Practically everywhere you look, the size and scale on the world’s largest cruise ship – Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas – leaves you impressed. In every corner and everywhere you look, you feel drawn to visit what looks to be an appealing restaurant, bar, cafe, artwork or feature. It’s a good thing you’ll have a few days to see them at your own pace.
What is particularly interesting about a ship the size of Harmony is that there is so much to see and do, that even on Royal Caribbean’s website, not everything can be listed. During our recent visit onboard the ship, we were left pleasantly surprised at some of the less publicised venues not disclosed on the line’s website.
Rising Tide Bar
Acting on popular demand, Harmony of the Seas features a similar experience as its sister ships Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas – the Rising Tide Bar.
Limited numbers can enter the bar at a time due to space and operational requirements, but essentially the bar acts as a slowly rising or descending elevator where guests can enjoy a beverage as their view changes. Rising Tide moves between the Royal Promenade on Deck 5 and the Central Park neighbourhood on Deck 8. Regular “departures” are run throughout the day, sometimes as frequently as every half-hour, so there’s plenty of chances to enjoy it.
Escape the Puzzle Room
This concept first made its debut on another Royal Caribbean ship – Anthem of the Seas – but in a more basic format. This time around, a dedicated venue has been designed with a game especially for the space known as “Escape The Rubicon” with very much a sci-fi theme.
The venue is located just outside of the Adventure Ocean Kids Club on Deck 14. Still just a one-room game, this space-ship centre adopts the same idea – for strangers or friends to work together to solve puzzles and challenges within a set time frame to be successful. The game is run several times during a cruise, more often while at sea than in port.
Exclusive nightclub for Teens
Of course due to the size of this ship, the possibility for hundreds of kids to be onboard a particular voyage requires extensive space for these kids to enjoy the company of people their own age and engaging in activities suited to their interests and abilities.
The Living Room is located one deck above the Adventure Ocean Kids Club to give teens aged 12-17 their own space. It’s a massive facility, designed to be laid-back and casual enough to encourage socialising. Teens are treated like the young adults they are and can come and go as they please. Just outside the back door on the same deck is the Harmony Dunes mini-golf course, and the multi-purpose sports court on the other side.
But perhaps most excitingly is the dedicated disco area for teens to spend their evenings dancing away to the latest and greatest music they enjoy, in a fully supervised environment.
Compulsory hand washing bay at the buffet
Royal Caribbean is taking a stand against unhygienic practices and utter laziness when it comes to personal health and how it relates and impacts on fellow passengers. Basically, guests entering the Windjammer Buffet during meal times from the pool area must pass through a staffed hand-washing station before gaining access to the food.
While the area is staffed, there are no crew members physically restricting access to people who don’t wash their hands, however the line is making the effort to encourage this and to its credit this is working with everybody we saw passing through stopping to clean their hands.
Dedicated exercise lanes on Deck 3
So many people sitting by and moving around the pool area may discourage some travellers from taking to this part of the ship for their regular walking or jogging activity. It’s a fair point too as dodging people may put you off altogether.
Harmony of the Seas has thought of this and positioned its walking and running tracks on Deck 3 in a narrow wrap-around deck where it’s highly unlikely you’ll encounter anybody sunbathing. Even better is that due to the size of the ship, this means you won’t have to do as many laps to achieve your desired distance.