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This was our second RCCL cruise - first on Allure its inaugural season, and this time on the Harmony. Without question, it is a beautiful ship. The shows were fantastic: the stage shows were energetic and the cast members talented, beautiful, and enthusiastic; the aqua theater show was mesmerizing and unique. The food in both the main dining room, windjammers and quick service areas were consistent and delicious. Above average for sure. Our main dining room server, Natasha (Silk, Table 808), was exceptional - she was the only one the entire cruise that treated us as a valued guest, and more than just a faceless number. The captain is also charismatic - much more so than the cruise director. Aside from that, we were very disappointed. Having sailed 10+ cruises on DCL, we miss the "soul" that every ship in that line has. Their crew are family. They treat every person as though they are the first family they have served, no matter how long their contract has been. You don't feel nickel-and-dimed. On RCCL, both cruises we felt as though they took every opportunity to make you feel like you had to pay extra to get the basic service, and even then you were let down. Examples: 1) Towels. This is an easy one. Just let people take the towels they need, without unneeded hassle. Have them readily available on your private island. I can understand requiring your seapass card and having a $30 fee if they aren't returned for days where you are in general ports of call, but while on the ship, or the private island? It creates anxiety where there need not be. 2) Chops Grille. As said above, the food in the main dining rooms is great. So, paying extra for the specialty restaurants, you expect an above-and-beyond experience. We didn't get it. The food was no better (though still delicious), but the service was way worse. Our server took forever to come to our table (despite ours being one of the first of the evening), couldn't understand our drink orders (gin and tonic, caipirinha), didn't come back to fill up our water glasses until nearly the end of our multi-course meal, and spent the longest amount of time with us explaining how important the surveys are and how important a good review means to them. For comparison, on DCL, we eat regularly at Palo and Remy, and always feel like it's a step above an already great main dining room experience, both in service, comfort and food quality. 3) Room Steward. I completely get it - it's a tremendously big ship, and they are very likely not staffed properly. But we felt like we had to be a squeaky wheel to get the very basic level of service. First night, the sofa wasn't converted into a bed for my daughter. I ended up doing it myself. It was never converted back into a sofa during the day until we hunted him down and asked for both morning cleanup and nighttime turndown. We had to hunt him down again and beg for another bar of soap for the shower, as the original one we got on day one for the three of us had been worn down to a tiny bit a few days prior. On Disney, if your toiletries are opened (let alone used up) they supply more. For what you pay for a cruise, and for the stature of ship the Harmony is portrayed as, towels and bars of soap shouldn't be luxury items. 4) Kids Club. They've made improvements, but it is still glorified babysitting versus an opportunity for kids to have their own unique cruise experience. And, it's still not convenient to schedule adult activities because there are large sections of the day the club is not open. And - after 10pm (when nearly all the adult activities are), it's a cost. I would have gone to the spa or ordered drinks in a club in the evening, but having to deal with the schedule of the club made me think twice. Not that it was cumbersome, but again, RCCL is missing the boat by making something that should be easy more complicated for guests - and missing out on money that could be made on the ship in other ways. 5) Port Days / Communication. This was a biggie for me. On Disney, I feel as though the staff is very much looking out for the guests. They make information on what to do and where to be more than clear. When talking about what to do when off the ship, the emphasis is on how the guests can get more out of their experience. On RCCL, I watched the daily shows to get info on how to get off the ship, where to meet, what to do. In every instance, we were told conflicting information. More time was spent on what stores to shop in instead of more helpful information. For example, in St. Maarten, we were told explicitly to take the water taxi to a specific stop to get to the shopping area. Come to find out, it was much easier to walk - unbeknownst to us, the shops were about the same distance as the pier to pick up the taxi (which cost our family of five $70 for round trip tickets), and the area the taxi took us to took all of a minute to sail to. It left me feeling as though RCCL was looking to help the town make a buck at our expense. Again, a faceless number with money to hand over. Not a great feeling. Those are just a few examples. I'd rather pay more for Disney and be treated as an individual than be hearded like cattle onto a (beautifully appointed) giant ship, to be forgotten about unless I raise a stink to get the very basic level of service. That is not in my character, and doesn't contribute to an enjoyable experience. To end on a positive note, embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The elements are there for this to be a very nice ship - they just need the proper amount of staff and provide the basics (or, not build a ship this size if they can't do those two things).

