I recently went on the Harmony of the Seas as my first cruise from June 26th - July 3rd. These are my personal thoughts and the reason for while I was well prepared with pre-paying for excursions, drink and dining package, as well as gratuities, I will probably never be on a RC cruise, or any cruise in the future, despite knowing exactly what I was getting into. I don't know if solo cruisers are treated different or maybe it's my passive nature, but I often felt ignored and overlooked, it felt more like I was an inconvenience than a guest on vacation.
No one tells you anything useful. I had tons of questions and it took 4 people to tell me how a dining package worked, only to be at the end of Day 2 and most of the specialty dinings were booked out. I wasn't even able to fully use the package by the end of the week (spoilers for later)
The escape room was closed due to covid, and it was advertised up until the cruise with no notifications it would be unavailable. It was a major reason I booked the Harmony.
(I already knew this) but the spa is a hard sell. Just got a relaxing massage? I won't let you leave until you buy 150$ worth of products. It's half off, but somehow you just spent 300$. I avoided the spa like the plague the whole week after that.
The crowds. Everyone's on vacation, so they will bump into you, block you, run you over, doesn't matter. I felt like an inconvenience and a ghost. You want to see a show? Show up an hour early (and just stand there) or you're not getting a good seat. The crew got out of your way but the guests did not care.
The food is overhyped. the Izumi package (non hibachi) was good. I didn't get to try Chops like I wanted (again spoilers for the end) but I did try Sabor and it was lackluster. My waiter made a point to explain to everyone else how the menu worked but conveniently left me out. He filled my water maybe once after it sat there empty for over 10 minutes. He then asked me to give him a good review on the survey. Sorrento's felt like a cafeteria line. I understand they had long lines all week but the guy working would always "what do you want?" then slap the pizza down and frisbee it to you yelling "hot plate!". I inconvenienced him by wanting a pizza that was in the oven so he just put my plate down on the counter and it sat there for 5 minutes while I waited. The grilled vegetables were freezing cold from the fridge.
I got ignored at Johnny's. I came in for a milkshake and was standing by the doorway, only for the waiter to walk past me THREE TIMES to help the person behind me. Finally the 4th family noted I was standing there and he helped me. He went and handed everyone else their food and drinks but when my order came up he pointed at the counter and said "For you". Gee thanks.
I managed to get into a pool on Day 1 but after that it was shoulder to shoulder. No chairs as you'd expect despite half of them having people in them. The pools usually had spilled drinks in them that looked like vomit so I decided to find something else to do. Spent a lot of money in the arcades because in the "show up and have fun" game shows, the bars were so crowded you couldn't even get in. Water slides were very rarely open, I think they were in use for only 2 days.
I nearly drowned on a discover scuba excursion. They miscounted how many people they were taking and put me in as one too many, only for me to be squished between two people waiting in the water where I couldn't kick to stay afloat and couldn't move my arms, I elected to get back on the boat instead of potentially drowning. 150$ down the drain. The excursion assumes you are an active snorkeler and have minimal experience with scuba gear, from what they were telling us (none of this was listed in the description).
The PoC's are not that great. We went to St Thomas and St Maarten. St Thomas was essentially a dock with shops on it, and St Maarten was fun (I went zip lining and met a really nice family who temporarily took me under their wing) but the rest of the time it was people heckling me to give them money for shady services. I'm sorry they are so reliant on tourism.
I also ended up getting harassed by some kids. I know I'm a full grown adult but I was in the arcade and a group of kids came up asking for my number. Laughing it off as kids being kids I said no. 30 seconds later another kid came up asking for my number. Realizing this was going to be a theme, "I said 1337, ask me again." in a "see what happens" tone. The first kid came up and said "getting asked for your number is a compliment, so why are you mad?" only to tell him I was tipsy and didn't want to be bothered. The next day another kid asked "are you tipsy today?" to which I responded no.
The entire week it felt like the crew I did interact with were more interested in just getting my food and drinks to me and hyper focused on their good reviews. My stateroom attendant didn't take no for an answer when I asked him to leave which was interesting because my room was very dusty and dirty. He was very polite though, albeit when he entered my stateroom and asked me about doing the muster drill on my phone, rather than saying "good job" or "well done" he wanted me to show him how I did it on my phone, standing in my stateroom doorway. There was one crew member in the On Air bar who actively smiled and called me by name, asking if I wanted another of a drink I had ordered on a previous day. He then wished me a happy birthday. He never once mentioned a survey or review.
I ended up getting Covid on the cruise. Despite washing my hands, using sanitizer at the elevators, and being overall actively healthy and clean (even wearing a mask when told I didn't have to). I later found out they were hiding the number of covid cases (and RC has been hiding this info as a company). I was in a group of 50+ people when I got off the cruise. There was only 1 nurse working that night so I sat in medical for 4 hours. I know for a fact 100+ people were positive because I heard them saying "there's another one, that makes 30" and that was early in the cruise.
I was told that I would be refunded for the day I missed in quarantine, and that since I was flying home, I had to book a hotel for the remaining days of up to 10 before flying home. I was told I would be reimbursed 250$ per night for hotel, 100$ per day for food, and up to 400$ for flight change fees. I was also told I could get room service, movies and internet and it would be reimbursed later.
I was then told when I got home that this was not true and it was only covered up to 5 days for hotel, and only up to a certain limit on flight change fees. I was then told to show the exact paper (as if they didn't believe me) and the paper that stated I was required to quarantine (this was a phone call, not a paper.) as no where it was stated I was required to quarantine up to 10 days to fly home.
So now I'm down 2500$ on food and hotel that I didn't need to pay because RC said they'd reimburse, and they have yet to confirm they will reimburse this.
Also want to mention I booked a studio room and still paid for 2 people, even though I was told 1000x over that I wouldn't have to pay the supplement fee.
So in total, I'm down 4500$ and I got to drink a handful of non alcoholic beverages while walking around a ship for 3 days, ate freezer pizza, had a traumatic scuba experience and was mislead by RC. On top of that, I missed 2 weeks of work and am on the brink of being fired due to having to take nearly an entire month off.
I am not one to complain but after spending 2 months of prep on this cruise and doing everything RCB told me to do, I had such a horrible experience that I doubt I will ever cruise again after this. I hope your experiences are better than mine.