My review of the new Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas cruise for the preview sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and all about my experience on board!
You all know that my husband and I LOVE our Royal Caribbean cruises and have sailed the Oasis class ships countless times. We feel very passionately that cruising is the best type of vacation there is out there and we are always “loyal to Royal” in our choice of cruise line.
Needless to say, I was completely thrilled to be specially invited by Royal Caribbean to experience the debut of their brand new Oasis class cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas. You may have been following along with my adventure on Instagram and caught a glimpse of the fun. Once I got past the dreaded 3:30 am wake up call to catch our flight from Rochester to Ft. Lauderdale, I could not wait to board the ship. If you know me at all, I’m the farthest thing from being a morning person, but cruises make it all worth it! I’m a huge fan of the new ship and know that you will love it just as much.
I gave you all the details about the Royal Caribbean Quantum class ship in this post. I was fortunate enough to experience the preview sailing of Quantum of the Seas last year, followed by a 12 day cruise we did with family.
Let me break it down for you as far as the new features the very innovative Harmony of the Seas has to offer…
- The new water park is unique to Harmony of the Seas and is located at the pool deck. It has three extraordinary water slides called “The Perfect Storm”.
- The most popular new feature has to be the 10-story dry slide called “The Ultimate Abyss”. The Ultimate Abyss drops nearly 100 feet from the pool and sports deck down to the boardwalk. It is the world’s tallest slide at sea on the world’s largest cruise ship! Check out my husband’s journey down the Ultimate Abyss in this video below!
- The Bionic Bar is totally awesome and always has large crowds gathered around it taking photos and video! Two robotic bartenders take orders from tablets stationed around the bar and whip up mixed drinks right in front of you. This is a feature carried over from the Quantum class and it’s first time on an Oasis class ship. The Bionic Bar is located on the promenade level across from the Rising Tide Bar, taking the place of the Champagne Bar from the Oasis and Allure of the Seas. It really is cool and worth the wait when it’s busy!
- The ship offers a handful of NEW shows with incredible talent. The highlight is the ship’s production of “Grease.” This just might be the best Broadway show at sea. Other shows include “Columbus the Musical!”, “1887” and “iSkate.” at the ice rink, and my personal favorite, “The Fine Line” at the AquaTheatre that has non-stop action, mind-blowing stunts, and high diving (my personal favorite)! Make reservations for the shows ahead of time so you can snag a good seat.
As with the other Oasis class ships, the Harmony has two rock climbing walls, two surf simulators, an ice skating rink, and zipline. Harmony of the Seas features seven distinct neighborhoods where similar areas or activities are grouped into these neighborhoods. They include Central Park, the Boardwalk (that includes a carousel that both kids and adults can enjoy), Pool and Sports Zone, the Royal Promenade, Entertainment Place, Youth Place (kids will go crazy for this), and Vitality Sea Spa and Fitness Center.
All in all, the Harmony contains 2,747 staterooms and can hold 5,479 passengers at double capacity, and as many as 6,780 passengers at full capacity. Despite the large number of passengers, the ship honestly never feels overly crowded!
The food on the Harmony does not disappoint and you will be very impressed with the quality. There are 17 restaurants on board! Free dining includes Sorrento’s Pizzeria, Cafe Promenade, Boardwalk Dog House, Vitality Cafe, Park Cafe, Mini Bites, Solarium Bistro (breakfast & lunch), Windjammer Marketplace, Coastal Kitchen (for suite guests and Pinnacle members) and the Main Dining Room which has American Icon, The Grande, and Silk.
With The Grande, American Icon, and Silk, you can do “My Time Dining” vs. Set-Time Dining. Set dining means you’ll eat at the same table, with the same people and have the same waiters at the same time every night. You can dine at either 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. My Time Dining provides flexibility: You can eat dinner any time between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m depending on what works best with your schedule on a particular day. I highly recommend the filet in The Grande!
For a fee, you can dine in Wonderland, Izumi Hibachi and Sushi, Sabor Taqueria and Tequila Bar, Solarium Bistro (dinner), Starbucks (now on the Boardwalk), Chops Grille, 150 Central Park, Johnny Rockets, and Jamie’s Italian (which had debuted on the line’s Quantum-class ships). Jamie’s is one of my favorites! I was fortunate enough to be able to meet and talk with Miami celebrity chef Michael Schwartz who is the culinary brain behind 150 Central Park on Harmony, as well as Michael’s Genuine Pub on Anthem of the Seas. If you are ever in Miami, be sure to check out one of his many restaurants!
Another fun thing to mention is that the second preview cruise consisted of the ship’s official naming ceremony while in port, in which the godmother, Brittany Affolter, pushed a button to top off the ceremonial smashing of a giant bottle of champagne to christen the ship. I even got a photo with the unbroken bottle while on my cruise! I watched the ceremony on Facebook live (as I was on the first preview cruise, not the second) and it was just as exciting as if I was there in person. “Bigger, bolder, better” were the words that the cruise director, Ken Rush, used during this ceremony to describe the Harmony of the Seas.
The Harmony of the Seas is a great choice for novice and long-time cruisers and I want to thank Royal Caribbean for the chance to be one of the first people to experience it. The service on board is exceptional and the ship was extremely clean and comfortable.
Your cruise vacation is really what you make of it: indulge and relax by one of three large pools and lounging areas, visit the spa, shop, OR be adventurous and active (AKA”come seek”) by trying out some of the activities mentioned above! You can also do one of the many exciting shore excursions which include snorkeling, scuba diving, culinary experiences, zip lines, beach escapes, and other adventurous outings. “When we invite our guests to ‘come seek’ the Royal Caribbean, this is really what we’re talking about,” said Michael Bayley (president and CEO of Royal Caribbean) at the naming ceremony.
Whatever you decide to do with your time on board, the entertainment and dining options to explore make your time at sea an experience to remember for the long haul. It is a wonderful ship for families and those looking for great entertainment and activities. Royal Caribbean never disappoints when it comes to offering couples, families, individuals, and groups a well-balanced vacation with endless dining, entertainment, and activity options.
Also, check out this amazing photo of all three Oasis class ships together! Three sister ships that happen to be the three largest cruise ships in the world are all together for the first time and possibly only time. A rare sighting, indeed!
I highly recommend trying out this new ship! I can’t wait to sail the Harmony of the Seas again in February and try out the new Royal Caribbean “Suite Class” where we will be experiencing “Star Class” and the “Royal Genie” experience. Until next time, Royal Caribbean!Sign up for the Wishes & Dishes Newsletter for a fresh serving of content delivered every week to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook , Twitter , Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates!