135 Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas Family Cruise Reviews

After having sailed on Princess, Carnival and the past several times on Disney, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. We decided to try out the Symphony because 1/ it has very high ratings among RC's fleet, 2/ we wanted to see what the ... Read More
After having sailed on Princess, Carnival and the past several times on Disney, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. We decided to try out the Symphony because 1/ it has very high ratings among RC's fleet, 2/ we wanted to see what the world's biggest ship had to offer, and 3/ they ship stopped at islands we hadn't been to before - including RC's own CoCo Cay. We booked an outside balcony cabin on the 10th deck. The price was quite reasonable - certainly quite a bit lower than Disney. Check in was a breeze. We did get on late - choosing to board after the early rush, and also figuring we could manage quite well without the obligatory Day 1 lunch. Entering the ship was kinda uneventful. We barely got a "Hello", with a greater emphasis being on sanitizing our hands - understandable given the outbreak of Corona Virus. We entered on the Promenade 5th deck and then headed to our cabin. initial impression was that the decor lacked any level of luxury or plushness. Yes, it was huge, and very interesting to have a promenade in the middle of a ship, but the decor was kinda tired - like being in a slightly dated hotel or office building. I think they expect your entrance in to a city-like promenade to do the trick. It doesn't!!! ENTERTAINMENT: This is where RC did well. Their main attraction shows were most excellent - certainly gave Disney a run for their money. And there was always something to do for all ages. There were parades on the Promenade and all kinds of music at various venues in the evenings. Solo guitarists, excellent jazz, and a band in the Dazzles bar that could really rock a crowd - and get them to dance. Before we went on this cruise, the reviews indicated that RC did an excellent job with the entertainment, and they certainly lived up to their billing here. CENTRAL PARK: Loved it. So relaxing. Vintage is a good place to get some good wines. However, the open area did tend to get windy and there were always some drops of water splashing down from above. Not sure from where - but it tended to happen even when the sky was clear. However, it's quite amazing to have this large atrium right in the middle of a ship. BOARDWALK: I think this was a bit of a let down, and didn't live up to its billing. The boardwalk leads to the aquatheatre, but apart from that, and a bar and hot dog restaurant, there's really no reason to be there. It was rather dead most of the time. FOOD: THIS was a massive let down. This ship has a ton of specialty restaurants. Having done these kinds of specialty restaurants on other cruise lines, we just figured these would not be worth the extra cost - since the main dining hall would always have something worth trying. I will add that we are big time foodies, who usually eat at anywhere from 125-175 restaurants a year - including some of the world's Top 50 restaurants. The food at the Main Dining room was completely substandard. We chose the Any Time Dining option - which was good for us. While it did mean a different serving crew every evening, in general they were pretty good - not great, but good. However, 1 evening it was so bad that for the first time in 10 cruises, I felt compelled to complain to the section manager. The waiter took 14 mins to even bring us a menu, and did not bother to introduce herself or even apologize for the significant delay. when it came time to take our order, she simply came to us and said, 'SO, what can I get you!". May be she was stressed, however, not only had we been patient all the while, but she was extremely cheerful with her other tables. Her manager noticed this behavior and tried to step in to make up for that. But the damage had been done. It took them 35 mins to get our appetizers, and an hour and 20 mins to bring our entree. To top it off, the food was inedible - and I ended up leaving most of my food. I thought I'd head over to the buffet and get some food, but by then even the buffet had closed. I ended up with a sandwich from one of the cafes. After 2 days of sub-par food at the main dining hall, we decided to try 3 of the specialty restaurants. Despite there being so many restaurants on board, there was only 1 that was really worth trying - the rest being rather generic - something that some of the other patrons who visited some of the restaurants told us. Simultanenously we dicovered that the buffet at dinner offered several ethnic options - and so we started going there for dinner - and canceled our 3 restaurant packae. Apart from the fact that the food in the main dining hall was low quality, the variety was even worse. They had the same, bland continental food every single day. Ridiculous! The only optional variety was the option to ask for some indian food. Upon further reflection, it's almost like the main dining option is designed to push you to their specialty restaurants. Not a good idea. When it comes to Indian food, there was always some indian food available at the buffet for all 3 meals of the day. The taste was not particularly great - which is surprising considering the executive chef for the whole ship was Indian - and would typically have had 5-star hotel training in India - where the food standards tend to be high. One evening in the buffet they served Caribbean food - which, while flavorful was a bit bland. And finally on the last day they had a chinese noodle station - where alls you could get is noodles. For such a large ship, the options for food without having to pay extra were not the greatest. RC certainly failed here. The late night food was decent - but got a little boring after a few days due to the lack of any variety. Desserts - easily the poorest and most unimaginative dessert selection of any cruise line we have done. The items were pretty much the same every day, and just loaded with cream - and extremely 'mild' flavors - what I mean by that is that if you didn't read the label of the dessert, you'd be left wondering if there was actually any flavor, let alone what it was. When we got home today, I made the family Molten Chocolate cake from the frozen Costco stuff. Even my kids said the frozen stuff at home tasted better than what they had on the ship. CoCo Cay - not bad. never felt crowded. But the island isn't too big. Disney's Castaway Cay is in a different league in terms of size and atmosphere than this island. Even NCL's island next door seemed to be significantly larger. CoCo is still being built out, and you can make out certainly sections have just been gotten ready - as everything seems to have a 'recently planted' look. Our kids used the water park, and really enjoyed it. I would suggest springing for that. I toyed with the idea of getting a cabana or bed....however, at $1000 for a bed for a day for 2 adults it simply wasn't worth it. If you have a large party, then it might be worth the cost. But the, a number of reviews said that lounge chairs were easily available. And frankly, that was plenty. Didn't see the cabanas or beds being worth the expense - even when we were on the island. So, I think we made a good call there. The food on the island was in line with the set expectations - bland and boring. They certainly had good choices and options - but the food was bland - even the Mexican food. When it comes to drinks, the options available were good. We bought the unlimited drinks package, and even though we didn't do justice to the cost, it was a headache-free option. The drinks were pretty good, and the bartenders accommodating and friendly. WiFi- we bought a package for multiple devices. The connections were good and strong - on the ship as well as on CoCo Cay. Worth the cost. Photo Package - we bought an unlimited photo package. This was a bit of a let down as the photographers were very few and rarely available. They were set up every evening in the Promenade - but rarely available at other locations - including at dinner and CoCo Cay. We didn't do any shore excursions thru the ship. We've done so many islands thru other cruises and vacations that at this point, they all are pretty much the same - and so we prefer to go to the beach and just relax. In St. Kitts we went to the Marriott - as we were told the beach is safe. The beach was OK - uncrowded, but the resort isn't up to usual Marriott standards. At St. Thomas, we decided to take a private tour of the island. We took a taxi tour of the island, and for a coupla hours it was just right. We should have done the beaches on this island - but didn't have time. Maegen's breach is certainly worth the trip and cost. Spa/health club - didn't use the spa, but it looked pretty standard. The work out center was also pretty standard. Casino - a LOT of slots, but not enough of Blackjack tables. Dealers were not too friendly. Maybe they were stressed out about Corona. The one thing we should have done was get The Key. Not knowing what it provided, we ignored it prior to the cruise. Then when we tried to get it onboard, they told us that it wasn't available as it had to be bought prior to the cruise. While I'm not entirely sure what all this "Key" offers, from the little I learnt, it certainly seemed to be worth the expense - at least to us - at $32/person/day. Not cheap, but the privileges would have been worth it. HIGHLIGHTS: 1. The big ticket shows - most excellent! I would put them in the league of good Broadway productions 2. Music - excellent options, and went on late in to the night 3. Promenade and Central Park LOWS: 1. Food 2. Food 3. Friendly, but not warm service Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Go to your nearest Mall. Double the price of coffee, triple the price of beverages, then add sociopathic security guards who enforce confiscatory policies by leveraging safety to take money from you. Examples include the policy that ... Read More
Go to your nearest Mall. Double the price of coffee, triple the price of beverages, then add sociopathic security guards who enforce confiscatory policies by leveraging safety to take money from you. Examples include the policy that you can't wash your bathing suit, because doing your laundry is unsafe (safety is $35 a bag for wash service), video games involving balance on a fake boogie board that are "unsafe" for my gymnast daughter but safe for her 53 year old dad (so they can sign him up for a wristwatch promo) or confusing embarkation beverage policy which results in having to buy their onboard beverage package ... nope I am not an alcoholic, don't need $500 + in booze sold to my suite mates. The irony of Royal Caribbean's use of "safety" to fleece customers is that Royal Caribbean operates under Bahamian law specifically so it can avoid US safety and labor regulations. As to the rest of the cruise. Like most high end malls and hotels, it has good architecture and design. Like most theme parks the good stuff is crowded and Royal Caribbean seems to attract aggressive customers who will run over your kids for their third helping of dessert, and save all the seats in the auditorium for whatever you want to see. The shows are actually good, even by Disney standards. Why they build tiny theaters on ships with a 6,000 capacity is simply because they want to say they have the feature offered, not that you will get to enjoy it. At it's core, Royal Caribbean is just a bad company. These policies, the cheap food, the repetitive onboard music, the broken coffee machines, the constant $50 and $100 per person because you are in their monopoly hell; it a senior management issue. They are focused on extracting revenue, not providing value for their customers. It is a miserable experience to be their victims for a week. So bad, I may book a flight home out of Cancun and simply get out of this mall. This is our tenth cruise. Can not wait for it to be over. Disney is just so much better (with a smaller capital expense, they simply treat their guests as guests instead of chumps to be targeted for corporate theft) Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This is my family’s 3rd cruise with RC. We have done Oasis, Anthem and now Symphony. First THE GOOD. as usual, the dining room staff are terrific in the MDR as well as the Wydjammer. My wife has Celiac and they have treated her with so ... Read More
This is my family’s 3rd cruise with RC. We have done Oasis, Anthem and now Symphony. First THE GOOD. as usual, the dining room staff are terrific in the MDR as well as the Wydjammer. My wife has Celiac and they have treated her with so much kindness and consideration to make sure she has adequate food choices. Our waiter Marlon at table 301, allows her to pick her meals the night before so they can be specially made. The head waiter also helps out a lot during dinner and breakfast. In general the food Has been good , but maybe not “as good” as in the past. I didn’t get the Alcohol Package so I don’t drink As much so bartenders don’t seem as friendly this time around . But maybe it’s just because l’m not as drunk ? IDK But my BIGGEST COMPLAINT is there is wayyyy to Much dead time doing nothing. On other cruises there was ALWAYS ALWAYS something fun going on. On this cruise , with the exception of the big shows (Hairspray , hiro , 1977 Etc the choice are few , repetitive and boring. It’s pretty much trivia, karaoke, Latin fiesta 500 times a day, the same band playing in different spots, dance lessons and bingo. And mostly everything seems to be right around dinner time or start super late. So you have this lull of time from like 2-530 and then from Like 630-10. Other cruises there was ALWAYS somethings. They had a Journey cover band. They had a magician. They had this awesome singer who could imitate any genre of music. And this was in addition to Spectras cabaret, and the main show and just multiple games shows And a VARIETY of bands. Not the same band every night in a different spot and or “Latin fiesta” we’ve been bored every day Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We travelled on the Symphony of the seas Feb.15-22,2020 It is a beautiful ship but not much you get for free except your room and some food. Every fine dining is extra dollars , every drink ( pop and alcohol) is extra and any fitness ... Read More
We travelled on the Symphony of the seas Feb.15-22,2020 It is a beautiful ship but not much you get for free except your room and some food. Every fine dining is extra dollars , every drink ( pop and alcohol) is extra and any fitness class you want to take is also money,money,money. Would be nice if they at least let all the guests have free wifi so you could message family on the ship. We are from Canada so for all of us to pay their internet package would of been over $600. Ship is super clean and service is great and friendly . The windjammer has awesome food and the dining room has great menus . The ice show is a must to see and Aqua Show (Hiro) We did great tours at the ports .. Sloths and monkeys in Honduras is a must and the cenotes in Cozumel are amazing. Over all we had a great week but did get tired of the soliciting at the ports and wish they gave a few more free options on the ship Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I booked this cruise last year in Feb 2019 while on the Harmony of the Seas. I also got to have 32 Family & Friends join us. I booked this cruise specifically as it was a newer ship and sister of the HOS (which my husband and I enjoyed ... Read More
I booked this cruise last year in Feb 2019 while on the Harmony of the Seas. I also got to have 32 Family & Friends join us. I booked this cruise specifically as it was a newer ship and sister of the HOS (which my husband and I enjoyed tremendously). I booked 13 Boardwalk Balconies primarily for the extra perks that were being offered at the time for this cabin. Embarkation: traffic was a mess getting in however once checked-in we were on the ship by 11am. Disembarkation: went smoothly as well... ate breakfast in the MDR, picked up our bags, went through customs... probably only took 30 minutes... mom forgot her walker in cabin so waited a little longer outside... Ship: most of our group were first time cruisers and I wish I would have recorded the awestruck look on all of their faces. The ship is beautiful. Cabin: we all booked Boardwalk Balconies and they were spacious. We all enjoyed the views and people watching. As long as balcony door was closed shut you couldn’t hear any noise from the outside. Dining: SOS sat us each night in the same 4 tables. The group was suppose to alternate tables within the 4 but everyone loved their waiters so much that they never wanted to switch tables. Lol Entertainment; Hiro was amazing. The whole group was very entertained including the children. Hairspray was great however one of the cast members got ill so they ended it early. 1977 was really cool to watch. Never got to see Flight but will see it on the next cruise that’s planned for Aug 2021. The late night DJ played everything and the whole group of all ages enjoyed the music. The Latin group at Boleros has everyone dancing. The Caribbean Band has all of us singing and dancing as well. The group of 34 consisted of couples, families with teenagers and young adults. One of my biggest concerns was if there was going to be activities to entertain the Young adults and children and let me just say they were the ones who convinced their parents to rebook for next year. Some of us did get a little seasick the last day and even than we ALL had a great time and now 52+ ChiTown Cruisers are booked for next year. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have enjoyed Regent , and Celebrity, but wanted to take 3 young grandchildren who would not like those sort of boats. The Symphony on board activities attracted us, and we could get a suite for all 8 of us, the itinerary was incidental ... Read More
We have enjoyed Regent , and Celebrity, but wanted to take 3 young grandchildren who would not like those sort of boats. The Symphony on board activities attracted us, and we could get a suite for all 8 of us, the itinerary was incidental as we wanted to use the rock climbing wall, zipline, hot tubs, pools, table tennis, slides, and see ice show. So my agent persuaded us to go on this ship which he has enjoyed which he had enjoyed with his family. The Embarkation process for suite guests at Miami is excellent, we were sitting down for lunch in Coastal Kitchen at 11.30 . It is very good with great waiting staff but the adults who have enjoyed Luminae on all the Celebrity ships agreed the food on Royal Caribbean is not as good as on Celebrity, that applied to Windjammer buffet as well . which is badly managed, they cannot organise the crowds trying to eat there. Our Grand Suite for 8 was excellent, huge and with large balcony. THe attendant Erwin was really good. Naturally we recognised his service privately before the rude letter and envelope from the Concierges arrived asking for extra tips for themselves, never had that on any other ship. We had $1000 enforced gratuity already added to bil, no complaints but all 5 adults agreed the concierges deserved no tip at all, indeed compared with concierges on Celebrity they are lazy and little use. THe ICE shows are amazingly good. Cococay was much better than expected but it is expensive , we spent a further $1000 for activities on island.They have done a good job . Puerto Rico was also better than had thought it would be. Internet worked well. The Garden deck 8 pleasant. Diamond Club a cave. Suites Lounge good Disembarkation for suite guests excellent, we were driving away from port 9 15. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Family cruise, 1st cruise for 5yrs old granddaughter. Connecting central park balcony cabins made cruising together extra easy and fun EXCEPT bad design for pool overflow drainage pipe runs just outside cabin and can be heard during ... Read More
Family cruise, 1st cruise for 5yrs old granddaughter. Connecting central park balcony cabins made cruising together extra easy and fun EXCEPT bad design for pool overflow drainage pipe runs just outside cabin and can be heard during slightly rougher weather when it's not rough enough to drain pool, even several decks down from the pool. Crew is phenomenal except for overworked mdr staff, in what now seems to be a common theme across both Royal and Celebrity ships. More and more items are prepared to reduce any additional service that was such a nice touch and went a long way to making the experience special. For example, souffles served in plastic ramekins with the sauce on the side, same little plastic sauce cups with mint jelly on the plate with rack of lamb. Probably a good thing though since your Walter and assistant waiter aren't available since they're assigned too many tables. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My wife and I cruised on the Symphony of the Seas in January 2019 to the Western Caribbean. This was our 27th cruise overall, 11th on Royal, 4th on their mega ships. We are in our 60’s and usually cruise to a more interesting location as ... Read More
My wife and I cruised on the Symphony of the Seas in January 2019 to the Western Caribbean. This was our 27th cruise overall, 11th on Royal, 4th on their mega ships. We are in our 60’s and usually cruise to a more interesting location as we’ve cruised the Caribbean too much. However, she attended a conference on this cruise so we had no choice on location or timing. Overall it was a good cruise but not great which is why I gave it 4 stars. There were two main issues: First, the weather was poor which is expected this time of year and not the cruise lines fault. Be aware of Caribbean cruises in mid-Dec to mid-Feb as you are likely to encounter rain and strong winds. Departing Miami we had rough seas for a couple days, got rained out at Roatan (most excursions cnx), okay weather in Costa Maya, windy in Cozumel, and very windy at Coco Cay so most activities there were cnx. Second, we felt Royal is eliminating or reducing items that were free before and now make you pay extra for the same thing. Also known as “nickel & diming you to death!” This first occurred on boarding where we looked forward to a peaceful lunch in the dining room to avoid the crowds at the buffet, only to find that the only dining room lunch available was for “Key members” who paid an extra fee of $25 per day for perks including lunch on first day and reserved seating at shows, etc – which takes away seating from us little people. Then we found the Windjammer buffet stopped at 9:15pm every night, normally it’s 10 or 11pm, so you have to go to their very limited Café Promenade or pizza place OR order room service at $7 plus fee if you want a snack late at night. In room TV is now extremely limited with a few channels with obscure tv shows or very old movies as they want you to buy the On Demand pay movies. Final expense we didn’t appreciate was the specialty restaurants now are $50ish per person. We ate at Chops and it was fine but not as good as we’ve had and certainly not worth $53! EMBARKATION – We drove to Miami and parked in the garage next to the pier for $25, pricey but very convenient. You drive up until you find the porters (on level 4 that day), drop off your bags, then park. Walk over to terminal, go thru checkin line, then security. Although a little crowded at noon, we were thru and on the ship in 20 minutes. You do not get your room key until you board the ship, it’s in an envelope outside your cabin. If you charge drinks, etc, you show your boarding pass until you get your key card. SHIP – Symphony OTS is a beautiful ship as it’s only 2 years old. As with our earlier cruises on these mega ships, there is a lot to do and activities for all ages. The crew and staff were outstanding and very friendly and helpful. Even with the windy weather the ship did not rock that much. We had a full load of 6,000 plus passengers but there were lots of quiet areas - our favorite was Central Park on Deck 8 CABIN – We were in a balcony cabin on deck 11 forward. The cabin seemed larger than previous mega ships, definitely longer as we had a king bed and a full size couch. They’ve added storage and two separate wardrobes with hangers, very nice. Plenty of electric plugs. The shower is also larger. Our room steward was very good and gave us extra towels, soap bars, and shampoo as needed. DINING – We had early fixed dining at 5:30pm with the conference group which worked well. Late dining was at 8pm. They also had a room for anytime dining but we heard no comments on it. We prefer fixed dining as the servers seem better because they know your preferences and the food arrives quicker. Our waiter and assistant were superb. Overall the food was good, even beef options were tasty, but the menu was somewhat limited as there were only 3-4 new choices each night plus 5 standard choices. Lobster tails were served on the second formal night. Formal nights are now more business casual as you only need a collared shirt, no coat or tie. OTHER FREE DINING – We ate in Park Café (Deck 8) and El Loco Fresh (Deck 15) quite a bit. Park Café has been expanded so there was always seating available. It has breakfast sandwiches and pastries and then salads and great roast beef sandwiches rest of the day. El Loco Fresh is outdoors in the aft area by sports activities and has a limited breakfast buffet and then a great Mexican buffet rest of the day. We really enjoyed El Loco! Café Promenade and Sorrento’s Pizza (Deck 5) were okay but I found the sandwiches a little odd and the pizza just okay. Windjammer buffet was always crowded and the choices were limited compared to other cruise line buffets. Also they did not have omelet stations for breakfast unless you went to the dining room for brunch. DIAMOND CLUB – This was our first Royal cruise where we were Diamond status and thus could use the Diamond lounge on Deck 4. We really enjoyed it. Although not a large room, it is very comfortable and was never crowded for happy hour. Happy hour was 4:30 – 8pm where you got unlimited drinks in the lounge plus 3 free drinks at bars and dining room. Drinks were well drinks, although they made martinis, cosmos, and margaritas in the lounge, wine by the glass, beer, and sodas. ENTERTAINMENT – Symphony had the best shows of any ship we’ve been on. Hairspray and Flight were outstanding in the main theater. 1977 was a great ice show and Hiro the very energizing water show. Very important tip – make your show reservations online before the cruise - they were available 45 days prior for our cruise. You can also make reservations onboard using the Royal app but they book up quickly. If you do not make reservations you will be in long lines hoping to get seats just before the show times. We also went to the Comedy Club but found the comedians average. SPORTS – Symphony, like the other mega ships, offers many recreational options. I like the large gym and long jogging track (Deck 5). There are four full size pools, a kids area with water slides, adult pool in Solarium up front, and many jacuzzis. In aft on Deck 15 they have 2 flow riders, basketball court, short zip line, and new slide Ultimate Abyss. You wear street clothes on Abyss and sit on a mat when you slide - surprisingly the lines were not long for this. One more complaint about the free items disappearing is the flow riders have a lot of time allocated to people who pay for private lessons and reserved times so free riding time is limited. WIFI – We bought one Voom Surf plan for the week, that’s the slower plan than the Surf & Stream plan. Buy it online before the cruise as it’s cheaper. We had connectivity thru the ship but it was slower in our cabin. My wife and I shared the one plan by logging in & out with each device. ROYAL APP – I downloaded the free Royal app before the cruise and found it helpful on the ship. It has the daily planner as well as the activities we’d booked already. You can also check your onboard charges and make reservations for excursions and shows. DEBARKATION – Very smooth and quick. Unless you declare customs, you get your bags and walk out of the terminal. There was a face scan station which apparently took care of immigration. Took our bags to the parking garage and drove off. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We are a puertorrican family composed by mom (47), dad (48), daughters (19 and 21). In January 2 we fly from Puerto Rico to Ft Lauderdale, to board Symphony of the Seas on January 4. We stay in Hampton Inn Coconut Groove/Coral Gables, a ... Read More
We are a puertorrican family composed by mom (47), dad (48), daughters (19 and 21). In January 2 we fly from Puerto Rico to Ft Lauderdale, to board Symphony of the Seas on January 4. We stay in Hampton Inn Coconut Groove/Coral Gables, a small hotel with breakfast included, very good price per night and the best location ever (close to restaurants, parks, the train and public transportation), and rent a car. While there we visit the area with parks and cute restaurants with outside tables...great for an afternoon stroll . We eat in ARIETE, super good ambience. For the vegans, I can recommend two places that my daughter absolutely love in the Miami area: Veganoroma and L'Artisane Creative Bakery. On Saturday 4, we arrive to the port around 3pm, really quick process, where stand up representatives receive the ones with online check in. And onboard we were! Being in Oasis and Allure, Symphony does not feel very different, is big and beautiful. Lets go to the details. Food: The food is great, lots of choices in different venues. Does not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. We enjoy the breakfast in the Windjammer, Solarium, Park Café and the main dinning room. For lunch too, included the Taco Loco venue. All our dinners we go to the Main Dinning Room to our lovely Waiter VIKRAM, and Assistant Waiter ANELYN (in table 242). They go beyond our expectations and requests! My daughters enjoy the vegan menu they have available every night for them, its a great step from Royal Caribbean. We too enjoy the food from the regular menu. SHOWS: I went with high expectations in terms of the Broadway Productions. HAIRSPRAY: I have to say that I enjoy more the one in the Oasis of the seas. The one in Symphony is a bigger production, but the one in Oasis stick better to the story. HIRO: was canceled because of the wind and weather conditions. FLIGHT: Its the history of aviation, a little boring but visually is a beautiful production. 