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Sailing in harmony on Harmony of the Seas-February 16-23


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Harmony of the Seas – February 16 to February 23 – Semi Live Review

I have always enjoyed reading the cruise reviews for their information and entertainment value.  They also make the time between cruises a bit more bearable.  I have done three post cruise reviews, but this will be my first attempt at a live review.  In fact this is my first time with the internet on the ship, not sure how it will go but I will try my best to post in between enjoying the cruise.  I’ll also try and answer anyone’s questions that they may have.  I fancy myself as an amateur photographer so there will be lots of pics. 

We are a mid-60s couple, and I would describe ourselves as pretty easy to please and we are more inclined to roll with the flow.  On our past cruises dining has been in the MDR, café promenade/compass deli and the windjammer in that order.  The buffet would be my least favorite place to eat.  We don’t spend a great deal of time in our cabin and the only thing I expect from our room steward is to make the bed, replace the towels and fill the ice bucket in the evenings.   We enjoy listening to music and attending the various shows and lounging in the sun/hot tub during sea days.  On port days, we like to do a bit of sightseeing.

Background:  We booked this cruise three days into our very first cruise on Oasis of the Seas in April 2018.  I retired in November 2017 and after hearing about Royal Caribbean cruises from a co-worker I decided to finally take my DW on a cruise, something she had wanted to try for a long time.  To say that we fell in love with cruising is an understatement.  In addition to this cruise we have three others booked.

Harmony is our fourth cruise, with Oasis, Grandeur and Majesty being number 1, 2 and 3.  All have been great experiences.  We have an ocean view balcony, and first seating Traditional Dining.  We are not foodies and the MDR and other included venues have been fine with us in the past.  The only specialty dining we have experienced so far was Chops Brunch on Grandeur of the Seas and we were not that impressed with that one.  But because we wanted to experience Wonderland, I purchased the three night dining package for this cruise, when it went on sale for $99pp.  Our plans are to eat at Chops, Wonderland and 150 Central Park.  We were also lucky enough to get the great UBP glitch of 2019, so there will be no problem breaking even on this cruise.  I have the digital photo package so we will be jumping in front of a ship’s photographer as much as I can.  At the last minute, we purchased The Key as prices went down, so I will try to do a somewhat live review this time.

The Plan:  We started taking ballroom dance lessons this past September and hope to find opportunities to dance the night away.  The pre-cruise events starts off with a formal Sweetheart Dance on February 14 put on by our local dance studio.  With only a few hours of sleep we fly from DC to Orlando Saturday Morning.  So here is our itinerary for this cruise.

Pre-Cruise Day -2:  Final packing and attending the Sweetheart Formal Dance.

Pre-Cruise Day -1:  Flight to Orlando, spend the day checking out Disney Springs and/or Universal City Walk before checking into Country Inn & Suites by Radisson.

Cruise Day 1:  Kraken Lava Flow, specialty dinner reservations and then Chops lunch in the MDR. 

Cruise Day 2:  Coco Cay-this is our second time at Coco Cay, but the first time at Perfect Day.  Plans are for a relaxing beach day with time in the pool, beach and exploring the island taking photographs.

Cruise Day 3:  Sea Day-this is a do nothing but enjoy the ship day.

Cruise Day 4:  Puerto Costa Maya-this is our second time here.  On our first visit we took a Royal excursion to the Mayan ruins at Kohunlich and Dizbanche, this time the plans are to explore the port and visit the Aviary.

Cruise Day 5:  Roatan, Honduras- we will be doing the adults only Sol y Mar Beach Club.   

Cruise Day 6:  Cozumel, Mexico-this will be our third time here, previously we did the Mayan Ruins at San Gervasio and Chocolate Factory Tour and explored downtown San Miguel.  This time we have Trikes Cozumel reserved for a tour around the island, followed by some time downtown before heading back to the ship.

Cruise Day 7:  Final Sea Day-hoping to enjoy the ship and drink our sorrows away as this cruise comes to an end.

Cruise Day 8:  Will be dragged off the ship kicking and screaming, once the shock wears off we’ll be off to explore Cocoa Beach area.  DW does not like rushing off the ship to the airport so we will spend another night in Florida before heading home.

Post-Cruise Day:  It’s back to the cruel cold winter with a flight from MCO to IAD.

 

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Really looking forward to this blog! I’m extra interested in your thoughts on the Key on Harmony, especially on where the Key show seating is and how the final debarking is (is there an escort?) since I’ve heard mixed things. Also looking forward to your specialty dining reviews since we also have the 3 night dining package on Harmony. Have fun and thanks for doing this! 

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9 hours ago, Ogilthorpe said:

Most excellent introduction, we looking forward to following your posts!! 😁🤗😁

Thank you ! I can get a bit wordy in my descriptions.

9 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

Really looking forward to this blog! I’m extra interested in your thoughts on the Key on Harmony, especially on where the Key show seating is and how the final debarking is (is there an escort?) since I’ve heard mixed things. Also looking forward to your specialty dining reviews since we also have the 3 night dining package on Harmony. Have fun and thanks for doing this! 

Thank you !  My scheduled check in time is 1:30-2:30; but we always arrive early.  I hope to start my check in around 10:00; I don't mind waiting in the terminal to board.  Won't be in a hurry to get off, the plan is for breakfast in the MDR around 8:00.  I have heard that your luggage is placed in a special section.  We normally just grab a lite lunch when boarding, but looking forward to trying the Chops lunch menu.

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6 hours ago, WannaCruise said:

Looking forward to your review. I laughed how you documented Kraken Lava Flow for cruise day 1 (but good choice!)

Safe travels.

We learned about Lava Flows from this forum and it was our first drink on our first cruise, so it's our tradition to officially start each cruise with a Lava Flow.  And they are mighty refreshing also.

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15 minutes ago, JLMoran said:
 

Trust me when I say that you’re not alone. 😁

Have a great pre-cruise and actual cruise! I’ll be following along. 

 

10 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

@DandA trust me when I say that you can trust him on that one! 🤣

LOL I've followed along on both of your reviews, and enjoyed them all.   

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We only have two more nights at home before we fly out to Orlando and the pre-cruise packing panic is setting in.  Just like Santa, I’m making a list and checking it twice.  Am I packing everything I need; do I really need that?  Can I get everything in two checked bags or do I need a third?

Tomorrow is turning into a busy day; I had surgery on my foot in December and have one final check with the surgeon in the morning, the store for any last minute items, and get some cash from the bank.  I have one final check in with my elderly parents to make sure they are set for me to be gone.  Then we have a formal dance for Valentine’s Day.   I’ll finally take a breather once we are wheels up on Saturday morning.

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Pre-cruise Day:  We flew from Dulles International Airport to Orlando on a morning flight on Southwest Airlines leaving the cold freezing weather behind.

Arriving in Orlando it was a long trek from the Southwest gate to baggage claim.  Played the baggage claim musical chairs, first bags are coming out at one carousel the no it’s over here, no we were just kidding back to the original location.

Collected our rental from Alamo it was quick and painless and we were off to Disney Springs for lunch.  Walked around Disney Springs a bit then headed to the hotel.  A couple of days earlier, I realized I scored a rental car bonus by renting from Alamo.  I’m not loyal to one brand over the other usually going with the best rate, but I was happy that the return location is like a 10 minute walk to the ship.

 

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Wow, I don't know how you live bloggers manage to keep up.  Its been a hectic two days.  Let me try to catch up with Day 1.

Cruise Day 1:  Embarkation from Port Canaveral:  I woke up early and drove to the port to watch Harmony come in before daybreak.  It was amazing how effortlessly she came into port, turned and slipped into the dock. 

Had a bit of panic set in, somehow my trunk popped open after returning to the hotel and before breakfast.  The front desk called to let me know my trunk was open; with most of my bags in the trunk I flew down four flights of stairs worried that my bags were gone.  Was relieved to find all was safe. Once my heart returned to a normal beat, we were off to eat the complimentary breakfast.  It was pretty much standard free hotel breakfast.  They had fixings to make a breakfast burrito, waffles, cereal, bagels and such. 

I dropped the bags off at the porters around 9:45 and went to return the rental car.  Entered the terminal at 10:10 and seated in “The Key” area at 10:20, no sooner had we sat down they started boarding.  The Key boarded right after B2B, Suites, and Diamond +.

Once onboard we stopped to make our specialty dinner reservations, then off to Bolero’s for WOW bands while the DW ordered our cruise starting Kracken Lava Flows.  With drinks in hand, we dropped the carryon bag at the MDR to be delivered to the room and set about exploring the ship a bit.

Lunch was the Chops Lunch in the MDR which is part of “The Key”.  Started with the shrimp cocktail, 6 oz. fillet mignon and we shared a warm chocolate cake.  Steak was tender and cooked to order, although I would have seasoned the meat.  Tried the peppercorn sauce, wasn’t my cup of tea, I generally cook my steaks at home with a little salt and pepper and that’s it.  It was a larger lunch than we normally have but it was a nice relaxing way to start the cruise. 

The rooms opened up before we finished lunch so we checked out our room.  My carryon bag was in the room and I spotted one of my suitcases down the hall.  After unpacking the carryon and hanging clothes suitcase; went back down the hall and my other two bags were there. 

Tonight’s supper was in the MDR, a dance or two in the Promenade and then to the showing of “Grease”.  Seating for Key guests was on deck 4 in the balcony, better seats were available 30 minutes before the show on deck 3 center.  We enjoyed the show and it definitely is not for children, yet many were in attendance.  The gestures were very explicit, much more than I remember in the movie.

After “Grease” we went back to our room to change shoes around 10:15pm, only to find out the doors on all of deck 6 were malfunctioning no one could get into their rooms.  After waiting a bit and talking to several ships’ crew members, Security came with the key and lets us in.  Doors were working again around 11:45 pm but we had decided to call it a night.

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On 2/11/2020 at 9:37 PM, DandA said:

The Plan:  We started taking ballroom dance lessons this past September and hope to find opportunities to dance the night away.  The pre-cruise events starts off with a formal Sweetheart Dance on February 14 put on by our local dance studio.  With only a few hours of sleep we fly from DC to Orlando Saturday Morning.  So here is our itinerary for this cruise.

Pre-Cruise Day -2:  Final packing and attending the Sweetheart Formal Dance.

 

 

You are local to me and I have to wonder if we go to the same dance studio?!?!?! Looking forward to following along!

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Cruise Day 2:  Coco Cay, Bahamas:  I woke up around 6:30 to find us about 30’ from the dock in Coco Cay, we were scheduled to be there at 8:00.  I thought maybe they would open the gangway earlier, but apparently they had to wait for the dock workers to arrive.

Empress joined us in port today,  with Harmony and Empress both at Coco Cay there was plenty of free  loungers both at Chill Island and Oasis Lagoon;  spent a couple of hours at both locations soaking up the warm sun.  We didn’t go into the water heard several people say the water was cold, a few were in the ocean but there were quite a few in Oasis Lagoon. Grabbed a crispy chicken sandwich and funnel cake from the Snak Shack it was less hectic there than our previous lunches at Labadee and Coco Cay.

Summary of Coco Cay:  I’d say they have it right for calling it Perfect Day, there is something for everyone.  The only food place that seemed busy was Chill Grill, Snak Shack and Captain Jacks were not crowded at all.  One observation is that there were plenty of empty day beds at Chill Island and most of the over water cabanas were empty also.  If that is a trend maybe prices will come down.  After lunch we headed back to the ship and found a fruit basket waiting for us (nice touch), partook of an embarrassing round of mini golf before getting ready for dinner.

We had our first specialty dinner tonight at Chops; DW had the Tuna Tartare, Spicy Jumbo Shrimp and Key Lime Pie, I had the Charred Beef Carpaccio, NY Strip and Warm Chocolate Cake.  I must say everything was delicious and the service was excellent.  It was a bit louder than I thought it would be but still quieter than the MDR.  I don’t normally eat steak out as I purchase a ¼ of a Black Angus cow each year and find most steak houses disappointing.  The fillet I had for the Key Lunch was good and tender but I wasn’t impressed with the flavor, but the NY Strip was seasoned just right and very tender.  Wrapped up the evening in Boleros dancing to the Latin Band.

 

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