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First time cruise for a family of four with teenage children to celebrate a landmark birthday and decided to go for the biggest and the best !? Having spent four fantastic days pre cruise in Barcelona we had high hopes for Harmony of the Seas but the experience was mixed. The Ship There is no doubt this ship is an amazing feat of engineering bordering on the absurd in terms of scale. Getting on and off was remarkably easy and quick if you check in on line. As expected everything about the ship is new and spotless. We had upgraded cabins with ocean balcony which were pleasantly larger than expected with a comfortable bed although still smaller than the average Premier Inn room (this is a ship after all). The ship is busy at peak times especially the last day at sea and the design means you spend a lot of time in one of the 24 lifts on board which always seemed to be busy. The pools are noisy with kids but the Solarium is a pleasant alternative quiet with plenty of sun loungers and hot tubs (not sure why they are so hot when the air tempreature is in the 30s) Food The food in the complimentary restaurants ranged from average to inedible. The main dining room food is typical of the type of mass catering you might expect at a wedding. The menu was uninspiring and too few dishes changed daily and the food was fairly tasteless. In one occasion the potatoes were served still frozen. I suspect the majority of the food is cooked from frozen. Despite having booked a table we had to queue on the occasions we ate in main dining, once for 25 minutes. The main alternative restaurant, the Windjammer was a sterile environment where all guests are ushered to sinks at the entrance to wash hands before entry is allowed (there are hand sanitisers everywhere on board), and the food is self service but again limited in variety and lacking in freshly cooked dishes. Fish was particularly sparse. This canteen style facility is massive but despite this the sheer numbers on board meant getting a seat was difficult at any time.Here the food id served on plastic plates similar to most restaurants other then main dining or speciality. By contrast the speciality restaurants were excellent although a little expensive. Pre booking was recommended but they never appeared busy. Drink We took a beer and wine drinks package which we had pre booked but which is also heavily sold on ship during the first few days. It seemed most people on board had a package although you should read the small print as our package did not entitle us to bottled water but we could have limitless soda !? Also we could not have a bottle of wine with meals just by the glass. Bear in mind also you will not be allowed to bring your own wine on board on shore days do if you want a drink on your balcony you will need to pop down 10 flights in the lift to the nearest open bar. Cocktails are generally made from pre mixed cartons. Too much of the wine list is Californian and too many of the beers on board are served in a tin .The ship had no draught beer except in the Olde English Pub where there is one draught tap serving.......Heineken (which i am sure is made in Amsterdam !) The coffee was very poor except if you paid extra and the fruit juice equally tasted of chemicals. of course you could also pay extra to have it freshly squeezed. Dont forget every extrat comes with a 18% service charge on top. Opening times Despite the amazing array of food outlets the opening times were staggered so only a handful were open at any time except for evening dining. There was effectively no 24 hour dining as only a coffee shop and a self serve take away pizza counter opened all day and night. Everything else closed around 10.00. Equally the late bars closed at one leaving the casino and night club trading later. The main dining room did an early breakfast sitting and an early lunch on the sea day otherwise lunch was self service canteen style or fast food burgers and pizza style. Entertainment Entertainment was fantastic and i often thought if the food and drink could match then the overall experience would have been 5 star. It is impossible to fault any of the entertainers. I would highlight the late night Aqua Theatre, Grease the musical and the Jazz club as some of the best on any measure. Ports If you choose to leave the ship at every port on a excursion then you will have a very busy holiday. there is enough on the ship to keep you busy the full week but a degree of cabin fever will develop. Despite the size you will from time to time remember you are on a ship (it moves) and the sheer scale of people does mean it gets busy from time to time. The size of the ship also means you will dock in some fairly industrial ports beside other super tankers so do not expect pretty harbours from your balcony. The port locations were good but shore trips felt expensive and having only a few hours in these locations sometimes felt limited. Overall The overall experience is unique. The ship is designed around three main public areas which feel like shopping malls. Above these are the multiple floors of bedrooms with the water slides and pools on the top floor. The resulting experience is like being in a shopping centre/theme park which is a novelty but becomes tiresome after the novelty wears off. The finishes are high class and the ship is spotless but the fake feeling dominates. There is nothing authentic. We were in the Med but none of the Med culture or cuisine nor wine made it onto the ship.