1977: Its a GREAT SHOW skating show, the better I've seen. COMEDY SHOW: Really don't like it, but maybe its something about american humor vs. latin humor. LOVE AND MARRIAGE SHOW: As hilarious as usual. PORTS: Roatan: I have make arrangements to visit the West Bay Beach and Roatan Chocolate Factory through Roatan Taxi Tour. But the day we visit this port was raining (Royal Caribbean cancel all the tours in that port because of the weather). So we stay in the port, I drink a hot and delicious coffee, my daughters buy some things and chocolates. Costa Maya: I make arrangements through Chac Ek Costa Maya, a little local company. Since the moment I contact them through FB, the way they received us in the agreed place, and the whole local experience with Tino and Hugo (the driver) everything exceed our expectations. BACALAR SEVEN COLORS LAGOON is more beautiful than you can imagine or see in pictures. Color perfect, fresh spring waters and spa with natural clay, while enjoying local beer, tequila and snacks. The experience includes a lunch at a really nice taco place, for 3 delicious taquitos, and they even prepare the most delicious avocado for our vegan daughters. Also a quick stop for the sweetest pineapples that grows in the town. A safe and unforgettable experience with great people. Cozumel: We pay for the X-PLOR All Inclusive Royal Caribbean Tour. I would like to share something important about this tour. The group is reunited in the theater, early in the morning. At 7:30 am you will be boarding a ferry, that travel through really brave waters, and will transport the group to Playa del Carmen. When you board they will give you a green bag...and soon you will know why. Lots of people will be around you, throwing up and feeling sick..they get out of the ferry looking like zombies. So, if you have motion sickness beware of this, please. We do not get sick, thank God, but something to take into consideration. Well, once in Playa del Carmen you will be transported in a really big and comfortable bus that will take in a short drive to X-PLOR. We have the time of our lives: 10 ziplines, underground rivers, hybrid car and a delicious buffet with lots of alternatives including one station with only vegan-vegetarian food. This tour is expensive, like $200 per person, but in our opinion it was worth it!!! You will walk a lot, and climb lots of staircases. Coco Cay: Another day with bad weather, rain and cold winds. We can not enjoy this beautiful paradise as we wish, because of this. Some attractions were closed to. The island is still under construction, but it is as beautiful as the pictures. CONCLUSION: We have a great time in Symphony of the Seas, all of us enjoy our vacation, the food, the service, the ports...everything. I love Royal Caribbean, and will continue traveling with them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
RC, thought of everything, and even things I couldn’t have imagined. The ship was breathe taking, I’m ashamed to say I thought I had see it all, but that was the other cruise line you know the one that’s crashes and other illegal ... Read More
RC, thought of everything, and even things I couldn’t have imagined. The ship was breathe taking, I’m ashamed to say I thought I had see it all, but that was the other cruise line you know the one that’s crashes and other illegal things I don’t care to mention. RC has opened my eyes to what a real cruise ship and crew are suppose to look like. I mean the ship amazing, the food amazing, our cabin amazing, activities awesome, there was so much to do. I went to bed exhausted ever night. The captain and his crew amazing, kudos to the active director and all of her great ideas and the magical cruise director making it snow for us. I’m proud to say My Family is officially apart of the RC Family. The cruise line this family will be using from here on out! I’d tike to send a shout out to all the crew that made my family vacation amazing: starting with: Elvis and his riddles everyday, the greeters and staff at the Windjammer, the greeters and the staff at Solarium. I did take pictures of the crewmembers that were great to me. My son and husband couldn’t get enough of the amazing pizza at Sorrentos. There was great shopping deals on the ship. I can’t think of anything that RC could have done to make our vacation any better. Not unless they can control the weather. My husband is planning on next vacation now. We can’t wait. We’ll see you soon!!!!1 Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose Symphony Of The Seas mainly for the fact that it is currently the largest cruise ship in the world, and we really wanted to see Coco Cay which was hyped up to be heavenly... Let me begin with saying that getting on the ship ... Read More
We chose Symphony Of The Seas mainly for the fact that it is currently the largest cruise ship in the world, and we really wanted to see Coco Cay which was hyped up to be heavenly... Let me begin with saying that getting on the ship was super easy once we registered via RC app. The ship itself is really big, and there are many things we enjoyed - zip line, The Abyss, Aqua Theater etc. The cabins are nice and modernised, with a slightly better layout too. We only had food in the Main Dining room one evening, which was ok at best - waiters were super annoying, coming to the table literally every few seconds to ask if all was ok, and talking to us throughout most of the dinner, making sure we could not have a conversation among ourselves, so we hurried with our meal, and went to Windjammer for a coffee! The most annoying part that evening was seeing some of the SAME food there as in the main dining room, which made it a lot less special at that point. Food in Windjammer was great - much better than we expected. We especially enjoyed Indian meals, which were very tasty! We purchased the behind the scenes package which was 90 GBP per person, and to be honest, we expected a lot more from the tour. Yes, we saw some great areas of the ship, our guide was great, very informative and funny, but for instance, the best part was supposed to be the kitchen, and we saw almost nothing - one table full of fruit salads, and from then on just a few members of staff walking around, and chef explaining what happens with food. Very disappointing for the price of the tour. Bionic bar was ok, we first struggled with making the order, as the app wasn't very clear, so then some rude waitress came over and told us basically that we were stupid for not knowing that robot couldn't do whatever we clicked on it to do - even though the options "stir" or "shake" are there after EACH input of a new part of a drink in a cocktail, we should have known that he couldn't do that... in the end, our drinks WERE made, but one glass was half full, as the robot spilt the other half whilst pouring it, and in the other drink, there was no piece of lime we chose (it was dropped as soon as it was picked up)... Full price was charged and we didn't bother returning to bionic bar as it was much easier ordering at the normal bar - at least you would get a full drink you asked for :D We are absolutely against using plastic straws, but my god, please invest in better paper based ones! The ones served with drinks fall apart within few minutes! They literally fall apart! I had to scoop one from the bottom of my pineapple cocktail. In the end I stopped using them altogether as it was more hassle than it was worth. Pool band was TERRIBLE. I think I saw 5 people actually enjoying their music. It was REALLY bad - no pool vibe like on our other cruises, it was like listening to the half dead cat trying to sing. Coco Cay is a beautiful port, however... the junk sold on the island is appalling. Markets in China have better goods! We planned on buying lots of Coco Cay souvenirs - we hoped to find real quality merchandise on the island - towels, clothes etc. Instead, we struggled to find a good magnet! Everything we touched was dusty, dirty, and obviously of no quality whatsoever. Anything that had "Coco Cay" on it wasn't even written with pen or anything, but stuck with the really bad quality sticker, which peeled off immediately. The prices were the highest we had seen anywhere - minimum 10 USD for a broken, crappy quality magnet! We realised there was a tiny kiosk that was supposed to have RC Coco Cay stuff, but we missed seeing what it was like, because it was closed on our way back to the ship. We hoped there was going to be opportunity to get something on the ship, but sadly, nothing. The RC shop on this ship is tiny, and has nothing special in it - not even the usual magnets (blue oval ones which we are collecting)... This time, we didn't even bother with photos much, but the ones we DID buy were hilariously bad... on two of them, such bad photoshop was used that my hair, and my husband's head are see through (!!!) - you can actually see through us! LOL. On another one, there is a black line across my whole face hahahahah - obviously they were not quality checked prior to being delivered to us. We tried contacting RC to at least send us digital formats, to print them at home, but to no avail as yet. Overall,we were pretty disappointed in the end with the whole experience (we are from Croatia, and going to a cruise like this takes a year of planning and saving up), so we gave the NEXT CRUISE a pass this time around. Might try some other companies instead, RC is not what it used to be. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Choose this cruise because my sister and I had not been on Symphony of the Seas and we wanted to see what this large ship was like. Embarkation was quick and we were on the ship 20 minutes after we arrived at the port. We had a Central ... Read More
Choose this cruise because my sister and I had not been on Symphony of the Seas and we wanted to see what this large ship was like. Embarkation was quick and we were on the ship 20 minutes after we arrived at the port. We had a Central Park Balcony on the 10th floor. I like the ocean view balcony better but we wanted to try something different. We spent very little time on the balcony and sometimes it was very noisy with music and people making noise. The cabin was great, plenty of room to store things, like the glass enclosed shower and our room steward was tops. Grease was amazing, I would go on this cruise again just to see it. The ice skating and aqua shows were terrific. They had to delay the aqua show because of high seas but they did it the next day so worked out fine. I am Diamond and one con was the small Diamond lounge, at night it was always packed with no place to sit unless you got there early so we did not use it, instead using our 3 free drinks at the bars. We spent some time in the casino, if you stayed in the no smoking area wasn't too bad. This is a very busy casino with 3 sea days it was open very late at night. We ate at Park Cafe, Jamie Olivers Italian (fabulous food), Solarium for breakfast and lunch most days, and MDR for our evening meals. Our table mates were great, we had a very interesting time and our dining room staff was top notch. We never had a bad meal anywhere we ate. We Went to St. Maarten, had an excursion and saw both sides of the Island, both Dutch and French. Ate a great raspberry tart at a bakery in the French side across from the marketplace. Shopped a little in the booths and then back to the bus. We boarded a double decker boat and cruised the lagoon. Saw lots of boats damaged by hurricane Erma. Then boarded the bus and saw more of the Dutch side. Our guide was very good. In San Juan we had an excursion that took us on a tour of both old and new San Juan.. Had a great guide who knew lots about the cities and kept us well informed about what we were seeing. In Labadee we rented a Beach Lounger and spent the day on the beach. The weather was absolutely perfect, the water was blue as could be and we watched the zipliners come across the water. The food on Labadee was just okay, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. With over 6000 people on this ship, the elevators were often a long wait to get where you were going, especially around dinner time and show times. Debarkation took a while to get everyone off the ship,. We had a 7;40 - 8:00 departure time and we were off by 8:00. We had a transfer with RCCL that worked out great, got right on the bus and directly to the airport. We had a 12:25 flight and had time to get lunch before we boarded. We would definitely sail on this ship again, the crew was friendly, efficient most of the time, and the ship and shows are excellent. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We booked symphony of The seas a few months ago. Mainly because it was the biggest ship and one of the newest ships in the world. This is our 12th cruise, the last seven have been on Norwegian. Saturday November 9th - Day one Miami - ... Read More
We booked symphony of The seas a few months ago. Mainly because it was the biggest ship and one of the newest ships in the world. This is our 12th cruise, the last seven have been on Norwegian. Saturday November 9th - Day one Miami - We flew into fort Lauderdale the morning of the cruise. We took an Uber down to the ship for three people, it cost $38. We got into the cruise waiting area around 10 a.m. and had to wait an hour before we were let on the ship. That was fine as there were still passengers from the previous week still getting off. We had interior room 9149, we felt that it was larger than a lot of the other interior rooms we seen in the past. The only thing that's weird is the TV, which is at an odd angle and it doesn't pull out as much as it should. The third cruiser in our party was my mom, she had room 9629 a window view into Central Park. Her room was a little bit bigger than ours and had a direct view of the TV. She had read a review online and had some concern before boarding another reviewer mentioned that there is a crew room next door and in the middle of night it sounds like they're throwing dishes and silverware. Every night my mom was woken up between 1:00AM and 3:00AM and this loud clatter went on for 2 hours or so. every morning she would go to the service desk to file a complaint, every time she was told this will be the last time it'll be corrected tonight. After 4 nights and 4 days of talking with crew she gave up and elected to sleep with plugs in. I wouldn't recommend this room to anybody especially somebody who wants to get a good night sleep. I am shocked on such a brand new ship that the engineers and designers didn't plan better and keep this crew service area away from sleeping quarters. We ate in main dining the first night 5:30 on Deck 5. We had a small issue that was the fault of my mom's travel agent, we only had a two-person table for dinner so the wait staff put us in a temporary table for that night. We were approached to upgrade our dining to Royal Caribbean's ultimate dining package by a head server who is one of the server managers. We expected this to happen as a lot of the reviews mentioned Royal Caribbean trying to upsell cruisers on different drink and food packages. She said it was $99 and would allow us to pick three different restaurants to go to over the week. We confirmed the price three different times and even on the phone with her that the price was $99, as every place else on the ship was $115. She said it was definitely $99 so we picked our three restaurants and told her we would take her offer. We booked our dining days and times right there with her. The next day while checking our account and we see we were billed $115 per person. I called her and she seemed confused by the price and said she would look into it. Later that day we received a voicemail in our room that we could not fully understand but could make out the price was $115 and she was sorry for her mistake. We stopped down at the service desk to discuss this. We told the nice gentleman there Norman that we didn't think it was fair she made a mistake, we confirm with her multiple times the price and she wasn't going to change it. the rep called the head server who came down after 10 minutes or so to the service desk. She said that she had talked with her manager the price was $115 it was her mistake and they're not changing it. If we didn't want to pay the correct price they would just cancel the dining package. We have already planned our evenings around the specially dinners, we were excited with the menus that we seen. Now we are being told it's take it or leave it from Tatyana, her manager and Royal Caribbean. We left feeling disappointed and frustrated. As we're waiting for the elevators Norman comes running up and says that this is not fair, this is not how they do things and he is going to take our issue up with his manager. Later that day the price was corrected by Norman at the customer service desk. Thank you Norman!! It wasn't the issue of the money as it's minimal, it's the fact that we felt lied too by the restaurant employee telling us a false price just to get us to book. Please don't give us any BS that she didn't know what the real price was. This is her job she's a manager and something she does everyday. Saturday night we went outside for the Hiro show in the aqua theater. We loved everything about the show the music was great the lights and the performers were outstanding. There isn't a bad place to sit in the Aqua theater but maybe the last few rows might block a little of the show. Sunday November 10th - Day two sea day- we had a nice day in the Solarium, and then late morning we went and did the escape room. It was a great concept and I liked the story. I felt it was very difficult and we didn't finish all tasks but I've only done one other escape room. Late afternoon I watched some of the NFL football games in Play Makers. Our dining that night was back into main dining at 5:30 for a very good meal. We were moved to a fabulous table where we were all able to sit together. We had a wonderful waitress named Sheila. Monday November 11th - Day 3 Roatan Honduras - We had breakfast in main dining. It was very quick and a nice set up you could either do ala cart or the buffet or a combination of both. There were many different choices and selections. The best breakfast we have had on a cruise ship. Spent the rest of the day on a private tour in a van visiting various areas on the island. For dinner we had our first choice for the specialty dining in Wonderland. The experience was a combination of great dining and being entertained. Our server here was Jason Bourne and he was top-notch, a fabulous server! We all enjoyed anytime the Mad hatter stopped to chat with us. The food was AMAZING!! The presentation of the food and the flavors were wonderful and so perfectly displayed. This evening for entertainment at 8:30 we had the ice show 1977 in studio B. Very good production, the LED lights in the ice, special effects and music were truly amazing. Tuesday November 12th - Day four Costa maya Mexico - As usual we started our day in main dining for breakfast and then right off the ship. We had to catch a taxi to go over to yaya's private beach club. spent the day on the beach eating drinking relaxing and having fun this is by far the best place to get a massage as they are offered anywhere at $20 to $30 an hour. After a long day at the beach we took it easy the rest of the night back on the ship. Dinner in main dining with Sheila again who was just fabulous. She calls us by our names and remembers everything we told her from the day before. We looked forward to our dinners in main dining as she provided excellent service. Wednesday November 13th - Day 5 Cozumel Mexico - We went to Park place first thing in the morning. We grabbed some bagels and some other quick items to eat before we headed off the ship here in Cozumel. We didn't have any plans here. Ended up renting a Jeep for $80 and driving around the island. Had a nice day checking out the sites having a few drinks and trying guacamole, chips, and tacos. After returning the Jeep, we ended walking around downtown, checking out the shops. Dinner was Specialty dining Park 150. The food and service here in my opinion couldn't get better. As good as any restaurant I've ever been to on land. Our server Eleizar had a lot of good recommendations for us. We tried the scallops, pumpkin soup, braised short ribs and beat salad with goat cheese. The entrees were the lobster Thermador, the Lamb Wellington, and where the menu showed Filet Mignon for two cut table side they allow you to do that for one person. I highly recommend this nice little place in Central Park to every guest. For entertainment as we had not booked anything we tried the family comedians in the theater. The show was opened by Jim David, he was ok. The headliner was a comedian from Texas named Steve McGrew who left us with sore jaws...he was Hilarious!! Thursday November 14th - Day six sea day - We tried the buffet for breakfast. Another day at sea and we spend some time again in the Solarium. We went to the question and answer get together with the captain and crew. There was a lot of different questions answered by the captain from what happens during an emergency to how he became a captain on the largest ship in the world. We also attended the art auction. Of all the cruises we've been on this the first time we experience the art auction and it was worth going to. For dinner we went back to main dining and another fabulous night with our server Sheila, also happened to be lobster tail night. At night our main entertainment was Flight Dare to Dream in the Royal theater. This show was top of the line. The production and special effects