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Harmony of the Seas is a new ship. As a new ship. It has many options. It also has many people - about 6,000. It has approximately 2,500 crew. Sometimes it seems like it is not crowded. Other times not so. When I talk to friends and family, some like cruising, some do not. We were interested in trying out a new ship (One of the largest in the world) but the destinations were what caught our attention. Barcelona, Mallorca, Marseilles, Naples, Rome. The cruise started from Barcelona on July 3rd and ended on July 10th. If you enjoy pools, slides, lounge chairs and continuous access to drinks and food, cruising is for you. A ship has to be designed to manage the large numbers of people, keeping them entertained and satisfied. Elevators and equipment must be working at all times and information should be constantly available. There are many choices for entertainment and dining. We found that a large new ship is the same as any other cruise ship in many respects. Here are some of our experiences on this very large, very shiny ship. We booked a cabin for two a year in advance and had our choice of cabin. Later in the year we decided to offer our grandchildren the option of coming with us and called the RC agents to make the change to include two of our grandchildren. Royal Caribbean did not confirm the new cabin for us until it was time to fly to Barcelona. There is some anxiety involved in waiting the rest of the year for a cabin confirmation. The Cabin - The cabin was called a state room. It was in quite a state throughout the voyage so perhaps it was well named. For sure it was not stately. We were essentially four adults. Our granddaughters had as much luggage (1 bag each) as my wife and I and were 12 and 13 years old. The clothing storage was inadequate and we kept our luggage on the floor as extra storage. There was no privacy curtain for the adults and no night light in the room to find our way to the bathroom as we tried to navigate the trundle bed which had about a 10" clearance to the cabinets. This is where cell phones or iPads come in useful, you can use them as flashlights. The cabin was a mess from day 1 with bathing suits hanging from every protuberance that was available. There was a long wall next to the main bed but alas, there were no hooks available. We lived in squalor for 7 days while we "enjoyed" our cruise. Comfort has become important in our retired lives and our "camping" days were over quite some time ago. The lights came on if you put your "sea pass" into the reader slot near the door. If you take your card out all the lights will go out and you will be in a dark cavern with obstacles in your path. The shower was OK and there was plenty of hot water. The toilet had a quick flush to conserve water. If you put a card in the reader by the door and switch off all the cabin lights there is a night light in the bathroom but a phone will do a better job. The couch beds were not very good. I’m glad my wife and I did not have to sleep on them. Throughout the cruise, the cabin was my least favorite place to be. A huge ship with nasty little cabins that are not very well thought out. I should add that the person looking after our cabin was very nice and concerned about us. We gave him an extra tip. Ship features - Our two grandchildren are 12 and 13 and were looking forward to trying out the various offerings on deck. We obtained the notarized waivers that were required from their parents. When one of the girls went to go rock climbing she was turned away because she needed an adult with her. No problem, I went with her. We were then told we needed the waiver document. The cabin was not close by so it would have been useful if she had been informed about that initially. I went and got the waiver. One of the staff was gesticulating at the other when shown the waiver and accused me of presenting a copy and not the original. I pointed out the different color inks and he said that I must have used a color copier (It was the original). A second staff member said that I should go to Customer Service and get a copy made so that they could keep a copy. Again, this could have been handled quite differently. I went to Customer Service and obtained the requested copy but my granddaughter was now so upset that she gave up. She had been looking forward to the rock climb since the girls had read about the ship online and she said that they would just find something else that was wrong. I was very angry at having been called a liar and heartbroken on behalf of my granddaughter. We were not treated well at all and she did not get to climb. She also hurt herself on one of the water slides, slipping and bruising her ribs (We hope they are not cracked) when she stepped out of the tube. Main Dining - The Main dining areas were on three decks. We had made arrangements to go to what is known as "My time" dining which is reserved for a time of your choosing. There are other dining areas, some included in the fee and others that are charged on top of the fee you have already paid. We had a large group of 17 people so we looked forward to the reservations that we had made. You can bring two bottles of wine on board when you board the ship and the waiters will store the wine for you until you need it. This is the ONLY time you are allowed to bring wine aboard. Any drinks that you buy will be expensive and will have tax and a service charge added so be warned. If you buy the drink package and want to receive your full value you will likely be tipsy most of the time. If you are careful and pay as you go (keep your receipts) you will enjoy a nice drink when you would like one and pay less. Food - As with all cruises the food is abundant and there is a cafeteria-style restaurant called the Windjammer that is available much of the time. We found the food