Sail Date: August 2019
We had seen this ship while we were on another cruise, and were amazed by the size. We booked a stateroom, knowing we would pay a premium because it is so we. The nightly entertainment is incredible. The full production of Hairspray is ... Read More
We had seen this ship while we were on another cruise, and were amazed by the size. We booked a stateroom, knowing we would pay a premium because it is so we. The nightly entertainment is incredible. The full production of Hairspray is amazing, and the Hiro Show was spectacular. Pros: Gorgeous ship, like a Miami hotel. Very friendly staff. Lots of specialty restaurants. Very nice app that allows you to see your schedule. AmIng entertainment in the evening. They are VERY serious about hand washing, and everyone Moves through a handwashing station before they go in to the food area. During the day there are a lot of options for food that is included in the price of the cruise. Great adults on the area at the front of the ship. Cons: Room 14-723 is under the Flowrider attraction. At night the water that is stored for the attraction sloshes loudly, dampening an otherwise great stateroom experience. There is barely anything to eat after 11:00pm. If you are used to the open buffets and little food places on Carnival, you won’t find that here. Although there are a number of restaurants, most of them close after 10 or 11 PM, leaving one small place on the main deck. It has a very limited selection of sandwiches and some desserts. We always enjoyed the option of having ice cream and pizza or hotdogs on carnival, the ship does not have any of that available late night. We also enjoyed trivia, but the place where they have the trivia is called the honor bar, it has very limited seating, probably less than 50 people can fit in there. This does not work for a ship that contains over 7000 passengers. So we often find ourselves with nothing to do on the ship, and we head back to the room and just read. It seems like the smaller ships have a lot more options for food and activities during the day, I simply don’t wanna look at overpriced diamonds and watches all day, I want other things to do. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We are in our early 50s with a 13 year old daughter and a 12 year old son. We just achieved Emerald with Royal. Full cruising history (Celebrity, HAL, Disney, Princess, Carnival) - is in the signature. We flew from Toronto to FLL on ... Read More
We are in our early 50s with a 13 year old daughter and a 12 year old son. We just achieved Emerald with Royal. Full cruising history (Celebrity, HAL, Disney, Princess, Carnival) - is in the signature. We flew from Toronto to FLL on Air Transat via Pearson airport. Pearson was a bit of a disaster. The new (to us) luggage scanning drop-off system kept malfunctioning and the lineup was huge. We arrive at the airport for 5:30 with two hours to spare for our 7:40 flight. We have NEXUS so we felt two hours was appropriate - and even with the delays - we were fine. Others got caught in the delays and they held our flight for 40 minutes to wait for 5 families. We decided we would try UBER for the first time. The arrival started with someone approaching me and asking if we were getting an UBER - I said yes. He asked us to follow him. It was all very shady and did not give me a good feeling. We followed him ot the parking garage and despite lots of uncertainty, we loaded our luggage. I got in the car and it reaked of smoke. We took our luggage back and left and then proceeded to order our UBER. As UBER newbies, we were a little unclear on where to stand and of course, we were in the wrong spot. Our ride arrived and he kept calling me and just kept repeating his name and the vehicle he was driving. His English was poor and there was so much background noise I could barely hear him. Finally found an airport worker who pointed out the correct area (to the far left when you get out of the terminal) and we found our driver . We got to Terminal A at the Miami Cruiseport and everything went smoothly. We arrived around 12:30 and there were no traditional lineups by cruise status. We went to a line for those who already had a set sail pass, and there was no one in line. We went straight to an agent who scanned our set sail pass - and we were sent on the ship straight to our stateroom where the keycards were waiting for us with immediate access to our stateroom. It was the smoothest embarkation ever. A few random thoughts about our sailing, scroll down to the subject headings that interest you. Wine - we had two staterooms and brought 4 bottles of wine onboard. I bought wine travellers off Amazon. I am happy to link the ones I bought, if requested. I have to admit I was a bit nervous. The wine all went in my son's suitcase. His clothes were all packed in packing cubes (bought those off Amazon too). The packing cubes all went in clear recycling bags. The wine was placed in the wine traveller and each wine traveller was placed in a large ziploc bags, and then the four bottles in ziploc bags were placed in a super-large ziplock storage bag. I admit that I went a little overboard but better safe than sorry. I was also smart enough to pack a wine-carrier from the LCBO. At the airport, we pulled the bottles out of the suitcase and into the LCBO wine carrier. It made it easy to carry the 4 bottles on board. Security did a full examination on the wine bottles. And also wanted to see our documentation to prove that we had 2 cabins and that there was an adult in each cabin. This has never been verified before, so I'm glad we had an adult in each cabin. Cabins – we had two cabins Deck 7 starboard AFT. I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious the cabins were and how much storage space there was. On the left of the bed, were some shelves and room to hang clothes. On the right of the bed was a full length close. There was also a dresser. We had more than enough room. First time ever, we took the over-the-door organizer and didn’t need it. The Key - we did not have the KEY - but I found the program quite annoying to someone who did not have it. For shows in the main theatre, almost the entire center balcony was taken up and reserved for Key and Suite guests. Same thing in Studio B. Drink package - I pre-ordered Refreshment Packages for DH and the kids. Cards were printed indicating that they had the refreshment package. I did not set the kids up with charging privileges on their seaspass and this seemed to be quite problematic. Their first purchase was coffees at cafe promenade. We were told we had to open the sea pass. We went to guest services and their seas passes were opened. Then we went to the Vitality Spa - and again they had problems. I went back to guest services and a good lineup had started. I was playing broken telephone between the person triaging the line and the manager. She kept insisting the kids needed charging privileges. I finally had to insist the manager came out to see me, and then he set up their kids with a $1.00 charging privilege. The next morning I was back in line again because of problems and this time the charging privilege was raised to $10. The next morning, I had issues once more and had to go to guest services. This time they involved the head of beverage services who confirmed that a minimum $15.00 limit was need in order for the drink packages to work. This made absolutely no sense to me. We've had drink packages on Celebrity and the kids have never had a problem while not having charging privleges. This time, Guest Services took pity on me and we were given a generous future cruise gift certificate. The $15 limit appeared to be the magical solution and we had no problems after that. Chops - we received a complimentary dinner voucher from our travel agent, which we used at Chops on night 5. I had pre-trip questions about menus - we knew from the menus on the app that we wanted to miss the night 5 menu. At embarkation, we went to the MDR to check on menu order. We were told that the menus on the app were accurate, however the order would go 1,2,4,3,5,6,7. In the end, the menu order followed exactly as per the app and nights 3 and 4 were never switched. CHOPS was excellent and we all thoroughly enjoyed our meal. I was surprised at the number of kids, especially young kids, so this is far from an "adult" dining venue (yes, says the lady with two kids of her own!). My son were shorts on the understanding that if they turned him away he had to come back to the cabin and change. There was one man in a tux, but most men were fairly casual, with some men in t-shirts and casual shorts, and several men with baseball caps on. Casino: Blackjack is my game and $10 hands are my preference. There were usually two $10 tables playing multi-deck and one $10 table playing single deck. The $10 table did not allow you to take even money on a blackjack - you need to play at a $15 for that. Payouts on the $10 tables were also lower for blackjacks. Although there is a non-smoking side, the casino was generally pretty smoky - which gives Celebrity the edge for me. Dress Code - the dress code was far from enforced. On formal night, I saw plenty of cut-off jeans, shorty-shorts, hoodies and printed t-shirts. DH and DS did not wear suits on this cruise (which they were both happy about!) Both wore dress shirts and dress pants on formal night. DS (12) wore shorts and button-down short sleeve shirts most nights, although one night, he did a late arrival at the MDR wearing an ADIDAS t-shirt and although annoyed, I could hardly blame him given what most kids his age were wearing. Fitness - I can't recall if most ships are laid out the same way, but the jogging track is on DECK 5, and I happy to say I visited EVERY morning. I love the covered track as opposed to walking in the hot sun. Each day I logged between 19K and 20K steps. DS (12) had no problem accessing the fitness centre. He looks older than 12 and no one ever sought to verify his age. Perfect Day Waterpark- I had started a thread a few weeks ago regarding the waterpark – and the fine print stating that kids under 18 needed adult accompaniment. Well, that was much ado about nothing!!! I should clarify that my 12 year old is 5’9” and my 13 year old is 5’5”. My son looks at least 16 and my daughter could probably pass for 18. We stood at a distance and watched them try to gain access to the park with their VOUCHER ticket. They were told they needed the sea pass. They came back to me for their seapass. They scanned their seaspass and gained access to the park no problem. DH and I were both grateful not to have to purchase a ticket to the waterpark. For anyone little kids, there is a nice free waterpark area that would probably satisfy most kids up to maybe 8 – so don’t feel pressured to purchase tickets if your kids are young (or are not Thrillseekers). My kids both loved the waterpark. I had purchased full day tickets, but it was a hot one and they were both ready to call it by 12:30 - so in the future I would opt for a half-day pass. Quince Cruise- this was the much-debated (thread eventually closed) cruise. I did find the numerous large groups to be off-putting and will leave it at that. The most annoying part was 3 members of a group trying to hold down 20 seats in the theatre. We had one quince group on our floor and I have to say they were sometimes loud and inconsiderate, especially at 1AM in the morning – yelling and screaming in the hallway. I have no idea why, but formal night started for them at 7AM in the morning. I felt for the poor girls fully decked out in hair and make-up and full crinolin dresses. Entertainment. It was days into our cruise before I had any idea who the cruise director was - probably not until Hairspray. It was an installation of a new cast for Hairspray. The first show had two or three delays due to technical difficulties (one of which was a cast injury). My daughter (has seen hairspray in Toronto, on Oasis twice, watched hairspray the musical and hairspray live more times than she knows - watched it 3 times on this cruise. The second show went off without a hitch and the third show also had technical difficulties. We really liked 1977 and Flight and Hiro were also great. Comedy - Simeon Kirkilies is freaking HILARIOUS. Loved his Trump impressions. He should be the headliner - heck they should make him cruise director and give him his own ship. If he ever visits Toronto, I would gladly pay money to see him. WIFI - we purchased VOOM Surf and Stream for 4 devices. For some reason, our phones kept logging off everytime the phone shut-off - despite toggling auto-join. Must be an apple issue though. I found the WIFI slower than expected. I tried downloading a few shows off our home PVR and it took forever - although had no trouble watching shows from our PVR. Instagram and Facebook were slow to refresh, and often showed the refresh sign instead of updated content. To me, this should not happen with VOOM. Sometimes, logging on and off again seemed to fix the problem. It's still night and day better than Celebrity's WIFI. MY TIME DINING - we had reservations every night, and most nights we ended up in a lineup waiting almost 30 minutes to be seated. The front of the house seemed to be a bit flustered and not entirely in command of the seating process. There were two distinct lines for guests with reservations and guests without. However, one could bypass those lines and walk straight to the second or third podiums where they would get attended to. The set-up made no sense to me. MDR Food - overall we thought the food quality has improved, especially in the area of desserts. Debarkation – we had a flight home from MIA on Sunwing. Our flight was originally scheduled for 2:30 and eventually they cancelled it and connected us to a 4PM flight from Orlando to Toronto. I realize now that sunwing has a habit of cancelling/rescheduling and will not book with them again. We generally book early flights which has us taking off our own luggage at 7:30. This time, we had the luxury of time, so we stayed on the ship until 9:30. It was CHAOS at the terminal. Getting off the ship was easy enough, although we stood in line for a while. There was a special line for Canadian passport holders with almost no lineup. Then we got outside and it was chaos . We were unsure of where to stand for an UBER, and I was to cheap to incur roaming charges, so we decided to just get a taxi, and the line was CRAZY. Royal does nothing to manage the taxi line. There was a port worker at the front of the line. I’m not sure what his job was, but he kept saying it was not his job to fight with anyone, although he picked fights with at least two taxi drivers and kicked them out. Passengers were rudely bypassing the line, and taxis were being picked off at the back o the line while others were patiently waiting. We were not in rush, and other than the extreme heat being an issue, we were resigned to just wait our turn. The area should be roped off and the port authority needs more people managing the line. It took us an hour to get a taxi. Keep this in mind if you have a flight to catch. Overall it was a great cruise – probably our best yet on Royal. I would gladly sail Symphony again on a better itinerary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Cruise Fare indicates and sales representatives state that complimentary ice tea, lemonade, and ice cream are available 24 hrs a day through out the ship. This is not true. This ship does not provide any complimentary drinks or ice cream ... Read More
Cruise Fare indicates and sales representatives state that complimentary ice tea, lemonade, and ice cream are available 24 hrs a day through out the ship. This is not true. This ship does not provide any complimentary drinks or ice cream after 9:15 pm. There are only two complimentary eating places which both are located on deck 5. One cannot hang out on top decks, watch a movie at the aqua theater, relax in Central Park or the solarium with access to complimentary drinks. If you want food you have to traverse to deck 5 and obtain pizza or a sandwich and only water to drink. This is totally unacceptable and is a deciding factor in our family never booking with RCI again. NOTE: I made my complaint directly to the Captain on the day 2 meet and greet opportunity. By the afternoon of day 3 a dispenser of tea and lemonade was made available at the pizza place on deck 5. When asked if I was satisfied I responded with a question of whether or not that service would be provided to the next cruise. In other words was there a policy change or was I just being satisfied? I received a non-verbal response which indicated no. This was in fact the case as the tea and lemonade dispensers were removed on the night of day 7 and replaced with water dispensers. There are no tea or lemonade dispensers available at the Mexican eatery on deck 15, nor at the Hot Dog stand on deck 6. Really? This is not first class service but an attempt to force one to purchase an beverage card. It is deceitful as well as marketing resources indicate otherwise. We can take our business to other cruise lines and if the industry as a whole converts to this practice then we will discontinue cursing and expand our land vacations. The nickel and dime-ing of services must stop or the cruise industry is going to suffer financially. RCI's self damming practices are why we don't invest in cruise companies. But we do invest in Coca-Cola's tea and lemonade! :) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose this ship for a family cruise (10 people) because I had been on other Royal Caribbean ships. The door to the handicapped accessible cabin was automatic if you were able to put your key card over the reader an turn the handle. ... Read More
I chose this ship for a family cruise (10 people) because I had been on other Royal Caribbean ships. The door to the handicapped accessible cabin was automatic if you were able to put your key card over the reader an turn the handle. In order to exit the room I was told to push a mechanism over the door. This was an impossibility while seated on a scooter n On other Royal. Caribbean ships I had found stand alone handicapped restrooms that someone could enter to assist me. On this ship I found the accessible restrooms in the back of the regular restroom. The location made it difficult to enter and leave while riding a scooter. The main dining room was very crowded. The chairs on each side of the table were either touching a wall or the back of the chairs at the next table. My husband had to climb into his chair because it backed into a post and couldn’t be moved. Our waiter and his helper did a wonderful job despite the fact they had a difficult time serving us. We told them we were family and didn’t mind passing food. As far as Coco Cay was concerned I found it very handicapped unfriendly. There were few concrete paths and most things were located on the sand. I could not go to the little shops because they were in the sand. I got food at the barbecue place and then could not sit at a table because they were all on the sand. There were few places with shade that did not have be gotten to by walking in the sand. The photographers took many pictures and in them they wanted us to give the thumbs up sign. I really wanted to give a thumbs down sign but did not do so because I knew they were only doing what they had been told to do. We found the ship very noisy. The only way we could attend the shows was by wearing earplugs. It was impossible to have a conversation in most of the lounges because the noise level was very high. Many activities occurred on deck five and many times it was impossible to get through on a scooter. People would be texting or walking backwards. When I saw them heading toward me I would stop. When they ran into me they would be very rude and blame me. I am sorry to say that the asymphony of the Seas was a great disappointment. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
So this won't be long winded however the Symphony of the Seas is breathtaking. They do a great job of keeping it clean. Central Park is amazing as is Boardwalk. We ate in all the specialty restaurants, and the food and service was ... Read More
So this won't be long winded however the Symphony of the Seas is breathtaking. They do a great job of keeping it clean. Central Park is amazing as is Boardwalk. We ate in all the specialty restaurants, and the food and service was lovely. The "too many people" objection to such a large ship is an issue when your at sea when it comes to the pools. They simply don't have enough space to fit all the passengers. That is a valid knock on this ship They need to create another pool and do away with something else. FACT. The pools are overcrowded on sea days. The food in the public areas is kind of unchanged and basically decent. The Taco station place is a nice addition and pretty good. Getting on the ship was SUPER EASY. 15 minutes if that ( 11:30 AM) . Getting off the ship at 9:00 AM was a mistake and next time we will learn not to wait so long. The Hiro show was AMAZING. Flight was meh. As a pilot I was hoping more aviation and less Broadway but maybe I was expecting too much. Overall very happy and the holiday brought so much joy to me and my 2 boys.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The ships staff and crew were not very friendly. The main dining room has very slow service! Every area on the ship seems very overly crowded! The Air Conditioning in the rooms was not very cold, it didnt blow strong and was very ... Read More
The ships staff and crew were not very friendly. The main dining room has very slow service! Every area on the ship seems very overly crowded! The Air Conditioning in the rooms was not very cold, it didnt blow strong and was very unpleasant especially in a balcony stateroom. The shows were incredible! Ice Skating, Main Lounge and Aquatheater! The elevators are very fast and easy to use! The royal carribean app is very slow, outdated and unresponsive! The water slides are incredible but have lines that can take 30-60 minutes on HOT sea days! same with the Flow-Rider, Ultimate Abyss, Zip Line and more! Windjammer Marketplace was very clean and the food was always great and i was never let down or disapointed! The Windjammer Staff was very friendly, helpful and inviting! The wifi is very fast and well worth the money! Miami Embarkation took around 15 minutes! Incredible :) Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Incredible experience overall.... This was our 40th (or so) cruise. Just when I think cruises can’t get any better, along comes Symphony. Initial caveat: My wife and I have a deal - as soon as we complain about cruising, we’re ... Read More
Incredible experience overall.... This was our 40th (or so) cruise. Just when I think cruises can’t get any better, along comes Symphony. Initial caveat: My wife and I have a deal - as soon as we complain about cruising, we’re done (I’ve put this caveat on previous reviews as well). If you’re looking for an unappreciative/whining/etc. review, move on to another one. It continues to baffle me how some cruisers need to be pampered/bottle-fed...we’re not in that category. Embarkation was a breeze. Arrived terminal 1015, on ship at 11. Entertainment was top notch. Both ice shows, water show, and both Hair Spray and Flight were all very well done....good enough that we saw all of them twice (except Hair Spray). Dining: We prefer dining room over the trough. Food was above average for RCCL, which made it great IMO. Subjective I know, but we were very pleased. Only negative for us: We were supposed to be late dining and ended up My Time. Got the same waiters most nights, but did have to wait for 10-15 minutes each night even though we had scheduled the same time for the week. System appeared a bit inefficient, but it wasn’t horrible. Costa Maya: Rented golf cart just outside the port. $60 for the day. Mayahaul is the name of the company....great service, efficient, and a good time and deal. Ship was awesome. Never felt crowded w/ exception of end of the shows (as expected). We choose to use stairs, particularly when only going up/down a couple floors, so no opinion on elevator waits. We have been on Oasis, Allure and Harmony, so very familiar. Entertainment was the big ‘separator’...top notch on Symphony. Casino was a blast. Donated to the cause, but played w/in my budget every day. Staff was very friendly. Disembarkation: completely painless. Left dining room at 0730, went to room to get bags, and we were in our vehicle leaving the port by 8am. Hope this provides hope for those reading negative reviews and panicking....it’s all in what you make of it. I didn’t cook a single meal, make my bed, change linens, do dishes, etc. the entire week, and it was awesome. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Family Went for my son's graduation trip and had a good time. Plenty to do on board. Many friendly staff. Good food. This was our 2nd cruise with RC and won't be our last. Kids (9,13,17) had a great time at the pool, arcade, ... Read More
Family Went for my son's graduation trip and had a good time. Plenty to do on board. Many friendly staff. Good food. This was our 2nd cruise with RC and won't be our last. Kids (9,13,17) had a great time at the pool, arcade, loved Sorento's and laser tag. We didn't catch the shows as they were bad timing for us and my boys really didn't care for them. Slides were awesome at the pool. Lifeguards at every area. Walk slow on deck around pool, many people slipped and fell. Rooms were clean and roomy. We had an interior promenade with window very nice. Bring earplugs if you're a lighter sleeper. The beds were horrible! So hard. The oasis had awesome beds. The symphony does not. Heard that complaint quite a bit around the ship. We enjoyed the food thought it was great. My boys aren't picky eaters. We really didn't care for Coco cay. Thrill park is overrated and small for the amount of people on island. Young and elderly had issues getting around. Tram is only for the pier. Should also provide it for the island. Overall great trip for us. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
So we just finished up on Symphony and she’s a great boat. Pool is back in the Solarium adult area! Smart move! Solarium Bistro is much larger now! Bar is on main level in Solarium! New restaurants...missing Brazilian ... Read More
So we just finished up on Symphony and she’s a great boat. Pool is back in the Solarium adult area! Smart move! Solarium Bistro is much larger now! Bar is on main level in Solarium! New restaurants...missing Brazilian steaks though! Sports bar is new! Taco bar is new! Heads up for Cocoa Cay Long lines at rides and slides.. expect 1+ hour wait times! Very clean and friendly! Book all shows and events in advance!!!! They have a new escape room so make sure to get on that quickly! The casino is new with lots of current games and such but bet Smokey! Great boat you will like it. We did have an issue with the photos as the server crashed on last night but it all got worked out in the end. We booked our next cruise for Southern Caribbean and I think we have had our fill of the oasis class ships for now! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We did a lot of research as both my wife and I haven't cruised for at least 20 years as so much has changed. We wanted to make sure we saw the new features so were looking for a newer ship. This ship had so much to offer with the ... Read More
We did a lot of research as both my wife and I haven't cruised for at least 20 years as so much has changed. We wanted to make sure we saw the new features so were looking for a newer ship. This ship had so much to offer with the zipline, rock climbing wall, water slides, basketball court, numerous pools and hot tubs as well as being a new ship. We watched a number of videos and attempted to create a packing list of what we thought we needed which were very helpful. The only two things we missed was Aloe (had to pick some up in Puerto Rico) and a package of straws. We didn't realize they use paper straws so attempting to drink a frozen drink from a paper straw is a frustrating experience. We'll make sure to pack some straws the next time. For the on-boarding process I thought it was absolutely fantastic, granted I don't have experience with other cruise lines but I couldn't have pictured this going any smoother. We parked in the parking garage at terminal A, mostly because this was our first time in the area and knew we were going to pay a premium for it. We got to the terminal at about 10am mostly because we were excited and couldn't wait any longer to get there. Our boarding time was slated for 12pm. Once we parked someone came right over and took our bags away (we had the tags already on them). Then it was just us and the carry on bags which was simple to navigate. We entered the terminal and there was always an agent telling us where to go next. We walked straight into the security area with no wait at all. Certainly not like an airport. Then entered the waiting area. Once they started calling groups (key members, layers of loyalty members, etc...) we were in the first group they called and they called a bunch of groups right after each other so people could enter the ship pretty quickly. We were on the ship by 11:30. We knew not to go to the windjammer as it would be packed so instead went to the boardwalk and got a couple hot dogs and started to explore this beautiful ship. The rooms were available at 1pm right on the dot so certainly a well organized machine they have going on here. We immediately unpacked as our luggage was there, something else we learned from videos. I tried to find a room with bunk beds for the kids but I couldn't find one in the balcony area. They may exist but I just couldn't find one. So we had a couch with a pullout for my son. It was fine except in the mornings you can't make it to the balcony without stepping on the bed waking him up. Magnets work great on the walls but use the rare earth magnets. I had a combination of cheap magnet hooks as well as rare earth ones and there was a significant difference. The dry erase board was also a big winner as we could leave notes for each other when we left and where we were going. The bathroom was fine and there was enough room for one person and on occasion we had a couple people in there but not for long. Standard balcony size is good. Didn't need any more space out there and the chairs were comfortable. We signed the kids up for their respective kid areas but my son never wanted to go and my daughter (16) really only went the first night then hung out a couple times with a friend she met. When signing up Royal didn't really communicate with either one of them what they would be doing, or could be doing there so our kids hung out with us which was fine, just think though they lost a fun experience with the kid events. Service was excellent all the way around. We had my time dining and had is scheduled pretty much at 6:30-6:45 each night. Something we noticed quickly was that when we left there were long lines trying to get into my time dining on deck 4 (around 8pm or so). Might be something people should consider when using my time dining, to get their time slated for 6-7pm to avoid some waiting. Another really nice touch I thought should be called out was that we ended up having the same server for dinner each night. I didn't expect that because we were in my time dining and not the set time of the main dining room. I thought that was a nice touch that they were able to organize that so you can build a relationship with the staff and learn a little about them and where they are from. I think the thing we had work on was the elevators on the ship. I don't think they are optimized or something. We would see elevators cruise by us (the clear glass ones) in the direction we were going but it didn't stop, then when one did arrive it was packed. I would say 80% of our elevator rides were packed. If we were on decks 5 or lower we would catch an elevator going down to go up. If we were on the 14-16 we would go up to go down. It would allow us to get on the elevator before it got packed. We also noticed that the elevators were always moving floor to floor. Some stay on a floor for a very long time so there seems to be something with optimization that could help with this problem. We also used the stairs more as the cruise went on. The fitness center and track around the ship are excellent. We spent a lot of time walking the track and really enjoyed the occasional game of shuffleboard hidden away along side the track. The ping pong on the other side was really difficult as their are open areas that allow wind in, and the ping pong ball would go flying due to the wind. The shows are pretty good. We really liked the Hiro diving show the most. Hairspray and Flight were okay but not our favorites. I thought what they did with Flight was really cool technically being able to accomplish those effects on a cruise ship. The comedians were okay. The ice show was really good from our perspective. We booked a kayak adventure at RC's Labadee, Haiti port and I wish I had thought about that more. If you aren't experienced with Kayaks or a canoe, it may not be a fun experience. Also this is not a real short trip so it could be tiring if you are out of shape. Our biggest complaint though on this excursion was that they stop half way through on a beach then subject you to locals pushing their merchandise. They were pretty aggressive and it was uncomfortable. There were ample opportunity to buy the exact same items in areas that with the main shopping areas. There doesn't seem to be a need to have this here and they were much more aggressive then in the main areas. Also keep in mind that lunch is 11:30-1:30 and our excursions were back to back so we almost missed lunch. Ooops. Watch out for the watch sales on the ship. If you want to buy a watch, make sure you have the internet package so you can price shop. The alcohol prices were pretty good especially if you buy in 2-4 bottles to get the discounted prices. I ended up buying some rum in Puerto Rico which I was happy with that wasn't available on the ship. It was delivered to my room the last night of the cruise. We found an advantage using the parking garage for disembarkation. When entering the area where the luggage is located there is a line of helpful guys ready to take your luggage to your vehicle. This was a no brainer. We tipped the guy $2 a bag and he navigated all the way through customs and to our vehicle. I also think they allowed us to bypass some of the line since we had them helping us. Not sure about that but there were folks that had their own luggage and we walked right by them. I called out a few of the things we learned on this ship to help others on their adventure. We had a great time on this ship and everything on this ship met our expectations. The food was top notch, the facilities are practically new and fully functional, the crew was fun and we were really pleased we chose this ship. The bar is set pretty high for our next cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this ship because I like big ships! Symphony is certainly that. We had smooth seas, but the ship is so large, i don't think i ever felt a movement in the week. This ship is truely impressive. Sooo many things to do for ... Read More
We chose this ship because I like big ships! Symphony is certainly that. We had smooth seas, but the ship is so large, i don't think i ever felt a movement in the week. This ship is truely impressive. Sooo many things to do for adults, children and everyone in between. i'll highlight a few of the things we particularly liked: - Don't miss the show Hiro. very well done and reminded me of "O" in Vegas. - The mexican "loco Fesco" eating area in the aft of the ship was very good for burritos, taco's and mexican breakfasts. Very good salsa bar (chili Verde especially) - if you like Jazz, the "Earth Wind and Fire" jazz band performs several times in the Jazz bar and the talent of those guys are simply amazing. - Playmakers sports bar is a big hit if there is a sporting event you want to see (Boardwalk) - Chops....im not exaggerating when i say i believe this was the best filet i've ever had. (and i traveled all my life) -Jaime's was outstanding. get their meat plank for starters! - Importantly, The size of the ship and the numerous things to do make it seem less obvious there is 6000 people on board. a real plus RC! - RC has embarcation and debarkation down!!!! The smoothest i've experienced yet with RC in their new Miami Terminal. Very Very well done. - If you enjoy "anytime dining" i recommend you reserve a time on their site. it makes is much nicer for you than winging it when you want to eat. - The Pinel Island tour was alot of fun. A very little slow paced island on the french side of St. Martin. We really enjoyed that. - Solarium is always nice when you want to dodge the Windjammer for eating. - Trellis Bar in Central Park is a wonderful way to relax with a cocktail (which i particularly like to do) and listen to guitar music. (come to think about it, we did this alot) enjoy your trip! this is truely an amazing ship i can't wait to go on the new Spectrum when it gets here, Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Positives - Entering and exiting the ship was an efficient and easy process. Entertainment, Water Show, Comedians, Dancers - ALL FABULOUS ! Gorgeous impressive looking ship. ... Read More
