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We were a family group of 12 with ages from 5 - 74. This is the 12th ocean cruise for me and my husband and the 5th with RCL. We had sailed before with Princess, RCL, NCL and Oceania. The ship is beautiful and the atmosphere is very vibrant. Because of the amount of activities onboard, it is very suitable for family reunion. However, the service level was very mediocre. Main Dining Room We had the 6:30 pm fixed seating in the American Icon Grille on Deck 3. The waiter and assistant waiter serving us were excellent. They were both very friendly and service oriented. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about my experiences at other times. In my past experiences and on all the ships I had been on, the buffet restaurant upstairs serve buffet and the main dining room serve a la carte with table service. My husband and I like to enjoy table service so usually we go to the dining room for breakfast and lunch when we are not on a rush to excursion. This time around, it was different. For breakfast, half of the dining room was buffet and half of it was a la carte. That is fine as long as there is still the choice for a la carte. The first morning we were there, we were led around the dining room as if they did not know where to seat us even though there were a lot of tables around. In my past experiences, a waiter would come around with coffee and then a tray of baked goods while we were going over the menu. This time, no rolls were offered until we asked after our ordered breakfast had arrived. The 2 times that the dining room was opened for lunch, only buffet was served. The one time I was there, I stood in line for 10 minutes only to find that people were standing with plates in hand in front of empty food trays. They ran out of food and could not refill in time. I ended up just scraping up whatever is left and I find this quite unacceptable. During that same lunch, we ordered coffee. Shortly after the coffee was served a waitress came over to our table and asked if we had finished with the cream and took it and gave it to another table before we could answer her question. Could RCL not afford to buy a pitcher for each table or was the waitress too lazy to go get a new pitcher? When this was mentioned to the Head Waiter, he defended with the explanation that they did not want to waste the cream. To me, this is a limp excuse and is an example of sub par service. The food was quite good and tasty. The one thing I find this cruise quite different from our past cruises was that the head waiters were not very visible. In my other cruises, the head waiters usually came around introducing themselves and checking out with the passengers to see if everything was in order. This seems to be missing on this cruise. Windjammer Cafe I only had 1 lunch and 1 breakfast there and I find both the food and service were satisfactory. Solarium Bistro I had lunch there once and I quite like the atmosphere. It was very peaceful. It was buffet as well. The choices were not very extensive but the food was quite tasty. Park Cafe We had a couple of breakfasts here. I like sitting in Central Park in the morning. It was quite tranquil with birds singing. The service here was very bad. It took the servers ages to clear the tables. We would walk in with a lot of tables available but were all stacked with dirty dishes waiting to be cleared. They were constantly out of cutlery, plates, cups and even hot water. They put out a big spread of sweet rolls and with no plates, How do you expect your customers to serve themselves? When I asked, they brought out 10 plates which disappeared in no time during the morning rush. Wonderland That was a fun experience. Both service and food were good. Entertainment We saw Grease, The fine Line, 1887, Comedy, Headliner, Hideaway Heist. They were all very good. The Grease production was very professional. They need to improve on their scheduling a bit. For example, we missed one of the Headliner shows because it clashed with our dining time. In the past, there was usually 1 showtime to fit in the 1st seating guests and another showtime to fit in the 2nd seating guests. It doesn't seem to be the case this time. The Dreamworks Parade, the Crown & Anchor Welcome Back Reception and Captain's Welcome Party were all scheduled during dinner for the 1st seating guests. We always had 1st seating in our past cruises and I don't remember missing these events. On our past RCL cruises, we really enjoyed the Schooner Bar. It was usually packed and the atmosphere festive. This time, most of the time you wouldn't even know it existed as the bar was so quiet. Most of the time we walked by, it was only 75% full and majority of the time no music was playing. We stayed one night and waited for the singer to come on and didn't enjoy it at all. With the amount of passengers RCL should be able to afford to hire a stronger entertainer who can draw in the crowd. Shore Excursions We had shore excursions to Aix-en-Provence and Cinque Terre. My kids did the kayaking excursion in Palma de Mallorca. Nothing particulary bad or good to say about the 1st 2 excursions. However, my kids felt that the kayajing excursion was not worth the $189. They said that it was quite strenuous and with that kind of money, no water was even provided to keep the customers hydrated under the intense sun. Photos I have to commend the change in the way the photos were delivered. We now viewed the photos on a computer and then ordered a printed or electronic copy. This avoided the huge amount of printed photos being thrown away at the end of each sailing. One suggestion for them is to avoid stamping the centre of the picture which makes it hard to see if one's eyes were closed or not Service Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. They were very friendly and helpful. However, I cannot use that to describe the majority of the staff onboard. I don't know if the ship was understaffed or the staff was overworked. The majority seem to be disinterested. I had asked for information from a few people and they all answered matter of factly and I couldn't feel any warmth emitting from them. In the past, when we bumped into someone cleaning the floor or wiping the glass, they would greet you with a smile and friendly hello. This time, most of them would just continue their work with no acknowledgement. When embarking and disembarking at the ports, again the security staff and the shore staff were all very cold - no smiles, no welcome back. A lot of people might blame this sub par service level on the size of the ship. However, we had been on the Oasis of the Seas during its inaugural season and the service level was top notch. Our same family group was on that cruise and we all felt that the our experience on the Oasis was much better. I think comparing Oasis and Harmony is fair because they are of the same size and class. With Oasis as our benchmark, I think better service on the Harmony is achievable. All in all I would still say that this had been an enjoyable cruise but could be so much better had they been complemented by more attentive service, a more motivated staff and a more tune-in management as the facilities were wonderful.