Beautiful Ship, Great Food and Shows - No Soul, Guests Just a Number

Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review by sortalizlemon

16 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our second RCCL cruise - first on Allure its inaugural season, and this time on the Harmony. Without question, it is a beautiful ship. The shows were fantastic: the stage shows were energetic and the cast members talented, beautiful, and enthusiastic; the aqua theater show was mesmerizing and unique. The food in both the main dining room, windjammers and quick service areas were consistent and delicious. Above average for sure.

Our main dining room server, Natasha (Silk, Table 808), was exceptional - she was the only one the entire cruise that treated us as a valued guest, and more than just a faceless number. The captain is also charismatic - much more so than the cruise director.

Aside from that, we were very disappointed. Having sailed 10+ cruises on DCL, we miss the "soul" that every ship in that line has. Their crew are family. They treat every person as though they are the first family they have served, no matter how long their contract has been. You don't feel nickel-and-dimed. On RCCL, both cruises we felt as though they took every opportunity to make you feel like you had to pay extra to get the basic service, and even then you were let down.

Examples:

1) Towels. This is an easy one. Just let people take the towels they need, without unneeded hassle. Have them readily available on your private island. I can understand requiring your seapass card and having a $30 fee if they aren't returned for days where you are in general ports of call, but while on the ship, or the private island? It creates anxiety where there need not be.

2) Chops Grille. As said above, the food in the main dining rooms is great. So, paying extra for the specialty restaurants, you expect an above-and-beyond experience. We didn't get it. The food was no better (though still delicious), but the service was way worse. Our server took forever to come to our table (despite ours being one of the first of the evening), couldn't understand our drink orders (gin and tonic, caipirinha), didn't come back to fill up our water glasses until nearly the end of our multi-course meal, and spent the longest amount of time with us explaining how important the surveys are and how important a good review means to them. For comparison, on DCL, we eat regularly at Palo and Remy, and always feel like it's a step above an already great main dining room experience, both in service, comfort and food quality.

3) Room Steward. I completely get it - it's a tremendously big ship, and they are very likely not staffed properly. But we felt like we had to be a squeaky wheel to get the very basic level of service. First night, the sofa wasn't converted into a bed for my daughter. I ended up doing it myself. It was never converted back into a sofa during the day until we hunted him down and asked for both morning cleanup and nighttime turndown. We had to hunt him down again and beg for another bar of soap for the shower, as the original one we got on day one for the three of us had been worn down to a tiny bit a few days prior. On Disney, if your toiletries are opened (let alone used up) they supply more. For what you pay for a cruise, and for the stature of ship the Harmony is portrayed as, towels and bars of soap shouldn't be luxury items.

4) Kids Club. They've made improvements, but it is still glorified babysitting versus an opportunity for kids to have their own unique cruise experience. And, it's still not convenient to schedule adult activities because there are large sections of the day the club is not open. And - after 10pm (when nearly all the adult activities are), it's a cost. I would have gone to the spa or ordered drinks in a club in the evening, but having to deal with the schedule of the club made me think twice. Not that it was cumbersome, but again, RCCL is missing the boat by making something that should be easy more complicated for guests - and missing out on money that could be made on the ship in other ways.

5) Port Days / Communication. This was a biggie for me. On Disney, I feel as though the staff is very much looking out for the guests. They make information on what to do and where to be more than clear. When talking about what to do when off the ship, the emphasis is on how the guests can get more out of their experience. On RCCL, I watched the daily shows to get info on how to get off the ship, where to meet, what to do. In every instance, we were told conflicting information. More time was spent on what stores to shop in instead of more helpful information. For example, in St. Maarten, we were told explicitly to take the water taxi to a specific stop to get to the shopping area. Come to find out, it was much easier to walk - unbeknownst to us, the shops were about the same distance as the pier to pick up the taxi (which cost our family of five $70 for round trip tickets), and the area the taxi took us to took all of a minute to sail to. It left me feeling as though RCCL was looking to help the town make a buck at our expense. Again, a faceless number with money to hand over. Not a great feeling.

Those are just a few examples. I'd rather pay more for Disney and be treated as an individual than be hearded like cattle onto a (beautifully appointed) giant ship, to be forgotten about unless I raise a stink to get the very basic level of service. That is not in my character, and doesn't contribute to an enjoyable experience.

To end on a positive note, embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The elements are there for this to be a very nice ship - they just need the proper amount of staff and provide the basics (or, not build a ship this size if they can't do those two things).
sortalizlemon’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Service
Onboard Experience
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