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A transatlantic cruise on a new ship, a very large one, without a lot of children on board seemed like a good idea. In many ways, it was a fine experience, except for dining. It is unclear to me how meals could be so bad, how service could be so sloppy to non existent to unconnected. There were lots of pluses on the ship. Entertainment was top notch, including a great production of the musical Hairspray. Public spaces and cabins are well fitted and mostly comfortable. Housekeeping and cleanliness were highlights of the ship. And there were lots of deck chairs and lounge chairs available on sunny days. The solarium, at the front of the ship, on decks 14 and 15 is a great space, but it turns into a heat trap on hot sunny days. There are lots of spapools spread around and they were always clean, despite being well used. But, beware the inconsistent food service. So many examples, I am not sure where to begin. There was a lunch at the Park Cafe where we ordered two sandwiches, which were delivered to the table on one plate. We asked for a second plate, but were told they were running out of plates. Another day they ran out of forks. In the Solarium cafe, one could order an omelette, made to order, but we were told they did not provide fresh toast of bagel to go with it. And the tables in this space were jammed so close to each other that you could not get out of your chair without bumping into other guests. Then there was the main dining room. It was consistently inconsistent in service, but the food was consistently mediocre to bad. I complained to guest services, Diamon Club concierge and dining room managers, the cruise director and many other staff. The reply was always the same, You must remember Symphony is a very large ship. Duh, Royal built it and has been operating it since April. They should know how to run a big ship. Strange thing is, they know how to service the cabins, they know how to keep the ship immaculely clean, and they know how to move crowds of people around the ship. Despite the poor dining experiences, we had a good time on this transatlantic voyage. But I doubt I would ever travel on a mega ship again.

The world’s biggest ship offered an uneven experience

Symphony of the Seas Cruise Review by ptownandpompano

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2018
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Central Park View Balcony
A transatlantic cruise on a new ship, a very large one, without a lot of children on board seemed like a good idea. In many ways, it was a fine experience, except for dining. It is unclear to me how meals could be so bad, how service could be so sloppy to non existent to unconnected.

There were lots of pluses on the ship. Entertainment was top notch, including a great production of the musical Hairspray. Public spaces and cabins are well fitted and mostly comfortable. Housekeeping and cleanliness were highlights of the ship. And there were lots of deck chairs and lounge chairs available on sunny days.

The solarium, at the front of the ship, on decks 14 and 15 is a great space, but it turns into a heat trap on hot sunny days. There are lots of spapools spread around and they were always clean, despite being well used.

But, beware the inconsistent food service. So many examples, I am not sure where to begin. There was a lunch at the Park Cafe where we ordered two sandwiches, which were delivered to the table on one plate. We asked for a second plate, but were told they were running out of plates. Another day they ran out of forks.

In the Solarium cafe, one could order an omelette, made to order, but we were told they did not provide fresh toast of bagel to go with it. And the tables in this space were jammed so close to each other that you could not get out of your chair without bumping into other guests.

Then there was the main dining room. It was consistently inconsistent in service, but the food was consistently mediocre to bad. I complained to guest services, Diamon Club concierge and dining room managers, the cruise director and many other staff. The reply was always the same, You must remember Symphony is a very large ship. Duh, Royal built it and has been operating it since April. They should know how to run a big ship. Strange thing is, they know how to service the cabins, they know how to keep the ship immaculely clean, and they know how to move crowds of people around the ship.

Despite the poor dining experiences, we had a good time on this transatlantic voyage. But I doubt I would ever travel on a mega ship again.
ptownandpompano’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Embarkation
Dining
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Cabin Review

Central Park View Balcony
Cabin 2J
Very clever design makes the room seem spacious. However, there was 15 inches of space between the edge of the bed and the door to the balcony. That is very tight.

Bathroom was well designed and user friendly.

Bed and bed linens were very comfortable.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews