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S0nny

Will it be ‘Harmonious’? - Harmony of the Seas... live blog?

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Well... today is the day! We were prepared in the usual fashion of pre-cruise excitement. For us, that means I obsess over the minutia, while typically missing the bigger picture of intentionally needing to relax 😂😭 Our nails freshly manicured, our tans freshly sprayed, and our nose hairs freshly waxed, I was starting to feel better prepared! (Too TMI with the nose hairs? ... I’ll rein in the descriptors... But man... getting old sucks sometimes). 
 

We are sailing out of Orlando today on Harmony of the Seas. Of COURSE I’m up at 5am eagerly anticipating embarkation on one of our favorite ways to vacation. 
 

I’ll try to keep this as ‘live’ as possible! (Hence the Ron Burgundy question mark at the end of the title). I just wanted to post some tidbits that we are learning along the way. We are doing a lot of firsts on this cruise! This is our first junior suite, our first time purchasing The Key, our first time booking UDP, first cruise ship escape room, first time maybe eating in CK, first sailing out of Port Canaveral, and first time in Harmony OTS. We originally booked a New Zealand cruise during our Cuban cruise on Empress last year. We saved and saved, but ended up canceling around June due to scheduling conflicts. This cruise was a spur of the moment purchase in our desperation to take a reprieve from work... so we just said “the heck with it” and went all in with the bells and whistles (well... all the bells and whistles as far as we can afford...I’m the cheap one in the marriage by the way). 
 

Thanks for joining!

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First day travel—

We booked a room on Cocoa Beach in the Courtyard by Marriott. Arriving a day earlier, I had the preference of staying in Orlando (more bang for your buck IMO)... but the Colombian side of my husband was wanting to stay closer to the port... and I’ve learned just to not argue with that side (sorta like disagreeing with Pablo Escobar...). 
 

No problems with our flight. I usually make fun of my little Colombian when he books travel because he loves to book our flights with a few hours layover so we can relax in the lounge and eat/drink... the analytical and practical side of me just wants to get to where I’m going 😂 If we have a layover it’s nice to use a lounge, but I won’t go out of my way to add time onto a travel day. With me booking, I gave us about a 50 minute layover (which in hindsight ALSO wasn’t the best). But we were still able to pop into the Delta lounge and grab some drinks and a hot meal. 

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Arrived in Orlando airport and dang... I always forget how big and weird this airport is! We made our way to grab our bags and hopped into the USO for a bottle of water and to see if they had any recommendations for shuttles to Cocoa Beach. (My plan was just to book the Uber, but no harm in asking) For our vets out there... if you need a moment to relax at MCO... I DEFINITELY recommend stopping by! This is probably one of the nicest USO’s I have ever been in. 
 

All of the shuttles they recommended (Go Port was one) had already had their last shuttle out. (We arrived MCO at 7pm). Back to square one booking an Uber... but at least we were able to get some waters/soda/snacks for the road!

 

Here’s my first tidbit: don’t let the Uber driver convince you to cancel your ride. Booked the Uber, we were waiting outside the rideshare pickup area, and we get a message from the driver. He messaged that he was “unable” to pickup at the airport due to “not having a permit”, and we would need to cancel the ride. (He most likely just saw the distance and didn’t want to make the long drive). Knowing we would likely get hit with a charge if we did, and confirming with the airport security the no permit was necessary, I knew the guy was either just scamming, or at a minimum being dishonest. We simply told him he didn’t need the permit, and if he didn’t want to perform the ride, he needed to cancel. He eventually did. We got another one shortly after (within about 10 minutes). 
 

The ride to Cocoa Beach wasn’t bad. We were both tired after a long day of traveling. The hotel is ok, but not worth the price tag IMO. (We had an AMEX travel credit of $200 which is the only reason I agreed to the $300 price tag of staying here vs. Orlando). Ultimately we thought my gut was right, hotel room is a little dingy. But they did have a beautiful pool area, the bar had good food, and I even caught a glimpse of a fire pit where people were enjoying drinks and community. 
 

If you have the time to just shuttle to the port the next morning, and cost is a factor, I would say just stay in Orlando. There were plenty of nice hotels right next to the Airport that were really affordable. 
 

That’s it for day 1 travel day! I’ll let y’all know how embarkation day was when it’s over!

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Embarkation Day 1

EMBARKATION PROCESS

We’re told to arrive at 130pm, we showed up at about 10:15. I took a picture and set a timer when we walked through the port terminal doors. From door to door it was LESS THAN 20 minutes. 

It might have been even sooo we if we didn’t let one of the staff convince us we didn’t belong I. The suite class line. 

 

Drink Count with UBP

7

 

 

THE KEY

lunch was meh. Filet mignon Steak dry. Burger ok

Had dedicated check in during embarkation but only once past security. 

As of today, seems like moot point to book if you booked a suite or above. The Chops Key lunch served in the MDR was a miss for both my Colombian and me. Maybe not a bad idea if you wanted to try Chops. But those with the UDP... I personally think you’re better off just eating at Chops with their full menu

One major plus was the fact you could leave your carry-on at the MDR entrance, and they would deliver it do your door/room!’

 

UDP RESERVATIONS

CK Reservation went smoothly. Maître d’ promised to be at dining room waiting for us to let us in. We booked both formal nights even though only Junior Suite. 

Other reservations went really smoothly, plenty available, double booked just in case. Easy to cancel

 

RCI APP

Difficulty with app adding reservations for dinner and activities. Some reservations were wrong. Made it difficult to get an idea of what we were doing and when

Seemed almost more challenging to schedule and book through there since there were app bugs

If your plans don’t revolve around frantically trying to finish your scuba course that you weren’t able to finish before sailing... it seems like it would be pretty easy to make plans. 

 

PADI OPEN WATER DIVER CERTIFICATION

This literally consumed our whole day. Not because of the staff, but because we decided to book it relatively last minute and didn’t have a chance to complete ALL of the eLearning modules. 

Spent hours rushing trying to finish. In the end, they checked to see if we completed the training, but didn’t seem too bothered when they initially though we hadn’t. Just seemed like the general guidance was: just make sure you finish ASAP. 

I will make a separate post about this and link it here later. 

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Grease was good. Enjoyed the show. I’d say a solid 8/10 for what it was.

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Thanks for the pic of the activity schedule!

Nice to see that the Ultimate Abyss is included (we were on Allure so naturally not an option)! I wish they would add the water slides too!

Wow, I wonder if the quality will suffer now that the Chops embarkation lunch was moved to the MDR... we had ours in Chops back in May before the switch to the MDR and it was awesome for the four of us!

Filet was amazing... tender and delicious!

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50 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

I wonder if the quality will suffer now that the Chops embarkation lunch was moved to the MDR

It wasn’t the same Chops experience 😞. It might have been the same cut of meat... but it was honestly a little dry. Same could be said for the burger. 
I’m not sure how the cooking goes behind the scene (I tore my ACL on our last cruise and was on crutches... so the Galley Brunch we booked was a no-go 😂😂), but I would imagine it’s not the same group of people cooking it, and perhaps that explains the slight change in quality. 

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DAY 2: Perfect day at Cocoa Cay

 

DRINK COUNT

Specialty Coffee

Frozen mojito

Bahama Mama x4

Shot of rum

3 glasses of champagne with dinner

Disarono on the rocks 

1 terrible drink from the mechanical bar (it must have ran out of limes and couldn’t muddle 😂😂)

 12 drinks total

 

THRILL PARK

got off ship about 0900, waited about 15 minutes to ride Devil’s Peak

No big wait on any other of the rides in the tower

Headed over to Slingshot and waited about 15 minutes

The rest of the slides wasn’t much of a wait. 

Great day! Nearly “perfect”

 

UNLIMITED DINING PLAN

this is the only not so perfect thing about Cocoa Cay. So apparently Captain Jacks on Cocoa Cay IS NOT included with the UDP! I ordered some chicken wings for the brusband thinking it would certainly be covered and well within the food credit... but alas no 😒 Seems a little weird to have a charge for something like that. 

 

Also, surprisingly Wonderland was rather a miss for us. They waiter recommended we let them pick some of the favorites for appetizers and we pick the mains. We really liked only 3 of the 7 appetizers served. They weren’t bad, just not delicious. Perhaps if we had just chosen which ones we would have preferred based on tastes, this would have been a better experience. The brusband got the pork belly and I the beef short rib. Both were good. 

 

The view and the experience in the venue was worth it since I don’t think there is another view like that on the ship. But the food was hit or miss for us. Perhaps if you’re bringing young’s ones who are picky eaters, this may not be worth your money if they don’t like it. 

 

The other thing with dinner, they came out to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to my Colombian, and forgot his name 😂😂 And not in a casual... mumble mumble something close kinda way... but as in they still tried to sing it with no clue. (They literally may have said the words mumble mumble... I’m still not sure) Lol It was no big deal... but the waiter seemed so embarrassed for clearly not knowing his name (in spite of just confirming with us both right before), that he FORGOT to pour whatever hot sauce goes on top of the chocolate dome 😂 By the time we got his attention, the sauce had cooled. He still tried pouring it, and what came next was a sad awkward moment coupled with fear and false hope. He poured ALL of the contents over the dessert and when nothing really happened... he pleaded with it. Then he tried covering up for the poor performance by saying.., I’m sure any minute now it will start melting. We were left with a half melted, Frankenstein of a dessert 😂😂 No big deal; it was still rather delicious.

