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To call Ft. Lauderdale a "Port of Call" is kind of silly. It is the city you fly into and embark and disembark from the ship. I guess if you wanted to do a RCCL thing here, then I suppose you could stretch the term "Port of Call" but for me that is a place you sail to - not a place you fly to for the purpose of getting on the ship. But maybe I'm wrong. We did it alone by flying in a day early and spent the day in Hollywood Florida (20 minutes away by Uber) and had a blast. We did the same on the last day...but I will get to that in a minute. We chose to fly in on a carrier that we liked (Virgin) and Uber'ed it in for $16 to our hotel. We stayed at the Diplomat in Hollywood Fla. It is a beautiful hotel with great amenities (minus shampoo -of all things) with great views, pools, restaurant and bars. I think it was cheaper for us to do it this way. I have done the fly in thing with RCCL and Princess in the past and found it was kind of an economy deal with at the time an obscure airline. I am sure (I hope) it is different now, but I still wanted to do my own thing and it worked. I got the hotel deal on Priceline and it was a total steal. Getting on the ship was really easy. Way better than all the times before. Getting into Port Everglades by Uber was not super easy. There were port checks (Security) and in each case unfamiliar drivers on how to get into the port. The signage in is not super good for new drivers. The process of getting on and later off was super easy and way better than I had every had in the past. The Ship: This ship is spectacular. Yes it is big, but totally manageable and despite it's size and the number of occupants, you really don't feel like you are bumping into people (Unless it is formal night and everyone wants a picture.). The pools, slides -all of it were over the top which made it a great experience. The Staff: The staff was very friendly and accommodating...almost to a fault. It seemed that they were a little shy in getting drunk folks to quiet down a little in the quiet areas. I get that it's a vacation and people want to let their hair down...I did, but I did it in the areas I could be loud in. Sometimes you want to nurse a hangover in a quiet place that is not your room. It was not really possible on this cruise. Food: Because next to drinks...it's the next important thing...food, right? OK. The main dining stuff was just OK. It was a hybrid of hotel foods. Sorry. It was. When you have that many people, quality and temperature kind of go out the window. So, I get it, but wonder if there was another way. We had the anytime dining. It was OK, but I kind of missed the opportunity to connect to one waiter and staff and sit at the same table. The added meal thing, where you can dine at 3 of their restaurants for an additional fee was totally worth it. The food was way better. We ate at 150 Park, kind of a high-brow steak joint, Wonderland (our favorite molecular gastronomy place) and Chops, a better version of 150 Park. The Windjammer buffet and the Solarium buffet were the weakest parts of this cruise. The food was cool every day and there was nothing really imaginative to this. It was your basic Holiday Inn buffet - just way bigger and with a few more items. The service was awesome by the staff. They walk around and offer pastries which was nice. Excursions: Do the beer excursion on Nassau. If you are an alcohol enthusiast (like us) it is nice. The guide gave us a great historical run-down of the island and we did this at a couple of bars that served beer. It was good. The history of the island is pretty cool. You can easily get stuck in the straw market, there are total touristy things there, but walk downtown. It is nice little town and better than I remembered it in the past. St. Thomas. If I never go there again it will be too soon. This place has become dirty and not worth it to me. I guess if you think you can get a deal on a watch, then go for it. It is not the same island I used to love. Everyone wants to shake you down for the last penny in your pocket. "Barkers" like what you would expect at some sleazy strip joint try to entice you in a store with promises of free things or "Hey I get paid if you just step in could you do me a favor and step in?" On one occasion the "barker" touched my wife then grabbed my arm to pull me in. We had a brief but clear conversation about that. The Rumporium tour is a joke. We paid for this "excursion" total waste of money. First you are trucked there in totally unsafe converted pick-up trucks, with no seat belts and you are seated over the exhaust. It is a covered-open air experience in a truck that should have been salvaged years ago. Once you get there a guy offers you water only to find out AFTER he opens it that there is a fee for that water. Nice. A woman acts as a tour guide, but really only tells you how to get to this house that has some historical value then follow it down to a tasting area so they can sell you their run. The tasting cups are medicine thimble cups typically found on cough syrup bottles. Actually those are bigger. So, in summary - - You pay for a ride to a place where you have an opportunity to buy their stuff. It's like paying to go to the shopping mall. St. Kitts we loved. No tour, hit the Habana House for cocktails and cigars. Total great staff and we could people watch. The white monkey mafia is waiting for you to take pictures of their cute beasts, but ask yourself this...am I really paying to use my own camera to take a picture of a monkey? Shows: The outside rear of the ship water show is incredible. The comedy show is really funny. Did not see the Broadway show. The last two days at sea were awesome. We got some time to decompress and check out more of the ship. I think RCCL is almost there. Some loyalists would say they have got it down - especially if it is your first cruise...but it could use a little more love. Finally, I can't stress more that RCCL needs to back off the high pressure sales thing. In the main deck they haul out the "Trunk Sale" items that area medium (at best) quality watches and other items to sell. Every step on this deck seems like an opportunity for the staff to sell you something. The pictures seem innocuous, but they are also for sale. I felt like I was on the QVC / Time Share cruise. Maybe I am too much of a jerk, but I paid a lot of money for a vacation. I just expected a little less pushy sales stuff and a little more heat on my food.

Spectacular Ship and Crew but...

Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review by Moose8842

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
To call Ft. Lauderdale a "Port of Call" is kind of silly. It is the city you fly into and embark and disembark from the ship. I guess if you wanted to do a RCCL thing here, then I suppose you could stretch the term "Port of Call" but for me that is a place you sail to - not a place you fly to for the purpose of getting on the ship. But maybe I'm wrong.

We did it alone by flying in a day early and spent the day in Hollywood Florida (20 minutes away by Uber) and had a blast. We did the same on the last day...but I will get to that in a minute.

We chose to fly in on a carrier that we liked (Virgin) and Uber'ed it in for $16 to our hotel. We stayed at the Diplomat in Hollywood Fla. It is a beautiful hotel with great amenities (minus shampoo -of all things) with great views, pools, restaurant and bars. I think it was cheaper for us to do it this way. I have done the fly in thing with RCCL and Princess in the past and found it was kind of an economy deal with at the time an obscure airline. I am sure (I hope) it is different now, but I still wanted to do my own thing and it worked. I got the hotel deal on Priceline and it was a total steal.

Getting on the ship was really easy. Way better than all the times before. Getting into Port Everglades by Uber was not super easy. There were port checks (Security) and in each case unfamiliar drivers on how to get into the port. The signage in is not super good for new drivers.

The process of getting on and later off was super easy and way better than I had every had in the past.

The Ship:

This ship is spectacular. Yes it is big, but totally manageable and despite it's size and the number of occupants, you really don't feel like you are bumping into people (Unless it is formal night and everyone wants a picture.).

The pools, slides -all of it were over the top which made it a great experience.

The Staff:

The staff was very friendly and accommodating...almost to a fault. It seemed that they were a little shy in getting drunk folks to quiet down a little in the quiet areas. I get that it's a vacation and people want to let their hair down...I did, but I did it in the areas I could be loud in. Sometimes you want to nurse a hangover in a quiet place that is not your room. It was not really possible on this cruise.

Food:

Because next to drinks...it's the next important thing...food, right? OK. The main dining stuff was just OK. It was a hybrid of hotel foods. Sorry. It was. When you have that many people, quality and temperature kind of go out the window. So, I get it, but wonder if there was another way. We had the anytime dining. It was OK, but I kind of missed the opportunity to connect to one waiter and staff and sit at the same table.

The added meal thing, where you can dine at 3 of their restaurants for an additional fee was totally worth it. The food was way better. We ate at 150 Park, kind of a high-brow steak joint, Wonderland (our favorite molecular gastronomy place) and Chops, a better version of 150 Park.

The Windjammer buffet and the Solarium buffet were the weakest parts of this cruise. The food was cool every day and there was nothing really imaginative to this. It was your basic Holiday Inn buffet - just way bigger and with a few more items. The service was awesome by the staff. They walk around and offer pastries which was nice.

Excursions:

Do the beer excursion on Nassau. If you are an alcohol enthusiast (like us) it is nice. The guide gave us a great historical run-down of the island and we did this at a couple of bars that served beer. It was good. The history of the island is pretty cool. You can easily get stuck in the straw market, there are total touristy things there, but walk downtown. It is nice little town and better than I remembered it in the past.

St. Thomas. If I never go there again it will be too soon. This place has become dirty and not worth it to me. I guess if you think you can get a deal on a watch, then go for it. It is not the same island I used to love. Everyone wants to shake you down for the last penny in your pocket. "Barkers" like what you would expect at some sleazy strip joint try to entice you in a store with promises of free things or "Hey I get paid if you just step in could you do me a favor and step in?" On one occasion the "barker" touched my wife then grabbed my arm to pull me in. We had a brief but clear conversation about that.

The Rumporium tour is a joke. We paid for this "excursion" total waste of money. First you are trucked there in totally unsafe converted pick-up trucks, with no seat belts and you are seated over the exhaust. It is a covered-open air experience in a truck that should have been salvaged years ago. Once you get there a guy offers you water only to find out AFTER he opens it that there is a fee for that water. Nice. A woman acts as a tour guide, but really only tells you how to get to this house that has some historical value then follow it down to a tasting area so they can sell you their run. The tasting cups are medicine thimble cups typically found on cough syrup bottles. Actually those are bigger. So, in summary - - You pay for a ride to a place where you have an opportunity to buy their stuff. It's like paying to go to the shopping mall.

St. Kitts we loved. No tour, hit the Habana House for cocktails and cigars. Total great staff and we could people watch. The white monkey mafia is waiting for you to take pictures of their cute beasts, but ask yourself this...am I really paying to use my own camera to take a picture of a monkey?

Shows:

The outside rear of the ship water show is incredible.

The comedy show is really funny.

Did not see the Broadway show.

The last two days at sea were awesome. We got some time to decompress and check out more of the ship. I think RCCL is almost there. Some loyalists would say they have got it down - especially if it is your first cruise...but it could use a little more love.

Finally, I can't stress more that RCCL needs to back off the high pressure sales thing. In the main deck they haul out the "Trunk Sale" items that area medium (at best) quality watches and other items to sell. Every step on this deck seems like an opportunity for the staff to sell you something. The pictures seem innocuous, but they are also for sale. I felt like I was on the QVC / Time Share cruise.

Maybe I am too much of a jerk, but I paid a lot of money for a vacation. I just expected a little less pushy sales stuff and a little more heat on my food.
Moose8842’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 12190
Big nice stateroom. This room has a little bigger balcony so I would totally do this again. Clean. Nice sized bath and shower. Best stateroom in all of my cruises.
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