Harmony of the Seas – Our Last Few Days

Harmony of the Seas maiden voyage photo

This is my final post on Harmony of the Seas maiden voyage from Southampton to Barcelona and covers our last three days and some thoughts on Royal Caribbean’s brand new flagship.

Following Vigo we had another sea day and missed breakfast due to a late last night but after lunch I finally braved the Ultimate Abyss and can now say its the must do thing on the ship. Dropping 100ft in around fourteen seconds through an enclosed tube might sound scary but it really wasn’t. You enter the ride on top deck through the jaws of a huge fish and lie with your feet inside a mat to go down one of the two slides. The inside is lit up in coloured hoops and the twists and turns feel much gentler than they look. It goes by in an instant and no sooner than I’d set off I was clambering out the other end with a smile on my face!

Ultimate Abyss

That evening we dropped Finn at Adventure Ocean for a couple of hours as we had a reservation at Wonderland, the ship’s ‘imaginative dining’ experience. It’s the same kind of food meets magic concept made famous by Heston Blumenthal but as we’re unlikely to ever eat at The Fat Duck the $49 cover charge seemed a reasonable way to sample the whimsy.  Sadly, the place seemed to be in chaos as we arrived with a disappearing hostess and countless diners just left waiting in the upstairs bar / reception area. I guessed they were short on tables in the restaurant area below and people were offered free drinks as they waited. After around a twenty minutes delay we were eventually seated.

You could sense the stress in the air and after the cute touch of painting your menu with water to make it visible I could possibly see why. The menu is completely unstructured and you get to choose dishes from any or all of six distinct ‘themes’ (sun, sea, ice, earth, fire and dreams) which would put considerable pressure on any kitchen. As a result the food arrived slowly and randomly throughout the evening as we tried out things like distilled tomato juice in test tubes and  a boiled egg in a cloud of wood smoke. We knew the food would be eccentric but  ultimately we left disappointed with the experience and the atmosphere.


On Friday we visited one of our favourite Mediterranean ports, Malaga. You can walk from the ship to the town in around 15 minutes if you want but there’s also a five Euro shuttle bus that drops you off and picks you up from a spot just outside the port. From there you can cross a main road and head straight up to the nearby cathedral and it’s cafe squares or turn left once you’ve crossed and take your next right for the the old town’s main shopping street.

We chose to walk down the shoreline promenade to the now year old Centre Pompidou Malaga, an art gallery outpost of the one in Paris with what looks like a huge glass Rubik’s cube on its roof. From there we walked back towards the cathedral through the shade of a park that skirts the main road full of palms and ponds and flowers. In amongst the trees we stumbled across a kids play area with a strategically placed cafe where we had our first glass of red and Finn complained that the slides were too hot.

Pompidou Malaga

The temperature must have been well into the 80s as we looked around the shops and walked over to the cathedral where we stopped for Rioja and some amazing patatas bravas at the cafe with the red umbrellas opposite the fountain and the yellow painted mansion. It kept us going until dinner at Jamie’s Italian, a $25 a head version of the chef’s restaurant chain at sea where portions are generous and the service is superb.

Saturday was our last full day on Harmony and we were at sea for the final sail to Barcelona. It was a day to tick things off so all three of us got harnessed up for the main climbing wall and took photos that suggested we were much higher than we actually were! After lunch we took the seven minute trip on the Rising Tide Bar where someone lovely from the entertainment team supervised Finn to press the go button and took some great family pictures of the three of us with the Royal Promenade as a backdrop.

There was an announcement in the afternoon that there were spaces for a matinee performance of Grease so we went and caught it for the second time and yet again the cast were unbelievable. We’d loved Hairspray on Oasis but this is unmissable. After the show it was time to get packed and put our cases out before a final dinner in Coastal Kitchen and an early night.


The next morning we had to leave our suite by 8am and following breakfast we used the lounge to await our 9.30am disembarkation time. There was a slight delay port side before we could get off but we quickly found our cases and were soon in a €39 fixed price taxi to the airport for our flight home to Manchester.

We’ve had an amazing week on an amazing ship so please don’t believe the scare stories spread by journalists who were never on board. Harmony is magnificent and completely finished.

Royal Caribbean have yet again raised the bar for the family market and rumour has it that a further three Oasis class ships have been commissioned. I hope you enjoy Harmony as much as we did and if you have kids of any age this ship really does have something for everyone. Do  make sure you catch Grease and and if you’re feeling brave you’ll love the Ultimate Abyss!

Harmony of the Seas – Another Sea Day & Vigo


Harmony Vigo

Our third day was another at sea but we weren’t complaining as you need several days to explore and experience everything available on a ship of this size.

