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This was our first cruise as a couple after 20 years or so cruising with family. We took our first RCCL cruise back in 1997 and have taken around 25 cruises in that time, around half of them with RCCL. It is sad to see how far this line is prepared to go, to erode the cruise experience totally. I'm sure those relatively new to cruising won’t know any different and so don’t know what they missed. First the good. The ship is a physical masterpiece and a tremendous feat of engineering (I work in the ship building business). Despite its size it was very crowded. Embarking and leaving the ship was exceptional with both taking less than 10 minutes. Airports could learn a thing or two here. The not so good. We had a boardwalk balcony (since all sea view balconies had sold when we booked). The balcony was fine, but we would not choose this type again for a couple of reasons. First, there is little privacy and secondly, there is a lot of noise. In our room, the air conditioning was not working and only really got sorted at the end of day 2. For interest, there were quite a few portable conditioners around the ship so perhaps ours was not an isolated incident. We had “my time” dining using the American Icon dining room. It might as well have been called “no time” dining, since there were no times available to book! On the first night, we queued for 30 minutes and once we were allocated a table, waited another 30 minutes to have our existence acknowledged. The food was bland and cold when finally delivered. We checked the menu for the rest of the week to see that it barely changed day-to-day. Under duress we purchased a dining package ($600+]. Here is where we feel RCCL have changed for the worst; the “extra-fee” restaurants are rather good, but basically offer no more than what used to be offered in the main dining room only a few years ago for no more than the cruise fare. We find it ironic that the line describe the eateries (main dining rooms, windjammer etc) as free dining....hmm, I think we have already spent a few $000’s of dollars for the pleasure! Unfortunately, eating in the main dining rooms, is no longer an “event”...unless you think a trip to Denny’s is an event. No disrespect to Denny’s as in fact we had a better meal on our way home there! Whilst we purchased the dining package, it didn’t stop the constant hard sell to buy it (for the first 4 days of the cruise), or to buy a beverage package, spa treatments or to buy a $35 kitchen tour etc. The whole constant up sell is tiresome and intimidating. Just another note, getting anything to eat after 9:00 PM is limited to pizza as even the windjammer is closed by then. Whilst having dinner in the main dining room on the first night, we noticed that the imminent Grease show had been cancelled and moved to day 7. (Coinciding with our dinner reservation on that day). On the second night, the Aqua show was cancelled, then on the fourth night, the skating show suffered the same fate. Ultimately all of the shows were squeezed into the last day. Grease was very good, as was 1887. The headliner show was an acquired taste (not ours) and Columbus we felt was rather poor. Unfortunately due to constant rescheduling we couldn’t see many of the other events as they were showing simultaneously. I’m not sure we will choose RCCL again simply because you can get an identical experience for much less money on lines like Costa and MSC, where the price paid = expectations. RCCL still charge premium prices for an ordinary experience and then have turned the up-sell into the reason for you to be onboard. They are prepared to spoil the experience to chase the last dollar.

Poor imitation of the RCCL we used to love

Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review by ani4ani

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Boardwalk View Balcony
This was our first cruise as a couple after 20 years or so cruising with family. We took our first RCCL cruise back in 1997 and have taken around 25 cruises in that time, around half of them with RCCL. It is sad to see how far this line is prepared to go, to erode the cruise experience totally. I'm sure those relatively new to cruising won’t know any different and so don’t know what they missed.

First the good. The ship is a physical masterpiece and a tremendous feat of engineering (I work in the ship building business). Despite its size it was very crowded.

Embarking and leaving the ship was exceptional with both taking less than 10 minutes. Airports could learn a thing or two here.

The not so good.

We had a boardwalk balcony (since all sea view balconies had sold when we booked). The balcony was fine, but we would not choose this type again for a couple of reasons. First, there is little privacy and secondly, there is a lot of noise. In our room, the air conditioning was not working and only really got sorted at the end of day 2. For interest, there were quite a few portable conditioners around the ship so perhaps ours was not an isolated incident.

We had “my time” dining using the American Icon dining room. It might as well have been called “no time” dining, since there were no times available to book! On the first night, we queued for 30 minutes and once we were allocated a table, waited another 30 minutes to have our existence acknowledged. The food was bland and cold when finally delivered. We checked the menu for the rest of the week to see that it barely changed day-to-day. Under duress we purchased a dining package ($600+]. Here is where we feel RCCL have changed for the worst; the “extra-fee” restaurants are rather good, but basically offer no more than what used to be offered in the main dining room only a few years ago for no more than the cruise fare. We find it ironic that the line describe the eateries (main dining rooms, windjammer etc) as free dining....hmm, I think we have already spent a few $000’s of dollars for the pleasure!

Unfortunately, eating in the main dining rooms, is no longer an “event”...unless you think a trip to Denny’s is an event. No disrespect to Denny’s as in fact we had a better meal on our way home there!

Whilst we purchased the dining package, it didn’t stop the constant hard sell to buy it (for the first 4 days of the cruise), or to buy a beverage package, spa treatments or to buy a $35 kitchen tour etc. The whole constant up sell is tiresome and intimidating.

Just another note, getting anything to eat after 9:00 PM is limited to pizza as even the windjammer is closed by then.

Whilst having dinner in the main dining room on the first night, we noticed that the imminent Grease show had been cancelled and moved to day 7. (Coinciding with our dinner reservation on that day). On the second night, the Aqua show was cancelled, then on the fourth night, the skating show suffered the same fate. Ultimately all of the shows were squeezed into the last day. Grease was very good, as was 1887. The headliner show was an acquired taste (not ours) and Columbus we felt was rather poor. Unfortunately due to constant rescheduling we couldn’t see many of the other events as they were showing simultaneously.

I’m not sure we will choose RCCL again simply because you can get an identical experience for much less money on lines like Costa and MSC, where the price paid = expectations.

RCCL still charge premium prices for an ordinary experience and then have turned the up-sell into the reason for you to be onboard. They are prepared to spoil the experience to chase the last dollar.
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