I had never been on a cruise before and wasn’t sure of what to expect. I heard mixed things, some friends loved them, some friends didn’t – but none of them had been on the biggest cruise ship in the world – Harmony of the Seas. I was filled with excitement and anticipation as our bus rolled into the port. I genuinely didn’t know what to expect, but had high hopes after reading through my welcome packet. There were restaurants, shops, clubs, and even neighborhoods to look forward to. I partnered with Royal Caribbean to join Harmony of the Seas on her maiden voyage, a short weekend jaunt from South Hampton, and my main focus was Central Park and the restaurants on board. Considering this was my first time on board anything larger than my grandpa’s motorboat rental that time we went fishing, my data points for a luxury cruise were limited. But honestly, I can’t imagine anything grander than Harmony of the Seas.
The best way to describe the experience was like being in a luxury resort that also happened to be floating on the water. I face-timed with my husband over the ship’s speedy VOOM Wi-Fi, and he marveled at the size of my room. “The cruises I’ve been on fit 6 people in a space like that!” The ship was divided into different neighborhoods, each with their own look, feel, and experience. That was one thing I immediately noticed about the ship, as I meandered through the decks – it was extremely eclectic. There were references to Warhol, Lewis Carroll, classic architecture, impressionistic art, Paris bistros; the aesthetic felt very personal, like the way someone would design a grand home, with memories and inspirations. This was not the “big white ship” for the masses I had imagined. I was staying in a beautiful two room suite near the Central Park Neighborhood. Central Park was the most elegant of the neighborhoods, with an outdoor Piazza surrounded by vertical gardens, high end retail stores, and sweeping outdoor dining areas. You might wonder how you have a Piazza on a ship without dining chairs rolling up and down the deck, ruining the effect. Harmony of the Seas is the widest ship in the fleet, as well as one of the most energy efficient, making it the smoothest ride. I deeply appreciated this, as a total landlubber.
The weather was a bit overcast and rainy, so I didn’t get a chance to explore the Solarium – a gorgeous sunroom, or The Ultimate Abyss – that insane slide I’m sure you’ve seen YouTube videos of. So instead, I enjoyed a quiet drink at Vintages, their wine and tapas bar, and even poked my head into Dazzles, a three-level dance lounge overlooking the boardwalk. Looking around, there seemed to be something for everyone, which explains its multi-generational appeal. There are so many options (I only got a chance to explore a small portion of the ship’s offerings on my weekend there) that you can customize the trip to your style – exciting and adventurous, laid back and relaxed, or mine – which was fork in hand 24/7.
On my next post with Royal Caribbean, I’ll dig into some of my favorite dishes on board (surprise surprise, it’s pasta) and some of my favorite discoveries below deck – like, how many eggs do you think Harmony of the Seas goes through in one day? I dare you to think of a number. At least double it. I’ll share the answer on the next post. Bon Voyage until then!