7 Days on the biggest theme park and shopping mall on the seas

Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review by MCD66

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
First time cruise for a family of four with teenage children to celebrate a landmark birthday and decided to go for the biggest and the best !? Having spent four fantastic days pre cruise in Barcelona we had high hopes for Harmony of the Seas but the experience was mixed.

The Ship

There is no doubt this ship is an amazing feat of engineering bordering on the absurd in terms of scale. Getting on and off was remarkably easy and quick if you check in on line. As expected everything about the ship is new and spotless. We had upgraded cabins with ocean balcony which were pleasantly larger than expected with a comfortable bed although still smaller than the average Premier Inn room (this is a ship after all). The ship is busy at peak times especially the last day at sea and the design means you spend a lot of time in one of the 24 lifts on board which always seemed to be busy. The pools are noisy with kids but the Solarium is a pleasant alternative quiet with plenty of sun loungers and hot tubs (not sure why they are so hot when the air tempreature is in the 30s)

Food

The food in the complimentary restaurants ranged from average to inedible. The main dining room food is typical of the type of mass catering you might expect at a wedding. The menu was uninspiring and too few dishes changed daily and the food was fairly tasteless. In one occasion the potatoes were served still frozen. I suspect the majority of the food is cooked from frozen. Despite having booked a table we had to queue on the occasions we ate in main dining, once for 25 minutes. The main alternative restaurant, the Windjammer was a sterile environment where all guests are ushered to sinks at the entrance to wash hands before entry is allowed (there are hand sanitisers everywhere on board), and the food is self service but again limited in variety and lacking in freshly cooked dishes. Fish was particularly sparse. This canteen style facility is massive but despite this the sheer numbers on board meant getting a seat was difficult at any time.Here the food id served on plastic plates similar to most restaurants other then main dining or speciality. By contrast the speciality restaurants were excellent although a little expensive. Pre booking was recommended but they never appeared busy.

Drink

We took a beer and wine drinks package which we had pre booked but which is also heavily sold on ship during the first few days. It seemed most people on board had a package although you should read the small print as our package did not entitle us to bottled water but we could have limitless soda !? Also we could not have a bottle of wine with meals just by the glass. Bear in mind also you will not be allowed to bring your own wine on board on shore days do if you want a drink on your balcony you will need to pop down 10 flights in the lift to the nearest open bar. Cocktails are generally made from pre mixed cartons. Too much of the wine list is Californian and too many of the beers on board are served in a tin .The ship had no draught beer except in the Olde English Pub where there is one draught tap serving.......Heineken (which i am sure is made in Amsterdam !) The coffee was very poor except if you paid extra and the fruit juice equally tasted of chemicals. of course you could also pay extra to have it freshly squeezed. Dont forget every extrat comes with a 18% service charge on top.

Opening times

Despite the amazing array of food outlets the opening times were staggered so only a handful were open at any time except for evening dining. There was effectively no 24 hour dining as only a coffee shop and a self serve take away pizza counter opened all day and night. Everything else closed around 10.00. Equally the late bars closed at one leaving the casino and night club trading later. The main dining room did an early breakfast sitting and an early lunch on the sea day otherwise lunch was self service canteen style or fast food burgers and pizza style.

Entertainment

Entertainment was fantastic and i often thought if the food and drink could match then the overall experience would have been 5 star. It is impossible to fault any of the entertainers. I would highlight the late night Aqua Theatre, Grease the musical and the Jazz club as some of the best on any measure.

Ports

If you choose to leave the ship at every port on a excursion then you will have a very busy holiday. there is enough on the ship to keep you busy the full week but a degree of cabin fever will develop. Despite the size you will from time to time remember you are on a ship (it moves) and the sheer scale of people does mean it gets busy from time to time. The size of the ship also means you will dock in some fairly industrial ports beside other super tankers so do not expect pretty harbours from your balcony. The port locations were good but shore trips felt expensive and having only a few hours in these locations sometimes felt limited.

Overall

The overall experience is unique. The ship is designed around three main public areas which feel like shopping malls. Above these are the multiple floors of bedrooms with the water slides and pools on the top floor. The resulting experience is like being in a shopping centre/theme park which is a novelty but becomes tiresome after the novelty wears off. The finishes are high class and the ship is spotless but the fake feeling dominates. There is nothing authentic. We were in the Med but none of the Med culture or cuisine nor wine made it onto the ship.
MCD66’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 16+
Service
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