Just finished our week on Symphony and wanted to make a few observations. We spent an incredible week on one of our favorite ships feeling so grateful to be cruising again. The staff was wonderful everywhere, and seemed genuinely pleased to be sailing again. I'm not going to do a full-fledged trip report, but I'll give my input on things people have asked about.
Check-in at the POM was very quick and easy; we've mostly been sailing from PC or Port Everglades. We received notice of our upgrade on Thursday late afternoon before we boarded on Saturday, so I didn't try to get our hotel to print new luggage tags. We had originally checked in on the app for 1PM, but were able a few days earlier to snag a 12PM time slot. We were in a suite, so we got to the port a little after 11AM, where the porter quickly created tags and sent our bags on the way.. There were maybe 20 -25 people ahead of us. Around 11:30 we were allowed to enter the terminal. They took pictures of our proof of vax, checked our Covid test results, and passports then we were seated in the next waiting area, where another port staff person came and rechecked the above documents. At exactly 12, we were allowed to begin the walk to the ship, where I expected to show docs again, but were immediately greeted by ship staff on deck 5.
We had purchased the Unlimited dining package, so we went straight to Jamie's, where we enjoyed a fabulous lunch. We hadn't yet gotten our Sea passes , but all they needed was our cabin number. After placing our order, the hostess made all of our dining reservations for the week. We then went up to the suite lounge just to check it out, then headed for our suite. We were booked in a Crown Loft, but our Royal Up put us in a 1 bedroom Aquatheater suite. What a beautiful cabin, with that gorgeous wrap-around balcony! Our stateroom steward Christian, was awesome! I booked our shows on the app then, which caused me to rearrange some of our dinner reservations. I miss being able to book shows in advance, but I get that the logistics have changed with all the last minute cancellations, rebookings, etc. Definitely a small problem in this strange era.
I've read inquiries on several subjects, with posters asking if it's "worth it", so I'll express my opinion:
Royal Up: We bid a few dollars over the minimum, not expecting to get upgraded at all. We're glad we did, and enjoyed a cabin that we wouldn't often get a chance to sail in. Our upgrade gave us a bigger cabin with a totally separate bedroom instead of the loft, which was nice for naps. We did lose the second bathroom, but for just the 2 of us it was fine.
Unlimited Dining Package: We loved it! We are diamond plus, so have cruised multiple times, always enjoying 1 or more nights in specialty dining. Although we were in a suite and had access to Coastal Kitchen, we decided to treat ourselves with the UDP. I'm so glad we did, it was great!
Coco Beach Club: It is a beautiful area, with it's private restaurant and pool, and a large number of lounge chairs both by the pool and close to the beach. When you first come in past the check-in desk, there is the restaurant, then the beach beds and the pool. There are only 8 beds, which were all taken when we arrived, so we settled into a couple of loungers under umbrellas. We enjoyed the ocean for a while, then went to lunch. The service was impeccable, the food nicely presented, but I decided that for me, it wasn't special enough to warrant the price, especially since we were using the UDP for 7 dinners and 3 lunches of very awesome food.
It was certainly very lightly used on the day we were there. I saw maybe 20 or 25 people the couple of hours we were there. Probably best appreciated when the number of guests is larger or if you plan to spend a longer time at the pool or beach.
We did end up eating in the Coastal Kitchen for 1 dinner, which was good. In general, DH loves to eat breakfast/brunch in the Windjammer, giving him a chance to pick from the wide assortment, including the special gluten-free items that he needs. The Windjammer was typically only open on one side, allowing them to socially distance the guests. We were told that there were 1780 guests.
Crown and Anchor drink coupons: We aren't big drinkers and chose not to go to the diamond or suite lounges on this trip, so the vouchers were a great option for us. Pre-Covid, we enjoyed meeting and chatting with other cruisers in the lounges, but decided to really maintain distancing on this trip. The ability to use our 5 vouchers any time of day at any place on the ship(certain exclusions) really worked for us.
This was a perfect celebration for my retirement this year. We're so glad we were able to sail, thanks RCI for being careful about Covid . DH and I aren't young anymore, so we wanted to limit exposure.
Ask any questions, I'll be glad to reply.
We love the shows, and only missed 1 night.