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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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