Beautiful Ship But Mediocre Service

Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review by canadian9981

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We were a family group of 12 with ages from 5 - 74. This is the 12th ocean cruise for me and my husband and the 5th with RCL. We had sailed before with Princess, RCL, NCL and Oceania.

The ship is beautiful and the atmosphere is very vibrant. Because of the amount of activities onboard, it is very suitable for family reunion. However, the service level was very mediocre.

Main Dining Room

We had the 6:30 pm fixed seating in the American Icon Grille on Deck 3. The waiter and assistant waiter serving us were excellent. They were both very friendly and service oriented. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about my experiences at other times.

In my past experiences and on all the ships I had been on, the buffet restaurant upstairs serve buffet and the main dining room serve a la carte with table service. My husband and I like to enjoy table service so usually we go to the dining room for breakfast and lunch when we are not on a rush to excursion. This time around, it was different.

For breakfast, half of the dining room was buffet and half of it was a la carte. That is fine as long as there is still the choice for a la carte. The first morning we were there, we were led around the dining room as if they did not know where to seat us even though there were a lot of tables around. In my past experiences, a waiter would come around with coffee and then a tray of baked goods while we were going over the menu. This time, no rolls were offered until we asked after our ordered breakfast had arrived.

The 2 times that the dining room was opened for lunch, only buffet was served. The one time I was there, I stood in line for 10 minutes only to find that people were standing with plates in hand in front of empty food trays. They ran out of food and could not refill in time. I ended up just scraping up whatever is left and I find this quite unacceptable. During that same lunch, we ordered coffee. Shortly after the coffee was served a waitress came over to our table and asked if we had finished with the cream and took it and gave it to another table before we could answer her question. Could RCL not afford to buy a pitcher for each table or was the waitress too lazy to go get a new pitcher? When this was mentioned to the Head Waiter, he defended with the explanation that they did not want to waste the cream. To me, this is a limp excuse and is an example of sub par service.

The food was quite good and tasty.

The one thing I find this cruise quite different from our past cruises was that the head waiters were not very visible. In my other cruises, the head waiters usually came around introducing themselves and checking out with the passengers to see if everything was in order. This seems to be missing on this cruise.

Windjammer Cafe

I only had 1 lunch and 1 breakfast there and I find both the food and service were satisfactory.

