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Symphony – Worth the 731 Day Wait!


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It's been a long wait of 731 days since booking this Symphony cruise. But that just meant lots of time to plan and be excited for this....

 

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To Sum It up....
 

 

The Good

OMG…what an amazing ship!  The ship is Allure on steroids.  It has the familiar layout…plus the addition of water slides, The Abyss, Laser Tag, Bionic Bar, and some new restaurants such as Hooked (but didn’t try it) and El Loco Fresh (yum).  


The ship is just beautiful with the décor.  I loved how every staircase has different art, and there are a few interactive pieces around the ship.  There are always hits and misses, but the food was really good and wonderful service.  The shows are incredible, top notch Broadway and their own shows (Flight, Hiro, 1977) were so well done).

 

I definitely have a new favorite ship!

 

The Bad
<empty, as nothing to report>

 

The Ugly
Having to come home

 

The End…..

 

Ok...well that was the Coles notes.  Or you can continue reading with all the details.  I always find that writing reports helps with those post cruise blues, and it's a nice way to capture the memories.
 

Edited by LuCruise
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The Players

 

There is DH and me (both in our 40s), our son who is 13, and our daughter who is 9.

 

The Itinerary

 

Our cruise was Mar 9th  - 16th and stopped in Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Nassau.  

 

My/Our Cruise History

 

Part of my review will compare to our past cruises....Grandeur (which was long ago so don't have many comparisons), Voyager (also long ago), Allure, Mariner and Independence.

 

Edited by LuCruise
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Our Room

 

We booked a Boardwalk Balcony room on the 10th floor.  This seemed like a perfect deck as it's not too high, and not too low.  I had always wanted to try this type of stateroom and this was a great opportunity.  I had debated on booking a room far aft (since booking on opening day, I had selection), but was a bit concerned about noise so went mid way at 10307.

 

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The room had the full bed as usual and then a "double sofa" bed.  It looks like the picture above when you first enter the stateroom.  For anyone interested, the sofa bed is not actually a double sofa bed, but it turns into a flat sofa with another mattress that pulls out from underneath.  

 

This configuration actually worked great for our two kids as they each got their own mattress and sheets.  Much better than sharing a sofa bed.

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In the day, our cabin steward put the beds back to the configuration below.  This gave us some floor space back, but yet probably made it easier for her to put the two beds back each evening (plus gave us cupboard space as the sheets and comforter took up important and limited space for shoes!).

 

IMG_1706 (Small).jpeg

Edited by LuCruise
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6 minutes ago, Cel_cruise said:

Following along! With so many live reviews last week - it’s awesome that we get to keep having another review this week!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Great to have you follow along.  I don't do live reviews, but love to report afterwards.  I do carry my camera around most of the time except when planning things such as laser tag or zipline or abyss, where you cannot have anything on you....so I have lots of pictures.

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Our View

 

The inside of the room is standard, and probably the same as any balcony room.  But the best part is the balcony overlooking the Boardwalk.  I know there is much debate and some love it, and some hate it.  Even in my family, my daughter and I were out there whenever we had a chance (we don't spend tons of time in the room , but whenever waiting for someone or had some downtime, we'd take a peak outside), whereas DH and DS didn't go out much.  DH much prefers a regular ocean view balcony.  I agree, that if given the choice (with same cost), then I'd pick ocean view.  But having said that, I really loved the Boardwalk Balcony.  It's just fun to see what's going on.  One night they played The Greatest Showman, and my daughter and I were able to catch one of our favorite songs on the big screen.  And on another night, we got a sneak peak of Hiro.  And yes, you can see the water and scenery.  It's in the distance, but you can see it.

 

As for noise, yes you can hear.  When the door is locked, it drowns out the sound but you still hear noise from the movie, or pounding sound from the Aqua show.  The good thing though is that each night we were all so tired, that the noise didn't keep any of us awake. However, I recommend bringing ear plugs and then you don't hear anything.

 

So I would not hesitate booking a Boardwalk Balcony again.  My kids even commented that I should have booked that far aft room.  Maybe next time....

 

Daytime

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Nighttime

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Catching a bit of Hiro

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Edited by LuCruise
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Sailing on Symphony in May for a long weekend (not nearly long enough though). Soaking up anything and everything I can about her till then just to build the anticipation! Thanks for sharing.

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29 minutes ago, LuCruise said:

Our View

 

The inside of the room is standard, and probably the same as any balcony room.  But the best part is the balcony overlooking the Boardwalk.  I know there is much debate and some love it, and some hate it.  Even in my family, my daughter and I were out there whenever we had a chance (we don't spend tons of time in the room , but whenever waiting for someone or had some downtime, we'd take a peak outside), whereas DH and DS didn't go out much.  DH much prefers a regular ocean view balcony.  I agree, that if given the choice (with same cost), then I'd pick ocean view.  But having said that, I really loved the Boardwalk Balcony.  It's just fun to see what's going on.  One night they played The Greatest Showman, and my daughter and I were able to catch one of our favorite songs on the big screen.  And on another night, we got a sneak peak of Hiro.  And yes, you can see the water and scenery.  It's in the distance, but you can see it.

 

As for noise, yes you can hear.  When the door is locked, it drowns out the sound but you still hear noise from the movie, or pounding sound from the Aqua show.  The good thing though is that each night we were all so tired, that the noise didn't keep any of us awake. However, I recommend bringing ear plugs and then you don't hear anything.

 

So I would not hesitate booking a Boardwalk Balcony again.  My kids even commented that I should have booked that far aft room.  Maybe next time....

 

Daytime

IMG_1636 (Small).jpeg

 

IMG_1708 (Small).jpeg

 

Nighttime

1605280244_IMG_1738(Small).jpeg.413bb28269f87c8634c631398f76cf1b.jpeg

 

Catching a bit of Hiro

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Thank you for the balcony photos!!!  I am sailing on 7/13/19 and have booked cabins 10311 & 10313 which are connecting cabins. I now have a pretty good idea of what my view will be...

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8 hours ago, Nrfd191 said:

Thank you for the balcony photos!!!  I am sailing on 7/13/19 and have booked cabins 10311 & 10313 which are connecting cabins. I now have a pretty good idea of what my view will be...

Those will be great staterooms.  And one other thing I was going to mention was storage, and 2 rooms will definitely help.

 

8 hours ago, Plumbjim said:

Was on her in January. My only negative was lack of general seating around Hot dog stand area, way more on Allure. Had Boardwalk on Allure in same area as you did,loved it.

Didn't notice at the time as we didn't stop at Dog House but picturing back, I can see what you mean.

 

7 hours ago, MrFunInTheSun said:

Glad you had a super cruise! She is simply amazing, my favorite ship too. Nice trip report, thanks for sharing your experiences with us.  It was so sad having to get off the ship a month ago and end my live trip report.

I remember your live review!  Yours got me even more excited for our upcoming cruise. Know what you mean.  That feeling when you walk off the ship isn't so good.  Last night my daughter was so upset when lying in her bed at night as she just wanted to go back on Symphony.

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Storage

 

One thing I also want to mention is storage, and this is where I'll compare to past cruises.

  • On Allure, we had a promenade room (all 4 of us)
  • On Mariner, we had a spacious balcony room (all 4 of us)
  • On Independence,  we had a promenade room (just DH and I)

The Independence room was quite small, with very few drawers, but since it was just DH and I, we had less stuff.

 

Allure and Mariner were the best for storage.  Even though Mariner is older ship, it had tons of drawers and shelves in the closet.  It might be a bit unfair to compare storage though Mariner was only a 4 day cruise (and thus, 2 suitcases vs 3 that we had on Symphony).

 

I know a lot prefer Harmony and Symphony rooms over Allure/Oasis.  I'd say the decor is nicer, but we had more space on Allure.  It just has all these extra nooks and crannies.  For example, it had a very thin shelf along the wall across from the bed.  This was great for putting your sunscreen bottles.  If I'm remembering correctly, the washroom also had a similar extra shelf along the back of the sink.  Also, the night tables were really narrow on Symphony whereas they were a good width on Allure.  Another thing that helped on Allure is that we had a pullman over the (single) sofa bed.  This allowed for more floor space when opened up.  The Symphony's trundle bed was great for our kids having their own space, but it did leave very little floor space between the trundle and the desk.

 

Symphony still did a good job, but that storage space is one difference that I noticed.  Having said that, it does have the split closet with deep shelves in one of them, and the second closet being larger.  It also has 4 good size drawers.  We managed but definitely had to be a little creative (and guess it didn't help that we had 3 suitcases).  Lots of space though under the bed for suitcases or extra stuff.  Plus one thing that is nice is that the shower is a bit larger than the other ships we've been on.  It's not by a huge amount but makes a big difference.