Positives - Entering and exiting the ship was an efficient and easy process. Entertainment, Water Show, Comedians, Dancers - ALL FABULOUS ! Gorgeous impressive looking ship. Staff - some friendly, some not. Windjammer Buffet - food was good. Nice Cabin. Failures - Main dining room - Food was a C+ (fair). Steaks under-cooked,Other steaks overcooked, Food Took too too long. Please teach the chefs how to cook meat. And it was a Frustrating overly long dinner due to the poorly managed kitchen. Waiters were all apologetic. Hook Restaurant - Food took FOREVER Fish dishes were so Dry they were not edible. Timing of all the dishes was off. Operations, Procedures, and quality control all failed. Burn the Hook Restaurant down and start over from scratch. Cabin Telephones - We returned to South Florida 3 days ago and I am still on hold with the Ship's Guest Services. Take the cabin phones and throw them overboard. They are useless. You will NEVER reach anyone from any department. Room Service, Guest Services, Housekeeping - they are all on a smoke break. My (adult) daughters were in Room 10-445. Her entire area was a ghost town. No Staff Anywhere for hours. Need ICE for the room? - Good Luck. The ship is Gorgeous - But completely inefficient and understaffed. At times we were delighted. But there were times we wanted to jump into the ocean. Thank you for your time to read this. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My company purchased this cruise for the office staff (Memorial Day 3 day 4 night cruise), I had never cruised with RC only NCL. I think I got spoiled on NCL because this was a huge disappointment. I was pretty excited to cruise another ... Read More
My company purchased this cruise for the office staff (Memorial Day 3 day 4 night cruise), I had never cruised with RC only NCL. I think I got spoiled on NCL because this was a huge disappointment. I was pretty excited to cruise another Cruise Line and the largest ship sailing right now, but it was lacking. The name "Royal" should actually be called "Not Impressive Cruise Line" Embarkation was quick, getting our luggage was quick, other then that, nothing special. We had the drink package, and I'm not a drinker so figured I'd be tipsy but it seemed like all the drinks were watered down because I just never got drunk. LOL The Windjammer Buffet, I tried breakfast there and it was really disgusting, the scrambled eggs felt like it had some type of fiber in it, the texture was just off, I'm assuming it was fake eggs, eggs Benedict was warm/to cold, and just wrong, the over easy eggs were sitting on plates under a warmer light, I just couldn't get myself to eat something like over easy eggs sitting under a warmer. The sausage links crumbled if you cut them, I have no idea what they were, the bacon was rubbery and under cooked. Breakfast was a washout and I didn't eat breakfast again on the ship. We also tried dinner one day, food again was warm, not hot, and stale like it sat being warmed for way too long, so we left and went and had Pizza at Sorrentos, which was good. Wonderland, this is an experience, the food was strange, some of it was really good, while others were a little to weird to eat or the texture was just wrong lol but that's Wonderland, I suggest if you want to try something new, adventure food, try it, it's definitely memorable. Chops Grill: Very bland, I had the Filet Mignon, I ordered it medium, I got well done, it was very bland and the sauce they offered for dipping was also very bland. The extra price you pay for this, just wasn't worth it. 150 Central Park: Limited menu and this time the food was so salty, my hands and feet swelled up. I must have drank a gallon of water so I could get my rings off. The pumpkin soup was very good, the salad also very good, but the lobster was not impressive. My favorite place to eat was Sorrento's and El Loco Fresh. Entertainment was average, but with such a short cruise and it being a company trip, we didn't get to book much with 6000 people on this ship it was impossible to get reservations for a party of 28. The casino was always packed. When the ship was at Coco Cay and Nassau they closed everything down, no shopping on the ship, no bands playing on the pool deck, no activities scheduled for those who chose to stay on board, it was really boring, the first day we laid around our room after walking on the decks to see what was what, they don't have any movies playing on our TV's or anywhere on the ship. We ended up napping until the 6000 were back on the ship and then it was so busy you couldn't go to anything because of the crowds. Employees: They all seemed a bit quiet, on NCL they're friendly, joke around, the employees just seem happier. If I made friendly comments to the employees on Symphony they actually seemed shocked that I would joke or acknowledge them. Maybe it's the clientele I don't know, are people more friendly on NCL? I also noticed a lot less class on this cruise. Shore excursion, Nassau hmmm what can you say, Dirty, overpriced, aggressive sales, will not accept "no thank you" the first dozen times you say it. Our driver from Atlantis back to the ship was drinking rum with the drunk riders in the front and driving reckless back to the ship. I don't care what cruise line I am on I'm never getting off the ship in Nassau again. Cabins are much larger on Symphony then on the NCL ships I've been on, the storage better, 2 closets and a dresser, I appreciated that part of the ship. Nothing on TV but several ESPN channels, FOX, MSNBC and BBC. If you choose to watch a movie on demand be prepared to pay $12.00 Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Had to go or risk divorce. I think cruising is just a bad idea all around and would have (never would cruise if given a choice) chosen a much smaller and cheaper cruise but I was out voted 3-1. RC does many things very well and they are ... Read More
Had to go or risk divorce. I think cruising is just a bad idea all around and would have (never would cruise if given a choice) chosen a much smaller and cheaper cruise but I was out voted 3-1. RC does many things very well and they are good at keeping you happy. Due to a TA mistake we ended up with an interior balcony and hated it. Why spend 5K on a trip to have a balcony that overlooks a mall or park? We are water people and love to sit and watch the water. First morning I went to the service desk to try to upgrade but they were full and could not help. Typical on a cruise everyone has their hand out to try to make more money. Drinks were 8-14$ and I still can't get a medium ale onboard. (dark Irish beer or bud/miller) St Kitts was nice. We got on a private taxi and had a nice tour with good history and some beach time. You must find Hawks Taxis and Tours if you go. They are on FB. He is a great host and was very nice to talk with. He gave us far more than he had to after the tour by dropping us at the beach and then picking us up later. Very good history lessons and I liked supporting an independent who was (hopefully not ) shaken down by RCL. USVI stop was typical and quite unbearable and I almost lost it with the same old shops ands loud music everywhere. Coco Cay was very well done and we loved just sitting on the beach. Tried the big pool with swim up bar but the music was very loud. Kind of sad that RC would completely upend a complete island and turn it into a water park beach area in the middle of a nice set of islands but that is the cruise industry... Food onboard was generally decent but as a lactose intolerant vegetarian I found the labeling could have been better. They had GF options but were lacking on vegetarian choices. Is it really that hard to have a few more options even if they had to be cooked to order? Main dinning room was very nice and staff and service were great. Many people in the buffet did not understand the etiquette of waiting in line and would just cut in a reach for what they wanted. The Bistro was very good and love the presentation of food. Many great desserts. The pasta dishes made to order were excellent. Getting only what you want pan cooked and mixed in front of you is very nice. I hate the way cruise lines overwhelm and shakedown the local economies. Hate the herd mentality. On this ship there were many kids and I prefer to have peace and quiet. The pool music was turned up after 12-2pm and we often had good pool seats but were driven out by 2 ish due to noise from live reggae or speakers blasting music. I hope I am never captive to a steel drum/reggae band again. Smoke from the smoking area will carry a long ways in the wind and was gross. Three in our party loved the trip and I survived. Just not for me...This was my 4th cruise and next time I will gladly send my wife without me as she done before. And remember all those workers who often work 10-12 hour days for$ 6-900 per month and hardly see any daylight or fresh air. Items listed below are just my thoughts and do not reflect all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise as a family and it could not have been better. We flew into FLL the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Miami. It was a short ride to the cruise port and the hotel was near stores to get things ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a family and it could not have been better. We flew into FLL the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Miami. It was a short ride to the cruise port and the hotel was near stores to get things for the cruise. This was our second time sailing out of Terminal A and the experience was great once again. From curbside to ship was about 15 minutes and we were able to use our mobile boarding passes. I'll touch on this later, but traffic management around the Terminal is atrocious and RCL did an awful job with it. Everything about the ship was great. We had a boardwalk balcony room and fit 4 people inside. It wasn't ideal, but it was cost effective. We didn't spend a ton of time in the room anyway so it was doable. The couch turned into a sofa bed and the bottom pulled out to create a second sofa bed. The room was super clean and had ample storage, we had no problem fitting clothes for four people. The activities on board were endless. HIRO was outstanding. We did like Ocean Aria on Allure a bit better, but HIRO was still top notch. The activities manager (Katy) was more involved than the cruise director, but they did a great job making sure there was a ton of things to do. There was also great bands and musicians on board providing entertainment in Central Park, Boardwalk, etc. The Piano player in the Schooner Bar wasn't all that great. We did the Sushi Class on the ship. We had done this before and at this point we do it just to get a nice lunch. The amount of sushi you get makes it well worth the $30 charge for the class, and on top of it the class is fun. The only other specialty dining experience we had was at Jamie's Italian and it left a lot to be desired. The pasta dishes we had really didn't taste much different than what you would get in the MDR, and it was fairly expensive. I would definitely pick 150 Central Park or Chops, I feel like it's a much better value for the price. Speaking of food, everything else on board was SO good. El Loco Fresh was amazing, it did get slightly crowded at times, but it was never that long of a wait. They had tacos, burritos, chips, salsa, guac, etc. We stopped here for lunch a good bit. I also really loved the addition of Playmakers. We bought food here one night, the poke nachos, and they were so so so good. My only gripe with Playmakers is that RCL needs to strike some sort of deal with DirectTV or whoever to get live sports each night. The sports bar atmosphere was fantastic, but for nights in late May, they had no NHL playoff games, a few NBA games, and like 2 MLB games. Most of the time it was just soccer replays. A lot of people seemed to be watching sports on their phones at the bar, which kind of defeats the purpose of the sports bar. The atmosphere was great, but they really need to get better sports programming. While I'm on the topic, VOOM was great as well. We had the Surf + Stream package and had no problems with it all week. It was more than enough to stream video and podcasts. Our MDR staff was also top notch. Felipe and Khem took great care of us every night and the food was just outstanding. All of the staff we encountered on board was friendly as well. I would like to specifically mention Aladdin and Roman at the Schooner bar. Aladdin was one of the funniest and most entertaining bartenders we've ever had on a cruise. We ended up at this bar almost every night. Our room steward (Jeffery) was very attentive and our room was always spotless with the beds made. The ports were great. We didn't end up getting off at St. Kitts and stayed on the boat. If you aren't attached to a port, I'd recommend doing this atleast once, especially on an Oasis class ship. St. Thomas was great as well. We took the Secret Sands Beach Excursion and Lindqvist Bay was absolutely beautiful. The tour bus was a little bit late but once we got going everything was good. We got about 2.5 to 3 hours at the beach. The ride was very scenic. There were chairs, snacks, and drinks provided. They will expect you to tip if you take advantage of the food. There was also excellent snorkeling at the beach. We saw several turtles, rays, and there was a large reef just off the coast. We were super excited to visit CocoCay because of the Perfect Day renovation and we were not disappointed. Everything on the island was 10x better than before. First off, the island is much more broken out now, with 6000 people it didn't feel crowded and it was easy to get a lounger. The food was what I was most impressed with. Before when we were there, it was just generic and bland. This time it seemed like they had a ton more options and they even had a snack shack with funnel cakes and special chicken sandwiches. It was very good. We did do an excursion which was a huge mistake. We did the reef snorkeling and sandbar getaway. The reef we went to wasn't exactly a reef. It was a couple of rocks in an area of construction. There weren't many fish and the bottom was pretty much barren. We then went to a sandbar which was nice, but we only had a little bit of time. Given the activities on CocoCay, I would definitely stay on the island next time. The tour was a complete waste. We did spend some time at Oasis Lagoon and that was another awesome aspect of CocoCay. The pool is enormous and the swim up bar was super convenient. The best part of all is that there is now a dock, so we don't have to worry about a tender. The only thing (out of our control) that wasn't great was the water was pretty rough. But that's to be expected there. We would definitely sail Symphony again. It was one of the best cruises we have ever been on. Despite the size of the ship, it never felt crowded. The shows, the entertainment, and the activities were all top notch. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We had sailed on the Oasis (Oct '17 & Nov '17), the Allure (Apr '18) and the Harmony (Sep '18) so it was only logical to try the fourth and largest of the Oasis class ships. The ship did not disappoint. It is ... Read More
We had sailed on the Oasis (Oct '17 & Nov '17), the Allure (Apr '18) and the Harmony (Sep '18) so it was only logical to try the fourth and largest of the Oasis class ships. The ship did not disappoint. It is beautiful and we especially love Central Park and the evenings of music. Our cabin was very nice, we especially like the dual wardrobe and chest that has been added for the Harmony and Symphony. Semi-reclining chairs on the balcony made for many pleasant nights. Entertainment was good. Hairspray and Ice Show were superb. Water Show was not up to the level of Harmony but still very impressive. The 2nd production number, Flight, was confusing and disappointing. The big problem was the food. WHAT HAS HAPPENED??? The Windjammer was poor with very little variety and food temperature was a problem. Will someone please teach the breakfast staff how to toast bread and keep pancakes from turning into rocks? Stop grilling the pancakes/french toast/waffles an hour in advance. We did not choose specialty dining much to our own peril. The MDR food on the Oasis and Allure was wonderful. The Harmony saw a slight decline. The Symphony ended up at the bottom. The food in the main dining room was chain restaurant quality. While service was superb, the menu lacked imagination and the food was mediocre at best. I really would prefer to wait until I have finished my entree to decide if I want dessert. Having said that desserts were monotonous. Could I please have a slice of chocolate cake that is not bitter dark covered in bitter dark ganache? When we complained about our dinner on one occasion, the manager offered a free upgrade to the filet mignon (normally offered at additional charge). I passed but my wife tried it. Although ordered medium-rare it came out barely pink and very dry. Maybe it's our fault for doing so many Oasis class ships back-to-back. Maybe we have just gotten bored with their repeating menus. Maybe we gluttons for punishment because we have scheduled another trip on the Allure in September '19. Hoping to see if the whole fleet has gone downhill or just the Symphony. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We were a family of ten, ages 3-54, cruising to celebrate a marriage milestone. We choose this specific ship due to wide variety of activities it offered to our multigenerational family. Symphony of the Seas did not disappoint, there was ... Read More
We were a family of ten, ages 3-54, cruising to celebrate a marriage milestone. We choose this specific ship due to wide variety of activities it offered to our multigenerational family. Symphony of the Seas did not disappoint, there was something for everyone. Our adult children had inside staterooms and mentioned that they were quite spacious. (They were really only in them at night). We were in a Junior Suite and I loved how large our balcony was. Our stateroom attendant was outstanding, he was friendly and kept our room spotless. We really appreciated him. We ate the majority of our evening meals in the main dining room, with the exception of one night dining at Chops. We all really enjoyed our meals there. My daughter and I both have Celiac Disease and I just really appreciated the efforts of our Head Waiter, Laarni Confesor, waiter, Siti, and assistant waiter, Nuur for providing us with safe and delicious meals to eat from morning thru night. If you have any food allergies or issues, it really is imperative to connect with your head waiter and team. I was extremely impressed. My granddaughters were delighted by the origami Nuur created for them at the end of every meal, he really made them feel special. Siti was fantastic too. Honestly, the service throughout this ship was outstanding. To those who have written reviews that have said otherwise, I suggest you look at yourselves and ask why you may have received less than good service. We really enjoyed all of the shows, I really can’t say which was my favorite. I cannot stress enough how important it is to book your reservations prior to boarding. We arrived approximately 15-20 minutes before each show and never had a problem finding great seats. We enjoyed our time at St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Coco Cay. We booked early morning beach excursions so that the youngest members of our family could enjoy the sand and water and still allow time for the older members of our family to explore the port on their own. We booked a Beach Bungalow at South Beach (Cocoa Cay) and loved the location and beach. It really was a Perfect Day at Cocoa Cay. My only advice for those that have booked bungalows on this private island is to go to Shore Excursions ASAP once on board to choose your bungalow. We were not aware that this was something that needed to be done until the night before and we were not given a choice. We were in the back by the towel station and bathrooms. We did have a view of the beach and in the end our location worked just fine for us. If being right in front of the water is important to you, make sure to choose early. All in all this was a perfect family vacation that we had planned and looked forward to for nearly two years. I wouldn’t change a thing- one of our best family vacations ever! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I just returned from a 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Symphony. This was my 9th cruise on RC (#10 for my wife) and our first on Symphony. My brother and his wife and my sister and her husband also cruised with us. My wife ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Symphony. This was my 9th cruise on RC (#10 for my wife) and our first on Symphony. My brother and his wife and my sister and her husband also cruised with us. My wife and I aren't "big ship" cruisers, but we wanted to give Symphony a try and I'm glad we did! Itinerary include new ports for us: St. Kitts (nice!), St. Thomas (uggh!), and Perfect Day at CocoCay (WoW!) Like most of my reviews, this is a little long, but hopefully helpful, so a few thoughts up front. The ship is amazing and huge. There were nearly 6,500 cruisers on board including 1,200 kids...but the ship does a great job of diffusing that crowd and only once or twice did we notice. I'll note we bought the Key upgrade which probably contributed to why we didn't notice the crowd...it's basically like a FastPass at an amusement park. More on that below. OK...on to a regular review: Pre-embarkation: We flew into Ft. Lauderdale (Southwest doesn't fly to Miami) and used SAS Transportation to get down to Miami (cost is about $15/person, takes about 30-45 minutes). Second time we've used this company. Second time we've been pleased with the service. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami – Downtown. Very nicely sized room with views of the Bay. We booked a stay and sail package that included breakfast in the morning (very nice buffet) and a shuttle ride to the ship. If you don't book the package, you can still sign up for the shuttle. I think it was $6/person. Location is good with plenty of restaurants near-by including an outdoor mall/market right across the street that had a ton of bars and restaurants. We had a drink there, then headed back about a block from our hotel to CVI.CHE 105, a Peruvian restaurant. Highly recommend. We headed to the port about 10 am on embarkation day. Embarkation: Terminal A is the brand new terminal in Miami and it's impressive. However, the traffic snarl was also impressive. It was probably a 5 minute drive from our hotel to the terminal and then another 15-20 minutes to go the last half-mile for the shuttle to park and unload us/luggage. After that, it was a breeze. We had the Key package so bypassed most lines and were guided to the same check-in group as suites/Diamond+. Security screening was quick and then it was on to the ship. If you have the Key, don't be shy and let staff know...they're trying to move the crowd along so if you don't tell them, you'll just get swept up in that, but if you do tell them, they pluck you out of the crowd. Even with the traffic snarl to park, we were on board by 11 and that was in part due to waiting to link up with the rest of our group (who used RC's travel package option) before boarding. You enter on deck 5, the Promenade, and it's very similar to Freedom/Anthem class ships if you've sailed those. After a quick beer at the Pub, we headed up to Chops in Central Park for lunch (that's included in the Key package). We got a table almost immediately since we were a group of 6. Service was good, but a little slow. Food was very good. We didn't really mind the wait as we were mainly waiting for the rooms to open up, which they did at 1 pm. You pick up your room keys at your stateroom. Before that, you just use your SetSail pass or give them your room number. Meals: We love RC but hate My Time Dining, so were happy with a 5:30 pm main dining room. Our table was near the entrance which worked well since my sister broke her foot two weeks before we sailed and had a little knee scooter thing to help her get around. Food was above average, and we generally are happy with RC food...so Symphony was a step-up from “normal.” Each night there is a chef's recommendation and that's probably your best option. Waiters work very hard and seem to have less time to “get to know you,” but they do their best. Ours were Jeffrey and HongXiang and we couldn't have been happier with their service. HongXiang was the sweetest and happiest person ever. On two occasions, Jeffrey expedited our dinner so that we could make a show time. Very much appreciated. One night, three of us did Wonderland. We paid pre-cruise so it came at a discount, but I don't remember how much. If you haven't done Wonderland, I highly recommend it. It's eclectic, tasty, and a very nice experience. Our waiter was very earnest, but once we settled him down a bit, it was great. We basically ordered a variety of items and then ate family style so we could all try it. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but basically, the top of menu are appetizers and the bottom of the menu are the main meals. They're themed after elements (Air, Sea, Wind, etc...). Very cool. We didn't have any kids with us, but I noticed that they have a special kids menu for them that keeps the theme while still offering things kids eat. We made reservations for 6 pm, told them we had an 8 pm show and they got us out of there about 7:30 without feeling rushed. If you like Chef's Table, I don't think they offer that on Symphony, or at least I don't think it was available on our itinerary. One night all 6 of us went to Jaimie's Italian. Again, the waiter was great and made some great recommendations. Again, we ordered a bunch of appetizers and shared them family style and then each of us ordered a main meal. Appetizers were better than the main meal overall. I had lasagna that frankly reminded me of Chef Boyardee. My brother and brother-in-law had the Tagliatelle Bolognese and both said it was very good. Deserts were impressive. The waiter basically brought out a selection of everything so we could try it. Lemon cheese cake was super lemony (wife said “Amazing!”) Three of us did the “make your own sushi” class (which you then get to eat afterward) at Izumi. Second time for my wife and I to do this and it was just as good, just as fun, and slightly different than our previous time, so that was cool. If you like sushi, I highly recommend this for lunch one day. Four of us did the wine tasting. Second time for us and will be the last time. The wines are fine but on both Grandeur and now on Symphony it was terribly organized, the crowd noise is louder than the wine steward (I think they allow too large a group to participate in a single seating), and the wine steward didn't know how to handle that. The wines were great, but the experience was poor. We won't do it again. My brother did the Galley tour that included a deluxe brunch (he had steak). He said it was very good after some initial chaos. Once they were broken down into groups of about 25 and got going, it was good. Breakfast most mornings was in the Solarium Bistro. Lots of choices, to include an omelet station and seating was never a problem except for one morning, but we just walked out into the outdoor seating area in the Solarium. One morning we had breakfast at The Park Cafe in Central Park. Standard fare (parfait, yogurt, cereal (hot and cold), breakfast sandwiches/wraps, fruit cups). Perfect if you're in a rush. From our balcony we could see it did pretty good traffic all day, but was never overcrowded. This is also a good light lunch option. One morning (CocoCay Day) we had breakfast in the Windjammer and we ate lunch there twice. Very impressed. Traffic flows were much better than on other ships and we never had trouble finding a table. Bravo to Symphony on that. The food was very good with a wide variety. Delicious Indian food on the buffet! The Shows/Entertainment First...Symphony has a great Activities staff. Even though the ship is huge, there were still lots of opportunities to interact with them, especially if you play the games/trivia (and we do). The folks that ran bingo and line dancing and trivia and the game shows and..and..and...were great. The Ice shows were excellent. There is apparently a story/plot to 1976, but I'm not sure exactly what it was...but it doesn't matter. The venue, the music, the skating...all were great. They do a second show that had even less of a plot...but again, great music, great skating. Very impressed. We skipped Hairspray, the Broadway show, but did see Flight. Wow. They achieve some amazing special effects. Definitely a “go see.” Highlight was Hyro, the water show. Mostly dancing, but it's really well done. But there's also diving, high-diving, tightrope walking, and, and...and. Wow. We caught a matinee and had great seats due to the Key program. It was great and would have been even better at night. Quick note on stand-by lines. If you don't have reservations, you can wait in a stand-by line. About 10 minutes before the show starts, they release all seats to the stand-by line. I don't think anyone ever got turned away, it's just the seat choice was a bit more limited. So..if you really want to see a show, make a plan and make reservations, but don't be afraid to just show up if you didn't. During the day we did trivia, the game shows, bingo etc....Lots of fun. Most evenings they had game shows in On Air. If you want a seat be there at least 20 minutes before the show starts. There is a good bar in there, so you have something to keep you occupied while you wait. Casino...pretty standard. Pretty lively. Very smoky. Half is “smoke free” but I don't think any of the ships have figured out how to actually do that. Outdoor pools – there are two or three and they were busy, but never overcrowded that I noticed. This ship just does a great job of spreading out the population. Several hot tubs, rarely were they full because there are so many. Even in the Solarium we were always able to find a lounger. Waterslides/Ultimate Abyss – waterslides were fun...not super fast, but fun. My brother rode the Ultimate Abyss – he said it was a rush. Lots of stuff to do next time that we didn't get to. One more note on the Key, there was an activity per sea day (sometimes 2) and a block of time (usually an hour) that was reserved for Key holders...so Flowrider, zip line, climbing wall, Ice skating....I can't remember what else. You just have to plan accordingly. Room: We had an “interior” balcony over Central Park on deck 11, room 11605. Very nice. Balcony caught a lot of sun in the afternoon and when in port, it was too hot to sit out there...but they're cool. Soundproofing works great. AC only works when the balcony door is locked, so keep that in mind. Room was spacious with the bed and a large couch. Had a mini-fridge. Storage was very good (suitcases fit under the bed and it seemed like more closet hanging space that other ships). Bathroom was good. Shower seemed bigger. Looks like they made the sink area smaller to make the shower stall a bit bigger. Only downside was the mirror fogged up when shaving. Otherwise...great! Toilets worked fine throughout the ship. Room steward Navim was great though he was that ninja-elf you hear about (it was Day 3 before we actually caught him in action and had a chance to talk). Departure: Departure was super easy, thanks to the Key. We carried off our luggage, but were able to have a special breakfast in the main dining room where we could store our bags, eat, and then proceed directly to the exit gangplank, avoiding the “regular” departure lines. Immigration and customs took less than 2 minutes. They used facial scanners which really sped up the process. Once outside, we called SAS Transportation and 15 minutes later we were on our way back to Fort Lauderdale. Excursions: St. Kitts – Booked a beach day via RC. Got off the boat about 9 am, walked around the St. Kitts shopping market a bit. There are loads of folks selling excursions off the ship and “take a picture with my monkey” but they're not pushy and many were rather funny. In short, I didn't mind because while they're trying to hustle up some business, they took no for an answer. Got in line about 9:30 for our excursion, were loaded onto a 15 passenger bus and headed for the resort. Got to see a lot of the island. It was clean, tidy, and very pretty. Some amazing views on the way and then we arrived at a beach club. Our excursion included beach chairs but umbrellas were $10 extra. Recommend paying it as it was well worth it...otherwise there isn't a lot of shade there, though some folks did drag their chairs under a tree. There was a bar and restaurant offering food/drink for a fee (which weren't cheap, but weren't crazy priced either.) They also had jet skis for rent and a small bouncy island water park thing (I don't know what they're called, but it's like a bouncy castle on the water). We were there about 2 – 2.5 hours. At 1 pm our driver returned and took us back to the ship. Ride was about 25 minutes each way. St. Thomas – We didn't book an excursion. We walked off the ship at the Crown Pier (?). It's about 2.5 miles from downtown St. Thomas. There a shopping area there. (Fun fact, the area used to be a U.S. Navy submarine base). You can also catch a jingo taxi (pick-up truck modified with benches) to downtown. Cost was $4/person each way. We took the taxi downtown and wandered around for about 30 minutes. Wow (and not in a good way). Very pushy vendors and guys hustling to get you to go into store A or store B. Inside the shops, the staff were nice, but there are a ridiculous amount of jewelry stores (like every other store is a jewelry store). There are also some bars/restaurants but we'd had enough of saying “no thank you” every three steps only to have the guy follow you down the street, so we headed back to the ship. We talked to some folks that took a catamaran/snorkling trip and they loved it...so...maybe choose accordingly. I'm sure there is a nice part of St. Thomas, but downtown isn't it unless you love browsing jewelry shops and constantly getting hustled. CocoCay – Perfect Day You've seen the commercials, but the transformation is truly amazing. If you like “old CocoCay,” it's still there, you just have to walk out a bit further. The waterpark is similar to those in the U.S. and looked like they did a good business while we were there. Judging from the crowd at the swim up bar in Oasis lagoon, I'd say most people did the half-day ticket in the morning. There were lines we could see but not crazy long and things seemed to be moving pretty well. We didn't do the waterpark, but I didn't hear anyone complaining either. Disembarking in the morning was fast, if you can use the stairs. If you need an elevator, it may take a while. Not sure what was happening but my sister had to wait longer than normal for an elevator to come. Ashore they have beach wheelchairs. They tended to be lined up near the bathrooms, and that made it pretty easy to get her to areas that weren't paved with cobblestones. Staff are posted around the park with “Ask me Anything” shirts and they're very helpful too. You can get to a lot of places without needing the beach wheelchair, but not every where. We rented a cabana at the Oasis lagoon. Had a ceiling fan, two chairs, a big couch, a cooler/table with 6-8 water bottles, and 4 sun loungers. They'll also bring you lunch if you order from the menu in the cabana. Bar tenders come around, but as we were just across from the swim up bar (there's a walk-up side too), it wasn't an issue. Never did see the balloon go up...Did see wild chickens and iguana... I think that's long enough. Enjoy Symphony! We're not usually fans of the big ships, but Symphony won us over. We spent a week on-board and still didn't see/do it all! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked an ocean balcony room on the 11th deck mid ship for this cruise. We were very happy with the room and the service of Marlon our room attendant. The room was a typical 200 sq.ft. cruise ship room and the two of us were perfectly ... Read More
We booked an ocean balcony room on the 11th deck mid ship for this cruise. We were very happy with the room and the service of Marlon our room attendant. The room was a typical 200 sq.ft. cruise ship room and the two of us were perfectly comfortable. Embarkation-incredibly easy and from entering the ship(at about 10;45 am) to getting on board was less than 10 minutes. DIning-the main dining room food was very good and service by Lal our server was spot on. We had breakfast every day in the main dining room and stayed away from the overcrowded buffet on the 16th deck. We tried 3 specialty dining venues and were a little disappointed with 150 Central park-food was lukewarm at best and service was lackluster.Jamie's Italian was superb with more food than we could eat. The service was excellent and the food was mouth watering tasty. Our favorite was Chops-we ordered the 9 ounce filets which were some of the best steaks we have ever had. Entertainment-all of the entertainment was great and Hairspray was even better than the Broadway production which we had seen. You must book reservations for the entertainment prior to the cruise otherwise you have to stand in line hoping to get in 10 minutes before the shows. Ports-Having visited St. Kitts and St. Thomas several times before we decided to just shop in the shopping area just off the ship in St. Kitts. Prices there are very reasonable and there is something for everyone. In St. Thomas we too the FastCat Christmas cove snorkel excursion($69pp). It is a really nice way to spend the day and was totally enjoyable. Coco Cay-the reformation of this island is incredibla and the "new" island was in its second week of operation. There was ample chairs and umbrellas for the 6000 people on board the ship. There is a stunning fresh water pool in the middle of the island with chairs that sit in the water. The lagoon was very nice and again there was plenty of room for all. The food on the island was tasty. When they call this the Perfect Day they are not kidding-it is that nice! Disembarkation-from leaving the ship at approx. 7:30am until we got in our car in the parking garage took all of 10 minutes. Seriously they have this down to an art-there are no more Customs forms or lines just a facial recognition camera and you are done. All in all a great cruise , a great ship with plenty to do and an enjoyable week. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This ship is big but not wholesome. They have no clear directions for what is happening when. It takes multiple attempts to reserve a special dining room because you have to walk to the dining room to reserve it and those dining room ... Read More
This ship is big but not wholesome. They have no clear directions for what is happening when. It takes multiple attempts to reserve a special dining room because you have to walk to the dining room to reserve it and those dining room staff are not available 24x7. Why can you just reserve online or at guess services? Everything that is an event show or plain dinner on the ship has a waiting line. The entertainment is good IF you can get in! They don’t let you change your reservation BUT make changes to the reservations themselves without your awareness or approval! Worst ship I been on out of 7 ships. The first show had technical difficulties, the second show on the next day got post-form. The third day show we were late due to a specialty dinner and then we were not let into the late show because we couldn’t change our reservation online. This ship just sucks!! No fun, just constant issue and waiting lines. Just think of something you want to do and add 15-30 minutes for the waiting line!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
After lots of research my wife and I chose the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas for our first cruise experience. We chose this ship because it was the newest and largest ship with many activities. I have wanted to cruise for a long ... Read More
After lots of research my wife and I chose the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas for our first cruise experience. We chose this ship because it was the newest and largest ship with many activities. I have wanted to cruise for a long time and was finally able to convince my wife to try it out for my 40th birthday. It was great and there was so much to do! We flew into Fort Lauderdale the night before and stayed at an airport La Quinta -it was better than expected. In the morning we arranged a Ride Share service that picked us up at the hotel and dropped us off at the Port of Miami. It was $15 a person plus tip. We used MJS transportation both times and would use them again. We were the last ones to be picked up by MJS so the trip was 45 minutes to the port. Embarkation was a breeze in about ten minutes from when we dropped off our luggage to getting on the ship. It helps to have your security photo entered prior to the trip. Plan Ahead. I read a recent review where someone gave the ship a 1 star rating. That person complained that the were lines for everything and it was tough to get into a show. Using the Royal App you can book restaurants, shows, enrichment classes (wine tasting, sushi rolling) and excursions up to 60-90 days prior to your cruise. If you don't you will have to wait in a long stand by line and might not get into the show. You have to prepay but, it was worth it. I booked all shows and specialty dining months prior to the cruise and only experienced a long line at guest services. Certain activities on sea days such as flow rider and zipline had a line but they moved fast. El Loco Fresh at lunch also had a small line. Prior to the cruise, I booked both a two night Buy One Get One Free specialty dining package and a three night dining package. We ended up getting a 6pm time for the BOGO package and an 8pm time for our three night dining package. I did both because the we wanted to try three specialty restaurants but the time was way too late. First thing we did on the ship was go to the main dining room kiosks and scheduled our three restaurants. We were able to get the restaurants we wanted at the times we wanted. I dropped the BOGO package as a result. The packages require the first choice to be on nights one or two of the cruise. We went to Hooked, Wonderland and Central Park 150 for our dinners. Drink Packages: My parents took a cruise on Allure back in March and got the soda package with the souvenir cup. I was wondering if I could reuse that cup on this ship so I brought it along. No luck, the old cup did not work since the cups have a chip that expires a few days to a week after the end of the sailing. We ended up getting the Deluxe drink package for both of us. On the first day of the cruise the deluxe package was available as a buy one get one half off at all of the bars and restaurants. When we did the math it was slightly cheaper than the Royal app price prior to the cruise. When you add up the drinks for the day it is possible to get your monies worth without getting drunk. We figured multiple water bottles per day at about $4, morning specialty coffees from Café Promenade (Seattle's Best), 2-3 soda refills a day, a few $8 dollar beers or $12-14 specialty drinks at the pool during the day, a couple drinks/$12 glasses of wine at dinner and a drink or two at the bars or shows in the late evening. Port days might be a little tough to get your monies worth but, we did it or came real close. It was nice to not have to keep signing receipts for each drink ala cart. An 18% gratuity was automatically added to the package price at time of purchase. Starbucks on the royal promenade is not included with the deluxe drink package. The ship has a changing drink of the day available at all bars for $8. Pools: We were pleasantly surprised that we were able to find chairs around the pools any day considering the amount of people on the ship. We spent most of our time at the Solarium deck, pool and hot tubs. The solarium is for guests 16 and up so it was more relaxed. Two downfalls were that the solarium had two towel exchange stations that had wacky hours. The Starboard side never opened and the portside one would be open for say an hour, it would close and then reopen for a short time randomly. In the late afternoon the towel stations would be closed so you would have to go out to a main pool area station to return towels. The other downfall was there were not enough servers on sea days so timely service suffered. The Perfect Storm slides were thrilling on the main pool deck. Flow rider was great. Zipline was great. Specialty Dining: Hooked Seafood: The service was great and the waiter keep bringing us lots different appetizers. For the main course we had the surf and turf which was filet mignon and a lobster tail. The food was cooked perfectly and the service was great. Wonderland: The food presentation and taste was unique. The initial service was slow both to be seated and to get waited on. The specialty cocktails were good. Central Park 150: We ended up getting some appetizers and the steak dinner for two. Good place for a date night. We found in all of the dining venues on this ship, that the food was under seasoned. Perhaps it is due to RCL trying to appeal to the masses. Excursions: Every where we went the US Dollar was an accepted currency. Bring small bills for tipping. We found that we could get change for a twenty in the ship casino Roatan, Honduras - We did the Gumbalimba Park tour with the parrots and monkeys. We booked this through Royal Caribbean. It was fun to hold the parrots and have the monkeys climb on us. We also saw a sloth hanging from a tree. The beach is murky but, there is also a pool there as well, which we swam in before heading back to the ship. It was nice and I would do it again. Costa Maya, Mexico - We booked a Chacchoben Extreme Tour through an outside company called The Native Choice. The Chacchoben Extreme Tour includes a guided tour of the Chacchoben Ruins followed by a visit to the tranquil Bacalar Lagoon Resort for a swim in the crystal clear waters of the Seven Color Lagoon.The trip was much cheaper than the RCL excursion. You have to walk about 4 long blocks to get to their location. We spent about an hour at the ruins which was enough. The ruins were just okay since they are basically 4 temples in the jungle. Then, we headed to the Bacalar Resort. The warm taco/fajita (beef, Chicken, pork) lunch was good. The trip included 3 drinks of alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages. The resort and the swimming was nice. Bring water shoes because the lagoon bottom is rocky -large flatish rocks. We wish we could have spent more time at the resort. If we don't have an excursion planned for the next time we visit Costa Maya then we would stay on the ship. Cozumel, Mexico - We took a taxi ($8) and shopped downtown to get souvenirs for our kids. After that we headed back to the ship. We were going to go to a beach resort but, decided to return to the ship since we had the deluxe drink package to use. Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas - We are late risers and got onto the island after 10am. It didn't take us long to find two unoccupied chairs under an umbrella by the Oasis Lagoon pool. We did the half-day waterpark pass which allowed us to enter the park at 12:15pm. The various slides were fun and thrilling and worth it. We booked this prior to the trip and saved some money. The food was good and the drinks were too. Overall, I am now ready to book our next cruise on Royal Caribbean on a mega ship! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The May 11Th Symphony Cruise to the Western Caribbean was simply AMAZING! The ship was clean and breathtakingly huge. My biggest compliment goes out to the staff. Not only was all the staff kind, considerate and helpful they truly gave ... Read More
