Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas arrival to her new homeport of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. was anything but ordinary.
The three Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and the new Harmony of the Seas, greeted each other at sea for the first and possibly only time. In a meeting of unprecedented proportions, the three record-breaking sisters came together to celebrate the U.S. arrival of Harmony of the Seas.
The event was a perfect start to a weekend of Harmony of the Seas festivities, including the first U.S.-based sailing for Harmony of the Seas.
Harmony of the Seas departed Port Everglades for a short 3-night sailing, and this was another exciting celebration for yet another milestone for this amazing ship.
The world’s most adventure-packed ship was fêted with an adventurous take on the traditional flotilla send-off, complete with a team of 16 jetboard and jetpack riders from the world-renowned Aquafly Hydroflight Sports Performance Team leading Harmony out to sea and performing a show of extraordinary stunts.
Happy Sunday! November has arrived, and so has Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship to her homeport of Port Everglades. Each week we summarize all of this week's Royal Caribbean news, just in case you missed any of it.
Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas converged off the coast of Florida for the first, and perhaps only, time ever. To see all three ships in the class in one spot was quite exciting, and it also marked the arrival of Harmony of the Seas to the United States.
Here is a look at the rest of the Royal Caribbean news from this week.
My Harmomy of the Seas adventure begins today and naturally, I was up bright and early to get a start on it.
Harmony of the Seas leaves from Port Everglades, Florida, and I live about 3 hours north of there in Orlando. I was on the road a little after 6am and enjoyed a quiet and uneventful car ride down the Florida Turnpike to Harmony of the Seas' new home.
I arrived at the pier at about 9:30am and was among perhaps 30-40 other early birds to get in line for security. It is absolutely not necessary to arrive that early for any cruise, but I was so excited that I could not help myself.
Check-in was quite easy and simple. The check-in is a hybrid of the traditional Royal Caribbean check-in process, mixed with a little Quantum class touch. You still go to the counter to check in, but I was able to provide a photo of myself during the online check-in. Also, guests are not given SeaPass cards. Instead, your SeaPass cards are waiting for you just outside your stateroom.
Once checked in, I was seated in the Diamond section of Terminal 18. Because Harmony of the Seas was coming from a transatlantic voyage, US Customs was going to take longer to clear the ship. Royal Caribbean did send passengers an email prior to the cruise warning guests of this delay. That being said, boarding did not begin until a little after noon, and I was not onboard until 12:30. Not a big deal, but the issue with a late embarkation like that is there was a big crowd in the terminal to get onboard.
Once onboard the ship, I followed my traditional embarkation day regiment and headed straight to the Windjammer for lunch. I was blown away by the size of the Windjammer on Harmony of the Seas! It was massive, and much larger than the Windjammer on Allure of the Seas. This was a welcome change.
After lunch I started exploring the ship and immediatley I noticed that Harmony of the Seas felt so much like a Quantum class ship. I joked on Periscope that Harmony of the Seas feels more like a Quantum class ship that is pretending to be an Oasis class ship, than the other way around. This is by no means a bad thing, just a surprise to me. The look and feel of Harmony (especially in the staterooms, cooridors and certain venues) is so reminiscent of being on Anthem of the Seas that I would dare someone who has been on either to see certain photos onboard and be able to know the difference.
Our rooms were ready at 1:30pm and I really like my Boardwalk balcony stateroom. The room is quite large and can easily accomodate two guests. The amount of storage space is fantastic and the decor is once again nearly identical to the Quantum class rooms.
Of course, the balcony is what this sort of stateroom is all about and the Boardwalk view is terrific. My room is towards the aft of the ship (perhaps 4 rooms from the end), and that provides a great view of the AquaTheater, rock climbing wall, and more importantly, Sabor.
I have always been a fan of the neighborhood balconies because they are less expensive (typically) than ocean facing balconies, and offer a kind of experience that no other class of Royal Caribbean ships can offer.
After dropping all my stuff off in the room, I was off to start exploring Harmony of the Seas. It is a beautiful ship, with so much going on. I am quite happy that I added this three night sailing on, so that I can get more time to "see it all."
