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moonflower0906

Symphony of the Seas review April 14 sailing

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Hello @saus!

 

We still had a good time because a vacation is a vacation and Europe is always beautiful.

 

We did two excursions through RC: Valldemossa in Mallorca and Pompeii in Naples.

 

Valldemossa was beautiful. We booked it the night before and didn't have any expectations but the rolling hills, views and village feel are oh-so-charming. It's a half day so the bus dropped us off in Palma de Mallorca to explore afterward and had a great day.

 

The Pompeii excursion we found just ok. Pompeii is sad and it IS interesting but the sights get kinda repetitive. I don't regret going to Pompeii but maybe I didn't need a 4 hour guided tour of it.

 

Venues on the ship we enjoyed:

 

We didn't try Specialty Dining because we spent our money eating lunches at port to try local food. Also, the free food wasn't good so we weren't about to hand over more money to the same company for food.

 

I did really like Wonderland bar. We didn't go until the last night and I loved the theme and how much they commit to it. The drinks were so creative. The food looked creative too and we regretted not trying it. It was too late for us but maybe not for you! No idea how it tastes but I think it's worth stopping by to see if it piques your interest.

 

For free dining, the Solarium has the best food if you try not to look at the plates piling up (at breakfast). The salmon at dinner was the best thing I ate on the cruise. In the Main Dining Room, anything mushroom or pasta dishes were a safe bet.

 

The ship decor is beautiful so some of my favorite parts of the ship were just hanging out reading or lounging around etc. I liked sitting at the Solarium with the beautiful prismatic installation and at Central Park. It was still a bit chilly when we cruised so since Central Park is mostly surrounded by the ship, it was a little less windy and cold there.

 

Also, entertainment! The shows are fun. I have been a big Hairspray fan for years. This was my second time seeing it live (first time was not on a cruise) and I loved it.

 

I did also do ziplining on the last day. It's much shorter than your typical zipline. I'm not super adventurous so for me, this was the perfect baby zipline.

 

Non-RC parts of the trip at port: I'll give a couple highlights because we could be chatting about that forever and this is a cruise website. hah.

 

Barcelona was by far, our favorite city (granted we also stayed 3 nights before the cruise). The Sagrada Familia was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. The food was so good. Our two favorite meals were Enigma (definitely pricey but if you're hardcore into food like we are, this was the best dining experience of my life) and Quimet y Quimet (casual and reasonably priced). If you like cocktails, we liked Dr. Starvinsky. It's a speakeasy-meets-chemist theme.

 

Marseilles, my main plan there was to eat bouillabaisse and buy French beauty products, so mission completed! A part of me feels like we should have done Provence but it's pretty far away and none of the transportation options (RC or not) quite gave us the combo we wanted.

 

For La Spezia, we took the train to Cinque Terre and hiked between Monterosso and Vernazza, which was oh-so-beautiful! You gotta hike to really see Cinque Terre. It will probably be very hot by the time you go in the summer but it's so amazing, I hope you'll still consider it.

 

For Rome, we bought our own train passes and tickets for everything and did all the main stuff (Colisseum, Roman Forum, Palentine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps) plus some side stops for gelato and lunch (recommend Il Corsaro if you like seafood).

 

For Naples, after Pompeii, we went into the city with one mission: to find the best pizza in Naples. I had made notes and mapped out every pizza spot from the Michelin Guide and was ready to eat as much pizza as possible in one day. It didn't totally work out: my boyfriend got distracted by a fried calzone-esque thing at Sorbillo, which meant he couldn't contribute enough to the pizza devouring (hah) and it was hot. We also got sidetracked by my friends' recommendation to try baba (rum cake) and espresso and then fell in love with it. We went to two pizza spots: Sorbillo and Starita. Sorbillo was our favorite. We skipped Da Michele since we heard a lot of mixed reviews from friends.

 

This is a very port-intensive cruise so you kind of have to choose ship or port. By the second half, we found the ship wasn't really the fit for us we hoped so we tried to think of it as a floating hotel to rest between ports.

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Not sure, but one of the reasons it may have been disappointing is mixing "cruise vacation" with "European vacation". Some people love mixing the two and can move back and forth, but on a large cruise line, I think it's important to realize that the experiences on board are going to be somewhat standard fleet wide. Meaning, the on board cruise experience in the Med isn't going to be tailored that differently from the on board experience in the Caribbean (except for a few ship activities). The menus, wine selections, etc are all going to be the same. Which can be disappointing when you've spent the day exploring a European city, you're in that zone, and you return to have dinner in what now seems to be a "generic" restaurant.

 

The smaller, more "luxury"based lines may be different and extend the European experience on board--not sure.

 

I definitely think you're right on this. We came off of a week of the "European vacation" before we got on the ship so we had to shift gears when we were hoping to continue the Europe part.

 

I wanted to do this cruise because I had been dreaming of a Mediterranean cruise for like, half my life, but I think this trip did show me that there are some regions, such as Europe, I want to explore more in-depth. I'd cruise again but maybe not in Europe.

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Expanded tip-sheet:

 

Solarium early, Solarium late. Get the salmon. Wonderland bar, definitely drinks, maybe food.

 

If we brave the MDR, anything and everything mushroom (maybe my favorite tip).

 

Valdemossa in Mallorca for a European village experience. Pompeii is what it is, but not for this cruise (save for another trip).

 

We’ll be in Barcelona the day before and three nights after the cruise. So Sagrada Familia, Enigma, Quimet y Quimet and Dr.Stavinski are on the short list. I’m a sucker for good stained glass but primarily food-and-drink focused, so these tips are especially appreciated. I have a hunch that I share your taste.

 

I’ve done the very train-to-hike you recommend in Cinque Terra. Can’t wait to do it again.

 

I’ve read elsewhere that the combination of this itinerary with this ship leaves people exhausted. That actually appeals to me. St. Peter’s in the morning and flowrider late afternoon is my kind of day.

 

Thanks again for putting such time and thought into your review and responses. Despite the issues that you faced, it appears that you had a great time overall, and you’ve made me very excited for my trip.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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So RC doesn't allow you to fill your water bottles directly from the restaurant water machines. We asked staff what to do and they said call room service for water. That was the first reason we needed the phone. When we picked it up, there was no dial tone so we went to guest services. This incident/night, we needed two work orders (and had to ask two times) because the first time, no one came.

 

After that, we figured out that the fastest way to get water was to fill the cups with water at the restaurant and then pour the cup into your water bottle so that wasn't an issue. (I totally get why they do this for sanitation reasons).

 

The next time I found the phone had no dial tone was when we tried to find out what happened with the towel charges on night 7, hence why we ended up at guest services.[/quot

 

 

Just a heads up about the water filling. That is standard on other cruise lines as it is a health issue. I notice the phone issue on Allure last week also. I just pushed the button on lower part next to the one that was lite and did get a dial. tone.

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I sailed the following week - my experience was similar to yours. The food across the board was really poor. In Chops alone, we had to return our meal 5 or 6 times over the 2 times we ate there. In general the food on the ship was no better than Applebee's and the like. My theory with that is that maybe bigger isn't better? Between all the restaurant choices and a record setting passenger capacity, I think they spread themselves too thin. Didn't even bother cashing in on the remaining nights on the dining package. My next cruise will be on a smaller ship for sure.

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