were outstanding – Royal Caribbean didn’t cut costs on this show whatsoever! We also watched the Ice 2.0 skating show and the adult comedians in the attic at 10:30. This time Steve McGrew opened and the headliner was Jim David. Again tons of laughs. Everything that we've seen for entertainment on the symphony couldn't get any better! Friday November 15th - Day seven private island of CocoCay - Grabbed another quick breakfast in Park of a few bagels again and walked over to a perfect day at CocoCay. The island was a lot bigger and nicer than we could ever imagine. We spent most of the day just sitting by the pool in the Oasis lagoon. We did do some walking around and every area was amazing. There were many different options for food. The cheeseburgers and French fries were seriously mouth watering! They also had cheesesteaks, a full Mexican buffet and a huge salad bar. Everything here for food was great. The ice cream was also much better than the stuff on the ship- I highly recommend you grab a cone! For dining we had the last of our specialty dining at Chops. Being the signature Royal Caribbean we expected a little bit more and didn't love it as much as Park 150 or Wonderland. Nothing we hated, we just didn't find any food item or the service that great. We were not blown away like the first two specialty dining nights. Our last show for the cruise was Hairspray. None of us knew what to expect or even knew the story. It was a good play like all the rest of the shows we attended, with great performers! Saturday November 16th - Miami- We disembarked first thing in the morning as we had to get back to Fort Lauderdale Hollywood airport and catch our flight home. Got in line to walk off at 6:40am. That was a breeze off at 7 a.m. and didn't have issues getting off the boat or Port. In our Lyft at 7:20am headed to the airport for $31. Overall we had a few small issues but the ship is amazing, the crew was very nice and polite, all the food that we had everywhere on the ship was five star and the entertainment could not get any better! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Picked symphony because we wanted to be on a big ship with more to do with kids. The ship is amazing, spotless. Never felt crowded except first day boarding the ship. Would avoid wind jammer and eat elsewhere first day. Shows were all ... Read More
Picked symphony because we wanted to be on a big ship with more to do with kids. The ship is amazing, spotless. Never felt crowded except first day boarding the ship. Would avoid wind jammer and eat elsewhere first day. Shows were all amazing, didn’t go to specialty restaurants because food I’m main dining room was excellent. I read negative reviews prior to going on this trip which worried me. Not sure what ship they were on. Would go on symphony again in a heart beat. The diving show was definitely a high light of the trip as well as Flight. We went to Tabyana beach in Roatan. Beautiful beach until noon and than garbage was washing up on shore. Pill bottles, old shoes, etc they said vans would take us back to ship on the hour got there at 2:45 waited until 4:00 for van. Took taxi to beach in Costa Maya was very nice day spent on beach. Got off ship and just did some shopping in Cozumel. Cococay is amazing Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
First, let me give praise where it is due. Our wait staff in the My Time Dining room were pleasant, kind, dedicated, hard-working, and determined to provide us with the kind of care that Royal Caribbean is famous for. Our room steward also ... Read More
First, let me give praise where it is due. Our wait staff in the My Time Dining room were pleasant, kind, dedicated, hard-working, and determined to provide us with the kind of care that Royal Caribbean is famous for. Our room steward also did an excellent job. Many kudos and sincerest thanks to them. A 5 star rating is not good enough for the service they provided. 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.” “Sorry.” “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. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I like new ships - had to try. Glad I got to try before this virus shutdown. Gorgeous ship with lots to do. We took a 7 day western Caribbean and never were bored. Loved the junior suite - big enough for our 16 year old to come ... Read More
I like new ships - had to try. Glad I got to try before this virus shutdown. Gorgeous ship with lots to do. We took a 7 day western Caribbean and never were bored. Loved the junior suite - big enough for our 16 year old to come with us. It had a walk in closet that was perfect for changing. Had our cabin on deck 6 - most convenient to the bar. We loved the entertainment. We are not theater people, but we enjoyed Hairspray and first in flight. We caught the comedian and he was hilarious. We also saw 1977-the skating show - excellent. Also, the piano guy was a neat surprise - we ran into to him at the elevators. We also had the restaurant package but if you want a yummy, included lunch - Central Park has a sandwich shop that has the BEST roast beef sandwhiches.- Even my teen loved Wonderland. Our waitress was so friendly and helpful.(the food needs to be explained) We were not aware of the $14 p/p upcharge on the Japanese steakhouse, but it was well worth it. If you get a restaurant package - make the reservations right after you embark as soon as you can - they fill up fast. Oh, and the seafood restaurant was very good. I still taste the homemade cornbread/hushpuppies. We previously sailed Allure and didn't think it could be outdone - but I was wrong! I hope these ships can sail again without too many changes. Best memories and the best crew members. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Symphony of the Seas is a fun, beautiful ship that has its pros and cons. Of course what is my experience with a ship may be very different than someone else. I think it is important to look at the pros and cons of any ship when deciding ... Read More
Symphony of the Seas is a fun, beautiful ship that has its pros and cons. Of course what is my experience with a ship may be very different than someone else. I think it is important to look at the pros and cons of any ship when deciding your vacation. It is your time and money and it is important to have an idea of what you may be in for. Pros: Lots of activities, friendly crew, great running track and gym. Solarium Bistro was a favorite and is included in your cruise fare. The food in the MDR was more hit and miss but great wait staff. Cons: With a big ship comes big crowds and lots of lines. They strongly need to reconsider how they handle the crowds for laser tag. It is a lot of fun and something multi-generational groups can do together. However, it was only up and running a few hours about every other day. Plus, the young staff running the laser tag had no idea how to handle the crowds. After our stop at Costa Maya was suddenly cancelled, it was announced that laser tag would be opened up. It was a disaster. My whole family waited and left the line after 2 hours except for my teenage son who waited 3.5 hours and did not get to play. Security had to be called at one point to remove a woman who was yelling at the man organizing the line because he was making more than one stand by line. He was allowing groups to play who had only been in line less than an hour and not taking those who had been waiting all morning. This was the most extreme example of the problem but long lines happened every time laser tag opened. One other big con was the up-selling on the first day. We went to the buffet on the first day and were approached five different times to upgrade to the specialty dining, one time to upgrade our beverage package, and another time to sign up for the (for a fee) cupcake class. This was our 5th cruise and we had never experienced this kind of up-selling before. Finally, anyone with COPD, asthma, or respiratory issues should know that smoking is allowed on the port side of the main pool. This is true for RC ships in general. We tried to avoid it by staying on the starboard side but sometimes it was impossible to avoid. Between 200-300 million people world-wide have asthma and around 100 million are affected by COPD, it is very troubling to me that smoking is allowed to continue in a very public area like the main pool. There are other smoking areas around the ship that do not cause as many issues. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I do not like RCL. I simply don't like how they do things. Nevertheless, my Mother who is Diamond on RCL said I should experience an Oasis Class Ship at least once in my life so off we went. While some things were good it was ... Read More
I do not like RCL. I simply don't like how they do things. Nevertheless, my Mother who is Diamond on RCL said I should experience an Oasis Class Ship at least once in my life so off we went. While some things were good it was generally a terrible experience. I will try to cover both in my review. Our cabin was one of those that had a balcony facing the inside of the ship. If we never left Miami I wouldn't have known it because it was like staying in a hotel. There is no Promenade Deck so you don't see water unless you are seated near a window in the restaurant or if you are on top of the ship. The pool deck is all windowed in so you must go higher to breathe the Ocean air. We got to our cabin and there was no remote for the TV. We made several attempts to contact guest services but nobody ever answered the telephone. Eventually our cabin steward came to the rescue. The cabin was adequate except for the tiny safe provided. Our cabin attendant was excellent and kept the cabin spotless. The main problem with this ship is that there are over 6000 passengers and not enough facilities for all of them. There were lines and more lines for everything. Sea days on the pool deck were monotonous. All of the complimentary dining options were always packed with lines. We chose anytime dining for the main dining room and there was always a line to get in. We tried making reservations but the tables we wanted were always booked and many times nobody showed up even though they were reserved. The serving staff in the main dining rooms for dinner are for the most part very good. Not so great for other meals. The dining room management is a confused mess. We reserved a table one evening only to arrive at the time we were told to arrive to find the table