quality to be mediocre, especially in the main dining room. Salmon cooked to a brick and steak still frozen in the center with no taste. We not impressed at all. Of course you can forget the payment you made that included the “meal” and go to the restaurants spread around the ship where you pay extra for a meal that may be better quality. We tried another complimentary restaurant called the Bistro. This was less crowded and had some different menu items. All waiters were pleasant and helpful. Casino - There is a casino on board also but if you don't like second-hand smoke you may need an oxygen mask to pass through the casino or take an elevator to another floor and walk down on the other side of the casino. We like to put aside some money to have some fun in the casinos but we could not bring ourselves to spend time in a place where the smoke stung our eyes and made us cough. Onboard Entertainment - Shows are scheduled for different nights but we found that by the time we finished dinner we missed all the shows we reserved with the exception of the comedy act which was quite entertaining. Photographers - You may remember film, negatives, processing and prints. These are no longer. Like many of us who converted years ago, the ship photographers use digital SLR cameras with flash. We suggest you do the same. These days a 16GB flash drive costs about $5 on Amazon. I usually buy 64GB drives. You will be bombarded by photographers on the two formal dinner nights and every time you go ashore. The resulting pictures are displayed on one of the decks and typically at least one member of the family will want to buy a package (Not me). The pictures are often poorly constructed, not centered and cost $20 each. You will be very lucky to escape with $100 of your well-earned savings for this very amateurish service. Find a good spot and take your own photographs, you will have them on your own flash drive. The ship will not put their photographs on your flash drive but they will sell you a small flash drive for $10 to put them on in addition to the $20 fee if you wish. Internet service - If you think that you pay too much for internet service at home then get ready for a shock. Typically home internet service costs about $30/month. On board ship it is $77 per person per device for the duration of the cruise. We had two granddaughters who spend most of their day sending messages and email etc. We purchased the internet service for them and one for my wife and I so that we could communicate with their parents and the girls on board ship. It turns out that there is also a messaging service on board that costs $7/day (In addition to the Internet service). So $49 plus tax for messaging each while you are on board. It’s not included in your $77 plus tax internet charge. Go figure. You will need to “forget” the service on your device if you want to move it to another device. Go figure. Yet another expensive overhead on top of insurance and tours and photographs and restaurants and drinks. Off-ship tours/trips - The dock areas where the ship arrives are not pretty and it will take time to get from here to the town close by. You need your ship pass and your passport and it was very hot wherever we went so take some shade and plenty of water. Do not take the water from your cabin fridge. I was thirsty in the middle of the night and after fumbling around in our dark cabin I found a water bottle for which I was billed over $12.00 in my final bill. The last day - Remember that you are now onboard with 6,000 other guests and they are all competing for food and loungers, pools and hot tubs. Plan the last day ahead of time if you want to read a book in a comfortable lounger near to some reasonable food. I suggest the Bistro in the Solarium. In theory there are no kids allowed in the Solarium but I’m not sure at what age the kids become adults on board. We did find a good spot and managed to stay put for most of the day. Also, be sure that you get off early enough to get transport back to the airport because you will be competing with thousands of people at every stage of your trip home including taxis, boarding passes, security checks, meals - what a treat! Final Bill - Check your final bill carefully. I found that it was not accurate and had to call after I got home to get an explanation. Items are added and removed and you may have more than one version of a final bill like we did. We did resolve the issue in the end with the help of the web site number. Summary - For the four of us including airfares from the USA the trip was expensive. I know we could have done much better. If you enjoy being held to a schedule from the time you leave home to when you get back, being herded around like cattle, bumping into people constantly while you get your own food, waiting for elevators, pushed around on tours, bruising your shins and other parts as you try to get around a cabin for four that would be hard-pressed to serve two and fast marched around historical places this is for you. If you want a relaxing, memorable vacation with your wife where you can buy your own wine anytime you want, choose reasonable restaurants with amazing menus and take a trip when you feel like it, think about renting a place where you will be left alone until you are ready to explore and come back happy, refreshed, with a big smile and money left in your wallet. We are now quite sure that cruising is not for us. Instead, we will make enquiries with friends who have taken a different approach and do things in peaceful surroundings at our own pace and with no Captain announcing at the top of his/her voice hot hot we are going to be in an annoyingly cheerful way that reminds me of the cheap self-contained holidays of my youth. The ship is not cheap but it is definitely not for us. In general, the staff on the ship were pleasant and eager to help.