The May 11Th Symphony Cruise to the Western Caribbean was simply AMAZING! The ship was clean and breathtakingly huge. My biggest compliment goes out to the staff. Not only was all the staff kind, considerate and helpful they truly gave me the impression they loved working there. I studied all the blogs prior to sailing and was a little worrisome due to some of the critiques. Based on the size and complexity of this ship some details will always arise but when looking at the big picture any negatives were most certainly outweighed by the overall amazing experience. Pick and pay for what you want. Many have said RCCL is nickel and diming for everything. True, they do have many things which they charge for additional fees. My wife and I looked at this as a positive. With the proper up-front planning we were able to customize the perfect cruise for what we wanted. For us we are not big drinkers, but we do love fancy food and activities. So we researched and purchased the appropriate options for our cruise. We purchased the KEY, waterpark admission and the Unlimited Dining Packages. These packages worked perfectly for us but for other people the choices can and should be completely different based on your preferences. Unfortunately, having all these options available these days does create the burden of doing some homework prior to the cruise. Decide what is important to you and choose those options. Most importantly and sometimes very confusing, decipher what these packages truly offer. Make sure you are aware of limitations but most importantly learn what all the features enable you to do. I talked to so many people on the ship and they only knew half the features. For an example if you have the Key you do not have to charge your SeaPass card and then show it again upon return. Not a big deal but knowing all the features can make your cruise that much more enjoyable. Activities on the Symphony: I remember many, many years ago winning the most “Ship Shape Dollars” on the cruise. Now, in my early 50’s, I think we could have still won if they had them. My wife and I are not the ones who like to sit around the pool and drink Pina Coladas all day (Not that there is anything wrong with that). While in port or at Sea, the activities the Symphony offers seem endless. Excursions: RCCL offers a fantastic variety of excursions for all different tastes. My rule of thumb is if the excursion will create a good lasting memory then it is worth doing. We did Zip Lining in Roatan, walked the port shops in Costa Maya, Dune Buggy ride in Cozumel and Perfect Day at Coco Cay (Water Park and snorkeling). All the excursions were good; however, Coco Cay was Amazing. Kudos to RCCL for creating an Island which blows all other private islands out of the water (pun intended). My wife and I are from Florida and we love and go to many waterparks. Although, not the largest park we have been to, it was certainly much more than what I would have expected on an Island in the middle of the Bahamas. Once again, an awesome staff is everywhere assisting and the best private island complimentary food I have ever had. On Board Activities: There is always something to do on this ship even on port days. There are so many activities that my wife and I did I am simply going to list them and if anyone wants detailed info please let me know. Rock Climbing – several times and many different difficulty routes. Zip Line – short and sweet but on cruise ship so cool! Miniature Golf – fun, everything works and very clean. Escape Room – my first time and we did it with 2 minutes to spare, the family we were with have done several before and they said this was the best. The shows – spectacular! We saw them all and would suggest you do the same. Trivia etc. – We love the trivia and what I call the cruise games. The Venue could have been a little bigger although this could have been the fact that the staff was so funny and entertaining it was always packed to the doors. The Abyss – A dry water slide; who would have thought they could make it so smooth and exhilarating. The ship tours – We did the galley tour with brunch; super informative, very organized and interesting. The brunch was superb. The best for last; The Flowrider – This was the first time my wife and I tried this and it was so much fun. The staff blew me away with how helpful and patient they were. By the end of the cruise I really got the hang of it and little sore from all the epic fails. Lol. If you are on the fence to try it out my suggestion is to Just do it. It was a blast! Food, Food and more Food My wife and I purchased the Unlimited Dining package and it were so worth it to us. Unfortunately, this gives us little opportunity to comment on the Windjammer buffet or the Main Dining room. I highly recommend getting this package. I can give more detailed information on each restaurant and their menu if asked. Overall, the food and the staff were fantastic. Keep the expectation you are on ship and they can only get provisions once a week and you will happily surprised. We never had a bad meal and quite often had an exceptional meal. We loved the wait staff. For daytime food I recommend the beef sandwich for lunch in the Park Café, El Loco Taco and breakfast in Johnny Rockets. Also, the breakfast buffet in the Solarium seemed to be less crowded but then again, we were early risers. We tried EVERYTHING. We were not pigs. We tried small samples of many items and many places. Some items and places were good, and others were amazing. Even the pizza was very good which was unusual for a ship. Super fantastic food and people, who could ask for more. The Key Package We paid $20/day for the Key at initial offering. Due to my sometimes “OCD” tendencies it was worth it to us. Simply put it just made some stresses disappear. Based on your preferences for a cruise it is your personal decision and it may not worth it to you. Check out all the features and make the determination. Staff and Service From the moment to being assisted with our luggage in the parking garage to the end with the same guys bringing our luggage right to the car we felt like catered Kings and Queens. The staff on the ship was courteous, fun, energetic and informative. I am not sure who the motivational speaker RCCL used on this ship prior to departure but it worked! I felt everyone went out of their way to make our experience memorable. I don’t think we met one grumpy staff member the entire cruise. We have been on other Cruises including Disney and I would rank this staff by far the best. The sports staff was having just as much fun as we were. The wait staff would encounter some truly stressful situations and never loose their smiles. I think my room steward slept outside our door because he was always welcoming us upon exiting and entering our cabin in the hall with a cute “Hi Mr. John”. We also found the app on our phones to be extremely accurate and it helped us navigate from one activity to the next without error. What a great job RCCL, for understanding that a quaint little smile and a “how can I help you” is the magic to success. Kudos! We would highly recommend RCCL and the Symphony. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our 19th cruise. We have tried other cruise lines but are faithful Royal Caribbean cruisers, We have been on the other Oasis class ships and loved them but Symphony is just over the top.We checked in at about noon and were on the ... Read More
This was our 19th cruise. We have tried other cruise lines but are faithful Royal Caribbean cruisers, We have been on the other Oasis class ships and loved them but Symphony is just over the top.We checked in at about noon and were on the ship within 10-15 minutes. Much better check-in. Our standard balcony room was very nice and had plenty of storage. After we booked room 6160 we remembered that in the past when we were on the 6th floor that the lifeboats blocked our view. However, the lifeboats were tucked under so that they did not block our view. The entertainment was so wonderful and over-the-top I've never seen anything even close to this anywhere. Our first port was Roatan. We've never been there before. We took the excursion to Tabyana Beach. Although it was really hot, there was a lot of shade, the staff was wonderful and the beach amazing. Next we went to Costa Maya. We did not take an excursion but walked around the shopping area. Still very nice. We were a little disappointed with Playa Mia in Cozumel. We've been to Cozumel more times than I can count. The cruises always offered excursions to Passion Island which was a beautiful beach however, it's not on the list any longer.. Play Mia was crazy overcrowded with four ships in port. We got a cab back to the port. We have also been to Cocoa Cay a bunch of times. Had to find a quiet place to enjoy the sand and surf. Very annoying loud rap music. I guess it would be great if you had young kids and wanted to spend a bundle on rides. The food was good and included. I love this ship and plan to go on it again. There were a few "glitches" though or I would give it 5 stars. As we always do, we asked for a large table with a lot of different people. We were seated at a table so small and by ourselves that we had to move our rolls and other items to an empty table nearby. We asked the head waiter on the 3rd floor dining room (where we were seated) if we could be moved to a larger table with other people and he said" everyone at second seating is Spanish speaking." This was NOT true. The diamond concierge got us seated with a larger group of people on the 5th floor dining room. Ironically, those people had the same experience as we did. I also did not appreciate the spa staff standing out in the hallway pouncing on us as we walked by. Maybe if they weren't charging $55.00 for a basic manicure they would have more customers. I used to go to the spa and fitness center, but I feel like there are sharks in the hallway so I try to avoid it now. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Embarkation: Aside from the traffic entering the terminal area, embarkation was smooth. We went right up the escalators and met with an agent to complete our check in. The Internet inside wasn't at full strength so we could not use ... Read More
Embarkation: Aside from the traffic entering the terminal area, embarkation was smooth. We went right up the escalators and met with an agent to complete our check in. The Internet inside wasn't at full strength so we could not use Set Sail Pass on the Royal App. Luckily, I had printed them. After check-in we went through security in 10 minutes and went up another set of escalators and boarded the ship. The Ship: The ship is absolutely amazing! My group and I did everything the ship had to offer; water slides, Abyss slides, Zip Line, Flowrider, Bionic Bar, theater shows, aqua show, ice shows, laser tag, trivia, bionic bar, Playmakers Sports Bar, and much more! We enjoyed everything we did, every night. We had 7 enjoyable nights aboard the Symphony of the Seas. Not once did we feel crowded with all the passengers. The engineers and architects that designed the ship designed it in a way that the people are spaced out all the time. Food: We ate breakfast in the Solarium Bistro and main dining only throughout the cruise. Neither were crowded at the times we went. The omelettes in the Bistro were top-notch. We ate in the Main Dining Room every night for dinner and had great food and great service every night! For lunch, we ate at El Loco Mexican bar almost every day. They had the best Mexican food! Entertainment: All the shows were amazing and very enjoyable for all ages. We played a lot of afternoon and evening trivia and came up just short of winning a few times! The water slides and hot tubs were also very enjoyable. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have sailed on all the RCI big ships and have always enjoyed those cruises. This ship had some interesting new features like the musical stairway to the buffet and the Mexican cafe. It also had some downgrades like the public restrooms ... Read More
We have sailed on all the RCI big ships and have always enjoyed those cruises. This ship had some interesting new features like the musical stairway to the buffet and the Mexican cafe. It also had some downgrades like the public restrooms with paper towels that disintegrated in your hands. The food was okay but their steak and prime rib, even in Cagney's Steakhouse, was chewy and fatty. The shows were excellent as they always are on RCI. But there were over 900 children on this ship and we saw and heard every one of them. The noise level was incredible. The was no place to enjoy a quiet meal. Even the Solarium which is for adults only had kids in the bistro. Getting a chair around the pool in the Solarium was a challenge and even though the hot tubs hold over 20 people, late afternoon was the only time we could get in. This was truly a ship for young families. Parents take their children out of school anytime of the year so even our strategy of never cruising when kids are on school vacation doesn't apply anymore. If you are over 60 years old, this is not the ship for you. Read Less
Symphony of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 4.4
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Enrichment 3.0 4.0
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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