by Tim Larison, CLIA Certified Master Cruise Counselor
with comments by Anne Larison, Family Travel Gurus Travel Consultant
We’ve sailed on the Allure of the Seas. We’ve sailed on the Oasis of the Seas. In December 2017 we were given the opportunity to sail on the newest of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships – the Harmony of the Seas. We were to discover the Harmony had many of the same features as her Oasis Class sister ships, with some new and innovative twists. In this review we focus on the highlights of the Harmony of the Seas that stood out to us.
“Something new” on the Harmony of the Seas is the Wonderland restaurant. On a ship of 6,000 passengers this restaurant offers an escape to an intimate, romantic restaurant with excellent food.
This isn’t your ordinary restaurant as we were to discover. Starting from the paint brushes we were given to reveal our menu choices. I especially enjoyed the seafood here (the shrimp dish and the liquid lobster dish)
A number of ocean cruising ships have steak and italian specialty restaurants. Wonderland restaurant is different and offers an opportunity for a unique dining experience. The wait staff was very professional but also patient with us when he took the time to explain each course. The tag line for Wonderland is Imaginative Cuisine. I don’t want to spoil the surprises by going into the menu but the “story” of the meal includes Sun, Ice, Fire, Water, Earth and Dreams. Are you ready to go down the rabbit hole?
Wonderland is one of over 20 dining venues on the Harmony of the Seas. Of the other restaurants I especially liked:
- the Windjammer Marketplace – one of the best buffets at sea – we had many breakfasts, lunches and a couple of dinners here.
- Jamie’s Italian – On the Harmony of the Seas this specialty Italian restaurant replaces Giovanni’s Table where we had previously visited on the Oasis and the Allure. A restaurant featuring the creations of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, we had a delicious lunch here (pictured above is our dessert tray sampler at Jamie’s Italian)
- Johnny Rockets – the “hamburger and shake” place on many Royal Caribbean ships, we had dinner here one night under the stars on the ship’s boardwalk. Also Johnny Rockets was a good place to have breakfast to avoid the crowds in the ship’s buffet.
- Park Cafe – a good spot to have a made to order salad or sandwich located in the ship’s Central Park neighborhood.
Park Cafe is a favorite of mine for a quick casual meal. The line can get fairly long for the Royal Kummelweck Sandwich. A delicious roast beef on a fresh roll.
In addition to the many restaurants there is 24 hour food available at the Cafe Promenade. Snacks are available at Boardwalk Dog House, Sorrento’s Pizza, Mini Bites and there is even a Starbucks if you want to buy your favorite coffee and pastry.
1887 – A Journey in Time (pictured above) is another one of Royal Caribbean’s excellent ice shows. It’s amazing how the skilled skaters perform intricate moves on the small ice rink on one of the ship’s lower decks. New on the Harmony of the Seas for us was a second ice show – iSkate – where the skaters perform their own routines. We enjoyed both shows.
Grease is the musical featured on the Harmony of the Seas. I’ve seen Chicago, Mamma Mia, and Hairspray on Royal Caribbean ships. Grease is the best yet – very true to the hit movie of the same name.
Columbus the Musical is a fun production show in Monty Python style in the ship’s Royal Theater.
The Fine Line Aqua Show features amazing acrobatics, synchronized swimmers, divers, and more.
I thought the varied entertainment offered on the Harmony of the Seas was outstanding.
I also enjoyed the many entertainment venues on the ship. In addition to the Fine Line Aqua Show, the same performers put on a family-friendly version on one of the last days at sea. The Hideaway Heist was a cops and robbers themed show with bright costumes and fun action from all the water performers and acrobats. Reservations were not required so get there early to avoid the close-up “may get wet” seats.
The Harmony of the Seas is a great ship for those who want experience some thrills onboard. Pictured above is the Ultimate Abyss – at 150 feet above sea level it offers side-by-side slides that send guests down 10 decks at a rate of 9 miles per hour. Anne took a couple of spins on the Ultimate Abyss and she says:
Of course I was nervous walking up the stairs with my mat, but the whole experience is over in a matter of seconds and it was a lot of fun.
Two Flow Riders (surf simulators), a zip line, a miniature golf course, ping pong, and the largest gym we’ve seen on any cruise ship are also recreation options on the Harmony of the Seas
Our 7 night Eastern Caribbean itinerary visited San Juan, St Thomas, and Labadee (pictured above – Royal Caribbean’s private beach area on the island of Haiti.
We did not take shore excursions at San Juan and St Thomas – rather we did some shopping in the port areas. We saw some evidence of the Fall 2017 hurricanes but the shops at each port were mostly up and running. San Juan and St Thomas are both well on their way to recovery.
Labadee was the highlight of our port visits. Royal Caribbean treated us to a full Labadee tour this day where we saw parts of the island we hadn’t visited before, and then we had a few hours to relax on our own. Royal Caribbean offers a complementary barbeque on the island at lunch time which we enjoyed very much.
Royal Caribbean continues to expand the many recreational options at Labadee. If you just want to lay by the ocean and play in the water, there are many different areas with an abundance of beach chairs. If you want to have fun doing some of the many activities on the island you will have to open your wallet. But there are many experiences that you won’t want to miss, including Dragon’s Breath Zip Lining, Aqua Water Park, Labadee Water Slide, Dragon’s Tail Coaster and more. There are Kayaks and Snorkeling opportunities as well.
We loved our past cruises on the Oasis of the Seas (read our report here) and the Allure of the Seas (read our report here). The Harmony of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s best Oasis class ship yet! We liked the new additions to the Oasis class that we experienced on the Harmony (such as the Wonderland Restaurant, the Abyss slide, the Grease stage show, and more). We look forward to another new Oasis class ship coming out in 2018 – the Symphony of the Seas – to see what new surprises Royal Caribbean has in store for us!
If you would like to sail on the Harmony of the Seas, or any of Royal Caribbean’s ships, we can help! Contact us for a no obligation consultation and price quote.