I was really impressed by the design of the main dining room on Harmony of the Seas. The art piece is particularly beautiful!
When muster drill time came around, I realized that my station was in the Boardwalk, near the AquaThear. My first outdoor muster station experience on an Oasis class ship.
Following the drill, I immediately made my way up to deck 15 to try my hand at the Ultimate Abyss.
This is a 10-story slide and I was excited to finally try it. I was one of the first few guests to get in line and after perhaps 10 minutes, the slide opened up and it was my turn to descend.
As I got closer and closer to the entrance to the slide I got a little nervous with apprehension, but once I pushed off and began sliding down I immediately loved the whole experience. Not only is it a lot of fun, it is not nearly as intese or scary as one might imagine. I as impressed by the special effects in the slide, which consist of lighting and sound effects. Definitely a must-do and I think I have to try it again a few times.
After riding, I spent some more time exploring the ship. I even got a chance to check out some fellow Royal Caribbean Blog readers' studio staterooms, which were quite nice and definitely something I could stay in if I was sailing alone (especially for the price).
My favorite spot on any Oasis class ship is Central Park, and I was excited it again on Harmony of the Seas. It is a beautiful area, full of natural beauty and terrific ambiance. It especially looks great once the sun goes down and the lights come on.
I grabbed a quick dinner in the Windjammer this evening, and enjoyed the great variety of options. I even brought my own bottle of wine, that the crew were happy to store for me for dinner tomorrow night.
Being in the evening, I also took advantage of the Crown and Anchor Society Diamond level complimentary drinks from 5-8:30. Because there are so many Diamond members onboard, Royal Caribbean converted the Attic on deck 4 into a temporary Diamond lounge. I certainly got some value from this very nice perk.
I was so busy exploring the ship that I completely overlooked our sailaway from Port Everglades. Oh well, I will see it again later this week when I return to Harmony of the Seas!
I had planned to see Columbus the Musical at 8:30pm, but unfortunately there was so much motion this evening that the show (and The Fine Line) had to be cancelled. It was really quite odd how much motion we were experiencing so close to land. As soon as we got out of the channel, the ship started swaying quite a bit. The good news is by about 9pm or so, the motion subsided quite a bit, and as I am writing this, we are back to barely any movement. I took the extra time to enjoy the live music in Central Park.
I am happy to report that I was able to exchange my old WOWband from Anthem of the Seas to Guest Relations and I received a new WOWband with no issues. Plus, I finally got a new color (white) to add to my collection. Personally, I love the convenience of the WOWbands over the SeaPass card. No digging in my pocket for the SeaPass card and it is so easy getting back into my stateroom.
Since I had my handy, dandy WOWband, I wanted to test it out, so in the name of research...I had a drink from the Bionic Bar. I ordered one of the stock drinks, and there is no denying how cool it is for a machine to make a drink on demand.
There was a second showing of Columbus the Musical at 10:30, so I tried for this showing and the motion subsided enough that the show could go on.
I had some high expections for this original Royal Caribbean production and I have to say, it did not disappoint at all. It is a fun show with a goofy, yet endearing plot that works in a lot of hit songs you can easily sing along to. Easily another must-see show for Royal Caribbean!
Tomorrow we will be in Nassau, but I plan on staying onboard to explore more of Harmony of the Seas!
Starbucks did not have the Christmas/green cup drinks yet. Those drinks came out during Harmony's transatlantic, so I did not expect them to have that quick of a turnarond. I asked, and no coffee card on this sailing either.
Due to the Customs delay, our muster drill (and sailaway) was pushed back 15 minutes.
Today was the first day of the neighborhood balcony perks. My perks include free soda drink package, a free meal at Johnny Rockets and a private rock climbing session. I need to investigate how one "cashes in" on those last two perks.
Our cruise director, Abe, made an announcement that due to the embarkation issues many guests experience, Royal Caribbean is giving everyone onboard Voom for free. If you bought Voom, you will get a credit. Not a bad start to the cruise!
I spotted a Walking Dead reference in the cooridor of deck 9!
It definitely pays to pre-book a Royal Caribbean drink package before your cruise. Here are the posted rates for the drink packages if purchased onboard.
Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and the new Harmony of the Seas, all met at sea earlier today. This marked the first, and possibly only time an meeting like this might occur.
The three ships rendezvoused off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida in a celebration of the arrival of Harmony of the Seas to her new homeport of Port Everglades.
Harmony of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world, just edging out her sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. The three ships represent the meeting of the largest cruise ships in the world, in one place.
If you are new to cruising, or just new to Royal Caribbean, you might have heard about one particular ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet that is getting a lot of attention but were not sure why. This post is intended for people like you.
Alternatively, this might be a post you share with someone that you want to go on Harmony of the Seas, but need to explain the significance of this ship.
In short, this post is a primer for what Harmony of the Seas so darn intriguing and a compelling cruise ship to book.
It's big (like, really big)
Royal Caribbean has a well-deserved reputation for building large cruise ships in the industry, and Harmony of the Seas follows that tradition by being the largest passenger cruise ship in the world.
Harmony of the Seas first debuted in May 2016, and she is 226,963 gross tons in size. How big is that, exactly? If she were to be stood upright, she would be 361 meters tall. The Eiffel Tower is 324 meters tall and Big Ben is only 96 meters tall.
Harmony of the Seas can handle 5,497 guests at double occupancy, is 66.4 meters wide and has 2,747 staterooms.
While this size sounds impressive, what it means for guests is there is plenty of space onboard for Royal Caribbean to offer some truely unqiue and fun activities. Harmony of the Seas is the kind of ship that was designed to be a destination in of itself, with lots to see and do onboard.
Being onboard Harmony of the Seas, it feels less like a boat and more like a city, with different neighborhoods and things to do throughout the day.
First rate shows
Royal Caribbean prides itself on the entertainment it offers onboard its ships, and Harmony of the Seas offers guests brand new shows that are great performances.
First and foremost, guests can see the classic Broadway show, Grease, onboard Harmony of the Seas. Admission to Grease (and all shows) is included in your cruise fare. This fun love story features a soundtrack of crowd favorites such as “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Born to Hand-Jive,” “Beauty School Dropout” and more.
Royal Caribbean also developed its own musical, Columbus, The Musical!. This production created in the spirit of “Spamalot” and “Something Rotten,” recounts the imagined history of Marvin Columbus, Christopher’s fictional, down on his luck, distant cousin. Combining smart, nuanced humor and breathtaking set design, Columbus is the kind of family show you will really love to see.
Harmony of the Seas is an Oasis-class ship, which means it features at the aft of the ship an open-air ampitheater with a large pool in the center, known as the AquaTheater. The Aquatheater has two 10-meter high platforms and a hydraulic-floored pool, the largest and deepest freshwater pool at sea.
There are two different shows to see in the AquaTheater. The Fine Line is a 360° immersive entertainment show, revelers will be wishing for eyes in the back of their head to take in all the action happening around them. Hideaway Heist is a new comedy dive show, that jumps into the world of the 1950's holiday resort and tells the story of a detective pursuing a crafty burglar.
You might be thinking just these shows are enough to impress you, but there is much more enteratinment onboard. There are two ice skating shows, held in the ship's indoor ice skating rink; An escape room experience, where guests try to solve a riddle by deciphering the clues in the room before time runs out; Special dance parties throughout the cruise and much more.
If you prefer to spend time onboard getting your adrenaline going, try one of the many slides available. Royal Caribbean's addition of water and dry slides to Harmony of the Seas is a big deal, because Royal Caribbean never really did slides before this ship. With this ship, there are plenty to choose from and that means fun for the entire family.
Beginning with the water slides, Royal Caribbean added what it calls, "The Perfect Storm" water slides in the center of the ship. These are three slides that twist and turn down to the pool decks below. One slide features a champagne bowl that swirls riders around as they approach the end of the slide. The other two water slides are racing slides that are meant to see just how fast guests can rocket to the bottom.
Families with younger children will love the new aquatic adventure park, known as Splashaway Bay. This play area features slides, water cannons, waterfalls and more for kids to run around and enjoy to their heart's content. Royal Caribbean describes Splashaway Bay as, "a vibrant waterscape for kids and toddlers with sea creature water cannons, winding slides, a gigantic drench bucket and a multi-platform jungle-gym to keep everyone entertained for hours."
There is still one more thrill ride on Harmony of the Seas that anyone with the courage to do can try, the Ultimate Abyss.
The Ultimate Abyss is a 10-story dry slide that is the tallest slide at sea and a the biggest thrill ride to date for Royal Caribbean. The Ultimate Abyss is more than 150 feet above sea level and offers side-by-side slides that send guests down 10 decks at a rate of 9 miles per hour.
Launching onto the ride from a glass platform, guests climb onto a customized mat and then descend into a tunnel filled with spontaneous audio effects that create a multi-sensory thrill.
Lots and lots of dining
When Royal Caribbean built its first Oasis class ship, Oasis of the Seas, the cruise line re-defined how many dining options could be offered on a Royal Caribbean ship. Harmony of the Seas continues in that vein, with a wide assortment of dining options that are sure to please everyone.
Harmony of the Seas dining options are a mix of complimentary and specialty restaurants. Complimentary restaurants are included in your cruise fare, while specialty restaurants have an additional cost to them. It is at your discretion if you choose to dine at a specialty restaurant, but there are lots of choices across many different price points. All of the dining options offer very delicious food that you are certain to enjoy quite a bit.
At the heart of the complimentary dining is the beautiful main dining room. Guests on Harmony of the Seas can dine here each evening with the elegance and traditionalism that the cruise industry wass built on. Each evening there is a different menu, with creative, classic and contemporary choices to enjoy.
All around Harmony of the Seas are a number of complimentary eateries that offer grab-and-go options and sit down choices. Park Cafe is home to the famous Kummelweck sandwich, and the Windjammer buffet is where you can go to get pretty much everything.
If you want to try a specialty restaurant (or four), there are so many great choices. Harmony of the Seas features two specialty restaurants that are new to the Oasis-class. Jamie's Italian is the creation of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, which features rustic Italian dishes made from seasonal ingredients and tried and true recipes. Wonderland is an imaginative take on specialty dining, where the experience is just as important as the food offered. While Wonderland is on a few other Quantum-class ships, on Harmony of the Seas, this is the first two-story Wonderland restaurant in the fleet.
There is also Johnny Rockets, a 1950's inspired diner that serves up burgers, hot dogs and milk shakes; Chops Grille, the high-quality steakhouse that offers dry-aged steaks in addition to its menu of quality cuts of meat; Sabor Tacqueria & Tequila Bar offers some of the best Mexican food we have ever had, with favorites like tacos, quesadillas and margaritas, as well as contemporary Mexican dishes; Izumi Hibachi and Sushi offers fresh and flavorful Japanese cuisine, including teppan-style dining.
In short, there is a lot of dining choices on Harmony of the Seas, and that means you have a large variety of choices available for you to choose from.
Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is nearly at her new home of Port Everglades, Florida, and I will be onboard two of the first few sailings and LIVE blogging every day of the cruise, to share with you what it is like to experience this amazing ship.
This is a somewhat different type of live blog, and cruise experience, for me. I will be on two different sailings, separated by two days between them. Our cruise begins later this week, but here is a cruise preview to share with you what to expect on our trip!
As I mentioned, I will be on two different Harmony of the Seas sailings. The first is a three-night Bahamas cruise on November 5th, and the other is a two-night Bahamas cruise on November 10th.
The story of booking this cruise goes back a few months ago, when Royal Caribbean invited me to come aboard a two-night Harmony of the Seas preview cruise, where members of the media, travel agents and other VIP's are invited to check out this new ship.
Royal Caribbean Blog has been lucky enough to have been invited to a couple other preview sailings on Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, so to be honored with an invite for this sailing is quite wonderful.
These two-night preview cruises go by extremely quickly, and are filled with a number of events meant to educate and provide a deeper insight into how the ship functions. The events are very interesting and offer quite a bit of insight, but it comes at the expense of the limited time onboard.
I had noticed there was a 3-night sailing on Harmony of the Seas just prior to my 2-night sailing, and it was over a weekend. This seemed to be the perfect solution to allowing me additional time for ship-based research prior to the media cruise experience.
With as much of a serious tone that one can use in a written blog post, I will be using my collective 5-nights on Harmony of the Seas to spend it researching what is unique about this ship, and using my time to collect information that I plan on using in future blog posts. Of course, I relish this sort of "work", and the opportunity to check out Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship is extremely exciting to me.
I will be staying in two different stateroom categories between the two sailings.
On the first sailing, I will be in a Boardwalk view balcony stateroom. When I made the reservation, I got a Neighborhood Balcony Guarantee stateroom, because it was less expensive and I was fairly open to the room type. I will be sailing solo on the 3-night sailing and believe it or not, the Neighborhood Balcony Guarantee was the cheapest option available.
After a couple of weeks, my room was assigned and discovered it would be a Neighborhood Balcony guarantee. I have stayed in Central Park Balcony rooms, but never a Boardwalk Balcony. I am excited to try something new and see what the whole Boardwalk view experience is all about. Also, my room is very close to the end of the hall (4 rooms away from the aft of the ship), so I am hoping I might have a decent view of the AquaTheater too.
On the two-night sailing, my wife will join me and we will be in an oceanview balcony.
This is a classic stateroom option, and this will be the first time I will be staying in an oceanview balcony on an Oasis class ship.
Both cruises are short and will include a stop in Nassau, Bahamas, although I do not plan on getting off the ship on any of the stops. I want to take full advantage of my time onboard Harmony of the Seas, and will stay onboard to ensure I have as much time as possible to experience as much of what the ship offers as I can. Plus, I will be back to Nassau in March on a different sailing, so there will be time to explore there later.
Three things I am excited to try
3. Water slides
Harmony of the Seas features a number of firsts, and its water slides are one aspect of the ship that many families are super excited to try. Even as an adult, I cannot wait to try them out for myself and check out one of the first water slides at sea on a Royal Caribbean ship.
There are three new slides on Harmony of the Seas, collectively known as The Perfect Storm. Two racer slides and a champagne bowl slide mean I will be taking quite a few trips (in the name of research).
2. Boardwalk balcony
This is my first time staying in a Boardwalk balcony stateroom, and I am excited to compare the experience to staying in a Central Park balcony. Both room types are quite popular with many guests, and getting a chance to check it out for myself is going to be a real highlight.
When staying in a neighborhood balcony, the key feature is the balcony experience. I always loved having the ambiance of Central Park around me, so I cannot wait to see what it is like with the busy nature of the Boardwalk.
1. Columbus, The Musical!
Of all the amazing entertainment that I have booked so far on Harmony of the Seas, the one I am most excited to see for myself is Columbus, The Musical!
This is a Royal Caribbean original production that was created in the same style as Something Rotten and Spamalot. I have high hopes for this show, based on the reviews I have read about it and the stories I have heard from Royal Caribbean about the show's creation.
Our Harmony of the Seas cruise begins on Saturday, November 5th, and I will be sharing the details on the blog, as well as across my social media channels. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, 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!
When Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas arrives in her new home of Port Everglades, Florida, the cruise line is planning a celebration with multi-platinum-selling band DNCE.
In a spin-off of Thanksgiving, Royal Caribbean is celebrating "Friendsgiving " by throwing, "the Ultimate Friendsgiving party onboard".
On the November 10-12 Harmony of the Seas VIP sailing, Royal Caribbean will hold the Ultimate Friendsgiving celebration. In addition to custom Friendsgiving menus and cocktails, the party will culminate with an exclusive live performance by multi-platinum-selling band DNCE, fresh off their win for “Best New Artist” at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. They will be performing songs from their highly anticipated self-titled debut album, which will be released on Nov. 18.
Consumers are invited to attend the Ultimate Friendsgiving experience by following @RoyalCaribbean on Instagram and Twitter and RoyalCaribbean on Snapchat. Those on land can also tune in live on Thrillist Facebook to on Friday afternoon, Nov. 11 for an inside look at adventures onboard Harmony, plus some tips and tricks from Royal Caribbean on how to take Friendsgiving celebrations to the next level this year.
Royal Caribbean's next sales promotion begins today, with a BOGO (Buy One Guest, Get Second Guest 50% Off) and up to $100 onboard credit per stateroom to spend at sea.
The November BOGO offer runs from November 3 - 30, 2016 and is valid on sailings departing on or after Dec 3, 2016. Offer excludes China departures.
Here are the offer details
Buy One Guest, Get Second Guest 50% Off
25% savings for 3rd and 4th guests
Bonus onboard credit
5 nights or less
Interior/Oceanview – $25 OBC per stateroom
Balcony/Suite – $50 OBC per stateroom
6 nights or longer
Interior/Oceanview – $50 OBC per stateroom
Balcony/Suite – $100 OBC per stateroom
BOGO is combinable with adjoining 25% Savings for 3rd and 4th guests, OBC, Crown & Anchor discounts and NextCruise offers. BOGO, 3rd and 4th Guest Savings and OBC are not combinable with restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military.
OBC is not combinable with Crown & 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, Shareholder Benefits.
Offer available to residents of United States and Canada.
Traditionally, guests that book a Royal Caribbean cruise (or a cruise in general), have booked a stateroom with at least two guests sharing a room. The cruise industry was built on this model, but in recent years, more and more guests have opted to cruise alone and Royal Caribbean has responded to this new demand with a special kind of stateroom category for folks that want to cruise alone.
Here is your guide to understanding what a solo cabin is all about, and why you might want to reserve one if you elect to cruise alone.
Why book a solo stateroom?
The primary reason why someone cruising alone would want a single/solo stateroom is because Royal Caribbean will charge a fee for someone trying to stay in a traditional stateroom by themselves. Royal Caribbean refers to this fee as a "single supplement fee," and it is a means of recouping the cost of that second passenger that is expected to be in the stateroom. Quite often, the single supplement fee is equivalent to double the cost of a single guest. Because the cruise lines business model depends on staterooms filled with at least two guests in them, single supplement fees have been the means of ensuring the cruise line is not taking a loss on a solo cruiser.
With single staterooms, there is no single supplement fee. When Royal Caribbean added these rooms, they designed them to be respective of the ship's business model and this means solo cruisers do not have to pay double the cost of what the cruise should be.
Studio staterooms are smaller than standard rooms, but they are meant to have enough space for a single guest to live in during their cruise.
Which ships have solo staterooms?
Here is a breakdown of the studio staterooms across Royal Caribbean's fleet.
Total of Staterooms
Anthem of the Seas
Studio Interior with Virtual View Super Studio Ocean View with Balcony
Adventure of the Seas
Brilliance of the Seas
Harmony of the Seas
Studio Interior Studio Ocean View
Jewel of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas
Odyssey of the Seas
Studio Ocean View Balcony
Ovation of the Seas
Studio Interior with Virtual View Super Studio Ocean View with Balcony
Quantum of the Seas
Studio Interior with Virtual View Deluxe Studio Ocean View with Balcony
Radiance of the Seas
Serenade of the Seas
Spectrum of the Seas
Studio Interior with Virtual ViewSuper Studio Ocean View with Balcony
Why you might want a regular room
It is important to note that while solo cruisers may seek out a studio stateroom, there are two main advantages of booking a regular room, despite the single supplement fee.
First, a regular stateroom will offer significantly more living space, along with a far greater variety of choices. As you can see from the chart above, there are not many variations available for studio cruisers and no options for a solo cruiser that wants a suite.
Second, Royal Caribbean does offer double Crown and Anchor Society points for guests that pay the single supplement fee for cruising alone. While it does have a higher cost than a studio stateroom, the extra Crown and Anchor Society points can help guests move up the status levels quite quickly.
Depending on your budget, booking a regular cabin may be an option to consider.