Onboard Review: Harmony of the Seas

The stage production of “Grease” at the Royal Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line)

Adventures for All
Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas, is visually stunning, inside and out. It’s certain to be at the top of your booking options as it is chock-full of onboard adventures that appeal to all the senses, thrilling clients of all ages.

For adrenaline-seeking adults and teens it’s all about the Ultimate Abyss, a 10-story-high slide…the tallest at sea. For those seeking more sedate enriching experiences, there’s cutting-edge entertainment and celebrity chef dining at a great value.

We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale’s Port Everglades, where Harmony of the Seas is based year-round for its weekly sailings to the Caribbean. While the ship is the largest in the industry with over 5,479 guests based on double occupancy and a crew of 2,100, its design and flow allow for easy people traffic. Travel advisor Kay Ward from Park Place Travel in Hudson, Ohio was on board and didn’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of people. “I loved the flow of the ship and never felt like it was overcrowded, which one might think for such a large ship,” she says.

A big hit for us and other passengers are the seven Oasis-class neighborhoods, particularly Boardwalk, with its whimsical carousel, and Central Park, featuring lush tropical landscaping—both inviting the outdoors in.

King of Entertainment
We were also impressed with the array of entertainment—from the Royal Theater’s Broadway-style shows, including the all-new stage production of “Grease,” to the ice skating shows, “iSkate Showcase” and “1887: A Journey in Time,” not to mention the display of acrobatic artistry at AquaTheater’s “The Fine Line.” Ward, too, was impressed
by the lineup. “I thought the entertainment was incredible,” she says.

Vicki Freed, sr. v.p., sales, trade support and service for Royal Caribbean International, points out that “Harmony of the Seas is for clients who want entertainment. No one does it better. We have four stages to choose from—ice, air, water and the theater. For example, there’s the AquaTheater, with acrobatics and high diving aerial experiences, set against the backdrop of the ocean; ice shows mixed with technology for a futuristic experience; an amazing musical theater; and our comedy and jazz. There’s something for everyone.”

Perfect Family Vacation
Travel advisors should really consider this ship as a top choice for the family market, points out Freed. “We own the family market space, and we are perfect for everyone from multigenerational families to young couples with children from six months to teenagers. There is just so much adventure.”

In addition to the Ultimate Abyss, families will enjoy The Perfect Storm multi-story trio of water slides that twist and turn over Central Park; Splashaway Bay, a waterpark for kids and toddlers; the DreamWorks Animation characters, with meet and greet opportunities throughout the day, as well as character breakfasts; and the complimentary Adventure Ocean youth program, which features a tweens and teens program where they can hang out with other cruisers while enjoying games, sports and parties, as well as teens-only spots. Of course, you can’t talk about Harmony without mentioning the Zip Line—on deck 16 nine decks above the AquaTheater; the FlowRider, which allows for a surfing experience at sea; and rock-climbing walls, each 43 ft. high. There are also kid-friendly dining venues, including Johnny Rockets, and complimentary frozen yogurt at the Sports Zone and the
Video Arcade.

Food connoisseurs will be pleased, as well, as the ship features celebrity chef restaurants. “It is such a great value compared to the cost land-side,” says Freed. She points to chef Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian, and chef Michael Schwartz’s 150 Central Park, with its seasonal tasting menu. There are also specialty restaurants such as Izumi, with Asian cuisine, and Chops Grille, a classic steakhouse
dining venue.

Freed also suggests that Harmony of the Seas is a great choice for first-time cruisers, “due to all the bells and whistles the ship has to offer.”

Harmony of the Seas' 2-deck-high suites
Harmony of the Seas’ 2-deck-high suites

Luxury Experience
High-end clients, too, will swoon over the ship as it offers the Royal Suite Class, with three tiers, as well as extra amenities and VIP service. Guests also have exclusive access to lounges and dining venues. Included in the accommodation choice for the Royal Suite

Class are the 2-deck-high Sky Loft Suites—the only one of their kind at sea. “What’s great for clients,” says Freed, “is that they get luxury accommodations and dining, but unlike some of the luxury brands, they also get the energy and excitement of the diversity of entertainment that the ship and the Royal Caribbean brand have to offer. If your clients want a luxury experience at sea with entertainment all in one place, Harmony is a great choice.”

We asked Freed what her favorite spot on the Harmony is, and without hesitation she said, “I love the entertainment venues, and I love my Starbucks in the morning; Royal Caribbean is the only one at sea that has one!”