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Also forgot to mention, they held a Veteran’s Day event on board in the Promenade. They sang the national anthem, and had one of the casts from Grease sing ‘Hallelujah’ with lyrics changed to honor our servicemen and women. The moment of silence was deafening. Both my husband and I are veterans, and found it to be very touching and moving. (Also on board was a 92 yo WWII vet!). Thanks to RCI for taking the time to honor our vets!

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3 hours ago, S0nny said:

The other thing with dinner, they came out to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to my Colombian, and forgot his name 😂😂 And not in a casual... mumble mumble something close kinda way... but as in they still tried to sing it with no clue. (They literally may have said the words mumble mumble... I’m still not sure) Lol It was no big deal... but waiter seemed so embarrassed for clearly not knowing his name (in spite of just confirming with us both right before), that he FORGOT to pour whatever hot sauce goes on top of the chocolate dome 😂 By the time we got his attention, the sauce had cooled. He still tried pouring it, and what came next was a sad awkward moment coupled with fear and false hope. He poured ALL of the contents over the dessert and when nothing really happened... he pleaded with it. Then he tried covering up for the poor performance by saying.., I’m sure any minute now it will start melting. We were left with a half melted, Frankenstein of a dessert 😂😂 No big deal; it was still rather delicious.

Can I just say, this is the funniest thing that I have read in a while!  I read this twice and still laughing about it!

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5 hours ago, S0nny said:

Also forgot to mention, they held a Veteran’s Day event on board in the Promenade. They sang the national anthem, and had one of the casts from Grease sing ‘Hallelujah’ with lyrics changed to honor our servicemen and women. The moment of silence was deafening. Both my husband and I are veterans, and found it to be very touching and moving. (Also on board was a 92 yo WWII vet!). Thanks to RCI for taking the time to honor our vets!

Thank you both for your service. 😀

 

 

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10 hours ago, S0nny said:

DAY 2: Perfect day at Cocoa Cay

 

DRINK COUNT

Specialty Coffee

Frozen mojito

Bahama Mama x4

Shot of rum

3 glasses of champagne with dinner

Disarono on the rocks 

1 terrible drink from the mechanical bar (it must have ran out of limes and couldn’t muddle 😂😂)

 12 drinks total

Holy Hell- you go Boy!  I get drunk on a bud light 🙂

 

 

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10 hours ago, S0nny said:

Also forgot to mention, they held a Veteran’s Day event on board in the Promenade. They sang the national anthem, and had one of the casts from Grease sing ‘Hallelujah’ with lyrics changed to honor our servicemen and women. The moment of silence was deafening. Both my husband and I are veterans, and found it to be very touching and moving. (Also on board was a 92 yo WWII vet!). Thanks to RCI for taking the time to honor our vets!

Thank you both for your service and kudos to Royal for honoring all veterans!

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Well folks... what can I say... what. a. day. 
 

We started off this morning with our PADI dive class which ended about an hour and a half short due to one our our classmates throwing up in the pool 🤢 🤮 . Class ran from 06:30am-10:30am. (They had to clean out the whole pool!). You can read more about the PADI certification process over here https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/16546-all-about-our-padi-certification-on-board-harmony-ots/

DRINK COUNT

x5 frozen mojitos, x1 fresh squeezed juice, x2 shots of Bacardi (to spice up our frozen mojitos 😂) = 9 total

DINNER AT CK

This was the first formal night and we actually had made reservations for 5:45pm. Due to the pool vomit, we had to reschedule part of the class in the pm. This meant we had to push CK dinner plans later till 8pm. I was super nervous they would be overbooked, but they were accommodating. And in the end they were practically empty. Dinner was really delicious! Personally though... if you pay for the UDP... I don’t know if I would pass up a meal in one of the specialty restaurants to eat in CK. 
While on the topic of food, we made a stop by the concierge desk and inquired about having to pay for food at Captain Jacks on Perfect Day Cocoa Cay. I couldn’t get over how cheap it is to charge someone $10 for wings, when the person has already paid $179-$200 for “unlimited” specialty food. 🤷🏼‍♂️ They were really insistent it would not be covered.  Be forewarned. Anybody think I can call customer service and have it comped or is it not worth the effort???

PADI open water portion starts tomorrow in Costa Maya. I’ll let y’all know how it’s going!

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