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Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas

Old Mar 16, 16, 1:29 am
  #1  
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Harmony of the Seas

Hi all,

Really interested to try this flagship (Harmony of the Seas) when it's still new and have a few weeks off in May which is near perfect

I'm not familiar with cruise lines, having only had 1 journey with Princess Cruises. What's the best way to maximize benefits with Royal Caribbean ? Is there a travel agent/booking channel which gives more perks ? Or do they offer status matches with any programs ?

Unfortunately I don't have a World Elite MasterCard or AMEX Plat.

Also between a 3-day cruise and 7-day cruise , will there be much difference in facilities/food ? I'm quite keen on the 7-day Mediterranean stops, but then the 3-Day Southampton - Cherbourg has suites going for USD200 ... just not sure if the budget price reflects offerings as well.

Thanks in advance for any insight !
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Old Mar 16, 16, 10:41 am
  #2  
 
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I'm not sure if things have changed but I was under the impression that Royal Caribbean didn't do heavy discounting via TA's. However, TA's might be inclined to throw in different amounts of on board credits. We checked out Cruise Compete a few years ago where TA's kind of "bid" for your booking with different perks.
Apart from that, I'd recommend signing up for their marketing emails.

From a status matching perspective, I think they match status from Celebrity's loyalty program.

The only thing that pops to mind between a 3 and 7 day cruise is the number of formal nights which should be 1 and 2 respectively. I tend to say that the formal nights typically have a more upscale menu.
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Old Mar 16, 16, 7:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Jay71 View Post
I'm not sure if things have changed but I was under the impression that Royal Caribbean didn't do heavy discounting via TA's. However, TA's might be inclined to throw in different amounts of on board credits. We checked out Cruise Compete a few years ago where TA's kind of "bid" for your booking with different perks.
Apart from that, I'd recommend signing up for their marketing emails.

From a status matching perspective, I think they match status from Celebrity's loyalty program.

The only thing that pops to mind between a 3 and 7 day cruise is the number of formal nights which should be 1 and 2 respectively. I tend to say that the formal nights typically have a more upscale menu.
thanks ! how was Cruise Compete for you ? Just submitted a few quotes for May , fingers crossed there's a good deal somewhere
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Old Mar 17, 16, 10:33 am
  #4  
 
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Ultimately, we did not go with a Cruise Compete quote, though we would have and would consider using trying Cruise Compete again. We ended up using a local TA that we used previously out of loyalty even though the perks (mainly OBC's) weren't as good but close enough.
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Old Mar 24, 16, 12:35 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Jay71 View Post
Ultimately, we did not go with a Cruise Compete quote, though we would have and would consider using trying Cruise Compete again. We ended up using a local TA that we used previously out of loyalty even though the perks (mainly OBC's) weren't as good but close enough.
got my quote today (a week since requesting) and unfortunately it was higher than RC's own site.

Decided to just book on RC's site before prices go up. As a newbie in cruising and first time on RC some questions :

1. is the drinks package worth it compared to buying alcohol/coffee over the counter ? say 5-ish drinks on a heavy day. Can the drink package be on a per-day basis, or are you stuck with paying for it even if out on excursion etc

2. cabin upgrades. I've already booked my cruise and noticed they need a Crown & Anchor membership to do upgrades ? Are they are perks to signing up early or are the more enticing offers on board ?

3. what are the recommended things I pre-book/order online ? as it's a new ship, might be tempted to spend on dining (just not at Jamie Oliver's!)... any thoughts on this, or is the sit-down, buffet and other free options good enough?

4. tipping. what's the expectation to tip and daily gratuity ? wise to pre-pay ?
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Old Mar 24, 16, 8:49 am
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Hope this is helpful. Enjoy Harmony!

1) I've begun looking at the drink package as a cost of doing business and a way to have a clear picture of my total vacation cost up front. Whether it is "worth it" or not is an individual decision. I'd say if you're drinking 5 alcoholic drinks a day, coffee in the morning, and picking up 2 or 3 bottles of water a day, it is worth it. I wrote a post about drink packages over a year ago, and it's one of the most searched for things on my little blog. (Please note FT rules require that I advise you that I am a contributor to the blog linked here.)

