Monday, February 6, 2017

Harmony of the Seas ~ Day 1, Part 1

Recently My Sweetie and I celebrated our 21st Anniversary by taking a cruise in the Caribbean. We actually began planning this trip a year and a half before, when the ship we had chosen was still being built.

At the time of our sailing in January 2017, Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas was the largest ship in the world.



We flew into Fort Lauderdale the day before and stayed at a hotel near the port. We found one that had a shuttle from the airport, and then also had a shuttle the next morning to Port Everglades, where all the cruise ships left from.






We sped through security and checked in with no lines at all.





Finally we were in the massive waiting room.


It looks like a mess, but we were all in groups. We were in group 9.


Unfortunately at this point, Royal Caribbean's photo system went down. Each guest gets a SeaPass card with your photo on the account. This way when you get on and off the ship, it acts as your photo ID. We waited about 45 minutes and then finally, our group was called. 







Walking on the gangway. It really was surreal walking onto such a huge vessel.




We got on and walked around a bit. Our rooms were not ready yet, so we headed up to the Solarium for lunch.


The elevator ride up gave us a glimpse of Central Park.





The Solarium was on the fore, or front of the ship, on the 15th floor. It was open each meal, offering a buffet.





There were a variety of selections, and lunch there was decent.







My plate.



I always take photos of my plates at meal times.


After lunch we went to our dining room to set up the dining package we had purchased. This was a little disorganized. There were two crew members helping people reserve their specialty dining and that was not near enough help. And there wasn't a place to line up, so we all just sat at tables in the dining room. But everyone was very nice and we all kept track of what order we were in. The line moved fast and we were helped in about 15 minutes.

By this point our rooms were ready so we went and checked out where we would be staying for the next seven days.


It was actually larger than I had anticipated.




This was the star of the room, the balcony. 


On the Harmony, most guests actually have balcony rooms. You have choices though, you can have a balcony looking inwards which looks over the Boardwalk or Central Park. Or you can have an outward facing balcony which looks out to the sea.

That's what we had.

{Taken when we were at sea}






Looking the other direction:






And in case you wondered about the bathroom....






The shower looks small but it was a fine size.



I had read up and done research about cruising and one piece of advice was to actually unpack everything. This was great advice - there is plenty of drawers and closet space and our suitcases fit nicely under the bed.


And since I had read that there isn't much storage space in the bathroom I also brought a plastic organizer and we attached it to the back of the bathroom door.




We changed into our swim suits and headed up to the water slides.




I had to put this next photo on here - we don't use our Go Pro except on trips and were still figuring it out today.








There were four water slides to choose from.




Most were in the dark so this was the best shot we got.





This one emptied into a big huge bowl.







My Sweetie having a go.



I had read that it was best to go do all this the first day because the slides tend to get crowded. That was a good decision since we only had to wait a few minutes. The other days the line went all the way down the stairs.


Our first drinks of the cruise: a gin and tonic for my love, and champagne for me.



We did decide to purchase the drink package. We were offered a good price and did the math and since Royal Caribbean had just recently increased their drink prices, we found it was worth it. We could basically get any drink that was under $13. And so you know, there were only a few drinks that were over this amount.


We were all called to muster right before the ship left - I was all excited because I thought we would get to put our life jackets on by the lifeboats but instead they did it differently. We went to our muster station (ours was a bar on the 4th floor), watched a crew member put on a life vest, and listened to the Wash Your Hands song. Stupid, but this song was actually quite catchy and we would hear it sometimes on the ship and both of us would start singing it. 



Then we went back to our private balcony to watch us sail away.





This guy was with us for a while. Notice the fire power on the front of that Coast Guard boat!






As we sailed through the port, people on the boat were cheering and blowing air horns, and people on the shore were waving goodbye. It was actually a really neat moment.






Goodbye, Florida.




Headed to Sea.


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