Symphony of the Seas Cruise Review by Slippin Away
- Sail Date: November 2019
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
Sadly, the rest of the cruise only occasionally rose to mediocrity and often sunk to the pits of frustration and humiliation. The failure of the cruise to reach anything close to expectations lies firmly on uncaring upper level corporate incompetence and mis-management decisions.
So what went wrong?
Last year we took the Transatlantic re-positioning of Symphony from Europe to Ft Lauderdale. It was a lovely trip. When asking about Future Cruises, we were told that we should look at the The President’s Birthday cruise on Symphony. “It’s going to be a major party!” Lots of big name performers! We aren’t allowed to say who yet, but trust us, you are going to be shocked at the lineup! (Wink, Wink, Nod, Nod.) Giveaways! Activities! Hey, it’s the 50th Birthday, Royal Caribbean is going to pull out all the stops! 50th Birthday only comes once! Etc, etc. etc.
So we booked. Our problems began a few days before the Birthday cruise was to board. We got a call from Royal, saying our reservations for 2 nights dinner at Solarium Bistro had been cancelled.
“Why?” we asked.
“A Private Function is now scheduled in that venue.” They answered.
“But we were really looking forward to those reservations. We don’t want to give them up.”
“What else can you offer us? Can you discount one of the other extra cost dining venues?”
“There are no plans to offer discounts due to reservation cancellations.”
“So what else can you recommend?”
“You could try the Windjammer Buffet.”
The Private Function turned out to be closing the Solarium to anyone except Pinnacle members.
Ok, so we’ve still got theater shows and those “secret” premier performers, Performers is plural. We thought there would be one each evening. Nope, wrong to think that. One band scheduled for two performances in the Cruise Compass and the marketing package we received. Then the two performances became only one show. And then magically that show transformed into another of the dreaded “Private Function” for Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members.”
So what do you get if you are not Diamond Plus or Pinnacle?
“You got a cover band three nights ago. What else do you expect? Have you considered the Windjammer?”
And who were the premier performers? Hall and Oates. You may remember them slightly. No hits since 1984, over 35 years ago. Maybe you liked them way back when. But give me a break. They are not cutting edge, first-tier performers, at least in the 21st century.
And was this the last problem with the cruise? No. You don’t want to read a novel here so I will recap a few issues. There were more.
Security officers nearly non-existent. This means no crowd control. Is the Neon Night line turning into a stampede? It’s every man for himself. You can be run down by electric adult handicap scooters and Visa cardholders desperate to get a fifty-cent flashing necklace. This is true even if you just turned the wrong corner and are not trying to go to the event.
Need a waiter for coffee in the morning or a drink by the pool? Forget it. My guess is crew staffing has been cut to the bone and then cut again for budget reasons.
Electric adult scooters. They clog the halls and elevators, They will crash into you if you don’t jump out of the way. They pose a risk to other guests. Anyone can bring one. A genuine handicapped designation should be required to get one of these things on board.
Children with no parents or no visible supervision. Your evening will not be enhanced by a five year old trying to strum the solo performer’s guitar while she is playing. This actually happened. Where is security? See previous comment.
Speaking of children, why are they allowed in bars and dance venues after 9 pm? This is not Romper Room or a teen video game parlor. Nothing destroys the enchantment of an evening like being tripped by a band of marauding kids darting in and out of the dance floor.
Are the Cruise and Entertainment Directors real or only holograms? You might see them projected on a stage but you won’t see them any other time.
Presidents Cruise Prizes? Much ado about nothing. Four cruises of which two were in the lower level of Royal Caribbean ships. One was a two night inaugural cruise on the Odyssey and the Grand Prize was a 7 day Caribbean cruise. A few American Airlines fare vouchers which cannot be used on discounted flights making them virtually worthless. A handful of $50 on board credit vouchers. For a ship with over 5000 passengers this was paltry.
Was this “The Biggest Boldest Birthday Party and Presidents Cruise Ever!” to borrow from Royal’s marketing blurb? After three back to back sea days with no activities different from any other cruise, cancelled reservations, and performances, I don’t think any passenger would agree. It was more Boredom than Bold.
So, that’s my review of Royal’s 50 Years of Being Bold Cruise. It was a budget cruise at a premium price. I honestly believe the way this cruise was merchandised was a scam. I have been Loyal to Royal for a long time. I only wish Royal shared the same loyalty to its passengers. Shame on Royal.
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