308 Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas Cruise Reviews

The ship is beautiful. The staff on this ship were not very friendly. They didn't really want to help you out. I have only sailed on Royal Caribbean and this ship is the only one I would not recommend. They were going to have a movie ... Read More
The ship is beautiful. The staff on this ship were not very friendly. They didn't really want to help you out. I have only sailed on Royal Caribbean and this ship is the only one I would not recommend. They were going to have a movie at the Aqua theater and they cancelled it for a staff party. Please don't tell mainly kids and then cancel. So we rented the movie and watched it in the room as to not disappoint the kids. One example of not taking care of passengers. I could go on. The cabin was outside balcony. It was nice. Liked the sofa bed was two separate twin beds. The main dining was good. The buffet was not good the food the was to be hot was cold. For breakfast you cannot get omelets in the Windjammer, we only found the in the dining room. That buffet was really good. Did not try any dining that cost extra. Hairspray was good. The dive show was boring. Getting on the ship was very smooth if you have all your paperwork done ahead of time. Getting off ship was easy until we went to get on shuttle. They need to get that organized. It is a free for all. Put a lady on first that need assistant which is fine until she could not put her foot in front on the seat. Everyone was then hitting it. Many little things add up but over all we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First of all let's start at the beginning. Total passengers - up to 6800 - crew 2500 - i thought it would be a crowded ship!!! NOT!!! There's so much to do, so many places to be, eat, have fun that we never noticed lines or ... Read More
First of all let's start at the beginning. Total passengers - up to 6800 - crew 2500 - i thought it would be a crowded ship!!! NOT!!! There's so much to do, so many places to be, eat, have fun that we never noticed lines or crowded places. I was totally surprised and happy. SHOWS AND PERFORMERS This ship has the best talent of not only any other ship I've been on, but they equal if not surpass professional shows on Broadway, ice shows, concerts, etc. The ICE SHOW was terrific with champion performers from Canada and France. And they start the show off with 50 drones coming right at you. HAIRSPRAY was also terrific. The actors could not only perform but were excellent singers and dancers. TOP NOTCH. The AQUASHOW was also top notch. Diving from 80', performing in mid-air and on the water was outstanding, and the rope aquatics was unbelievable. The INFLIGHT show was also terrific and excellent. Again, great talent. And to top it all off was the orchestra. Only 9 musicians but world-class talent. 2 saxes, 2 trumpets, 2 guitars, one trombone, keyboards, and drummer and they did the music for Hairspray and Inflight and also performed in the Jazz Lounge and other venues on the ship. I am an amateur musician and just loved listening to them. FOOD I thought the food was close to excellent, especially the surf and turf dinner they had. Lobster tails and filet were just great. The staff was excellent and were right there anytime we needed something. I must commend the ship for being able to feed 9000 people daily and cook the food perfectly. Each night the menue had 4 or 5 new dinner options along with 4 or 5 of the same ones which they offered every night. Apps and desserts were also excellent. The dining room we were in was very nice and we could see the ocean from our table. The buffet in the Windjammer was also very good. It's a buffet but they had very good food and I loved their salad selection and the produce was cut up small as I like it. They had a Mexican buffet too which was very popular but I didn't partake. We liked to be waited on so ate most breakfast and dinners in the dining room. We ate in Johnny Rockets and was what you expected. Good lunches (but you pay for it). Breakfast was not a favorite with me at JR. Park Cafe was good and a little different. We ate lunch there one day. And we didn't eat at any of the specialty restaurants as we just didn't see a reason too. And there were other free restaurants and eating places that we just didn't use. You shouldn't have any trouble finding food to eat. ROOM Our room was what you would expect on a cruise ship: big enough to get around. The bathroom was pretty good as was the shower. Plenty of storage for clothes, both draws, and closet space to hang things. They also had a safe. Service was excellent both morning and night. We had an inside balcony which was nice. Only complaint was we wanted to sit out there in the afternoon once or twice but the music was kind of loud and not our type of music. Otherwise, this room was very, very good. Finally, let me just say a couple more things. For those of you who like pools and hot tubs you won't be disappointed as they have multiples of each with tons of lounge chairs to choose from. I was on a Carnival cruise ship that didn't have nearly enough lounge chairs to accommodate the passengers. This ship always had empty lounge chairs. I loved the ship and everything about it and would book another cruise in an instant. If you can afford it take a 2 week cruise. I think they do the western then the eastern Caribbean in consecutive weeks. There were people who did this. BEST CRUISE SHIP I'VE BEEN ON. A word about excursions. We only took 2, a glass bottom boat in Cozimel. I was disappointed because most of the fish were just fish color: no vibrant colors or anything to talk about. Maybe this reef is not the one to do. We did do the GUMBALIMBA PARK in Roatan and it was terrific. Yes, a lot of walking but the experience was excellent and the McCaws were loose as were the Iguanas. They also had tame monkeys which they put on your shoulders if you like. Same with the McCaws. Anyway, it was nice. In Costa Maya we just walked around but there was a huge swimming pool with plenty of lounges with a swim up bar. Also a dolphin experience and other bars. The breeze was nice. Finally, one comment. Because of storms up and down the east coast our flight was cancelled and we almost didn't make the ship. Book flights a day or 2 in advance and enjoy the city you are sailing out of. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We had been on the Harmony in the Mediterranean and loved it, so when it came time to choose a special occasion trip for the family we decided on the Symphony. We had Grandparents, parents and kids (3,6,11,14) and need something that ... Read More
We had been on the Harmony in the Mediterranean and loved it, so when it came time to choose a special occasion trip for the family we decided on the Symphony. We had Grandparents, parents and kids (3,6,11,14) and need something that would appeal to everyone. The new RCCL terminal is gorgeous and check in was easy and fast. Two families stayed each in a Grand suite ( the grandparents had one and a family of four had another using the comfortable pull out sofa for the parents and separating the big bed into two for the little ones but the family with teens wanted two cabins because they wanted two bathrooms. They chose a balcony cabin and a Central park view cabin directly across from them for the teens and were very satisfied. But this made dinners complicated. Except for one dinner in Izumi ( the best Hibachi chef ever) and one in Chops Grill, also excellent, we ate dinner separately. The adults tried Hooked for lunch and loved it ( a good price $19 per for lunch) for delicious seafood and El Loco Fresh (self-serve free Mexican). Coastal kitchen is OK, the food often strange with breakfast and lunch menus never changing and the dinners just acceptable. The service in the suite dining room is disorganized and you can wait forever for a coffee refill. One excellent server (Cecil) stood out. The Concierge Ruhel e-mailed me before the cruise and was wonderfully helpful. We loved the setting and the new ship is just beautiful. My daughter was very happy with the kids club and used it in the morning for a break. In the afternoon the kiddie pool was fun. RCCL now provided lifeguards and swim vests ( excellent). The older kids did everything, zip line, The Abyss slide ,the water slides, basketball, ping pong, ice skating etc. We love suite class. We made reservations in advance for all the entertainment so we could sit together even though half of us could waltz in. For good seats you need to arrive when the venue opens a half hour before the show. Hairspray was fabulous and I saw it twice!! I had seen it on Broadway and I think this cast was just as good. The dancers were extremely talented. The Ice skating show was good but the sound was so loud it hurt your ears. I didn't like the Aqua show ( just me) as it was a lot of stomping around and fighting, although the performers were obviously talented. The two comics who did a late night adult show in the Attic were very funny. Our room was beautiful, spotless with a good number of outlets.. and two televisions. The bathroom was enormous with two sinks. The bathtub/shower was impossible to get out of without falling. A suite should have a walk in shower. The lounges on the balcony were comfortable. The only excursion we took was in Nassau - Deluxe beach break. There was nothing deluxe about it. Half the ship went on three crowded ferries. It took 45 minutes to get there and two hours later we had to go back. Unless you hurry off the ship and make the first ferry you won't get a lounge chair anywhere near the water. The lunch was OK, the people pleasant. 4 small bottles of water cost $13+. They drop you off in town and it is a very very long walk back to the ship in the blazing sun. Everyone had a good time, the weather was beautiful and the ship unbelievable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My extended family decided to take a cruise this spring. We wanted a big ship to keep multiple generations (6y/o to 78y/o) occupied so we chose the Symphony. I had high expectations and although some were met, the majority fell short. ... Read More
My extended family decided to take a cruise this spring. We wanted a big ship to keep multiple generations (6y/o to 78y/o) occupied so we chose the Symphony. I had high expectations and although some were met, the majority fell short. Embarkation was a mess. 1 hour before our scheduled arrive, we received a text stating that additional deep cleaning activities would delay the start of boarding and to not to show up until 10 minutes after your scheduled arrival.....note to RCL, 1 hr before your schedule arrival is a bit too late to change your plans. It took us a good 1 hour to get through the crowds. The ship itself if a marvel of engineering. When I first walked on I thought I walked into a local mall not a cruise ship. The public spaces are well designed and very well done with high quality materials like granite and marble. Even though there were ~6000 fellow cruisers, somehow it never felt overwhelmingly crowded (except on embarkation day). There are broad range of eateries and food quality at the no extra charge places were generally good. The Gym is also amazing. It is huge and has every piece of fitness equipment you need. Only recommendation is to go on off hours as it can get crowded Service was ok, The crew was friendly but did not seem to be overly happy, which was in contrast to other cruises that I've taken on NCL. Honestly the only memorable service we received was in the main dining room with our waiter and assistant waiter (John and Jibby). They were both great, quickly learning our preferences so we did not have to ask for things beginning with the second night. Otherwise the rest of the crew did their job but nothing special. Entertainment was great. Broadway caliber shows, ice skating, water shows, and high diving, all amazing for being in the middle of Caribbean. My biggest complaint is RCL's "The Key". At $20 per day per passenger, the total adds up quickly for a family. Other than the special lunch on embarkation and special breakfast on disembarkation, I saw very little value to "The Key". We are supposed to get priority embarkation but the crowds were so thick that the RCL staff told us to go to regular line as it was probably faster. We were supposed to also get prior disembarkation, which was party good until we got to the lady at the luggage area who apparently did not understand "the key" program and told us to go to regular check out. Lastly, "the key" was supposed to give you reserved seating at shows provide you reserved seats. This seating was the same area as suite guests. In theory this would be great, except that fact that if you don't show up at least 20 minutes before start (depending on show) all the reserved seats are gone. Overall the cruise was OK, nothing special but I may have set my expectations too high. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First time on a ship this size (cruised on the Independence and Jewel in the past). The ship is BEAUTIFUL! So clean and comfortable. Our vacation started a little rocky with a very noisy group in the adjoined interior room, and when I ... Read More
First time on a ship this size (cruised on the Independence and Jewel in the past). The ship is BEAUTIFUL! So clean and comfortable. Our vacation started a little rocky with a very noisy group in the adjoined interior room, and when I say very noisy, I'm being polite. It was BAD - no sleep bad. I give it to RC for making things right even though it wasn't their fault at all. On the 3rd day, they voluntarily moved us to an ocean front balcony in the very back of the ship - 14th floor. We never asked to be moved. It was a major difference from where we came from - so peaceful and relaxing, just a beautiful room with a beautiful view. Sold me for future cruises - an ocean front balcony it is! They also voluntarily gave us 15% off our next cruise for the inconvenience of having to unpack, repack, and unpack again. I can't say enough about how much we truly appreciated the fact that they seemed to really care if we were having a good vacation. They checked on us several times throughout the week to make sure we were okay and to make sure things got better for us. To this day, I'm still amazed at the service they provided. I have never experienced that anywhere else. Props to Royal Caribbean Guest Services Department! THANK YOU SO MUCH! The rest of our vacation was amazing. We had fun relaxing in the pools, chatting with people, and soaking up the beautiful sunny weather we were fortunate enough to get during our week. It was fun checking out all the different areas of the ship. Central Park is lovely, peaceful and relaxing, and we enjoyed it several different nights. Also enjoyed some fun nights in the casino. I would highly recommend making advance reservations for the all the shows. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that you needed advance reservations so we didn't get to see any of them, and I really wanted to see the comedian. Oh well. Next time. And there WILL BE a next time! We enjoyed visiting the islands and did two fun excursions. In Roatan, I highly recommend the excursion to private island, Maya Key. What a beautiful little island, extremely clean, really nice beach, monkeys, leopard, mountain lions, ocelot and exotic birds (in cages - rehabbing), good lunch provided, waiters serving drinks on the beach, nice walk, and the ABSOLUTE BEST snorkeling we have ever done (and we've snorkeled tons of times at different islands). The reef is UNREAL! Just beautiful and alive and thriving. Biggest fish we've ever seen while snorkeling. A great experience and highly recommend this excursion. We also did the Amazing Secret River in Cozumel. Had a wonderful time. The down side is it does take kind of long to get there, 30-min ferry ride, followed by a short walk, 15 minutes of instruction, and then followed by a 30-min van ride through the jungle, and yes, the road was bumpy but it was no problem whatsoever. Just note that there is some waiting around time. We had a wonderful guide, Enrique, who was very accommodating to all the guests, extremely informed and shared a lot of history about the cave. It was just beautiful in there. After the cave visit, you get a delicious, authentic Mexican buffet meal before heading back to do a little shopping at Playa del Carmen. Great day! Overall, we had a wonderful vacation, a few bumps in the beginning, but again RC Guest Services did an amazing job turning it around for us. We will definitely be cruising again and will definitely choose RC ships. Highly recommend the Symphony of the Seas! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This cruise did well at improving everything that makes vacations and travelling annoying. Embarkation is quick if you come early, staterooms are cool and comforting, and the architecture and activities onboard make you forget there are ... Read More
This cruise did well at improving everything that makes vacations and travelling annoying. Embarkation is quick if you come early, staterooms are cool and comforting, and the architecture and activities onboard make you forget there are 6500 people. We loved the random nooks of inviting ambiance, like the live Jazz on 4, the Bionic bar, Vintages wine bar, all excellent, and then when we want sun and conversation the Solarium is the perfect luxurious spot. The unique and engaging nature of the whole ship makes it great for all ages. If anything could be improved, it would be the vegetarian options. Or more like option, since you only get one choice wherever you eat except at the buffets. Formal dining and specialty dining vegetarian options are delicious but unimaginative. We loved the casino, the atmosphere is spot on and it's never overcrowded. Also highly recommend springing for the deluxe drinks package and the ocean view stateroom. I wish the all access tour wasnt so expensive and only two time options, I'd love to see how this ship works. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We had a great time on the Symphony of the Seas recently on a Western Caribbean cruise. The ship itself is the newest in the Oasis class, so it feels fresh and clean, and has a lot of upgrades over the earlier Oasis class ships, such as ... Read More
We had a great time on the Symphony of the Seas recently on a Western Caribbean cruise. The ship itself is the newest in the Oasis class, so it feels fresh and clean, and has a lot of upgrades over the earlier Oasis class ships, such as the water slides, the very large regular slide, the bionic bar, and significantly better lighting and effects at all of the shows. We had a Central Park balcony for the first time, which was nice, particularly listening to the live music every night from 7-10 pm. We also thought the room layout was appreciably better than on the Oasis and the Allure - more closet and drawer space and a much better shower with a glass door. We were also impressed with the overall dining - the Hooked seafood restaurant was great, the Mexican restaurant had tasty taco and burritos, the dining room food felt like a step up, and we were really impressed with the Windjammer, which each lunch and dinner had something fun, like a cheese fountain, chocolate fountain, a table of 10+ different mousses for desert, fancy seafood, etc. As expected, the shows were all excellent, and again a step up from the Oasis and the Allure, with better effects, lighting and sound. The shows also seemed a little more intense, which was fun, particularly the aqua show. Service was fine, particularly our room steward who was both friendly and very competent. Ports were generally good, though you need to do a little planning, particularly in Roatan: Honduras (Roatan) - did a fun excursion to a butterfly preserve, with a jungle walk, and got to have a monkey and a parrot sit on my shoulder. Be warned that the Roatan port itself is very small and not very pleasant, so if you aren't going on a tour then I wouldn't bother getting off the ship. Mexico (Costa Maya) - we did one of the Mayan ruin tours, which was fascinating, and walked around the port area which was much nicer than expected, with a beach and large pool. Mexico (Cozumel) - just walked around the port area, which had some interesting shopping. Bahamas (Nassau) - did a 3-mile walk up to the fort and water tower, then walked over the long bridge to Paradise Island and Atlantis. Atlantis is fun to explore yourself, but I wouldn't pay the exorbitant fee they charge to use the water park. Also some interesting shopping near the dock area. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Wanted to be on the largest ship in the world . This ship is especially great for kids ; it’s got everything from ocean surfing to rock climbing walls ; plus the staff really takes care of the little ones. Food is good . I was ... Read More
Wanted to be on the largest ship in the world . This ship is especially great for kids ; it’s got everything from ocean surfing to rock climbing walls ; plus the staff really takes care of the little ones. Food is good . I was very impressed. We had the Suite Class with a big room . It was nice ; however we are under the pool area . Do not get this location. Drop down to the 12 th floor . Too noisy in this room ! Staff is extremely friendly . Ship has all the modern and latest systems on board . Recommend the beverage package , because you get hit for any drink, from water to wine and cocktails. The package will pay off plus you ere not getting hit with a tab every time you order a beverage. Also of course you should choose your excursions carefully, because they are a la cartel too . Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise to get a chance to sail on the newest addition to the Oasis Class ships, having previously sailed on the Oasis and Allure. We did this cruise not for the dull Western Caribbean itinerary, but for the ship and dining ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get a chance to sail on the newest addition to the Oasis Class ships, having previously sailed on the Oasis and Allure. We did this cruise not for the dull Western Caribbean itinerary, but for the ship and dining experiences. You can just go to Roatan/Costa May/Cozumel/Nassau so many time before you don't even want to leave the ship. Fortunately, the Symphony offers a lot of onboard experiences during port days. We also wanted to try some of the newer restaurants onboard, since we are kind of "worn out" with Chops. We did Izumi Hibachi, Hooked, 150 Central Park, Wonderland and Jamies. They were all very, very good and certainly deserve a try. Wonderland provides an evening of fascination where nothing is as it seems. It is a fun experience. As usual, the entertainment on the bigger ships is beyond spectacular. Hairspray was wonderful, even though we had seen it a couple of other times on RCCL. The Diamond Club is very nice and provide a lot of nice amenities. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Family of 4 (2-14 yr. old teen twin girls, couple early 50's ) living in the Midwest (where it's cold) attempting to recreate the beauty of our previous Spring Break sailing on the Allure. Our overall cruise line history ... Read More
Family of 4 (2-14 yr. old teen twin girls, couple early 50's ) living in the Midwest (where it's cold) attempting to recreate the beauty of our previous Spring Break sailing on the Allure. Our overall cruise line history includes Celebrity, NCL and other RC ships. I have also cruised on Princess and enjoyed it. Trying to figure out if I can be a RC loyalist, but I'm not there yet. The one thing we look forward to is an active cruise. I will start by saying that we had a great vacation experience. Overall the ship offers something for everyone. To have the best experience it is recommended to know what you want to enjoy because there is a lot to pick from and you can easily end up bored, because you didn't make decisions. It has unique art throughout and the ship is very nice and well maintained. Although it's a large ship it didn't feel overly crowded, but there are a lot of folks contained on the ship. The highlights of the trip include; Embarkation, entertainment, MDR for dinner (scheduled My Time Dining), cabin and shore excursions. All of those items get a 10+. Highlights include: Embarkation\Disembarkation: 10 minute embarkation process, no counters. I would absolutely encourage pre-check in online. If a picture is needed they take it with an I-Pad before you proceed to the ship. Disembarking was typical and the port area gets rather congested. I would recommended early or late disembarkation. The exit through customs is done by facial recognition which seemed to make this faster. Cabin: We had 2 adjacent Balcony cabins (4D) the room offers 2 closets and ample storage space. If you are particular about bed location, be sure to ask as some beds are against the sliding glass doors and some are closer to entry way. Also the lights are controlled by having your key card in the reader. The décor is modern and the room is fairly typical. TV is not great. Movies cost over 10.00...for those times you just want to lounge... Entertainment: All shows were exceptional. My kid had to explain HIRO to me...My favorites were Hairspray, Ice Skate 2.0 and Flight. I was only able to join one comedy show in the large theater and one of the comedians was excellent. The one thing I found annoying was the saving of large numbers of seats. Although they have a rule against it, it was often done and annoying. I recommend scheduling in advance, and if not being in line early for those things you didn't schedule. Pay attention to the Cruise COMPASS on your TV or in the hallways as things are added that you may miss if you just look at the printed Cruise Compass delivered to your room. All of the musical acts performing in different venues were great. The one thing I wish was better is that the pool band was hidden in an alcove between the pools so you could hear the music but not really experience vibing with the band. Ship: With this being a fairly new ship, it is in great condition and is maintained well. The bathrooms offer the no touch entry and exit and the restaurants offer sinks to wash your hands vs. just using hand sanitizer. The art throughout is unique and nice. The main promenade is well thought out and identical to other Oasis ships. I tried to understand what was exactly different. The casino has a smoker and non smoker side, but no real separator if that is your concern. I did witness staff removing items from those pool chair savers after prolonged time periods. As with every ship, on sea days with good weather get to the pool before 9 for a good spot. I would want other outside venues other than on the running track floor, the Promenade and the pool deck. The ship celebrated their 1 year anniversary during the sailing. Anniversary lanyards and magnets were provided along with a picture of the crew and had special events along with cake and different foods offered. Now to the opportunities. First off the ship didn't have that fun\happy vibe... lots of people were moving here and there but it more or less seemed like a dead hotel on the water. It was eerily quiet...no laughter buzz... The staff seemed tired, and although responded to requests were not friendly. Everyone seemed as if they were following the script to get the 10 for the post survey review. You rarely saw staff members smiling, or if you passed a staff member in the hallway they didn't greet you or even look you in the eye. This was common. We had a situation where the Bionic Bar didn't quite work as anticipated and the attendant spoke to us as if we were stupid. Annoying..... The food in the buffet was terrible, cold in some instances and very rarely different. While I may not prefer buffets I have not had an issue finding something I could enjoy. I stayed away. The Mexican spot, El Loco Fresh was a nice change and we ate there frequently. Typically we enjoy dining in the MDR for breakfast and lunch as well as dinner, but the breakfast offered buffet and a la carte and the a la carte was the buffet food for the most part. I am accustomed to having a special offering for a la carte and that was not present. One nice thing about the MDR is that they make omelets made to order. Dinner, however was a highlight and we thoroughly enjoyed the service and food. We had 2 Specialty dinners, Hibachi and Wonderland. Hibachi was great due to the chef and Wonderland was different. We enjoyed the food and the experience, but I can cross it off the list and not go back again. Room service and continental breakfast were lacking. The coffee tasted like mud, and I would ask for extra cream and always get 5 creamers...so I stopped ordering. There is an additional charge for room service and I would say only pay it if you absolutely need to something delivered to you personally and cannot or choose not to get up and go to various eateries... Service: Our room cabin Jeremiah was great and attentive and proactive without being in the way. In some of the specialty shops we were not acknowledged so we walked out...the guest services area on the last night of the cruise had their lights off. This was annoying because of course many people were attempting to settle a bill and could not see..also a non-welcoming thing to do, understanding they are 24/7. We had drink packages and bar service was good. Excursions: We had 2, one on St. Marten and one in Nassau. I swore I would never get off the ship in Nassau again, but we were whisked off to a private island and the experience was magnificent. The only downside was that the ports were busy due to Spring Break and you spent a lot of time waiting around, congregating. Spa and Fitness: My husband booked a massage and was hoping that he could use the amenities. He thoroughly enjoyed the service, but they whisked him off so quickly he didn't get to see the amenities. Typically, I would book access or get a Spa room, but this one is not open to the sun so what's the point. The running track is on a lower deck where the gym can be accessed. The teens took advantage of the rock climbing wall, mini golf, shuffle board, ping pong, flow-riders etc. video arcade, water and dry slides. They tried ice skating and said the rink was not groomed making it difficult to skate. Couldn't get into Laser Tag because it conflicted with other planned events. We did the Sushi making class and enjoyed it. Overall, it was another RC experience under our belts. Unless some really great deal comes along I would not sail on this particular ship again. But I'm still partial to RC for the family with NCL running a close tie...Food and service are the tie-breakers on the next ship choice. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
It has been a while since I posted a review but felt compelled because of my overall amazing experience! My husband, myself and our 23 year old son boarded the Symphony of the Seas on March 30, 2019 out of Miami. Here are my thoughts based ... Read More
It has been a while since I posted a review but felt compelled because of my overall amazing experience! My husband, myself and our 23 year old son boarded the Symphony of the Seas on March 30, 2019 out of Miami. Here are my thoughts based on a my perspective as a Type A organization and Luxe traveller. Embarkation: So easy and fast! We arrived by Uber to the new RCCL terminal and were deposited at the Suite Line at approximately 12:30 PM/ My first impression walking in to the building was, "WOW!" the lightness and amazing propeller artwork made us stop and look around even though we were being ushered to take the elevator up to the suite check in. I had completed all of the pre-checkin and had our setsail passes in hand. We exited into a lounge area where I thought there might be a lineup. NOPE! Royal had their associates come to us as we sat down and checked us in in under 2 minutes! No time for tea and cookies! No problem....the Symphony beckoned! I am not kidding when I say that it was 10 minutes from our curbside drop off to boarding our ship. Well done Royal! I must give some background info so that any readers have perspective. We have sailed in suites on the Oasis twice and the Allure once in the past as well as on other Royal Caribbean ships. Our family all has Diamond status. We are familiar with the layout of this beautiful mega ship and did not need to tour around to discover our bearings. We walked through the Promenade and took the aft elevators up to the Suite Lounge/Coastal Kitchen on the 17th floor where I knew it would be less hectic and we could order lunch in a calm environment. We met our most incredible suite concierges, Rahul and Jennie. Simply, they are amazing! Excellent ambassadors for the Royal Caribbean brand, smart, savvy, engaging, intelligent and will do their upmost to make your vacation special and memorable. We were seated immediately for lunch and I recognized one of waiters from a past cruise on the Allure! Bogdan! :) He became our favorite waiter once again in the CK! Excellent service always with a smile! We also met our most special barkeeps in the Suite Lounge, Koko and Max! Again, such amazing staff! We finished our lunch (BTW, CK salads are delish...beet salad, spinach and shrimp, wedge....They became my go-to for lunch everyday!) My DH and DS declared the Warm Chicken breast sandwich one of the best ever, which was apparent as they continued to order this dish several times during our week onboard. Also, if you have not sailed in a suite on the "big ships", there is gratis wine and beer from 11am-11pm(?) that our bartenders and waiters would serve while having lunch. Nice. The Suite Lounge also serves cocktails between 4:30-8:00PM. This is certainly a "suite perk. We left the CK Lounge and proceeded to our Crown Loft Suite on the same floor. Crown Loft Suite: We were in a CL1 with a wonderful view of the ocean! On arrival, our suite was immaculately clean and everything was well laid out. Our room keys and Royal bands were waiting for us! I always cruise in suite (don't flame me :) ) but this was the first in a loft suite. I must say the view looking out the 2 stories of windows onto our deck and downtown Miami was quite incredible. We chose this suite as the 2 bedroom Grand Suites were not available. We appreciate having 2 washrooms when everyone is trying to get ready and out the door. I found that there was adequate closet and storage space, and it was convenient to move the sliding table to the wall to free up more space. The hide-abed on the main floor, was actually queen size and my 23 year old son stated that it was quite comfortable. I found our king bed in the loft to be a bit on the firm side, but again this is all personal preference. My only criticism of the suite, was that the lighting in the loft vanity area was dim and a lit vanity mirror would have been very welcomed. Our suite attendants, Phil and Chris were great! We always came back to a fresh room and some fun towel animals! Thank you guys! Restaurants: So, I must preface that my family is well traveled and have experienced some amazing restaurants including Michelin starred establishments. Only mentioning this so you understand my perspective on the ship's dining venues. And again, food is very subjective. I will also add that although we did not always enjoy the food, we always appreciated the wonderful servers and did not create a fuss when dishes were not up to our expectations. (LOL. Sorry, polite Canadians!) We always tipped our servers well. Windjammer: Never stepped foot in the place. I do not care to join long lines to find what I want to eat and then try to find a place to sit. Just not my thing. Sorry. Main Dining Room: Sorry, we were no shows here as well. Our previous experiences (the food NOT the waiters) in the MDR have been below expectations. Wonderland: Meh? OK. Glad we checked it out. Neat decor, great cocktails, fun visit from the MadHatter but the food.......appies were the best out of all the dishes. Will not repeat. Jamie's Kitchen: We enjoyed. Great calamari starter, great salads, and good mains. My son had the chocolate brownie for dessert! He said it was fantastic. Recommend this venue. Izumi: We dined here twice (not the hibachi side.) Now it is not Nobu, but we love fish and sushi and enjoyed our time here. Hooked: Just pass!!! Take Red Lobster down a few notches and you have Hooked! My DH and DS ordered an assortment of raw oysters to start. They both said that the offerings had been frozen prior to serving....watery and not good. Our Maine Lobster was obviously baked in too much oil. YUCK! Our waiter here was great but sadly the food was not! El Loco Fresh: I had a salad that was prepackaged ( I do not care for buffets) but my DS and DH loaded up on some Mexican fajitas and said they were good! I think as stated before, that the Royal staff should clean up more often around the condiment sections. Looks a bit messy=unappetizing. Chops: We had reservations and cancelled based on some friends we had met in the Suite Lounge. We already had an amazing filet prepared perfectly in the Coastal Kitchen on our first night (absolutely recommended by Bogdan) and we were impressed. 105 Central Park: Did not have a good experience on our last cruise on Allure. This restaurant was not in the running. Coastal Kitchen: WOW! WOW! WOW! Ok, we figured this out very quickly. Best food IMHO on the ship served by very attentive and engaging waiters. This was OUR restaurant! The view and vibe only contributed more to the delicious dishes that were served to us. Truly the CK, Suite Lounge and the Suite Concierges are the reason to sail in a suite. It truly just elevates the experience. We are able to decide on which line we wish to cruise (which includes the luxury end ships.) However, we like all the activities and shows that the RCCL's Oasis class ships offer! Our suite experiences keep us coming back. Kudos to the chef and all of the staff at the CK and Lounge. Thank you! Shows: Just go to all of them! Another reason why we love Royal's big ships. Excellent productions! Enjoyed all of them including 1977 (ice show) which I had hesitated in attending. SO so glad I did. It was fantastic. A note to my readers, as a suite guest we did not need reservations except for the comedy show. We saw the long lines for guests who had not made reservations. Please make your rezzies ahead of time so that you will not miss all the wonderful shows. We did try out the casino for one night and left our token contribution. We are not big gamblers but like to pull the slots a couple times and play a little Blackjack. It is harder to win here compared to Vegas because of Royals' set odds/winnings at the tables. We did not return as even the non-smoking side became more smoky as the days went on! Enough to keep us out. Excursions: St. Maarten: Did a Royal excursion for beginning Scuba Divers. Well run and safe. Also did a bit of shopping. St. Thomas: Did another Royal excursion "Champagne Snorkelling and Catamaran Sail." Would recommend. Nassau: We have been here several times (both with cruises and island resorts.) There were 5 or 6 ships in port that day. We chose to stay onboard and enjoy the Symphony. Disembarkation: Our flight back to Canada out of MIA did not leave until noon. We had left all of our luggage except one suitcase out the night before. We had breakfast in the CK on departure morning. We finished packing and said goodbye to our lovely suite and vowed that we will return. As a suite guest, Rahul and Jennie were taking turns escorting suite guests off the ship, thereby passing some long lines. We exited to the terminal, quickly found our luggage in a suite section and then went to clear customs. Now here is our only snafu. American citizens were quickly filed into very fast moving facial recognition lines. Canadians and other non-US citizens had to go into another long line with 2 border agents. There was no fast track. Made our exit a bit disappointing. In summary, we had a great time on this beautiful ship. We enjoyed meeting new people who have become friends. We appreciated the very hard work provided with a smile that we found with all of the staff, EVERYWHERE! Again, this review is catered to people who chose to cruise in a suite. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the Symphony's "Suiteness!" Happy and safe travels to all. :)Pam Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This cruise was our second with our two daughters, their husbands, and four grands ages 14,16,17, and 18. Last cruise with them was two years ago on the Liberty. Picked the Symphony because of the new ship and the activities available on ... Read More
This cruise was our second with our two daughters, their husbands, and four grands ages 14,16,17, and 18. Last cruise with them was two years ago on the Liberty. Picked the Symphony because of the new ship and the activities available on the ship. Itinerary was St. Martin, St. Thomas, and Nassau. Kids arranged the port activities with the help of our head waiter who recommended places to go and things to see. Together they did a great. We flew in a day and a half early, rented a 12 passenger van, went to the everglades, took in an air boat ride through the everglades, and had an excellent gater show. Got rested up after our flight from Seattle at the Red Roof Inn by the airport. They were super accommodating and took us to the port. We were at the port a bit early (9:30). Checked our bags and walked right through security and into a huge waiting room in the beautiful new Terminal A. We waited about an hour and were then quickly on the ship. Our rooms were available at 1:00. We had five cabins in a row. Our cabin steward opened the doors on the balconies so we could have a single family balcony. During the cruise, he kept our rooms sparkling. The service was great. They were all great at what they did and very friendly. Met Captain Rob Hempstead who was around the ship and as friendly as the rest of his crew. Our families favorite part of the cruise was dinner. We had a beautiful table for ten in a great spot. Our waiter and assistant waiter were the best ever. As I said earlier, the head waiter was also the greatest, seeing us two or three times each dinner. Food in the dining room was some of the best of our 25 cruises. We especially enjoyed watching our grands trying new and different selections. We were a bit disappointed in in the Windjammer, but enjoyed the Park Cafe. So many choices for food and all were good. Did not try any of the specially venues of which I think there were ten. The entertainment was grand. Got reservations months earlier and went to all of the shows at least once. Loved the ice skating 1977, but liked the second show 2.0 better than the main show 1977. Don't miss it. I also loved the Flight: Dare to Dream. We were somewhat disappointed in the lack of around the ship entertainment. What we heard was excellent just not much of it. Getting off the ship was as easy as getting on. Just be ready for a lot of traffic congestion both before and after the cruise. We had several hour before our flight home so we rented a van and went to the Miami zoo. It was one of the best zoo's I have seen. The giraffes (must have been a dozen) were great! Overall we loved the Symphony for our family. My wife and I usually go Princess, but that would not be as good for four teens. Now we have to wait another 27 days to get on the Ruby Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have not cruised in over 17 years so we decided to join our cruising friends on the Symphony. The ship is beautiful and clean, after a few days you will figure your way around the 16 decks. We did the specialty restaurants, Hooked, ... Read More
We have not cruised in over 17 years so we decided to join our cruising friends on the Symphony. The ship is beautiful and clean, after a few days you will figure your way around the 16 decks. We did the specialty restaurants, Hooked, 150Central, Jamies and Wonderland, our favorite has to be Wonderland, the food is amazing. We booked the specialty package so you need to go to Main dining when you board and secure your reservations, the employee that was booking us was new so we ended up with no reservations and had to revisit Main Dining the next day so we missed out on Chops.It would be nice if RC would let you book ahead of time but it is a huge cost saver versus booking individually. We did Hairspray and the Comedy Show and they were pretty good, we did get to Hairspray early for good seats, it was wasting 30 mins when you had already secured seats. Pools and hot tubs were well laid out and you could usually find a chair and you had the typical chair hogs but if you found a pool attendant they would remove the items and you were good to sit in the sun. The pool bars were hit or miss, our favorite was the Sports Bar with Stephanie & Tash. Sports pool is nice but pretty much closes down for volleyball everyday at 3 pm, off to find a new spot. We did do one excursion in Roatan, the private island was nice, the water beautiful and you could catch a ride back to the ship every 30 minutes. In Cozumel we grabbed a $17 taxi and spent the day at Paradise Beach, very nice, beach service, great food and clean facilities. We will be back on the Symphony in 2020 for a cruise to St. Kitts and St. Thomas - can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Our 10th cruise, 4th with RCI. 2 adults (age 50-58), ocean view balcony cabin. Embarkation: super quick, but we got to the port at 10am. They started boarding the ship at 10:30 and we were on the ship at 10:50am getting drinks at the ... Read More
Our 10th cruise, 4th with RCI. 2 adults (age 50-58), ocean view balcony cabin. Embarkation: super quick, but we got to the port at 10am. They started boarding the ship at 10:30 and we were on the ship at 10:50am getting drinks at the tides bar. Disembarkation: We always walk off with our bags. Went down to the Promenade at 6:15am, waited in line for 45 minutes (behind about 100 people already on line). Once they started the line, we went from line to taxi stand outside the terminal in about 10 minutes. We were at the car rental place by 7:25, too bad they didn't open until 8. I have say something about the cleanliness of this ship. All areas of the ship were clean and polished as usual, but the floors in the pool area and solarium area were just plain disgusting. I kept my crocs on the entire time I was in there - I even wore them in the pool and hot tubs - because the floor was just plain gross with drink/food spills, hair, dirt, etc. especially the steps. At first I thought it was from all the people, but it was like that first thing in the morning and I noticed the same "hair wad" on the steps to the hot tub that didn't move the entire 7 days we were on the ship. Ewe! We've been on the big ships including Oasis (May '15) and Allure (Dec. '15). We chose this cruise just for the ship because we love how well RCI handles large crowds, especially on these large ships. On Oasis and Allure, we never felt crowded, it just never felt like there were over 6,000 passengers on the ship. Unfortunately, Symphony's "improvements" simply crowded the open areas that are on Oasis and Allure. These improvements created crowds almost everywhere on the ship, especially in the solarium. On Oasis and Allure, the solarium is so large that at 11am on a sea day, there were still dozens of lounge chairs and by 3pm there were still empty chairs (we like to spend the whole day in there). On Symphony, all the loungers and chairs were taken with personal items by 9am - and the saddest thing is that many of them would not have people in them for hours (some didn't have people until after lunch!). One morning I woke up at 6am. Not wanting to bother the husband, I went to the solarium to read my kindle and ALL the round loungers (with egg-shaped surrounds) already had personal items on them (no people), ALL the round loungers without shades were taken, and more than HALF the regular lounge chairs had personal items on them. I watched those loungers ALL DAY and most of them didn't have people in them until well after lunch. The tiny 3ft pool (16 people max) and the 2 hot tubs were always full of people (except in the early morning and at dinner time). Frequently the little pool had double the max occupancy so it was "standing pool only". Another MAJOR disappointment was the diving show at the back of the ship. We've seen the dive shows on the other ships and it was highlight of our cruises so we couldn't wait to see the new Hiro show. Well, it just plain sucked. It sucked so bad, we wanted to leave. The show had no story at all, just samurai-dressed dancers. Sure the dancers were excellent, but they did the same dance moves to all the songs. The girl flying across the sky above the crowd was really cool - the first time. By the 10th time, it was just "her again?". And divers? Yeah, they dove from the lowest platform about 6 times, and one time from the high dive. That was it! It was a 45 minute dance show, not a dive show. The whole thing could have taken place on the main theater stage. We loved the iSkate show; didn't see any of the other stage shows. The comedians were terrible. We had reservations on the first night and after the show we were glad they both said they did the same routine in every set. Food was ok not great, but make reservations - even if you have "my time dining". The buffet food was mediocre and all the best food for all meals is in the back of the buffet. The new Mexican grill was excellent, very fresh, just get there early because it seems they are only open for a couple of hours for lunch. They do offer breakfast burritos sometimes, and they were good too. We didn't do any of the paid dining restaurants, but we did eat at the sports bar on the Boardwalk and that was good. To be honest: the best food on the ship is from room service. Totally worth the cost for $10 for all you can order. Sorrento's Pizza was much better on Symphony than on the Oasis and Allure a few years ago so I guess they improved the quality because usually the pizza is pretty bad, but this time was very tasty. All the crew members we interacted with were polite and nice. Occasionally there was a grumpy bar tender in the solarium but they were way under staffed. The exercise gym was so crowded at 8am that there wasn't one piece of equipment that didn't have a person on it, including all the free weights - it was wall to wall bodies. It was the smallest gym on any cruise ship we've ever seen. Overall, I would not go again and if I hadn't already booked a cruise on the Harmony for next year before I set sail on this cruise, I would not have chosen another big ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The ship was huge. Our rooms were toward the back of the ship and when we board after excursions, it was a looooooong walk to the room. It was well organized for carrying so many people. The our dining room waiters, Sabastiao and Agusie, ... Read More
The ship was huge. Our rooms were toward the back of the ship and when we board after excursions, it was a looooooong walk to the room. It was well organized for carrying so many people. The our dining room waiters, Sabastiao and Agusie, were fantastic with our granddaughter. Our room steward was very good and our room was made up as soon as we left so it was ready when we came back. Our granddaughter (5 years old) really liked the child's climbing platforms and the dining room. The staff was really friendly and helpful. The piano stairs were another big hit with us. I like being able to carry my own bags off from our room. The food was very good and well presented. Overall, it was a fun time and we enjoyed the ship. It was our granddaughter's first cruise and that made it extra special, but I will be sticking with Princess and Carnival for ocean and Scenic for riverboats (can't afford their ocean cruises). Downside: First: Stay AWAY from the art auction and drawing. My daughter went to it and was the only one there. She sat through the whole talk and was even looking at the pictures after they announced it was over. After 10 minutes after the announcement, 2 ladies walked in, they had the drawing and one of the ladies that came in after the presentation was done won the picture. End of story - it's rigged! Left a very bad feeling about the trip. I hate Royal's website. It is very hard to use and it was the hardest bookings I have ever done. I couldn't even get my youngest daughter and her husband's booking to tie with my other two bookings until a month before we left because they said it was because they had a different last name. Now you can't tell me they don't have thousands of bookings with different last names tied together. Finally did get it done. But had to call the company every time I wanted to do anything. Crowded elevators. Sometimes we had to wait 20 minutes for an elevator. If I didn't have bad knees the stairs would not have been a problem. Zip lines rules. They need to be posted in the daily newsletter so you don't waste your time walking up their to be told 1 rule at a time. Then they wouldn't let me go on it because I couldn't take off my wedding ring because it won't come off my finger. I don't like all the extra charges they put on things. It looks like you have a lot of places to eat, but only if you want to pay extra for them. And on that note, they put all of our on-board credit on my husband's card and none on mine so at the end of the cruise he had a credit and I ended up having to pay for the things I used my card for. I much prefer Princess and Carnival where the cards are linked together and you share. I don't like the way you have to order a whole bunch of pictures off a computer screen at the end of your excursions and also on the ship. It is confusing and I ended up with a lot of stuff I really don't want. Overall it was a fun cruise for our granddaughter's first cruise, but not one I would take for myself and husband. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I chose this cruise as an introduction to Royal Caribbean after 2 sailings on Disney and 1 on Holland America. I was looking for a ship with plenty of activities, a good mix of people of all ages and interests, and with an itinerary we ... Read More
I chose this cruise as an introduction to Royal Caribbean after 2 sailings on Disney and 1 on Holland America. I was looking for a ship with plenty of activities, a good mix of people of all ages and interests, and with an itinerary we hadn't yet tried. This sailing checked all of the boxes, so I booked it. We booked a Guarantee Balcony Stateroom, and were assigned to a specific room about 30 days before we sailed. Our room was on Deck 10, all the way aft, which meant I earned at least 10,000 steps every single day. It also meant I could have dessert each night. Embarkation was a breeze! We arrived at around 10:45am, and with a security check (somehow the magnetic hooks triggered the security scan) and a bathroom break, we were on the ship in about 15-20 minutes. So easy! The stateroom was clean and new, and while I had heard the sofa would have a trundle, it did not. This stateroom only slept 3, which was fine but not ideal for us. The shows on this ship were amazing. Best shows I have ever seen on a cruise, for sure. The food in the main dining rooms as great. No complaints! Our serving team was great, and they took excellent care of us. The ports and excursions were great. No complaints. Debarkation was a breeze as well. Facial recognition and self-debarkation had us off the ship and in a taxi in 15 minutes or less. Great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Pre cruise Our family of three (Me, Hubby and our 16 year old daughter ) flew into Fort Lauderdale March 13th on a red eye flight from Vancouver BC to enjoy Miami and to ensure we don't miss the cruise due to flight delays. Of ... Read More
Pre cruise Our family of three (Me, Hubby and our 16 year old daughter ) flew into Fort Lauderdale March 13th on a red eye flight from Vancouver BC to enjoy Miami and to ensure we don't miss the cruise due to flight delays. Of course it was the same day they announced the grounding of the Max 8 . Luckily it didn't affect our flight so all was well and we checked into the Springhill Suites Doral for one night and moved to the Cadillac Hotel Miami Beach for the second night. Embarkation We took Uber from Miami Beach to Terminal A on Saturday morning around 11am and check in was a breeze. I previously thought our check in for the NCL Bliss was quick in Seattle but RCCL terminal A takes the cake. We completed online check in and uploaded our Seapass picture before the trip . Upon arriving at Terminal A we went up to a RCCL rep with a tablet who scanned the passes on our phone and then it was a quick walk through security and on to the ship . Very very simple and quick . 10 minutes max . Cabin Our cabln was a Central Park view interior cabin. Cabin 9581. It had plenty of room and a cute window seat for people watching. When we made the booking it was actually prices lower than standard interior rooms! I can't say it was private but we enjoyed looking out to central park and the quick access to Park Cafe since we were on deck 9 one deck above Central Park. It was very quiet and our room steward Antonio did an excellent job. Dining We had early seating for dinner (5:30) in the main dining room on level 3. Michael and Barrington were awesome. Although we enjoyed anytime dining with NCL on our last cruise, having a set team serving you is still the best. The food was hit and miss. Most portions were too large which created food waste. For example the chicken marsala consisted of two large pieces of chicken along with sides which was way too much to eat. We tried the Solarium Bistro for dinner and breakfast. It does state reservations are required however the day we went there was still plenty of seating available. For breakfast it was a different story, it was packed and hard to find a seat. We also tried Johnny Rockets for breakfast and it was ok, Park Cafe had a good variety of sandwich options for both breakfast and lunch , Windjammer is standard buffet food. Also hit and miss. We tried the main dining room for lunch and they set up half the restaurant for a la carte seating and half for a buffet. The dining room buffet was a little nicer than Windjammer but less variety. We had the refreshment package and enjoyed having smoothies and fresh orange juice from the Vitality Cafe in the fitness centre/spa, speciality coffees from the Promenade cafe and all the frozen non alcoholic drinks from the bar. It also works for the non alcoholic drinks from the Bionic Bar and bottled water is included. Entertainment We made resevations for Hairspray, Flight, 1977 and Hiro prior to the cruise , Entertainment was good. We loved Hiro the diving/water show and 1977 the ice skating show. Hairspray was meh and we didn't enjoy Flight. There was plenty of seating for all the shows even for those on standby (except Hiro.-which was packed every night it was on). There is a section of the Royal Theatre level 5 reserved for Pinnacle, Diamond members and for Suite passengers. I felt bad for the RCCL members who had to look over this section. They had to explain over and over again that it was reserved and many didn't take it well. The Hiro cast will also do a separate show called Aquanation. No reservations fot this as it was first come first serve . It was cancelled due to weather on the first day but we were able to catch it the next day when it was much calmer. We also tried the Ultimate Abyss which was fast and fun, Be sure to wear a top that covers your shoulders, they will not let you on if you are wearing a tank top and for good reason. Slide burns are NOT fun. I completely forgot to reserve laser tag on day 1 and when I tried to book it on day 2 , there was nothing left. Luckily I tried everyday and got a reservation for day 5. I think they opened up more spots and only allowed people to make one reservation because when I tried to reserve a second spot it said I was not eligible. I did notice that since laser tag was popular and it took up Studio B which is the ice rink, it meant no open ice skating sessions like our previous cruise on the Allure and Independence. The pool deck was always full and on sea days it was impossible to get a chair after 11am. The Solarium was busy but not as busy as I expected. It was nice but way too warm for me. Being outside was nicer with the sun and a breeze. We made a committment to go to the gym on this cruise which we did and it was pretty empty! The equipment was well maintained and clean. The jogging/ walking track is located on deck 5 and we would always walk a few laps after dinner. St Kitts We took the taxi to South Friars Bay as we had made reservations at the Carambola Beach Club. It was $10 / chair and $10 / umbrella. $4 per person taxi ride if four or more people or $16 one way if less than four . It's a nice beach and we had amazing weather. I was considering the Marriot resort which offers a day pass for $35 per person however they informed me the prices were higher due to spring break so I went to Carambola instead. St. Thomas We decided to take the taxi to Emerald Beach which was closest to the port . $4 /person taxi ride each way. The beach is small and not as nice as St. Kitts but the weather was great and it was close to port. It was $25 for two chair and an umbrella and only sold as a set, We needed one more chair and it was $8 but it was set back from the water and not allowed to be moved closer to the umbrella. Nassau We didn't hit the beach this time because it was a short port day so we walked into town and just did the Queens staircase. and walked up to look at the Fort. We paid the $10 fee for the three of us to go into the Fort and when we got there , the guide gave us a five minute description of the history of the Fort and pointed out some landmarks and asked for a tip ? and stood around until we gave him something. So just be aware of that if you decide to go. Disembarkation Very quick. We took our own luggage and was through security quite quickly. There was a line for Canadian passports and US citizens using brith certificate, We have gone through other ports and the Canadian passport line was always the slowest. Once we got outside (around 9am) it was a zoo to get taxi/uber etc. Our uber driver took over 15mins to get to us so if allow extra time if you plan on getting uber/lift. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I was very excited to go on the Symphony of the Seas. This was my eighth cruise and I had been on a few Royal Caribbean ships before. Only my sister and I went on this cruise. Since I hadn’t been on a cruise in years I was interested to ... Read More
I was very excited to go on the Symphony of the Seas. This was my eighth cruise and I had been on a few Royal Caribbean ships before. Only my sister and I went on this cruise. Since I hadn’t been on a cruise in years I was interested to see what had changed on RC ships. This ship was almost identical to the Oasis, except for some new additions such as the specialty restaurants and the Ultimate Abyss dry slide. The Good: -Nice stateroom (balcony view) -Decks clean and well-maintained -All of the staff, except for one crew member who I will soon get to, were friendly and always greeted guests -Ice Shows -Hairspray -Aqua Show -Cruise Director Simeon -The Love and Marriage Game show (especially because of the awesome cruise director) -Solarium (very relaxing!) -Ports of Call (Bahamas, Costa Maya, Roatan, and Cozumel) -Boardwalk -Central Park and Park Cafe -Main Dining room experience including great food and excellent wait staff -Dry Slide (fun despite receiving a burn on my left thigh. I followed the instructor’s directions as best I could but I still got burned. I recommend wearing pants and not shorts!) The Bad: -Specialty restaurants ultra expensive -Reservations for shows (I’m not sure how new this is but it caused unnecessary stress) -Soda being included in some locations on the ship but not others (why is the price of soda included in Sorrento’s but not the main dining room?) -Flight (this show was at times cringe-worthy. Great concept, but not executed that well) -The price of Voom, the wifi package (my cruise was during the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash. When I heard about the crash, I asked the Voom worker if I could simply find out if my flight to go home was cancelled but I was told I had to purchase wifi.) -A very small bag of popcorn being $2 at shows. Seriously? -Tablets for Bingo. You still have the option of playing Bingo on paper but it’s hard to compete with someone who has 36 cards on their tablet and they don’t have to do anything other than say “Bingo” when their tablet says they won. It just never felt like a fair playing field which took away a lot of the fun -Self-serve ice cream on pool deck was watery and not firm -Windjammer food not always up to par -The yellow and green water slide. This is the one shaped like a funnel cone. Everyone stops sliding and gets stuck once they’re in the funnel cone part of the slide, and they have to inch their way into the slide tunnel so that they aren’t just sitting in the middle of the funnel cone. This happens to 40 lb kids and 150 lb adults. Seems like an engineering issue! Doesn’t happen at similar slides in other water parks. The Ugly: I have never seen such blatant unprofessionalism before I met our stateroom attendant. It all started on the second night of the cruise when my sister and I were getting ready in our room for Formal Night. The TV was on and I was doing my hair. We thought that we heard some knocking and I asked my sister, did someone knock? Suddenly, the door flew open and the stateroom attendant was standing in the doorway facing me as I stood there half-naked with only a shirt on. He did not immediately close the door. I had to say CLOSE THE DOOR and he then left and shut the door. A simple “sorry” would have sufficed. As a medical professional, I have accidentally opened the door on people at inopportune moments and I understand that it happens. HOWEVER, the stateroom attendant did not just apologize. Immediately after he shut the door he began knocking on the door demanding that I come out into the hallway. I told him through the door that I was getting dressed and I was not going to come speak with him in the hallway. He then began shouting saying I NEEDED to come outside. I said that I was not going to come outside. I asked him “why?” through the door and he said “It’ll only take a minute!!” He would not tell us why I physically had to come speak with him. Then, the room attendant called our stateroom phone. My sister picked up the phone and he began YELLING at her saying that we must open the door when he knocks on it, and that we are supposed to use our “do not disturb” magnet if we don’t want anyone entering. He was basically saying that him opening the door on us was all our fault, and he was enraged. This was the second day of the cruise and we honestly had not even noticed that we had this magnet to use. My sister and I never once argued back, we kept trying to diffuse the situation by responding “Ok, we understand, thank you” but he repeatedly yelled through the phone repeating himself until he finally just hung up. No apology received. I told my sister that I wanted to report our room attendant to Guest Services immediately but she was adamant that we give him a second chance especially since we did not want to receive any kind of retribution. The man clearly had anger issues. We did not report him and that turned out to be a mistake. On the fifth morning