Harmony of the Seas Live Blog

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Sea Day

In:
03Jul2017

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.

Stray Observations

  • 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.

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Nassau, Bahamas

In:
03Jul2017

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.

Stray Observations

  • 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.

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day

In:
02Jul2017

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.

Stray Observations

  • 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

Harmony of the Seas 2017 Live Blog - Cruise Preview

In:
27Jun2017

Welcome to our next Royal Caribbean LIVE blog adventure, as we are about to sail on the fabulous Harmony of the Seas. Harmony of the Seas debuted last year, and this is our first full sailing on what has become my favorite ship to date.

Beginning on July 1, I will head to Port Everglades for a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise.  We will visit the ports of Nassau, Bahamas; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Basseterre, St. Kitts.

While I was briefly on Harmony of the Seas for a a couple short sailings last November, this sailing will give me plenty of time to check out Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship. In fact, this the first of two Harmony of the Seas sailings I will be taking this year, so I will have lots of time to spend onboard Harmony in the coming months.

This sailing on Harmony of the Seas is a bit different for me for a couple of reasons. First, it is over the July 4th holiday, which means this is the first time I will be sailing over this holiday.

In addition, I will actually be working from Harmony of the Seas for a portion of the cruise.  My day job allows me to work remotely, and I have chosen to work a few days from Harmony of the Seas in exchange for a cruise longer than just a long weekend.  I do not have spare vacation days left in the year, so if I wanted to take a cruise without working, I would only be able to swing a short 3-night cruise.  It was a tough decision, but weighing my choices, I wanted a longer sailing and decided it was worth it to be on a longer cruise even if I have to work for part of it.  After all, being onboard a ship is better than not being onboard.

We picked Harmony of the Seas for this cruise for a couple of reasons.  After sailing on her in 2016, she quickly became my favorite ship and I really wanted to get back onboard.  Her high-speed internet meant she was among a handful of ships that I could reasonably do my job from without any interruption.  I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the amazing onboard activities.  From the water slides to the shows to Central Park, there is so much to do onboard.  The variety of things to do aboard an Oasis class ship really appeals to me.  

For this cruise, my wife and I will be sailing without the kids.  My in-laws volunteered to watch the children while we cruise, which means the two of us get some time to relax onboard.  Cruising with kids is a much different experience than cruising without them, and while we love traveling with our children, this will be a nice change of pace.

Of course, Harmony of the Seas has no shortage of activities and things to do onboard.  The water slides, musicals, dining and more are waiting, and having a full sailing to enjoy these activities is very exciting.

Itinerary

Our seven night sailing might not be the most exotic itinerary Royal Caribbean offers, but we have found some fun excursions in each place our ship will bring us. Plus, there are a lot of sea days, which means plenty of time to enjoy what Harmony of the Seas has to offer. In fact, the ship is what drew us to booking a sailing on her.

Day Port Arrival Departure
1 Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida - 16:00
2 Nassau, Bahamas 7:00 14:30
3 At Sea - -
4 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thoma 10:00 19:00
5 Basseterre 8:00 17:00
6 At Sea - -
7 At Sea - -
8 Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida 6:15 -

Since we live in Florida, getting to the cruise ship is fairly simple.  We will drive to South Florida with our kids to drop them off the night before the cruise, and then go to Port Everglades the morning of the cruise. Cruising from Port Everglades is one of the most streamlined and simple ports to cruise from, and that makes for an easy embarkation process.

Of all the ports we are visiting, I think our stop at St. Thomas is the one I am most excited to call upon. We are going to try something we would never do with the kids: take the ferry to nearby St. John. I have read a lot about the beautiful beaches in St. John, and this seems like the perfect opportunity.

Three things I am excited to try

3. Chops Grille for lunch

Earlier this year, Royal Caribbean began offering lunch at Chops Grille and it immediately piqued my interest.

I have always enjoyed meals at Chops Grille, so the prospect of trying a new menu for lunch sounds like a great idea.  Chops Grille built a reputation across the fleet for a quality meal, and I think going for lunch (and for dinner on another night) sounds like a great idea.

2. Visit St. John

While we have been to St. Thomas many times, this is the first time we are going to try to visit St. John.  Without our kids, I feel getting going and on schedule is easier, and that opens up visiting the island.

While Royal Caribbean offers a few excursions there, I want to try it on my own primarily for the adventure component of getting back and forth. Once at St. John, the plan is to visit Cinnamon Bay beach.

1. Ultimate Dining Package

In the name of "research," I bought the ultimate dining package for this sailing.  I had always planned on getting a specialty dining package, but when Royal Caribbean added the ultimate dining package, I jumped on it immediately.

Since the ultimate dining package offers specialty dining each evening (and lunch on sea days), this will be my first cruise skipping the main dining room completely.  I admit, I will miss the main dining room, but Harmony of the Seas has such great specialty dining, I am excited to truly indulge in the various dining options.

What's Next

Our Harmony of the Seas cruise begins on Saturday, July 1st, and I will be sharing the details on the blog, as well as across my social media channels. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope for live updates throughout the day.

I invite you to share in this experience with me, by posting in the comments for any blog post questions and comments you may have. I try to make these live blogs as interactive as I can, so I want everyone to feel welcome to share their thoughts.

Thanks for reading all of this and welcome aboard our next fun live blog experience!

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Michael's Day 2

In:
12Nov2016

Today is our second day onboard the Harmony of the Seas and we are docked in Nassau from 12pm-6pm. We started our day with some breakfast at Johnny Rockets. I know you must be thinking, did you not have dinner there last night? But on Oasis Class ships they offer free breakfast at Johnny Rockets, so off we went.

I ordered an omelet with a side of bacon. There are a few reasons I recommend having breakfast here. One, they are very fast so if you are looking to get in and out this place is perfect. Two, the food is really good, much better than the windjammer if you are looking for eggs. 

After breakfast we changed for some slides action, well on Harmony they have a total of 5 slides. There are 3 poolside, and the 2 large 10 story dry slides called Ultimate Abyss.

We did the dry slide first, Abyss and it was fast few seconds down to the boardwalk deck. The views from the boarding platform are unbelievable; the floor is all glass so you can see straight down. I wish I had taken my camera with me, but you cannot slide down with it, so I left it in the cabin.

After we went down we headed to the pool deck where I rode the water slides 4 more times. I know I shared my thoughts on them yesterday, but I just could not get enough of them.

If you are taking kids on this ship, they are going to love them! 

Cabin Crawl 

Since this is a special media sailing, they had one of every cabin type open for viewing. I have never seen the loft suites in person, so those are the only type I went to see.

The Royal Loft Suite was the most amazing cabin I have ever seen. The balcony alone was amazing, from the full bar set-up to the hot tub. I also went into the standard loft suite cabin, which felt a little smaller than I was expecting but there were 20-30 people in there viewing it also. 

Escape the Rubicon 

 On Anthem of the Seas they introduced their first escape room, and that transferred to Harmony. However, on Harmony they have a full room for the game and our host talked about on Anthem they just kind of added it in.

Needless to say, I did not want to go at all, but I had so much fun. You work together as a team to find clues in the room to ensure you escape within 1 hour. I am happy to report my team finished with 1:07 still on the clock! If you get the chance to play the game you will love it, I am sure just think out side the box is the only hint I will give you. 

Nassau, Bahamas 

 I had originally planned to stay onboard in Nassau since I was recently just here, and we only had 2 days onboard Harmony.

I just couldn’t resist not going to my favorite pub in Nassau Pirate Republic. It is the only craft brewery in Nassau and it is the very first bar you see once you get off the ship.

We only stayed for an hour since it was 3pm when we arrived. The beer was just as enjoyable as always, they have 3 – 3oz flights for $8. We headed back to the ship a little after 4:30pm. 

 Afternoon onboard 

 Once we got back onboard I noticed they had the ship decorated for Frindsgiving with balloons all blown for a party tonight. Really nice set-up, and I am sure they will use some of the footage for social media on Thanksgiving.

I ended up at the Pub back onboard and my girlfriend took a nap. They only offered a select type of beers, but I was happy Stella was one of them. I made good conversation with the bartender about their last few months in Europe. 

 Evening Onboard 

 Tonight we decided to spend most of our evening in Central Park. Usually when I sail on Oasis class ships it is late spring or summer and the park is extremely hot. But on our sailing Central Park felt so nice in the evening and I wanted to be outside enjoying the evening.

We had a few classes of wine in Vintages and again it was packed. I have never seen Vintages standing room only like this before, but it was tonight. They have self serve wine stations that you just tap your sea pass card up to and it pours wine.

I have seen this on other ships across the fleet, but never this many. 

 Dinner 

 Well I am sad to report our dinner tonight was at Sorrento’s Pizza. I was started to feel very tired at this point and did not want to eat in the main dining room. We went up toe the made to order pizza station and both got a personal pan pizza. They only take 10 minutes to bake and it was really good. If you ever want to wait for a snack get the made to order pizza, and it is complimentary too! 

 After dinner I decided to take a little nap before our evening, I should have known better but I never woke up. I guess all the non-stop action finally caught up to me and I enjoyed a full 11 hours of sleep. 

 Wrap Up 

 Thanks for follow along during my 2 day adventure on Harmony of the Seas. She is a great ship and I really cannot wait to get back on this ship in March. The décor onboard is very modern and really makes her stand out in my mind as the best ship in the fleet. But that does not mean I will abandon my small favorite ships.

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Matt's Day 2

In:
11Nov2016

If you had one day on any cruise ship, it stands to reason many would subscribe to the theory of making the most of their time, and I certainly endeavored to do just that.

Today is our only full day aboard this quick Harmony of the Seas sailing, and I had plenty planned.  I woke up nice and early and headed up to the pool deck to see the morning sun reflecting on the ship.  A beautiful start to our day!

For breakfast, I grabbed a breakfast Panini from Park Cafe in Central Park, which was a great choice. Quick, simple and very tasty.  Definitely a winner.

We had the opportunity to have a question and answer session with Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley and Harmony of the Seas' Captain.

It was an unique opportunity to pick these gentleman's collective minds about many facets of the cruise industry and Harmony of the Seas.

Today I was actually making my own lunch, by attending a pasta making class in Jamie's Italian (note, I cheated and ate a quick lunch at Mini Bites because I get hangry when I do not eat on time).

This was a really fun experience, where the chef took the group through the steps of creating pasta from just flour and eggs. It was educational and a lot of fun.

Speaking of fun, the highlight of my cruise came next when I tried to the Escape the Rubicon escape room experience.  

It is located up on deck 14 near Adventure Ocean.  I had done an escape room game on Anthem of the Seas, but this was very different.  Unlike on Anthem of the Seas, Royal Caribbean designed this space with this experience in mind and it was extremely fun.

If you are unfamiliar with escape room games, essentially you are "locked" in a room for an hour and have to solve a number of puzzles and riddles to come up with the secret equation/phrase that allows "escape" from the room.

It was really, really fun and I relished the experience.  The most fun I had that afternoon!

Next up was a mixology course in Wonderland.  The mixologist took us through how the hand crafted beverages in Wonderland.  It provided an interesting look at how drinks were made, as well as an opportunity to try very unique drinks.

For those keeping score at home, we were actually docked in Nassau, Bahamas today.  We docked at around noon, but I decided to stay onboard the ship.  I will be back in March on Anthem of the Seas, so I felt my time was better spent onboard.  Every hour counts!

By far the big event of today was the special concert by pop band, DNCE.  If you do not know who DNCE is, it is that band that played that song you likely hummed along to all summer, "Cake by the Ocean".  

It was a pretty spectacular show, and the band brought a lot of energy.  Royal Caribbean branded the event a "Friendsgiving" celebration, with Friendsgiving referring to a fun, informal get together alternative to Thanksgiving.

I cannot say I am the world's biggest DNCE fan, but I do enjoy hearing a hit song played live.

After the show, we got changed and headed down to the Royal Theater to see Columbus, The Musical again. I think it was better the second time around, and it is my favorite stage production on any Royal Caribbean ship.

For dinner, we had the opportunity to try out Wonderland.  I had dined at Wonderland on the Quantum class before, but Royal Caribbean reimagined the venue for this iconic restaurant on Harmony of the Seas.

Other than the location, there were some small differences between the two, but Wonderland continues to live up to its billing as an eclectic and unique restaurant, where the experience is just as important as the food.  My picks for the two best things I ate there are the terroir beef and whatever that chocolate globe thing is.

I rounded out my evening with some music, drinking and (awful on my part) dancing.  A fun end to a really great experience.

I will definitely miss Harmony of the Seas, because it completely exceeded my expectations.  Harmony of the Seas is not just another Oasis class ship, and incorporates so many new features that it is almost a sub-class in of itself.  I will be returning to Harmony of the Seas in September 2017 on the Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise, but I admit I wish my return was much, much sooner.

Thank you to Royal Caribbean for hosting me on this sailing, and to the amazing crew and staff onboard that helped show off how impressiveness of this ship.  Can I go back again?

Stray Observations

  • The Stowaway piano player has been spotted! I actually saw him twice, but today was the first time I saw him across the 5-nights I had been onboard.
  • Those Greek salad rolls from Cafe Promenade are super addictive. 
  • Time for my favorite anything on the ship...
    • Favorite thing I ate: Aloo Ghobi curry in Windjammer and roast beef sandwich from Park Cafe
    • Favorite spot onboard: bridge wings
    • Preferred stateroom I stayed in: Oceanview Balcony
    • Preferred stateroom I toured, but will likely never stay in: Crown Loft Balcony
    • Number of slices of pizza from Sorrentos I ate: 4ish
    • Number of Izumi sushi samples I ate: I ran out of fingers
    • Favorite entertainment: Columbus, The Musical
    • Favorite water slide: Supercell (the champagne bowl slide)

Thank you for following along all the fun.  My next live blog will be on Navigator of the Seas in February 2017!

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Michael's Day 1

In:
11Nov2016

My cruise on board Harmony of the Seas is finally here, my excitement level kept building watching Matt for three days. Since I live in Florida, I decided to fly into Ft. Lauderdale this morning for a short 35 minute flight. I landed around 9:45am and took a short $22 taxi ride over to the port. I know I could find better options getting to the port, but I was just looking for the fastest way over. 

We had to wait around an hour before we could board at 11am and maybe it was just me but that was a long hour! 

 Boarding Harmony of the Seas 

 At 11:00am we were able to board the ship, and when I first walked on board it kind of felt the same as her sister ships. That is until I noticed robot bartenders in place of the Champagne bar. This new bar is called Bionic Bar, and they have two robot bartenders, which you order a drink on an iPad. If you have never seen this in person this is a must try. 

I have been craving Sabor recently seeing everyone eating there on their cruise, so I went straight to the boardwalk and they were closed for lunch. But not to worry, they are usually open for lunch at 11:30, but because we are on a special media sailing they were just doing samples. So I was a little sad, but let’s just say I tried my samples. 

I decided to head up to the Windjammer for lunch and it was hands down the nicest windjammer I’ve ever seen. When you first arrived you walk into a side room where you wash your hands, similar to Quantum Class or Empress of the Seas. Lunch was uneventful and fast due to excitement to go explore the ship. 

 Afternoon on board 

 Our rooms were ready really fast at 11:45AM and since had some bags we headed to our cabin. I had a Central Park cabin on deck 14. If heard about these water slides for well over a year now, so I was excited to go try them out. 

Well my friends, a little over an hour later I went down them 11 times! I just couldn’t stop, and since most of this sailing is media there were zero lines. 

 

If you have kids coming on this ship, plan on likely not seeing them all day, because they will ride them over and over. It was getting close to muster time, so we decided to get out and just go explore the flowriders. Royal Caribbean’s social media team had some unique cameras that take 10 pictures of you all at once to form one shot. 

 Naming Ceremony 

 Today was a special day because it was the official naming ceremony for Harmony of the Seas. All the top excutives and CEO’s were on board talking about the history of the cruise line, history of Oasis class, and how Harmony came out. They made a comment that they thought about calling Harmony her on class of ships, but stuck with Oasis Class – which I’m happy they did. 

The new Godmother of the ship, Brittany Affolter was on board and got the honor to push the “button” to cause the champagne bottle break. She is a local School teacher in Miami, FL and was voted by many to become the Ship Godmother, what an honor. This event was extremely special to be apart of, and I couldn’t be more honored to see it in person. 

 Dinner 

 Since this is a unique sailing all the specialty resturants are closed to invite only. We didn’t really feel like spending 2 hours in the main dining room, so our options were Windjammer, Park Café, or Johnny Rockets. 

I decided to head for some burger and fries, why not! The meal was very fast as the venue was not that full, but they were still dancing for us. The food was great as always here, and if you have read my live blogs before you know I love their Apple Pie here. 

Evening on board 

We had about an hour to kill before we saw the Aqua Show, and that took us to the Rising Tide bar. This is very similar to the one on her sister ships, but this one looks a little more modern with her décor. 

We took it down and then back up, each way takes 15 minutes from waiting period to actual rising/lowering. 

 The Fine Line – Aqua Show 

Tonight was the Fine Line aqua show at 10:30pm, and if you recall from my preview post this was one of my top 3 things I wanted to try. I actually thought after the show how I was doing to describe it. 

It’s very different from the other two shows on her sister ships, but in a good way. There is more people flying around then diving but I really enjoyed the show. I’m actually really excited to see it again in March. 

 Late Night 

 At 11:30pm – 1am they hosted a 90’s street parade that quickly changed into 80’s party. But I’ll take it, 90’s music is slowing working it’s way to Royal Caribbean. 

After a few pints at the pub, I called it a day – and what it day it was! So action packed from the moment we stepped on board. Tomorrow we are in Nassau from 12-6pm, but I plan to stay on board and enjoy our last day.

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Matt's Day 1

In:
10Nov2016

I am back onboard Harmony of the Seas and it feels great!

Today, began our two-night Harmony of the Seas adventure.  After a quick, but busy two day respite, my wife and I hopped in the car bright and early to head to Port Everglades.

This is a two-night sailing, where Royal Caribbean invited members of the media, travel agents and other VIPs to preview this new ship.  As a guest of Royal Caribbean, I was looking forward to meeting and chatting with the people in the company that make everything work.  I have been on these sort of media sailings previously, including Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas.  They are great opportunities to not only see the ship, but meet the folks in charge.

We arrived in Port Everglades by about 9:45am, and were in line for security rather quickly.  One difference with this embarkation process was we were given boarding groups, although we were still seated according to our Crown and Anchor Society status.  We were in boarding group 1, so we were onboard a bit after 11am.

Once onboard Harmony of the Seas, it was time to explore. We started out with lunch in the Windjammer, a Hochberg family tradition.  Great spread, as always, and I got to enjoy another lovely lunch on Harmony.

Being back onboard, I did feel a great sense of relief that I was not trying to see the entire ship at once.  That being said, there would be plenty to do onboard today.

During these preview sailings, there are various staterooms open for guests to see. I saw some of the loft suite rooms, which are stunning.  I am not certain I will ever have the opportunity to stay in one of those kinds of rooms, but I can certainly dream about it!

Our stateroom was ready rather early, and on this sailing, we are staying in an ocean balcony stateroom.  

We are on deck 10, very close to the elevators.  My wife loves ocean facing balcony rooms, and I have to admit having the ocean breeze while you sit on the balcony is quite lovely.

Inside, the room is nearly identical to my Boardwalk balcony room in terms of layout and size. A great room, although I plan on being in it for very little time on this sailing!

I took my wife on an exploration of the ship.  Within an hour, she was asking when we can go on Harmony of the Seas again and how soon.  She and I both like Harmony a lot, and rank her even ahead of her Oasis class sister ships.

Following our muster drill, I spent a few hours doing a video shoot for a small project that will make its way to the blog later on, so stay tuned for it!

On this sailing, there was the official naming ceremony that coincided with the ship's Christening and a spectacular fireworks display!  The fireworks were quite impressive and no amateur display.

My wife saw 1887, the ice skating show onboard, and reported it is the best ice skating show she has seen on any ship.  She indicated that she liked there was a more coherent story to the performances, compared to other ice skating shows.  Plus, the bubble performer is quite amazing.

The projection technology incorporated into 1887 is also particularly good.  It is amazing how Royal Caribbean continues to push the bar with their shows, and innovation with their ice shows is a great example of that.

Dinner this evening was in the main dining room.  We were in American Icon Grill, and it was essentially My Time Dining.  Another fabulous night in the main dining room!

Tomorrow we will be in Nassau, but I will spending a great deal of it engaging in a number of immersion sessions, interviews and shows.  It will be a very busy, but exciting day ahead!

Be sure to follow the fun on Instagram, Periscope and Facebook! We do regular live broadcasts from the ship on Facebook and Periscope, so do not miss out!

Stray observations

  • The Voom internet is really fast this evening. It is open to everyone on this sailing.
  • I mentioned on this past weekend's Harmony of the Seas sailing there were lots of flowers onboard, and they are definitely in full bloom now because the ship smells amazing.
  • It was much warmer today than last weekend. There was profuse schvitzing occuring throughout the day.
  • I can really get used to cruising twice per week!

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Michael's Cruise Preview

In:
09Nov2016

Hi Blog readers, it’s time for another Live Blog from Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas. I know, you must be thinking we already read the live blog preview for Harmony? Well for the first time in Royal Caribbean Blog’s history, we will have two live blogs on the very same ship in action.

Matt and Michael on board together sharing our experiences from completely different views, and doing different things. 

The Cruise

This cruise is a special 2 night sailings that Royal Caribbean invites travel agents, media, contest winners (Ticket to Adventure), and top tier members from their Crown & Anchor society.

On this sailing they will have some special events taking place to help promote the ship. The main event-taking place Thursday afternoon is the naming ceremony. If you recall a few weeks ago Royal Caribbean hosted a contest to name the new Godmother of Harmony of the Seas. I have watched these events take place over the years, but it will be my first time to experience it live. 

A week ago, Royal Caribbean announced another contest “Friendsgiving Celebration” with a live performance by DNCE. The band will be hosting a concert on board, so you never know what you might see when I go live on Periscope. I am hopeful they preform in the Aqua Theater, and I’ll enjoy it from Sabor. 

Stateroom 

For only my second time ever, I’ll be sailing in a deck 14 Central Park balcony cabin. My last time was in 2011 on Allure of the Seas.

Personally, I enjoy the boardwalk balcony cabins better. The only reason I prefer one to the other, is because you have a view of the ocean and the boardwalk. With that being said, I’m sailing with my girlfriend, so I’m really excited for her to experience the central park balcony cabins. 

Itinerary 

This cruise is only 2 days, so you might be surprised to see we do have a stop planned. On Friday, we will dock in Nassau, Bahamas from 12-6. I was here a month ago, so I likely won’t get off the ship and continue to enjoy the ship. I might get off to just take pictures from the pier and jump right back on board. 

Top 3 things I’m looking forward to 

 3. Bionic Bar 

 When Quantum of the Seas came out she was the first ship at sea with robot bartenders. Ever since then I’ve been very curious about the experience and taste of those cocktails. I’ve heard mixed feelings about removing the Champagne bar from the Harmony of the Seas to make room for Bionic Bar. However, I welcome the change and really excited to finally be able to see it in person. 

 2. The Fine Line 

 Generally when I cruise I don’t see any shows unless I’m on an Oasis Class ship, because you just can’t miss those. My all-time favorite show I’ve seen is on Oasis of the Seas – Oasis of Dream’s Aqua show. I really enjoy the story line and the divers in the Aqua Theater. So I’ve made reservations to see The Fine Line Aqua show night 1, and I can’t wait! 

 1. The Ultimate Abyss 

 The biggest change and most noticeable when you look at Harmony of the Seas is the new Ultimate Abyss 10 story slide. Sure other cruise lines have slides on their ships, but none of them have one that’s 10 stories down. I can actually picture myself now on deck 16, taking it down to deck 6 for Sabor. Do you plan on trying this slide? 

Well friends next time I join you, I’ll be on board Harmony of the Seas sharing my short journey with you. If you have any questions please feel free to comment below and I’ll jump in and respond. Do you have any cruises booked on Harmony of the Seas?

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Sea Day

In:
07Nov2016

Our last full day on Harmony of the Seas mostly consisted of something I have never done on any Royal Caribbean cruise - I worked from sea.

Rather than taking a vacation day, I decided to work today like any other day. Since my day job affords me the ability to work remotely, I woke up like any other day of the week and logged onto my computer to do my day job.  I have gotten many questions about how reliable Royal Caribbean's Voom is to handle things like a VPN connection, but I can tell you it was flawless.

My VPN connection held up throughout the day, without any disconnects, and I was able to get my work done with no issues.  Sure, the internet slowed down during the afternoon, but it was still quite useable.

I have to say, having a coffee break at Cafe Promenade and my lunch at Windjammer made for the best day of work ever!

I do not have much to report from my day, but once I "clocked out" for the day, I headed immediately down to the Schooner Bar for the final trivia event of the cruise. Sadly, I did not win, but I had a great time.

Following trivia, I headed up to the bridge wings to see the sunset. It might not have been the best sunset I have ever seen, but it was really beautiful and the ship slowed down considerably, making for an even better view.

Some readers asked me about the Concierge Lounge and Coastal Kitchen, so Royal Caribbean Blog reader Dan helped me out with some photos of this great area.  Dan noted the layout is different than on other Oasis class ships, but it worked out quite well. Essentially, the Concierge Lounge is on the starboard side, with Coastal Kitchen on the port side.

For dinner, I headed back to the Windjammer and it did not disappoint. In fact, it was the best spread of this sailing and I really enjoyed the offerings.

I spent some time in Central Park while enjoying my Diamond drinks for the evening, and the earlier sunset (thanks daylight savings time) made for a very lovely evening.  It is still my favorite spot onboard.

After a while, I headed down to the Boardwalk and was able to use my Boardwalk neighborhood balcony perk of complimentary Johnny Rockets for a quick bite to eat.  Royal Caribbean offers certain neighborhood balcony benefits, and the Johnny Rockets option is for lunch, but they were happy to let me dine there for dinner.

My evening entertainment was 1887, which is the ice skating show in Studio B. I love the ice skating shows in general, and this show did not disappoint. Fabulous choreography and very impressive performances all around.

I spent the rest of my evening walking around the ship and enjoying the entertainment.

Tomorrow, my sailing comes to an end and I disembark, but, I return to Harmony of the Seas on Thursday for another quick 2-night cruise. In fact, we will have our very first ever dueling live blog, where myself and Michael Poole will be LIVE blogging every day from Harmony of the Seas.  So instead of wrapping up my live blog, I will simply remind everyone to tune back in for the thrilling conclusion to our Harmony of the Seas live blog!

Stray observations

  • Last night, there was some serious motion in the ocean.  There was a lot of rolling and even vibrating from the waves.  Nothing remotely scary, but certainly not what I expected.  As the day progressed, it got smoother and smoother.
  • They actually ran out of ripe avocados and margaritas at Sabor. To say that is odd and surprising, would be an understatement.
  • I will be doing self-disembarkation tomorrow, but some of the luggage tags are for times well beyond 10am.  That is super late!
  • I saw new characters from the Dreamworks film, Trolls!, for meet and greet today.
  • Remember that coffee thermos I won at trivia? Well, everyone got one in their rooms! I do not feel that special anymore.
  • To whomever sent me vanilla bean cupcakes, thank you! This was a great mid-day snack during my work day!
  • For those keeping score at home, I was actually denied entry to the Diamond Lounge today because I was wearing flip flops.  The rule is clearly written, and the attendant was very kind in informing me that I was not properly dressed. I was totally good with the situation, and in fact happy they were enforcing the rules.  I was told someone else wore flip flops and a guest complained, so when I came in, I was told I could not enter.  They did offer to grab me a drink for me.

  • I enjoyed my Boardwalk balcony stateroom. While I may prefer the ambiance of the Central Park rooms, the Boardwalk rooms offer so many opportunities to see what is happening onboard and the fact I was 4 rooms from the end, provided a great view of the AquaTheater.
  • I may have had the best stateroom attendant in recent memory. Big shout out to Barry on deck 9!
  • 3-night cruises go by very quickly. I am glad for the experiences, but the 7+ night cruises are still the best bang-for-the-buck.
  • I cannot wait to return again on Thursday!

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