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All Aboard...In Perfect Harmony

Embarkation day. One of thee best days of the cruise, if not the best. Our day started out with a little R & R. Having stayed up until 1 am the night before working on proposals for vacations and my travel blog, we decided to sleep in late and got up at 7 am. Let's be honest, we were getting on a cruise ship, who in the world would want to sleep in. So after getting ready for the day, it was off to do a brief Facebook live video showing the view of the Harmony of the Seas from our hotel. I figure why not make yourself took foolish for all to see. It at least seemed like a good idea at the time. After doing a brief video, Madison and I headed off to breakfast. The Radisson had a nice buffet breakfast and also did a la carte dining. After a quick bite to eat, it was back to the room to finish packing up our stuff. Our scheduled time to be at the port was 12 pm, but there was no way we were waiting that long.

At about 9:30 we loaded up the old convertible and headed for the Alamo Rental Car location. The Alamo drop off is located less then a mile from the Royal Caribbean Cruise Terminal and offers free shuttle service to the port. We were able to quickly drop off the vehicle and jump on a shuttle to the port. While there were many folks waiting to rent a car at that time, there were not many waiting for a shuttle. The shuttle driver advised us that they had 200 rentals coming back that day so we were lucky that there were only 3 other people on our shuttle to the port.

We arrived at the port at 10:00 am, checked our luggage in with the porter, and were off into the cruise ship terminal. After quickly navigating security, well minus the mental detector issues, we were on our way to the second floor to check in. Word to the wise, don't wear a belt that is difficult to take off when trying to board a cruise ship it just slows you down. Once we got upstairs in the terminal, we quickly checked in, or so we thought, and headed to the holding pen with the rest of the eager beavers. The folks checking us in advised they would start the boarding process soon. Within minutes they were calling out groups to board starting with the Pinnacle members and the Star class suites and moving down to those of us in steerage. As our group was called, we raced to the check in only to find out that apparently they did not check us in. Boo. No worries, a nice lady with a IPad checked up in again and away we went. After taking a few photos, we boarded the ship. We literally stepped on the ship at 10:20 am. It took 20 minutes from arrival at the port until we were aboard our home away from home.

Once on-board, our mission was clear. Get all the logistical tasks out of the way and move on to having fun. First stop was Boleros to pick up our Wow bands. If you get on-board quick enough the line to get these is really short. We waited a few minutes was all. The Wow band gives you access to make purchases on-board, gives you access to your show reservations, gives you access to your stateroom and more. Basically it is your wearable Sea Pass card. The only thing it will not allow you to do is get on and off the ship. After getting our Wow bands and a minor disagreement about the colors we were getting, white went with all of my outfits so it was mine and Madison would have to just suffer with black, we were off to make a second specialty dining reservation for our package. Madison really wanted to try Lamb Wellington so 150 Central Park it was. Then finally it was time to confirm our main dining reservations. In less then and hour we were done with all of the logistical tasks for the day.

Off to explore and look like a fool on Facebook Live. If you have never been on an Oasis class ship, let me tell you, good walking shoes are a must the first day. Madison and I did not have any pre-planned ideas on where we wanted to go or what we wanted to do, so off we went. First stop was the pool deck bar for a little refreshment. By refreshment I mean a diet killing non-alcoholic Strawberry Daiquiri. Yep just as good as I remember them. We met bartender Paul who kindly reminder some other guests that two Paul's make a right. Well back and forth, back and forth we went each time finding new and interesting thing the Harmony had to offer. We checked out numerous venues and got a lay for the land. Got to admit between steps and stairs, I am good for 2020 in my allotment of exercise. The Harmony is absolute gorgeous and offers such a wide range of activities. I will touch on them as we do them later this week. Side note, having arrived on-board at 10 am gave us ample time to explore then ship and get our bearings before a majority of the guest arrived on the ship. It made exploring the ship really nice and provided for uninterrupted picture taking most of the time.

At 1 pm the staterooms opened. Madison and I reserved an aft Boardwalk balcony. While it is a little bit of a walk to the stateroom since the nearest elevators and stairs and about a third of the way up the ship, the walk was not bad and there was limited passenger traffic around our room. The stateroom over looks the Boardwalk neighborhood on the Harmony. We got a room close enough to the back of the ship that it also gave us oceans views. Almost the best of both worlds, it is hard to hear the ocean crashing against the ship over the music from down on the Boardwalk. As we headed to the room, we grabbed our luggage which was patiently waiting for use in the hallway. Upon arriving at the room, we quickly unpacked and settled into out home for the next week. We also met Bailey our room steward for the week. Bailey is from Jamaica and has a great personality and attitude about him. We discussed the sleeping arrangements as they still had our bed made up into one bed and that clearly was not going to work. We set the room up and were ready to relax. Cruise hack #1- Bring some magnetic hooks with to hang items on the wall. We brought four with and it gave us places to hang our hands, Madison's purse, backpacks and a whole lot more. It was great.

After dropping our stuff off and getting out room set up it was time to relax. Our balcony had a view of the Aqua Theater which was playing the Saints/Vikings game, nope not watching that, that was not going to be relaxing. So off we went wondering the ship some more, because apparently I had not walked enough already today. We headed up to Mini Bites on the pool Deck for some lunch. This is a nice dining location for a quick bite to eat without having to go to the Windjammer. On a side note, we scoped out the Windjammer and found they had a gluten free section of food away from the rest and it was clearly marked. Very convenient for those who can't eat gluten. After lunch it was time for the muster drill and then finally sail away. The muster drill was the first time it actually felt like there were over 6,000 people on this ship. Not a big surprise sense it is a mandatory attendance.

We then headed to deck 7 after the muster drill and took up our spot for sail away. It also gave us a perfect view of the big screen TV in the Aqua theater to watch the Vikings knock off the Saints. Seems like the vacation is getting off to a great start. I also found the perfect camping spot for my wife. I think I will have to book it when I get back. After we hit the open ocean, it was back to our room to change for dinner at Chops Grille. This was the first of two specialty dining experiences that we planned.

We arrived at Chops Grille early, and were seated immediately. The atmosphere in Chops is really nice but the seating is super close to each other so you can hear everyone's conversation next to you. We started out with crab cakes and a large slab of bacon. Crab cakes were nice and the chipotle sauce on the side made for a nice complement. The bacon was, well it was bacon so it does not need a review. The main course to night was Filet with sides of mash potato, a cheese tator tot, creamed spinach, and fries. All I can say is very tasty. The filet melted in your mouth. Then it was onto dessert. Madison got the Chocolate Cake and I thought I would try the Key Lime pie. After they showed up, I kind of wished I had the Chocolate cake. Look at the picture and you will know why. I also took this opportunity to present Madison with a promise ring from her mother and I and discussed about making positive choices when it can to relationships.

After supper we headed to the room so Madison could change as it was a bit chilly this evening and going to watch an ice skating show probably was not going to help any. So while she changed, I napped and listened to the Eagles lose to the Seahawks.

For some reason, someone, not pointing fingers at myself or anything, booked 1887: A Journey in Time at 10 pm. So after changing and napping, we went exploring some of the venues a little more. We walked past a few of the clubs, listened to a little karaoke and Jazz and then headed to Studio B where our show was. I found the show to be very entertaining and well produced. I would definitely recommend attending the show. It is absolutely amazing what the performers can do on a small rink on a moving ship. After the show it was off to bed.

Nevermind- it was off to get housekeeping to split our bed. Then it was off to bed to get rest for our Perfect Day.

Also: Drink count for the day:

1- Strawberry Daiquiri

1- Lava Flow

1- Pina Colada

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