Our 2019 Western Caribbean Cruise
In April 2019 we cruised the Western Caribbean onboard Harmony of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale. We had a lovely few days staying near Fort Lauderdale beforehand where we had enjoyed exploring the Everglades and were looking forward to taking things very easy on-board. Over the week we docked in Labadee (Haiti), Falmouth (Jamaica) and Cozumel (Mexico) as well as having three “At-Sea” days. It was bliss. This week’s blog tells how we got on. Enjoy!
Day 1 - Fort Lauderdale, Florida (USA) - Sunday. 7 April 2019
As we had been staying in Hollywood, Florida for a few days (visiting the Everglades - read blog here), the transfer to the Harmony of the Seas was completely stress-free. That morning we had a leisurely last breakfast at the hotel and were picked up by taxi for the short 7 mile trip north to the Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port. The weather was a warm 27 degrees Celsius.
Our scheduled boarding time was between 12:30 pm and 1 pm and we arrived in plenty of time. Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port is fine to travel out from as it’s well organised and efficient. We had checked in online and had printed off our cruise luggage labels which we had attached to our bags before leaving our hotel in Hollywood Beach. Boarding was super easy.
The itinerary for the week ahead was as follows:
As you can see from our above boarding photo, Harmony of the Seas is one of the world's largest cruise ships, and it's filled with family-friendly adventures to match. What do you get when you combine one of the biggest ships in the world with some of the boldest thrills at sea? A gravity defying, status-quo denying, electrifying expedition onboard Harmony of the Seas® that will set a new standard for holidays. From first-at-sea feats to the favourites that regular cruisers know and love, you'll find so many ways to make memories onboard – like the tallest slide at sea, Ultimate Abyss℠, deck-defying stunts at the AquaTheatre and the robot-helmed Bionic Bar. Not to mention dazzling Broadway performances and globe-trotting gastronomic experiences that go from Asia to the Mediterranean, and beyond.
Harmony's evening entertainment is one of the best at sea. As well as stand-up comics, magicians, live bands, karaoke, a massive casino and a silent disco (where you'll rub shoulders and dance alongside revellers listening to music through headphones), there's a string of excellent shows, including the classic hit musical Grease when we were on board.
Here’s a YouTube video that gives a flavour of what it feels like on-board:
Day 1 of Cruise
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (USA)
Sunday 7 April 2019
(Evening Attire: Casual)
Departed: 4:30 PM
We had booked stateroom - #6266 with a very similar on-ship location to where we had been the previous year on the Symphony (blog here). This allowed easy access to the Board Walk and the upper level of the Royal Promenade on the same deck. We opted for My Time Dining this time which allowed us flexibility in Silk Restaurant but planned also to go to some of the Speciality Restaurants on-board. As usual we would dine early around 6:30 – 7 pm which would allow us eat and then go to whatever entertainment was on afterwards with full bellies.
Check in for the cruise was painless and soon we were on board the Harmony of the Seas. There were 9 other cruise ships leaving Fort Lauderdale that day so it was fascinating to watch.
We also read our first “Cruise Compass” welcoming us on-board…these are the daily newsletters telling you all you need to know on your cruise and are left on your bed each day (See copies from our cruise here).
At 3:45 pm we all assembled for the mandatory Emergency Lifeboat Drill. As it was Charlie’s birthday that week, we had arranged for the room to be decorated:
….for dinner in Silk restaurant we were served delicious food by Lin and Jiayue. We then went to watch Grease onboard at 8:30 pm. The standard of performance was really good and we enjoyed it very much!! Charlie and I then went for a nightcap to the Schooner Bar to enjoy the music. We went to bed looking forward to the week ahead.
Day 2 Cruise
At Sea (Caribbean Sea)
Monday 8 April 2019 (Evening Attire: Formal)
At Sea All Day
With a ship the size of Harmony you can be as active or as laid back as you want to be. We did a little of everything after we first ate breakfast in the Park Café. We prefer the Park Café for breakfast as It’s less hectic than the buffet. And as forecast, the day was a warm 26 degrees with a few clouds. We strolled around the ship and Charlie loved the vintage car on the Promenade:
We also did a bit of sun bathing……and also sampled the nearby self-service ice-cream machines to cool off. We had pizza for lunch in Sorrento’s:
We headed off to explore the ship and then up to the Pool Bar on Deck 15. This is one of the 13 bars on board!! I had a strawberry daiquiri up at the bar:
Then we bought sweets at Sugar Beach on the Board Walk…..we were lucky that our rooms were on the same level, Deck 6), so never had to walk far for a sugar rush! That night was formal night so we got dolled up and got a few photos taken at the table in Silk:
Afterwards at 8:30 pm we went to watch the aerial acrobatics, synchronised swimming and dancing at the back of the ship, The Fine Line show. It was truly amazing and stunning to think that it was all taking place on a moving ship!!
We came back to the room turned down with some towel sculptures above. A perfect end to a perfect day.
