Royal Carribean’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas is the largest in the world. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be on the preview sailing that happened just days before the first 7-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale.
Given that the Harmony of the Seas is the largest ship in the world currently, there are some things that you need to know before you book your time on this beautiful vessel.
What you need to know about the Harmony of the Seas:
The ship is divided into 7 different “neighborhoods,” with the goal of allowing guests to get their bearings by navigating around by neighborhood.
The neighborhoods you will find on the Harmony of the Seas are:
The Pool and Sports Zone –
With many smaller pools rather than a large feature pool, this level has more hot tubs and pools than you can dream of, the kid’s splash area is perfect for your little adventurers. Fancy a ride on a waterslide? No problem! Perhaps you want to try your hand at surfing or body surfing, the flow rider has you covered. If water isn’t your thing, you can always play a game of basketball or maybe a round of mini golf is in order.
The Boardwalk –
The boardwalk features the ship’s carousel, because what would the world’s largest ship be without a carousel?! The end of the Abyss slide is also on this level as well as the Aqua Theater.
Central Park –
Central Park is the neighborhood that captured my heart more than any of the others, with lots of live trees and fantastic (premium) restaurants, I enjoyed the stroll through the “park” the addition of the birds chirping was perfect!
As you enter this beautiful ship you will find yourself on the Royal Promenade. This neighborhood lives up to its name, with shops like Cartier, Kate Spade and Regalia just to name a few! In addition, the super cool bionic bar is located in this neighborhood, I bet you haven’t had a robot make your whisky and coke before!
Entertainment certainly isn’t lacking in this neighborhood, with ice shows like 1887 (by the way did you know that currently, the Harmony of the Seas is the only cruise ship to have an ice rink?!) and performances of Grease and Columbus. Perhaps the penny slots are more your speed, you can satisfy your gambling side in Casino Royale.
Youth Zone –
The youth zone is an area that will be hard to drag your kids away from, the teen lounge was pretty much the coolest thing I had seen of it’s kind and the younger kids rooms were the perfect blend of activity and adventure.
Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center –
This neighborhood is home to the spa as well as the fitness center. The spa isn’t your basic nail and massage place, no, from yoga to group classes and even acupuncture this largest spa at sea sets the bar for all others to follow, land or otherwise.
Restaurants on the Harmony of the Seas:
There are lots of restaurants on the ship, 20 to be exact, but they aren’t all included with your initial price point. This isn’t to say that the restaurants aren’t worth it, but it is something to be aware of when you are budgeting for your vacation.
The following are the complementary restaurants on the Harmony of the Seas:
Main Dining Room – Here you will find classic cruise fare
Windjammer – Omelets, freshly baked pastries, and sandwiches can be found here.
Mini Bites – Think mini corn dogs, mini grilled cheese, basically, if it can be made into miniature it is here
Sorrento’s – This is a pizza place and is super yummy!
These restaurants are premium restaurants that will require an additional fee:
Izumi Hibachi and Sushi – If some chicken teriyaki and a spicy tuna roll are calling your name, you’ve found your home at Izumi.
Sabor – Dreaming of chips and salsa while you cruise? This is the spot for you.
Johnny Rocket’s – Burgers and Fries and surprisingly breakfast is the backbone of this restaurant.
150 Central Park- The food here is upscale and pretty much perfect, with choices on the menu like black cod, your taste buds will sing.
Jamie’s Italian– As in Jamie Oliver, his attention to detail shows through in this eatery.
Coastal Kitchen – If seafood is what you are after, be sure to make a reservation at Costal Kitchen!
Wonderland – Interested in expanding your palate? Wonderland will take you to the edge of your culinary comfort zone.
Chops Grille – If surf and turf fare is on your mind, then be sure you book a table at this hot spot!
411 about the Ship
I feel silly saying this but the ship is HUGE, it is after all the largest mega ship in the world. I knew going in that it was large, but I don’t think that I really was completely prepared. At capacity, the Harmony of the Seas holds just over 6,000 people.
If you have never cruised before, the first and last days always seem the worst in terms of crowding. There are so many elevators that can be on a ship and when people are getting settled into their rooms and getting ready to check out, it can seem extremely overwhelming. This obviously isn’t a deal breaker, but I think that it is something that is good to be aware of prior to your trip.
There is so much to do.
There is a reason that this mega ship only goes out for 7-day cruises at a minimum. Obviously, the first reason is because it wouldn’t make much financial sense to take the ship out for just a few days. Secondly, trying to take in all the activities and really getting to enjoy them, takes some time. The Harmony of the Seas is literally a floating city, neighborhoods and all. Each time I passed something that I hadn’t seen before I said to myself “how am I just now seeing this? or how did I miss it before?”
My biggest tip is to take your time and soak in the details of the vast vessel. You don’t have to see it all in one day!
Be prepared to walk.
I brought the wrong kind of shoes and ended up with a very big blister. Each day my phone told me that I walked around 15,000 steps each day. The seemingly endless food and drinks don’t seem quite as bad when you have logged over 6 miles on your vacation, you know? As a first time cruiser, I had visions of simply laying by the pool and moving only to turn over to make sure my tan was even.
While this is absolutely something that you can make a reality, if you want to see the ship, you are going to have to bust a move to see it all. Even on a 7-day cruise. So my suggestion? Bring your comfy shoes!
No matter how you choose to spend your time on the ship, there is something for everyone to enjoy on the Harmony of the Seas. If I were you, I would grab a prime spot at the pool, order a pina colada and listen to the sound of the sea.