We never sailed on a mega-ship before and though that we would give the Harmony a try. We sailed with RCL twice in Europe on older ships (the Serenade and the Legends) and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We also sailed a number of times on Celebrity (in the RCL family) and enjoyed those cruises very much.
The cruise was originally booked as an Eastern Caribbean itinerary, but due to the devastation in the Eastern Caribbean by Hurricanes Irma and Maria prior to this cruise, RCL had no option but to modify the itinerary to a Western Caribbean cruise. The replaced itinerary was disappointing. It included Nassau, Cozumel and Costa Maya. I couldn’t believe that we would be visiting both Cozumel and Costa Maya. They are essentially the same thing. I wasn’t happy with the updated itinerary, but decent excursions can create fun out of ports that we’ve visited many times.
We also purchased a complete beverage package (well worth the money) and a specialty dining package for all 7-nights. The issue with the dining package was that you cannot make your dinner reservations online prior to boarding. You are required to make your reservations on board. After standing in line for about :45 minutes, we were able to make our dinner reservations. Why RCL doesn’t allow package purchasers the option to book online is a mystery. The specialty restaurants were very good. We enjoyed Chops and 120 Central Park very much. We also enjoyed the Japanese restaurant for a great hibachi dinner one night. Jamie’s had great food and we liked it the most during sea days for lunch.
Regarding the other dining options; we were very disappointed. The Mexican specialty restaurant, Sabor’s, was not good. We went there for lunch when we boarded and never returned. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was a circus. Far too many people, not enough seating, no omelette station in the buffet - utter bedlam. We tried Johnny Rockets for breakfast because they had omelettes, but it was terrible. We then used the Main Dining Room for breakfasts. They had a decent buffet there and it wasn’t crowded. The pizza at Sorrento’s tasted like warmed up frozen pizza. There is no way that the pizza in that place is homemade. It was a complete disappointment.
We enjoy wine tastings and with a ship with about 6,000 people on it not one premium wine tasting filled. Not one! The wine bar, Vintners, is a great venue with fine wines. We couldn’t believe that a minimum of 8 people weren’t interested in fine wine tasting for a very modest fee. This underscored the fact that the ship activities are geared more for children with the Dreamworks characters, the huge water slides, the zip lining, the skating rink, etc. Adult activities were few and far between.
The ship has a very good fitness center, salon and spa area. The entertainment on the ship was excellent. The Grease production was fabulous and the outdoor aquatic show was quite entertaining. The comedian was excellent too. Overall, the entertainment on this ship was excellent.
Our room was very noisy. We were one deck below the pool deck in a suite and at about 3:00 in the morning the crew was hosing down the pool deck and dragging the chairs over the deck. You could hear every single movement. This ship was not sound-proofed at all. We’ve had rooms below the pool deck on other ships and we never heard a sound. There were plenty of chairs in the pool areas. Getting a seat was not a problem.
When the ship docked in Cozumel, it was raining very hard. We had an excursion pre-booked for an ATV ride. The excursion was not cancelled, although Cozumel was an absolute rain-out. RCL made no attempt to work on behalf of the customers who decided not to go out into a monsoon on excursions that should have been cancelled. We stayed on board all day as did most people. The ship staff made no effort to accommodate the vast majority of passengers who remained onboard. They had very few restaurants open. No bars were open. The only lunch option was that horrible buffet and the sub-par Central Park West sandwich/salad place. It is like school lunchroom cafeteria food. Gross. The Main Dining Room was not opened for lunch either. It was one extremely boring day stuck inside to say the least.
I liked the photo shop very much. Instead of walking through a hundred feet of photos and trying to find yours, this ship used iPads where you put in your room number and your photos could be selected digitally. That was a great innovation. Great use of technology. The Future Cruise desk was not good. We received quotes on cruises that I was able to pull up online for much cheaper fares. I wasn’t impressed with the overall customer service on the ship. Some of the bartenders had an attitude when we presented our drink package card. They didn’t rush to see if we wanted a refill. And, we added tips. The staff in the specialty restaurants were excellent. Our room steward was excellent too.
So, with only three ports on a 7-day cruise with one rained out completely on a ship with very little for adults to do, I would not book a mega-cruise ship again. Frankly, I won’t book RCL out of any American port again. I liked our RCL experiences in Europe very much. I think that they are attempting to make these mega-ships like a Disney ship that focuses more on children’s activities. If that’s their target audience, then they probably nailed it. However, for adult cruisers, I much prefer Holland America, Celebrity and Princess.
So, there were some excellent aspects to this cruise coupled with quite a few sub-par issues described above that resulted in the average rating that I scored.
Nice cabin, however there was no sound-proofing and we could heard every little noise when the crew was hosing off the deck and dragging the deck chairs around at 3:00 in the morning.
Fun experience, however, the first Jeep broke down and the replacement wasn’t much better.View All 27 Jeep Tour Reviews