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This was our 36th cruise and was the first time chased by a hurricane. The Captain of the ship was very informative as to how he was going to avoid the storm that was in the area. First we were told that we were not stopping at San Maartin, and that were we going to CoCoCay as an alternate stop, then when that island was threatened, we were going to stop at Nassau, Bahamas. We made it back to Miami at 1:30am Saturday morning. For the inconvenience they did refund one day costs for each passenger. Embarkation: The terminal in Miami is a brand new terminal and there are videos out on the web showing how easy it was to get in. I don't know what time they arrived at the port but we arrived at 10:30am and not only was the traffic horrendous but the first 5 levels of the parking garage were filled to capacity. Speaking of the garage, you had to go up to level 4 to drop off your luggage and then park your car, take an elevator down to the main level then once inside the terminal take an escalator back up to the ship's gangway. For those who need handicapped parking spots, they have them in the vicinity of the elevators on each level. Most ports we sailed out of, we dropped of the luggage on the ground floor and take an escalator up once. This up and down flow didn't make any sense. Once inside the terminal there seem to be confusion as to where to check in. One person told us to go to one area, another told us to go to another area. They now take your picture with hand held devices like an iPad. There was no order as to waiting on a line, people were just jumping to the next available agent. There are some things that still need to be worked out with the check in process. By the way, NCL is building a new terminal right next to Royal's. With just one single lane going by both terminals, it is going to be a nightmare getting to them. This was the opinion of the people who work there. SHIP: There are some changes to this ship that are different from the other Oasis ships. First, the Park Cafe on Deck 8 was expanded to accommodate more people. The biggest change we saw was to the Solarium. They made the area on Deck 14 smaller and there are no longer pools there, only seating. On deck 15 there are two hot tubs and one small pool. The pool was much smaller than the other Oasis ships have. The only way to get into the Solarium Bistro is via the inside lobby. There are doors to get out but you are told to enter thru the lobby area. Speaking of the Solarium, they needed to do a better job keeping children out of the area. There were several times people were asked to leave the area. Overall, the ship was the same as the other Oasis ships so there wasn't any new WOW factor. In fact this ship was the same as the Harmony except for the Park Cafe and Solarium areas. They added a new seafood restaurant on deck 16. As for the pools on deck 15, they are really small. if 25-30 people are in them it will seem crowded. There are three such pools on this deck. Definitely not enough pool capacity for over 5,000 passengers. They could have made larger pools by eliminating some of the hot tubs. Another feature which was eliminated was the information you can obtain in your cabin like the dinner menus, your itinerary from the cabin TV. You could only obtain this info from your phone. The dinner menus usually are displayed outside the dining rooms but this ship did not have any displays to show them. Entertainment : They had two excellent comedians that were very funny. Shows that are a must see are 1977 (ice show) and Flight Dare to Dream. This was a musical of the history of aviation throughout time. The ending will WOW you but I will not spoil it by saying what is was. As for the diving show in the Aqua Theatre, it was boring and repetitive to what we saw on the other Oasis ships. If it is the first time you will see it, then then go but if you've seen it before don't bother. As usual they had entertainment in the Promenade that is worth seeing. If you have children, they Adventure Ocean for different age groups was a wonderful area for your children to enjoy. Unfortunately, this area wasn't utilized as it should have been. There were a lot of foreign guests who seem not to use this venue. They had Laser Tag in Studio B, but you must have reservations. Dining: The food in the Windjammer was average at best. It seems the variety of the food did not change from day to day. Only the meat they served changed. They was one day they closed the second serving stations when we were at sea. We couldn't understand that logic since the place was very crowded. Except when we were in port, it was always a challenge to find seating. The Park Cafe was a very popular spot to get away from the crowds. If you will be looking for omelets, you find not find them in the Windjammer. You will have to go to either the Main Dining room, Johnny Rockets or El Loco Fresh on deck 15 by the sports complex. On other ships this was called "Wipeout". We had My Time dining and at 8:00pm seemed to be the busiest hour. Lines were almost out the door trying to get seating. You may want to book your time earlier than 7:30 to be on the safe side. We actually had the same waiter we had on the Harmony. He played his guitar and sang for the guest near the area where he serviced people. That's the first time in all our cruises that has happened. In speaking to some people who were long time Royal cruiser, we all felt the quality of the food and service have diminished in the dining rooms. It seems we are being forced to go to the restaurants that you have to pay for. Ports of Call: We were supposed to visit St. Maarten, San Juan and Labadee. However, due to the storm we visited San Juan, Labadee and Nassau, Bahamas. Been to all three several times so we didn't get off the ship. Royal Caribbean should do something with Labadee. It's boring and you have to listen for HOURS to these so called "musicians" banging away on their "drums". At one point one of the local restaurants turned up the music to drown out the drums. We were really looking forward to visiting CoCoCay but the storm prevented us from doing so. Debarkation: We took our own luggage and walked off the ship which occurred at 6:15 am. People were actually on line at 5:00am. They do not require to fill out the Declaration of items you may have bought and they now have many stations with cameras to confirm your identity. The process was well organized and the staff was informative, unlike the ones during the Embarkation process. However, you needed to take an elevator up the the level you were parked at. When there are hundreds or thousands of passengers in the need of an elevator, that could cause quite a wait for one. Luckily we were one of the first ones off the ship so it wasn't bad. Overall impression: It seems Royal Caribbean is attracting a lot for foreigners. At times it was a little difficult finding guests who spoke English. The ship is very similar to the Harmony of the Seas and there were some differences but not enough to impress you if you sailed on the other Oasis class ships. If you choose My Time dining, it would be best to reserve a time before 7:30pm. The crew on board was very friendly. The ship was very clean except for some of the bathrooms. One observation over the past couple of cruises is that Royal’s clientele seems to be changing and it shows. We originally cruised with Carnival and switched to Royal to get away from the clientele they had. It used to be that Royal attracted middle aged people now it seems to be the same crowd Carnival attracts. People were hanging their belongings on the interior balconies of the ship and it looked like a ghetto. These same people were rude and didn’t control their children from running around the ship. We have one more cruise planned on Royal later this year, if we run into the same type of crowd, we will be seeking other cruise lines in the future. This will be unfortunate since we are close to being Diamond Plus members.

Symphony - No big deal

Symphony of the Seas Cruise Review by lifetimecuiser

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
This was our 36th cruise and was the first time chased by a hurricane. The Captain of the ship was very informative as to how he was going to avoid the storm that was in the area. First we were told that we were not stopping at San Maartin, and that were we going to CoCoCay as an alternate stop, then when that island was threatened, we were going to stop at Nassau, Bahamas. We made it back to Miami at 1:30am Saturday morning. For the inconvenience they did refund one day costs for each passenger.

Embarkation:

The terminal in Miami is a brand new terminal and there are videos out on the web showing how easy it was to get in. I don't know what time they arrived at the port but we arrived at 10:30am and not only was the traffic horrendous but the first 5 levels of the parking garage were filled to capacity. Speaking of the garage, you had to go up to level 4 to drop off your luggage and then park your car, take an elevator down to the main level then once inside the terminal take an escalator back up to the ship's gangway. For those who need handicapped parking spots, they have them in the vicinity of the elevators on each level. Most ports we sailed out of, we dropped of the luggage on the ground floor and take an escalator up once. This up and down flow didn't make any sense. Once inside the terminal there seem to be confusion as to where to check in. One person told us to go to one area, another told us to go to another area. They now take your picture with hand held devices like an iPad. There was no order as to waiting on a line, people were just jumping to the next available agent. There are some things that still need to be worked out with the check in process. By the way, NCL is building a new terminal right next to Royal's. With just one single lane going by both terminals, it is going to be a nightmare getting to them. This was the opinion of the people who work there.

SHIP:

There are some changes to this ship that are different from the other Oasis ships. First, the Park Cafe on Deck 8 was expanded to accommodate more people. The biggest change we saw was to the Solarium. They made the area on Deck 14 smaller and there are no longer pools there, only seating. On deck 15 there are two hot tubs and one small pool. The pool was much smaller than the other Oasis ships have. The only way to get into the Solarium Bistro is via the inside lobby. There are doors to get out but you are told to enter thru the lobby area. Speaking of the Solarium, they needed to do a better job keeping children out of the area. There were several times people were asked to leave the area. Overall, the ship was the same as the other Oasis ships so there wasn't any new WOW factor. In fact this ship was the same as the Harmony except for the Park Cafe and Solarium areas. They added a new seafood restaurant on deck 16. As for the pools on deck 15, they are really small. if 25-30 people are in them it will seem crowded. There are three such pools on this deck. Definitely not enough pool capacity for over 5,000 passengers. They could have made larger pools by eliminating some of the hot tubs. Another feature which was eliminated was the information you can obtain in your cabin like the dinner menus, your itinerary from the cabin TV. You could only obtain this info from your phone. The dinner menus usually are displayed outside the dining rooms but this ship did not have any displays to show them.

Entertainment :

They had two excellent comedians that were very funny. Shows that are a must see are 1977 (ice show) and Flight Dare to Dream. This was a musical of the history of aviation throughout time. The ending will WOW you but I will not spoil it by saying what is was. As for the diving show in the Aqua Theatre, it was boring and repetitive to what we saw on the other Oasis ships. If it is the first time you will see it, then then go but if you've seen it before don't bother. As usual they had entertainment in the Promenade that is worth seeing. If you have children, they Adventure Ocean for different age groups was a wonderful area for your children to enjoy. Unfortunately, this area wasn't utilized as it should have been. There were a lot of foreign guests who seem not to use this venue. They had Laser Tag in Studio B, but you must have reservations.

Dining:

The food in the Windjammer was average at best. It seems the variety of the food did not change from day to day. Only the meat they served changed. They was one day they closed the second serving stations when we were at sea. We couldn't understand that logic since the place was very crowded. Except when we were in port, it was always a challenge to find seating. The Park Cafe was a very popular spot to get away from the crowds. If you will be looking for omelets, you find not find them in the Windjammer. You will have to go to either the Main Dining room, Johnny Rockets or El Loco Fresh on deck 15 by the sports complex. On other ships this was called "Wipeout". We had My Time dining and at 8:00pm seemed to be the busiest hour. Lines were almost out the door trying to get seating. You may want to book your time earlier than 7:30 to be on the safe side. We actually had the same waiter we had on the Harmony. He played his guitar and sang for the guest near the area where he serviced people. That's the first time in all our cruises that has happened. In speaking to some people who were long time Royal cruiser, we all felt the quality of the food and service have diminished in the dining rooms. It seems we are being forced to go to the restaurants that you have to pay for.

Ports of Call:

We were supposed to visit St. Maarten, San Juan and Labadee. However, due to the storm we visited San Juan, Labadee and Nassau, Bahamas. Been to all three several times so we didn't get off the ship. Royal Caribbean should do something with Labadee. It's boring and you have to listen for HOURS to these so called "musicians" banging away on their "drums". At one point one of the local restaurants turned up the music to drown out the drums. We were really looking forward to visiting CoCoCay but the storm prevented us from doing so.

Debarkation:

We took our own luggage and walked off the ship which occurred at 6:15 am. People were actually on line at 5:00am. They do not require to fill out the Declaration of items you may have bought and they now have many stations with cameras to confirm your identity. The process was well organized and the staff was informative, unlike the ones during the Embarkation process. However, you needed to take an elevator up the the level you were parked at. When there are hundreds or thousands of passengers in the need of an elevator, that could cause quite a wait for one. Luckily we were one of the first ones off the ship so it wasn't bad.

Overall impression:

It seems Royal Caribbean is attracting a lot for foreigners. At times it was a little difficult finding guests who spoke English. The ship is very similar to the Harmony of the Seas and there were some differences but not enough to impress you if you sailed on the other Oasis class ships. If you choose My Time dining, it would be best to reserve a time before 7:30pm. The crew on board was very friendly. The ship was very clean except for some of the bathrooms. One observation over the past couple of cruises is that Royal’s clientele seems to be changing and it shows. We originally cruised with Carnival and switched to Royal to get away from the clientele they had. It used to be that Royal attracted middle aged people now it seems to be the same crowd Carnival attracts. People were hanging their belongings on the interior balconies of the ship and it looked like a ghetto. These same people were rude and didn’t control their children from running around the ship. We have one more cruise planned on Royal later this year, if we run into the same type of crowd, we will be seeking other cruise lines in the future. This will be unfortunate since we are close to being Diamond Plus members.
lifetimecuiser’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 8D
The cabin was clean and well kept.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins