Our first sea day is here, and that also means my first day working from the ship.
I made a coffee run to Cafe Promenade before logging on for the day and discovered that the crew were hard at work setting up Fourth of July decorations on the Royal Promenade. In fact, there are already a few Independence Day events on the ship, including a BBQ and hot dog eating contest.
I could really get used to having my morning coffee on a cruise ship.
My wife went to the gym in the morning, and I enjoyed a great view of Central Park to go along with my work. The internet connection was fairly stable. I had a couple of conference calls that I connected to via Skype and had a few pauses here and there, but the call never completely dropped. Overall, everything worked well enough for me to do my work.
For lunch today I grabbed something quick to eat at the Windjammer.
My wife opted to take advantage of our unlimited dining package and enjoy lunch at Jamie's Italian. This is the first time any of us have dined at Jamie's for lunch.
As luck would have it, I was able to finish work a early today, due to the Fourth of July holiday. I made the best use of my time by logging off and heading up to the pool deck for a little relaxation, sunshine and pool fun.
We spent the better part of the afternoon at the pool, and it was a great way to spend the afternoon. The sun was shining and my wife and I had a great time just taking it easy.
We got back to the room to shower and changed so that we could go out for the evening.
Since I had some cash in my pocket from our time in Nassau, we tried our hand at the casino. Alas, that money was quickly spent and now the property of a major cruise line in Miami, Florida.
We also stopped by the Diamond Lounge for a quick drink and enjoyed a few bites to eat.
We had dinner reservations at Sabor for 8pm, but went there a little early to see if they could take us. They had plenty of availability, so there was no issue at all.
We spotted the stowaway piano player near Sabor. He even played the entire Bohemian Rhapsody song!
Following dinner, it was time for a night swim. There is something about enjoying some time at the pool in the evening on a cruise that I just love.
Tomorrow we will be visiting St. Thomas for some fun in the sun.
- The desk in my stateroom is not bolted to the wall or ground, which means it can move. That means I can turn the couch into a couch desk!
- The Royal iQ app works well, except for the feature that shows me my calendar (what restaurants, shows, etc I have booked). It hasn't worked for me or my wife since we got onboard.
- I found this piece of art that showcases Majesty of the Seas.
- Cotton candy and popcorn on the Boardwalk
- Drink cups for sale, along with firecracker cocktails.
On Harmony of the Seas, guests can rent in-room coffee makers to enjoy coffee whenever they please.
These Illy Espresso machines were spotted onboard Harmony of the Seas, with pricing depending on how much coffee you want. These coffee makers might be available for rent on other cruise ships as well, but that can very from ship to ship.
- 14 capsules: $39
- 21 capsules: $56
- 28 capsules: $69
- 35 capsules: $79
Royal Caribbean does provide complimentary in-room coffee makers for suites.
Our first full day on Harmony of the Seas is also our first port day. It is a bit unusual to have your second day be a port day on a 7-night sailing, but we were looking forward to getting into the swing of the cruise experience.
Harmony of the Seas docked in Nassau around 7am, although there was some kind of a delay with getting the ship cleared by local authorities. It ended up being a 30 minute delay, so the Captain announced we would be remaining in port for an extra 30 minutes.
My wife and I got off the ship a bit after 8am in search of having breakfast in Nassau. We had no real plans, and figured having breakfast in town would be an easy, but different kind of way to spend our day in town. Unfortunately, much of the city is closed until at least 9am, so we wandered the streets until we found a restaurant near the Pirate Museum that not only was open, but served Starbucks beverages.
Smugglers is the name of the restaurant, which is more like a cafe. Their breakfast menu consisted on pancakes, French toast, eggs, omelets and a few specials. I was tempted to try a local dish, chicken souse, but decided to stick with eggs. My wife ordered a croque monsieur.
Breakfast was great and it provided us with great food, good service and lots of air conditioning.
Following breakfast, we wandered Bay Street a bit. It was past 9am, so many stores were open for business.
We decided to head back to the ship because it was getting a bit warm out, and ended up doing something I can never get enough of when we cruise with our kids: take a nap!
We slept for an hour or two and then decided to hit up Sabor for lunch.
This was my first time trying Sabor since the Oasis Class ship Sabors all went to an all-inclusive menu. Sabor is an open air restaurant, so it can get a bit hot there. We were seated in the back corner, which had little airflow, so we asked the waiter to move to a different seat. They happily obliged and that seat was far more comfortable.
I tried the new fish tacos on the menu, and they were really good. I liked the fact they were served with an assortment of toppings, so you can create the perfect taco for you.
I also had the mushroom quesadillas and the red snapper civiche. And of course, no meal at Sabor is complete without their amazing margaritas.
Following lunch we decided to head up to the pool deck for sailaway. We enjoyed sailaway from the Solarium before grabbing some chairs elsewhere on the pool deck to simply relax.
In the late afternoon we headed back to the room to shower and change for the evening. Tonight is our first formal night of the cruise.
On Harmony of the Seas, Wonderland has a bar and guests can drink there without going to the restaurant. We went there and tried some of their specialty cocktails, which were great. Always nice to have different scenery.
Dinner tonight was in 150 Central Park. We picked this restaurant primarily because a fellow Royal Caribbean Blog writer, Michael Poole, had such a good experience on Oasis of the Seas.
In short, the food did not disappoint. We had a terrific server, Adel, and the food was top notch.
There is a steak for two option and by far, this is the best steak I have had in a while. It is actually prepared table side!
We enjoyed some time in Central Park after dinner and then headed to the theater to see Grease.
Believe it or not, I had never seen Grease. Not only did I get to see a great show, but I finally saw a big piece of American culture (and so many references now make sense!).
The show was even better than I expected. The actress that plays Rizzo is phenomenal.
Tomorrow is our first sea day.
- Enchantment of the Seas was also docked with us in Nassau today.
- How many times have we heard people complaining about teleporting? Glad Royal Caribbean is putting an end to it.
- Pineapple drinks were on sale at the pool. While not included in the drink package, they are discounted for drink package guests.
Happy July 4th and Canada Day Weekend to everyone out in blog land! Many of you are enjoying a relaxing and long weekend, and I hope this week's round up of all the Royal Caribbean news makes it even better!
Royal Caribbean captured the imagination of many fans when news came out that it had registered a trademark for a potential new cruise ship name.
Royal Caribbean filed for a trademark for the phrase, "Spectrum of the Seas" (and then followed that up with two more potential ship name trademarks).
The cruise line has not announced any intentions for the names it registered, but many cruise fans believe these could be the names of the ships Royal Caribbean has on order.
Royal Caribbean News
- Royal Caribbean announced the date for its 2018 President's Cruise.
- Guests can now pre-purchase photo packages on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner.
- Royal Caribbean began a new BOGO 50% off promotion.
- Everything you need to know about Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages for the year of 2017.
- Brandwatch announced it is partnering with Royal Caribbean for social media tracking.
- We're live blogging onboard Harmony of the Seas this week!
- Five things to love about Jamie's Italian specialty restaurant.
- There is a new video that looks at the innovative Snapchat spectacles Royal Caribbean developed.
- A new video looks at how Royal Caribbean's ship designers create the vision for the new ships.
Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast
In this episode, Matt is sharing his plans for his Harmony of the Seas cruise. Matt talks about the plans he made, and shares the decision making process of planning for an Oasis class ship.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
Royal Caribbean shared a look at the people behind its innovation center.
Fox Business interviewed Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain.
Cruise Habit has the details on Celebrity Edge's latest announcement.
Eat Sleep Cruise has a review of Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas.
TTG wrote about Royal Caribbean's Stuart Levin has joined the board of Abta.
Royal Caribbean filed two new trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for what appears to be cruise ship names.
Royal Caribbean filed for new trademarks on Apex of the Seas and Joy of the Seas on June 27, 2017.
Royal Caribbean had registered both trademarks in September 2014, but the trademarks were abandoned on September 14, 2015.
The registration comes just days after Royal Caribbean registered for a similar trademark for Spectrum of the Seas. The cruise line has not made any announcements of its intentions for these trademarks, if any. Royal Caribbean currently has six ships on order and/or under construction, although two of the ships already have names associated with them (Symphony of the Seas and Icon of the Seas).
The first day of our Harmony of the Seas cruise is here, and I could not be more excited for our next cruise to begin.
We arrived at Port Everglades right at 10am and found the security line was already letting guests through the lines. In fact, we got through security and checked in within 15 minutes. Boarding began shortly thereafter, and we were onboard just before 11am.
As we walked onboard, we stopped at Guest Relations since it had no line and got our WOWbands exchanged. If you buy WOWbands on another sailing, you can exchange for free at Guest Services. An added bonus of doing this now (rather than later) is we did not have to solely rely on our SetSail Passes until the room was ready.
We enjoyed lunch in the Windjammer buffet, which is my favorite cruising tradition. Being one of the first onboard meant no lines to contend with, nor waits for a table in the Windjammer.
Following lunch, we took care of some important first day activities. Guests with a specialty dining package were able to go to the main dining room to make reservations. We have the ultimate dining package on this cruise, so we made reservations for dinner at every night, along with a few lunch reservations. We had no trouble at all getting all the times and restaurants we wanted (mostly around 8pm).
Next up was a tour of the spa. We checked out the thermal suite, which allows guests to purchase a thermal spa pass and have unlimited access to it ($109 per person, $199 for a couple). My wife decided she would rather have another treatment than access to the thermal suite, but the facility is quite lovely.
While we waited for our stateroom to be ready, we enjoyed a drink at the On Air Club.
Our rooms were ready right at 1pm. We have a Central Park balcony stateroom on deck 12 (12629). What is interesting about this particular room is it has an extra large balcony. I had written about these rooms on Oasis and Allure of the Seas, but was not sure if the same held true on Harmony of the Seas.
Sure enough, these rooms have the large balcony too.
Our bags were delivered to the room shortly thereafter, so we spent our afternoon unpacking and then just relaxing before the muster drill.
I managed to snag the last plate of pizza before Sorrentos closed for muster drill.
Following muster drill, my wife headed to the spa for a massage while I enjoyed sailaway from the Solarium. It was incredibly hot and humid out, but a great sailaway nonetheless.
I partook in movie quote trivia, having missed just two of the questions and losing out to the winning team by just one point. So close, yet so far.
As day turned to evening and the ship was now moving, being outside was not quite as oppresive.
Dinner this evening was in Chops Grille. We were auto assigned Chops by Royal Caribbean (because we have the ultimate dining package), and figured Chops on our first night is a great way to start the cruise.
The restaurant was quite full. We showed up at 7:30, but they told us we would have to wait for our designated time of 8pm. Returning at 8pm, we were promptly seated.
The meal was great, and our waiter was the right blend of attentive and amusing.
Both my wife and I went with the filet mignon, because you can never be faulted for picking filet.
Our evening entertainment was in the AquaTheater to see the Fine Line. I had seen the Fine Line last year, but my wife had not.
The show is a blend of acrobatics, dance and diving. It is a really well choreographed show and the audience was gasping, clapping and hanging on every drop, bounce and dive.
Tomorrow is our first port day, Nassau, Bahamas.
- The deluxe beverage package onboard costs $58 per day. I paid $48 per day online prior to the cruise. Once again, it pays to pre-purchase things like drink and internet packages prior to the cruise.
- Speaking of the drink package, our SeaPass cards now show the "DX" logo instead of the old Ultimate Package sticker. RIP old package stickers.
- Saw this messagea about the Fourth of July celebrations impacting traffic on St. John. I am inclined to not pay much heed to this warning just because the onboard excursion team tends to downplay third party excursions.
- Also, the new 48 hour shore cancellation policy was beng mentioned.
- Check out this embarkation day cake in the Windjammer!
- There was a draft beer cart. Yes, if you have the drink package it is included.
- Popcorn was for sale near AquaTheater for $2.50 per box.
- While internet speed tests are not the end all, be all of determing how "good" a connection is, the tests I took today were quite impressive.
- They celebrated Canada Day onboard with a celebration at the pub
- Someone asked me for main dining room menus. Here is todays
Royal Caribbean is offering a new promotion today, with a BOGO 50% deal, plus 25% off third and fourth guests.
The BOGO50 deal is valid on cruises booked between July 1, 2017 through July 31, 2017 on sailings departing on or after August 1, 2017 (excluding China departures).
The offer includes:
- 50% off cruise fare of second guest who must be booked in the same stateroom as a first guest who books at full fare ("BOGO")
- 25% cruise fare savings for 3rd guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests.
- Deck the Holidays Deals offer provides additional savings for guests who book a holiday sailing departing from 12/19/17 through 12/31/17 and 12/18/18 through 12/31/18.
- Instant savings determined by category booked and sailing length:
- $25 off per stateroom for interior and oceanview on sailings 5 nights or less
- $50 off per stateroom for balconies and suites on sailings 5 nights and less
- $50 off per stateroom for interior and oceanview on sailings 6 nights and longer
- $75 off per stateroom for balconies on sailings 6 nights or longer
- $100 off per stateroom for suites on sailings 6 nights or longer
- Instant savings determined by category booked and sailing length:
- Non-Refundable Deposit reservations that are booked six months or more prior to the cruise departure date are eligible to receive a per stateroom onboard credit in the following amount:
- 5-nights and less
- $25 OBC for interior and oceanview
- $50 OBC for balcony and suite
- 6-nights and longer
- $50 OBC for interior and oceanview
- $100 OBC for balcony and suite
- 5-nights and less
BOGO does not apply to third and higher occupancy guests. BOGO Offer is combinable with NRDB OBC, promotional OBCs and instant savings, NextCruise offers, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military), Crown and Anchor discounts and Shareholder Benefits.
Deck the Holidays is combinable with eachother, NextCruise offers, NRDB OBC, restricted discounts (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military) but is not combinable with Shareholder benefits and Crown and Anchor discounts.
All offers are not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Standard Group, Interline, Travel Agent, Travel Agent Friends and Family, Weekly Sales Events, Net Rates.
Offer available to residents of United States and Canada.
The weekend is here and we love to welcome some well-deserved time off with our readers' favorite Royal Caribbean photos. Each week, we ask our readers to submit their best Royal Caribbean photos, so that we can showcase them right here.
We begin this week with this photo by Vicki Boone Keane from her day in Labadee.
CruisingKat shared this photo of Empress of the Seas in Havana, Cuba, complete with vintage car in the foreground.
Here is a photo of Harmony of the Seas in St Kitts, taken by Danny Paquot.
Check out this photo of Harmony of the Seas next to Empress of the Seas, taken by Jon.
Jeff L shared this photo of Freedom of the Seas getting ready to dock in Cozumel.
Jason Parisi took this photo of Anthem of the Seas in Bermuda.
Our last photo this week is from Alex Trakhtenberg of a sea day on Freedom of the Seas, taken during a Transatlantic crossing.
Thank you to everyone that sent in their photos. Would you like your Royal Caribbean photo to be showcased? Submit your photo via this form and we will use it in a future post!
Royal Caribbean presents the SeaSeeker mask. The SeaSeeker mask houses Snapchat Spectacles right out of the box. This first-of-its kind custom scuba mask is taking Snapchat to new depths, giving Seekers a new way to share their experience and inspiring them to #SeekDeeper.
Royal Caribbean offering up to 30% off Cruise Planner purchases with Fourth of July Pre-Cruise Celebration saleIn:
Royal Caribbean is offering up to 30% off certain Cruise Planner purchases during its 4th of July Pre-Cruise Celebration sale.
Guest that log into the Cruise Planner will find certain items discounted. The exact discount available will vary from sailing to sailing, but we spotted the Royal Refreshment package discounted 30% off, along with similar discounts for many spa treatments.
Based on the countdown timer, the sale expires at midnight on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.