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Semi-live Pre-opening cruise Symphony of the Seas

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I don’t personally know a single person that dry cleans and presses their underwear or socks. 🤦*♀️

 

 

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I didn't even notice that. Hopefully those who do ask for light starch so they aren't walking around stiff as a board lol

 

What time are the shows in the evening? We have a standing 6:30 reservation in the dining room, we will make the shows?

 

There was usually two showings for the main shows that seemed to more so coinencide with end of the set dining times. But I'm posting up all the Daily Compasses so you'll be able to better judge the timing. Our dinners were often an hour and a half from start to finish so you could use that as a planning factor.

 

And on to all (most(some)) of the delivered to us over the cruise.

 

368f6470fc1a62b54f079b9ff873e694.jpg

 

684f164f98f7d501efea29134d0bf1ee.jpg

 

a7235ab99a832c4b252201b6c0b6a17a.jpg

 

216c0997dedd53f15079adb4c274a545.jpgI do flaunt my status

 

 

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There was usually two showings for the main shows that seemed to more so coinencide with end of the set dining times. But I'm posting up all the Daily Compasses so you'll be able to better judge the timing. Our dinners were often an hour and a half from start to finish so you could use that as a planning factor.

 

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I think with a 6:30 reservations in the main dining room, we should be able to see the 9 show.

 

I have not been on RC for awhile, as I have been on other cruiselines for the past few years.

 

I remember we had to line up to get tickets for the ice show. Do you have to still line up for tickets?

 

For the main shows, can you walk in for seats?

 

Do you need reservations for other shows?

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I think with a 6:30 reservations in the main dining room, we should be able to see the 9 show.

 

I have not been on RC for awhile, as I have been on other cruiselines for the past few years.

 

I remember we had to line up to get tickets for the ice show. Do you have to still line up for tickets?

 

For the main shows, can you walk in for seats?

 

Do you need reservations for other shows?

Should be do-able

 

As far as tickets, everything is reserved in advanced either on the cruise planner or a mini box office stand they setup on the promenade during the day. When you go to your show, they scan your seapass to confirm you are at the right place at the right time. This is for all main theater, ice, and aqua theater shows. They also had the system set up for the comedian, but since we went to an early showing late in the cruise, we just walked in

 

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Day 2 Compass and bonus papers

 

115821acf66c874abfdf4243f19efa4c.jpg

 

52c60abd2898ef408b9daa384b6442c4.jpg

 

a47d7c2bb81626bd2f306937e1c3bd7c.jpg

c10d3542035b4ab7aa89896c230fa81c.jpgEaster cruise ads

 

a5bfc2c69b6df4840d2b75a87b56203c.jpgBetter hop to it

 

64005d1c0588578a2967bf9f07ad24ba.jpgOh the Spaniards and their "Value Added" tax. I don't think their tax added any value.

 

 

 

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Day three plus a gift

 

b9e76e16fabdc446911ff0f2c367f6e8.jpg

 

84cd54ee50ab55b2cbe07d1028083085.jpg

 

67b913d7d77d78c23f23e2866fcb79a7.jpg

 

5eba00388af4d56f690eb36918be33f7.jpgAnd the picture we received

 

9547391b6a7a74f9ea17c67159540eaf.jpgSuper authentic. I've got the paper to prove it.

 

358c5611e2115d0e4256e387fea8d7fd.jpgBio of the artist.

 

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Day 5 and a little fun

 

a4bb121aa9347c757761b0b10a2f45ba.jpg

 

ab4dc0b9ca705b637ab486d4c88a47b3.jpg

 

04f339177b10d39a5c0b0f2991d888a6.jpg

 

a34967f9d479234f643a7c3bc1a79771.jpgArt Auction ad. We wanted to go, but just never made it. Not that I'll ever buy anything, but free champagne is the best kind.

 

ea784390f60d19e8b6574b3bf340f6d5.jpgThey had this cool TV that turned whatever was in front of it into a painted image. The longer you stood still, the better the detail would come in

 

5a25e36a9bc663a0c6f266b3aa918fd0.jpgAnd Macon made these for our cabin crawl/bar crawl. We ended up making entirely too many. But have a PDF saved of it if anyone wants it for their upcoming roll calls.

 

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Which nights were formal nights on your sailing - night 2 and night 6?

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I read somewhere that if a bartender gives you a weird look when ordering a Caesar/Bloody Caesar you just tell them make a Bloody Mary and stab it a bunch of times. It was on the internet so it has to be true

 

Et tu stp_mmh5? Then fall Caesar.

 

Or at least my quest for one. I’ll just bring clam juice on board. There’s a convoluted/brilliant Bloody Mary cruise-hack on Cruise Critic that I may have to try.

 

I can’t read the 2-page cruise compass postings. Anyone else having the same problem? Any chance you guys have a higher resolution?

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Et tu stp_mmh5? Then fall Caesar.

 

Or at least my quest for one. I’ll just bring clam juice on board. There’s a convoluted/brilliant Bloody Mary cruise-hack on Cruise Critic that I may have to try.

 

I can’t read the 2-page cruise compass postings. Anyone else having the same problem? Any chance you guys have a higher resolution?

 

Beware the ides of clam juice..

 

I was lazy when it came to then center of the dailies, so here they are again, but separated for easier reading

 

3a29036e6702d28fa076f1071a552bb0.jpgDay 1 left side

 

9673db773e0ccf362076bef226ef5092.jpgDay 1 right

 

79391f0f8f0508fefa377097dc72da66.jpgDay 2 left

 

7ed9b3f974ac4be10373366dd9758784.jpgDay 2 right

 

83ef92ba9c0007fb2422c7bb1ee9c98c.jpgDay 3 left

 

45f6fbfa315e57c6066c9f094c55f612.jpgDay three right

 

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Day four all over again in case anyone missed it earlier in the thread...

 

481a9e66f6421cbfd4ecacfebba1ee87.jpgDay four front

 

c7478ba53b0243a188b6b4b030a9e085.jpgD4 inside left

 

8baf4c08c2cc28aa98da525fdd98058f.jpgDay 4 inside right

 

6bfc71f0eabda90bb611b0f737e2a999.jpgBackside day 4

b0101ad773b679afacab99b7845fa635.jpgDay 5 inside

 

20fa22d2854b81e8d244cec64cfb2e0f.jpgDay 5 otherside

 

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Sadly cannot see anything about staying late on board ?

 

I may have missed it but did you see Wild Boys as they are the Best !!!

 

 

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Which nights were formal nights on your sailing - night 2 and night 6?

We were on the five night preview cruise, so we only had one formal night which was night 2.

 

Sadly cannot see anything about staying late on board ?

 

I may have missed it but did you see Wild Boys as they are the Best !!!

 

 

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I am missing it too, but I swear I saw something about it, maybe it was another paper that I misplaced. Maybe someone on this week or this upcoming one will be able to show off that information. And we did catch the Wild Boys a couple of times around the ship, and yes they were great. We also liked the other live band, Great Ideas, saw them mostly in Dazzles and even did some Karaoke with them playing alongside us singing.

 

 

Your review is amazing!! You have put so much work and effort into this. Thank you:D:D

Thanks for tuning in, and I wont consider it too much work as it was vacation after all. Plus sharing it with everyone just makes the cruise last that much longer

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So a little post cruise fun. We went to Salou for a little beach and theme park fun.

 

87b7d3766de7de8c89ba0771f300dc97.jpg

 

26bb60a308a8b469282a58827a1d0330.jpgSince we never left the ship, it was nice to walk along the beach

 

af052657acdf1ad1339c4f8458119c30.jpgStill the best view in the world.

 

f7d28b659eff9c6c71d79513d1350a93.jpgWe stayed at the PortAventura World Caribe Beach Resort which included access to both Ferrari Land and PortAventura park. Since we weren't cruising anymore, this is all the photos I took of the resort

 

aee51de233a3a3feac6cce80b3927a4d.jpgBut I did get pictures of rollercoasters!

 

b9f7b3e0b36875df8d445e4a81b2a6ed.jpgAnd they went Weeeeeeeee!!!!

 

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So random memory from the start of the cruise. We arrived super early. Like 8/830 early. I was just a little excited. So while we were waiting around, we saw the groups of travel agents debarking and a couple of upper level RCI executive milling about. So after our rush to be first, we made it on and we were greeted by senior crew, drinks and a request for a selfie

 

1d630751279eb2280ee59f4f7e778a6e.jpgOur first moments on board we got a selfie with Fernando the Hotel Director, Michele, ourselves, and Bobby.

 

Well later in the cruise we received a call from the assistant hotel director saying the Fernando the Hotel Director would like to meet us and wanted to know if we would be able to make the top tier event on the final sea day. As we both had other activities planned we weren't going to make it, so we rescheduled to meet with them later in the day. When we did, Fernando asked how we had been enjoying our trip, to which we ecstatically responded that we were loving it. There was discussion about how one of the senior executives saw a lady with an anchor shirt and how excited she looked. He bet that she would be one of the firsts guests onboard if not the first. Well he was right on the money. Afterwards we discussed past and future cruises where we received a couple of great tips for our next cruise. He then presented us with a couple of gifts on addition to the dinner at mementos of our trip.

5f6b6c7132c6bdb58c21e9649405a714.jpgWe received a picture book and a plaque. The ship model was my own personal addition

 

631cf466ee4476f9857e0d591c67bf5b.jpgThe same type they present to a port the very first time they ever call there. We absolutely love this and can't wait to hang it up.

 

73b22c554d5c10e9a403e4cced057db8.jpgPhoto book with stock photo. (I'd bet money that it's actually a stock photo of Harmony, but that's not important at all)

 

ce426fec8ae299efa0c7ce1effc93580.jpgOn the inside there was certificate stating we were the first guests and they picked out what they thought was the best picture we took with the Photo Staff. We totally agree and joked that we were glad I stopped for a photo in Central Park as normally I try to avoid the photo shoots at all costs.

 

So a huge shout out to the Fernando, Bobby and Michele for welcoming us and having fantastic staffs that made the experience even more top notch than we expected.

 

Next up will just be a wall of text that will just be a summary of our overall thoughts

 

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Did they do Quest and Mr and Mrs?

 

 

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Did they do Quest and Mr and Mrs?

 

 

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Sadly no Quest or Love and Marriage (Mr. and Mrs.) I was really hoping for the quest because every cruise needs Quest. There was a family version of it on the fourth day, but we didn't go to check it out. A family friendly version just doesn't sound nearly as fun, but who knows.

 

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Okay as promised this post will be a wall of text as we go over some final thoughts.

 

Lets start with the Minor Annoyances, as these are few and who wants to end a review on a sour note.

 

My biggest minor annoyance has to do with the design of the Oasis class ships in the sense that there are so few places to sit and watch the sea from inside the ship. I think the only place I ever saw the ocean inside the ship was the dining room. We recently sailed on the MSC Meraviglia and one of our favorite things about that ship was the amount of views to the ocean. Symphony in a way makes up for it with the all the open deck space up top, the outdoor promenade (which was lacking on MSC) and the solarium area. I think for Oasis 5 they should put some of those virtual balcony views in the windows of Schooner Bar instead of the ship models. Not too much to ask is it? Lol

 

Next up on the list, was the amount of executives on board. The biggest issue I had with this is when I would see them, they made no interest in mingling with the passenger base outside of a couple planned Q&A sessions. There was a night where a large group of executives were in the Schooner Bar along with both Cruise Directors. The group surrounded the actual bar and one of the bartenders seemed to exclusively attend to the them, even though I saw one or two of the execs step behind the bar and make their own drinks. In the hour or so we were also at Schooner, I never once saw anyone from that group go and interact with the guests. I know it's not really their place to interact with the passengers, but one would think they like to. Maybe they did when I wasn't around, but there were other times I would see them and not once did they ever interact with guests.

 

Which leads me to the actual CDs. When we first boarded, we were greeted by both Michele and Bobby. Both were full of energy and very excited. Set a great mood for the cruise. Afterwards we noticed we rarely saw either cruise director, with the exception of the Welcome Aboard party and when our scheduled AquaNation show was cancelled. The dynamic between to the two was strained as they have very different personalities, but by the end of the cruise their morning show seemed a little more natural , but still awkward. I recognized Michele's voice over the PA more often than Bobby's. While I think two CDs for this particular cruise and the following one made sense, pairing up the personalities would have made it better. I won't pretend to be in the know of who the good CDs are for RCI, but just our observances that our two didn't make the best of pairs.

 

While most of the food was great, we never got a good piece of fish from the MDR. Three different times we tried the fish, and ever time it would come out overcooked and pretty bland. But Hooked and Wonderland knocked the fish dishes out of the park. Maybe we just had bad luck or it was a new guy still learning the ropes, but either way, kind of a bummer. Also, we tried a make your own pizza at Sorrentos, and if I wanted a cardboard pizza I would make a microwavable one. I was super disappointed with this as I remember getting this on the Liberty a few years back and they used fresh dough and it was awesome. This time they pulled out a premade pizza base from a drawer and it was stiff as a piece of cardboard. So that was disappointing. But the regular pizza by the slice and calzones were still good.