occupied. We found Symphony to be an unorganized jumble. If you go be prepared for a constant wait for elevators and if someone is in a wheelchair not many people can fit in.The food is awful. Both of us contracted some type of illness from the food on the second night. The food in the Windjammer is like pig slop. The bright spot on this ship is the shows. We did not much care for Hiro but Hairspray, Flight, and the Ice show were terrific although there were several cancellations due to technical problems. In one case we were informed our show had a new starting time and we went there 45 minutes early to get a decent seat. After sitting there all that time the cruise director announced the show could not go on. This happened with three different shows during the week. Make sure you reserve. Another thing I disliked is their towel procedure of having to sign out and in towels. I much prefer having them available in my stateroom like other cruise lines do. My biggest complaint was the unavailability of ocean air or views of the water. No wake view on this ship. I much prefer the older ships of other cruise lines that carry less passengers where things are manageable. Because of the amount of people and screaming kids everywhere it was not very enjoyable. Coco Cay is perhaps the worst of the private Islands I have visited. I couldn't care less about the new water park (additional charge) and there is a 12% value fee for anything purchased on the island. The swimming areas are like man made lagoons rather then open Ocean. This must be great if you have kids but for adults it wasn't too exciting. Everything on Symphony is an additional charge and all of the activities are geared toward purchases. You cannot even get a decent movie on TV without paying for it. As far as the zip line and slides that is all great if you have kids but for seniors it's not very important. I didn't like RCL before and I have cruised with them a few times but after this I would rather stay home then go on Symphony again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We did the Eastern Caribbean tour on Symphony. It was a good cruise, the ship did not feel that crowded, some lines but they typically moved fast. Service was mediocre, crew was not very pleasant and bar service was pretty slow. ... Read More
We did the Eastern Caribbean tour on Symphony. It was a good cruise, the ship did not feel that crowded, some lines but they typically moved fast. Service was mediocre, crew was not very pleasant and bar service was pretty slow. Food was also mediocre, but not bad and not great (except for Lobster night, Lobster night was great!). We got a good value out of the drink package as drinks are at least $8 each. Perfect Day was a fun beach day, but felt a little rushed. Got off at 10:30, found a chair, had a couple of drinks then head to lunch then swimming with the pigs. Got back for one hour of beach (nap) time then boarded for early dining (late dining would have had another hour on the island). If you want good pool chairs on sea day, get ther by 7:30 am on day 1 and then 7:00 am each following sea day. If you want any pool chair and are not picky about your location, you can sleep in for another hour, but everything is gone by 9 am. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our first time back on Royal in 12 years. Our last Royal Cruise was a very very disappointing time. Our son and his wive gave us a wonderful family trip with our grandchildren. We had seven wonderful days of fun. The staff was ... Read More
This was our first time back on Royal in 12 years. Our last Royal Cruise was a very very disappointing time. Our son and his wive gave us a wonderful family trip with our grandchildren. We had seven wonderful days of fun. The staff was extremely nice and very helpful with anything we needed. This is my 23rd Cruise and have never been treated so well. The only problem I had was the food was bad in most of the restaurants. Chops the fine dining was great. We had a window cabin, which I would not recommend for 4 people. Embarkation was the best I have ever had, fast and very efficient, disembarkation went just as smooth. Every cruise line should disembark this way. Our luggage was on a carousel like at a airport, this made it very easy. Over all I may try Royal again. We are Platinum with NCL, so it is very hard for me to use another cruise line. Dona Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Let me start by saying that my mother decided she wanted to go on the largest cruise ship in the world. It did not live up to the hype. One of the biggest disappointments was the food available on the ship. Dining room food was pretty ... Read More
Let me start by saying that my mother decided she wanted to go on the largest cruise ship in the world. It did not live up to the hype. One of the biggest disappointments was the food available on the ship. Dining room food was pretty awful. On the past 3 cruises with Royal Caribbean the food was very good. They really missed the mark this time. We did the “my time dining” which was a nice option because every night we ate at a different time. But every time we were in the dining room service was either rushed, or non existent. And most of the wait staff seemed terribly overwhelmed. Had dinner at wonderland which was the best meal of all that we had, chops grill meat quality was not up to par and we sent steaks back multiple times. They had a hard time getting it right. I was very annoyed at the pool set up, the pool in the solarium was tiny and always felt disgustingly dirty. Every time I looked for a bed to lay in they were always held by someone’s towels for the whole day, but rarely were those people actually using the bed. Signs everywhere that said chairs cannot be held, on cruising days all chairs near the pool and beds were claimed with a towel by 9am. Excursions were ridiculously overpriced. Room was always kept tidy and normal size for a stateroom. We had a balcony over looking Central Park which is an excellent room choice. However the beds were absolutely rock hard and had my back hurting after a couple nights. 1977 ice show was the best show we saw on the ship. They were phenomenal. After all the shows let out it was very hard to get an elevator, my father is disabled and had a scooter to use onboard. People literally pushed us out of the way to get on the elevators 90% of the time. Overall we still enjoyed the cruise but had better cruises in the past. For the money spent it just did not come close to meeting our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We stayed in Miami on Friday night at the Hilton Miami Airport Blue Lagoon. Our group organizer chose this hotel...which was nice but offered no amenities. We had a free shuttle from the airport and that was it. The rate was $215 including ... Read More
We stayed in Miami on Friday night at the Hilton Miami Airport Blue Lagoon. Our group organizer chose this hotel...which was nice but offered no amenities. We had a free shuttle from the airport and that was it. The rate was $215 including tax. Breakfast in the a.m. was $15 per person which was insane. There was a "market" and Starbucks in the lobby... to get some milk and a snack for the kids at breakfast was over $20. I wouldn't recommend this hotel based on cost and offerings but it was truly a nice property. We had a group of 23 cruising, so we hired a private shuttle to drive us from the hotel to the ship. This was a smooth process and we were inside the terminal within 30 minutes from leaving the hotel (including loading and unloading time). Embarkation was very smooth. We got there about 12:30 p.m. so it seemed as if most of the morning rush to get on the ship was through. Took about 10 minutes to complete check in, security and photos. We had connecting cabins (9310/9312) for our family of 4 which was SO nice! Our cabin stwerad came by and opened up the connecting interior rooms right away and also opened up the 4 balcony dividers that we had - giving our 4 family cabins a TON of outside space. The rooms were clean, cool, and very spacious! We had plenty of room between both cabuins - with 2 adults, 2 kids, 4 suitcases, all of our clothing, 2 strollers and a crib. Elvin was our cabin stweard and we LOVED him. He was so great with our 2 young boys. We ate most of our lunches in the Windjammer - it was crowded but we always manged to find tables for the 7 of us. The Mango juice and Strawberry Kiwi juice we DELICOUS! Food was always hot and had a great variety. Breakfast in the Windjammer on the first morning (day 2, sea day) was a JOKE! There was a line to get in that would have taken every bit of an hour to wait in. Luckily, we knew there were other breakfast venue's on board so we ate elsewhere. After the first full day, it seemed like everyone had figured out the different places to eat onboard, because we did manage to eat breakfast in the Windjammer most of the week with no issues. We had breakfast at Johnny Rockets one day and it was hot and fast and very good! Dinner every night was in the Main Dining Room - we had my time dining at 6:00 p.m. every night and due to the large size of our group (23) we had the same table reserved for us. Geia and Andy were our waiters and they were FANTASTIC! They made sure the kids had their milk and a fruit plate soon after we sat down every night. They also put the kisd order in right away and had their food out early so they were occupied during the long meal time. The food was hot, great and had tons of variety and options. The shows themselves were GREAT, PHENOMENAL! but the reservation and seating process were a joke! We had reservations for every show. Per the direction of the cruise line we arrived at the shows 15 minutes prior to show time...only to find each venue FULL! Not even 1 seat open. It seems as if they let the guests without reservations in at the 15 minute mark and then it became a free for all. Not very happy with the way RCL handles this. Every show we were left scrambling for seats. Even on the night we got there 30 minutes early. Seating for the shows was a complete disaster and disappointment. The photo department was a REAL negative part of the trip and it an area majorly lacking in service and convenience. The photographers were rushed while taking pictures. They didn’t take the time to pose us or even suggest how to stand. We had a 2 year old and a 4 year old with us and ended up just awkwardly holding them or standing grouped