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Royal Caribbean – Harmony of the Seas (President’s Cruise) September 29 – October 6, 2018 Ft. Lauderdale, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Labadee Haiti Cabin 6650 Introduction This was our 25th cruise and we are Diamond Level on Royal Caribbean. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale the Friday before departure and spent a night at the Comfort Inn and Suites, close to the airport and cruise terminals. The hotel opened in March of this year. Dockers Café and Bar is a half block walk from the hotel and serves up steaks, seafood, salads and burgers. It’s a decent place for dinner. President’s Cruise On previous vacations, fellow cruisers had told us, if the opportunity arises to do a President’s Cruise, by all means do it. RCI’s president, Michael Bayley is your host and is the hardest working guy on the ship all week. Floral arrangements are everywhere, Michael Bolton, Billy Ocean and the Wild Boys supply the special entertainment and presents appear in your cabin such as baseball caps, a crystal paperweight of the ship and other surprises like a Midnight Buffet. An extra port stop in San Juan was added at the request of the president. Johnny 5 (Who Gets His Tips?) At the rear of the Royal Promenade is the Bionic Bar. It doesn’t even have a sign, but with two robots mixing drinks you can’t miss it. They move like Johnny 5 in the 80’s film Short Circuit. (See the “More Than a Woman” dance scene with Ally Sheedy on YouTube.) Order your drink from a touch screen and the robots go to work and add the customary 18% gratuity to your tab. O.K. who gets the tip I ask? So my wife, Joanne, walks next door to the boarding gate and asks a hostess, who gets the robots’ tips? She is clearly caught off guard and supposes the guys that maintain the robots probably get them. We weren’t buying that answer. A few days later, Jim from RCI’s marketing department joined us in the Diamond Lounge for cocktails. I asked him the same question and he said the tips went into a general pool shared by the staff. That makes sense. Special Entertainment Michael Bolton put on a wonderful concert Monday night in the Royal Theater. Billy Ocean played in a venue on the beach in Labadee and the Wild Boys played a couple of nights aboard. I have a nice shot in the photo section of Michael Bolton debarking in St. Thomas taking a picture of me. You get the impression he’s a really nice guy with a very dry sense of humor. Thursday evening after Billy Ocean’s concert on the beach in Labadee, the ship moved about a half-mile off shore and at 7:30 lit off a fireworks show launched from shore, not the ship. Very nice. There was a retro Midnight Buffet we didn’t stay up for after a full day of fun. Other cruisers said it was great. A New York Story Grease, O.K. show if you like everyone in the cast doing their best to imitate Vinny Barbarino from Welcome Back Kotter. Not nearly as awful as Cats on Oasis. Drinking buddies Drs. Bob and Eileen in the Diamond Lounge told me a story about an audience that really hated the cast. I was retelling the story to Joanne over dinner in the Main Dining Room. Our new friends were watching “The Diary of Anne Frank” at the Westbury Music Festival on Long Island years ago, a heavily Jewish community. Towards the end of the play, the Nazis enter her house. Most everyone in the audience yells out, “She’s in the attic!” Talk about hating the cast. Having grown up in New Jersey and living in Manhattan for a couple of years, I retold the story to Joanne, I said, “That is so New York.” At the next table, a black woman my age was having dinner with her family, and leaned over to me and said, “I’m from New York, I overheard your story, and you are so right. That IS New York.” Lights, Camera, Harmony! On one of the ship’s TV channels they loop the films ‘Like Father’ and ‘Love at Sea’, a couple of recent movies filmed on Harmony of the Seas. No Oscar candidates here but they were filmed on Harmony and showcase the ship very well. ‘Like Father” stars Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer. A Tip of the Hat to Michael Bayley This guy has been with RCI for 38 years and has worked his way up the ladder, starting with a job on a cruise ship. The first night, he walked up to us during cocktails in the Diamond Lounge (Comedy Club) and introduced himself and we chatted for about five minutes. A few nights later, he sat down with our group again and we talked for about a half-hour. He’s personable and you can tell, extremely smart. I may just buy some RCI stock. There wasn’t an event he didn’t attend and he joined the ship’s officers at the Captain’s Q&A session on our last sea day and fielded his share of questions. The next “President’s Cruise” is sailing 11-2-19 out of Miami on the new Symphony of the Seas. The cruise desk was doing a brisk business during the week booking reservations from satisfied passengers on this year’s cruise. Look into it. Jacked My Ride I rented a mobility scooter for the week from Special Needs Group, Inc. (My knees have turned to crap and it is the largest ship in the world for the moment.) It was waiting in our cabin when we boarded. However, on Saturday, while waiting to get off in Ft. Lauderdale, we had coffee and a pastry in the Promenade Café. I was sitting ten feet from it and when I went to park it back in my cabin, it was gone. My name was on it. I told several ship’s personnel and they said not to worry, the rental company would find it. All I can say is that if I ran into the perp with my scooter, they would definitely be needing one of their own for the foreseeable future. Summary Seriously consider a President’s Cruise. Although we’ve sailed on sister ships Oasis and Allure, I think they are too big for my taste. For breakfast and lunch, the Windjammer Café is just too small to accommodate the passenger load. It is claustrophobic with all the tables jammed together and you often face a line to get in and find it challenging to get a seat at a table. I am old and crotchety, however if I had a young family, this is the ship you want to sail on. There is no shortage of entertainment options.