2) You can enroll in Crown & Anchor in advance (which is actually a change from the old days). You won't receive any real benefits until after your first cruise, but you can take advantage of the onboard booking bonus if you book another cruise while onboard.

3) You can complete waiver forms for activities like Flow Rider, Zip Line, etc. in advance online. Will save you a few minutes onboard. If you are an adventurous eater, I highly recommend Wonderland. Jamie Oliver's was OK on Quantum. Actually....more than OK. I went twice. Is it old world Italian? No. Does it beat the Italian you can get in fab restaurants in NYC? No. But it was good. Chops Grille is solid, but I always pay the extra uncharge for the dry aged NY Strip, and I'm rarely disappointed with that.

4) If you don't prepay gratuities, they will add $12.95 per day per person to your onboard bill to cover tipping, $15.95 if you are in a suite. They auto add gratuity to drink purchases. If you buy a package, they'll add the 18% on the total up front. If someone goes above and beyond for me, they get extra in cash.

Originally Posted by wantan View Post
got my quote today (a week since requesting) and unfortunately it was higher than RC's own site.

Decided to just book on RC's site before prices go up. As a newbie in cruising and first time on RC some questions :

1. is the drinks package worth it compared to buying alcohol/coffee over the counter ? say 5-ish drinks on a heavy day. Can the drink package be on a per-day basis, or are you stuck with paying for it even if out on excursion etc

2. cabin upgrades. I've already booked my cruise and noticed they need a Crown & Anchor membership to do upgrades ? Are they are perks to signing up early or are the more enticing offers on board ?

3. what are the recommended things I pre-book/order online ? as it's a new ship, might be tempted to spend on dining (just not at Jamie Oliver's!)... any thoughts on this, or is the sit-down, buffet and other free options good enough?

4. tipping. what's the expectation to tip and daily gratuity ? wise to pre-pay ?
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Old Mar 25, 16, 12:48 pm
  #7  
 
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Different strokes for different folks. You would have to pay me to go on this ship. Did RCCL once, in 2001 and had my then 10 year old son not loved it I would have flown home from the first port. Those giant ships are so off putting to me. Its like flying coach. Give me a small, all inclusive cruise line with equal crew to guest ratio and I am very happy. like flying in F I hate being nickel and dimed and signing for everything.

I do have friends that enjoyed the Anthem of the Seas except it took them two hours to board
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Old Mar 25, 16, 8:56 pm
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Originally Posted by MJonTravel View Post
Hope this is helpful. Enjoy Harmony!

1) I've begun looking at the drink package as a cost of doing business and a way to have a clear picture of my total vacation cost up front. Whether it is "worth it" or not is an individual decision. I'd say if you're drinking 5 alcoholic drinks a day, coffee in the morning, and picking up 2 or 3 bottles of water a day, it is worth it. I wrote a post about drink packages over a year ago, and it's one of the most searched for things on my little blog. (Please note FT rules require that I advise you that I am a contributor to the blog linked here.)

2) You can enroll in Crown & Anchor in advance (which is actually a change from the old days). You won't receive any real benefits until after your first cruise, but you can take advantage of the onboard booking bonus if you book another cruise while onboard.

3) You can complete waiver forms for activities like Flow Rider, Zip Line, etc. in advance online. Will save you a few minutes onboard. If you are an adventurous eater, I highly recommend Wonderland. Jamie Oliver's was OK on Quantum. Actually....more than OK. I went twice. Is it old world Italian? No. Does it beat the Italian you can get in fab restaurants in NYC? No. But it was good. Chops Grille is solid, but I always pay the extra uncharge for the dry aged NY Strip, and I'm rarely disappointed with that.

4) If you don't prepay gratuities, they will add $12.95 per day per person to your onboard bill to cover tipping, $15.95 if you are in a suite. They auto add gratuity to drink purchases. If you buy a package, they'll add the 18% on the total up front. If someone goes above and beyond for me, they get extra in cash.
thanks for the good info. also went through your blog post and followed it to Gambee's as well

I noticed from Gambee's pictures, one of the RC flyers http://cruisewithgambee.com/wp-conte...-packages1.jpg says Drinks Packages are available to order up to 4 days before a cruise ends. Is this still valid ?

