My wife and I sailed on the Harmony of the Seas for the third time, embarking in Port Canaveral and sailing to the Eastern Caribbean on September 15, 2019. My wife has to use a wheelchair for going more than short distances; therefore, this review will highlight our wheelchair experience (perhaps providing an assist to someone looking into travelling with a wheelchair), followed by highlights of the ship staff and the food.
Wheelchair experience: A critical key to a very good wheelchair experience is letting Royal Caribbean know your need and plans. They will provide a “pusher” and a wheelchair if requested. We have our own wheelchair, needed to get into the terminal when boarding and back to our vehicle when leaving. Pushers are available just inside the terminal entry for people who use their wheelchairs. They did guide us through a wheelchair dedicated security line and up to the boarding area on the second floor. A ship crew member becomes the “pusher” in that area and got us up the ramp and onto the ship. The pusher continued until we arrived on deck 17 at the Coastal Kitchen and Concierge Lounge, a terrific assistance because we had small carry-on luggage pieces. (Don’t forget to tip).
There is no on-board wheelchair assistance. We found most passengers to be very considerate of our wheelchair situation when entering and exiting elevators and venues. It does require an occasional wait when elevators are full. Major venues like the theater, ice rink and aqua theater have places for guests in wheelchairs. The Windjammer also has reserved tables for wheelchair users.
Disembarkation also requires a little planning. “Pushers” are made available and there is a meeting area for them. We met ours in the concierge lounge and were guided very quickly off the ship to the transportation area. Elapsed time for the process was about fifteen minutes. The key, again, was planning and coordination with the RCCL and ship’s staff.
Wheelchairs can make for awkward and difficult inconveniences. RCCL and the Harmony of the Seas staff eliminated those for us.
Harmony staff: The ship’s staff were excellent! They were knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and cheerful. Their service started with the Greeting staff in the terminal, the pushers, and security. It continued to the Coastal Kitchen assistant maître d and concierges to our room steward. It continued with the casino staff and venue hosts.
It is nice to introduce ourselves and learn a little about several of the staff members, many worth noting here. Our room steward, Janelly, was cheerful and met our expectations for every action we needed. The Asst. Maitre D, Ace Angeles and his assistant Nino efficiently seated us at every meal we had in the Coastal Kitchen. The wait staff included, John, Steve, Laurance, Dana, Rico and Lotoyo as well as a few others. The Coastal Kitchen process allowed us to meet several of them. The Chef, Henry, was also out and about at nearly every meal. Express any concern and Ace was on it. The concierges Jeremias and Mohammed were available and happily assisted with reservations and wheelchair arrangements. The “Next Cruise” bookers, Ines and Emma, were expert and efficient. Notably, Melbourne, a ship bartender was our pusher getting off the ship followed by Brian who got us to the transportation area.
Want to learn about the home countries of the staff members? Just start the conversation. We met staff from the Philippines, Ireland, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Florida, Bosnia, Jamaica, China, and Ukraine. Many had several years of experience with Royal Caribbean and had travelled on many ships to several countries. They frequently have great hints for places to see and visit.
Food: Dining is a primary reason we enjoy cruising. Royal Caribbean and the Harmony of the Seas do a good job at presenting good food efficiently. It is a great opportunity to try foods that would normally be unavailable or unknown. Most of the foods we tried were very good. There were a couple we tried that we didn’t care for. We ate most breakfasts and dinners in the Coastal Kitchen, a few lunches in the Windjammer and one lunch each in Sabor and Izumi’s teppanyaki (prepared at the table).
Breakfast choices included more than we would ever select from a la carte to a full breakfast. Eggs any way we wanted, Belgium waffles, bacon and sausage, pancakes, juices, toast including a bun like sourdough, fruits, and very good coffee. The waffles with syrup, whipped cream and fruit were especially good.
The Windjammer buffet lunches were excellent opportunities to try new or unusual (to us) dishes. Salads, burgers (good meat), roasts, chicken, and pasta were always there. Ethnic choices included American, Oriental/Asian, Indian, and Mexican. There were numerus dessert choices including three flavors of ice cream every day.
We had a Mexican food lunch at Sabor on the Boardwalk. Nice choices and flavors. We also had lunch in Izumi with meat and seafood choices. Both gave us more than we could eat. There was a charge for these lunches in the specialty restaurants.
Dinners in the Coastal Kitchen included choices of appetizers, soups and salads, and entrees. We had filet mignon, prime rib, branzino, cod, lamb loin, shrimp cocktail, crab crusted flounder, roast duck, lobster, baked Alaska, ice cream, creme brulee, and nice selections of breads. The fish are usually nice choices on cruises with the branzino and cod being especially good.
The meals in the Coastal Kitchen were served by a very experienced group of waiters, and prepared by Chef Henry and his staff.
There are several other dining venues on the ship including the cafes, Sorrento pizza, the solarium bistro, Johnny Rockets, and the other specialty restaurants. Too many for us to try this cruise.
Conclusion: The RCCL Harmony of the Seas cruise experience was very nice. We got along well with the wheelchair. We enjoyed the services of a very professional and experienced staff. The food was very good. We’ll be back.
Spacious, comfortable, lots of storage and well serviced