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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.

Eastern Caribbean Spring Break Cruise

Symphony of the Seas Cruise Review by karen_6161

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
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.
karen_6161’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9581
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. The room has a mini fridge which we utilized to keep our bottled water nice and cold. It was very quiet and our room steward Antonio did an excellent job.
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