this was a superb show. We have seen several ice shows on RCI and this was the best by far. The costumes were amazing, the skaters were so very professional and the lighting effects were unbelievable.
We attended all of the headliner shows except Tenors of Rock (not our taste in music) and all were excellent entertainment by very professional acts. We especially like Bobby Davro.
The Orchestra. I know it was only one set up on deck 5 but they were superb. I could have sat through a whole show of just them.
Jazz on 4. We don’t normally stay up late but on all four evenings we stayed up way past our bedtime to listen to these musicians par excellence. I cannot find words to describe the pleasure that they gave us. I have kept their names and will be ordering CDs of their music. I must also add that the young lady barman was outstandingly good. I think that her name was Kristina.
Wonderland. A restaurant which kept us guessing from start to finish. The tastes and textures were an amazing mix which gave pleasure to the senses.
It was good to see that Chops Grill has not diminished in quality at all.
The menu in the American Grill was extensive and the quality of the food was very good.
The bad bits:
Our table in the American Grill (306) was difficult to get to and very squashed with other tables. The impression was of tables being crammed in together to make up the numbers. The wine waiter never came to ask if we wanted anything (which we did) and we had to ask our waiter who obviously didn’t have a clue about wines. As a result, we had half-finished our main course before we ordered. We only had a glass each instead of our normal bottle as there wasn’t time to finish it. All the restaurant staff appeared to be rushed and not working as the relaxed efficient team that we are used to. I suspect that the processes need to be sorted out.
There were far too many technicians working in all parts and on all decks of the ship. To see cables being run in to booths on Deck 8 (or was it 5?) showed just how much work there was to do on the ship. Also equipment being installed above roof panels with wiring hanging down waiting to be connected. We had anticipated small glitches (e.g. no channel descriptors on the TV Guide page, water handle on the basin out of alignment) but not the major failings and incomplete work. There were boxes and cabinets waiting to be used in the public areas. One balcony area was full of boxes and equipment roughly covered with a tarpaulin. There was equipment waiting to be installed in the bar area of Wonderland. I have experience of work being contracted to French maintenance organisations so I should not have been surprised when the ship was in the state it was. Never did the French deliver something to schedule! The difference with my organisation is that we refused to accept the work until it was completed and we invoked the late delivery clause in the contract.
The PA system on decks 5 and 8 was useless. We couldn’t make out a word that was said because of the echoes. Because there was no PA in the rooms we didn’t hear a single announcement in the 4 days that we were on the ship. It was OK for hearing the emergency alarm.
Booking a restaurant was not possible from either the app or the TV. You had to go to the restaurant itself to book it. By the time we realised this many of the slots we wanted were full. Fortunately, the staff did their best to accommodate us.
Having to wash your hands before going into the Windjammer restaurant is an aim to be applauded. However, only having 4 wash basins meant extremely long queues at peak times. This was totally unacceptable. At least 4 or 5 times that number of washbasins are required in order to give an acceptable wait time. We spurned Windjammer as a result. The normal sanitizers should be available until this is sorted out. Not enough thought has gone into this. What is especially annoying is that all other restaurants either have sanitizers or nothing at all!!! Where is the consistency?
Finally, the biggest failure of all. After I booked this cruise back in October it struck me that I had never heard of the Harmony of the Seas. I went to your web site and looked it up. The background image was of the Aqua show with descriptions of how it is amazing and proving to be a great success on your other Oasis class of ships. Other friends had also told us how good it was. To find out after we were well underway that it would not be on was a major disappointment. Watching the rehearsals showed just how far behind it was. I fail to see how an organization like RCI could not have had the rehearsals carried out on the other two ships when the pool and trampoline were not being used. This is a major failing of RCI.
Some of the shops were not open. Either they were not ready or the concessions had decided that it wasn’t good for their brand image to be on a ship with so many issues.
I received three e-mails about the need to have the check in completed and the sea pass ready at the appropriate time. I did not receive an e-mail saying that there was still lots of work to complete on the ship and that the Aqua show would not be available. At no time before the cruise was I told that this was a “pre-inaugural” cruise. That phrase only was used on the 3rd or 4th night by the Cruise Director.
In summary, the ship should eventually be up to your usual standard and meet the expectations which RCI dedicated cruisers have come to expect. But on our cruise (and I suspect the current one also) the ship simply wasn’t ready for fare paying passengers. It was OK to have some Elite Class and above passengers on board on a complimentary cruise to receive their feedback but not for passengers to pay money.
This ship is not yet ready. I am sure that you are considering compensation to the passengers.
Excellent cabin with USB charging points. The TV is large and has numerous channels. It is a pity that the Channel Guide gives no description of what each channel is!!!
The complimentary coach takes you into the city centre. An excellent and large market was on.
Did not take and excursion as we have been to both Amsterdand and Rotterdam before