The Harmony of the Seas Cruise Ship is an amazing and entertaining cruise ship vessel. But there were a few NEED TO KNOW things I couldn’t fit into the first post about our experience cruising with Royal Caribbean earlier this year. It’s only fitting that the biggest cruise ship on the ocean (as of January 2017) The Harmony of the Seas Cruise Ship demand a couple of posts.
Here are the answers to your most pressing questions about this cruise ship. Is it too big? Will I wait for everything? What kind of room is best when I cruise with the Harmony of the Seas? What age should my children be before I book a cruise on the Harmony of the Seas?
As I noted in an earlier post, The Harmony of The Seas cruise ship is a massive vessel. Bigger is not better for everyone. Even if you do fall in love with the boat and the amenities, there are a few quirky things you need to know before booking so that you can get the most out of your cruise.
We’ve cruised several times now and love this as an option for family travel. Cruising is an affordable way to travel, especially with younger children. But with any cruise line, or cruise ship, there are a few little things that you really need to be aware of before you book. These seemingly small things can make a big impact.
Here are Seven Things You Need to Know Before you Vacation on Harmony of the Seas Cruise Ship.
IS SIZE A FACTOR?
This is a massive boat. If you don’t like bigger cruise ships don’t book this one. Sometimes waiting with thousands of people is a PITA. Now let me stress that we rarely had a huge wait for anything important like meals. Service in the dining rooms was incredible. Luggage arrived quickly when boarding and we were on and off the boat pretty quickly too. The design of this boat is clever. Traffic flows on the ship. There are very few bottlenecks.
But there are some things you will wait for as a result of the massive ship’s size. ELEVATORS. You will always wait for elevators on a cruise of this size. In fact every cruise has this issue. Taking the stairs is smart because everyone I know gains weight on a cruise. (Food is unreal typically) Plan to wait the day you board and go to the Muster Stations for the mandatory safety demonstration. Bar drinks are often in high demand so there’s a wait of course especially after excursions. Wait, if and when you want a drink, or if you want to sign up for the drink plan, when you get on board.
Make sure you have dining reservations or you will wait. Entertainment is another area where you need some patience. Lineups can be long. Flow-Rider and the Zipline always have a big lineup. AND the character photo opportunities will always have a lineup.
Is it Family Friendly?
The Harmony of the Seas Cruise Ship crowd is family friendly, but if I had kids who were very small I probably wouldn’t choose this ship. It is a lot of fun for tweens, teens and pre-teens. But toddlers and preschoolers will find the boat massive.
There is a kid’s club for every age, but the teen demographic is strongest here. When you have toddlers or babies you don’t always want to be around teenagers. There’s a different language they talk. My teenagers had a great time on this cruise ship, but I was astonished at the number of teens cruising with us. School groups. International teenagers traveling together. This is a fun ship for teenagers and families with teenagers. Many of the activities have a height limit so your little one could be disappointed if he or she wanted to do Flow-Rider or the Zipline.
Every Stateroom Has a Balcony
Yes but there are numerous different types of balconies. There are numerous balcony views that are not traditional. You need to be specific when you book. Here is a quick breakdown of the balcony types and room types: traditional balcony with ocean view is called Family Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony (this is what we usually get on other ships but we booked late for the 2017 cruise and ended up with Boardwalk balcony which I will tell you about in a moment) Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony. That ones is a bit larger than the family version of same. There is also a Superior Ocean View State Room with Large Balcony and then there are these two – Boardwalk View Stateroom with Balcony and Central Park Stateroom with Balcony.
There are pluses and minuses to each of the rooms. The Boardwalk View Stateroom with Balcony is where we stayed. It is a stateroom and not massive but also not the smallest stateroom we have stayed in. Boardwalk View Stateroom balcony does not face the ocean and you will have no real view of water unless you go to the sports deck, pool, waterslides, activities area or any dining room overlooking the water. You can see water when outside the room, but if you love to wake up in the morning and sit and have a quiet coffee or tea while looking at the ocean, this is not the room for that. Nor is the Central Park Stateroom. You can see activity and a carousel and some of the Aqua Theatre from there you are if you stay in a Boardwalk View Stateroom with Balcony. If you stay in the Central Park equivalent you will see the bar and restaurants and there might be a slight view of the deck with splash pad and waterslides, but I don’t think that’s as noisy a section. The Boardwalk View is noisy until 11 p.m. If you have little people this will not be ideal for you either.
The Harmony of the Seas cruise ship is very open, as are many cruise ships. But this one has a unique open design where the neighbourhoods are. Much has been written about the smart design of this cruise ship. But the design of this one means the neighbourhood areas have a view of sky 24/7 which is excellent, unless the weather turns to rain or wind. Then the neighbourhood promenade, shops, restaurants are just windy and rainy and frankly everyone avoids them. On lovely days and nights it is a nice spot to visit or explore.
Sleeping Situation for Kids
Ask about the accommodations for sleeping if you have a child, or children. This particular ship has a couple of options. There is a trundle pullout and there is a bunk bed scenario. I am not a massive fan of the trundle pullout because one child ends up having to step over the other one each time they get in and out of the bed. Bunks in a stateroom make more sense to me. With bunks you can put one up during the day – and housekeeping will do that for you – but your child may feel displaced if the bed is up and they need to come and rest at any point during the day. That said I still prefer bunks. My kids argue less in bunks and they seem to be a better use of space too.
Entertainment is Free and Ongoing
Shows happen every single night somewhere. However you need to book your shows in advance. They are all amazing shows. The entertainment here on the Harmony of the Seas cruise ship is world class and then some. Get your money’s worth and take in a couple of shows together as a family during the cruise. BUT, you need to book in advance when you book the cruise or you might miss out. OR you might end up having to do a show at ten p.m. when kids need sleep. That can make for a challenging next day for families.
Bring Your Own Shampoo, Soap and Shower Products
Basically all toiletries. When we cruised with Norwegian last year we were ridiculously impressed with the fact that their bathroom on the Escape was fully stocked with shampoo and shower gel. There may have been conditioner as well. Can’t recall. BUT that was a luxury. This doesn’t happen on Harmony of the Seas at least not in the category of stateroom that we were in. After going Norwegian, we thought this might be standard on the newest ships. It isn’t. Bring your own. Don’t get suckered into paying for these items on the ship.
The Harmony of the Seas Cruise Ship
The Harmony of the Seas Cruise Ship is a non stop entertaining adventure for all. We did Eastern Caribbean when we traveled with this cruise line in 2017. Our family loved several things about this Harmony of the Seas cruise. Do your research and be prepared for the occasional wait. Pay attention to all of these tips when booking and you will have a much sweeter vacation aboard.