Sunday, September 18, 2022

Harmony of the Seas Cruise Review - September 18, 2022

 Harmony of the Seas Review   September 18, 2022

 Just The Facts:
Ship: Harmony of the Seas - Royal Caribbeans (3rd) Oasis Class @ 227,000 gross tons
Launched: May 2016 - 5500 pax @ double occupancy - 6780 pax @ maximum  
Captain:  Captain Johnny -  Cruise Director: Mark Whitley
Ports: Port Canaveral - Costa Maya, Mexico - Cozumel, Mexico - Port Everglases - Port Canaveral

Very excited about this cruise as it was my first cruise on an Oasis Class ship, the largest cruise ships in the world. So this is my 1st cruise on the Harmony of the Seas, my 34th Royal Caribbean cruise, and 186th cruise overall.  I’m sailing with the Dear Wife (DW) on primarily a relaxation cruise for her.  The cruise was changed from an Eastern Caribbean itinerary to a Western due to hurricane weather.

Day One--Sunday—Embarkation 
We were up early enough to finish packing and hit the road by 9:30 am. This is now my eighth time driving to Port Canaveral so used to it now. We arrived at the Park-N-Cruise parking lot about noon time and it wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be…we checked in and went onto an already waiting shuttle. We went to pier one and rolled our bags over to the lines to enter the building and the Security checkpoint. We were ahead of our time but joined a line and by luck, it moved faster than the others. After a 10-minute wait, we were in another 10-minute line to go through Security. No problems so we went upstairs for a third 10-minute line for check-in. After this point, we had a 15-20 minute wait to actually get to boarding. Once entering the Harmony on deck five Promenade we made our way up to our Cabin on deck six by 1:15 pm. Not that bad considering there are almost 6000 guests boarding today. We have a great location very near the aft elevators on the port side. We have easy access to the upper and main promenades and most venues. Since we roll on our bags we began cabin setup straight away. Two separate wardrobes make it very easy for us. We love the balcony cabin design. We went on a walkabout checking in at our Muster Station E-2 then heading up to the Windjammer for a late lunch before it closed at 3:30 pm. They have a great stand-alone Salad Station and that’s what we both had to eat. Very nice as was the Bread Pudding from one of several dessert stations. I noticed a Pasta Station as we left, I will visit that another day. DW had a nap and I watched our sail away from our balcony. I saw the new NASA warning signs on the channel…we know they were installed due to this very ship sailing into the launch zone causing a cancellation for a launch in January. But if it had not the DW and I would not have seen the rescheduled launch from the Mariner of the Seas on February 3rd. NASA is located on the north side of the ship channel so a great view of a launch. We’ll only be just beyond the launch zone for tonight's launch at 6:15 pm, I’m hopeful we will see it.  Alicia, from Trinidad, is our Cabin Steward. She came by and brought robes and we discussed cleaning times. They still do a turn-down service in the evenings too. Sweet. Our cabin is located just off the upper Promenade aft atrium so we have easy access to the main Promenade Mall and at the entry to the outer Boardwalk zone. While DW rested I did a walkabout the ship starting with the Boardwalk (photo). I had a Paloma cocktail at Sabor and watched guests at Johnny Rocket’s, the Carousel, and Aquatheater. I then went up to deck 8 and walked through Central Park, the location of several Restaurants and a beautiful setting for them. I made my way to Boleros for a cocktail and people-watching. I stopped at Cafe Promenade for two Veggie Sandwiches for DW so easy with our cabin location. I went to dinner in the MDR (main dining room) on deck 3 at about 8:45, a long line even with reservations but it quickly. I ordered the Escargots a la Bourguignonne, Garden Salad, the New York Strip Steak entree, and Key Lime Pie for dessert. It was excellent, but I enjoyed the Bread and the Tablecloth very much. I then retired to the cabin…It was a great first day on the Harmony of the Seas.

Day Two—Monday—CoCoCay, Bahamas 
Smooth seas overnight and a very restful night. Today is funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. We have the BBC News channel (in HD) on our cabin TV so fortunate for that. It began in the wee hours and DW watched the entire coverage. She had ordered her usual Room Service continental breakfast in bed and I did the same. I had two danish and a nice fruit plate.  We are docked at CoCo Cay, but no plans to debark today. The Queen's funeral ended about noon then we went up to the Windjammer for lunch. They had two of my favorites: Pork Chops and a Mongolian Grill. I had both and DW had a Guacamole Salad. We then did a nice long walkabout the ship, it was nice with most guests off at CoCo Cay, visited a lot of places on this new-to-us mega-ship. Our cabin was cleaned by the time we arrived back so we had Cabin time the rest of the day. At about 6:15 we went to visit the Diamond Club on deck 4…it’s a nice lounge but no view of the sea. They had the standard Hors’d’vourse and several servers to fill cocktail orders. It was nice, but nothing special. We enjoyed visiting with new friends and having a cocktail and snacks. We went to the Rising Tide Bar (photo) just for the experience of a moving bar, but I had a wonderful Elderflower martini so we stayed for a while. We exited at the Central Park level to see the lights then went up to the Solarium, the Bistro had already closed but we toured the multiple lounging areas. We soon retired for the evening but enjoyed a very nice evening on the Harmony of the Seas.

Day Three--Tuesday—Sea Day
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well although up early enough to see the sunrise. We had Danish & Donuts delivered by Room Service at about 8:30…the donuts were very fresh. A good start for a relaxing sea day today. We had a walkabout the ship, still so much to see. For lunch we went up to the Windjammer, I had two nice cutlets and fresh pasta from the Pasta Bar. Unfortunately, the cook put in way too much garlic and it was overwhelming. I attribute this to my starting to feel poorly. My sinuses began bothering me as the day commenced. We attended the Ice Show I Skate this afternoon in Studio B. We had center front row seats in the prime section so that was nice. (photo left) It was a good show with a lot of talented ice skaters but did seem to have the costumes and storylines as in previous years, A very enjoyable show. Afterward we had nice sandwiches from the Park Cafe in Central Park for dinner then stocked up on extra Cokes from the Schooner Bar for a cabin evening. Movie night in the cabin.  It was a very nice sea day sailing on the Harmony of the Seas.
 
 

Day Four—Wednesday—Costa Maya, Mexico 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well, but definitely suffering from a cold this morning so I stayed in bed. DW brought sandwiches and I snuck around the corner to Boardwalk Sea Dogs for an early dinner. At 7:00 pm we went to the Aqua-theater to see the show The Fine Line.  (RCL photo right)  This was my first show of this type ever. It was very interesting featuring aquatics, dance, diving, aerialists, and more. A long show of about 50+ minutes and has a very large cast of two dozen performers. Very glad I saw it but not sure I need a repeat any time soon. The day was basically bed, show & bed. Alica our cabin steward has been great, she brought lots of ice, extra towels for the hot showers, and extra boxes of kleenex. I’m feeling a bit better but DW may be coming down with it. Thank goodness for excellent cabin television. Nonetheless, it was an interesting day on the Harmony of the Seas.

 

Day Five—Thursday--Cozumel 

Smooth seas overnight and I again slept well. We had our light breakfast in bed again this morning. I’m afraid that the DW has now caught my cold. She ended up staying on the ship and I went to Del Mar Latino Club. I stopped along the way and bought some Cefalexina medicine to help shake our colds. I had an alcohol-free day but ate my share of Mexican goodies while I was there. I enjoyed Guacamole, Coconut Shrimp, the Pollo dinner, Juices, and Coca-Cola light. We were the only ship at the International Pier and The Vista, Dream, and Paradise were at Costa Maya. Guests from all three ships were at Del Mar Latino. I went back to the ship early to get the meds to DW arriving back about 3:30 pm. Alicia stocked up the cabin for us as usual. We’re missing one of our primary reservations tonight for the Production Show in the theater, but better to play it safe for all. I/we ordered Room Service: a premium hamburger, french fries, and grilled cheese. It was delivered within 30 minutes. The burger was very good, but all the french fries were cold. We watched BBC-HD a channel we may have to get at home. We made the evening as good as we could on the Harmony of the Seas.

Day Six — Friday—Sea Day

Smooth seas overnight and I slept as best as I could with a now congested system and sore throat.  Room Service came about 8:30, they have been consistent and orders usually correct. I had balcony time today, it was shaded, a nice breeze, and beautiful blue seas.  The WiFi may actually work better on the balcony than inside the cabin.  I went to have a light lunch at the Windjammer and I brought some salads back for DW who is having a Pajama Day.  I stocked up on Diet Coca-cola and water as well.  Really beautiful weather on the balcony so making a full day of that situation.  We are cruising close enough to the Florida Keys this afternoon to get 3-bars on the cell phone.  That makes working so much easier to have both laptop and cell phone…so many financial websites require two-factor authentication and hard to do on a cruise ship where only one devise can be logged in at one time.Smooth seas overnight and I slept as best as I could with a now congested system and sore throat. Room Service came about 8:30, they have been consistent, and orders are usually correct. I had balcony time today, it was shaded, a nice breeze, and beautiful blue seas. The WiFi may actually work better on the balcony than inside the cabin. I went to have a light lunch at the Windjammer and I brought some salads back for DW who is having a Pajama Day. I stocked up on Diet Coca-cola and water as well. Really beautiful weather on the balcony so making a full day of that situation. We are cruising close enough to the Florida Keys this afternoon to get 3-bars on the cell phone. That makes working so much easier to have both a laptop and cell phone…so many financial sites require two-factor authentication and that is hard to do on a cruise ship where only one device can be logged in at one time. I went to the Windjammer about sundown for dinner having two small filled steaks and wedge potatoes. I got Mashed potatoes and rice for DW, so sorry she’s still feeling poorly. It was another TV night in the cabin, our show reservations had been changed or disappeared anyway. They have had some problems with bookings. My adavice is to book everything you can (shows, comedy, events) for the entire week as soon as you board the ship. 

 

Day Seven — Saturday—Sea Day  

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I woke very early and we were docked at Post Everglades for refueling. I’m feeling much better, just a lingering cough now. At about 7:45 I went up to the Windjammer for my first and only proper breakfast of the cruise, not too busy so I had numerous choices. I had Fried eggs, Scrambled eggs, freshly sliced Ham, self serve Bacon. Sausage, grilled Tomato, Hash-brown Potatoes, Orange Juice, and Milk. It was excellent. We sailed from Port Everglades at about 9:30 am so great views of the beaches and resorts of south Florida as we sail out. My plan for the day is NCAA football. I had a very nice roast beef sandwich from the Park Cafe located in Central Park (photo) and watched a helicopter evacuation from the balcony and cabin TV.  The seas have become quite choppy but this huge ship doesn’t pitch or roll much at all. I stocked the cabin with snacks and cokes for the games. My team didn’t play until 8:00 pm and I was fortunate that it was one of the few games also on cabin TV. I was very happy with that, but not the OU game results.  We did some preliminary packing before retiring.  It was an interesting final day on The Harmony of the Seas.

Sunday—Debarkation

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I was again up very early so time to finish packing. We were docked about 6:00 am in Port Canaveral and self-assist started rolling off by 7:00 and we were among the first 200+ off the ship. We rolled off and through security straight to the parking shuttle. Very impressed with Cruise-n-Park… the shuttle was there, a quick ride to the lot, the car was waiting (valet), and off the lot by 7:45 am. Amazing. Arrived back at the Villa in Pasco County by 9:45 am.


Cabin

We had cabin 6268 a balcony on the port side just off the aft atrium. The best thing about the cabin was: location, location, location. So easy to access the Royal Promenade and Boardwalk with the Schooner Bar next door. Features: Two Wardrobes, Vanity with drawers, small Refrigerator, Keypad safe, Couch, King Bed, Nightstands, Chair at vanity, Chairs & small table on the balcony, Standard Bath with enclosed shower, and HD TV.


Highlights of the Cruise

I loved the ship; however, it’s difficult to objectively note highlights because one or both of us were sick on days 3-7. That changes all priorities. I learned enough to know that one needs to be prepared as soon as you board if you want to take advantage of all the shows and events. Make an itinerary straightaway. I do want to sail the Harmony again, I know I will be sailing the Allure (a sister ship) in June.  Although I had a few good meals and ate a lot of RCLs signature Oatmeal Raisin cookies I lost weight on this cruise, I don't recommend getting sick to do it though.




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