Planing to bring on board the 2 bottles of wine allowance, some juice and a couple bottles of water (is there any where to refill these onboard and would it be accessible 24 hours?)

Also for the 3/4/5 Night Dining Package, how do they work ? And what's the pre-selected restaurant ? I might only be interested to try "Wonderland" , is there a saving by going for the Dining Package ?

Thanks again for the time and effort in replying
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Old Mar 25, 16, 9:06 pm
  #9  
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Yes you can get bottles of water refilled onboard.

You can order drink in advance or buy them once onboard.

I can't speak to dining packages.


Upgrades for Crown & Anchor membership tend to be only available to those that have cruised RCCL the most. Rarely you will see upgrades for first time or lower level cruisers - consider those on par to OpUps on airlines, only when necessary for revenue management purposes.
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Old Mar 26, 16, 6:12 am
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AFAIK, you can still buy a drink package later in the cruise if you decide to. My next cruise is only a 4-nighter, so I won't be able to check for sure, but I expect it's still true.

The dining packages usually apply to all of the upcharge speciality restaurants. You can go on whatever night you wish, just make reservations. I did not buy the dining package on my last Allure cruise, but our friends did. I don't remember any tricky restrictions. If you're only going to one specialty restaurant, then the dining packages aren't worth it. They will save you a couple of bucks if you plan to visit more. If you want to get a feel for Wonderland, check out my Quantum of the Seas review and scroll through to the dining section.

Stateroom configuration and furnishings will also have more in common with Quantum than Harmony's sisters Allure and Oasis, as I understand it. (Please note that FT rules require that I advise you that I am a contributor to the blog linked to here)
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Old Mar 27, 16, 8:00 pm
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I'm pretty sure when I was on Oasis in January that they sold the drink and internet packages right up until Thursday of the Saturday to Saturday cruise. Might have been Wednesday for the drink packages, not sure, but it did go pretty far into the week for those who just wanted the packages for the last 2 or 3 nights after our days in ports were finished. There are several drink packages depending on what you want to drink as well.

Whether you prepay the gratuities or not is a matter of whether you just want it out of the way or not. Not sure if their rule that those in anytime dining have to prepay is still in effect, as we had first seating.
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Old Apr 5, 16, 8:54 pm
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Does the drinks packages , let's say Ultimate allow me to order any drink from any of the bars / restaurants / starbucks and not have to pay more? Can I order a bottles of wine as well ?

And how does the cruise line enforce sharing ?
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Old Apr 6, 16, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by wantan View Post
Does the drinks packages , let's say Ultimate allow me to order any drink from any of the bars / restaurants / starbucks and not have to pay more? Can I order a bottles of wine as well ?

And how does the cruise line enforce sharing ?
If I buy a package, it's always the Ultimate. It covers everything with the following (known to me) exceptions:

Wine caps at $12 per glass. If you want...let's say a $23 dollar glass of Caymus, they charge you the $11 difference. I've always been able to find a drinkable glass that's covered. You can buy a bottle with a 20 percent discount. Not worth it.

Starbucks: On the ships that have the officially licensed Starbucks stores, and that is all of the Oasis Class ships, Starbucks coffees are not included in the package. Many, if not most of the other ships have a coffee shop that isn't "Starbucks" but use Starbucks beans...and those are covered. In the case of Harmony, you'll have a Starbucks store so that's not covered. The other coffee shops on board will probably use Seattle's Best beans...and those are covered.

I've never tried to share and won't. My wife can drink me and most men under the table. She deserves her own drink package. I've seen the sharing exclusion actively enforced, but YMMV.
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Old Apr 6, 16, 8:53 am
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With the drink packages you typically can't order more than one drink at a time, and there is a limit to when they can swipe your card for another drink. That typically limits the ability to share.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 1:00 pm
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Harmony will be a great ship.

Unless you drink a lot, don't do the drinks package. I don't drink - one wine or mixed drink per day, do totally not worth it.

And.

Never, never, ever book through a TA. Not to be trusted.

Book with RCCL itself, book from the US. You can make all kinds of changes which aren't allowed if booking outside the US.
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