I chose Harmony because I always enjoyed sailing on Allure of the Seas. This was my thirty-sixth (36) cruise and I usually go Solo. I enjoyed my cruise experience because of the many wonderful and interesting people I met, not because of the ship itself. As a returning Diamond member, I received three cookies from Royal Caribbean to welcome me back; 3 cookies I could have picked up from the WindJammer. I returned the cookies to the Diamond Consierge with a note that read "Really!"
This ship might have been trying to outdo its predecessors Oasis & Allure, but missed the mark, in my opinion: 1) While a beautiful ship, it was lacking the warmth and character other ships have; 2) The Solarium was hot, had poor air circulation, and there was NO POOL; 3) In the WindJammer Cafe, RC cut back on the number of food stations, limited available food choices, and the quality of the food was mediocre to bad. For 3 days I thought they cut out bagels and bread but it turned out these items were now behind the counter, you had to ask for it then wait for it to be toasted. I did not eat in the main dining room, and was not going to throw away good money at Specialty Restaurants because the included restaurants served mediocre food. On NCL I ate in at least half their Speciality Restaurants because their regular restaurants served such good, quality food. Why was food in Cafe Promenade so bland and tasteless? And RC can learn a thing or two from Carnival when it comes to a Mongolian Wok. Service was friendly but a little slow when making tables available. Although I've been on many large ships, this one did not manage crowds very well.
Outside Lounging Areas - RC took away the tables and chairs, replacing them with Adirondack-type, wood composite, low-slung non-adjustable chairs that were too uncomfortable to sit in for any period of time. Was there a fire sale on these chairs? And moving through these areas was a bit confining. On the Central Park Deck they crowded in much more plant-like material, left out the bird statutes and bird sounds Allure & Oasis has and generally made the area feel less open and airy-with narrower pathways. I was truly disappointed in that. But there were definitely more exclusive shopping stores to take more of your money.
Embarkation was easy; disembarking was slow through customs for some reason I cannot imagine why. Comments on cabin and shore visits to follow.
After taking cruises on smaller NCL and Carnival ships earlier this year, I've decided to go back to sailing on smaller ships after this Harmony experience. I want to feel like I'm being recognized as a valued customer, treated as such, and not viewed as a $ sign. I miss the way cruising used to be and will pay even more money to get some of that feeling back.
Balcony cabin was laid out in a such a way that it felt more spacious. Sleek and modern appointments reminded me of the balcony cabin I had on Norwegian Escape. Very nice with an abundance of storage. Enjoyed the rounded glass shower with a door that pulled open.
Getting a taxi is chaotic at best; it has not improved since RC startied docking at the "Crown" Port instead of the Havensight Port. Most times if I'm on an RC ship I do not get off because of where they dock. Went to Havensight to do some shopping. Took a while to find a taxi that was going back to the "other port".
Took an independent St Maarten tour because I wanted to see how much devastation occurred from last year's hurricane. St Maarten is my favorite port of call. It was sad to see how much still needs to be done but I was still happy to be there. Went to maho beach (airplane landing beach) but it was so packed that it has become less fun. Toured both French and Dutch sides.
Flew in same day as cruise.