President's Cruise

Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review by kearney

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
Royal Caribbean – Harmony of the Seas (President’s Cruise)

September 29 – October 6, 2018

Ft. Lauderdale, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Labadee Haiti

Cabin 6650

Introduction

This was our 25th cruise and we are Diamond Level on Royal Caribbean. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale the Friday before departure and spent a night at the Comfort Inn and Suites, close to the airport and cruise terminals. The hotel opened in March of this year. Dockers Café and Bar is a half block walk from the hotel and serves up steaks, seafood, salads and burgers. It’s a decent place for dinner.

President’s Cruise

On previous vacations, fellow cruisers had told us, if the opportunity arises to do a President’s Cruise, by all means do it. RCI’s president, Michael Bayley is your host and is the hardest working guy on the ship all week. Floral arrangements are everywhere, Michael Bolton, Billy Ocean and the Wild Boys supply the special entertainment and presents appear in your cabin such as baseball caps, a crystal paperweight of the ship and other surprises like a Midnight Buffet. An extra port stop in San Juan was added at the request of the president.

Johnny 5 (Who Gets His Tips?)

At the rear of the Royal Promenade is the Bionic Bar. It doesn’t even have a sign, but with two robots mixing drinks you can’t miss it. They move like Johnny 5 in the 80’s film Short Circuit. (See the “More Than a Woman” dance scene with Ally Sheedy on YouTube.) Order your drink from a touch screen and the robots go to work and add the customary 18% gratuity to your tab. O.K. who gets the tip I ask? So my wife, Joanne, walks next door to the boarding gate and asks a hostess, who gets the robots’ tips? She is clearly caught off guard and supposes the guys that maintain the robots probably get them. We weren’t buying that answer. A few days later, Jim from RCI’s marketing department joined us in the Diamond Lounge for cocktails. I asked him the same question and he said the tips went into a general pool shared by the staff. That makes sense.

Special Entertainment

Michael Bolton put on a wonderful concert Monday night in the Royal Theater. Billy Ocean played in a venue on the beach in Labadee and the Wild Boys played a couple of nights aboard. I have a nice shot in the photo section of Michael Bolton debarking in St. Thomas taking a picture of me. You get the impression he’s a really nice guy with a very dry sense of humor. Thursday evening after Billy Ocean’s concert on the beach in Labadee, the ship moved about a half-mile off shore and at 7:30 lit off a fireworks show launched from shore, not the ship. Very nice. There was a retro Midnight Buffet we didn’t stay up for after a full day of fun. Other cruisers said it was great.

A New York Story

Grease, O.K. show if you like everyone in the cast doing their best to imitate Vinny Barbarino from Welcome Back Kotter. Not nearly as awful as Cats on Oasis. Drinking buddies Drs. Bob and Eileen in the Diamond Lounge told me a story about an audience that really hated the cast. I was retelling the story to Joanne over dinner in the Main Dining Room. Our new friends were watching “The Diary of Anne Frank” at the Westbury Music Festival on Long Island years ago, a heavily Jewish community. Towards the end of the play, the Nazis enter her house. Most everyone in the audience yells out, “She’s in the attic!” Talk about hating the cast.

Having grown up in New Jersey and living in Manhattan for a couple of years, I retold the story to Joanne, I said, “That is so New York.” At the next table, a black woman my age was having dinner with her family, and leaned over to me and said, “I’m from New York, I overheard your story, and you are so right. That IS New York.”

Lights, Camera, Harmony!

On one of the ship’s TV channels they loop the films ‘Like Father’ and ‘Love at Sea’, a couple of recent movies filmed on Harmony of the Seas. No Oscar candidates here but they were filmed on Harmony and showcase the ship very well. ‘Like Father” stars Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer.

A Tip of the Hat to Michael Bayley

This guy has been with RCI for 38 years and has worked his way up the ladder, starting with a job on a cruise ship. The first night, he walked up to us during cocktails in the Diamond Lounge (Comedy Club) and introduced himself and we chatted for about five minutes. A few nights later, he sat down with our group again and we talked for about a half-hour. He’s personable and you can tell, extremely smart. I may just buy some RCI stock. There wasn’t an event he didn’t attend and he joined the ship’s officers at the Captain’s Q&A session on our last sea day and fielded his share of questions. The next “President’s Cruise” is sailing 11-2-19 out of Miami on the new Symphony of the Seas. The cruise desk was doing a brisk business during the week booking reservations from satisfied passengers on this year’s cruise. Look into it.

Jacked My Ride

I rented a mobility scooter for the week from Special Needs Group, Inc. (My knees have turned to crap and it is the largest ship in the world for the moment.) It was waiting in our cabin when we boarded. However, on Saturday, while waiting to get off in Ft. Lauderdale, we had coffee and a pastry in the Promenade Café. I was sitting ten feet from it and when I went to park it back in my cabin, it was gone. My name was on it. I told several ship’s personnel and they said not to worry, the rental company would find it. All I can say is that if I ran into the perp with my scooter, they would definitely be needing one of their own for the foreseeable future.

Summary

Seriously consider a President’s Cruise. Although we’ve sailed on sister ships Oasis and Allure, I think they are too big for my taste. For breakfast and lunch, the Windjammer Café is just too small to accommodate the passenger load. It is claustrophobic with all the tables jammed together and you often face a line to get in and find it challenging to get a seat at a table. I am old and crotchety, however if I had a young family, this is the ship you want to sail on. There is no shortage of entertainment options.
kearney’s Full Rating Summary
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