Harmony of the Seas

Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

1/7/2017-1/14/2017

Summary

 The Ship

As the world’s largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas offers something for everybody. The third ship in the Oasis-class, Royal Caribbean has learned a thing or two about building these massive vessels. Featuring signature entertainment, various dining options, and 7 distinct onboard “neighborhoods”, there is plenty to discover during your trip. Having previously sailed on both Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, we knew what to expect when it came to ship layout and features.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Harmony of the Seas replicates many of the popular restaurants and bars found on the two older ships but also has some nice additions and modern twists. Given the sheer size of this 226,000 gross ton vessel, you will need all 7 days, and then some, if you truly want to do and see everything. Those who do not plan may be out of luck as shows fill up quickly. The ship looks sharp with modern finishes and public venues that are easier to navigate than the two previous ships.

Itinerary

We booked the 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise going to the ports of St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Nassau, Bahamas- all ports that we have been to before this trip. Given the size of Harmony of the Seas, there are only so many ports of call that the ship can visit in the Caribbean. Due to weather conditions, our itinerary was changed on embarkation day. While we ended up visiting St. Maarten, on a different day, we headed further south to stop at San Juan, Puerto Rico and Labadee, Haiti.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Arguably a better itinerary, if we had not just visited those ports recently. We were able to reschedule our shore excursion for St. Maarten, but did not get off the ship at San Juan (It was a early morning call leaving at 1:30pm anyway.) and spent only a few hours on land in Labadee before the rains came. In all honesty, you sail on this ship for the onboard experiences, so missing the ports were not terribly upsetting.

Highlight

Hands down the signature entertainment is where Harmony of the Seas shines. The two main theater shows, Grease and Columbus, the Musical! provide family friendly entertainment that are far more engaging than the typical Broadway review shows on most cruises. The performers were excellent, and production quality top-notch, with some of the most high-tech props found on the high seas.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

In the Aqua Theater, the Fine Line took the trophy as our new favorite aqua show. A mixture of light, sounds, and high flying acrobatics, it is a Cirque caliber show that you would expect to see on land. Add two different ice shows, the Attic comedy club, and the best headliner act we have seen on Royal Caribbean, and there was never a dull moment when the sun went down during our cruise.

What’s Missing

During our cruise, we interacted with many staff who were friendly and working hard to serve guests. However, compared to other cruises, we felt that service was less personal than previous trips. With 5,000+ cruisers, the crew are constantly trying to help guests whether it is at the bars, restaurants, or Guest Services. Though overall, it felt like the ship was understaffed, leading to some long waits and staff who did not have time to get to know the guests. While we never encountered “bad service”, we also did not experience any “Royal Wows” from the staff, besides our superb stateroom attendant Julian. The little touches like knowing our names or having our dinner cocktails waiting at the table for us were missing this trip.

Main Takeaway

Harmony of the Seas packs a mighty punch. For a contemporary cruise, it is a great value coupling 5 star entertainment, solid complimentary dining, and typical cruise activities, from trivia, to bingo, to silly game shows. But don’t kid yourself, this ship has close to 8,000 people (both passengers and crew), so there will be some crowds. Though, we were pleasantly surprised with crowd control.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The ship also caters to families so even during an off-season January cruise, there were plenty of little ones around. We found the Perfect Storm and Escape the Rubicon to be nice additions to the ship; whereas, the Ultimate Abyss was a bit of a let down. All in all, cruising on this ship is worth it just for the bragging rights alone, never mind the surreal experience you will have on the 18 decks of Harmony of the Seas.

Read our detailed, day by day Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review…

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Day 0

Escaping the Snow

A year and a half of planning and the first day of our trip was already in jeopardy when a passing snow shower eventually dumped about four inches of snow on the ground. Given the weather forecasts, we set our alarm for a bright and early 3:30am wake up to make sure we had plenty of time to get to the airport for our 7:50am flight. Departing the house by 5:30am, travel started smoothly but got progressively slower as we approached the airport and the snow continued to mount. At the airport and parked by 6:30am, a shuttle at long term parking met us right at our car; lucky for the Princess since she thought it would be a good idea to wear flip flops. Crowds at the airport were average, so bags were checked, security cleared, and Starbucks in hand by a little after 7am. It wouldn’t take Southwest long to begin boarding.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

This packed flight contained plenty of “senior” travelers and vacation goers, making the boarding process rather drawn out. An uncleared runway meant that taxiing out took longer than expected; then add on more time to de-ice the plane, and now the flight was about 45 minutes behind schedule. Once we cleared the snow and clouds, it was bright skies and a smooth trip down to Fort Lauderdale.

Getting Out Just in Time

Arriving at the airport later than expected, baggage claim was more chaotic than usual. The 20 minutes or so it took to get our bags, coupled with issues getting an Uber, had us leaving the airport a little before 1pm. As part of the traffic and sea of people at Terminal 1, we witnessed several police and rescue vehicles race by us as we waited outside to get picked-up.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review – Arriving at W Fort Lauderdale

We knew something major had happened as traffic was at a stand still, and emergency vehicles continued to race by us. Eventually our Uber arrived and took us to our pre-cruise hotel, the W Fort Lauderdale. Arriving around 1:30pm, we first heard of the incident that had occurred at Fort Lauderdale airport. Apparently, we got out of the airport just in time as it was now in a complete lock down.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

It took us for surprise (and shock) to know that such a sad and unfortunate incident happened while we were a terminal away. Needless to say, part of the afternoon was spent connecting with family and friends to let them know we had arrived in Fort Lauderdale safely. After checking in, we did spend some time exploring the hotel and grabbing pictures in between phone calls and social media posts.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

With such an eventful day, we headed a few blocks south to a nearby Starbucks to get some much need coffee around 3pm. The weather was beautiful, and wanting to try to put ourselves in a better mood, we walked up and down Fort Lauderdale Beach with our new Sony Alpha 6000 camera in hand.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

A Trip to the Polynesian

Following a few hours of strolling the beach, we had reservations at Mai Kai, a popular dinner show for 6pm. Getting back to the hotel with about thirty minutes to change up for the evening, we were down to the lobby a little after 5:30pm for our Uber, and we were on our way to the restaurant. We did contemplate just canceling the dinner but decided the show would be a nice distraction given the day’s events.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

You can’t miss this restaurant, as the exterior has some very elaborate theming, which I likened to Disney World. The interior of the restaurant was also designed to transport you to the various islands of the Polynesian. Upon arrival, we were seated at our table of two, at one of the elevated platforms with a central view of the stage. We were then presented with an impressive drink menu. It rivaled anything we have ever seen at similar restaurants.

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Of course, this meant we had to have a couple of rounds of drinks. Ranked from Mild to Strong, I went with a Barrel of Rum, which essentially tasted as it sounds, and the Princess opted for the Tahitian Breeze. While her drink was sweeter than mine, I did prefer hers over my concoction. We did the Bali Hai dinner special, which includes a three course meal and show for $47. Be sure to request this menu when seated, or they will give you the a la carte menu, with the show costing an additional $15 a person.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

We were pleasantly surprised with the food. Stay tuned for our full review of our Mai Kai experience coming soon. The show was slated to start at 7:30pm, and our apps and entrees were spaced out accordingly so that we were finished in time for the show. Lasting 45 minutes, the show included themed dances and music from various regions of the Polynesian, including Samoa, Hawaii, and New Zealand, and even some fire twirling stunts. This experience makes our list of the Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale before a cruise.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Once the show was over, we perused the gift shop, other rooms of the restaurant, and the gardens taking a few additional photos. We might have stayed for an additional drink, but the bar was busy and we were getting tired, so we just decided to grab an Uber back to the hotel.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Back to the hotel, it was a little after 9pm. While the Princess would have been more than happy to call it a night, I convinced her to grab a drink at the hotel’s bar, the Living Room. Advertised as a trendy indoor/outdoor space, featuring a fire pit and specialty cocktail menu, she was easily persuaded. The Living Room did have a special drink menu but no fire pit during our visit.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Service was sparse, so I ended up going back inside to get us drinks at the bar. We enjoyed our cocktails and the temperate weather for about 30 minutes or so. We also got to watch as the delayed Caribbean Princess pulled out of Port Everglades. As the ship sailed off into the horizon, it was time for us to retire for the evening. Back to the room for our last social media posts of the day, we hit the sack around 10:30pm. Tomorrow was going to be a big day!

Continue Reading Day 1

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Day 1

Here Come the Crowds

For once, I was partially awake when the alarm went off at 7am. Out of bed, I had my marching orders. Given the incidents from the previous day, we did not get many pictures of the hotel, so I spent the next 30 minutes roaming the remainder of the public areas, snapping people-free pool and restaurant pictures.

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Back to the room, I dropped off the camera for my second to-do of the morning- Starbucks coffee. Knowing exactly how to get to this hotel based store, after getting somewhat lost the day before, I got our lattes and breakfast scones and was back to the hotel by 8:30am. Not knowing what to expect at the port, besides heightened security, we wanted to leave the hotel by 9:30am.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

By the time I changed, packed up, and had all our gear and luggage secured, it was about 9:45am, only 15 minutes behind schedule. Our Uber arrived around 10am, and we made it to the port with little headaches. There was definitely more traffic and police which made our trip from the main gate to Terminal 18, Harmony of the Seas’ home, longer than expected.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review – Terminal 18 (Source)

Getting dropped off around 10:40am, it was a quick walk to drop our bags off. Making sure she got in the Diamond check-in line, which did not matter given the crowd was very light, we were through security, checked in, Welcome Aboard photos taken, and in the waiting area within 15 minutes. Just one hiccup during all of this- a change in our itinerary.

We Are Surrounded By Storms

We were notified that given the current weather conditions near the Bahamas, our ship would be sailing an alternate itinerary. Basically, this update would change up much of the Princess’ diligent planning. We would still visit St. Maarten on an alternate day, but we would now be stopping at San Juan, Puerto Rico and Labadee, Haiti instead of Nassau, Bahamas and St. Thomas.

 Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Switching out the Bahamas and St. Thomas for the two new ports was not necessarily a bad change, it just meant that our schedule was completely off. This would probably mean the show times, parties, and other events we expected to occur on certain days would now be adjusted as well. Not a complete downer, we were ready to roll with the punches and enjoy this long anticipated trip. It was about 11:15am now when the Royal Suites, Pinnacle, and Diamond Plus cruisers were beginning to line-up to board. Before long, we were onboard the world’s largest ship, by 11:30am no less!

Never Breaking with Tradition

I was concerned that the ship would be extremely busy from the get go, so we would not be able to get our normal picture routine accomplished. Happily, I was wrong. Embarking on Deck 5, we shot up to Deck 16, near the Solarium and worked our way down snapping photos of the pools, sports deck, and other facilities while many other cruisers headed to the Windjammer for lunch.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Weaving in and out of the crowds as we got down to the lower decks including Central Park (Deck 8) and the Boardwalk and Vitality Spa (Deck 6), our picture taking was getting hit or miss. All in all, we got more pictures than I expected today and spent a good two hours exploring the ship. By 1:30pm, the announcement had been made that the rooms were ready.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Heading to our Central Park view room, #9615 on the Starboard side, our luggage had not yet been delivered. Our stateroom attendant, Julian, was around and introduced himself. After more photos of the room and reorganizing our carry-on, we had some time to kill. So, it was on to find our dining room assignment.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

We had booked this cruise over 16 months in advance, with a guarantee of traditional dining at 6pm. When we were assigned a table in Grande, the My Time Dining on Deck 4, I was a bit confused. Unable to find the mysterious table with our assignment, we sought out some assistance from the staff member outside the dining room. We were informed that we did indeed have My Time Dining but didn’t have any reservations scheduled. This was unacceptable. The staff member indicated that two of the three main dining rooms were now reserved for My Time Dining, so we had been switched with no notification from Royal Caribbean or any warning prior to our sailing. Needless to say, the Princess was not happy! Eventually, we were able to secure a table for 2 in American Icon Grill for 6pm.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

All of this work had made me hungry, so we headed to Park Café on deck 8 for our traditional embarkation day lunch by 2:30pm. I went with a Kummelweck sandwich and the wife a turkey panini. This Park Café seemed larger and more open than on other Oasis-class ships. The various stations were also clearly labeled indicating menu items. However, there was no station serving soda, beer, or coffee like the other Oasis-class ships.  Instead, there was a counter with self-service coffee and iced water.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Getting the Cruise Officially Started

Finishing our lunch, it was time to get our first drink of the cruise around 3pm. Given our location, we headed toward the Boardwalk and the Sabor Bar for some handcrafted margaritas. Crowds were starting to gather, but we were able to secure two drinks, the Sweet and Spicy Margarita and the Grand Sabor Margarita, with a short wait. Both drinks are covered in the Deluxe Drink Package, which has a maximum allotment of $13 on Oasis-class ships.

Top Things to do on Harmony of the SeasHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

While sipping our first drinks of the cruise, we called home to let them know we were onboard and ready to cruise. By now, the warm and sunny weather had faded, and the clouds and cooler weather had begun to roll-in. An announcement was made that we would be departing at 7pm to accommodate travelers interrupted by the Fort Lauderdale airport closure and plane delays. With muster approaching, we went back to the room to see if our luggage had arrived so we could unpack and be 100% on vacation.

Harmony of the Seas Ship ScorecardHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Only one suitcase was in front of our room, but I managed to locate the other two pieces of luggage down the hallway. Racing against the clock, we successfully unloaded two of the three bags before heading to muster at 4:15pm. Our muster station, D1, was in Studio B, and we were cramped into the last row of the theater. For some reason, this muster took a while to begin, and there were some technical difficulties playing the videos and messages.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Following muster, we joined the line at Café Promenade to get some iced lattes. Starbucks is no longer covered in the Café Select Card, so the Princess and I were going to have to ration. Luckily, the specialty coffees at Café Promenade are still included in the drink package.

First Night Dining is Always Hectic

Back to the room by 4:45pm, we finished unloading the rest of our clothes and spruced up for our 6pm dinner. Walking in a few minutes after 6pm, along with the other hordes of other cruisers, we headed straight to our newly assigned table since we knew exactly where it was located. Our assistant waiter, Carmina, greeted us rather quickly with water but then went missing.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The wait staff was busy and hectic as usual, as were the bar servers making there way through the dining room. It took a few minutes for our waiter, John, to come over and introduce himself. He was very nice and very attentive, even though he was serving what seemed like an inordinate amount of tables. Noticing our assistant waiter did not offer us bread, he quickly came over with some. He also said he would get us a bar server. We ordered, which for me included the fan favorite sweet onion vidalia tart and the beef carpaccio, and the Princess ordered the chicken waldorf salad.

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Taking initiative, John asked what we wanted to drink and made it a point to get us a round since a bar server still hadn’t arrived at our table. The cocktails arrived right before our entrees were served, well over an hour into dinner. For night 1, the main dining room menu featured the wife’s favorite turkey dinner (a night 7 staple usually), and I went with a new item, the barbecue ribs. Both were served hot and surpassed our expectations.

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For dessert, I went with the warm hazelnut chocolate cake, and the Princess ordered a classic apple pie a la mode. Dinner lasted over 90 minutes, which tended to be the norm on this cruise, so we did not have much time to spare before our next planned activity.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

One More Wrench in our Plans

Given the odd show times available this cruise, we had pre-booked two shows this evening. First, an 8:30pm showing of Grease in the Royal Theater. We headed over to the theater straight from dinner about 7:45pm to find the reservation line was just being let in. Securing our usual seats, we then each made bathroom trips and ordered a round of drinks while waiting for the show to start.

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Never really being a fan of the movie Grease, I still thought the production was solid. The performers were talented, and the quality of the show was on-par with other performances we have seen on Oasis-class ships. The light-hearted plot and memorable songs are sure to entertain even those who are not necessarily Broadway fans. The Princess really enjoyed the show and was singing right along. Too bad she didn’t pack her poodle skirt!

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The show ended right at 10pm, which meant we had to hustle up to the Boardwalk to queue up for our second show of the evening, the Fine Line, in the Aqua Theater. Arriving at the Boardwalk, we were greeted with wet and windy conditions. With virtually no other cruisers in line yet, we inquired with the staff if the show was canceled, but there was no official word yet.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

I did ask about the 9pm show, which was officially canceled, so we speculated that this show would be too. Not wanting to write off the show yet, we strolled over to the Logo Shop on the Boardwalk to get my Harmony of the Seas inaugural season t-shirt and a ship ornament for our vacation tree. They also had a nice sweatshirt that I was eyeing, and given the weather on this cruise, I might just have to grab it to stay warm.

Top Things to do on Harmony of the SeasHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Noticing a few more cruisers heading to the Aqua Theater now, the Princess left me in line at the shop to see if an official decision had been made about tonight’s performance. By the time I had paid and exited the gift shop, I could see the Princess walking back. The Fine Line was officially canceled, and an announcement would be made the next day about when it would be rescheduled.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

After getting another curve ball on this vacation, we went back to the room to do some blogging and email before finally calling it a day about an hour later. Of course, our room attendant had a towel animal waiting for us when we got back to the room. So far, our vacation was a series of surprises that were out of our control. Hopefully, things would be looking up from here!

Continue Reading Day 2

 Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Day 2

Rough Seas Ahead

A tumultuous first day by any cruiser’s standards, Day 2 greeted us with a wet and windy early morning. Up at 7am, I went around the ship doing my usual pictures filling in the shots I failed to get on the first day. Unfortunately, the weather did not provide much natural light for the outside photos, but I was able to score some inside pics of a relatively quiet Royal Promenade.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Back to the room around 8am, I switched places with the Princess and got ready for the day. No bathing suits and t-shirts for this morning. We were off to Starbucks for 9am. Now, these lattes are no longer included in the Café Select card, so this would be one of the few times we stopped here all cruise. With Starbucks in hand, we headed to our first sea day breakfast at Johnny Rockets, which is one of the venues that offers custom made omelets and is complimentary for breakfast.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Given the weather was still damp and cloudy, but not actively raining, we wanted seats inside. As it is a small venue inside, we were stuck with bar seats. Breakfast was fast, and our server was very attentive. Both our omelets were hot and fresh, and the cooking felt lighter than our other experiences on Royal ships. So far, the food had been surpassing our expectations. In and out of Johnny Rockets within 30 minutes or so, we had few options as the weather was not improving.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Finding Some Outdoor Time

Still stuck with a laundry list of places to check out, we did even more ship exploring. Seeing a rather small line at Guest Services, we exchanged our Quantum of the Seas WOW Bands. While not perfect, the bands do make getting in and out of the room easier as well as getting drinks at the bars. Definitely a technology that will improve over time.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

With a captain’s announcement that today’s weather and sea conditions would remain for the day, we found some covered seats in the Solarium. One downfall to not having a balcony room is lack of outdoor space. Good thing the Solarium Bar on deck 16 has a section with some wicker chairs and couches that kept us protected from the elements. I ran down to get my computer, and we blogged and did social media from about 10:30am to 12:30pm.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

During this time, we discovered the brand new drink menus at the Solarium Bar- No more “Quenchers at Sea” menu. Royal has changed the menus at most bars, adding tiered pricing, with a Signature cocktail list now costing an additional $2 over the beverage package allotment. By 12:30pm, we were told the deck would be closing due to the increasingly windy conditions.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

So, what else could we possibly do? We returned to our room to drop off the computer and our gear then headed to Sabor for a light lunch. Boy, was that a mistake, as everyone seemed to have the same idea. Arriving before 1pm, we encountered a rather busy restaurant and a small line. No big deal. We waited for about 10 minutes to be seated, again to be expected on a sea day. We then sat for close to 30 minutes, with no one coming over to our table at all. We finally had to flag someone down to take our order and bring over chips and salsa.

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Our entire dining experience took over an hour and 45 minutes. The food was still good, with the tuna tacos having much more kick than expected. Making it a point to sip as many of the margaritas as possible on the menu, I sampled the avocado margarita, which was just okay.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

It Is Still Formal Night After All

Wasting more time during lunch than anticipated, we were left with few options. Being the first formal night, the wife was going to need her prep time to be downstairs at 5:30pm for the photo studios. So, we stopped for a mid-afternoon iced latte at Café Promenade, which was part of the beverage package, and were back to the room by 3:15pm. Spending some time blogging and doing social media, we officially put the devices away, for a while, around 4pm.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

While the wife showered and prepared for her close-ups, I ran down to the promenade to get some bottles of water. Fewer restaurants on the ship now have bars, including Café Promenade and Sorrento’s, making my “water runs” a bit tougher. The inside bars were packed with cruisers playing games, doing trivia, and learning new dance moves. Still, I was able to get us a six pack of waters after making the rounds to the open venues. Back to the room by my designated time, I hopped into the shower, got my suit on, and was ready before 5:30pm.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

After a few in room selfies, we were down to deck 6 for a round of formal pictures. Hitting 5 stations in about 30 minutes, we opted only for backdrops that were unique to Harmony of the Seas. I mean, how many “Titanic Staircases” and “White” portraits do we really need?  The lines were manageable, so we were to Wonderland for just after 6pm.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Having dined at Wonderland on Quantum of the Seas in 2015, we were looking forward to the new menu and this truly unique dining experience. It is not only about the food at Wonderland, but also the decor, drinks, and the unique presentation that make dinner here something worth reliving.

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Our waiter explained that he would be choosing our tasting menu for the evening, which seemed to be custom plated for our table which was not the case on Quantum of the Seas. Going through two round of drinks, countless apps, two entrees, and all three desserts, we left Wonderland more than content just before 8pm. Stay tuned for our full review of Wonderland coming soon.

A Relatively Early Night

Down to the Royal Promenade around 8 pm, we inched our way through congestion, and I scored a glass of champagne (of course, the Princess muttered). We were able to secure a decent photo location near Sorrento’s for the Captain’s speech. Short and to the point, Captain Johnny welcomed those passengers in attendance to the ship and introduced some of the main officers, including hotel operations and dining.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Our scheduled show for the evening was 1887, the ice show in Studio B at 10:30pm. This meant we had at least an hour or so to kill. Continuing our drink around the ship, it was to Boleros right on the Promenade. Encountering yet another new menu, which did not include our typical drinks, we had to try a few alternatives. I went with the south beach iced tea, and the wife tried the coconut mojito. Both were quite tasty.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

After enjoying our drinks and relaxing for a while, we still had some time to kill so we ventured into the casino. Not having the Princess’ favorite slot machines, which is always a mixed blessing, she tried her luck at two other games. Having quickly deposited and subsequently losing the little gambling money I brought for the evening, it was back out to Studio B to wait in line for the ice show.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The reservation line was open, and guests were starting to enter the ice rink. I was stunned to see a good amount of seats in the center area, with no partially obstructed view. We normally sit on the port side, with a pole partially obstructing our view. But tonight, we had center ice seats. We waited for about 40 minutes or so for the show to start. While definitely one of the better ice shows, and one of the more technologically advanced productions, the plot was a bit overplayed.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Given the rough seas and sailing conditions, we always give props to the talented performers who put on a nearly flawless production. The staging and special effects, as well as the featured “bubble” performer definitely notched out the edge for 1887 in the competition of cruise ship ice shows.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Approaching 11:30pm, we were ready to call it a night. Back to the room to find another towel animal to add to the collection.

Continue Reading Day 3

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Day 3

Finally Some Sun

Today, we slept in until 7am. Getting out early for my normal stroll around the ship with camera in hand, it was another overcast and windy day. In fact, it was still so windy that all of the outdoor areas on deck 16 were closed. Getting to the breakfast venues when they opened, I was in and out of the Windjammer and Solarium Bistro with a memory card full of breakfast pictures, but no food of course. I had to wait for the Princess!

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Before reporting back to the Princess, I grabbed two lattes from Café Promenade. Even the Princess could not justify paying over $6 a drink at Starbucks (once you figure in the 18% gratuity). Given the healthier selections at Solarium Bistro, we decided to head there for breakfast this morning.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Up to deck 15 forward, we saw a miraculous sight…the sun! The clouds were finally dissipating, and there was the sun shining down on us. Getting our “healthier” breakfast, which included grilled vegetables, chicken sausage, and turkey bacon, the selections were average but no shining stars.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Given the increasing number of fellow travelers outside, I suspected that by the time we got out of breakfast, all of the good pool deck chairs would be gone. So, I was stunned that at 9:45am there were still plenty of prime lounge chairs right near the pool. In fact, we were able to get some coveted deck chairs near the beach pool that were partially in the water, in direct sun.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

With chairs secured, we went back to the room to swap out our clothes for bathing suits. Then, we were back to our seats by 10:15am, with only a slightly busier pool deck. Where were all of the other passengers?

A Lazy Day in the Sun

Amazing to say, but for this sea day, we spent most of it laying in the sun. I know, it is rare for the Princess to just sit around, but given the poor weather so far, and incredible location of our deck chairs, I somehow convinced her to stay put. Continuing our drink around the ship, we were able to knock out all of the pool deck bars trying new cocktails at these outdoor venues.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

It was a bit hit or miss, as some bartenders appeared to know the new drinks, while others seemed a bit confused. Three rounds in and we still had not consumed our go to pool drinks- Miami Vice and Pina Colada. As we basked in the sun, we struck up a conversation with a group from Tennessee who were sailing on Royal Caribbean for the first time. They were asking our opinion on how things were progressing so far, and we told them that for the most part, the cruise was an accurate representation of a typical Royal Caribbean cruise. They swore by Disney Cruise Line.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

By 2:30pm, the sun was behind us, and we had to make more of our day than simply getting sunburned. This was a cruise after all, so we set off to get something to eat. Trying to avoid the Windjammer, we split up. For me, it was to the Boardwalk Dog House for my first round of dogs, and the wife hit up Sorrento’s for a few slices of pizza. Meeting back in the Promenade, we quickly inhaled our snack and headed back to the room for a little reprieve from the outdoors.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Recounting the last few days, we regrouped on social media and blogging duties for about an hour, as our spotty sun burns began to emerge. By 4pm, I had seen enough of my computer screen, so I went to grab some iced lattes and bottles of water. Jumping into the shower, we were down to dinner a few minutes after 6pm.

Does Anything Go Smoothly on This Trip?

Our waiter John was attentive as soon as we entered this evening, but our assistant waiter Carmina was no where to be found during the first half of dinner. While we liked both servers, it was apparent they did not work well as a team. Having not been at dinner night 2, we sat down to see some new table mates to our left and right. These tables of four would be the remaining groups for the rest of the cruise.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

The new menu this evening was a mixture of new and old classics. The Princess enjoyed her iceberg wedge salad, but I was not a fan of my tomato and goat cheese tart or salmon tartare. However, my lamb chops entree was well prepared and quite tasty. We also gave the profiteroles another go round for dessert, and we felt they were much better than the ones we had on Oasis of the Seas, though still not comparable to the ones from Le Bistro on Norwegian Cruise Line. The mango cheesecake was also good too.

 Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Out of dinner rather early for us, 7:30pm, we stopped by the Focus Studio to review last night’s formal pictures. Not having much of a tan, the wife was not expecting much from the first round of formal night pictures as we “always look better on second formal night”. Only taking about 25 pictures, we were able to quickly scan through the digital files. Let’s just say that we were keeping our fingers crossed that second formal night came out better.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Our show reservations tonight were at the Attic for 9pm. Needing to check more venues off our drink around the ship, we caught a flight at 7:45pm on the Rising Tide. Having just sailed on Oasis of the Seas, we were looking forward to this specialty cocktail menu as it contained a few of our favorite drinks onboard. Only problem, the Rising Tide on Harmony of the Seas had an entirely different menu.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

In our opinion, this is one of the menu changes we did not enjoy. A shortened menu with primarily champagne cocktails is now available. Only two staff members were manning the Rising Tide, so I had to walk over to the bar to order our two drinks. This would be the only time we visited this bar all cruise. Staying onboard while in Central Park, we took the return flight back down by 8:15pm. Just in time for us to get in the reservation line at the Attic.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Commenting that we wished our shore excursion the following day was later, I stopped in at the shore excursion desk to see if they had a later time. Given that our day in St. Maarten was changed, our America’s Cup Regatta excursion was automatically re-booked with a meeting time of 7:45am, right after the ship was set to be cleared by local authorities. Checking one of the tablet computers, we saw that there was a 9:15am time slot. I decided to wait in line to try to change to this time, while the Princess waited in line for the comedy show to secure us good seats.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Without going into all the details, essentially our original shore excursion time was changed to 9:15am, but we were never notified nor did we receive new tickets with the updated time. After a little back and forth, I insisted on getting reprinted tickets for the new time. At least we were able to get a little more sleep now.

Come on People, You are on Vacation

Getting to the Attic by 8:30pm, I found the Princess scored a table for two far enough from the stage to ensure we would not get “called on” as part of the act. With some bar servers walking around, we finally made eye-contact with one of them to get a round of drinks. What is a comedy show without cocktails?

Harmony of the Seas NeighborhoodsHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

One of the highlights of any cruise for me is the comedy show. I am a huge fan of stand-up and have found that the headliners in the dedicated comedy clubs on cruise ships are often pretty funny. Before the show, we noticed that Simeon, the comedy host from our Oasis of the Seas cruise, was also the host/opening act tonight with the headliner Nery Saenz. Simeon has a very quirky sense of humor and delivery, which I find on point, especially for a diverse group of cruisers.

Harmony of the Seas Entertainment GuideHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The main act, Nery, fared worse with the crowd. He was a topical comedian, talking about family and married life, but his setups took a while, and he was not really getting any audience participation or energy. Ending right at 9:50pm, it was one of the first times that I was ready to leave the comedy club on a ship. Too bad Simeon wasn’t the main act.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Not in the mood to head to one of the other lounges, we went back to the room for some more social media updates, before hitting the sack around 11pm.

Continue Reading Day 4

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Day 4

Hot and Sunny St. Maarten

Gaining an hour of sleep with our changed shore excursion time, the alarm was set for 6am. In the early morning hours, we could feel the ship pulling into port, so we were already docked in St. Maarten when it was time to get up and grab us some lattes. Still, for an early morning call, public venues were not too busy.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Not that we needed anything to eat, but we were ready, beach bag packed, and at Park Café for 8am. Our shore excursion, the Yacht Race, was scheduled to meet at the pier at 8:45am. Wanting to give ourselves some time for picture taking, our quick breakfast at the Park Café meant we would be off the ship by 8:30am.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Can’t Seem to Win This Trip

To the pier by 8:30am, we were docked next to P&O Cruises’ Azura, a rather impressive 115K gross tons mega ship. Finding our meeting spot, representatives from RCI told us to come back in about 20 minutes. This gave us enough time to snap a few selfies in front of the aft of Harmony of the Seas. During our trek around the port, we witnessed the Carnival Conquest backing into the dock.  A total of 6 ships would be in port today, including two more Royal Caribbean ships, Jewel of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas, and Celebrity Reflection.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Back at our designated spot for 9am, we were greeted by a few other guests also doing the excursion, some with sailing experience. Soon, we were off to meet a few guests from the other Royal ships joining the tour. Walking over the entire group to the water taxi area, we meet another group of four from a local hotel that would also be part of the day’s adventures. Now, with a total of 17 people, the tour guide picked 2 captains and divided us into teams. Then, we headed off to our respective yachts for a morning of racing excitement.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

We were at the helm of Canada 2 with our team captain who happened to be from Rhode Island. One of the more demanding shore excursions we have completed recently, it was also a lot of fun. We can see why it is ranked one of the top things to do in the Caribbean. Stay tuned for a full shore excursion review coming soon.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Even with a solid group of sailors, with the helms manned by Garrett, Charles, and Greg, our team did not come out victorious this day. Another loss for DB and the Princess! A trip to the yacht club, a rum punch, and souvenirs would help to drown our sorrows. Our exciting morning of racing was done in a few hours.

A Bit More Sun Than We Planned

With my new crew member t-shirt and photo in tow, we exited the Yacht Club around 11:30am to trek around the waterfront. With plenty of restaurants, beach clubs, and of course, stores, there are endless options for those looking to tan, eat, or shop. We had no major plans except to take some pictures. When in doubt, snap a photo, get some info, and keep on walking.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Having walked essentially to the edge of the tourist area along the boardwalk, we walked up a block to Front Street for a return stroll to the ship. Spending a total of about 90 minutes walking up and back, we returned to the St. Maarten pier around 1pm. No need for any more souvenirs, t-shirts, or ornaments, so we were back onboard the ship.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Taking complete advantage of the rather empty vessel, we dropped our bags off at our room and switched into our bathing suits. Before tackling some of Harmony’s more adventurous attractions it was lunch time. Few venues were open, so I was able to convince the Princess to do a quick stop in the Windjammer. The layout of the buffet felt more open and with a manageable crowd, it was much easier to maneuver through the various stations. Not that we frequent the buffet, but the selections felt limited, with few hot dishes and the same snacks you could get at Mini-Bites.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Not wanting to waste time, or miss out on the ideal weather, we walked around the open air decks snapping photos of the nearby ships docked alongside us.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Testing out the Slides

As we walked around the ship, we noticed that the Ultimate Abyss had opened up at 2pm. With no line, I mean absolute no line at all, I decided to give it a test run. Yes, the Princess wanted to ride too but was feeling a little overheated, so she decided to wait until another day. Launching myself took a bit more work than I thought, and I did not really pick up much speed until the second half of the slide, with the final turn really slowing me down.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

In fact, I did not even make it completely out of the tunnel, so I had to scoot my way out for the final few feet. Given all of the build-up, the Ultimate Abyss was a bit of a let down for me. Hustling back up from deck 6 to the Abyss on deck 16, and yes I took the stairs, I relayed the news to the wife. Needing to escape the sun, we found empty lounge chairs in the shade near the Beach Pool.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

I left the Princess to rest in the shade, while I decided to give all three waterslides a test run. The lines were modest and moved quickly. In a total reversal of expectations, the water slides were more exhilarating and fun than I thought they would be. The slides were able to pack in plenty of twists and turns with ample speed, especially for water slides on a ship.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Completing all three slides in about 30 minutes, I returned to see the Princess discussing cruising and the ship with two other passengers who were first time Royal cruisers. These more seasoned travelers were avid cruisers, just on other cruise lines. Feeling a bit chilly from the slides, I got the Princess to move into more direct sun, still near the Beach Pool. Warming up after 45 minutes or so in our new found loungers, it was time to get ready for dinner. But first, a few more photos of St. Maarten.

 Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

While the Princess went back to the cabin, I went to the Café Promenade around 4pm to get our afternoon iced lattes. By now, the staff at the Café recognized me and my order. Hey, being predictable does have its benefits. Back with our drinks in no time, I did some blogging while the Princess began her pre-dinner preparations. Our nightly tradition of a few in-room selfies and we were to the dining room on time for once.

Sorry Boys, You’re Just Too Damn Loud

The food at dinner was what we had come to expect from an MDR experience. John was working overtime, including delivering our now nightly cheese plate. While he was an excellent server, we had the sense that the main dining room was short-staffed. Also, it felt like the usual waiter and assistant waiter combos were not as symbiotic as on other ships.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

This time around, the bar server recognized us and came over for our drink order rather promptly. Tonight for dinner, I went with one of my personal favorites for an appetizer, the crab cake, which did not disappoint. Maybe I got an order of shrimp cocktail too. The bone-in pork chop was a pleasant surprise for an entree as well. It was cooked just right with a light gravy that highlighted the natural flavors of the pork. The Princess stuck with her usual boring trends ordering a Caesar salad and the Thai chicken breast. Dinner took over 90 minutes with us getting out of the dining room by 7:45pm.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Carbbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

From dinner, it was a straight shot over to the Royal Theater for the Headliner. Early in the cruise, we discovered that the headliner, the band 7th Heaven, was actually part of a group cruise of about 250 people onboard. Given the eclectic mix of passengers as part of the group, we did not know what to expect. I thought they were going to be another ordinary singing group, but boy was I wrong. From the start, the show was full of energy with a lot of crew and band support staff walking around the theater. It was one major production.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

In fact, they were a rock band doing a signature show of “30 Songs in 30 Minutes” covering the hits of the 70’s and 80’s, from Bon Jovi to Michael Jackson, Billy Idol, Huey Lewis and the News, and essentially any other famous band you could think of from this era. I have to say, I was very impressed. A talented five-some with excellent stage presence, they were perhaps the best headliner we have seen in a while (or perhaps ever). Finishing their 30 in 30, they played one of their original songs along with a few other 70’s and 80’s hits to round off the show around 8:45pm.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Keeping the music going, we were able to find seats at the Schooner Bar. Home to my favorite onboard drink, a properly made sidecar. I am happy to report that this drink menu had remained the same, for now. All specialty cocktails were included in the beverage package, including the wife’s lavender daiquiri, a popular drink with the loyal royal crowd.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Listening to the romantic piano music for about an hour, it was time to move on to another venue and style of music. Continuing our drink around the ship, it was over to the Boot and Bonnet for pub guitar with Cat Wells. The Princess’ least favorite specialty menu, and honestly mine too, I tried a new drink, the Ginger Sour, as the waiter indicated it was the most popular drink. I have struck out with some of the other cocktails here, so at least the waiter’s suggestion paid off.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Listening to a few songs, a mix of southern rock, Motown, and a few classic ballads, we stayed until an announced break. Even though we were early, it was down to Studio B around 11:15pm for the RED Party. Waiting only a few minutes outside, we were scanned in and immediately found seats. Hey, did you really think we were going to dance?

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The Studio B ice rink was transformed into a dance floor. Decorations and lighting effects transported passengers into a space themed futuristic dance party. I did score another beer from the makeshift bar that was on the dance floor as we stuck around occasionally singing along to the music and taking a few pictures.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

By midnight, it was time to head back to our cabin and our next towel creation of the cruise.

Continue Reading Day 5

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Day 5

A Leisurely Morning for Two

Having three early morning ports in a row would wreak havoc on my vacation sleep schedule. I often say that I get less sleep on a cruise than when I am at home. While San Juan, Puerto Rico is one of our favorite ports, we had just stopped there in the recent past. Plus, a weird 7am to 1:30pm port stop meant we would have to get off the ship first thing to have enough time to enjoy any on shore tour or excursion. So, we made the decision to not get off the ship.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

All along that was our plan for Nassau, Bahamas (one of our least favorite stops), so adding the extra time on the ship here would give us some quiet time with Harmony of the Seas. To occupy our afternoon, we scheduled our Escape the Rubicon puzzle break for 1pm. Wrestling myself out of bed by 7:30am, it was a straight shot down to Café Promenade for iced lattes.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Ready for the day, it was out to the Princess’s pick for breakfast- Mini Bites, one of three locations onboard where you can order a custom omelet. It is essentially a smaller buffet but much less crowded. Finishing our made-to-order breakfast just before they closed the restaurant, we walked around deck 16 taking some pictures of San Juan and the other ships in port, MS Koningsdam and Carnival Glory. While snapping pics, we also headed out to Harmony’s wings on deck 14.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

These popular platforms offer some great views when docked and at sea. Just be careful, as they can be windy. Seeing the Solarium, pool decks, and other areas sparsely populated, we knew we would have the run of the ship. Back to the sports deck, it was a quick round of mini-golf in the Harmony Dunes. A challenging course with equally impressive design, it was a close game. We do not need to dive into the details of who was victorious. Let’s just say the Princess was pouting.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Can We Get a Break This Cruise?

Expecting most of the ship to be quiet, we took time to capture more wide-shot pictures of public areas. Going back and forth between the pool deck, Central Park, and the Boardwalk, we finally settled back in the sports deck area around 11:45am. We choose some Adirondack chairs on the Back Deck to review social media and our pictures. Not wanting to be bums at the Puzzle Break, we returned to the room around 12:30pm to put on some real clothes and touch-up.

Top Things to do on Harmony of the SeasHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

We arrived to deck 14 slightly before our scheduled 1pm time to see one other group already waiting. The remaining players arrived by 1pm, for a total of 8 of us. Now, it was time to travel to the future and experience hydrogen powered space travel. We were given 60 minutes to complete the puzzle break and escape or be stuck in space forever. Our team started off slow, picked up the pace, but alas, we were unable to solve the final puzzle in time. Unlike the puzzle break on Anthem, the room itself is more interactive, and the last task for Escape the Rubicon is a challenge. One that we could not figure out in our remaining 5-6 minutes. Oh well, we seemed to be on a losing streak!

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Once we were shown the objective of the last challenge, it made much more sense! Still, it was a lot of fun, and we would recommend it to anyone sailing on this ship. One tip would be to take a few minutes and talk to one another first then designate a team captain, as no one really took charge in our group and that might have been part of the problem. Finishing up the game by 2:15pm, we had plenty of time to accomplish the Princess’ afternoon activities.

Really, Another Rescheduled Show?

An early afternoon sail-away meant there were a few shows scheduled to take place, including the belly flop contest and Hideaway Heist, a second Aqua Theater diving show which does not require reservations. To ensure we were geared up and ready to go, of course we needed to eat something. You can’t go a few hours on this ship without grabbing some food. Splitting our snacks between Mini-Bites and the Boardwalk Dog House, we were content and ready for some high flying antics.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

However, Mother Nature had other plans. While sitting in the Aqua Theater, it was quite obvious that we were hitting rocky seas during our pull away from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ship was noticeably heaving, and the water in the Aqua Theater pool was splashing in and out. Bobby, our cruise director, confirmed our suspicions at 2:55pm, announcing the show was canceled due to rough weather. Unfortunately, Hideaway Heist was not rescheduled to another day during our cruise.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Now with time to kill, and sorrows to drown, it was over to Bionic Bar to check that off our drink around the ship. Similar to the venue on Quantum and Anthem, the bar was busy for the first few days with cruisers taking pictures and testing out the technology. Now, it was pretty dead.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The Princess was able to easily swipe her card and get a drink. Me, on the other hand, could not get the system to work. Staff eventual came around to override the system which was apparently malfunctioning, so our pit stop lasted longer than expected. With formal night pictures and a full evening of activities on our itinerary, it was time to change up for the night.

They Do Things Differently on Harmony of the Seas

According to the Princess, we always look better the second formal night. With the lackluster weather resulting in neither of us being very tan, I wasn’t sure if her prediction would hold true this time around. Getting back to our room a little after 4pm, we were ready in our attire right around 5:30pm. Most of the photo galleries were the same as the first formal night, with several staircase studios and some of the same backdrops we cruisers know all too well.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Even though the lines were manageable, they were busier than the first formal night, so we ended up going to six of the stations before dinner. Arriving a few minutes past 6pm, most individuals were dressed up, but the formal night dress code has seemed to disgress a bit recently. While the Princess was trying to force me to break my current record of 4 lobster tails, I played it safe and only had 2. How would I ever survive with such little nourishment?!?

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The Princess tried a new dish on the MDR menu, the Coq au Vin, which she enjoyed.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Telling John we wanted to catch the Love and Marriage show, we rushed through dessert to get to the Royal Theater for 7:40ish. Another change to this cruise was the Love and Marriage show being early in the evening and on a formal night. Walking in for the “auditions”, we noticed the theater was rather empty with few volunteers wanting to play the game. No need to worry about getting seats.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Not sure if it was the cruise director or the early show time, but this version of the show was much tamer than other game shows. Of course, there were the typical questions and some hilarious answers, but the show felt very rushed with Bobby adding little in the way of jokes or commentary after a player provided an answer. He just went through the questions in checklist manner making sure the show ended in exactly an hour. I guess so others could get to second seating of dinner.

Well, At Least We Have Options

At the end of Love and Marriage, it was announced that the 9pm ice show, iSkate, was canceled due to the rough seas. While we could still feel the ship moving occasionally, it did not feel as severe as earlier in the day. To “replace” the canceled iSkate show, the comedian Nery Saenz was moved from the Attic to Studio B and was now going to do a family comedy show.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Being on the world’s largest cruise ship means that when your evening plays our jettisoned for the third time, you still have plenty of other options. Looking to take a break from the drinking and eating, we went up to the open air decks. Getting some fresh air and nice night time aerial shots of Central Park, the Boardwalk, and pools, it was good to get out. Wanting to escape the crowds, the Princess suggested getting another round of drinks at the Wonderland Bar.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

With one more cocktail to try off the menu and the venue only two decks down, it was easy to convince me to return. It was about 9:15pm when we arrived, and there was no one else at the bar. I got the final drink on the menu, the Stowaway, and the Princess got another round of the Helios in the Sand, her favorite drink at this particular bar.

Don’t Stop Believing

Still looking to try more venues, we departed around 10pm to head down to deck 4. Plans were to grab a drink at Jazz on 4 before trying to go standby for the second show of 7th Heaven, the headliner act. Surprisingly, Jazz on 4 was packed. On the two other Oasis-class ships, the venue was either closed for private events or a ghost town. Walking into the jazz music and seeing few available tables, we were able to find seats at the very corner of the lounge.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Though not offering ideal views, it did give us a chance to listen to Perry Phillips Quartet, who played southern style blues and jazz. Trying new drinks on the updated beverage menu, and marking this bar off our drink around the ship list, we stayed for about a half hour until the band went on break. Approaching 10:30pm, we knew standby for the headliner show would be letting in, so it was only a matter of whether there would be open seats. Not ideal, but we did get seats to listen to the all new “30 in 30” set.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Rocking out as they had the previous night, the second 30 in 30 met our approval as well. When they announced that they were going to do a second one to end the show, we were even more excited; however, it ended up being the same songs that we had seen performed at the 8:30pm show the night before. So, without being rude, we skipped out five or so songs into the playlist. Sneaking out of the show around 11:15pm, we headed up one deck to On Air, the karaoke club. It was standing room only as we entered to find several singers entertaining the crowd.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Here, it seemed that the “performers” were more interested in giving the crowd a show, as most were not good singers, minus one woman who was taking it seriously. It took about 10 minutes of scouting the room to get center seats for an unadulterated view of the rest of the evening’s performances. With some classics like Sweet Caroline among others, the karaoke wrapped up at midnight.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

As the entertainment staff were encouraging the remaining audience to check out the Quest, which started at 11:30pm, we decided to call it a night. We had enough fun for the evening.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

For the fifth night in a row, there was a new fury little friend there to greet us when returned to the room.

Continue Reading Day 6

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Day 6

Clear Skies in Labadee…For Now

Not originally on our itinerary, our final call was Royal’s private resort area of Labadee, Haiti. Debating whether we should do anything, we decided to make it a beach day like we have done the last few trips. Up at 7am, I went up to the pool decks to get a gauge for the current weather conditions. Partly cloudy, and less windy, I could see us already backing into the pier.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The gangway was scheduled to open at 9:30am, but it opened well before 9am. Back down to get iced lattes at Café Promenade, I returned with the update. Not wanting to be too late getting off the ship, as the island gets crowded quickly, we packed our beach bag and were down to Johnny Rockets for a quick breakfast a little past 9am.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Much busier than the second day, we got a seat outside and waited a while to get served. Changing things up, the Princess went with a breakfast sandwich, which was an upgrade from similar offerings in Park Café. Not sure if it was worth a 20 minute wait, but she did enjoy it. Me, I did another omelet, which was cooked to my satisfaction.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Quick, Get to the Ship

Arriving in Labadee with relatively nice conditions was the perfect opportunity for some ship selfies and photos, especially of the new Labadee sign. Taking about 30 minutes to snap these photos, it was a tough decision on where to get some sun. We usually gravitate to Adrenaline Beach for no particular reason.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The Princess usually ends up sweaty and overheated, so I suggested trying to get a beach lounger to offer some shade as needed. My good intentions were shortly thwarted. As the morning progressed, both the wind and clouds became worse, with dark stormy skies looming. At first, this did not stop me from saying, “Let’s get a Labadoozie”. It was still warm enough to justify the island’s signature frozen drink.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

About an hour or so after staking our claim, conditions intensified and tents started literally blowing away. The massive gusts of wind were soon followed by a strong rain shower. Essentially everyone ran to cover. Keeping us partially sheltered, even these accommodations were no match for the shifting wind and rain direction. Once the brief downpour subsided, I was fine staying on the beach, but not the Princess. With her towel, sun dress, and beach bag soaked, she was in no mood to continue this “beach break”.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Even another round of Labadoozies could not convince her to just stick it out and enjoy the afternoon. So, we would just head back to the ship. Us, and a good majority of other passengers, were heading back to the pier.

A Rather Random Afternoon

Dropping our towels off at the pier and catching an elevator from the gangway, we were back in our room about 1pm. Changing into dry clothes and a quick “touch-up” later, we were back on track within 15 minutes. Given the weather, and the swarms of additional passengers coming back early from Labadee, a number of ship board restaurants opened up for lunch.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Back onboard early, we could knock a couple of items off our list. First off was a DB vs. Princess Ultimate Abyss race. Having just opened up at 1pm, there was no line when we made it up to Deck 16. Getting our instructions, we approached the loading platform and were counted down for our plunge into the darkness. Propelling myself as best I could, somehow I still did not completely exit the slide and had to scoot myself to the finish line. So, the wife won by default.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Walking away from the attraction, the Princess agreed with me (a first!) that the slide lacked the speed and thrill we were expecting. One of the first times we were let down by a Royal Caribbean first at sea. We did not return to the Ultimate Abyss for the remainder of the cruise, and given my apparent heft and lack of skill, getting a first person GoPro video was not in the cards this cruise. In a sort of no man’s land when it came to eating, we stopped off to get a few bites to eat.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

I snagged a Big Apple hot dog and followed the Princess up to Deck 8 to Park Café so she could grab a pannini. I may have also snagged a Royal Kummelweck sandwich for good measure. Following our midday meal, we went to deck 16 starboard for some pictures and a cone of soft serve ice cream. The two stations are on deck 15 aft, right before the sports deck area.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Given our location and the clearing weather, we decided to get cocktails at the last bar on the pool decks, the Wipe Out Bar. I tried another new drink, the Lynchburg Lemonade, while the Princess went with another round of the Sexy Ocean. Sipping our drinks in the aft facing Adirondack chairs, and watching some people chicken-out of the Ultimate Abyss, we left the area around 3pm.

DSC00229 (Copy)Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Hey, a Show that is Not Canceled

Getting back to the room by 3pm, we started to get ready for a rather full evening. Given the change in our entertainment schedule, we now had two shows planned for the evening, the Fine Line at 5pm and Columbus at 8:30pm. All aboard was 5:00pm, which seemed odd as we were certain that they would not do a sail-away in the middle of an Aqua Theater show. Getting to the amphitheater around 4:30pm, it was relatively empty. The weather seemed calmer now, even though it was overcast, so we had out fingers crossed that the show would go on with no hiccups.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Picking out optimum seats for viewing and picture-taking, I went to get the Princess an iced caramel macchiatto from Starbucks, mostly because I was too lazy to go to the Promenade. During the trip, I stopped to get a Dos Equis from the Sabor Bar. A man needs to have his priorities. The show started right on time. From the beginning, we could tell the Fine Line was going to be a much different show than the aqua shows on the two other Oasis-class ships.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Starting off with modern music and some synchronized dancing and tricks both in and out of the water, it was high octane from the very beginning. We did lose some of the special lighting effects given that it was still dusk, as a good deal of the backdrop has to do with lights and reflective costumes worn by the performers. Still, the show was very entertaining with highly skilled acrobats, divers, and other performers.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The tight rope walkers and 360 degree aerial acrobats gave the show great dimension and made you feel more immersed in the production. Lasting about 50 minutes, the Princess and I were in agreement (Wait, twice in the same day?) that the Fine Line was the most visually appealing of the three aqua shows we have seen, even if we did not get to see it at night.

A Show Worth Seeing Twice

The night before, the restaurant manager from American Icon Grill had offered us a free specialty dinner. Debating where to eat, we decided on 150 Central Park, as this restaurant’s menu has recently been changed from a tasting menu to a standard multi-course menu with options that the Princess would eat. The restaurant manager was able to secure us a 6pm reservation, and following the Fine Line, we were there a few minutes early. Honestly, during the two hours we were there, the restaurant was never full.

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Similar to Wonderland, the waiter guides you through the courses, explaining the ingredients and unique preparation that goes into the dishes. This Michael Schwartz restaurant which blends Italian, French, and American cuisines and cooking styles offers starters, entrees, and dessert for the set price of $45 a person. Dinner was excellent, and the desserts even better, but our over two hour long dinner meant we had to rush through the desserts to get to our 8:30pm scheduled show. Stay tuned for a full review of 150 Central Park coming soon.

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We were able to get out of 150 Central Park by 8:15pm, narrowly beating the standby line into Columbus, the Musical! Unable to get our preferred seats, we did find decent seats in the same general area for the show. Of all the new entertainment, I was looking forward to this show the most, given it was a comedy.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The show tells the story of Marvin Columbus, a very distant relative of the explorer Christopher Columbus. Starting off with some original numbers, the production includes mostly songs from popular musicians such as Michael Buble, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and even Jimmy Buffet. So far, the show had been living up to its claim as being silly, with fine performances by the two featured singers. But, the cruise gods were against us again, as about 25 minutes into the show, there was a technical issue.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

At first, we all thought it was part of the show. After 15 minutes and two announcements from the cruise director, the issue could not be solved, so the remainder of the show was canceled. There was another scheduled show for 10:45pm, so we could try to get into that show later. All that planning and pre-cruise decision making was yet again thrown out the window.

Can’t Touch This

Around 9pm now, we had time to kill before the 90’s Street Party on the Promenade which was planned to start at 10pm. Somehow, we were able to get seats at Sorrento’s, so I got a beer and the wife a water as we people watched and waited for about 45 minutes for the show to start. Containing mostly members of the activities team, and a few dancers though no singers, the 90’s Party is this ship’s version of the 70’s Disco Party, for those who are regular Royal Caribbean cruisers.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Of course the music of the 90’s show was more our style, and the performers were encouraging audience participation which resulted in some bad break dancing. The party definitely got some mixed reactions from those in attendance. Travelers our age seemed to be more engaged, and of course the Princess was singing along to Britney Spears, NSYNC, and other 90’s favorites. Though, some of the older crowd seemed rather disinterested.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

With nothing to lose, we left the 90’s party at 10:30pm to go standby for Columbus. Confirming that the technical issue was fixed, we joined the small standby line that was just letting in. Interestingly, this show was considerably less attended than our original 8:30pm showing. We were actually able to get the same exact seats for this production. Catching up to where we left off, part of me was surprised as I felt the show went downhill. Contrary to other reviews we had read. Still rather funny with superb singing and technical effects, the plot got just a bit too ridiculous even for me.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The show ended around 11:30pm, and with only one more day left of the cruise, we had to squeeze in another lounge for our drink around the ship. I know, like it is real work. The Princess suggested listening to Musik Xpress, which was supposed to be doing a rock through the ages at Dazzles. With a decent crowd present, we again found two chairs tucked into a corner. Though, limited bar service meant I had to go up to the bar to get our drinks.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Willing to pay the extra $2, I ordered the gentleman’s sidecar, a now signature offering on the menu, while the wife went with a Planter’s punch. While I am pretty sure we got the correct drinks, the bartender did not charge me the additional $2 above the beverage package. Our time here was short lived as the music ended at midnight. With half full drinks, we decided to check out the White Party at the Solarium.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Perhaps it was the later time of our arrival, but this party seemed much livelier than the RED Party a few nights ago. While there was virtually no decorations or theming, minus a few glow lights, the fellow cruisers did not seem to mind. We found two chairs to relax and watch the party while finishing our drinks. Somehow, the Princess finished her drink before me, so we crept out around 12:30am to head back down to our cabin.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Back upstairs, we found this party animal just hanging around our cabin.

Continue Reading Day 7

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Day 7

Ending on a High Note

The last sea day of the cruise can be a mixed-bag. On Western Caribbean cruises, we always seem to get not so great weather on the last day. Our past two cruises, we were blessed with sun and warm temperatures. Given the weather situation this week, it was anyone’s guess what the outside conditions would be on Harmony of the Seas today. Up at 7:30am, the Princess had some items to check off her final day at sea list. Chief among them, were our dining options.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

It was her decision to eat at the main dining room for breakfast. Me, I could have gone all day without eating. While she got ready, I made the usual rounds for iced lattes and my scouting of the outdoor conditions. All clear and sunny, meaning we could get one more day of sun on this cruise after all. Down to American Icon Grill at 9:15am, we waited about 5 minutes to get seated in the a la carte section of the dining room. The other half had the option for a buffet. Even though we opted for sit down service, the buffet section is a great alternative to the craziness of the Windjammer.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Breakfast was slow due to the back-up at the omelet station. So, our waiter brought over the other selections we ordered while waiting, French toast for me and strawberry pancakes for the Princess- both were quite good. However, when our omelets did finally arrive, they were the worst of the cruise being overcooked and dry.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Following breakfast, we took the elevators up to deck 15 to attempt to get some lounge chairs. We were not the only ones; for the first time this cruise, the pool deck was swarming with fellow sun worshipers. Unable to secure two loungers near the pools, there were plenty of options on deck 16. Getting chairs mid-ship, we secured them with towels and towel clips and went back to the room for our bathing suits. Back by 10:30am, we would have about 2 hours of direct sunlight.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017 Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

While we had already checked off all the bars on the pool deck, it was the Princess’ idea to get at least one round of our traditional frozen cocktails. Changing things up slightly, she went with a Love Connection (which is a combination of strawberry daiquiri, pina colada, and mango daiquiri), whereas I did my usual frozen pina colada. Forgetting to pay for Southwest early check-in, we also had to keep close tabs on our watches to check-in for our flight home at 12:10pm. That is when you know your vacation is basically over.

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Up and about around 12:30pm, we were distracted by some commotion on the lower decks as a little spat occurred between two passengers that resulted in some physical interactions and security needing to escort one cruiser away.

When Sabor Runs Out of Everything

For our final lunch of the cruise, we decided to head to one of our new favorite casual spots, Sabor. As we strolled down the Boardwalk, we could see Sabor was busy but not as chaotic as it was on Day 2. The crowd was more manageable, and our waitress was the friendliest staff member we met all cruise. Where was she on our last visit?

Harmony of the Seas Bar MenusHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The greatly improved staff did offset a couple of issues we had with lunch. For starters, we were told that they ran out of guacamole as the remaining avocados were not edible. Yes, Sabor had run out of guac. To make matters worse, the chips looked and tasted different. When we questioned our waitress, she laughed because she could not fool DB and Princess with the “bagged tostitos” that they were serving. Splitting the chicken quesadillas, as well as sampling a few new drinks and desserts, we were able to save this Sabor experience even if our plans were deterred, yet again.

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We were out of lunch around 2:15pm. With little time to waste, it was down to deck 4 and through the casino making a b-line to Studio B for the 2:30pm showing of iSkate. Arriving about 10 minutes before showtime, I was surprised that Studio B was pretty empty. In fact, we could have gotten center seats, but we did the usual starboard side seats closer to rink for an unobstructed view of the show.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

iSkate lasted about 35 minutes. The concept of the show is that the skaters have picked music from their own playlists with performances aligned to their favorite songs. The show had an eclectic mix of music, and the performers appeared more relaxed. The choreography and mix of scenes meant the skaters could showcase a bit more of their talents. We both agreed that we enjoyed this show more than 1887.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

It Seems Like All We Do is Take Pictures

From Studio B, we had just enough time to review the pictures from formal night and Labadee. Not finding any standouts on the first formal night, the Princess was hoping that we would continue our trend of looking better on the second formal night. Six studios and close to 30 pictures later, the Princess was not impressed. I quickly found one of the casual photos from Labadee to use my Diamond free photo coupon on. It took more back and forth for the Princess to finally decide on a formal picture.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

After photos, we grabbed coffee from Café Promenade and returned to the room around 3:45pm. Making the most of the final sea day, the Princess was intent on getting a picture with the stars of Trolls, Branch and Poppy. This Meet and Greet was scheduled for 5:30pm in the Royal Promenade. Giving ourselves plenty of time to get ready, we were in our dinner attire and down to the Royal Promenade just as the Trolls were making their way to the center of the Promenade. A few dance moves, and a series of pictures later, we were in line with all of the other families for our photos with these characters.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

This gave us just enough time to scratch off another bar from our drink around the ship. Looking to enjoy a drink in the Park, we went to the Trellis Bar for a pre-dinner drink. There was just one problem- according to the Princess, all of the seats were wet from an apparent previous passing shower. So, despite the nice weather, we took our drinks back inside.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

At the Trellis Bar, the Princess ordered a cosmo, while I tried one of the signature drinks, the Royal Iced Tea. Making a mistake with my drink, the bartender remade the cocktail and did not charge me the additional difference. So, I essentially got two signature cocktails this cruise for no additional cost.

Checking Off Our Final Items

Not wanting to go far with full drinks, we stepped into Dazzles. There was no music or band playing, but a server was walking around which must have meant that the bar was technically open. Sipping our drinks for a few minutes, we were at the MDR on time tonight. Surprisingly, dinner was well attended. I went easy on the ordering tonight, with only a few starters and one entrée. The Lamb Shank was a real standout.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

The Princess also enjoyed her Chicken Marsala and carrot cake dessert this evening.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

We wanted to catch the Let’s Celebrate It parade at 7:45pm, so we tried to keep things running smoothly. Giving our waiter, assistant waiter, and bar server an extra gratuity, we then had to virtually run out the door at 7:40pm to find a spot in the Promenade. Squeezing in near the Next Cruises station, we had decent vantage points for the parade.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Setup like a mock parade you would watch on TV, complete with commentators, the floats and performers are themed around major holidays, like Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. Noticeable exclusions are Christmas and Thanksgiving, but somehow Birthdays are included. While the wife was a fan of the parade, I thought it was pretty ordinary. The parade lasted 20 minutes. Some of the floats were left on the Promenade, so we snuck around taking pictures of a few of these props.

Top 25 Things to Do on Harmony of the SeasHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

With the parade done, we had no other choice but to go back to the room and pack. Getting better at organizing, we got most of our packing done by 9pm, with weight equally distributed among the suitcases. Now it was time for our final tour of the ship. First, we had one remaining lounge to cross off the drink around the ship- Vintages. At Vintages, only a handful of wines are offered by the glass, and those selections are limited further by what is covered in the package. The wife went with a Riesling, and I did a Cabernet Sauvignon. Of all the venues on Royal ships, this is one we are surprised they keep adding to new ships as it is never that busy.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Tonight, there were a few couples when we arrived, but by 9:30pm, the place emptied out. So, that was our cue to also exit. From Vintages, it was down to the Schooner Bar for some more piano music. It was also the home of our final round of drinks. Sipping our last cruise drinks, we listened to the piano styling of Stefan De Freyne, who was pretty average.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Around 10:15pm, we headed over to the family comedy show in the Royal Theater. Wanting to ensure we were not part of the show, we sat towards the back on deck 4. The show started right on time, with a very lackluster crowd. Similar to the set we saw in the Attic, the opener, Simeon, knocked his 20 minute set out of the park. His observational jokes about being on the ship resonated well with the small crowd.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Unfortunately, the headliner, Nery Saenz, was not as well received by the crowd. Not sure what it was about his set, but he just could not get into a groove. Knowing that the 5:30am alarm clock would be going off before we knew it, we returned to the room around 11:15pm. Reviewing social media for a few minutes, we hit the sack by 11:30pm with our vacation basically over.

Continue Reading Day 8

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

Day 8

At Least Disembarkation Went Smoothly

Even the Princess was startled when the alarm went off at 5:30am this morning. She too did not want the vacation to end. Hitting snooze a few times, she was up before 6am to shower and get ready. Our plan was simple- have all the final items packed, get some iced lattes, eat a quick breakfast, and be off the ship before 8am. We always do self checkout which was advertised a few days earlier as being between 6am and 8am.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Finally finding the motivation to get out of bed, I went down to Café Promenade by 6:30am. There were already a few cruisers leaving the ship essentially flying through the disembarkation process. Showering and packing up our last remaining items, we were all set for breakfast by 7:15am. Not that I was hungry, but we needed to have something in our system if we were going to go all day. The easiest and quickest option was the Park Café, which was not very busy.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

A few breakfast sandwiches and pieces of pastry later, we were back to the room by 7:30am. With one last sweep of the room and luggage secured, we were out of our room at exactly 7:45am. The count was on to see how long it would take us to get off the ship and through customs. Rounding the bend at the aft elevators, we saw one family with a lot of luggage. Our first obstacle to overcome. While waiting, a third family arrived, and the line continued to grow. After watching two down elevators completely filled, we hopped on an empty up elevator instead. At least we were on. The elevator went up one floor and then back down, so it was a smart decision.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

To deck 5, there was a much longer line of passengers completing their last Sea Pass scan now. The line was moving slowly, and we were scanned and meandered along with other passengers through the terminal. Earlier in the morning, we completed the new Mobile Passport app. Getting down to the luggage holding area and checkpoint, we went to a separate line with only two groups in front of us. Passing through with little effort, we were at the taxi stand within 20 minutes of leaving our room. This new mobile passport definitely saved time.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review 2017

One Last Speed Bump

Our flight from Fort Lauderdale airport wasn’t until 12:10pm, but with nothing to do and unsure about security given the previous week’s incident, we headed straight to the airport. Navigating the chaotic Southwest check-in, we used one of the kiosks to print our boarding documents, luggage tags, and we were off to find a surprisingly small security line. We were through security and at the B5 gate before 9am. So in all, it took us about an hour to go from the cabin to the airport gate. I would say that is a successful disembarkation.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Of course, this smooth sailing wouldn’t last as our flight ended up being delayed for about 45 minutes. Still, things could have been worse. With our plane and the crew finally arriving, we boarded and were quick to taxi out and get off the ground. We arrived back in Providence around 3:45pm. On the bright side, our luggage was literally some of the first bags to come through baggage claim. Grabbing these hefty bags, we prepared for our 45 minute ride back home. All of the snow had melted since last week’s storm, but we were welcomed back with a frigid 28 degree afternoon.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise ReviewHarmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

Luckily, we did not have to stay out in these cold temperatures long as the parking shuttle pulled up within a few minutes of us walking over to the waiting platform. Thankfully the car started, and we were back to our house by 5pm. Now it was time to review our notes, photos, and get working on this review. Oh, and continuing planning our next two cruises scheduled to set sail in the next four months.

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Have you sailed on Harmony of the Seas to the Eastern Caribbean? If so, drop us an anchor below to tell us about your experiences on this amazing ship.

Harmony of the Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise Review

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About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard! We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind EatSleepCruise.com. We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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