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

22 Nov 2021
Matt Hochberg

I'm back on Harmony of the Seas for a Thanksgiving cruise, and our first group cruise since the shutdown.

Not only is it our first time back on Harmony of the Seas, but this is my first time trying out Star Class. Star Class is the top-tier of Royal Caribbean's suite class offerings, and I'm excited to try it all out.

Harmony is sailing on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral, and will visit St. Kitts, St. Thomas, and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites last night, which was a nice hotel for the night. They offer a shuttle to the cruise port, but we had our own car, so we drove.

In the weeks leading up to the cruise, our Genie contacted us via email with an introduction and opportunity to convey different requests. We were able to book specialty restaurants, arrange for drinks and food to be waiting in our suite when we arrived, and even booked times for the kids at Adventure Ocean. Leading up to the cruise, I was impressed with the level of service we had before even stepping foot onboard.

We booked Star Class this time around because when we booked many years ago, the price was reasonable. Prices can really run the gamut for Star Class, but I found this sailing to be a great deal.

Our Genie told us to arrive a bit earlier than our boarding time because our kids needed to be tested at the terminal, since they are unvaccinated.

There is a special check-in area at Port Canaveral for Star Class guests. Instead of giving porters your luggage and it being delivered to your room later, the bags are brought up to your cabin right away.

The testing at the terminal went smoothly, and took about 45 minutes to get the results. This is our last time having to do a test at the terminal since our kids will be fully vaccinated before our next sailing.

After the test results arrived via email, we completed the check-in process and our Genie, Berty, met us in the terminal.

Our cabins were not quite ready yet, so we decided to take the kids to the Boardwalk to start exploring.

The carousel was not running yet, so it was up to the Windjammer for lunch. They had a wide selection of food, including lobster tails.

I got the message from Berty that our room was ready, so we went up to the cabin. The Genie can message you via the WhatsApp app.

We have a two-bedroom AquaTheater suite for this sailing, which is on deck 9.

AquaTheater suite are located at the very back of the ship, and offer fantastic views of the AquaTheater, Boardwalk, and ocean. 

There are two bedrooms, along with a nice living room.  It is not the largest cabin on the ship, but the wrap-around balcony is massive. 

We did a little bit of exploring in the afternoon, starting in Central Park and then moving down to the Royal Promenade.

Of course, we completed our muster drill by doing most of the steps in the app, and then visiting our muster station.

While Berty had signed the kids up for time slots in Adventure Ocean, we still had to register them.

Registration was held in what used to be the open play area for younger kids. Royal Caribbean removed the toys due to Covid protocols, and now is where the staff meets you to sign kids up.

We had a our first meetup of the cruise at Boleros to celebrate the start of the sailing.

There are about 112 friends sailing with us on this group cruise, and we have a few special events planned throughout the sailing.

Harmony of the Seas departed around 5:30pm. There were a few other ships, so we left last.

While it was cloudy enough to block sunset, the weather could not have been more comfortable. Temperatures in the mid 70s, low humidity, and a brisk breeze.

I generally do not get that wrapped up in sail away, but I had to go to our balcony to watch sail away because of the amazing views our balcony offers.

Our kids got room service for dinner: pizza and steak. Another benefit of Star Class is you can order off the specialty restaurant menus and have it delivered to the room. 

For my kids, this is perfect because they can to eat dinner nonchalantly, and then be ready for Adventure Ocean later.

With evening upon us, it was time to shower, change, and get ready for dinner.

We dropped the kids off at Adventure Ocean and then headed to Sabor for our first dinner onboard.

Sabor has been one of my favorite restaurants on a Royal Caribbean ship ever since it first debuted years ago.

As we were seated, guacamole and salsa were served. The salsa was just as good as I remember, but unfortunately the guacamole was a little too watery.

The ceviche appetizer and cohiba tacos were very good, and I enjoyed being back at Sabor one more time.

After dinner, we headed to the Boot & Bonnet pub to enjoy some live music with our evening drinks .

Tomorrow is a sea day.

Stray Observations

Yes, the check-in times matter for when you arrive to the cruise terminal.

I've heard there are around 4,500 guests onboard this sailing. Waiting to check with Guest Relations after we sail.

From almost as soon as we left Port Canaveral, there was quite a bit of movement in the ocean. Enough motion to stagger a bit while walking now and then. Probably the rockiest I've experienced since cruises restarted.

The evening performance of Big Daddy's Hideaway Heist in the AquaTheater was cancelled due to the motion in the ocean.