Solarium Bistro

I had lunch there once and I quite like the atmosphere. It was very peaceful. It was buffet as well. The choices were not very extensive but the food was quite tasty.

Park Cafe

We had a couple of breakfasts here. I like sitting in Central Park in the morning. It was quite tranquil with birds singing. The service here was very bad. It took the servers ages to clear the tables. We would walk in with a lot of tables available but were all stacked with dirty dishes waiting to be cleared. They were constantly out of cutlery, plates, cups and even hot water. They put out a big spread of sweet rolls and with no plates, How do you expect your customers to serve themselves? When I asked, they brought out 10 plates which disappeared in no time during the morning rush.

Wonderland

That was a fun experience. Both service and food were good.

Entertainment

We saw Grease, The fine Line, 1887, Comedy, Headliner, Hideaway Heist. They were all very good. The Grease production was very professional.

They need to improve on their scheduling a bit. For example, we missed one of the Headliner shows because it clashed with our dining time. In the past, there was usually 1 showtime to fit in the 1st seating guests and another showtime to fit in the 2nd seating guests. It doesn't seem to be the case this time. The Dreamworks Parade, the Crown & Anchor Welcome Back Reception and Captain's Welcome Party were all scheduled during dinner for the 1st seating guests. We always had 1st seating in our past cruises and I don't remember missing these events.

On our past RCL cruises, we really enjoyed the Schooner Bar. It was usually packed and the atmosphere festive. This time, most of the time you wouldn't even know it existed as the bar was so quiet. Most of the time we walked by, it was only 75% full and majority of the time no music was playing. We stayed one night and waited for the singer to come on and didn't enjoy it at all. With the amount of passengers RCL should be able to afford to hire a stronger entertainer who can draw in the crowd.

Shore Excursions

We had shore excursions to Aix-en-Provence and Cinque Terre. My kids did the kayaking excursion in Palma de Mallorca. Nothing particulary bad or good to say about the 1st 2 excursions. However, my kids felt that the kayajing excursion was not worth the $189. They said that it was quite strenuous and with that kind of money, no water was even provided to keep the customers hydrated under the intense sun.

Photos

I have to commend the change in the way the photos were delivered. We now viewed the photos on a computer and then ordered a printed or electronic copy. This avoided the huge amount of printed photos being thrown away at the end of each sailing. One suggestion for them is to avoid stamping the centre of the picture which makes it hard to see if one's eyes were closed or not

Service

Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. They were very friendly and helpful. However, I cannot use that to describe the majority of the staff onboard. I don't know if the ship was understaffed or the staff was overworked. The majority seem to be disinterested. I had asked for information from a few people and they all answered matter of factly and I couldn't feel any warmth emitting from them. In the past, when we bumped into someone cleaning the floor or wiping the glass, they would greet you with a smile and friendly hello. This time, most of them would just continue their work with no acknowledgement. When embarking and disembarking at the ports, again the security staff and the shore staff were all very cold - no smiles, no welcome back.

A lot of people might blame this sub par service level on the size of the ship. However, we had been on the Oasis of the Seas during its inaugural season and the service level was top notch. Our same family group was on that cruise and we all felt that the our experience on the Oasis was much better. I think comparing Oasis and Harmony is fair because they are of the same size and class. With Oasis as our benchmark, I think better service on the Harmony is achievable.

All in all I would still say that this had been an enjoyable cruise but could be so much better had they been complemented by more attentive service, a more motivated staff and a more tune-in management as the facilities were wonderful.
canadian9981’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
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Shore Excursions
Ages 3 to 6
Ages 7 to 9
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin
The cabin is very spacious and comfortable. Storage space is ample for 2 people. However, there are no hooks on the wall or a clothes line in the shower cabinet. That makes it difficult to hang up wet swim suits. As a result, everybody was putting their stuff on the balcony to dry so it wasn't a pretty sight when I sat on the balcony.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews