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Im officially booked on Harmony for March!!!!  This will be my 1st BIG ship experience, and from what Ive seen my boys (9 and 5 at sailing) will love it. As and adult, whats the biggest takeaway in making the jump from the smaller ships to the 2nd largest cruise ship in the world?!?!?!? Previously my largest ship was Carnival Legend (shame shame).  

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On 5/29/2020 at 11:03 AM, SteveinSC said:

Im officially booked on Harmony for March!!!!  This will be my 1st BIG ship experience, and from what Ive seen my boys (9 and 5 at sailing) will love it. As and adult, whats the biggest takeaway in making the jump from the smaller ships to the 2nd largest cruise ship in the world?!?!?!? Previously my largest ship was Carnival Legend (shame shame).  

Prepare to be wowed! Tremendous ships with so much more activity, entertainment and dining options. The neighborhood concept (Central Park, Boardwalk, etc.) is amazing!

One thing to know (unless it changes across the fleet) is that you should really book your entertainment on Oasis class (and Quantum class I believe) ships prior to sailing for best selection of show times/dates (through Cruise Planner). The entertainment opens up usually 60-90 days prior to sailing in the CP. I remember on Freedom and Voyager class, we were assigned show times based on muster stations and never had to reserve shows.

Have an amazing time! 🙂

 

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The biggest recommendation I can offer for a big ship rookie is to recognize up front that you will not be able to do everything.  Pick your high priority activities and be prepared to be flexible.  It will be so exciting for you.  The first time you see one of the big girls, it's stunning...and that is nothing compared to the first time you step inside and realize the awesomeness.  

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8 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

 

The biggest recommendation I can offer for a big ship rookie is to recognize up front that you will not be able to do everything.

 

You can do everything it just means that by day four or five your wife and daughter will hate you because you ran them ragged. I speak from experience ✋

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9 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

The biggest recommendation I can offer for a big ship rookie is to recognize up front that you will not be able to do everything.  Pick your high priority activities and be prepared to be flexible.  It will be so exciting for you.  The first time you see one of the big girls, it's stunning...and that is nothing compared to the first time you step inside and realize the awesomeness.  

Im a parent of 8 and 4 year old boys. Flexibility is my life for the past 8 years. My highest priority item is actually putting them in adventure ocean, hanging out around the pools and enjoying a drink. lol  

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Research and planning ahead will pay off huge!

Great source of info is also past Cruise Compasses. Matt has a link to a bunch on this site. 

While it may seem very overwhelming due to the size of the ship, once you learn to navigate to and from the different areas, you'll realize that the bulk of the ship is cabin space, and there are only a handful of areas that you really utilize. And each person's utilization rate of those areas will vary greatly. i.e. some people may never leave the solarium when on the upper decks, while others may never step foot in there more than once. 

PS... one trick of the trade... if you need to go from one end of the ship to the other quickly.... the jogging track is GREAT for that. (Just mind the correct direction)

Enjoy!

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3 hours ago, Andrew72681 said:

You can do everything it just means that by day four or five your wife and daughter will hate you because you ran them ragged. I speak from experience ✋

Sounds like our first cruise back in 2006. No daughter, just my wife, and we HAD to do everything on the ship (Navigator) and an excursion in every port. She has reminded me of that cruise every time I start to planning a new one! :3_grin:

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3 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

The biggest recommendation I can offer for a big ship rookie is to recognize up front that you will not be able to do everything.  Pick your high priority activities and be prepared to be flexible.  It will be so exciting for you.  The first time you see one of the big girls, it's stunning...and that is nothing compared to the first time you step inside and realize the awesomeness.  

I would have to agree. Thankfully our first big ship experience was a B2B on Harmony. Even with two weeks, we didn’t experience everything we probably could have. These ships are just amazing. I can’t wait to get back. 

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Most of the info you get depends on the type of room you have.  Grand suite and above requires few advanced reservations.  The are dedicated reserved areas of suite guest.  I believe the comedy show will require reservations for anyone.  Like most have said on here,  don't try to do everything.  Relax, take things at a reasonable pace and enjoy yourself.  Remember your on vacation.

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There are some great tips and info in this thread so far.  One thing I think you should remember is that the general layout of the ship is the same even if it is much larger.  Your will find the top decks still have the public spaces for sunning and swimming as well as other activities and some places to get drinks and eats.  Progressing down you will find mainly Decks with staterooms until you reach the lower public spaces which will have theater, shops Restaurants and Casino.  
 

Yes, there is much more to do and lots more stairs and walking but if you are typically on the top decks to sunbath, swim and play person, then that will probably hold true for the larger ship.  If you recognize your normal pattern of where you spend your time on the smaller ship it will help with your planning for the larger one.  Unless you are doing a longer cruise like a trans Atlantic understand you will not be able to do it all.  Have fun and happy planning.

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My husband is someone that gets how to circumvent a ship easier than I can.  I admit to being navigationally challenged.

The thing with big ships to me is it can be difficult to navigate if you don't want to utilize the elevator.  Try whenever not to use it during peak times (dinner/shows), unless you see the stowaway in the elevator.

  •  We do everything to avoid elevators.  Have to burn off those calories somehow.  I swear on Anthem he had us take 2 staircases down, went through the casino, than had to take a staircase up on the opposite side of the ship to the MDR.  Not sure, that was it, but pretty sure.   
  •  The funny thing is my 1st cruise with him I complained.  I learned quickly we got there faster than the elevators.  3rd cruise with family.  Their reaction was where are you leading us, the elevator would be faster!  They too quickly learned that the people we saw waiting at the elevator on the same floor arrived a few mins later., and we did not speed walk.  

The best part of taking the staircases to me is the amazing artwork that you will never see in the elevator.  

  •  To illustrate how bad I am navigationally.  The only way I knew which floor I was on, or which way to turn on our deck was the artwork.  (that and cabin decorations!). 

I will also say on big ships I refuse to do less than 7 nights.  Not because there is so much to do, but because it will take me 5 days to figure out the fastest/easiest route to my cabin.  Husband on Day 3 when we return from a port, will say; go ahead, take us back to our cabin!  Who knew that in my 50s I would still be given a pop quiz?  I always get us there using his route, but luckily it is not timed.  Only the artwork keeps me on point.  

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I agree with most of this. I will also add look at the complementary food venues outside of the Windjammer. Our first day or two on Harmony the crowds for breakfast and lunch were overwhelming for me coming from smaller ships. Once we started to explore other options (especially Solarium bistro and Park Cafe) it just improved the whole experience. Also I will say having a cabin on deck 6 was fantastic when the abyss slide was open we used it as an elevator!

We actually found Harmony better to navigate than smaller ships surprisingly. The different neighborhoods make it easy to get your bearings.

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