The world’s largest cruise ship has arrived!
Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas is ready to take you and your family on the adventure of a lifetime. So, what sets her apart from her sister ships, the Oasis and the Allure of the Seas? For starters, a mere one foot—plus 1,700 tons (226,963 total) and the capacity for 100 more passengers (6,780 guests total). She is the widest and strongest cruise ship on the seas, and she measures longer than the legendary Titanic by 306 feet. Among her many super-sized features, Harmony has seven different “neighborhoods,” 20 dining areas to choose from, a staggering 23 swimming pools, and an international crew of 2,394 eager to attend to your every need. She feels more like a floating city than a boat. The cost to build her? A cool billion dollars…
+ VOOM Wi-Fi: Harmony of the Seas also boasts VOOM, the fastest internet at sea!
One of the highlights of my 2016 was accepting an offer to board and then sail the Harmony of the Seas on a two-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau. The passengers were mainly travel media. I was to represent JohnnyJet.com (my brother’s website!). What an excellent opportunity to relax and meet interesting people—and most of all to set foot on the world’s largest cruise ship!
So off I went, with a small carry-on bag, an iPad, a laptop, a Nikon, a passport, a bathing suit, a few casual outfits, sunglasses, and a dress. And after my two days at sea, I have to say that my experience aboard the Harmony of the Seas sailed beyond all of my expectations. It was more than a Caribbean getaway; it was like a fantasy trip into the future. I’m already booking my holiday plans to come back!
Here are my top 10 reasons to step aboard Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas:
1. You’ll never go hungry
One of the highlights of cruising on a ship is the food—and there’s no shortage or limit. As soon as you board Harmony of the Seas, you have your photo taken and your credit card swiped (like on may ships in the category). You then get your new room card, which you can use to pay for extras while onboard. There’s no exchange of money from that point forward. If you’d like to purchase something lovely or upgrade to fine dining, all you have to do is swipe your room card. It’s that simple!
All of the food on the Harmony of the Seas was better than I’d expected. It was fresh, healthy and, most importantly, delicious! Some of the complimentary meals were served in the main dining room and at the Windjammer market. The Windjammer has a buffet-style breakfast and lunch that converts to a regular dining room at night. The view was spectacular, sunny and relaxing.
For lunch, there was an array of every type of food imaginable, from healthy salads to pasta with cream sauces, and then tilapia, veggies, fruit, shrimp cocktail, and even gluten-free desserts. On my first day onboard, I decided to try one of my favorites, Indian fare. The Caribbean chicken curry, mango chutney and palek paneer all tasted authentic.
For dessert, there was a huge selection of scrumptious pies with an adorable man in a traditional uniform serving them with a huge smile. He tried to coax me into the ice cream and homemade cookies but I opted for my favorite instead: warm bread pudding with vanilla sauce. (I’m sure my kids would have chosen the Nutella and pear pie or the blueberry cheesecake.) I was in heaven! I loved watching people make their own ice cream cones from different stations and decks. It really brought a smile to their faces. The coffee was excellent, as well.
A few of my favorite places to eat onboard the ship:
- Boardwalk Dog House — Hot dogs.
- miniBites — Sliders, grilled cheese…
- Sorrento’s — Italian.
- Johnny Rocket’s — A staple for hamburgers, fries and old-fashioned milk shakes.
- Sabor Taqueria & Tequila Bar — Great food and tequila.
- Starbucks — Who would have thought? Royal Caribbean thinks of everything. When you need that extra pick me up at 4am, you can head straight over to this hotspot.
- Jamie’s Italian — Celebrity British chef Jamie Oliver aims to please every time. In 2005, Jamie initiated a campaign called Feed Me Better to move British schoolchildren toward eating healthier foods and cutting out junk food.
- Chops Grill — The signature steakhouse onboard.
- 150 Central Park — Celebrity Chef Michael Schwartz’s food and service was phenomenal. I took a class on wine-and-cheese pairing with nine other guests here. The cheese was divine and flown in from London. The setting was formal and hosts Dominique Gamba and chef Michael Gilligan were informative and captured my attention with all kinds of fun trivia as well as cheese and wine facts.
- And… — One of my favorites was the gourmet sandwiches at the fitness spa. The smoothie bar looked delicious, as well!
Wonderland restaurant (on deck 12) gets its own callout. The dreamy space generates excitement right when you walk through its gold door, and inside the decor is whimsical, with narrow corridors and tiny lights all around. There’s an open kitchen that’s two stories, and a simply magical ambience. Guests paint the menu with water to reveal the options! The cuisine is more than imaginative; it’s a “lifelong memory” sort of experience. Another unique touch: the liquid nitrogen frozen glasses.
3. The robot bar
On deck 5 is the first bionic bar at sea—meaning the bartenders are robots! It’s something you cannot miss aboard the Harmony of the Seas. It’s so futuristic and the entertainment doesn’t stop, as the robots work hard to please their customers and put on quite a show. The room decor is fun and futuristic, too.
4. Broadway entertainment at sea
Yes, Broadway at sea! The production of Grease—the first ever at sea—was exhilarating, with tons of high energy. It’s dynamic and the original choreography makes this performance a must-see. The music was also phenomenal, as were the cast and costumes. I absolutely loved it!
Also playing onboard the ship on my cruise: Columbus, a musical spinoff based on the life of Christopher Columbus’ cousin Marvin. An original production by Royal Caribbean.
5. The AquaTheater and Studio B
Performances at the AquaTheater on deck 5 are complimentary, and breathtaking. The open-air amphitheater has an intimate feel (it can hold up to 700 guests), and there I saw a variety of entertainers perform Cirque de Soleil-style acrobatic moves on a zipline and high dives into a small pool. Ultra-gifted dancers emerged in sync from under the water. The exotic costumes and ocean backdrop made some ridiculously impossible moves appear that much more dramatic. Just a word of caution to those sitting in the front row: You may get soaked!
The late night shows were very sophisticated, with romantic dancers, tranquil music and a light show. The AquaTheater is also where the band DNCE performed on the way to Nassau. Joe Jonas’s high-energy music had everyone in the audience singing and dancing!
Elsewhere, in Studio B, you can see fantastical and realistic ice skating shows—and go ice skating.
6. Your kids will never get bored
Among the many, many thrilling options for your kids onboard the Harmony of the Seas:
- The Ultimate Abyss — A favorite of mine on deck 15. This massive, dual slide is the world’s largest ever built on a cruise ship! Looking up from below, I never dreamed of going down it; it’s 10-stories tall and you enter through the jaws of a giant angler fish. The next thing I knew, I was on deck 15 standing on a see-through floor on the highest point of the ship and looking down, about to enter the slide. I crawled into my sack and got the green light…and off I went down into the abyss! The way down takes a total of 11 seconds, and inside there are drops, twists and turns guided by colorful tiny lights. I absolutely loved it!
- The Perfect Storm — Kids and adults will also love this trio of waterslides that whisk you from one part of the ship to another in a matter of seconds. In the gorgeous Caribbean weather, why not put on your bathing suits and have some fun?
- Splashaway Bay — A kids waterpark that your children will remember forever. With some of the largest waterslides ever built, water cannons and giant water buckets, there’s enough water fun to keep everyone happy.
- Game rooms — All of the traditional and state-of-the-art games/systems are available.
- Ziplining — A highlight for many aboard the Harmony of the Seas!
- Miniature golf
- Two rock-climbing walls
7. Two FlowRider surfing pools
If you’re looking for something super fun and adventurous on a cruise ship, you have to try the FlowRider! It’s a pool that generate a perfect surfing wave, and it’s wet and wild fun. I actually tried it on the Oasis a few years back (above).
Before I tried it, I didn’t know what to expect, but I have to say that it looks a lot easier than it is. I’m sure after some practice you can get the hang of it, and for the surfers out there, it’s cake! Put your bathing suit on and give it a shot. Why not?!
8. Plenty of fun and educational stuff for young kids and babies
You’re welcome to play with your little ones, but you can also choose to leave them for dinner knowing they’re in great hands. They’ll love:
- Adventure Ocean — Learning activities pertaining to the ocean.
- Royal Babies and Royal Tots — Interactive playgroup sessions.
- Adventure Science Lab — Your children will love watching “scientists” concoct special formulas that fizzle!
- Adventure Ocean Theater — With puppets. A favorite for all kids!
- Imagination Studio — A futuristic classroom setting with a teacher on a television screen that asks your children questions and allows them to answer.
9. The Vitality Spa
Harmony of the Seas‘ Vitality Spa is the largest spa and fitness center on the seas, with 25 treatment rooms. In addition to the long list of massage and wellness treatments, there are eight heated thermal chairs and daily spinning classes. The fitness center has daily classes, stair-climbers, running machines, and weights.
There’s also the adults-only Solarium, with twelve heated chaise lounge chairs. The massage therapist there gave me a whole list of specialty services including a cane massage, deep tissue and hot rocks. All sounded delightful.
10. Cabin accommodations fit for a king!
The accommodations are unreal. Some have large balconies with whirlpools, dual master bedrooms, and marble master baths—and can sleep up to fourteen guests! There are also some very modern, loft-style bedrooms that take up two floors and four bedrooms with large dining areas.
Many of the cabins have balconies that face the interior of the ship, such as the Central Park and Promenade styles. The majority have ocean views. Then there’s the Presidential Family Suite, the Family Ocean View Stateroom with bunkbeds, the Owner’s Suite with balcony, the Royal Family Suite with balcony, the Loft Suite, and more. Some of the balconies are enormous, boasting private whirlpools, and the interiors are beautifully decorated and many have marble baths.
As for me, I stayed in a Balcony cabin, the most common cabin. It was 182 square feet and cozy, and the bed was very comfortable.
Two days was not enough time to see even a quarter of what this magnificent ship had to offer, but it sure did give me a flavor of the excitement on the soon-to-be-iconic Harmony of the Seas. I would not hesitate to recommend booking a seven-day cruise today.
For such a cruise, prices range from $800 to $19,000 per person depending on the season and room. You can also add upgrades that allow you priority seating to shows and reservations, etc.
For more on sailing Royal Caribbean’s Harmony on the Seas, check out the ship’s homepage here.