Not for Us

Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review by pughimagcr3524

21 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Harmony of the Seas is a new ship. As a new ship. It has many options. It also has many people - about 6,000. It has approximately 2,500 crew. Sometimes it seems like it is not crowded. Other times not so.

When I talk to friends and family, some like cruising, some do not. We were interested in trying out a new ship (One of the largest in the world) but the destinations were what caught our attention. Barcelona, Mallorca, Marseilles, Naples, Rome. The cruise started from Barcelona on July 3rd and ended on July 10th.

If you enjoy pools, slides, lounge chairs and continuous access to drinks and food, cruising is for you. A ship has to be designed to manage the large numbers of people, keeping them entertained and satisfied. Elevators and equipment must be working at all times and information should be constantly available. There are many choices for entertainment and dining.

We found that a large new ship is the same as any other cruise ship in many respects. Here are some of our experiences on this very large, very shiny ship.

We booked a cabin for two a year in advance and had our choice of cabin. Later in the year we decided to offer our grandchildren the option of coming with us and called the RC agents to make the change to include two of our grandchildren. Royal Caribbean did not confirm the new cabin for us until it was time to fly to Barcelona. There is some anxiety involved in waiting the rest of the year for a cabin confirmation.

The Cabin - The cabin was called a state room. It was in quite a state throughout the voyage so perhaps it was well named. For sure it was not stately. We were essentially four adults. Our granddaughters had as much luggage (1 bag each) as my wife and I and were 12 and 13 years old. The clothing storage was inadequate and we kept our luggage on the floor as extra storage. There was no privacy curtain for the adults and no night light in the room to find our way to the bathroom as we tried to navigate the trundle bed which had about a 10" clearance to the cabinets. This is where cell phones or iPads come in useful, you can use them as flashlights. The cabin was a mess from day 1 with bathing suits hanging from every protuberance that was available. There was a long wall next to the main bed but alas, there were no hooks available. We lived in squalor for 7 days while we "enjoyed" our cruise. Comfort has become important in our retired lives and our "camping" days were over quite some time ago.

The lights came on if you put your "sea pass" into the reader slot near the door. If you take your card out all the lights will go out and you will be in a dark cavern with obstacles in your path. The shower was OK and there was plenty of hot water. The toilet had a quick flush to conserve water. If you put a card in the reader by the door and switch off all the cabin lights there is a night light in the bathroom but a phone will do a better job. The couch beds were not very good. I’m glad my wife and I did not have to sleep on them. Throughout the cruise, the cabin was my least favorite place to be. A huge ship with nasty little cabins that are not very well thought out. I should add that the person looking after our cabin was very nice and concerned about us. We gave him an extra tip.

Ship features - Our two grandchildren are 12 and 13 and were looking forward to trying out the various offerings on deck. We obtained the notarized waivers that were required from their parents. When one of the girls went to go rock climbing she was turned away because she needed an adult with her. No problem, I went with her. We were then told we needed the waiver document. The cabin was not close by so it would have been useful if she had been informed about that initially. I went and got the waiver. One of the staff was gesticulating at the other when shown the waiver and accused me of presenting a copy and not the original. I pointed out the different color inks and he said that I must have used a color copier (It was the original). A second staff member said that I should go to Customer Service and get a copy made so that they could keep a copy. Again, this could have been handled quite differently. I went to Customer Service and obtained the requested copy but my granddaughter was now so upset that she gave up. She had been looking forward to the rock climb since the girls had read about the ship online and she said that they would just find something else that was wrong. I was very angry at having been called a liar and heartbroken on behalf of my granddaughter. We were not treated well at all and she did not get to climb. She also hurt herself on one of the water slides, slipping and bruising her ribs (We hope they are not cracked) when she stepped out of the tube.

Main Dining - The Main dining areas were on three decks. We had made arrangements to go to what is known as "My time" dining which is reserved for a time of your choosing. There are other dining areas, some included in the fee and others that are charged on top of the fee you have already paid. We had a large group of 17 people so we looked forward to the reservations that we had made. You can bring two bottles of wine on board when you board the ship and the waiters will store the wine for you until you need it. This is the ONLY time you are allowed to bring wine aboard. Any drinks that you buy will be expensive and will have tax and a service charge added so be warned. If you buy the drink package and want to receive your full value you will likely be tipsy most of the time. If you are careful and pay as you go (keep your receipts) you will enjoy a nice drink when you would like one and pay less.