of the cruise, we received a phone call at about 9:45 AM in our stateroom on a day at sea that woke us up. Over the phone, an unknown caller said “Good morning, wakey wakey!!” and hung up. This disrupted our sleep but it was especially upsetting for my sister because she has a sleep disorder. My sister and I first thought that the call had been from our room attendant because he had called our room a few times before to see if we needed anything. We always thought this was strange and overbearing because no other room attendant has repeatedly called us on any other ships we have been on. Well, we saw our room attendant in the hallway when we exited our room that morning. My sister explained to him what had happened and simply asked him if he was the one who made that call. He went berserk and immediately began shouting at both of us. He was very defensive and showed us his phone saying “See, I made no call to you!” He then said CHECK THE CALLER ID ON YOUR PHONE. He also called his supervisor in front of us to report the unknown call we received. My sister and I took a few steps out of the hallway and back into our room to look at our phone for caller ID. Before we knew it, the room attendant was STANDING IN OUR ROOM blocking the door and shouting at us, saying that he was not the one who called us. He also brought up the situation from Day 2 of the cruise. This was scary and intimidating. Also, there is no caller ID on the room phones so I’m not sure why he told us to look at our caller ID. The room attendant then made this statement in a threatening tone, “By the way, I’ll have to see what I need to do about whatever dye you’re putting in the toilet! None of my cleaning solution can get it out. I’ll have to see what I need to do about that!!” I said, “we haven’t put anything in the toilet, what dye are you referring to?” and he just stormed out. It almost seemed like he made this statement as if to say, if you report me to guest services I have something on you too. He also seemed to be trying to embarrass us with this statement. This room attendant was on a power trip, the likes of which I have never seen before. This man was ageist and sexist. He clearly felt like he could act in this obscene manner because we were two 20-something year old girls and he was a 40-something year old man. He shouted at us as if we were brat kids, when we are well-behaved grown women. I once heard another guest who was an older woman speaking highly of him. Of course he is respectful to older adults. I know he would not have treated an older man how he treated us. After this second dramatic event, I went to Guest Services and explained everything that had happened. The response we received was professional and we had a different room attendant for the final two days, although we still had to see this man in the hallway outside our room. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We went with several friends on Spring Break and were dreading it mainly because of the size of the ship and having so many children aboard and our last experience on a mega ship that was a disaster. This turned out to be one of our ... Read More
We went with several friends on Spring Break and were dreading it mainly because of the size of the ship and having so many children aboard and our last experience on a mega ship that was a disaster. This turned out to be one of our best trips ever...our 20th cruise. We LOVED them ship! I can hardly believe we never once felt crowded anywhere. It was incredibly laid out well and had an insane amount of entertainment for everyone. Did not even make it to half of the entertainment. RC is known for their world-class shows and this was not a disappointment. Ice Skating was world-class and wonderful costumes and staff had tons of energy. The Hiro Dive Show was spectacular. Even the marriage show in the theatre was a blast and funny. The pools were never super crowded and reasonably easy to find a chair. The only big complaint is they closed the second floor in the solarium one day for wind because they were worried about some decorative metal pieces. It was a huge huge disruption and made several people mad and frustrated. Take down the sculptures if you are so worried, because the wind was not that bad at all. The Solarium is beautiful and adults only and we had plenty of sun. Well laid out. ALL of the staff was very very helpful and kind everywhere. In particular, Roween in the cosmetics/perfume area had the most delightful personality and although I bought several perfumes, I never ever felt pushed. She was fun and helpful. Loved seeing her several times just because she was such a bright light. They however, did not offer any boutique shopping on the ship for clothing and that was a huge surprise and disappointment. All of us gals, were so taken back and they need to re-think this. You have a captive audience and also women love to be resort wear on vacation...what gives? Biggest dissappointment was the food in the evenings. Very sub-par from other ships like Celebrity and Holland and some other ships. Our entire group was very dissatisfied with the meals. Over cooked, undercooked, no flavor, too much fat, etc. Also our particular server was poorly trained and we did complain on the second night and Tatyana stepped in to remedy many of our concerns which we appreciated greatly. They need to be trained better as service was fast, not personal and for example, it took him three nights to offer fresh-ground pepper before we even knew he had any. One night one of the pepper shakers had no pepper and the butter dishes were empty. Cruise Director was hysterical and super entertaining which made it fun. Everything was extremely cleaned and the cabin had amazing storage. It was such a great cruise! It went by way too fast. GREAT employees serving the guests! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Giving one star because there is no option of a ZERO star Enormous ship – Immensely disgusting and disappointing. There is nothing to do on this CL. I paid a lot of money for just sleeping and when I was not sleeping, I was stuck in ... Read More
Giving one star because there is no option of a ZERO star Enormous ship – Immensely disgusting and disappointing. There is nothing to do on this CL. I paid a lot of money for just sleeping and when I was not sleeping, I was stuck in crowds either for a meal or at the elevator. Bad performances, horrible food, disgusting pools. They can take 7000 people on their cruise, but theydont even have 4000 pool side beds. So if you don’t get there early enough, the entire fam can sit on one bed. Splash pad: Freezing cold water on a very small splash pad Water slides – First of all, water slides would not open till 12 and surfing would be open from 2pm to 6 pm – again let me remind you there are SEVEN THOUSAND guests on this ship. Even if 2% of them are interested in surfing – you can well imagine the long line up because they have only 1 boogie surf and 1 other surf. This resulted in massive line ups. Whenever the ship was docked – all the water slides were shut down till the ship started sailing again. They WANT you to get off the ship and be stalked by the vendors outside. We wanted to go checkout the islands and we did that. Our idea was to come back an hour before sail time to be able to get on some slides when the line ups are not insane. Flow rider with the boogie board or surfing had atleast 1.5 hour long line up at all times. Pools: Pools were small and cold. And you know what happens when you have 3 or 4 pools being used by 7000+ people. Not saying all 7000 people jumped in the pool at the same time. But they were FULL and crowded. You could see the water turning pale. Hot Tubs: I was so happy when my 6 year old said that he doesn’t want to get in the pool because the water was too cold. Didn’t want him in that filth. But what he wanted was even worse – the hot tubs. If you find pools to be crowded, wait till you visit the hot tubs. Kids all along the sides and in the middle – the bubbles were turning brown due to so many bodies in the hot water. Wind Jammer: They need to re-name this one to People Jammer. It’s a buffet where they serve plastic food in an immensely crowded area. I circled around the hall a few times looking for a vacant table – its hard to find. Food quality is way below average. Impossible to locate bowls and spoons. Plastic plates and forks & knives were in abundance. Stale food and bad food items – mostly junk is on the menu. They have salad bar too, but all canned food. Solarium: Not as much variety, but it was much quiet. You have to line up at the entrance to enter solarium. Wait times could range from 5 minutes to 45 minutes. But once inside, its peacefull. Very few items on the buffet – mostly non-appetizing food and again salads are all coming from cans. I did not dare try any meat anywhere – didn’t want to get sick. Main Dining Hall: Its ala carte, and you have to reserve in advance if you are interested in eating some horribly cooked dishes. Menu doesn’t change at all. Kids club: Extremely rude staff. They just could not care less about the kids. They don’t have a single activity outside that dingy room, But I preferred my kid to be at the kids club then be at one of the germ-infested pools or hot tubs. He did make a few friends there. Excursions: We spent 10 hours door to door for an excursion that was only 1.5 hour long. 3 hours were spent just waiting at the island because the tour operator forcefully wanted us to shop there. Snorkeling trip through RC was so poorly managed and the way they transported us felt like we were being smuggled through islands. Night time shows: Utter disappointment – drag and drag. What could’ve been finished in 5 minutes was dragged for an entire hour. Torture to sit through. 1977 was senseless with actors shouting and screaming in the name of singing. Merely thinking of that show gives me a headache. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I choose this ship for my family vacation because of the size as well as the variety of activities, entertainment and open air spaciousness of Central Park and the Boardwalk. Members of my family vary in age and interests and there was ... Read More
I choose this ship for my family vacation because of the size as well as the variety of activities, entertainment and open air spaciousness of Central Park and the Boardwalk. Members of my family vary in age and interests and there was something on the Symphony for everyone. I first considered the Harmony until I discovered that the Solarium didn't have a pool. The Solarium is my favorite Sea day spot so this was an important feature for me. Dining: I read reviews about the food being average so we went to four speciality restaurants. Two for lunch and two for dinner. The service in the Main Dining room was amazing but the food was hit or miss. The food in the speciality restaurants was an all around amazing experience. Chops, Wonderland, 501 Central Ave and Hooked. We also had a Mediterranean buffet dinner in the Solarium which was also quite tasty. The only place that we would never eat at again was El Loco Fresh which was crowded, messy and did not have good food. Service: March Spring Break was a sold out sailing and a very full ship. The staff was on point and had everything under control. The waiters and bartenders kept orders moving quickly, the room attendant was pleasant and did a great job. Customer service was efficient and the ship was immaculate with the crew detailing the ship daily. World class shows and entertainment! This alone was worth the cost of the cruise. Casino: I wanted to try my luck at the slots or even play the lottery but I couldn't get near the casino because the cigarette smoke was so terrible. It also permeated the hallways, Dining room entrance and the entertainment areas on the fourth floor. Second hand smoke is a serious health hazard especially for people with asthma and those who work there. Royal Caribbean should do a better job on the air filtration or ventilation system. The Key: This is supposed to come with priority Embarkation & Debarkation, private time on activities, Internet, reserved seating at shows etc. The crew is still working out the kinks but things went smoothly in most cases so it was worth the added expense for this sailing. If I weren't on a crowded ship I would pass on the Key. Teen Center: My son only went on the first day, he had fun but preferred to hang with his older brother on the sports deck where there are tons of activities. Art: There is no shortage of spectacular artwork to discover around the ship. I sent my kids on a daily scavenger hunt and we still haven't found it all. On the last day we looked down the elevator shaft and noticed art in the elevator well below the third floor. Our family loves the Oasis class ships and Symphony of the Seas has all of the best features combined in one perfect ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We recently sailed on the Symphony of the Seas (2 adults and 1, 17 year old) for our March Break. We have been on all of the Oasis class sister ships and this one is pretty much the same, just newer and a bit bigger. We had checked in ... Read More
We recently sailed on the Symphony of the Seas (2 adults and 1, 17 year old) for our March Break. We have been on all of the Oasis class sister ships and this one is pretty much the same, just newer and a bit bigger. We had checked in from home so embarkation from the new Port of Miami was super efficient and incredibly fast! We briefly checked in with an RCCL rep with an ipad then walked right on the ship. We didn't even have to sit down once to wait! We didn't book any specialty dining restaurants this time so we were very pleased that every meal we had at every "included" dining venue was hot, fresh and delicious. We especially loved the new "El Loco Fresh"! There was always a line up for the delicious guacamole, quesadillas and tacos. We had the all inclusive beverage package. We never had any trouble getting drinks at any bar or at the pool. We especially loved the bar service by Nenad at the Trellis Bar and Christian at Vintages. We spent a lot of time relaxing with wine at Vintages and chatting with the staff there. We did not enjoy the new bar called "Playmakers". We felt as though the layout was awkward and uncomfortable and the staff was not very attentive or pleasant. We chose "anytime dining" for its flexibility. At times there was a bit of a wait and the staff there seemed overwhelmed and disorganized but the wait was not unreasonable and any requests we had to sit at a specific table were honored when possible. We especially loved the dining room service by Basri and Vishwadev! They were attentive and pleasant and provided us with excellent service! We saw most of the shows on the ship and they were all excellent! The flight show was a little strange and confusing at times but we found it entertaining. We did not do any RCCL excursions at the ports but we booked our own privately. The water slides, Ultimate Abyss, zip lining, flow rider were all fantastic. We found times when the lines were minimal which made them more enjoyable. If I had to complain about one thing (and this was such a surprise and disappointment), it would be the cleanliness of the public bathrooms. All of the other Oasis class ships' bathrooms have been spotless 24/7, but this one had washrooms that were so dirty that we had to turn around and find another cleaner one or go back to our cabin. This was so unexpected for Royal Caribbean and on a new ship! Although we did not see our cabin steward too much, he gave us his contact info the 1st day in case we needed anything and when we called him he answered right away. Our cabin was always clean and tidy with plenty of towels and amenities. All in all, this cruise was fantastic, as was every other RCCL cruise that we have taken in the past! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I recently just got off this boat a couple of days ago I am so sad! I have been on 7 or 8 cruises in the past, and symphony has been my favorite so far. I don't think I will be cruising on any other company besides Royal Caribbean. I ... Read More
I recently just got off this boat a couple of days ago I am so sad! I have been on 7 or 8 cruises in the past, and symphony has been my favorite so far. I don't think I will be cruising on any other company besides Royal Caribbean. I usually sail Carnival but this really changed my mind. This is the second Oasis Class ship I've been on(the first was Harmony) and RC does not disappoint. I sailed in a group of 7 with my boyfriend's family. I stayed on the 3rd floor and our rooms had ocean view windows that did not open. The size of the room was reasonable and the bathroom was nice. We sailed from Miami on March 9th, 2019. We sailed to Roatan, Honduras, Cozumel, Mexico, Costa Maya Mexico and Nassau Bahamas. We did Jet Ski in Honduras And Snuba Dive in Cozumel. In Nassau we payed for Day Passes at the Atlantis Resort but the ship left really early that day compared to the other days (3:30pm) So we didn't really get to experience much at Atlantis sadly. The other excursions we did were really fun and I enjoyed this itinerary. The food was good. We tried 2 of the specialty restaurants, A hibachi place (Izumi, I believe) and Hooked, the seafood restaurant. Both restaurants were delicious and definitely worth the price. For Hooked, the reservation was $46 and with that one price you could get anything on the menu, including a whole Lobster with as many sides, appetizers, and desserts that you wanted. When we did not eat at the specialty restaurants, we were often in Windjammer or getting 3-4 slices at a time from Sorrentos, which also had really good food. The entertainment was AMAZING. There were constantly parties or fun events going on, and there was never not anything to do. I loved the cruise director, Simeon, and one of the entertainment staff, Thomas from Wales. They were both incredibly funny and I hope to see them on my next cruise. The Hairspray Musical was great, as well as HIRO, the aqua theater show. The preforming staff were amazing and great at what they do. The service from the staff were great. They were very helpful and nice, and most received extra tips. When something was needed, they were glad to get it for us and even remembered our names. I rate this cruise a 10/10 and I would definitely go again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
14th cruise with Royal, but first on a “big” ship. Excellent experience, from embarkation, food, service, entertainment, beautiful public areas, nothing felt crowded even with 6,000 people. Gorgeous artwork all over the ship. Central ... Read More
14th cruise with Royal, but first on a “big” ship. Excellent experience, from embarkation, food, service, entertainment, beautiful public areas, nothing felt crowded even with 6,000 people. Gorgeous artwork all over the ship. Central Park with nice spaces to sit, music in the evening. Solarium, especially the pool with seats and drinks ledge, and great Bar and Bistro. Even the pizza was decent, Park Cafe too! Cafe Promenade was great and very handy. Really loved the horn group from the orchestra that played at Jazz Club and Dazzles. Jamie’s and Chops were amazing. Diamond lounge and concierge were great, but felt like we were in the dungeon. Spa special for steam and sauna was a ripoff....basic sauna, no upper level benches, no aromatherapy in very basic steam room, no cool water sprayer, no colored lights....Royal keep up with the competition, MSC does this so much BETTER !! Buying photos was another miss too, can’t buy photos you’re not in, can’t find photos by what specific restaurant you were in. NOT user friendly! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I was initially worried about cruising with 6000 other people on a mega-ship, but we actually noticed the crowds *less* than we did on smaller ships. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly with no lines. We made reservations and ... Read More
I was initially worried about cruising with 6000 other people on a mega-ship, but we actually noticed the crowds *less* than we did on smaller ships. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly with no lines. We made reservations and never waited in line for shows or for a table at dinner. The only lines we encountered were for the waterslides and the FlowRiders, but those we expected. The ship had a variety of lively spaces and quieter spaces, and the only complaint I would have with its design is that you feel very isolated from the ocean. If we hadn't had a oceanview balcony, I don't know if we would have even known we were at sea. One drawback to the balcony, though: we noticed creaking and clanking from the door frame in the evenings, possibly from the metal expanding and contracting with the changes in temperature between day to night. Otherwise, the cabin was spacious enough, with ample storage space, and our stateroom attendant was attentive and responsive. We noticed that the staff in general were very eager to please and very accommodating of requests. Our favourite staff were those we met in the main dining room. The service was excellent and the meals hot and flavourful. My only complaint with the main dining room is that I would have liked to see more vegetarian options listed (without having to ask for special accommodation). The buffet was adequate. El Loco Fresh was often prohibitively busy, especially for lunch on sea days (even when tacos and nachos were available at the buffet!). We didn't try the other food options. But we would have likely more late night options available. The variety of food available after 9 pm is unusually sparse. The entertainment was very good. We enjoyed Hairspray, Hiro, and 1977. Flight was well done but not as engaging? We also enjoyed the laser tag and other activities like the FlowRider, as well as the live music around the ship. Our kids also enjoyed visiting the teen club and kids club. We loved the ports -- Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Nassau. In each, we made arrangements to go off and do our own thing. And as much as I enjoyed the ship, it was also nice to get away on our own and enjoy more authentic local experiences. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Symphony of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.4
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 5.0 4.2
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.3
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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