Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest ship has arrived in Florida! As cruisers begin to embark on Harmony of the Seas for Caribbean sailings, we are counting down the days until our own cruise on this record breaking ship. When it comes to planning, some might say we go a little overboard, but we know we are not alone. As we prepare for our next trip, we have been putting together these Harmony of the Seas tips for planning the perfect cruise.
12 Harmony of the Seas Tips for Planning the Perfect Cruise
12. Book Early
When it comes to getting a great deal on this new ship, one of our trusted Harmony of the Seas tips is to book as soon as possible. We put a deposit down on this ship over a year out from our January 2017 sailing. Over the past year, we have been tracking prices, and they have not come close to our fare. Prices for our Central Park View room have sky rocketed to over 250% more than what we paid. Now 60 days out, booking a year out has still saved us over $500 from the current going rate. Plus, the earlier you book, the better the room selection.
11. Find the Perfect Cabin
You have plenty of stateroom categories to choose from onboard Harmony of the Seas. Along with your traditional stateroom offerings, the ship also has some unique cabin types. For those looking for a different view, there are the Central Park and Boardwalk View rooms and balconies. If you book a balcony in either of these “neighborhoods”, you will be treated to some special perks, including free drinks and a specialty dining experience. Also on all Oasis class ships, you can be wrapped in luxury when booking a Royal Suite. Staying in one of these suites, you are entitled to additional perks which may include special access to your own restaurant, the suite lounge, and even a Royal Genie. Now that is cruising in style! These suite perks differ depending on which class of suite you book.
Harmony of the Seas Tips – Get Exclusive Access with a Royal Suite Class Room
10. Decide on Your Dining Preferences
At the time of booking, you will need to decide on your dining preferences. If you are looking for consistent service and table arrangement, then you should opt for Traditional Dining at either an early time of 6pm or a late time of 8:30pm. You will be assigned to the same table and have the same waitstaff throughout the cruise. If you want something a bit more flexible, My Time Dining is your best choice. With this option, you can make reservations ahead of time for different days and times. You can also opt to have different table arrangements if you want to dine with others in your party only on certain nights. Or, if you want to truly go with the flow, you can just show up at the My Time Dining room whenever you are hungry and wait to be seated, just like a restaurant back home.
Harmony of the Seas Tips – Main Dining Room Entrance
9. Get Familiar with the Cruise Planner
After you have picked out your ideal cabin and put a deposit down on a cruise, the next thing you need to do is set up your online account. Head over to Royal Caribbean’s website and register (if you have not already done so on a previous cruise). Once you are registered with a username and password, you can access your reservation to make additional purchases, like reserving spa treatments, shows, shore excursions, specialty dining, and more. The Cruise Planner will become your new best friend over the coming months as you build your dream vacation, one step at a time.
Harmony of the Seas Tips – Accessing Your Cruise Planner
8. Keep Your Eye out for Promotions
More recently, Royal Caribbean has been testing a number of different promotions to get cruisers to book trips, as well as additional purchases once you have a reservation. Keep your eye out for these limited time deals when you are booking your cruise and throughout the entire planning process. If a rate ever drops in price, you can contact Royal Caribbean to get a price adjustment. If you time it right, you can lock in some nice savings by purchasing things like a drink package, shore excursions, specialty dining, and even the internet at savings of up to 50%. We were able to save 20% on our beverage package, 50% on the internet, and even shave a few bucks off our specialty dining reservation and one of our shore excursions during one of these “cruise planner” sales.
7. Book Your Entertainment
About 90 days out from your sailing, the entertainment should become available for booking. Of all our Harmony of the Seas tips, reserving your entertainment ahead of time is a must. For your cruise, you will have the ability to book three shows in the Main Theater, one show in the Aqua Theater, one Comedy Show, and one Ice Show in Studio B.
Harmony of the Seas Tips – Grease on Harmony of the Seas (Courtesy Royal Caribbean International)
For our Eastern Caribbean sailing, the Broadway production of Grease was offered three times, with a full length production on Nights 1-3. Also in the main theater is a headliner show, which was available to book on Nights 4 and 5. Lastly, the Royal Caribbean production Columbus, The Musical! had 3 showings offered, two on Night 6 and one on Night 7. The Aqua Show, The Fine Line, runs the first three days of the cruise with two showings nightly. The Ice Show, 1887, had one showing late on Night 1 and two showings on Night 2 and Night 6. Finally, the Comedy show had openings every night of our cruise, with most nights having two show times.
6.Consider a Drink Package
Among the add-ons you can purchase prior to sailing are Beverage Packages. Earlier this year, Royal Caribbean rolled out a revised program reducing the number of drink package options. The new Deluxe Drink Package now covers a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Among the offerings are most beers, wines, and cocktails $12 or less. Prices for this package once onboard Harmony of the Seas start at $61/day, but you can score reduced prices on many sailings if you purchase pre-cruise using the Cruise Planner. If you are unsure whether or not a beverage package is a good option for you, we have a recent comparison of the program from Harmony’s sister ship, Oasis of the Seas.
Harmony of the Seas Tips – Drinks from a Royal Caribbean Cruise
5. Review Shore Excursion Options
There is so much to do on Harmony of the Seas, but don’t forget about your ports of call either. During your week long adventure, you will also be stopping at some exotic locations. Whether you are taking an Eastern or Western Caribbean cruise, you should take some time to get familiar with your ports of call. Even if you do not plan on purchasing shore excursions, you can get a sense of what is available to do and see at each island on the itinerary. Often times you can purchase tickets or beach passes directly from tour providers at a lower rate than Royal Caribbean. Other times, the prices are comparable, so booking through the cruise line is just more convenient. No matter the ship or destination, we always have a game plan for how we are going to spend our time ashore.
Harmony of the Tips – Beach Break in Cozumel, Mexico
4. Create a Must Do Checklist
The Ultimate Abyss, water-slides, robot bartenders, and the list goes on. The world’s largest ship packs a plethora of activities, restaurants, shows, and more to keep you busy. Don’t miss a minute of the action. We suggest making a short checklist of all the things you MUST do, see, eat, and experience on the ship. Stroll Central Park, enjoy an al fresco lunch or dinner, ride the carousel on the Boardwalk, soar on the zip line, experience Wonderland, or dance to your favorite 90’s beats. Need more ideas? Here are some great Harmony of the Seas events for the entire family. By making a list, and checking it twice, you will never ask yourself, “Why didn’t we do that?”.
Harmony of the Seas Tips – Soar on a Zip Line (Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
3. Complete Your Cruise Check-in and Print Up Docs
Once your final payment is processed, your reservations are made, and your shore excursions are reviewed, the last step of the process is to complete your online check-in. Print your Set Sail Pass and your luggage tags, then rest assured that you will have virtually no paperwork to complete on embarkation day. Inputting all of your information prior to the cruise, including uploading a photo and providing credit card info for onboard purchases, makes embarkation day a lot quicker and less stressful. Printing out copies of everything is always a good idea too.
2. Get Packing
It is never too early to start packing, so don’t wait until the last minute. If you followed our Harmony of the Seas tips for planning your vacation, you will already know all of your showtimes, dining reservations, and shore excursions which will make picking out your outfits and packing your clothing a breeze. But, beyond the essentials, don’t forget all of those little accessories that make for a perfect cruise. Here are some of our top suggestions:
1. Hit the Ground Running
With all the major items already planned, all you will have to do now is enjoy yourself. The first day of a cruise should be filled with excitement and anticipation, not stress. For us, we even have an embarkation day routine to ensure we make the most out of our first day onboard the ship. Don’t forget to tie up any loose ends- make that specialty dining reservation, bring your old Wow Band to have it updated at Guest Services, check the kids into Adventure Ocean, sign your activity waivers, and get ready for an unforgettable cruise vacation on Harmony of the Seas.
Have you sailed on Harmony of the Seas yet? Do you have any planning advice to share for this largest cruise ship in the world? Drop us an anchor below with your Harmony of the Seas tips to help other cruisers make the most of their time on this new and innovative ship.