1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Harmony of the Seas
This was our second Royal Caribbean cruise and our first on an Oasis-class vessel. We were pleasantly surprised by the general onboard experience: despite frequent reviews complaining of crowding, we never felt suffocated even in busy areas of the ship. There was always a variety of activities available, and staff was welcoming in every venue (even when we were out of place, not on time, or otherwise mistaken!). Our food experience on this cruise was substantially worse than our last Royal adventure. Our last cruise was on the Navigator of the Seas, and coming from a background with Carnival, we were impressed with each daily offering both in the dining rooms and on the buffets. On the Harmony, the limitations of dealing with 6000+ passengers really showed through. I wouldn't characterize ANY cruise ship food as "bad", but the Harmony's buffet offerings were far closer to "cafeteria" than "fine dining". We experienced poor service and lackluster offerings in the dining room, and found a better experience at the Windjammer buffet for our meals. Seating was occasionally congested, but the staff was vigilant about cleaning tables as soon as they were available and helping folks looking for seating to find it. The Windjammer offered a good variety of food, but with some notable oversights. One glaring problem was cold breads - at no point on our seven day cruise were any bread products warmer than room temperature, which was a bit odd. We did try one of the specialty restaurants onboard, Jamie's Italian, for lunch. Service was good and the food was EXCELLENT, but ultimately the price was simply for the experience - we felt the food was closer to what we should have been able to expect at any other venue on the world's largest cruise ship, and not representative of the additional fee we paid. Unfortunately, as long as folks continue paying extra for dining packages, I don't know that RCCL has an incentive to improve food elsewhere. :( I'm hopeful our lukewarm dining experiences were a reflection of the volume of guests on this ship and not a downward trend in Royal's approach to food. We really enjoyed the variety of entertainment on this ship. At any given time, there might be an aquatic show, main theater performance, comedy act, and handful of "trick acts" throughout the ship. It's impossible to be bored! Entertainment quality was good-to-excellent. Our main theater performance, "Grease", followed the unedited Broadway revival script and was well-performed. The ice shows ("1887", which might have been more accurately titled "Jules Verne on Ice", and "iSkate")were all high-budget and engaging to watch. The aqua shows ("The Fine Line" and "Hideaway Heist") were CRAZY good - we enjoyed "The Fine Line" multiple times just to catch all the action. The comedians were good but not great - we enjoyed both their adult and family sets, but we only had two comedians for the entire 7 day cruise, and it would have been nice to have a swap-out mid cruise for some more comedic variety. We did note that, other than a bit of audience jostling, the sets were almost identical at each show. We've been on cruises before with acts who changed the jokes up daily or even at every show, and we've really appreciated that additional variety in the past. Our biggest disappointment in the entertainment venues was "Columbus: The Musical". This was a Broadway-style Top 40 mash-up show (think "Rock of Ages", where songs are current radio hits loosely set to match the theme of the show). The cast and set were excellent but the story was nonexistent - it felt as though Royal had purchased an unfinished script, smashed a Spotify playlist into it, and never bothered to finish the story. We felt bad for the actors whose skills were grossly underrepresented by the material. I really hope Royal takes the time of their guests more seriously the next time they decide to put together their own production. We sailed to St Maarten, San Juan & Labadee. St Maarten provided a really wide variety of activities - we went on a scuba dive & spent some time at one of the beautiful local beaches. Be warned that diving in this area is not for the faint of heart - because it's on the edge of the Atlantic, the waters are much choppier than most Caribbean dive sites and seasickness is likely even for experienced divers/boaters! San Juan is a beautiful city that's easy to wander on foot, but RCCL provides lots of excursions here as well if you'd like something more structured. Labadee exceeded our expectations even without paying the exorbitant prices for the "rides". We grabbed a beach chair, lunch, and a couple of paddle boards for less than $50 and spent the morning on the water. An unexpected surprised was snorkeling near Nellie's Beach - the swimming area was mostly grass, but following the rocks around the edge of the bay revealed lots of corals, anemones, crabs, eels, and other fun aquatic wildlife! It's well worth renting snorkeling gear here if you don't own your own. Overall, we enjoyed our cruise on the Harmony, but I'm not sure I'd sail on an Oasis-class vessel again. It was an experience I'm very glad to have had, but I'd like to be on ships with a greater focus on catering to the guests onboard as individuals. I know RCCLs capable of providing this higher level of service and I'd like to continue exploring their fleet to find more experiences that feel more comfortable for me.

Great trip, but with a much more "mass market" feel

Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review by JodahS

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our second Royal Caribbean cruise and our first on an Oasis-class vessel. We were pleasantly surprised by the general onboard experience: despite frequent reviews complaining of crowding, we never felt suffocated even in busy areas of the ship. There was always a variety of activities available, and staff was welcoming in every venue (even when we were out of place, not on time, or otherwise mistaken!).

Our food experience on this cruise was substantially worse than our last Royal adventure. Our last cruise was on the Navigator of the Seas, and coming from a background with Carnival, we were impressed with each daily offering both in the dining rooms and on the buffets. On the Harmony, the limitations of dealing with 6000+ passengers really showed through. I wouldn't characterize ANY cruise ship food as "bad", but the Harmony's buffet offerings were far closer to "cafeteria" than "fine dining". We experienced poor service and lackluster offerings in the dining room, and found a better experience at the Windjammer buffet for our meals. Seating was occasionally congested, but the staff was vigilant about cleaning tables as soon as they were available and helping folks looking for seating to find it. The Windjammer offered a good variety of food, but with some notable oversights. One glaring problem was cold breads - at no point on our seven day cruise were any bread products warmer than room temperature, which was a bit odd. We did try one of the specialty restaurants onboard, Jamie's Italian, for lunch. Service was good and the food was EXCELLENT, but ultimately the price was simply for the experience - we felt the food was closer to what we should have been able to expect at any other venue on the world's largest cruise ship, and not representative of the additional fee we paid. Unfortunately, as long as folks continue paying extra for dining packages, I don't know that RCCL has an incentive to improve food elsewhere. :( I'm hopeful our lukewarm dining experiences were a reflection of the volume of guests on this ship and not a downward trend in Royal's approach to food.

We really enjoyed the variety of entertainment on this ship. At any given time, there might be an aquatic show, main theater performance, comedy act, and handful of "trick acts" throughout the ship. It's impossible to be bored! Entertainment quality was good-to-excellent. Our main theater performance, "Grease", followed the unedited Broadway revival script and was well-performed. The ice shows ("1887", which might have been more accurately titled "Jules Verne on Ice", and "iSkate")were all high-budget and engaging to watch. The aqua shows ("The Fine Line" and "Hideaway Heist") were CRAZY good - we enjoyed "The Fine Line" multiple times just to catch all the action. The comedians were good but not great - we enjoyed both their adult and family sets, but we only had two comedians for the entire 7 day cruise, and it would have been nice to have a swap-out mid cruise for some more comedic variety. We did note that, other than a bit of audience jostling, the sets were almost identical at each show. We've been on cruises before with acts who changed the jokes up daily or even at every show, and we've really appreciated that additional variety in the past. Our biggest disappointment in the entertainment venues was "Columbus: The Musical". This was a Broadway-style Top 40 mash-up show (think "Rock of Ages", where songs are current radio hits loosely set to match the theme of the show). The cast and set were excellent but the story was nonexistent - it felt as though Royal had purchased an unfinished script, smashed a Spotify playlist into it, and never bothered to finish the story. We felt bad for the actors whose skills were grossly underrepresented by the material. I really hope Royal takes the time of their guests more seriously the next time they decide to put together their own production.

We sailed to St Maarten, San Juan & Labadee. St Maarten provided a really wide variety of activities - we went on a scuba dive & spent some time at one of the beautiful local beaches. Be warned that diving in this area is not for the faint of heart - because it's on the edge of the Atlantic, the waters are much choppier than most Caribbean dive sites and seasickness is likely even for experienced divers/boaters! San Juan is a beautiful city that's easy to wander on foot, but RCCL provides lots of excursions here as well if you'd like something more structured. Labadee exceeded our expectations even without paying the exorbitant prices for the "rides". We grabbed a beach chair, lunch, and a couple of paddle boards for less than $50 and spent the morning on the water. An unexpected surprised was snorkeling near Nellie's Beach - the swimming area was mostly grass, but following the rocks around the edge of the bay revealed lots of corals, anemones, crabs, eels, and other fun aquatic wildlife! It's well worth renting snorkeling gear here if you don't own your own.

Overall, we enjoyed our cruise on the Harmony, but I'm not sure I'd sail on an Oasis-class vessel again. It was an experience I'm very glad to have had, but I'd like to be on ships with a greater focus on catering to the guests onboard as individuals. I know RCCLs capable of providing this higher level of service and I'd like to continue exploring their fleet to find more experiences that feel more comfortable for me.
JodahS’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Cabin 7518
Our cabin was much roomier than expected. We had a large porthole view right at the end of the balcony edge, meaning about half of our view was obstructed by handrail. It really wasn't bad, though! I'd definitely recommend this room for anyone looking for a cheaper option than a balcony or larger ocean-view space.
  Harmony of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Labadee
    Surprisingly fun! There's lots to do here without spending a ton on RCCL's installed attractions. The "Artisan Market" is mostly the same woodcrafts & statuettes you'd see at any other Caribbean tourist market. Be prepared to deal with a very pushy culture - no one was physically aggressive, but we had to actively ignore many of the vendors who blocked our way while shopping. Price negotiation is fun and is expected by the vendors as well. Knowing a few words of French isn't necessary, but might help you get a better deal!
    View All 1,798 Labadee Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Labadee Cruise Port Review
  • San Juan
    Beautiful & easy to navigate. Go for a walk, check out the forts, and grab a delicious piragua from the street vendors.
    View All 3,784 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's San Juan Cruise Port Review
  • Scuba Diving
    The dive team we went out with was professional and fun, and we'd recommend them to anyone going into St Maarten. However, we were unaware that this port is known to be bad for seasickness even for experience divers/boaters. It would have been nice to get a warning about this from the cruise line so we could have prepared with motion-sickness medication. Our entire boat was sick for half of the excursion. :(
    View All 20 Scuba Diving Reviews