 

And for a final one, this ship is shocking. I know we can have electrifying personalities, but hot damn. Puns aside, we noticed every time we walked around and touched anything metal we were greeted with a little static shock. Perks of brand new carpet I guess. Cruise problems right?

 

Now on to the good stuff:

 

First Impressions when stepping aboard the ship were completely out of this world! The design features were spot on and funky enough to have every guest loving the atmosphere it would create. Also, the designs were cohesive throughout the ship. Carpeting similar and most of the artwork were all very similar as well. It was definitely a hi-light to see all the subtle differences but being "WOW"d by the consistency floor to floor. Everywhere you looked, walked, and explored was refreshing.

 

Next, our cabin! As stated time before, we were booked into a Central Park Balcony as one of the exclusive double-wide balconies next to the living wall. This cabin was gorgeous! Quaint with still enough space to maneuver without running into each other. We loved having the bed next to the balcony. *The only semi downer was how small the bathroom was. I know that may be subjective to some, but it was tough to move around in there, even to turn around for me (Macon). The closet space!! Holy macaroni! We had, what I would consider, 2 full size wardrobes each on the side of the couch. This made it so easy to know we had enough space to unpack and have our clothes hanging without getting all wrinkled up. Since we were on the 5-day preview, we didn't use as much cabin space as I sure some people would use. There were plenty of outlets as well, which made it easy to charge our phones and our Go-Pros all at the same time with different plugs. The balcony will be discussed in the GREAT section.

 

 

Activities available aboard were absolutely fabulous as well! We loved the variety of things to do anywhere on the ship. We were partial to Trivia in Schooner Bar and that was always our first stop in the mornings. We also loved that we could go up to deck 15 and slip on down the Ultimate Abyss and then take a quick spin around the Carousel. Mini golf was also a blast for us as we are super competitive against each other and had to play multiple times to see who was clearly the best. Unfortunate for me (Macon), Shane kept on kicking my hiney. The zip line was also a blast! We wish we would have gone on it one more time to enjoy the exhilaration! Shane quite liked being able to do the Flow Riders as he misses the chance to surf anymore. Now, them water slides were so much fun!! It's insane how fast they each go! Shane had a blast racing kids and other adults down the racing slides and beating them to the bottom. He also challenged himself to get around the bowl slide at least 5 times, which was the previously held record for most amounts of time to go around before it spits out the bottom. I loved the hot tubs as it was relaxation I truly deserved! Laser tag was so much fun too!! The teams were preassigned by the vests you wore before entering the arena, so Shane and I got split up.

 

Now to everyone's favorite subjective subject, the food. Here we agree that with the exception of the fish from the main dining room everything we ate was very satisfying. A few things stood out to us, such as our lunch from Johnny Rockets, Macon loved the Coney Island hotdogs loaded down with the sauteed mushrooms and onions, I personally enjoyed the lunch and breakfast options at El Loco Fresh. Not quite food, but the drinks we had made onboard were also very good. While we didn't have the deluxe beverage package, we did have the refreshment package and used it fully. Having good cafe lattes, and later we learned we could get it with double shots of espresso, was worth it in itself. Macon also enjoyed plenty of great virgin drinks, although we did get a couple of weird looks the first couple of times we ordered the drinks. I presume it's because we are that age group expected to order with alcohol, but once the barstaff saw the RR on the SeaPass it made sense. When we did get a few "full" drinks, they were always well made, as was the couple we tried at Bionic Bar.

 

Finally on to the Best parts!

 

Starting with the balcony of our cabin. This balcony was huge. Having that double wide balcony was awesome. It came with table and two chairs, and I would bet if we had asked for it, two loungers could have easily fit there. Another great thing about it, was that because we were on deck 10, we were nice and close to the activity of Central Park. We would people watch as they meandered through, and could catch glimpses of activity down on the Royal Promenade. The overall peacefulness of the scene was very relaxing, and wish I had either asked for a lounger or brought a hammock with me to just layout and nap.

 

Speaking of Central Park, I say that is by far the best feature of this ship. Just something about how relaxing and different it is from anything else. I know I did not spend nearly enough time there, but with so much other stuff to do and so little time to do it, I would still make it a point to walk through it any chance I could. Macon agrees with me as long as she is out of her favorite spot, which was the Schooner Bar.

 

As far as great food, the best we had was Wonderland hands down. Everything from presentation to taste, (minus one dish) was fantastic. By far the best dessert we had was the blueberry cobbler at Hooked. I would go back just for that so often, especially if that restaurant went al a carte. That is saying something as just about every desert was a serious contender for best dessert.

 

The biggest WOW factor, or the greatest thing for us, was by far the crew onboard. Every crew member was outstanding, energetic, friendly and went out of their way to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves. I remember the occasional crew member from past cruises who left an impression, but on this trip every crew member was at that level. Then we had those who made an even bigger impression, and that was our cabin steward, Eduardo, our wait staff, Marrion and Idwea, the Cafe barista, Jessica, and Ana from Schooner Bar who would playfully tease and joke with Macon about getting the Strawberry Lemonades. Finally would like to mention Fernando the Hotel Director again for leading such a great staff that had led to an exceptional vacation. We sincerely hope that we run into many of these individuals again on future cruises, and plan to stay in contact the best we can.

 

All in all this was an absolute fantastic trip and would gladly do it all over again. If money and time were no object, we would have booked Symphony in the Med again in a heartbeat. But since money doesn't grow on trees and our jobs only allow for so much time, we compromised and booked the Jewel of the Seas to the Greek Islands in June 2019. For those of you who have been following along and enjoy our sense of punnery, thank you so much for staying with us. If you were here just for the pictures but are reading this, I am impressed you went through this wall of text, and for that I will reward you as well with a link to our cruise album, which has 600+ pictures of the adventure.

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TcBrtAjNrYpHxiUW2

 

I will attempt to work on piecing the Go-Pro videos together, and either make one of those super long videos or a couple. So until then, enjoy the pictures and as always, if you have any questions, we love to answer them.

 

Shane and Macon

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Which leads me to the actual CDs. When we first boarded, we were greeted by both Michele and Bobby. Both were full of energy and very excited. Set a great mood for the cruise. Afterwards we noticed we rarely saw either cruise director, with the exception of the Welcome Aboard party and when our scheduled AquaNation show was cancelled. The dynamic between to the two was strained as they have very different personalities, but by the end of the cruise their morning show seemed a little more natural , but still awkward. I recognized Michele's voice over the PA more often than Bobby's. While I think two CDs for this particular cruise and the following one made sense, pairing up the personalities would have made it better. I won't pretend to be in the know of who the good CDs are for RCI, but just our observances that our two didn't make the best of pairs.

 

Thanks for your feedback about Michele & Bobby. If you don't mind, I have pasted that paragraph into the Cruise Director thread as some latest feedback from the new ship.

I have had Bobby before and didn't care for him, so not surprised that he was invisible again. Only had Michele when he was an Activities Manager, so can't judge too much.

FWIW - there are a lot of good CD's in the fleet who work well together, so I agree that they should have thought that one through more.

 

Enjoyed your review!

Edited by Joe12

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Thanks for your feedback about Michele & Bobby. If you don't mind, I have pasted that paragraph into the Cruise Director thread as some latest feedback from the new ship.

I have had Bobby before and didn't care for him, so not surprised that he was invisible again. Only had Michele when he was an Activities Manager, so can't judge too much.

FWIW - there are a lot of good CD's in the fleet who work well together, so I agree that they should have thought that one through more.

 

Enjoyed your review!

 

By all means go ahead, a little extra feedback to your thread never hurts. If you need to paraphrase it you are more than welcome to do so.

 

Shane

 

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Here is a video tour of our cabin, 10229. The video is pretty basic and to the point, as my video making and editing skills are minimal. So if you are expecting witty commentary, I shall sadly disappoint. However you will catch a glimpse of me rocking the Flamingo shirt, so there's that.

 

 

And just in case the mini viewer is not working, here is a link to the video on YouTube proper.

 

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Thank you so much for your review, Shane and Macon, and for posting the Compasses! Your pictures are amazing, so happy that you guys had a blast on Symphony :D

 

 

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Thank you so much for your review and the link to all of your pictures! We get on June 17th and it was fantastic to see all you were able to post!

 

Thanks!

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