We live in Spain and drove to Barcelona to join ship. We parked in Trade Centre parking which is really handy for the cruise terminal. We arrived the night before embarkation and stayed in the Eurostar Grand Marina Hotel which is above the car park. It is a bit expensive but really convenient for cruising.
Emarkation was a bit of a disaster. We had checked in online, photos and everything and had Set Sail Passes. However we had to go through the whole process again in the check-in zone and were issued with a boarding pass. When we boarded the ship, the passes we had been given were not accepted by the computer and so we had the same process to go through again - passports, photos etc. We had been told in the arrivals hall that we could use our passes to buy drinks but as these useless passes were taken from us we were left we nothing to produce to buy anything. We were told we could visit our cabin and pick up our cards although we would not be able to use the cabin until 1 o'clock. This worked fine and in fact we left our hand luggage in the cabin at the same time. Disembarkation worked very smoothly with no hitches at all and no queue for taxis.
We had reserved a boardwalk balcony cabin, similar to ones we had enjoyed on sister ships Oasis and Allure. We had the very end cabin and so we had a good view of the sea, the show and the boardwalk with no obstruction from the new Abyss slide. The sliding doors have a good seal and so once closed there is no noise. The cabin was slighter larger than on Oasis and Allure with a far better layout - more floor space. Cases fitted under the beds and there was plenty of drawer and hanging space. One negative about cabin is thatthere is no lightweight curtain for privacy as on sister ships - something which is really vital on these inward facing cabins. Our cabin steward was wonderful.
My Time Dining - Silk Restaurant - for the first 4 or 5 nights there was not a queue and it all went smoothly. After Rome - there were extreme problems as they had taken onboard several corporate groups, 150 people in total, and they were able to walk straight through to their groups resulting in enormous queues and long waits for those of us who had gone to the trouble of booking well in advance. Food was good and service excellent.
Breakfast - American Icon on Deck 3 seems to work ok and is more civilised than Windjammer. You can choose buffet or a la carte. The only downside is that it is not open for long so you have to make sure you check opening hours as it changes daily.
Lunch - limited options - major weakness. Windjammer has introduced handwashing station at entrance instead of hand sanitizer. Doesn't work. People, especially children, don't always wash their hands - just skip through. Compulsory hand sanitizer better. As on sister ships Windjammer totally inadequate for number of guests. Also a problem if you eat alone is to make sure they don't clear your food away before you have finished. Advisable to take a jacket or something to leave on seat to indicate that you will be returning. Twice I put my food selection and cutlery on table and went back for a drink only to find on my return that it had all been cleared away. And it hadn't even been started! Food adequate. Lunch in American Icon which was only available on the one sea day was not very successful. Took ages to get seated. Seemed a reluctance to use all tables and to reset tables which had been used once. Service only ok.
Park Cafe - on sister ships we had enjoyed the roast beef rolls. This time the beef was raw not rare. Went back again but same thing so stayed clear.
Chops Grille - ok - not fantastic.
All activities first class.
Entertainment - musicals absolutely fantastic. In fact we thought the Christopher Columbus show the best. Two different ice shows which were both great. Aqua theatre shows fantastic. Best to book all shows and arrive early to get a good seat - at least 15 to 20 miinutes before start of show. People who have booked but arrive after this for popular shows will find that their places have been given away. Some guests kick up a fuss and get really upset but they should read the small print.
The captain was really hands on and very visible. Great.
Formal nights - there were two and we chose to dress in formal evening dress which is something we enjoy doing. Many others felt the same although it is quite funny to see a guy in a tuxedo next to someone who seems to be dressed for the beach!
Photographs - have always found RCL have great phtographers and the quality of their prints is also good.
Returning from shore in port stop - having been through security in port before re-embarking I find it really insulting to be presented with another onboard "security" experience which I think is a bit disingenuous when what it really is is an "alcohol check". Why not treat guests with some respect and ask if anyone has any alcohol?
General - ship generally immaculate and like sister ships fantastic - at times difficult to believe you are at sea. On sea days you are aware of just hoow many guests there are. One annoyance, although on this particular cruise there weren't many children, is that children are allowed to run around unsupervised in elevators and eateries.
One thing - for those who may have found the forward sun deck on Deck 14 as a good viewing area - on the Harmony it has disappeared as it has been incorporated into the solarium.
Having now done all 3 Oasis ships - that's it - will probavbly return to mid-sized ships.
Excellent. Roomy. Plenty of storage space. Adequate shower room with toiletries. End of corridor so really quiet. Good sea view + aquatheatre shows and boardwalk activities from nice balcony. No noise once balcony door closed. Only negative about cabin is there is no lightweight curtain for privacy so at certain times it is necessary to close the main curtains when it would be unnecessary with a second light curtain as they have on the sister ships.