Vivian M. Webb, MCC
(434) 237-3832
(800) 854-0500
  My Harmony of the Seas Conference - Oct 2017  
 

 

 

Harmony of the Seas Review

 

 

What can I say about this ship ?  Wow

What can I say about our convention ? Wow

What can I say about all the details, Vicki Freed and her personal Royal Caribbean staff, put into the production of making our convention a total successes ?  Wow

What a non-stop filled week of education, insight, and motivation !  Wow !

Our theme for conference was … Achieve !

One of our most exciting new programs was revealed … Our new customer and non-customer Super Vacation Hero Program … Where you can earn $10 for each new customer you refer !

And next year’s 2018 convention was revealed … Oct 20, onboard the new NCL Bliss, Mexican Riviera.

 

 

You’ll soon discover Why ?  I must do a spread sheet of the week, as I do my daily work schedule !

 

 

Friday, Oct 27.  My adventure began right here from Lynchburg, and flew to Ft Lauderdale.  Arrived @ noon, and took a taxi over to the Hilton Ft Lauderdale Marina, where I’ll meet up with most of my associates and staff.  See pictures in my vacation pictures.  This hotel was gorgeous and our room view, spectacular. 

 

Once arriving, had lunch with a few associates, and then grabbed a little nap before our big pre-convention cocktail party.  Our party was represented by MSC Cruises tonight.  Not only drinks, they had a little food.  And offered MSC flip flops, which I accepted, with my friend Cheryl in mind.  We also had an opportunity to take a few fun pictures with friends.  And, a picture in front of the MSC Seaside, for an opportunity to sign up for a cruise giveaway (when we posted the picture on our timeline, #mscseaside), which I did. 

 

I can promise you, I didn’t stay up till the end of the social.  Big day tomorrow, boarding the Harmony.

Insight:  Later learned, this pool view, provided noise, if there’s still a party going on or folk having a good time at pool restaurant, you can hear it from pool view rooms.

 

Saturday, Oct 28.  Next morning arrived quickly, with a great night of sleep.  After coffee and a little socializing with associates and staff, decided to take a taxi to the ship, instead of the shuttle.  We weren’t leaving till @ 11am, and our group could board @ 11:30am.

 

Fastest boarding ever … Yes, 6000 people.  As soon as we got to the pier, dropped our luggage off, and jumped in line.  After going thru the screening, many of us were then able to proceed into the Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Suite Line.  No matter what line you were in, it was a constant flowing line.  All we had to do at check was provide our ‘health form’ (our keys would be in our room).  From there, walked right onto the ship, with no waiting at all !

 

Special Lunch.  Lucky for our group, lunch was provided in the dining room.  Consisted of a salad bar, buffet lunch, and lots of desserts !

 

1:30pm Meeting.  Yes, our 1st meeting was right after lunch.  Here, we heard from Vicki Freed, Sen VP of Sales and Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean.

 

6:30-7:30pm Cocktail Social.  Royal Caribbean was our host and our adventure was to be on the Boardwalk.  It was raining and they quickly moved it to Studio B (ice skating rink).  What a beautiful display of desserts.  We saw same such desserts at every meeting and every cocktail party ! Along with cocktails at night and coffee during our sessions/meetings/seminars.

Opportunity:  Harmony is a great place for your next ‘Meeting/Seminar/Group event at Sea’.

 

8:30pm – Dinner with Drew in Wonderland.  This is a must see Dinner Adventure Experience.  It’s so hard to explain !  Wonderland as in, I wonder what it is ?  Whether it was the appetizer, entrees, or dessert. 

 

10:30pm – Aqua Show cancelled d/t rain (rescheduled for later in week).  Went to bed early !

 

Sunday, Oct 29.  Up bring and early, 7am.  Morning, 8am-12:30, General Assembly.  Here we heard from Royal Caribbean, our Senior VP of Ft Lauderdale (Debbie), Make-A-Wish (our charity each year – we raised over $92,000 this week), Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival, Princess, Viking River/Ocean Cruises, Holland America.  Then we had a Cruise Line executive panel, where they had to answer questions from our very own GM of Networking & MC & my buddy, Drew. Then our key note speaker, Robert ‘Waldo’ Waldman, the wing man, who provided great motivation.

 

12:30pm - We took a group photo.  Then up to the Lido Café for a few bites with associates. 

 

1:30pm - 1st chosen seminar of the week.  We have estimate 4-5 seminars to choose from, during these hours.  They last an hour. 

2:45pm – 2nd chosen seminar.

 

5-6pm Ice Skating Show (Journey in Time).

 

7:30-8:30pm Cocktail Party.  Host, Carnival.  Our Theme was Wig Out.  No, I didn’t wear a wig.  This was also formal night onboard.

 

9pm – Dinner with Holland America.  Was invited to the 150 restaurant on Park Ave.  Besides the scallops and the tender meats, their specialty was their salt.  We had a smoked salt, rose salt, egg salt and more.  Very interesting.  You put it on your break with a little butter.  Exciting evening. 

 

10:30pm - We were having so much fun at dinner, I missed my 1st night entertainment, Grease (rescheduled for last day of conference).

 

Monday, Oct 30 – Labadee (Royal Caribbean’s private island – I love).  9-11:30am, Royal Caribbean hosted a Beach party.  I stayed onboard for a little R & R, since I can’t do the sun.  Went off ship @ 11am for buffet lunch, with ribs and more.  Then over to bargaining with the natives.  Great buys.  My new vase (matches one I bought last time), was fun getting back to ship ‘and’ home !

 

5:30-7:30pm, Awards Ceremony.  I received 2 main awards:  (1)Top 10 Cinc agents of the year, and (2) Social Media Marketing award.  Also, I was the top 5 agents for: (1) Carnival (2) NCL (3) Holland America (4) Crystal Cruises (5) Resort for a Day (visit & experience a resort while in port), and (6) Globus family of brands (Land).

FYI – Awards night is another formal night for us.

 

7:30-8:30pm, Cocktail party.  Hosted by Princess.

 

8:30pm, Dinner in the main dining room, with associates & staff.

 

10:30pm – Headline Show.

 

Tuesday, Oct 31 – Halloween – Falmouth.  9-11am – Trade Show.  Cruise Lines, Land vendors, and others, had display of materials and gifts for us to choose from.

 

11-3:30pm.  Was invited by GoGo Vacations to go visit 2 Hyatt Resorts.  They were side by side (beautiful – see my pictures).  One was adult only and the other, family friendly.  Select Hyatt’s as these are All-Inclusive.  We toured the property, had a beautiful buffet lunch with beer/wine, and then we spent time with the Jamaica Board of Tourism, and 2 companies GoGo has purchases, for the benefit of transfers to the resorts and tours.  Fun and exhausting day !

 

5:30-6:30pm.  Private Cocktail party for night prior award winners.

 

7-8pm.  Halloween Monster Bash Cocktail party, hosted by our HQ staff.  I wore a shirt that said, “I have you under my spell”.

 

8:30pm, Dinner in the main dining room, with associates & staff.

 

10:30pm – No show scheduled.

 

Wednesday, Nov 1 – General Assembly – 8:30am-12:30pm.  This morning, we heard from our Tech Team (Sandi), Celebrity Cruises, Apple Vacations, MSC Cruises, Disney (Cruise and Land), AMResorts (Carlos – he is one funny dude, each year), CLIA (Cruise Line International Assoc), AON (Trip Cancellation Insurance), Windstar Cruises, Playa Resorts – CEO, Howard Tanenbaum – His wife works for Royal Caribbean(Only in business 4 years & they’ve won 8 Megellica Awards already), ASTA, AmaWaterways, Trafalgar, and our Marketing and Business Development Teams.

 

12:30pm – Lunch at Lido Café with associates and staff.

 

1:30pm – Chosen seminar

2:45pm – Chosen seminar

 

4-5pm – Cinc Meeting with Brad, Debbie, and Drew.

 

7-8pm – Cocktail Party.  Hosted by Apple Vacations, tacky tourist theme.  This was also dress up night.  So I wore my Alaska toes shoes with my dress-up clothes.

 

8:30pm, Dinner in the main dining room, with associates & staff.

 

10:30pm – Columbus Show – I missed – Went to bed early !

 

Thursday, Nov 2 – Cozumel.  8am-9am – Townhall meeting with Brad.

 

10am.  My own personal ship tour.  See the sights, and take pictures.

11am.  Breakfast in Lido Café.

12:30pmWent into Cozumel.  Originally planned to go downtown.  Quickly decided, enjoy the shops in the port.  Then I walked onto the street in front of port.  Did a little bargaining, and then went into a bar/boots shop.  Here I learned about a new liquor, the owner had produced; enjoyed peanuts/pumpkin seeds; and margarita.

 

7-8pm – Cocktail Party – Hosted by Norwegian Cruise Line.  Didn’t go, but instead, went to see Fineline (the aqua show I missed in begging of week, d/t rain).

 

8:30pm, Dinner in the main dining room, with associates & staff.

 

10:30pm – The Attic – Comedy Show.  The general manager of the event provided comedy 1st.  I didn’t realize he wasn’t the comedy act, so began disappointed, because he was making jokes just off his head.  Once the main guy came on, it was much more funnier.

 

Friday, Nov 3 – General Assembly, 8:30am-12:30pm.  We heard from our Co-CEO, Brad, Resort for a Day, Gogo Vacations, Crystal Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, from our Training and Events Team, Drew  and Debbie.

 

12pm, got out early.  Decided to do lunch in the dining room alone.  There was a buffet or menu.  And salad bar.  I had the salad bar, shrimp, and bruchetta toast.

Then ran to pack for 45 min.

Then up to the vendor hours, to see what was new in our Cruises Inc store.

 

1:30pm, 1st choice seminar.

2:45pm, skipped 2nd choice seminar.  Went to see Grease @ 2:30pm, that I had missed earlier in week.

4pm, extra show in the skating arena.

 

7-8pm – Cocktail Party – Fedora Hat night hosted by GoGo Vacations.  Decided not to stay long.  Instead, went instead, down to the ‘Diamond Plus’ Lounge, where I had very little time to visit all week.

 

8pm Back to the room to change into tomorrow’s clothes.  Luggage had to be out by 10pm (before dinner was over).

 

8:30pm, Dinner in the main dining room, with associates & staff.

 

11:30pm – My roommate & I, 1st time all week, got to room same time, for bed time !  Prior, nights I stayed out, she was in bed early; and vice versa.  Travel day tomorrow. 

 

Saturday, Nov 4.  I slept in till 7:30am, however, my roommate was already gone by 6am, for a 9:30am flight.

 

8:15am – My 1st breakfast in the dining room.

 

9:45am – Off ship.  Took shuttle with an associate to the airport.

 

11am – Ran into Amanda (Customer/Support Service Staff), where we hung together till our same flight to Charlotte.

 

7pm – Home.

10pm – In bed !

 

 

Labadee (Royal Caribbean’s private island)

Love it !  Been here many times.  Though I may not participate in the beaching … I love their lunch buffet with ribs and the native shopping !  Bought the ‘sister’ to a vase I have at home (this one larger), 2 metal parrots, 3 metal frogs, and a hand carved coffee mug of special wood, for my nephew.  Was 95+ this day.  Was miserable, I must say !

 

Falmouth (Jamaica)

I was just going to walk around the port and make it an easy day, as I’ve done in the past.  But I was approved to go on the agent tour of the Hyatt Hotels in Montego Bay.  Loved it.  The resorts (2).  The education.  And being with associates !  Was a 104 degrees.  At least 60 percent, we were inside. I had to leave an hour early, with the others, that were invited to the VIP private cocktail party for award winners.

 

Cozumel

Originally planned to go downtown as I usually do.  But taxi now $8 each way.  Decided to stay in port, and treat myself to a marguarita !  Decided to go outside the port and walk down the street and do a little bargain shopping.  Bought a bracelet for a GF.  Then found this bar/boot store, directly across the street from the port (next to Diamonds International).  Had a Margarita’s ‘and’ then learned about the  owners new liquor, he had branded.  I watched a movie, and then bought some of his chocolate, for making chocolate martinis.  Then came back into the port and did some shopping.  Bought an inexpensive silver green stone bracelet (like I need another) and some Mexican coffee for my nephew.  Temps only 85+, so not so bad.

