Lee and I got the chance to check out Royal Caribbean’s cruises new flagship for a quick trip. Lee has never been on a cruise in her life, and I haven’t been in over 20 years, so we booked the babysitter and decided a quick 3-day getaway was in order.
Three days may sound like a while, but it definitely wasn’t enough time to check out all the ship had to offer. It’s 1,188 ft long (362 meters) has over 2,700 guest rooms and can accommodate over 9,000 guests and crew. On it’s largest floor you could fit 4.5 football fields… and there are 18 of them… floating through the middle of the ocean. At times you would completely forget you were on board a ship due to the shear size of it.
On it’s largest floor you could fit 4.5 football fields… and there are 18 of them
The ship has a bunch of different “neighborhoods” where they group together similar activities, so you don’t have to travel as far if, but don’t let that fool you. This is a huge ship, so you’re going to be doing some walking if you want to enjoy the most of it.
Our first day we flew in to Fort Lauderdale airport and boarded in the afternoon. For those of you who’ve never been on an international cruise before, you initially have to go through some paperwork and Passport checks, but nothing to crazy. The biggest surprise I had was when they took away my steamer. With all the photos we take, it’s easier to not worry about how we pack our clothes, and just hit any wrinkles with the steamer once we’re settled in our room. With no steamers or irons allowed, we spent the next few days in wrinkly clothes. Not a big deal if you’re going to be taking a lot of photos, but a bit of a pain if part of your job is to get great outfit photos.
The rest of the boarding process was pretty painless – especially considering there were over 6,000 people boarding at the same time. All door locks, reservations, and payments are made with a RFID key card they give you, so you don’t need to worry about wallets or ID for the rest of the trip, which is really convenient.
We settled into our room then headed out to explore the ship. We walked through a few different neighborhoods like Central Park, the Boardwalk, and the Sports Zone. I love any type of board sport, so the FlowRider immediately caught my eye, and I had to jump on. It felt almost exactly like wake skating or surfing without a fin. With no fins on the bottom of you’re board, you’re completely relying on your toe and heel edge for grip while fighting gravity and a pump throwing 500 gallons of water a second at you. I could have lived on the thing. I was a bit jealous of the people who got to operate it. You could tell they spend all their free time on it when guests aren’t riding it.
We had a dinner reservation at Coastal Kitchen, and the food was great. I had the salmon sashimi and poached lobster, while Lee went a little more traditional with french onion soup and a rack of lamb. Our server Romeo was the nicest person we met the whole trip and had a lot of great advice on where to go and what to do. Romeo, if you’re reading this, you are awesome.
Next we checked out all the water slides, and again, we almost had the place to ourselves. Lee is perpetually cold, so we spent the next couple hours jumping between hot tubs and waterslides before eventually calling it a night. There were a lot of dance parties and events to attend, but we had been awake since 3:40am due to our early flight, so we decided to get some sleep.
Following Romeo’s advice, we grabbed breakfast at the Park Cafe in Central Park. It’s an peaceful atrium filled with trees and plants – the perfect place to enjoy your first cup of coffee and plan out your day. Afterwards we headed up to an outdoor basketball court on one of the upper decks I had spotted earlier. On the ship, there is food EVERYWHERE, and although they have healthy options, we ended up gorging ourselves on anything but, so it was good to get some blood flowing before we set out to explore.
Once docked in the Bahamas, we decided to forego any of the planned excursions, and instead decided to explore on our own. We ended up walking around and eventually getting a water taxi to the Atlantis Hotel. If I had the choice again, I would have chosen one of the planned excursions. We’re used to exploring and finding great stuff on our own, but we were limited to only 5 hours off the ship before we were supposed to return, and due to the large size of the ship, we had to dock at a commercial port surrounded by lots of touristy attractions. With the limited time, and no idea where we were headed, we didn’t get to do as much as we had hoped. If you find yourself in the same situation, ask around to see if anyone on the ship can point you in the right direction or jump on one of the planned excursions.
The rest of the trip flew by due to our sheer exhaustion of trying to explore as much as possible in the short time we had. We went back to some of our favorite activities and tried to attend The Fine Line show, but due to the choppy seas, the show was cancelled because they were concerned about the performers safety during their death defying acts – which I can understand.
It was a great trip, but we definitely needed more time to explore. If anyone else decides to take a cruise on the Harmony of the Seas, I’d recommend checking out the activities and restaurants before you arrive, so you can get the most out of it.
SHOP THE POST:
Blue Dress (Lee) // White Coverup (Lee)