Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review by aidansargent
- Sail Date: September 2016
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
The Ship – the ship is amazing. The amount of facilities available on board is a credit to Royal Caribbean. In my view they are the most innovative at sea and is one of the reasons why we have sailed with them the most. The activities include two flow riders, zip line (I did this and enjoyed it), the Ultimate Abyss (a dry slide dropping 10 floors in the dark. It’s an adrenaline rush), 3 large water slides (again great fun), Escape the Rubicon (definitely recommend this if you like puzzles. It’s a one hour group game where you have to solve puzzles to get your space ship back on track!). The ship has different areas too such as Central Park which is like a little oasis in the middle of the ship. It was probably my favourite place and where a few of the restaurants were. The Boardwalk area has the carousel, Johnny Rockets, Arcade, Dog House
The Stateroom – We got a family oceanview stateroom which I think is about 270 sq ft. There was plenty of room in it and was worth the extra money for the space.
The Food – I thought the food in the windjammer was probably the best of any ship we have been on. We used dine early so didn’t face the long queues people complained about. They also have a section for live cooking which has different items every day. We spend 3 evenings in here too as its far more convenient with an 18 month old! I thought the overall layout was good two. They have it split into two areas both exactly the same but the people would be kept apart not like other ones. I feel a lot of the complaints about windjammer were over the top. Yes it gets busy at peak times but so does every hotel. Top Tip: If it’s too busy or you don’t like it go to the main dining room. They have it split to menu based ordering or a buffet set-up. We went to Jamie’s twice, Chops and 150 Central Park. We purchased the 4 night dining package online before the cruise and there is quiet a few $ to be saved doing this. We used eat at 6pm so there was never an issue getting what we wanted. As part of the package you can’t book your restaurants until on-board and one of them must be used on night 1 or 2. Top Tip: As soon as you arrive on-board make your bookings and you’ll get what you want. Jamie’s was fab, a more casual dining option and 150 Central Park was superb. It’s more upmarket. The 23oz rib eye for 2 is excellent.
The Staff – Again, I read an awful lot of complaints about the staff but we found them nothing but friendly. Out stateroom attendant “Tut” was excellent and the waiting staff were always friendly to our baby and some would go out of their way to come over to her and say hello.
Embarkation – this was quick in Barcelona, probably about 10 minutes. The online method is great.
Aqua Theater- The only show I saw was in the aqua theater which is well worth a look.
Running Track - Finally a proper walking/running track. This is the best I have seen at sea. It goes around the entire circumference of the ship on deck 5 and is one way. I think i'ts about .6km all around. No more avoiding people with drinks, or chairs etc. And it's also linked to the excellent gym on deck 6.
The Size of the Ship – This ship is massive. Be prepared to do a lot of walking. Our stateroom was right at the front so we did a lot of walking. I don’t think they should build any bigger. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but I wouldn’t recommend this ship for people who are less able bodied. It also means that you are often further out in ports.
The Cot – We ordered a cot for our stateroom before we sailed. When we arrived it wasn’t there so our baby had to sleep on a make shift bed on the floor. It didn’t arrive until that evening which was a bit annoying as we asked for it to be in our stateroom on arrival. It is also quiet small and it didn’t come with a mattress as per their website so it wasn’t that comfortable. Considering you have to pay for your child and they expect tips, I’d except better than this.
Chops – Chops grill used to be my favourite but it didn’t live up to expectation this time around. My wife ordered a cookie dessert which we were expecting to be cookie in a skillet or something like that but it was actually 3 cookies on a plate. This is just lazy and not what you’d expect in a pay restaurant. But what annoyed me more was that when we asked for our bill our waiter pointed out that there was a section to leave more and on returning to us I could see him looking if we left an additional amount. There is already a surcharge on this restaurant and there is 18% gratuity on drinks so I wasn’t impressed with this. This was the first time this ever happened on a cruise.
Embarkation Sales – As you arrive on-board there is people everywhere trying to sell things. Just leave us on the ship and take it all in rather than trying to avoid sales people.
Costs – This is more a complaint about Royal Caribbean than the ship itself. We started cruising with RC nearly 10 years ago. The cruise fares I feel now are gone very expensive. On top of that their drink prices are crazy, $28 for two cocktails, $8 for a beer. It’s more expensive in Europe as they put 10% tax on the price and of course it still includes the 18% gratuity. The gratuities are now $13.5 and they even charge that for a baby. I just feel the costs are getting too high and will probably impact on who we cruise with in the future. In Marseille we were docked 7km from the town and the shuttle bus was $18 return. I mean come on, $9 each way for a bus ride.
Adventure Ocean – this is the kids club. They have an open play area where you can go anytime with your child. There are then different rooms based on age category. We used the 6 – 36 months one. You can drop your child in there for $6 p/h before 6pm and $8 per hour after that (not $10 as per ship review). Some of the staff in there are great and definitely recommended to get some time for yourself.
If you can bring your own cot, do so as the one provided is not good and its smaller than expected.
If you can get a bigger room do as I would hate to have been in a normal size room with our little active one. We had oceanview which was great. I wouldn’t recommend a balcony cabin as if we did I can only imagine the whole time trying to stop her from trying to get out onto it.
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Room was approx 270 sq ft which is similar in size to a Junior Suite. It's also close to the Adventure Center which makes sense being a family room. Don't expect fancy shampoo and shower gel though.
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It's walkable from the ship to centre so worth spending time there. Watch out for the nude wrinklies on the beach too!!
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