Our Research SheBuysTravel headed out on her first ever cruise, and it happened to be a mega ship cruise on Royal Carribean’s Harmony of the Seas. She shares 5 things you need to know before you book your first sailing on a mega ship.
I recently cruised for the very first time on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, the Harmony of the Seas. The Harmony just so happens that it is the largest ship in the world! Having never cruised before, let alone on a mega-cruise ship, I have to say that there were some aspects that took me by surprise. A fellow SheBuysTravel wrote a post about making the most of a family cruise together, it is sure to come in handy as you are making preparations! Overall, I had a fantastic first cruising experience but there are some things that I wish I had known before I set sail!
Overall, I had a fantastic first cruising experience but there are some things that I wish I had known before I set sail!
They are big. Really, really big.
I realize that this seems like a no-brainer. But even though I knew the Harmony of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world, I don’t think that I really took into consideration that there would be so much to see and do while on board. There are 17 decks of this massive vessel. I was constantly exclaiming about the new features that I had found. As you can imagine there was a lot of “how did I miss that, the first time?!”
It would be incredibly easy to become overwhelmed by all of the offerings of a mega ship. I encourage you to take a deep breath and sit down to make a plan of the things that you want to see and do while you are on board. The Harmony of the Seas wasn’t built in a day, so you shouldn’t try to see it all in one day either!
Be prepared to walk…a lot!
This was something that took me by surprise. I don’t really know why, but not having ever cruised before I had in my mind that the activities would be all located right around each other. That isn’t true on the world’s largest cruise ship.
Each day, the step tracker on my phone said that I walked right around 15,000 steps! Which brings me to another point for you to consider: make sure you have comfy shoes. I ended up with some very painful blisters on my feet.
This is not to say that relaxation isn’t possible. If you want to sit by the pool and sip cocktails, that is absolutely an option as well!
It can get crowded.
This is the largest cruise ship in the world, so it carries a lot of people. The ship felt very crowded, especially on the first and last days of the trip.
The Harmony of the Seas has a capacity for 6,780 passengers. That is a LOT of people fighting for elevator space, there are 24 elevators on board. Often I ditched the elevator line and opted for the stairs after waiting for 10 minutes or longer.
Keeping your expectations in check and choosing not to get bent out of shape if you have to wait longer than you would like is the key to happiness in this situation.
Not everything is included.
This may seem like common knowledge to experienced cruisers, but the siren song of the specialty restaurants on the ship is easy to fall prey to, leaving you with a bigger bill than you had anticipated when you depart the ship.
Here is the next thing to keep in mind about your seaport card. Yes, it opens your door and operates your lights in your stateroom. But it also has charging ability. Since all passengers are required to carry these cards at all times, be sure to ask to remove those charging privileges for the little ones in your group. I know that I don’t trust my kiddos enough to have free rein with buying privileges!
Know where you want to stay
The are several types of accommodations available (the names vary by ship but generally they are all about the same.)
This means exactly what it sounds like. The cabin is on the inner portion of the ship and there isn’t a window. This is a good choice should you need more than 1 room, say for the kiddos, or if you know that you won’t be in your room long enough to notice the lack of windows.
These types of rooms are much like the interior cabins, but there is a window that lets you peek at what is going on outside.
The balcony accommodations are just that, the rooms are quite like the interior and outside view in terms of the layout, but just as you might have expected there is a balcony.
Royal Suite Class
This class sits firmly in the “treat yourself” category. The least expensive room starts at $5,000 for double occupancy. Rates rise all the way up to $11,000 for double occupancy. However, if a large space to spread out is a top priority for you and your family, the suite options are worth considering.
If you are still looking for cruising tips, this article shares cruise lingo that will come in handy!