Food - As with all cruises the food is abundant and there is a cafeteria-style restaurant called the Windjammer that is available much of the time. We found the food quality to be mediocre, especially in the main dining room. Salmon cooked to a brick and steak still frozen in the center with no taste. We not impressed at all. Of course you can forget the payment you made that included the “meal” and go to the restaurants spread around the ship where you pay extra for a meal that may be better quality. We tried another complimentary restaurant called the Bistro. This was less crowded and had some different menu items. All waiters were pleasant and helpful.

Casino - There is a casino on board also but if you don't like second-hand smoke you may need an oxygen mask to pass through the casino or take an elevator to another floor and walk down on the other side of the casino. We like to put aside some money to have some fun in the casinos but we could not bring ourselves to spend time in a place where the smoke stung our eyes and made us cough.

Onboard Entertainment - Shows are scheduled for different nights but we found that by the time we finished dinner we missed all the shows we reserved with the exception of the comedy act which was quite entertaining.

Photographers - You may remember film, negatives, processing and prints. These are no longer. Like many of us who converted years ago, the ship photographers use digital SLR cameras with flash. We suggest you do the same. These days a 16GB flash drive costs about $5 on Amazon. I usually buy 64GB drives. You will be bombarded by photographers on the two formal dinner nights and every time you go ashore. The resulting pictures are displayed on one of the decks and typically at least one member of the family will want to buy a package (Not me). The pictures are often poorly constructed, not centered and cost $20 each. You will be very lucky to escape with $100 of your well-earned savings for this very amateurish service. Find a good spot and take your own photographs, you will have them on your own flash drive. The ship will not put their photographs on your flash drive but they will sell you a small flash drive for $10 to put them on in addition to the $20 fee if you wish.

Internet service - If you think that you pay too much for internet service at home then get ready for a shock. Typically home internet service costs about $30/month. On board ship it is $77 per person per device for the duration of the cruise. We had two granddaughters who spend most of their day sending messages and email etc. We purchased the internet service for them and one for my wife and I so that we could communicate with their parents and the girls on board ship. It turns out that there is also a messaging service on board that costs $7/day (In addition to the Internet service). So $49 plus tax for messaging each while you are on board. It’s not included in your $77 plus tax internet charge. Go figure. You will need to “forget” the service on your device if you want to move it to another device. Go figure. Yet another expensive overhead on top of insurance and tours and photographs and restaurants and drinks.

Off-ship tours/trips - The dock areas where the ship arrives are not pretty and it will take time to get from here to the town close by. You need your ship pass and your passport and it was very hot wherever we went so take some shade and plenty of water. Do not take the water from your cabin fridge. I was thirsty in the middle of the night and after fumbling around in our dark cabin I found a water bottle for which I was billed over $12.00 in my final bill.

The last day - Remember that you are now onboard with 6,000 other guests and they are all competing for food and loungers, pools and hot tubs. Plan the last day ahead of time if you want to read a book in a comfortable lounger near to some reasonable food. I suggest the Bistro in the Solarium. In theory there are no kids allowed in the Solarium but I’m not sure at what age the kids become adults on board. We did find a good spot and managed to stay put for most of the day. Also, be sure that you get off early enough to get transport back to the airport because you will be competing with thousands of people at every stage of your trip home including taxis, boarding passes, security checks, meals - what a treat!

Final Bill - Check your final bill carefully. I found that it was not accurate and had to call after I got home to get an explanation. Items are added and removed and you may have more than one version of a final bill like we did. We did resolve the issue in the end with the help of the web site number.

Summary - For the four of us including airfares from the USA the trip was expensive. I know we could have done much better. If you enjoy being held to a schedule from the time you leave home to when you get back, being herded around like cattle, bumping into people constantly while you get your own food, waiting for elevators, pushed around on tours, bruising your shins and other parts as you try to get around a cabin for four that would be hard-pressed to serve two and fast marched around historical places this is for you. If you want a relaxing, memorable vacation with your wife where you can buy your own wine anytime you want, choose reasonable restaurants with amazing menus and take a trip when you feel like it, think about renting a place where you will be left alone until you are ready to explore and come back happy, refreshed, with a big smile and money left in your wallet. We are now quite sure that cruising is not for us. Instead, we will make enquiries with friends who have taken a different approach and do things in peaceful surroundings at our own pace and with no Captain announcing at the top of his/her voice hot hot we are going to be in an annoyingly cheerful way that reminds me of the cheap self-contained holidays of my youth. The ship is not cheap but it is definitely not for us. In general, the staff on the ship were pleasant and eager to help.
pughimagcr3524’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 6599
Very tight and uncomfortable. OK for a hostel but not for a vacation. Other issues.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews