Family of 4, me, wife (late 40's and 2 girls 12-17)
My main take away is, RC has a line management problem. Overall, i didn't get the feeling Harmony was a gigantic ship. Seemed the same size as the Disney Wonder from 10 years ago. I mean that in terms of public spaces you could go. The difference to us was in the extra 5 decks of cabins. Making everywhere you went on the ship crowded and just one line after another. I call this a line management problem because RC either doesn't care, or doesn't know how to efficiently deal with this congestion.
Embarkation was quick and easy. From the moment our Uber dropped us off at the terminal around 11:30am, to the time we were on deck 5 was maybe 15 minutes tops. This was not an issue at all. The problems started from there. All the people they have set up to do dinner reservations or excursion things we just painfully slow. There was no sense of urgency to move things along. And for every "worker" doing the actual work, it seemed there was another just standing by watching instead of trying to thin out the crowds.
Drink Package was a great buy. Zero complaints here. Loved the top shelf booze. Between water, soda, wine, and drinks we easily got our moneys worth. But this is also part of the line management problem. Way to many bars had just one bar tender, and they were all working on island time. Again, no sense of urgency to help the guests. You had 2 strategies here. patiently wait for them to acknowledge you and make you drink. But then have 3 or 4 other rude guests jump in front of you buy yelling out orders to the bar tender. or, be one of the rude guests and just be the loudest person at the bar so they make your drinks next. there was no happy median. This was true on Coa Coa and all over the ship.
Entertainment was awesome. Grease was great. Columbus was great. the Ice Show (something in time) was great. Both aqua theater shows were great. the stand up comics were great at both family night, and the adult shows in the attic. i will say at all these venues, the wait staff did a great job to get drink orders going.
Food was good, not great. Jamie's Italian was the best meal we had. Chops was decent, but no where near the "high end" steak house the try to make themselves out to be. the quality of meat was just not up to standards with any steak house on the mainland US. Izumi Hibchai was good. Pretty much your standard hibachi experience. For what it was, wind Jammer, small bites, and the solarium bistro were great. Solid cruise / resort buffet food.
Pools were way to crowded on sea days. It was just very gross people soup. Way to many people to try and cram into that space.
Things to do on ship were ok, except the zip line. What a waste of space. Way to much work for a 10 second experience. But things like the rock wall, mini golf, and flow rider all suffered from the line management problem. One one occasion, i went to do the Flow Rider with my daughter, knew there would be a line. Was totally fine with it. The problem was, after waiting in line for 30 minutes, they just decide to stop allowing guests to ride, so the could do a 20 minute show of "tricks". this was 2 people before it was to be our turn. If the could have simply closed off the line, we and many others would have known not to stand in line and waste our time. These are the little execution problems that remain a memory of our trip more then then anything else. Mini golf, no management. just 100 people doing what ever they wanted on a small 9 hole course.
Perfect day Coa Coa Cay was a tale of two swords. We spent the morning and early afternoon at South Beach in a private bungalow. This was well worth the money. There were the perfect amount of people for the space. We never felt crowded, and everyone got along. Except the bar. Again, only one bar tender and he could not keep up with the work load. Went back to a shouting match over other people to get his attention. the water park side was fun in the afternoon. For the most part, the lines were ok for everything but the highest lides or the family raft ride. The pool area was a big crowded mess. We decided to avoid the people soup and focus on the rides.
St. Thomas was nice. Did a taxi ride to the shops down town. Was very enjoyable. Then paid a guy in a taxi to takes us on a tour of the island to see most of the views and sites. very enjoyable day on St. Thomas.
St Maarten was the highlight of the trip. We paid BOB THE BOAT GUY prior to the trip for a 7 hour excursion, separate from anything RC was doing. We were matched up with 3 other people for a total of 7 of us in a 36 foot scarab with a captain and first mate. They took us to 3 separate snorkel / beach spots including Pinnel island. Allowed us to hook our phones up to the boats awesome stereo, and just had a kick ass time all day. Plenty of beer and booze for the day. Good food and great staff. Again, this was one of the best vacations days we have had in a long time.
Disembarking the boat was easy. I paid the extra $25 per person for luggage valet. Put out bags out at 10pm Saturday night, and didn't see them until we picked them up at the baggage carousel at our home airport. this allowed us to leave our room at 8:00am, and we were through customs and waiting for our Uber by 8:20am. We made it to MCO by 9:30 for an 11:55am flight. very stress free.
in closing, we had a good time. Just not great. Maybe the act of cruising where you book your trip over 12 months in advance, and you have so much build up to the rip sets the expectations so high. It was very hard to live up to all the youtube videos and podcasts. Again, it was 10 years ago, but our memory of the Disney Cruise was great. We do think if we cruise again, it will be on a smaller ship, and probably a Disney Cruise. We felt the customer service level, and food were just a notch higher with standards the RC. Enough that the extra $4k in price would have been justified.
Thanks for reading. I will try and answer any questions.