Day 3 Cruise
Tuesday 9 April 2019 (Evening Attire: Casual)
08:00 – 17:00
The day dawned bright and sunny as we docked in beautiful Labadee. This is where beachside meets mountainside – a Royal Caribbean® private destination on Haiti’s northern coast. Here you’ll find pristine sands, coral reefs and jungle-covered hilltops nestling lagoon-like bays.
There’s no shortage of places to relax and recharge across five stretches of beach. Or dial up the thrills on an active adventure like a half-mile-long zip line ride over the ocean. And fascinating culture, history and the natural beauty of Haiti’s spectacular coasts wait to be discovered around every corner.
We had a lovely stroll around and then had a delicious beach-side BBQ listening to live Caribbean music. It was totally relaxing.
Back onboard we got ready for dinner in Chops Grille one of the speciality restaurants onboard. We were down there for 7 pm and really enjoyed the tasty food.
Day 4 Cruise
Wednesday 10 April 2019 (Evening Attire: Casual/ Caribbean)
10:00 – 19:00
Another beautiful day dawned. We were in no rush as we didn’t dock until 10am so we had a leisurely breakfast in the Park Café. We had booked the 11:30 Accessible Falmouth & Montego Bay tour as I don’t walk too well anymore.
Known as MoBay to locals, Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second-largest city and its top destination. Blending big city bustle with secluded natural wonder, it offers some of the island’s best beaches, bars and shopping.
So we made the short bus trip to Montego Bay with great commentary on the history of the area and the plantations. At Pier 1 in Montego Bay we got to sample some delicious jerk cooking and eat banana bread and drink Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
We synced our minds with island time looking at the stretches of white-sand beach. Heading back to Falmouth enjoying the north Jamaican coastline. The best part? Montego Bay is only 20 minutes west of Falmouth so the 4 hour trip was very leisurely. We got to see some of the gorgeous Georgian architecture in Falmouth.
We were back on board at teatime and had time to chill. That night after dinner we went to the Stand-up Comedy show at 9pm but we didn’t stay for it all.
Above: Taken near Montego Bay, Jamaica - 10 April 2019
Day 5 Cruise
At Sea (Caribbean Sea)
Thursday 11 April 2019 (Evening Attire: Formal)
At Sea All Day
With a ship the size of Harmony there’s always something to explore. We did a little of everything again after we first ate breakfast in the Park Café. And as forecast, the day was a sunny 27 degrees. We lolled around the ship for the day.
We again had pizza for lunch in Sorrento’s. After more sun bathing, I went off to the Vitality Spa for a 50 minute Swedish Massage. It was really invigorating and I ended up buying some Elemis products.
That night was another formal night so we got dolled up and got a few photos taken at the table in Silk:
At 7:30 pm we watched 1887: A Journey in Time the Harmony’s ice-skating show which was really excellent. Again, hard to believe that it was all taking place on a moving ship!!
Day 6 Cruise
Friday 12 April 2019 (Evening Attire: White/ Casual
08:00 – 19:30
With its lively tropical reefs, crystal-clear waters and ancient ruins, Cozumel is ripe for one-of-a-kind adventures. At Cozumel we could head to Chankanaab National Park, where you can snorkel amongst the colourful reefs and schools of tropical fish that give this island its premier diving status. Or travel back in time on an adventure through the towering Maya ruins of Tulum.
We actually spent a lot of the day on-board ship. We spent a lot of the day lying by the pool. Charlie and I had lunch at Johnny Rockets which were just delicious. We also had some more delicious cocktails and drinks. With so much to do on-board, the day flew by!
We had dinner at 6:30 pm in 150 Central Park another of the specialty restaurants on Harmony of the Seas. From executive chef Michael Schwartz, this establishment offers a more traditional multi-course menu that tempts your taste buds with a mix of Italian, French, and American cuisine and cooking styles. It was so tasty! Afterwards we finished the day by picking up some souvenirs in The Shop on-board.
We came back to our room to be greeted by a monkey!!
Day 7 Cruise
At Sea (Caribbean Sea)
Saturday 13 April 2019 (Evening Attire: Casual)
At Sea All Day
This was the very last full day we had onboard this wonderful ship. We made the most of it in the warm sunshine!
Our route took us North of Cuba as the GPS on my phone indicated at about 5 pm that evening:
Day 8 Cruise
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (USA)
Sunday 14 April 2019
Arrival: 7:00 AM
Shortly after 7 am we docked back at Fort Lauderdale having smoothly sailed through the night…hard to believe it was only 7 days since we left. After breakfast on-board, we made our way to the gangplank and disembarked the ship.
We had booked a taxi to take us to Miami and the last leg of our 2019 trip (TO FOLLOW). We said our last Goodbyes to the ship that had been our home for the last week and bade farewell.
We had LOVED the Harmony of the Seas and would encourage anyone to go do this!!
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog 101
Number 34 - Eat/ Drink Regional Food and Drink
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Blog 30 - Alaska
Blog 31 - Everglades, Florida
Have you ever been on a cruise to the Caribbean? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!