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Royal Caribbean ship collision due to pilot error

In:
27 May 2022

It appears the collision of Harmony of the Seas was due to the harbor pilot.

Falmouth, Jamiaca

Thursday morning Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas collided with a dock at the port of Falmouth, Jamaica.

No injuries were sustained to either crew or passengers. The collision is said to have caused mostly cosmetic damage to the vessel, including dents and paint scrapes.

The damage was caused when Harmony of the Seas struck a concrete mooring pylon while docking at the port. The incident occurred around 7 a.m. local time, Thursday morning. 

“There were no injuries to guests or crew and only minor cosmetic damage to the ship’s stern. The sailing will continue as scheduled,” stated Royal Caribbean about the incident. 

According to the Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, the collision by Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, at the Falmouth port was caused by Pilot error. 

The Jamaica Gleaner quoted Bartlett saying, “the good news is that nobody got hurt and the damage was minimal to the vessel and it was able to continue its journey unfazed and really unaffected.”

Bartlett is also said to have stated that the collision with the dock occurred when the Pilot was badly directed while steering the ship in to be docked in Falmouth. 

The port did sustain some damage from the incident. The Tourism Minister stated, “we are repairing the damaged areas at the port now. The divers are there now recovering the broken elements and we should be back in full order for the ships that come next week.”

Who is the harbor pilot?

Pilot boat

A harbor pilot is someone who guides ships and vessels through congested waters of a port or harbor.

You may have seen a pilot boat when your cruise departed or entered a port, usually during sailaway is when they are most commonly spotted.

Harbor pilots have detailed knowledge and experience in the waterways that they help direct vessels through. At almost every port, a harbor pilot will be brought aboard a cruise ship to help direct the large ship into place at the dock. Harbor Pilots are considered to be experts on the particular port that they manage.

Harbor Pilots work for the port that they help direct ships into, while a ship’s Captain works for the cruise line.

While Jamaican regulations may differ, the Florida Harbor Pilots association says when a pilot is onboard a ship, it's their responsibility to guide the ship when docking or departing.

"Harbor pilots are responsible for the safety of the vessel which they are navigating, and also with the protection of the state waters, harbors, ports, environment, life and property, including effects that ships transiting a harbor may have on other ships moored at the docks and any impact on port facilities."

No significant damage to Harmony of the Seas

If you have an upcoming cruise on Harmony of the Seas, this week's incident will have no impact on your sailing.

Royal Caribbean described the damage as, "cosmetic", and not to expect any impact to sailings.

This is somewhat similar to when another vessel drifted into Mariner of the Seas while docked in Freeport. Just like Harmony, the incident looked worse than it was in terms of the visuals.

Royal Caribbean updates: Harmony of the Seas, crew member hiring drive & more

In:
26 May 2022

Another week of Royal Caribbean cruise news to catch up on, and we have the latest morsels of updates you should be aware of over the past few days.

Not every piece of Royal Caribbean news is significant enough for its own article, so this weekly wrap-up has the happenings we've noticed.

You can always email anything you spot to [email protected]

Here's a look at this week's goings-on.

Harmony of the Seas backs into Falmouth pier

The Harmony of the Seas had a small incident on Thursday when she backed into the pier during the docking procedure in Falmouth, Jamaica.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader BobNoxiousUSA shared photos from onboard the ship.

In a statement by Royal Caribbean, the ship incurred very minor damage of no consequence as a result of the incident, "During arrival into Falmouth, Jamaica, Harmony of the Seas made contact with an extension part of the dock."

"There were no injuries to guests or crew and only minor cosmetic damage to the ship’s stern. The sailing will continue as scheduled."

Global crew member recruitment drive

Royal Caribbean is actively working to hire as many new crew members as they can, given the staff shortages noted by people that have been on cruises recently.

The company has been holding job fairs in Europe since April to get more crew members, which have taken them to countries such as Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia and more.

In addition, Royal Caribbean Group signed a deal in Trinidad and Tobago to hire more crew. The goal is to hire 2,000 people from the islands to work on Royal Caribbean Group ships.

Royal Caribbean Group partners with company for zero carbon shipping

Royal Caribbean Group signed a new deal to provide zero carbon technologies and solutions.

Earlier this week, Royal Caribbean Group and Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for zero carbon shipping, which is part of the company's overall Destination Net Zero goal to reduce net zero emissions by 2050.

The Moller Center explores viable de-carbonization pathways; facilitates the development and implementation of new energy technologies; builds confidence in new concepts and their supply chains; and defines and matures viable strategic pathways to the required systemic change. 

"Collective action is imperative as we deploy our Destination Net Zero strategy to decarbonize our business and catalyze innovation for our industry," said Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO.

"By joining the Center Royal Caribbean Group aligns itself with a network of like-minded companies with an unrelenting drive to find solutions for a sustainable future."

This is a long-term strategic collaboration between the two companies

Royal Caribbean updates: SpaceX, Singapore cancellations & more

In:
03 Feb 2022

There's plenty of cruise news out there, and I have a fresh look at some of the bigger stories from this week.

There are smaller updates from across the fleet that I think are kind of interesting, neat, or otherwise good to know.

If you ever have a news tip, feel free to email it to [email protected] for possible inclusion in a future update!

Coast Guard investigating SpaceX launch scrub due to Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas 2020 Live Blog - Cruise Preview | Royal Caribbean Blog

A SpaceX cruise ship attempt to launch a rocket last weekend was cancelled due to Harmony of the Seas veering into the "exclusion zone", and now the United States Coast Guard is involved.

Prior to any SpaceX launch, there is an exclusion zone established so that no planes, ships, etc are able to enter the space, which adjoins against the second busiest cruise and shipping port in the country at Port Canaveral.

How to get from Orlando to Port Canaveral | Royal Caribbean Blog

Harmony of the Seas entered that zone, which cancelled the launch. SpaceX was able to launch the rocket the next day.

The Falcon 9 rocket was carrying an Italian satellite into orbit

U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson David Micallef confirmed that the Coast Guard will look into what happened, "Our primary concern is the safety of mariners at sea, and we will continue to work with our federal, state, and local port partners to ensure safe and navigable waterways."

Singapore cancels two Quantum of the Seas cruises due to Covid-19

Royal Caribbean extends Singapore season for Quantum of the Seas in 2021 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Two sailings on Quantum of the Seas from Singapore had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 cases among the crew.

According to the cruise line, 0.6% of the crew tested positive for Covid-19, and so the sailings were cancelled "in an abundance of caution."

The crew members that tested positive were immediately isolated. Close contacts were also quarantined and tested.

Quantum of the Seas ends sailing 7 hours early due to non-covid medical issue | Royal Caribbean Blog

According to the Singapore Cruise Society, the affected sailings were the January 31, 2022 and February 3, 2022

The ship will under go a deep cleaning and disinfection during her time off.

Wonder of the Seas arrives in Cyprus

The newest and largest cruise ship in the world made a brief stop in Cyprus as it prepares to begin cruises.

Wonder of the Seas arrived in Limassol, Cyprus on January 31st in order to bring more crew members onboard.

Cyprus' Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos welcomed the ship upon her arrival, "The benefits for our economy and tourism are huge, when leading shipping companies dock in Cyprus. We welcome to the Port of Limassol the largest cruise ship in the world, the Wonder of the Seas of Royal Caribbean."

Wonder is now headed to Cadiz, Spain as a final stop before her transatlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The first sailing of Wonder of the Seas will be March 4, 2022.

Labadee sign painted

Labadee re-opened last week, and the sign that spells out the private destination's name has been repainted.

Prior to the pandemic, the letters had a colorful look to them, against a blue background.

Friday Photos | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean repainted the letters with a green background and a white floral motif.

Royal Caribbean also shared new aerial photos of Labadee.

 

Royal Caribbean trademarks "Accessory Place"

In January, Royal Caribbean Group trademarked the phrase "Accessory Place".

According to the paperwork filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the trademark is intended to cover the category of retail store services featuring jewelry.

Trying out the free activities on Harmony of the Seas

In:
22 Jan 2022

I’m onboard Harmony of the Seas this week for a 7-night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day cruise. As this is my first time on an Oasis-class ship, I wanted to try out all the free signature activities this ship has to offer.

From water slides to a zipline and rock climbing, there was no shortage of things to do during my time onboard and I found myself trying a new activity every day.

The Ultimate Abyss

A unique activity only found on Oasis-class ships is the Ultimate Abyss. The Ultimate Abyss is a pair of two 70ft high slides (150 feet above sea level) located in the aft of Harmony of the Seas. The slide departs from the Sports Court on deck 15 and slides down to the Boardwalk neighborhood on deck 6.