 

 

What cha think of our schedule ?

Sadly, when we have conference … We have very little time to enjoy, see, or even experience the ship in full. 

 

How was our week ?

Learned a lot !  Took home a lot !  Need to look at different goals !  Need to spend time more wisely !  Need to go after what I want and let go of what I don’t like doing !

Had so much fun with associates and staff as always.  One of my main reasons for going !

 

Crowded with this many folks onboard ?

(1)Buffet nor the shows seemed any more hectic than smaller ships/crowds.  Meaning, other ships, you feel the same way, that select areas just seem disorganized.  So didn’t feel worse. 

(2)Did find, that much of the staff was ‘slow’, which caused longer lengths of time and lines (such as buffet specialty lines and bars, such as Diamond Club and Casino bar)  It’s not really the fault of the crowd of the ship, but the staff themselves. 

(3)And they didn’t have enough staff at the Pursers desk (Example: Late hours, such as midnight, there was only one person, so you could wait 20-30 min).  Casino bar only had one person.

(4)Getting on/off the ship was great/fairly easy ! 

(5)No idea what it was like to get off the ship in port, as I didn’t get off till several hours later.

 

Other Guests onboard ?

(1)Met a darling woman in the casino each night, from Hawaii - Judy.  Her and I both wore lots of bracelets.  We had the same pocketbook (mine said Aruba and hers did not).

(2)Ran into a few who were really ugly !  They were either put out by all of us or just the crowd in general (?).

(a)During the Halloween Parade.  As associates and myself were making our way around, during the thorough fares, 2 ladies decided to close up the gap between their chairs and no longer let us thru.  Again, not sure if they were disgusted by our group (we had on our name tags) or just people in general.

(b)A lady behind me, was fussing at me, at the Quest show in Studio B.  Apparently she didn’t know, that when you sat down, the seats automatically went back.  She was trying to get between the woman behind me (who apparently didn’t opt to stand up and let her by) and my seat.  Telling me to get up, that my chair was in the way and apparently broke.  Later, they all learned, that’s how each seat did, as a person sat down.

(c )Many associates said that folks were saying ugly things to them, such as, your group is taking up all our venue space (venues closed when we had a private party).  And saying, I’ll make sure I never go on a cruise that has a group.

FYI - What people don’t know …

*Many venues are closed for group parties on all sailing/ships ! 

*There are many groups onboard every cruise/sailing, that folks aren’t even aware of. 

*Cruise Lines limit groups, per sailing, for this very reason.  Which is why groups need to book early !

*And cruise lines won’t let you know of big groups, or any groups, that will be onboard, due to privacy.

 

 

Food/Dining Venues ?

Overall, was ok.  Best night was lobster and steak night (see my picture).  They also have much better escargot and Caesar salad, than most cruise lines.  Tilapia was good.  Other than the peanut crunch candy bar at our seminars, I can’t say there was much more, that left me feeling awe. 

Lido Breakfast Buffet – Only had once, my day in Cozumel.  They had lots of food up there !

Lido Lunch Buffet – I heard many complain, but it was 3 times more offered, than on Carnival the other week.  Tried the Bolognese spaghetti – was ok, however, not as good as Holland America.

Lido Dinner Buffet – Never made it up there to look.

Dining Room Breakfast – Had on last morning.  Choices were only cereals, pancakes/French toast, eggs & meats.  Was fine.

Park Ave Breakfast – I went by before our morning meeting to get coffee.  Had cereals and sandwiches.  They had the same sandwiches at our meetings & they were good !  Pleasant place to eat and socialize.

Park Ave Lunch – I didn’t make it in here.  Took crowded at lunch.  Salads & sandwiches (?).

Dining Room Lunch -  Had the 1st day (our group ate in the dining room) and the last sea day.  I enjoyed this more.  Ate lots of boiled shrimp !  The salad bar looked wonderful (they made it with your choices and chopped it up for you), however, didn’t have a lot of taste (strange).

Dining Room Dinner – I found many meats dry.  Other than the steak on lobster night, they were often under/over cooked.  Ribs taste like pot roast, other than the ones on the buffet at Labadee.  Their Ahi Tuna was cooked (they leave it under the cooking lights & it cooks itself – had a strange pink looking color).  There were a couple exotic looking desserts, but I enjoyed more, the desserts offered at our private cocktail parties and seminars !

Soft Serve Ice Cream – It’s all the way up on Deck 15 aft.  Made it up there once.  Was good.

Pizza – Sorrento’s on the Boulevard.  Was ok.  I hope the true Sorrento’s taste better !  Tried twice.

Wonderland Specialty Dining – Fabulous.  A must !  I think cost $49 (?).

150 Restaurant – Was ok, don’t know cost.

Johnny Rockets – Pay for hamburger joint – didn’t make it there.

Hot Dog Joint – complimentary – never made it there.

Mini Bites – This is just complimentary hamburgers and hot dogs – went & looked.

Other pay for restaurants – Didn’t make it to these !

 

Entertainment ?

Fabulous !  Loved Grease.  Ice Skating Shows.  Comedy I probably liked least. Aqua show was ok; I think once you’ve seen one, having a repeat isn’t as exciting.

FYI – You must sign up for the shows before you go.  Otherwise, they could be full, especially the beginning of the week.  And every show is not offered every day.

 

Cruise Line Staff ?

Lucky for us, we have very little time, to focus on the service, with being so busy.  Otherwise, it had me feeling often, they were either put out with all of us or just having so many folks onboard in general.

Example:

(1)Night Time Pursers Desk – After watching him look frustrated/unhappy with the 1st 4 folks in front of me, I didn’t see a smile, till it was my turn.  I didn’t do anything to bring the smile; he change on own.

(2)Cabin guy seemed exhausted/frustrated.  Luckily we each did get the daily paper (I never had time to read or see anything offered, other than what was on my spread sheet).  However, I know we didn’t get the Carnival gift (watch); no disembarkation paper nor luggage tags; and who knows what else !  Couple times he did put on a smile.

(3)Diamond Club Host.  Everyone seemed to really love him.  He ignored me each time I can in.  Was it because I was a woman without a man ?  This aggravated me and wish I had time to write and leave a note at the pursers desk.

(4)Casino Bar Tender – He never wore a smile.  Diamond Club members could go to other bars on ship, and get 3 complimentary drinks, without having to be in the Diamond Club.  Guessing he was discusted because it meant no tip for him.

(5)Dining Room Waiter – At 1st, he, and even the lady maitre’d seemed very concerned if a meal was not just right.  However, last night, looked like our waiter was very impatient with us, because us associates tend to talk all the time to each other, when dining.

(6)Specialty Dining Staff – fabulous !

(7)Staff at our parties, meetings, and seminars – seemed very nice & especially accommodating !  If person in charge saw that we weren’t given what we asked for, he would tell the folks to give us what we wanted.

(8)Other staff – As they passed you in the halls, very nice and smiled !

 

All-n-All … How was the cruise ?

Great !

Ya know … You make your own fun !  You make your on enjoyment !  And has to do with attitude, before you even get there ! And we know, it’s a ‘full schedule’ each year ! It may be ruff at the time, but we’re grateful for all the work done by our staff and our host cruise line !

And …

Love being with associates & staff !  Associates get so excited to see each other, year after year.

Love our General Assemblies and Guest Speakers.  Our HQ staff do a wonderful job of arranging and coordination … Before and during !

Loved our gorgeous cocktail parties (desserts were beautiful) !  Royal Caribbean staff did a remarkable job of our parties !

Entertainment was great !

Loved Wonderland … You must try !

Do I love the ship ?  I do !  Would I come back ? I would.  Are there many different opportunities onboard for Fun?  Absolutely.  I missed so much ! 

One of the reasons cruisers repeat Royal Caribbean ships ?  There’s lots to do.  Lots to experience.  Lots to return back and either do again or do what you missed !

If you’ve yet to chose a Royal Caribbean Oasis of the ship ... It’s worth, not only trying out for yourself ... But to not miss out on ! 

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Go here ... My Harmony of the Seas pictures.