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My First Cruise: Part 2

By AdeleTuesday 14th June 2016

The welcome pack onboard Harmony of the Seas’ pre-inaugural sailing. The welcome pack onboard Harmony of the Seas’ pre-inaugural sailing.

Just a few weeks ago, we sent new-to-cruiser Anna Scott and her family onboard Harmony of the Seas’ two-day pre-inaugural sailing. Before she went, we asked her a few questions in My First Cruise: Part 1, to find out what she thought about cruising and what she expected from her very first cruise.

Now that she’s back on dry land, we caught up with Anna to find out all about her time on Harmony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world.

What were your first thoughts when you saw the ship?

Honestly? I couldn’t believe my eyes! I’ve never seen a cruise ship so close, so the experience was somewhat surreal. It was fantastic to finally set eyes on her after waiting so long to go onboard. I think my whole family was amazed.

Tell us a bit about your first couple of hours onboard. 

Once we were onboard, I kept being amazed, over and over again. Our room – we had a Balcony Stateroom – was great for the four of us. It had much more space than I expected. I’m just sad we didn’t get to spend much time in there. We spent the first couple of hours just wandering around, getting a bit lost, exploring a few of the neighbourhoods. We strolled through Boardwalk and Central Park and then we stopped for a bite to eat at Johnny Rockets, which the kids loved. The kids then insisted that we went up to the top deck to look at Ultimate Abyss – I couldn’t believe how high up we were. Before we knew it, it was time for Harmony to set sail and we hadn’t even seen half of the ship yet! We all loved Ultimate Abyss. We all loved Ultimate Abyss.

How did you spend Saturday onboard?

We had a reasonably early night on Friday, so that we’d be ready to enjoy the next day. Saturday started with an early breakfast at Windjammer Marketplace, which has a little bit of everything – perfect for fussy eaters like my daughter, Sarah. Then it was time to get stuck in! My son, Tom, and my husband both had turns on FlowRider, the surf simulator. They had a great time – I had to practically drag them away. After a quick change of clothes, it was time to take on Ultimate Abyss. I’m still blown away by it. The kids went first, and then it was time for me and my husband to follow them down. It was incredible! The kids insisted that we did it at least twice more during the trip. We spent the rest of the day trying out everything onboard – the mini golf, the video arcade, and we even got to chill out in one of the Jacuzzis. In the evening, we went to see Grease, which was out of this world, followed by a special dinner at Wonderland. Wow, it was just amazing.

What did you love most about being onboard?

There were so many things I loved about being onboard that it’s hard to pick just one. What was most special, and I think my husband would agree, was the level of detail to the Royal Caribbean experience. Everything had an extraordinary touch, nothing was done by halves, and the staff were so attentive. We also loved meeting other people onboard. We felt like we were part of one big family, chatting away to other families and guests. We tried some delicious snacks at Jamie’s Italian. We tried some delicious snacks at Jamie’s Italian.

What did the kids think?

Like us, the kids really enjoyed their time on Harmony of the Seas. They won’t stop asking when our next cruise will be. They loved that there was so much to see and do, and they also had a great time meeting other kids.

What did you think of the food?

Faultless. Everywhere we ate, from the Main Dining Room to Jamie’s Italian, was delicious. Eating at Wonderland on Saturday night was definitely a stand-out for me, though. The experience was so magical. We had to apply water with a paintbrush to the menus to reveal the items, and then a helpful waiter guided us towards the dishes that would best complement each other. Everything tasted great and was fun to eat. Even Sarah gave each dish a try, which is unheard of!

What’s the first thing you told your family and friends when you disembarked?

I told them to book a cruise, of course! I couldn’t stop raving about how good it was. I would recommend it to anyone, especially families with young kids, as there’s something onboard to suit everyone. I also made a point of letting them know about the seven neighbourhoods onboard – we loved them all! Grease was unbelievable! Grease was unbelievable!

Did you manage to answer all your questions?

Yes, I found the answers to all of my top questions... and more! 1. Will any of us get sea sickness? The waves were quite gentle throughout the cruise, so we could barely even tell we were at sea. However, Sarah did get a bit queasy on the Saturday – although this could’ve been the extra serving of ice cream! – so I gave her a seasickness tablet, which helped. 2. Will the kids like the Adventure Ocean® Kid’s Club? Although the Adventure Ocean Kid’s Club wasn’t open during the pre-inaugural, we managed to have a chat with a staff member about it. We all liked the idea of it and will definitely give it a go on our next cruise. 3. Are the Staterooms big enough? We loved our Stateroom and it was certainly big enough. The balcony was great, especially in the morning. There’s nothing quite like a breath of fresh sea air first thing in the morning. It would be lovely to come with a bigger group and stay in one of the Suites. 4. Will we get bored and what kind of activities will we find onboard? We never got bored, not even for one moment. As I said before, there are so many activities that every day was jam-packed.  5. Does the ship feel overcrowded? Never! The ship is so spacious that we could always find a quiet corner if we needed a bit of space, or a table to eat at when we were hungry. Obviously, lots of people congregated around the attractions – Ultimate Abyss, mini golf, etc. – but it was never too crowded. The busier areas actually had a great atmosphere. 6. Will we need any dining packages or drinks packages? For us, it would probably depend on how long we’d be going away for. Although we really enjoyed the food at the Main Dining Room, if we went away for longer than a week, we would get one of the dining packages so we could mix it up at a few speciality restaurants. We don’t drink a great deal, so the drinks package probably wouldn’t suit us, but I can see how it would be good for others.

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