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Credit: Royal Caribbean

Harmony of the Seas review: Best activities & dining on Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Author: Gary Peters

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Harmony of the Seas offers much more than just the big ship experience. World of Cruising stepped onboard for a short three-night cruise on the Royal Caribbean ship to review the hotel at sea.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship Harmony of the Seas, launched in 2015, is part of the popular line's super successful Oasis class, which perfectly defines how ships can be holiday resorts themselves.

I joined the cruise in Rome partway through the 5,500-guest ship’s seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise - and it's huge. It’s no exaggeration to say I’m completely lost within 10 minutes. Everywhere I turn there is a new bar, restaurant, or some whacky feature that demands attention.

So, with only a couple of days to make the most of Harmony of the Seas, what are the best things to do onboard?

From action-packed slides to checking out the cheesecake, these are the highlights of the cruise ship.

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Harmony of the Seas activities

The Ultimate Abyss waterslide is ideal for thrill-seekers. It is 150 feet above sea level, on the top deck, where passengers launch themselves down against the backdrop of lights, sound effects and music.

The average time from top to bottom is just 13.14 seconds, and Royal Caribbean says those who dare to try it hit an average G force of 1.46.

Another option for those looking to get active is the two FlowRider surf simulators – which whenever I check appear to be in use by some serious professional surfers with no You’ve Been Framed moments forthcoming.

- READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Royal Caribbean -

There's also the ‘perfect storm’ of slides – Typhoon, Cyclone, and Supercell – which get the adrenaline pumping.

Alternatively, for further adventure kicks, why not try out the zip line, nine decks above the Boardwalk? From beneath it is a spectacular sight looking up at people ‘zipping’ across from one end to the other.

For lower intensity fun, one thing that catches my eye is the Harmony Dunes, a small mini-golf course up on deck 15, in the sports zone. I’m no Tiger Woods in his prime, but I post a performance that would make many keen golfers proud - or so I convince myself...

Harmony of the Seas: The Ultimate Abyss waterslide is ideal for thrill-seekers - it's 150 feet above sea level. Credit: Royal Caribbean

Harmony of the Seas entertainment

On the first night, I take in the ice show, 1887, in Studio B. After many years of watching Dancing on Ice, it’s eye-opening to see up close the skill required to glide across the ice with panache, all while remaining in character.

Passengers can also step out onto the ice – not in the show, of course, but at designated time slots.

- READ MORE: Royal Caribbean reveals longest world cruise EVER -

Harmony of the Seas dining

Dining, like everything else, feels supercharged, with plenty of sit-down restaurants – complimentary and speciality – and smaller snack bars for the quick bite on the go.

On the agenda on the first night is 150 Central Park. Labelled a ‘farm to ship foodie favourite’, this intimate venue, on deck 8, features a menu of dishes with locally sourced, artisanal ingredients.

I plump for braised ribs, followed by lamb wellington, but the dish that gets the most attention is the dessert of fried cheesecake. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but sure is funky.

I also eat in the main dining room, and Chops Grille on the final night. For me, this is the sort of dining that puts a smile on my face – nothing too pretentious, and simple yet effective. The Windjammer Marketplace is another winner – particularly at lunch with a vast array of choices and a special Mongolian cooking station on day two.

Harmony of the Seas: 150 Central Park, labelled a ‘farm to ship foodie favourite’, is an intimate venue. Credit: Royal Caribbean

Harmony of the Seas bars and cafes

Bars are also ubiquitous, particularly on decks 5 and 6 – from Boleros to Boot & Bonnet, Dazzles, the Schooner Bar, and Vintages.

Two that stand out are the Bionic Bar – with its robotic arms that mix pre-made cocktails or customised creations, including non-alcoholic versions (mine takes approximately one minute to complete, although this was during the day and not in the peak evening rush) – and the Rising Tide, which is – for want of a better phrase – a spaceship-like moving bar, which takes guests up and down decks.

Cafes are also dotted around – including a Starbucks – and here guests can pick up their favourite hot drinks. A hidden spot is the Vitality Café, just next to the huge fitness centre, which serves up delicious juices and smoothies.

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Harmony of the Seas audience

As for fellow cruisers, there's no denying Harmony of the Seas is ideal for families - the number of children onboard tells its own story, but the size of Harmony of the Seas and attractions will not suit everyone.

Harmony of the Seas: At the Bionic Bar robotic arms mix pre-made cocktails or customised creations. Credit: Royal Caribbean

How environmentally friendly is Harmony of the Seas?

Royal Caribbean Group has recently unveiled a new concept called Destination Net Zero, described as a “comprehensive decarbonisation strategy that includes pledging to establish science-based targets and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050”.

As part of this journey, the group aims to deliver net-zero ships by 2035, with 13 new “energy-efficient and alternatively fuelled vessels”, including Silversea’s Project Evolution concept, which will feature the industry’s first hybrid-powered ship, set to debut in summer 2023.

- READ MORE: World's largest ship Wonder of the Seas coming to Europe in 2022 -

The company has also pledged to invest in energy efficiency programmes for the whole fleet, including energy-saving technologies, enhanced data systems and digitalisation. There is also a drive to work on alternative and accessible fuels through partnerships with governments, suppliers and shipyards.

All in all, it should add up to more of the same harmony on board, but a great deal more harmony for the seas.

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