We started the day with breakfast at Johnny Rockets, the American style diner situated on the Boardwalk. You have to pay for lunch and dinner but the breakfast menu is free although I don’t think many people have realised this as it was quiet and we were quickly seated in a booth inside. We had eggs, beef pattys and country potatoes with English muffins which definitely set us up for the day.

After breakfast we explored some more of the ship and enjoyed a round of mini golf on the Harmony Dunes. We also watched some spectacular falls on the flow riders and the constant stream of people zip lining across the huge drop to the Boardwalk. I had a quick peek into Fuel the teenage nightclub on board which looked fantastic if only I was 30 years younger!

Finn had a quick video game fix in the arcade then it was time to sample the Costal Kitchen lunch, located on deck 17. The restaurant adjoins the suite lounge and serves an al a carte menu with free flowing wine which is very civilized and much more relaxing than the main dining room. The chicken baguette I ordered was gorgeous, Finn wolfed a tomato soup served with a mini Croque Monsieur while Andy enjoyed a much healthier salad.

We posted a Periscope live video from Costal Kitchen using the Zoom wifi which is free for suite guests and is possibly faster than our Internet at home. If you need to pay its around $20 a day per device and definitely the fastest internet we’ve ever had at sea. Even better, there’s none of that annoying logging in or out.

After lunch and a few glasses of Dutch courage Andy decided he was ready to face the Abyss, a dry slide from deck 16 which descends to the boardwalk on deck 6. Finn and myself much more sensibly took the lift! There were no queues and Daddy swiftly arrived with not too much screaming, declaring it great fun and not scary at all! I might even try it myself later in the week…

Lucky Climbers 2

We sat enjoying the sunshine and a glass of red from Sabor while Finn played on the lucky climbers, a great addition to Harmony that wasn’t on Oasis and which he loves.

Finn then decided he wanted to sample Adventure Ocean the kids club on board and happily skipped in past the kids theatre, science lab and art studio to Explorers where the 6 to 8 years olds hang out in a huge room filled with board games and x boxes and brilliant staff who welcomed Finn like a long lost friend. We took advantage of a child free hour to look around the huge 3 storey adults only solarium at the front of the ship and then visited the suite sun deck which overlooks the water slides and pools and is filled with day beds, loungers, a bar and a hot tub – I am so loving the suite life!

Before we boarded we fully expected to visit the main dining room on a few nights and had booked tables ahead but Costal Kitchen has already won us over so we had dinner there, a short stroll from our room. The service and food is exceptional and it’s my new favourite destination on an Oasis class ship.

After dinner Finn wanted to go back to Adventure Ocean so we dropped him off, grabbed a glass of red from the Suite Lounge and sat on our balcony in the warm summer air to watch the premiere of the Aqua Show, a fabulous performance with death defying high dives and synchronized swimmers all set to lights and music. Then it was time for the late night comedy show in the Attic on deck 4. This is strictly adults only so we’d signed Finn up to late night party zone, a $7 an hour optional service in kids club which runs from 10pm and where the kids watch movies, eat pizza and generally have a great time – you just need to remember to collect them before 2am! The comedy was great, two comedians and a compere of similar high quality to The Comedy Store back home.

The late night resulted in a lazy start to our first port day in Vigo as Finn was exhausted by all the fun of Adventure Ocean and slept in to 11am! I was hungry so visited a very quiet Windjammer, the buffet restaurant on board, grabbed a bowl of strawberries and a few pastries and used the free flow Coca Cola machines. As a huge Diet Coke fan I love these and they’re activated by the cups you get on the drinks package so you can have unlimited soda in over a hundred flavours!

Finally Finn awoke so we had lunch onboard at Costal Kitchen where I sampled the fabulous flatbread and we met the very friendly assistant hotel director Pepe who was also having lunch but took the time to say hello and chat with us.


After a good lunch and a few glasses of red and we were finally ready to head ashore. Vigo’s one of the easiest ports to get around as you just walk straight off the ship into the city and there’s even escalators through the port side shopping centre which effortlessly get you up to the level of the old town. We wandered around the shops, had another glass of red in a pavement cafe then got back on board. It seemed like half of Vigo had turned up to wave and watch the ship as we sailed away.

At dinner, Finn was given a tour of the kitchen by one of the lovely chefs and saw his chocolate melt in the middle pudding being made. He then went to Adventure Ocean for PJ movie night whilst we enjoyed a couple of hours of grown up time in Central Park before picking him up and going for a quick night cap in Schooner Bar. There we bumped into some of our Cruise Critic cabin crawlers and Finn’s new best friend so that ‘one drink’ soon turned into quite a few and we all staggered home at 2am after a really lovely evening.