together for photos. My parents were watching us take a photo and yelled out to us to pull down our sons shirt because his belly was sticking out under his shirt - something you would think the photographer would have noticed before they started taking pictures. The real BAD issue with the photos was when it came time to order them... we had photos from the last formal night (night 6) that we wanted to see - but the photo shop didn’t open until 7 p.m. on the last night due to being in port at Coco Cay and that was the first and ONLY opportunity to see the photos from day 6. It was also the last time ANYBODY on board could buy photos (from 7-11 p.m.) so the photo area was a MAD HOUSE. Additionally, since we were traveling as a group, we had photos all over the place. They were on my cabin account, on my husbands cabin account, my parents account, aunts account - ect... the problem is you are only allowed to access the photos that are in your account. Therefore, I wasn’t able to buy or even SEE the group photos on the accounts of anybody else in the group we traveled with. I had photos of my grandparents with my kids that I couldn’t buy because they weren’t in my account. The photo manager could transfer photos from someone else’s account into mine, but all people in the photo needed to give their consent to do so... which was a joke. Photos were to be ready by 10:30 p.m. for pick up... went to get them and they weren’t ready. Photo center said they would deliver to cabin before the morning, we woke up - no pictures. I had to go back to the photo center and wait in line to pick up the photos I bought at 6 a.m. on disembarkation day. Not happy... My BIGGEST complaint is that there is no swimming pool on board where families with young kids are allowed to swim. We had a 2 year old with us who wears diapers, we had him in very nice swim diapers that our aquatic center at home requires us to wear into their pools. We were bombarded every 20 minutes by the lifeguards because we were in the main pool with him - not in the water but standing on the outside of the pool. The designated "kids pool" is a playground with splashing water. My kids hate being splashed and in the kids area there was no way around that. Additionally, my parents (60 years) cant just stand in the kids pool all day and watch the kids play. We all wanted to sit in the water and even float around in the pool to stay cool. For a cruise line that caters to families and offers on a regular basis "kids cruise free" they really do a poor job accommodating guests with young kids. Coco Cay was an absolutely AMAZING, truly perfect day. Beach chairs were a little hard to find... but eventually we all settled in and found some so it worked out. Everything about Coco Cay was wonderful. It's beautiful, clean, organized. The prices for the water park, cabanas and misc. excursions are too high, but we just didn't participate and stuck with the included things and had a great day. The shopping was OK, the stores sold the same stuff from hut to hut were pretty pricey ($25+ for a t-shirt) and the employees inside (locals) were all pretty rude... but it was nice to be able to get a few souvenirs to bring home. Overall a great cruise. A few things worth mentioning that we were unhappy with but mostly a good trip! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I was really excited to be on the biggest and newest cruise ship on Royal Caribbean. This was also my first time on Royal Caribbean even though I've been on many other vessels such as Carnival and Norwegian. Pros: it is beautiful ... Read More
I was really excited to be on the biggest and newest cruise ship on Royal Caribbean. This was also my first time on Royal Caribbean even though I've been on many other vessels such as Carnival and Norwegian. Pros: it is beautiful and enormous with many extravagant shows that are worth watching and very entertaining. The room is really nice and spacious as well as the bathrooms. Bar Service: bought the unlimited drinking package and definitely got my moneys worth but service was probably the worst. Quite a few times I've had to wait 30 minutes for a drink. Many bartenders would not even make eye contact with me to ask for a drink. I at times had to try and get their attention (not ideal and quite embarrassing). It wasn't at all bars though. The specific one that had the worst service was at Playmakers sports bar. Justin was the one that served me and many of my family members with mediocre service. Quite rude and intentionally ignored all of us. Pro: There was one server, named Greedep at Playmakers who was amazing! Service exceeded my expectations and food came on time. Very kind and welcoming. Pro tip: Go to Schooners bar and you will def get a good drink with good service as well. Best cosmos there! Main Dining Room: did not exceed my expectations. Felt very crowded and food was just okay. Everything was subpar except for service which was excellent. Overall the cruise was fun, lots of activities to do. For the adults, definitely recommend lounging at the solarium where it is relaxing with huge bath pools/jacuzzis. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were the cruise that no one was really sure we would be able to even take because of Hurricane Dorian! Royal Caribbean was AMAZING at communicating with us and letting us know the advantages of hanging in there with them and assured ... Read More
We were the cruise that no one was really sure we would be able to even take because of Hurricane Dorian! Royal Caribbean was AMAZING at communicating with us and letting us know the advantages of hanging in there with them and assured our safety so we decided to go ahead keep our reservation and take the cruise. This ship is the nicest ship we have ever had the pleasure of taking, We have taken many cruises on many different lines. We are now have Platinum Status on RC so we are trying to continue growing our reward level on this RCI ships and family. We absolutely LOVED every single part of this ship! The Rooms were the largest and spacious and beautiful. The ship is immaculate, the food was excellent, and the service was awesome! I cannot tell you how pleased I was with my experience! Royal Caribbean knocked it out of the park with this Ship and this Cruise. There really were so many differences to this cruise and this ship than so many others. It was just a way different class of ship than so many others! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
One of the most important things a lot of folks do not do, is not to book their shows, tours and restaurants well in advance and wait to do it when they get on ship and that is when issues come up. My wife booked everything about 2 months ... Read More
One of the most important things a lot of folks do not do, is not to book their shows, tours and restaurants well in advance and wait to do it when they get on ship and that is when issues come up. My wife booked everything about 2 months in advance . We had my time dinning, waited maybe 3-4 minutes and were seated. The tickets for our tours or shows were on bed waiting for us. Embarkation; stood in line about 10 minutes; all our paper work was in order; checked in about 4 minutes and off to the gangway we went. Having sailed on Allure and Harmony we were on another fanatic ship. My favorite things to do on ship were zip line, Abyss and perfect storm water slides and of course the merry go round. Aqua show was great; I like sitting in first row on wooden benches, you get a little wet, but the more you laugh the wetter you get. Great place to sit if you have kids. There were 4 kids sitting near me and they had a ball getting wet. Ice show is another great show, make sure you bring a jacket it gets a little cold at ice skating ring. We found if you get there early; when you walk in go to the right down to first row of seats in front of ice skating ring about mid way, great seats. If you like Broadway Shows my wife highly recommends " Hair Spray" Our favorite bar is the Schooner Bar. Another neat bar is the Rising Tide Bar which brings you from promenade up to Central Park. The drinks are price e so if you drink a lot get the beverage package, example a ice downed rum and coke is $10.00 There is some great music at bars and shows, but they always turn volume all the way up, so if loud music hurts your ears bring ear plugs. We had My Time Dinning, the food was good and service was great. We also ate at Chops Grill,. again food and service were great. We also ate at Hooked Seafood, service was great but food was ok. You can also get breakfast and lunch in solarium but check times by the doors. We had breakfast in main dinning room made to order which was good. And of course the Windjammer Marketplace, yes it is crowed but you will find a seat and the food is good; some breakfast foods are cold but what do expect cooking for 6000 people ,Central Park is a great place to hang out and have a drink or 2 in the evening with that special person. Take time to read the Cruise Compass ever day because it tells you where and when things are happening on ship. Our room was clean and in order when we arrived and kept that way thru whole cruise and if we needed something our stateroom attendant would make it happen. We talked to many crew members first asking them where they were from and that would open the conversation. We found crew members very polite and down to earth folks just like us. The night before disembarkation we left our bags in hall way to be picked up in morning. We were flying out of Fort Lauderdale and chose to book a bus thru RC. There are 2 buses, one at 7:30 AM and one at 8:30 AM. We were told to meet in Royal Theater and when you tag number is called follow crew member to disembark. It was 8:00 AM and they did not call our number yet so my wife said lets go with the next group because we still had to clear customs. We got our bags and headed to customs, what a surprise, stood in front of screen; if your picture was of you agent said your good to go. Its it good thing we left early because the bus left at 8:20 AM. You might even consider using UBER. "Get out there" Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Symphony of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.4
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 5.0 4.2
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.3
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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