By Brittany Chrusciel
Cruise Critic Editor
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

Room options onboard Symphony of the Seas might seem overwhelming -- the ship has 34 cabin categories that range from a snug inside room to a one-of-a-kind tricked-out suite designed for families that sells for tens of thousands of dollars. Symphony of the Seas has the most staterooms of any cruise ship -- 2,759 -- dominating Decks 7 through14 (there's no Deck 13) with some also on Decks 3, 6 and 8. Suites are all located on Deck 17. Rooms range from windowless inside cabins to suites that sleep 14 people in various configurations of bedrooms and pullout beds. On Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has focused on cabins that can accommodate families, as 811 rooms onboard can sleep three or more people, and 488 cabins can be connected.

There are 46 accessible staterooms onboard and those include wider doors, large turning spaces, roll-in showers with grab-bars and fold-down shower benches, raised toilets, lowered sinks, sitting areas with lowered vanities and ramps to and from balconies.

Even the most basically appointed entry-level staterooms are comfortable. All cabins, regardless of category, are designed with clean, modern decor -- many in soothing grays, blues and greens. Standout features include plenty of storage space (deep drawers, multiple closets) and several charging options with four outlets and two USB ports. Unlike other Oasis-class ships, Royal Caribbean did away with overhead cabinets due to passenger complains, but didn't put in bedside USB ports, despite passenger demand. You'll find most of the ports and outlets at a desk with a chair near a large mirror (plus there's a full-length mirror near the door). Other items in cabins include a room phone for calling around the ship, a sofa, a narrow nightstand on either side of the bed, a large, flat-screen TV, a safe inside one of the closets and a for-fee mini-bar inside of a cabinet. The beds, either two single or pushed together to create a "Royal King" are comfortable, with smooth bedding, and they're tall enough to store large suitcases underneath.

Most bathrooms are pretty basic -- toilet, sink, shower with a few shelves -- but the shower is large with a round glass door that swings shut and a shaving bar. Small touches -- like hooks in the shower, a bar of soap that doesn't stick to the soap dish near the sink, and a night light in the bathroom -- are functional and thoughtful. Still, toiletries remain pretty basic in most cabins onboard Symphony of the Seas: a bar of soap and a shower gel dispenser in the shower is all you'll get. You'll want to bring your own hair care products and lotion. A shave outlet is on the ceiling. A hair dryer is in a drawer of one of the bedroom cabinets.

Cabins on Symphony of the Seas are designed to be energy efficient, and lights won't come on if a Seapass card is not inserted into the doorway slot, but the electricity runs to the outlets regardless so you can charge devices when you're not in the room. If you want your bed made or if you are sleeping in and don't want a knock at the door, a reversible magnet serves as your Make Up Room/Do Not Disturb sign.

Interior: There are 599 inside cabins on Symphony of the Seas and they start at 149 square feet. There might not be a view, but the limited space is utilized well and they are priced to reflect their basic offerings. A Large Interior cabin can measure up to 172 square feet. Accessible inside cabins are available and measure 258 square feet.

Virtual Balcony: There are 76 of these cabins onboard and while they are inside rooms, they come with hi-def TVs that mimic a balcony view using a real-time feed of the outside from the ship's cameras -- with or without accompanying sounds. Virtual balconies improve upon regular interior cabins because of the "view", but aren't any larger, measuring 172 square feet. Also, if you pull the curtains back far enough you'll find the TV doesn't take up the entire wall the way a balcony would.

Oceanview: Symphony has 170 oceanview cabins, spread across various neighborhoods. These rooms range from 179 square feet for a standard ocean view to 191 square feet for a view of the Boardwalk, 194 square feet in rooms overlooking the Royal Promenade and 199 square feet for rooms with a Central Park view. We love that families can opt for views of their favorite neighborhood, plus the window nook is cozy, complete with a cushioned window seat. Accessible oceanview cabins come in at about 264 square feet.

Family Oceanview cabins are designed to accommodate six people using bunk beds and a pullout sofa in addition to a Royal King bed. These rooms are 271 square feet but the layout can make it feel a bit narrow in some of the sleeping quarters.

Balcony: Balcony cabins account for more than half of all rooms on Symphony of the Seas (1,802 cabins). Staterooms with a balcony start at 182 square feet, with 50- to 80-square-foot balconies that include two mesh chairs with footrests and a small round table.

Balcony cabins don't just face the water, so when you're booking, pay careful attention that you are going to be staring at the sea and not your neighbor. A large number of balcony cabins overlook the action on the Boardwalk or the greenery in Central Park. Both of these options include 182 square feet of interior space and a 52-square-foot balcony. Couples and families with FOMO (fear of missing out) who don't want to skip a second of action, might enjoy people-watching above these neighborhoods, but anyone seeking privacy might want to book elsewhere. They're not for everyone, but we found the Central Park balconies gave us a feeling of waking up above a charming village piazza.

Family balcony staterooms sleep six in the same arrangement as oceanviews, but are larger -- 271 square feet -- plus they have 82 square feet of balcony space.

Accessible balcony cabins measure about 272 square feet with 80-square-foot balconies.

Suite: There are 188 suites onboard the world's largest cruise ship. Despite the many types of suites on offer, there is only one Ultimate Family Suite, a bi-level room that's attracted buzz for features like a private theater; a LEGO wall; a balcony packed with game tables, a "Luckey Climber" and a hot tub; and above all, a bright orange slide that goes from the upper-level bedroom to the bottom-level living room. Still, this is just one (expensive) room among many, so don't be discouraged if it's booked or out of budget. If your group is looking to live it up, there are plenty of stellar suites with fine touches, massive balconies and views of the wake, the ship's neighborhoods and even a front-row seat to the AquaTheater.

Junior Suite: This 287-square-foot cabin category features a bedroom area with two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, full bathroom with tub, sitting area with sofa bed and an 80-square-foot balcony. (Accessible versions of the same cabin are 390 square feet, with a 107-square-foot balcony.)

Suite passengers qualify for a number of perks depending on their cabin category. The Royal Suite Class program includes Sea Class, Sky Class and Star Class; all receive bottled water in their suite; luxury bath products from Hermes, Ferragamo or L'Occitane (depending on the category); bathrobes, pillow-topped mattresses and a pillow menu. All Suite Class passengers also get access to the Coastal Kitchen restaurant for dinner, which is connected to the private Suite Lounge.

Sky-class cruisers also get free internet access; a one-day pass to the spa's thermal room; access to the suites-only sun deck on Deck 17 and Suites Beach on the ship's stops at private islands; a welcome gift; and concierge services.

Star-class amenities also include all-inclusive drinks, specialty dining, an open mini-bar, Nespresso coffee maker, complimentary fitness classes, high-quality bedding and linens, and included gratuities. Star-class cruisers also get their own Royal Genie, a specialized concierge who is available for any and every request, and who also arranges unique surprises throughout the voyage.

Extra-cost, in-suite massages are available to suite passengers, beginning at the Loft Suites category.

Grand Suite: Two Grand Suite configurations are available on Symphony of the Seas: a 371-square-foot one-bedroom and a 580-square-foot two-bedroom. In the one-bedroom configuration, the bedroom has two twin beds that convert to a Royal King; the cabin also has a full bathroom with tub and two sinks, a living room with sofa bed and a 105-square-foot balcony with seating and dining areas. The two-bedroom variation has two rooms with two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, plus a vanity with chair; one of the bedrooms has two Pullman beds as well, and the living area has a double sofa bed, 238-square-foot balcony, marble entry and entertainment center. There are two bathrooms including a master bath with tub.

Owner's Suite: This one-bedroom suite is 556 square feet and has two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, a bathroom with tub and two sinks, oversized closets, living area with table and sofa and marble entryway. The 243-square-foot balcony comes with a table and chairs.

Crown Loft Suite: This two-level suite has panoramic views and a master bedroom with Royal King-sized bed and bathroom on the second level. The main level has a dining area with dry bar, a table/desk, living room with double sofa bed and a guest bathroom with shower. The entire suite is 545 square feet, but the balcony is just 114 square feet. (Accessible versions of the same cabin are 734 square feet, with a 140-square-foot balcony.)

AquaTheater Suite: There are four versions of AquaTheater suites, which are situated at the end of the Boardwalk overlooking the AquaTheater. One-bedroom varieties come in standard and "spacious" though they're both the same size -- the balcony is actually smaller in the spacious variety (589 square feet vs. 631). Both types feature a bedroom area with two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, one bathroom with tub, large closets, and a sitting area with table and sofa bed. The balcony has enough room for seating and dining areas. The two-bedroom version is similar -- a standard is 739 square feet with a 610-square-foot balcony and a "spacious" is 823 square feet with a 722-square-foot balcony. Both rooms have a master bedroom with a king-sized bed, a second room with two twin beds that convert to a Royal King and two Pullman beds, a living room with double sofa bed and entertainment center, and a dining room. There are two bathrooms, one a master bath with a bathtub.

Star Loft Suite: This suite is a two-deck-high, 722-square-foot cabin with panoramic views, and a master bedroom (with king-sized bed) and bathroom on the second level. The main level has a dining area with dry bar and living room with double sofa bed. The 410-square-foot balcony has both seating and dining areas.

Villa Suite: This 1,142-square-foot, four-bedroom suite can sleep up to 14 people -- cruisers must have a group of at least eight to even book it. It has two master bedrooms with king-sized beds; each also has its own master bathroom with tub. Two other bedrooms have two twin beds that convert to a Royal King and two Pullman beds -- only one of these has a bathroom. There's also a dining room with dry bar, living room with double sofa bed, and guest bathroom with shower. The 476-square-foot balcony has a whirlpool, dining area and bar.

Ultimate Family Suite: Cabin 1733 on Symphony of the Seas is a one-of-a-kind, two-story, 1,134-square-foot playground for families. Highlights include a private 3D cinema, air hockey table, a slide from the kids-only bedroom to the living room, floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall and a 212-square-foot wraparound balcony with a whirlpool, climbing wall and kid-friendly pool table. Decor is bright, colorful and playful with tons of cheerful orange. In the kids' bedroom you'll find plenty of lime green and wallpaper with bottle caps. The brightly colored, mural-style walls near the tub in the kids' room makes for one of the most identifiable bathtubs at sea. The kitchen features a tiny Coca-Cola fridge and Orville Redenbacher popcorn-maker.  One feature we like, that's not heavily advertised, are the two nooks -- one blue, one yellow -- carved out of the staircase where kids can sit and quietly read, hide or camp out.

Royal Loft Suite: At 1,744 square feet, this suite boasts panoramic views; a master bedroom with king-sized bed; master bathroom with a tub, shower and two sinks; a second bedroom with closet and two twin beds; and a dining area with dry bar, living room with sofa bed and a guest bathroom with shower. The 843-square-foot balcony has a whirlpool and dining area. The Royal Loft Suite sleeps up to six.

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