RCCL always delivers the best all around experience. Symphony, the newest Oasis class ship, offers the very best entertainment of any line. The water show Hiro, in the outdoor aqua theater, is absolutely thrilling and amazing. Best part, ... Read More
RCCL always delivers the best all around experience. Symphony, the newest Oasis class ship, offers the very best entertainment of any line. The water show Hiro, in the outdoor aqua theater, is absolutely thrilling and amazing. Best part, it appeals to any age passenger.
The professional ice show surpasses any I've seen on land, and the Broadway production of Hairspray was top quality, and another "do not miss" was the main theater production of a show called "Flight". Through music, costumes, dance, and AMAZING technical aspects, the audience experiences the entire history of "flight". Again, a show that surprises, amazes, and appeals to any age passenger.
The range of activities on RCCL Oasis class ships is nearly endless, from a full size carousel, to 17 deck high zip line to rock climbing, that is only the beginning of the choices on the Symphony.
The promenade, main indoor area of the ship has a "mall like" atmosphere with parties, parades, plenty of shopping and many eating and drinking choices. The outdoor "boardwalk" area features Johnny Rockets and a wonderful sports bar called Playmakers which rivals any found on land.
Short comings on Symphony were limited and could be overcome. One of the most frustrating aspects on any RCCL ship is the number of times you are given information and then, when you comply, are given exactly the OPPOSITE information or direction by another employee. I find this maddening on almost all RCCL ships. Cabin service is over all excellent, but, over the years it seems to me the number of new ships coming into service must be cutting the time shorter for proper training of cabin attendants. Most try VERY hard, but several in my party on the 11-02-19 cruise had personable, but rather poorly trainer, attendants. The hotel desk on EVERY RCCL ship employs (apparently ?) the most haughty, superior acting, personnel they can find. On this cruise I was told my refundable deposit could NOT be applied back to my credit card because it was "not on file". Of course this was ridiculous; I travel on RCCL often and always use the same card, an RCCL Visa. When I returned from my cabin WITH the card I had been asked to go get, stood in line a second time, and was told by a very haughty and superior young woman "WHY in the world did you bring THAT ?" When I explained, she (with a very patronizing voice and continence) said, "MADAM, we do NOT give refundable OBC back on credit cards, that is done in CASH". I had never found that true previously ! I decided to wait a day and try another employee. Next afternoon, another superior acting (and also bored looking) hotel desk clerk "barked" at ME, "what ever gave you THAT idea" when I relayed that I understood refundable OBC can no longer be put back on a guest's credit card. I simply replied, " what gave me THAT idea is your employee working the a.m. shift yesterday" !
While other areas of the ship employ people who are exceptionally friendly and helpful, the hotel desk's continue to employ the most superior acting individuals I have met at any hotel. While I love RCCL for the over all experience, the company needs to consult with Disney as to how to select and train employees for front desk hotel and ship hotel desks !
Food on Symphony was very acceptable for such a huge ship. Plenty of variety, much more than on NCL ships for sure, and of average quality. Some brands of products are very poor, lots of nice breakfast choices in waffles and pancakes, but the syrup is EXTREMELY poor, nothing more than high fructose corn syrup in several forms ! No actual maple syrup is even available when asked for ! Yogurt is also very poor quality. But most dishes are very good, though warning, the chefs have a VERY heavy hand on the salt in these days when heavy use of salt is frowned on. Perhaps allowing passengers to use salt to taste at the table would be a better choice !
The embarkation and debarkation could not have been faster or easier, though the port terminal in Miami is beautiful but really crowded due to extreme traffic congestion. Our driver spent over an hour just trying to enter the terminal to pick us up, and then had to make additional circles once in.
The cabin, a boardwalk balcony, was small but efficiently planned. The bed was comfortable, however, be aware if you are sailing solo, the two twin beds will be pushed together with a huge uncomfortable gap in the middle of your "mattress" and NO memory foam toppers are available. Therefore, you will always have to adjust to a narrow twin bed. The balcony is extremely small, probably 50 sq. feet or less, but holds two chairs and a table that is nice for a.m. coffee and pastry while watching the open ocean and the activity down on the boardwalk.
Physical activities are so numerous and geared to every age. Enrichment and cultural activities are almost non existent. All discussions are limited to selling, nothing really enriching or learning. There are no port talks (other than where to shop, shop, shop) on cultural or historical aspects, no cooking demonstrations or lessons, no craft or computer lab instruction, the ships is geared to high energy physical activity and the magnificent water parks, slides, etc.
Photo department was a disaster ! The last night there was over an hour wait to purchase previously order photos ! The space is limited and the line went well into other venues. Also, no order or organization, as if it was a "surprise" that many people would be picking up photos on the last night ! ? Two individuals I know had photos delivered to their cabin. NEITHER recognized any of the photos or the individuals in the photos ! Something is wrong here, a photo department if one of the biggest money makers on a ship, again, though I am very "loyal to royal", they could take a major lesson from how Disney handles photo organization and sales on their ships.
Coco Cay, the RCCL island, has been completely "revolutionized". Absolutely outstanding ! The food facilities are really exceptional ! ! Clean, glassed in kitchen/prep area, nice, new, and clean tables in the eating area, and actual hand sinks to wash hands, not just hand sanitizer dispensers. Also RCCL HONORS the drink packages their guests have purchased, something most cruise lines do NOT do. They shamelessly charge guests for drinks on their islands, even though they have already extracted some $600 to $800 dollars PLUS 18% tax for drinks ! Kudoos to RCCL for not following this shameful practice ! Every detail has been carefully thought out on the island, I even saw beach wheelchairs, and a tram comes right down the quay and picks up passengers just steps from the gangway and take them to the tram station where they can transfer to another tram that circles the island. Great accessibility for infirm and disabled.
Did not travel with children this time, but the children's facilities on Symphony and other Oasis class ships are beyond anything I have ever seen on any ship, nearly an entire "school", complete with auditorium, science lab, and classrooms. Read Less