The Ultimate Abyss is not a water slide, but is a dry slide in which you use a mat with a pocket for your feet and hold on to a handle. As there are two slides side by side, you can race to the bottom with a fellow passenger.

The slide starts by climbing through the mouth of an entrance designed like an anglerfish predator, with 35 teeth, two eyes, and a photophore (light source to attract prey). The entrance has a glass floor and views of the aft below, which gets your adrenaline pumping even before the slide starts.

This was probably my favorite new activity that I tried! The ride takes an average of 13 seconds from top to bottom as you twist and turn through a tunnel with sound effects, music, and lights. It was much more thrilling than I imagined it would be and I found myself wanting to do it again as soon as I reached the bottom!

I liked the fact that it wasn’t a water slide, so I didn’t have to wear a swimsuit in order to try it. Plus, the slide brings you to an entirely different neighborhood on the ship! Who needs elevators when you have the Ultimate Abyss?

The Ultimate Abyss has a minimum height of 44 inches and a maximum weight of 300 pounds.

Water slides

Harmony of the Seas has three water slides which comprise what is called the “Perfect Storm water slides”. These are one of the most popular activities onboard Harmony of the Seas, and for good reason. They are thrilling, tall, and a fun activity for guests of all ages. I had actually never done the water slides on any Royal Caribbean ship, so I was excited to try them out.

The first slide I tried was the blue one on the Cyclone and Typhoon slides. These are the yellow and blue racing slides on Harmony of the Seas which twist and turn several times as you race to the bottom.

To be honest, this slide made me feel uneasy as it was mostly pitch black and I had no idea where I was going and for how long I would be sliding down. It made me pretty claustrophobic and panicky! Because of this, I decided to skip trying the yellow slide. Other guests and especially kids seemed to be enjoying the Cyclone and Typhoon slides, though!

Next up was the Supercell side, otherwise known as the “toilet bowl”. This yellow and green-colored slide takes you on a couple twists and turns before sliding you into a giant “toilet bowl”. Once in the bowl, you will slide around a few times before falling into the middle.

I much preferred the Supercell slide over the Cyclone and Typhoon slides. I liked how there were no pitch black sections of the slide, so it was not as disorienting. The slide has both clear and rainbow-colored sections before sliding you into the bowl, where you are in the open air again. It was actually a ton of fun so I did it three times in a row!

Zipline

Who ever thought you would be able to zipline on a cruise ship? Oasis-class ships are the only Royal Caribbean ships to have a zipline. The zipline flies 9 decks above the Boardwalk neighborhood on Harmony of the Seas and spans 82 feet from start to end.

When you arrive at the zipline station, a staff member will put a harness on you and guide you to the launching area.

I felt confident in doing the zipline until it came to the point where the crew member clipped me in and told me to start. At this point, it really hit me that I was about to fly through the air! As you take your feet off the ground and start flying to the other side, though, you realize that it’s actually a lot more fun than it is scary.

I enjoyed the zipline overall, although it was a short experience so I’m not sure I would wait in a huge line for it. The zipline itself only takes around 10 seconds, but I think it is still a fun activity to try at least once on your cruise. Be sure to wear laced shoes or bring socks to borrow shoes, as non-lace tennis shoes, such as sandals, are not allowed.

Passengers must be at least 52” tall to ride the zipline and weigh between 75-275 pounds. 

Rock climbing

The next activity I tried was rock climbing. I go to a rock climbing gym at home and climb a few times a week, so this is always my favorite sports activity to do onboard. Royal Caribbean’s rock climbing walls have routes with varying levels of difficulty, making it a fun activity for any fitness level.

There are two rock walls on Harmony of the Seas which are located in the Boardwalk neighborhood, overlooking the Aquatheater and wonderful views of the aft.

Before you go to the rock climbing wall, make sure you have socks and are not wearing a bathing suit. My recommendation is to wear a t-shirt and shorts to ensure you have the proper attire on for climbing. The staff will give you rock climbing shoes and harness before clipping you into the wall!

I went up the wall twice in a row to get a quick workout in and was blown away by the 180 degree view of the ship’s wake from the top of the rock climbing wall.

My one complaint with the rock climbing wall is that the colorful holds on the wall are not properly tightened. When you grab many of the holds, they turn slightly. This is not ideal because you can unexpectedly fall when you grab something or when you put your foot on a hold.

The rock climbing wall is available for guests 6 and older and guests must be able to fit into the harness. Socks, dry clothes, shorts, or pants are required.

Carousel

Located in the Boardwalk neighborhood on Harmony of the Seas is a colorful, intricately-designed carousel that seems to transport you back in time. Animals of all kinds line the carousel and it is an activity available during both the day and evening onboard.

I thought the carousel was fun, although it is geared toward small children so it wasn’t the most thrilling activity I tried. For children, though, I think that the addition of a carousel on a cruise ship adds to the family-friendly environment created on Harmony of the Seas.

Guests must be at least 42 inches tall to ride the carousel without an adult. If under 42 inches, an adult must be standing next to the child and have their hands on the child at all times during the ride.

Flowrider

The Flowrider surf simulator is a common activity on Royal Caribbean’s ships, but it is one that I had never tried before. Harmony of the Seas has two Flowriders in the aft of the ship. 

I had never tried the Flowrider because I wasn’t sure I would be very good at it. While I took surfing lessons several years ago, I was not exactly the most skilled surfer out there (and that’s an understatement). However, I figured that after six Royal Caribbean cruises, it was finally time to give the Flowrider a chance.

As a beginner, I started off by boogie boarding. The staff give you a very brief introduction into how to hold the boogie board and how to launch into the water. As soon as I launched, I was nearly overtaken by the water rushing all around me and I kept getting sent all the way to the back of the Flowrider instead of boogie boarding around the middle.

To be honest, I was pretty bad at this and cannot imagine being able to surf standing up on the Flowrider! That being said, I did not wipe out and send the boogie board flying away, so I was pretty happy about that. It was fun, although it wasn’t my favorite activity which was probably due to my lack of skill. I think I will have to try it again in the future, though!

Be sure to wear a swimsuit to the Flowrider and be aware that there is the slight possibility of a loose swimsuit falling off as the water rushes around you. I would recommend a one piece swimsuit to avoid any potential mishaps… you’ve been warned!

Guests must be at least 52 inches tall to use the Flowrider.

Ice Skating

Harmony of the Seas has an ice rink onboard in Studio B, where the ship’s figure skating cast perform impressive ice skating shows throughout the cruise. During the day, though, the ice rink is often open for free skate sessions where passengers can test out their skills on the ice.

Guests must sign up for an ice skating session by heading down to Studio B when sign ups are listed in the Cruise Compass. When you arrive at your scheduled time, the staff will give you skates and a helmet and you are free to skate in any way you like.

I really enjoyed my time ice skating onboard as it was something I definitely don’t usually do at home. It is also a great indoor activity to do when the weather outside is not cooperating. There are rails on the side of the entire ice rink so if you are a beginner you can hold onto the side.

Parents must supervise minors at all times at the ice skating rink and must be on the ice with children under 6.

Q&A: What is it like to sail on Harmony of the Seas this week?

In:
19 Jan 2022

Going on a cruise right now can be a little unpredictable. Protocols, entertainment, and dining options are subject to change from sailing to sailing.

I am onboard Harmony of the Seas this week for a 7-night Eastern Caribbean and Perfect Day cruise, and I wanted to share what the experience is like by answering questions people might have.

We asked our followers on Facebook what questions they had about sailing on Harmony of the Seas this week, and here are our most requested answers:

How many guests are onboard?

Guest Services told me there were around 2500 passengers onboard.

Harmony of the Seas has a capacity of 5,479 guests at double occupancy, so the ship is a little under 50% capacity this week.

What is the entertainment this week? Is anything canceled?

Due to the omicron surge, there has been an influx of changes in entertainment offerings onboard Royal Caribbean ships. When I boarded the cruise on Sunday, I wasn’t sure what, if anything, would be offered in terms of headliner entertainment on Harmony of the Seas.

There have been several changes in entertainment:

  • Grease: The Musical is not being performed this week
  • Big Daddy’s Hideaway Heist is being performed in the Aquatheater, but the other show, The Fine Line, is not.
  • 1887: A Journey in Time and iSkate Showcase are being performed in Studio B.
  • Entertainment in the Royal Theater includes headliner vocalists, comedians, and game shows

While some entertainment offerings have been canceled or modified, there is still no shortage of things to do this week. Whether live music, comedy shows, dance classes, or signature activities, it’s easy to keep yourself busy onboard.

How is Adventure Ocean operating?

Adventure Ocean is currently operating at limited capacity with around 15-20 kids per room. Reservations are required and the amount of time slots a child gets in Adventure Ocean depends on the amount of children on a particular sailing. There will be more reservations available per child on a sailing with less kids onboard.

Walk-ins are available throughout the week, too, but are not guaranteed. However, I was told that parents have usually been able to drop their child off at Adventure Ocean on a walk-in during this cruise.

The teen clubs are open as normal throughout the day and there are still specific times for teens available at onboard activities like the Flowrider and Ultimate Abyss.

What restaurants are open for dinner?

The following restaurants and venues are open for dinner:

  • Main Dining Room
  • Windjammer
  • Izumi
  • Jamie’s Italian
  • 150 Central Park
  • Chops Grill
  • Coastal Kitchen
  • Wonderland

A few other dining changes to note:

  • Johnny Rockets is only open for lunch from 11:30AM - 4PM on this sailing
  • Sabor is not open for food, although the bar is open
  • Solarium Bistro is not open for any meal

How did the testing go?

Royal Caribbean now accepts CDC-approved at-home COVID-19 tests | Royal Caribbean Blog

I tested before my cruise with the Abbott BinaxNOW Ag Card home test and I cannot recommend it enough! With the at-home test, you do not have to worry about finding a Covid test appointment and you can complete the test at whatever time works best for you.

Ordering a pack of these tests makes fulfilling the testing requirements a breeze. Each time I have done it so far, I have been completely done with the test in the same amount of time it would have taken me to drive to an appointment at CVS.

How was boarding the ship?

I had purchased The Key before my cruise, so I had priority boarding. With The Key, I was able to go through the priority boarding lane and got on the ship within 10-15 minutes total. The normal line to board seemed to be moving fairly quickly too.

Does this sailing offer any themed nightly activities?

There is the “Totally Awesome ‘90’s Party” and “Country & Western Line Dance Party” which are located in Studio B on days 3 and 4. On day 5 is the “70’s Disco Inferno Party” at the Aquatheater.

There are a variety of DJs and nightclub experiences throughout the week as well.

What are the port stops this week?

Our scheduled port stops this week were St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Perfect Day at CocoCay. When I booked the cruise we were originally supposed to go to Antigua, which was then replaced by San Juan… which was then replaced by St. Maarten!

Unfortunately, today it was announced that we will be unable to visit St. Thomas. I predicted this would happen because St. Thomas has been denying ships recently, but it is still a bummer! Having four sea days and only two ports is not the most ideal scenario. As it was known in advance that it was unlikely we would go to St. Thomas anyway, I do wish something else could have been planned.

Regardless, it is important to be flexible these days when going on a cruise.

Are you going to Labadee?

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Matt's Day 3 - Labadee | Royal Caribbean Blog

Our itinerary does not go to Labadee for this cruise, but next week’s sailing on Harmony of the Seas is scheduled to stop at Labadee. Labadee has not reopened since cruises restarted in June 2021, but it appears that Harmony of the Seas may actually be going there next week.

We have a full article about the possibility of Labadee reopening here.

Are they still doing “The Quest”?

They are not doing The Quest on this sailing. The Quest has also not been offered on the previous five cruises I have been on since the restart.

What are the best and worst specialty restaurants onboard?

This question is highly subjective, of course, and what is the “best” for one person might be the “worst” for another. In my opinion, the best specialty restaurants onboard Harmony of the Seas are Jamie’s Italian and Izumi Hibachi.

That being said, a restaurant like Wonderland is a dining experience that you should definitely try. I have also not had the chance to try Sabor or 150 Central Park yet!

How is the masking?

Royal Caribbean extends stricter face mask protocols until January 31, 2022 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Last month, Royal Caribbean changed its mask protocols to require masks worn at all times indoors except when eating or drinking. Previously, masks were not required in vaccinated-only venues onboard.

This change has not been an issue for me personally. On my sailings before the protocol change, I would often wear my mask in crowded indoor spaces anyway. Plus, I live in a state with an indoor mask mandate so I hardly even notice. In addition, for a lot of the cruise experience, you are either outside or sitting indoors while eating or drinking, so often the mask is only used when walking from place to place.

I have not noticed anyone purposefully disregarding the masking rules on the ship. The only protocol not being followed well is the capacity per elevator. There are often way too many people in the elevator!

Why didn’t you invite all of us?

Sorry about that!

Be sure to check out the Royal Caribbean Blog group cruises here and join the party! Our two upcoming group cruises are an 8-night sailing on Mariner of the Seas in July and a 7-night sailing on Wonder of the Seas in December.

My first impressions of an Oasis-class ship

In:
17 Jan 2022

Today marks the start of a new adventure: my first Royal Caribbean cruise on an Oasis-class ship. I am onboard Harmony of the Seas this week for a 7-night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day cruise. Harmony of the Seas is currently, as of January 2022, the second biggest cruise ship in the world.

To say I was excited before the cruise is an understatement. After five sailings on Voyager, Freedom, and Quantum Class ships, I couldn’t wait to try out the ship class everyone talks so much about. As I planned my cruise, though, I wasn’t sure what I would think of Harmony of the Seas.

Read moreWhat's the differences between each of the Oasis class ships?

It seems many cruise fans love the Oasis-class because of the seemingly endless places to go and things to do onboard, but there are others who much prefer to cruise on smaller ships. Needless to say, I was ready to get onboard this morning and finally explore Harmony of the Seas.

First Impressions

The first difference I saw before boarding Harmony of the Seas was the amount of activities in the Cruise Planner. While all Royal Caribbean ships have an elaborate list of activities and events, I was shocked by the amount of programming listed in the Cruise Planner. From multiple dance classes per day to ziplining sessions and countless choices of live music, I was almost overwhelmed by options!

There is no shortage of things to do on any Royal Caribbean ship, but this is especially true on an Oasis-class ship.

When I got onboard, the first thing I noticed was that everything is bigger on an Oasis-class ship. The Royal Promenade is bigger, the spa is bigger, the pool deck is bigger, and even the elevators seem bigger!

I spent most of the day checking out venues that are only available on Oasis-class ships. First I tried a fresh smoothie at Vitality Cafe and later in the day I listened to live music at Jazz on 4. I always try to see the jazz shows on any ship, but having a special venue focusing only on jazz music is awesome! So far, it seems like there is something for everyone on Harmony of the Seas.

The sheer size of an Oasis-class ship really hit me, though, when I walked to the boardwalk. Seeing the ship’s aft split in two sides and the massive Aquatheater stage was unbelievable. I could not believe the scale of the ship and I found myself saying “Oh my gosh” over and over as I explored Harmony of the Seas.

Speaking of unbelievable, I had the chance to watch one of the ice shows, 1887: A Journey in Time, and it was also extremely impressive. The way that the show utilizes lights to create different scenes on the ice, such as traveling through space and being in the ocean, is unlike anything I have seen before.

While it's been a wonderful first day onboard, I cannot say yet whether I prefer the Oasis-class over another class of ship. Thus far in my cruising experience, I have not disliked any class of ship, but it’s hard to pinpoint which class is my favorite. The Voyager-class will always have a special place in my heart due to the fact that my first cruise was on Mariner of the Seas. That being said, I’ve also come to appreciate the expanded range of activities you will find in bigger ships like Odyssey of the Seas.

Harmony of the Seas is proving to be an incredible ship thus far, though, and I am excited to see what the rest of the week has in store.

The upcoming week

I will be staying in a balcony stateroom on this sailing. I had originally booked an interior cabin, but was upgraded to a balcony due to cabins being switched around due to distancing protocols. I’m definitely happy about the upgrade, and I even got $100 extra onboard credit for the “inconvenience”! Plus, it feels extra spacious after my small interior cabin on Independence of the Seas last week.

The only problem with having a balcony on a cruise with so much to do is that it is extremely tempting to spend the whole day relaxing on the balcony!

I will not be doing a live blog every day of this cruise, but will instead focus on highlighting activities, tours, and events throughout this sailing. Harmony of the Seas is set to visit St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Perfect Day at CocoCay this week. While I’m not sure we will make the stop to St. Thomas (several ships have been denied entry there recently), I am confident we will be able to make the other two stops.

Here are my plans for this cruise:

  1. Try complimentary onboard activities only offered on Oasis-class ships like the Ultimate Abyss, Zipline, and extra-high rock climbing wall
  2. Explore everything St. Maarten has to offer via a bicycle rental
  3. Try scuba diving for the first time in St. Thomas on the “Discover Scuba Diving” excursion

Read moreTop 25 free things you can do on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class cruise ships

Covid protocols

As I am cruising in January 2022, things can be a bit unpredictable. Harmony of the Seas is operating at around 50% capacity with 2500 passengers onboard. So far the ship does not seem very crowded and everyone seems to be following mask protocols well.

There are a few changes to the week’s entertainment programming, though. Grease: The Musical will not be performed this week and only one Aquatheater show, Hideaway Heist, will be performed.  As of now it appears that both iSkate Showcase and 1887: A Journey in Time will be performed in Studio B.

Other than that, it appears that the Solarium Bistro is closed, and that only the bar at Sabor is open on this sailing. The Escape Room doesn’t appear to be open, either, but that has been the case on every ship I have been on since the restart.

While reading this may seem like a lot is closed onboard, it is just a tiny fraction of the venues available on an Oasis-class ship, so it is barely noticeable. I did plan to try Sabor, but I will have to do that on a future sailing.

Regardless, I feel safe onboard with the strict protocols in place and am looking forward to the rest of the week on Harmony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Matt and Beci's Top 3 on Harmony

In:
01 Dec 2021

Listen to the Show

Recorded on Harmony of the Seas, Matt and Beci list their top 3 things they like doing on Harmony of the Seas.

Share with me your thoughts, questions and comments via...

On this episode:
Running time:

First Oasis Class cruise ship restarts sailings in Europe

In:
16 Aug 2021

Another Royal Caribbean cruise ship has restarted sailings, and this one is sailing from Barcelona, Spain.

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas resumed operations on Sunday, and is offering 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, Spain.

While not the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to restart in Europe, she is the biggest ship to restart in Europe, following on the successful restarts of Anthem of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas.

From August to October, Harmony of the Seas will offer visits to ports in Palma De Mallorca, Florence, Rome, and Naples.

All passengers and crew members onboard Harmony of the Seas 18 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Children younger than the eligible age can sail with a negative test result and must follow other health and safety protocols. 

Royal Caribbean's mask policy for sailings from Barcelona on Harmony indicate all guests 6 years and older must wear a mask in all indoor and outdoor public spaces, unless seated and actively eating or drinking or sitting beside the pool. Masks are not required in staterooms if you are with your own travel party. Masks are not permitted in the pool or for any activity where they could become wet.

Other protocols onboard include the ships’ robust ventilation systems, enhanced cleaning and sanitization, and cruising at reduced occupancy as ships initially return to sailing.

Health and safety measures will be evaluated as public health circumstances evolve, and guests and travel partners will be notified of updates.

At the ports Harmony of the Seas will visit, shore excursion options depend on the country's rules.

  • Spain
    • Fully vaccinated parties have the choice of booking a shore excursion or visiting freely.
    • Parties that wish to go ashore and include any unvaccinated guests, must book a shore excursion through Royal Caribbean
  • Italy
    • All travel parties that wish to go ashore must purchase a local tour through Royal Caribbean. 

Ben Bouldin, vice president for EMEA, Royal Caribbean International commented “We are delighted to welcome back another ship to our European lineup this summer with the return of the award-winning Harmony of the Seas. Harmony is an incredibly popular ship and one of the most revolutionary in our fleet, so families are in for a summer of adventure.”

Royal Caribbean announces health protocols for Harmony of the Seas from Spain

In:
08 Jul 2021

Royal Caribbean has released the health protocols for guests sailing on Harmony of the Seas from Spain in August.

Like other ships that have restarted sailings, Harmony of the Seas has its own set of protocols for passengers that will bee sailing when the first cruises resume.

Harmony of the Seas is scheduled to restart sailings from Barcelona, Spain on August 15, 2021.

Keep in mind these protocols could change, and protocols for European sailings may be different than protocols when the ship returns to the United States.

Here is what Royal Caribbean has outlined for guests sailing on Harmony.

Vaccines

All guests 18 years and older must present proof of full Covid-19 vaccination, with the final dose of the vaccine administered at least 14 days before the sail date. 

Guests younger than 18 years of age do not need to be vaccinated; however, if they are, they should bring proof of vaccination to board and follow the testing guidance for fully vaccinated guests. 

All crew onboard Harmony of the Seas will be fully vaccinated.

On the transatlantic crossing to the United States, all guests must present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, with the final dose of the vaccine administered at least 14 days before the sail date. Guests without proof of vaccination will not be permitted to sail. 

Proof of vaccination

Acceptable proof of vaccination must be in the form of the original vaccination record document issued by the country’s health authority or healthcare provider that administered the vaccination.

The vaccination record submitted must show that the guest is fully vaccinated. This means that the guest has completed the full cycle of required doses for the vaccine administered (e.g., received the second dose in a two-dose series) and that the guest has received the final dose at least 14 days before arriving at their cruise departure terminal in Barcelona.

Testing & Entry Requirements

Guests sailing from Barcelona, Spain will need to have the following documents when arriving to board the ship.

  • Proof of Vaccinations: Royal Caribbean requires guests age 18 years and older to be fully vaccinated. Upon arrival at the port, vaccinated guests must display proof of vaccination - acceptable proof of vaccination must be in the form of the original vaccination record document issued by the country’s health authority or healthcare provider that administered the vaccination. The vaccination record submitted must show that the guest is fully vaccinated — this means that the guest has completed the full cycle of required doses for the vaccine administered (e.g., received the second dose in a two-dose series) and that the guest has received the final dose at least 14 days before arriving at their cruise departure terminal in Barcelona.
  • Antigen Test Result: All guests age 2 years and older— including those who have been vaccinated — will need to take a complimentary antigen test on arrival at the port and present the negative test result.
  • Passport/European ID Card: Guests of all ages must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of return to the guest’s home country. EU Nationals may also present their European ID card.
  • Health Questionnaire: Guests of all ages must complete the pre-cruise Health Questionnaire on the Royal Caribbean App the day before you board.
  • Visa: should one be required to enter Spain and any of the ports of call included within the itinerary.

Boarding Day in Barcelona

All guests age 2 years and older must take a complimentary rapid antigen test at the terminal in Barcelona and receive a negative result in order to sail. Registration instructions will be emailed in advance — approximately 14-18 days before the sail date.

During the Cruise

All unvaccinated guests aged between 2-17 years, must take a complimentary rapid antigen test towards the middle of the cruise. Once onboard, we’ll let you know where to go to take it.

Before Returning Home

All guests aged 2 years and older will need to take a complimentary COVID-19 test before disembarking the cruise. This result is required for re-entry into Spain and can also be used for re-entry into the guest’s home country, if needed. Additional details will be provided onboard.
 
Guests under 2 years of age will not be tested.

Masks

All guests 6 years and older, regardless of vaccine status, must wear a mask in all indoor and outdoor public spaces, unless seated and actively eating or drinking or sitting beside the pool.

Masks are not required to be worn:

  • In your own stateroom
  • In the pool or any activity where it could get wet
  • At public ports of call, local mask guidelines apply.    

Temperature Checks

For cruises departing from Spain, daily temperature checks will be conducted on all guests and crew to comply with local and national guidelines. 

More changes likely

Please note that health protocols are expected to change over time. Guidance for other ports and sailings is still in development with federal, state, and local authorities. 

Royal Caribbean promises more updates as they become necessary.

Here is a look at the email sent to passengers booked on Harmony.

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas completes dry dock

In:
01 May 2021

Another Royal Caribbean has completed her routine maintenance.

Harmony of the Seas is back in the water following a multi-week dry dock in Cadiz, Spain.

Harmony of the Seas is one of four Royal Caribbean ships that will get work done at the Navantia shipyards.

There was no major upgrades or enhancements made to Harmony of the Seas. Rather, it underwent routine work that is required every few years (usually five) so that the vessel can be properly maintained and seaworthy.

Captain Johnny Faevelen and James Van Fleet each posted photos of Harmony's final days at the shipyard.

These type of dry docks are known as a technical dry dock.

Harmony of the Seas arrived in Spain in early April to undergo technical work on her propellors, stabilizers and bottom valves, as well as give the ship some paint work. 

Around 8,000 liters of paint were needed for the work.

Read moreHarmony of the Seas Guide & Review

According to the shipyard, Jewel of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas will follow in May 2021, followed by Liberty of the Seas in July 2021.  

Royal Caribbean suspended upgrades and enhancements under its Royal Amplification program until further notice due to the global cruise industry shutdown.

Other ships have gone in for work over the last year, but not received upgrades, such as Allure, Explorer and Anthem of the Seas.

Prior to the global cruise industry shutdown, Harmony of the Seas was scheduled to sail in Europe this summer from Barcelona, although firm restart plans for the ship have not been announced by Royal Caribbean.

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