Another Wonderful Christmas Break

If you read last year’s post, you know that we went on a cruise. This year we did it again and I can’t say enough great things.

This Christmas’ cruise was amazing. Let’s look at the specifics first.

7 Day Cruise on Harmony of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Drove to Florida, again

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This ship was huge. The largest current cruise ship in the world

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This is an absolutely beautiful model of the ship. It’s pretty cool.

Now let’s talk about the experience and it was an experience indeed.

The Good

  • This ship is a sight to see. It’s fantastic from front to back, left to right.
  • The amenities were spot on. There were so many fun things to do on the ship that I honestly could have stayed on board and been perfectly fine.
  • Some of the things on ship were water slides, dry slides, rock climbing walls, carousels, zip line, mini golf, theaters, ice skating and much more.
  • The pools were excellent.
  • The shows were well done and outstanding. I’m not a huge show guy, but these were impressive.
  • The food was phenomenal. There were some great specialty restaurants as well as the normal main dining.
  • There was a full scale Starbucks on board! Talk about a happy cruiser!
  • Though I did harp that there were a lot of kids on the ship, there was equally a lot for them to do.
  • Our stateroom was much larger than last year. I continue to stress that everyone get a stateroom with seaside balcony. This ship even had balconies that faced inward and some that looked out over the back of the ship.
  • The staff was very polite and again, made me feel welcome and appreciated all week.
  • The ports of call were outstanding. I’d rank them St. Maarten, San Juan and then Labadee.
  • Having two days at sea to start was really cool. I like having the multiple days at sea towards the middle of the cruise, however this was a pleasant change.
    • This is not an exhaustive list of good things by any means. But I don’t want to keep you from reading last year’s experience.

The So/So

  • I hate to say it, but I think this ship was too large for my taste. At no time did I ever not feel like there were 6,000+ people on the ship.
  • The beverage package changed and it left me lacking my daily free Starbucks hit. I could use my Starbucks card, but I couldn’t use my free rewards.
  • Though the ship was huge the lay out of the Grand Promenade felt cramped. (Especially on the sales day, where there was tons of stuff for sale and tons of people walking around.) But don’t get me wrong, the sun there is just as amazing and some of my best pics were of these mountains resting over the beach in the distance.
  • One port of call was only a few hours. I suppose that it took longer to park the ship than we were actually out enjoying Old San Juan.
  • The gym was nice, but due to its placement on the ship it smelled like cigarettes.
  • I am not sure who planned it like this, but on the Harmony the steam room and sauna is a pay to use service. I’ve never heard of that.

Changes

  • This isn’t a Royal Caribbean problem at all. However, this ship’s size and appeal brought about something every school teacher dreads. There were a lot of kids on the ship. Most of them were very respectful and polite. However, there were quite a few that made my teacher ire rise.
  • I am glad I tried other restaurants. I am very thankful for the Windjammer, but it’s not my thing anymore.
  • I write this with great sadness, but I kept getting lost on the ship. It’s not anyone’s fault, but mine. I just had a bear of time keeping my bearings. I ended up taking the stairs A LOT.
  • I’m over Labadee. Though it’s a specimen of beauty, I’m over the beach and the hustle of the island. The beach is very rocky and really not that fun. The beach is beautiful, but the water and shore was tough to walk on.
  • Next time I’d certainly go on a tour or an excursion on Labadee.
  • Be careful with the Wi-Fi. Being able to access the net is a great thing and it wasn’t that expensive at all. However, it’s very easy to just get sucked into staring at your phone, iPad or whatever. I had to catch my own self and not get caught just staring at social media.

I am very glad I was able to take my family on this trip. There’s really nothing that I would say I’d honestly change. I go back to school in two days. I’m rested and ready to make this semester our best semester so far.

I’m sure you know that Team Whitaker cruise #3 has already been booked.  

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