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Day 0 - Pre-Cruise

 

Our trip was over our Ontario March Break.  We don't like taking our kids out of school as our son is older now in grade 8, but for the Friday before it wasn't a big deal.    

 

Our flight was at 12:45pm and we had a taxi coming at 9:15am as we expected the worst at the airport (Toronto Pearson).  Strangely, the airport was not crazy and pretty normal (maybe since we were terminal 3?).  Flight was uneventful and quite pleasant.

 

Since we were arriving late afternoon, we booked Hampton Inn Blue Lagoon.  Worked out well.  Our original plan was to pick up 2 bottles of wine across from the hotel at the wine store or the Publix, but we saw wine that we liked at the airport and thus we picked it up at the duty free (in CAD so that helps).  We had dinner at the Italian place across from the hotel.  It was good, but quite expensive for what we got.

 

Early night as we were ready and excited for cruise day the next day.

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2 minutes ago, blueridgemama said:

Can't wait for more! This has been an incredible week with 3 live reviews and now yours. So much valuable information for our upcoming cruise in September.

Thanks for reading. 😊

I know...when I came back, I read the other reviews.  Love hearing other's experiences, and neat too when it was the same cruise.

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Day 1 - Cruise Day!

 

We woke up nice and early as it was cruise day!  I would have headed to the port at 6am but for some reason, DH didn't agree with this plan.  So instead, we showered, had breakfast, and headed to the port around 9:40am.  It was a lovely day as captured on the hotel's live screen (note that the same screen below showed 91.9 degrees when we left in August last year).

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We arrived at the port in good time.  With online check in, the process was super quick.  They did confiscate a power charger from DH, but not a huge deal as we just picked it up at the end. Other than that, it felt like we just walked in and waited for a short time.  

 

We were on board by 10:45am , which was great time.  Once boarded, we were on a mission and had a plan for the day:

  1. book dining reservations (BOGO)
  2. book laser tag
  3. lunch
  4. zipline
  5. stateroom (1pm)
  6. abyss
  7. meet up with another family
  8. muster
  9. dinner
  10. Hairspray

Thus, once we boarded we headed to Central Park to make reservations for dining.  This area is so beautiful and serene.  

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We had no issue scheduling our BOGO - Jamie's on night 1, Chops on night 2.

We booked Jamie's early at 5:30pm.  DD and I are theatre fans and we wanted to be able to line up early to try and get good seats for Hairspray without feeling rushed during dinner.  For Chops, we booked 6:30pm.

 

Our Boardwalk room already included the soda package.  Otherwise, DH would have purchased it from one of the kiosks on Promenade.  

 

Making reservations for Laser Tag was a different story. We headed to The Attic for the reservations and were there by 11am, and were told that all reservations were already booked for Day 1.  Already?  No biggie...just surprised the spots were gone already.  So we booked for our second sea day at 10am.  DS loves laser tag though so we knew we would try stand by before then.

 

Next up was to grab a small lunch.  Our tradition seems to be Cafe Promenade / Sorrentos on day 1 as it lets us grab a small bite without getting over full in anticipation of our first dinner on the shp.

 

Then, off to the ziplineA few rules....you need secure shoes such as running shoes with laces.  You cannot have any belongs on you (e.g. purse, waist pouch) and you even need to remove your watch or jewelry if wearing.  I brought a glasses strap to secure them, but I believe they do have a strap to borrow if needed.  

 

Our kids were in running shoes so they were fine.  I have issues with my feet so wear either (big) slip on shoes that are Go Walk style or sandals.  Luckily I knew the shoe rule beforehand so I did put running shoes in our carry on, which I put on for just the zipline.

 

Wee....so much fun!

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Did you have any priority boarding privileges like suite or diamond plus that made boarding faster or were you just in the regular lines? Were there long lines for lunch and was there available seating at the lunch venues ( like Cafe Promenade) The reason I am asking is we are trying to decide whether to purchase The Key. Enjoying your review and pictures.

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Day 1 (continued) - Cruise Day!

 

It was nearing 1pm so we headed towards the stairs near our stateroom.  Others had the same idea and were huddled around the stairs and right at 1pm, then let us in.  We were very happy to see our bags waiting for us (unlike Allure where we didn't get them until after muster).  We checked our our room and figured out the best way to unpack.  It's was a bit of a challenge to figure out how to organize things, but we made do and figured it out.

 

After we unpacked we went back to the Boardwalk.  We had pre-arranged a tour in Roatan with another family so we had planned to meet up to say hello to each other.  Our kids are same ages so it worked out well and was great to meet them in person. 

 

Things were closing soon so we hit the rock wall beforehand, which is on the Boardwalk by the Aqua theatre.

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Muster was at 3:45pm so we headed to our assigned meeting spot.  It's much more civilized on Symphony than the Mariner.  On Mariner, they have you standing out on the deck in lines (and in August it was super hot...pure torture).  On Symphony, our muster spot was in the cool air conditioned dining room with seats and all.  And we even got a (corny but funny) movie played on the tv screen to go over some of the safety rules.  My only suggestion for muster is to hand out wine to all the adults.  That would be the perfect experience. 😁

 

After muster, we headed to the AbyssA few rules....you cannot have a purse or be wearing a waist pouch.  Any shoes are fine, but you need at least a tshirt (i.e. no tank top)....and pants of course.  Or a dress is ok as long as you have shorts underneath.  If you have glasses, then you need to tuck them into your shirt (which sounds unsafe but the glasses remain secure).  

 

I had heard of some who got burned on their arms if their skin was exposed and it touched the metal as they went down, so our kids wore long sleeves or a cardigan when trying it.  They had no issue though.  The people running it show you how to get in (legs straight and feet in the pocket) and you hold your arms straight, crossed and with palms up.

 

Later in the week, we reverted to short sleeves and were fine either way.  DH tried the Abyss and it just wasn't his thing.  I also tried it later in the week and loved it.  It's probably my favorite "kids activity" on the ship and we went many times.  DH would wait on the Boardwalk for us, and we'd go up the elevators, walk to the back of the ship, down the slide, then repeat.  They should add an elevator on the spot or some kind of lift.  Maybe slide in reverse?  ..lol.

 

I love the top of the Abyss where you enter.  Dare if you do, but don't get eaten alive!

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and from the bottom

 

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Edited by LuCruise
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1 hour ago, blueridgemama said:

Did you have any priority boarding privileges like suite or diamond plus that made boarding faster or were you just in the regular lines? Were there long lines for lunch and was there available seating at the lunch venues ( like Cafe Promenade) The reason I am asking is we are trying to decide whether to purchase The Key. Enjoying your review and pictures.

Only by a small amount.  We're Platinum so I guess they called us around 37 seconds before they called Gold members for boarding. 😊 It was all pretty quick though.  Lines at Cafe Promenade and Sorrentos weren't bad at all.  We avoid the Windjammer on day 1 for that reason.  Would have gone to Park Cafe, but its limited for our picky eaters (but amazing place for us).

 

As for the Key, it's a personal decision.  Shows in the theatre and ice rink had the first 3 rows reserved, but I think those were for star class?  We got in line early and never had an issue getting a good seat (row 4 or back or closer on the sides).

 

If you want The Key for the internet or Chops lunch or other items, then those are factors too.  None of those interested us so we didn't bother but I'm sure people do purchase it.

 

Thanks for your comments.

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Following.   We were on Allure 3 weeks ago and will be on Symphony in July.    Looking forward to your review of Hairspray (one of our fav movies) and the MDR.

 

And here's a little earwig for you....

 

Wash Your Hands !

Edited by zdad59
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Day 1 (continued) - Jamie's Italian

 

We had BOGO and decided to try Jamie's Italian.  I was a bit hesitant since although we've never gone, there is a Jamie's Italian back home in Toronto.  So it seemed silly to use one of our dinners at the same place on the ship.  But it seemed like the best option all around and for our kids.

 

We arrived promptly at 5:30pm.  Our waiter was friendly and attentive and brought us drinks and wine.  The menu looked pretty good.

 

For appetizers we ordered the giant olives (DH loves these)

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Rice Balls

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Super Garlic Bread (everyone stay far away from us that night)

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Crab and Avocado Bruschetta

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Edited by LuCruise
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Day 1 (continued) - Jamie's Italian

 

In the normal world back home, that would be enough for us for dinner, but we're on a cruise ship so would be ridiculous to stop there.  So......onto course 2....

 

DS had the burger

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DD had the kids spaghetti

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DH and I ordered salmon and Truffle Tagliatelle and split 50/50

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DD didn't love her pasta but she's not a sauce person (i.e. plain pasta or pasta and butter is her favorite).  But DS loved his burger.  And that truffle pasta was amazing.  Salmon was really done well too.

Edited by LuCruise
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