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Symphony – Worth the 731 Day Wait!


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Great review so far.  Our kids are now 23 and 21, so I'm about 10-12 years ahead of you.  I had forgotten about picky eaters and 9 year old logic. Made for interesting challenges when on vacation.  My daughters now eat (and drink) almost anything, which makes for a very different vacation experience.  They grow up fast.  Looking forward to the rest of your review.

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Day 4 - Evening (Hiro and Love & Marriage)

 

Tonight we had booked Hiro, the Aqua Show.  It's always a gamble as you hope that the seas are calm enough and they don't cancel.  Thankfully, all was fine and the show went on as planned.  (Note...Luckily we didn't have it booked for the next evening as that one was cancelled).

 

The Carousel area at night.  Everything always looks so different at night.

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And now the show.  

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Our daughter and her friend were braver than us older folks (including our DS13) and they took a seat front row at the splash zone.  We sat safe and dry about 7 rows back central.

 

All I can say is the show is amazing.  Comparing it to Allure, it has less diving, but the overall production is done better.  It's a mix of different acrobatics, dancing, type ropes, etc etc.  I wouldn't do it justice in words.

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After the show, we walked around and returned to our room.  Our kids were content to watch tv for the evening.  Funny enough, Royal had a channel that played shows from the 80s and 90s so totally DH and my timeframe (Family Ties, Doogie Howser, 7th Heaven, etc). 

 

The Love & Marriage show was that evening at 10:45pm and  so we just gave our kids a lights out (or tv out) time and we headed out.  We stopped at Schooner bar to get a drink for the show and headed over to the Royal Theatre.  This is always a fun show and it amazes me what people reveal.  We returned after midnight and our kids were fast asleep.

Edited by LuCruise
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22 minutes ago, bobmacliberty said:

Great review so far.  Our kids are now 23 and 21, so I'm about 10-12 years ahead of you.  I had forgotten about picky eaters and 9 year old logic. Made for interesting challenges when on vacation.  My daughters now eat (and drink) almost anything, which makes for a very different vacation experience.  They grow up fast.  Looking forward to the rest of your review.

That's what's so great about Symphony; it's a ship for all ages.  

Great to hear that the picky eating hopefully will change.  Finding food for them on Symphony was no issue though as so many choices (almost too much and my one regret is that we didn't get to them all - such problems ... ha ha).

Completely agree...they grow up way too fast.  That's why we started taking all these vacations more regularly....take it with them while we can.

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Day 5 - Cozumel

We were loving the ship so much with so much still to do that we were debating on staying on the ship for our Cozumel day.  But instead, we stuck with our original plan; to go to Paradise Beach.  The nice thing about this option is that it is "Pay as You Go" with just a small entry fee of $3/person and $10/person for food.  So we thought we'd just go for a few hours and then return early afternoon.  (Note...they also have an all inclusive option if preferred)

 

The beach wasn't busy when we got there.  They have a nice Aqua Park that we debating on purchasing but our son said not to bother.  

 

 

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4 minutes ago, LuCruise said:

That's what's so great about Symphony; it's a ship for all ages.  

Great to hear that the picky eating hopefully will change.  Finding food for them on Symphony was no issue though as so many choices (almost too much and my one regret is that we didn't get to them all - such problems ... ha ha).

Completely agree...they grow up way too fast.  That's why we started taking all these vacations more regularly....take it with them while we can.

 

Until their eating habits change, it's good to know that almost any restaurant can serve pasta with butter.  DD21 lived on pasta and butter in restaurants for a few years.  Takes lots of photos and videos of the vacations.  DW was just sorting through boxes of old pictures (from back when you actually had to get them printed to see them 😀) and it brought back some great memories.

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36 minutes ago, bobmacliberty said:

 

Until their eating habits change, it's good to know that almost any restaurant can serve pasta with butter.  DD21 lived on pasta and butter in restaurants for a few years.  Takes lots of photos and videos of the vacations.  DW was just sorting through boxes of old pictures (from back when you actually had to get them printed to see them 😀) and it brought back some great memories.

Lol...exactly.  We'll go out to a nice Italian restaurant and my 9 year old asks for Butter Pasta (ironically it's the 13 year old that is the pickier one).  SO nice to look through all photos.  I'm a picture person too, and still old fashioned keeping up photo albums and I make a photo book with every trip (post trip blue project)

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Day 5 (continued) - Cozumel

 

Not sure what happened to the rest of the Cozumel post so continuing...

 

We had brought a couple blow up rings and a beach ball so our kids played with those for a bit.  I personally love playing in the Ocean, but the beach was so nice at Roatan, that our kids weren't loving it quite as much at Cozumel.  Paradise Beach has a lovely pool so we moved our stuff over to the pool.  It's quite large and same depth all around. A couple spots it has a ledge with water where one section has where you can sit, and the other has loungers in it. (You can see one of the loungers in the right side of the picture)

 

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Forgot to mention that Paradise Pier now offers an all inclusive option (for food) if preferred.  I forget the exact cost but I think it's similar to Nachi Cocum and Sanchos.  Then if you want the Aqua Park ontop of that, it's half price at $9/person.

 

After swimming for a bit, we ordered lunch, which was  good (but not as good as Roatan), swam a bit more and then headed back to the pier for a bit of shopping.

 

Last time DH and I were in Cozumel, we stopped in one of the shops that had these beautiful handmade figurines.  He regretted not getting any so we went back there.  This time, he purchased one for him and one for DH (superheros).  DD also found a nice souvenir from Cozumel which is now sits on her bookshelf.  

 

We then headed back to the ship.  It's always fun seeing your ship next to its "friends" to see how they compare.  It's hard to tell from this angle but Symphony is definitely larger than Equinox (and all other ships to date).

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Day 5 (continued) - Back from Cozumel

 

We returned back on the ship by early afternoon so we could enjoy some ship time.  You need to prepare yourself properly for the some activities so decided what we wanted to do, and then changed accordingly (shorts, tops, and closed shoes).  Then we headed to the Abyss and went on a couple times.  If I remember correctly, this was my first trying the Abyss.  And it certainly wasn't my last as it was tons of fun. 

 

As mentioned, DS loves laser tag so he wanted to see if he could get on stand by for when it opened at 3pm.  Others had the same idea, and there was a bit of a line up…plus you had all the groups who had reservations.  Thus, there was a bit of a wait, but we were able to get in for one game.  DS is quite good.  I always get the first spot…for being at the bottom.  Lol.  Good thing I don't care if I win or lose.  While DS and I played Laser Tag, DH took DD on the zipline and we met back at the stateroom to get ready for dinner (early dining time meant our afternoon ended at 4:15pm for all of us to shower, etc - only bad thing with first seating).

 

We really liked dinner in the MDR. Our waiter Ashley and assistant waiter Sony were great.  Don't remember if I commented already, but we brought our own wine and were never charged a corkage fee (which was much appreciated).  We also found the food in the MDR quite good.

 

A bit of food porn...

 

DD loved the French Onion Soup and ordered that every night.

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I usually get the Caesar salad and sometimes escargots, but this time tried the Beet and Orange Salad.

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DH got some fried shrimp

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 DS strategized and skipped an appetizer in order to be sure he had room for dessert.

 

For meals, DH got the Lamb Shank

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DD got grilled cheese

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DS and I got the Cheese Tortellini, which was excellent

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For Dessert, DH got the Bread Pudding

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DS got the Chocolate Profiteroles (DS's favorite dessert)

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And I had the Cheesecake from the classic menu (excellent)

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DD had chocolate chip cookies which look plain, but they're actually really good.  It's funny how they bring 5 cookies for one order.  That's a lot of cookies for one kid...but of course, she didn't complain.

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Edited by LuCruise
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Day 5 (continued) - Evening Shows

 

That evening we had Flight booked which we were quite excited about.  We sat around 8 rows back in the centre section which I heard was ideal.  Flight is the history of flight from the first airplane to the future going to the moon, but told in reverse.  Some songs we recognized and others we didn't (which I assume are originals).  The show is amazing...quite a production.  And the end is really cool.  This is my daughter's favorite show o the week (and we even went a second time later in the week).

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Oops...Love & Marriage show was actually this night.  But since I already talked about it , I won't describe again.  Lots of fun.

 

Edited by LuCruise
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Day 6 - Sea Day

 

Today was our second sea day, to which we were looking.  We dressed in our closed shoes as we had a 10am Laser Tag reservation.  Unfortunately they were having some technical difficulty with the laser guns.  They were good about informing us of the delay, and then they just told us we could go off and return before 11am (and we wouldn't lose our spot in the queue).  So we wandered around the Promenade.  We were able to catch the Captain's Corner in Boleros but it was hard to heard so we didn't stay long.  When we returned for Laser Tag, all was fixed and we got our turn.  It was fun playing all 4 of us.  For some reason, every time we played, I was put on the Alien team.  Hmm...

 

We finished in time to join an Art Scavenger Hunt.  My son loves these kind of things and they're fun, especially on a big ship.  They handed out paper with different types of clues (e.g. some were a picture of what we needed to find, others were words), and off we went. My 9 year old was getting tired though going up stairs, down stairs and then up again.  So she went off with DH for a bit (I think to the zipline if remembering correctly) and DS and I continued with the search.  We had made a plan to meet back at the Scavenger Hunt starting place by noon.  Only thing is...when we returned, no one from the game was there so I think we missed the cut off time.  Oops.  Oh well, it was still fun and we found all but 2 items.

 

This is a good time to post some of the art pieces around.  Now I like art, but am not someone to head to an art museum for the day.  But having said that, I really appreciated the art and the entire decor. Each stairway has a different and interesting piece and it's fun to see what will be next as you go up or down.

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And these are some crystal balls they have in the elevator lobby between the two sets of elevators, going from the ground up to the top.  It's so beautiful.

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This is neat too, placed on the stairs between Promenade and Studio B.  Hopefully not too many took a lick as it is tempting.

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There was an "Anchor's Aweigh" Parade on the Promenade at 12:30pm, so we thought we'd quickly grab lunch and then catch it.  We really wanted to have the Tutti Salad bar (again for me, first time for DH) so we went quickly to the MDR.  I love how you can make your own mix, and with a good variety of fresh items.  DD wasn't thrilled and basically had a lunch of garlic bread.  DS found a few more items but equally nutritious. 

 

The dessert presentation that is place in the MDR when you walk in is beautiful.  This doesn't capture it as it's just a tiny section but they really take thought into the layout.  It's nice too as there are lots of mini desserts so better for being able to try a few items.  I think I posted this earlier...

 

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We made it back to the parade in time and found a spot near the end by the Royal merchandise shop.  Not the best spot to stand but it was packed at the other end so didn't have a choice.  The parade was fun, but the DreamWorks one on Allure was better since you knew the characters.  Too bad they are ending that contract (although this was the only time I gave them a thought - and our kids didn't ask once about them).

 

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After the parade, we walked out to the pool deck to see what was going on and to catch The Wettest Link game show, and we noticed how windy it was outside.  The top deck was totally closed off due to the wind.  (Definitely  no Aqua show tonight either).  This made it a bit chillier too and definitely not a pool day for us (but there were some brave ones in there).  We watched the game for a bit. Then we headed to see a Glow in the Dark Puppet Show, but when we realized it was in the kids club and the age of the kids waiting, we turned around.  It was definitely meant to little kids.

 

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing the dry activities...Zipline, Abyss, and then we let our kids order a (non-alcoholic) drink from the Bionic Bar, which they got a kick out of.

 

Our son is getting older now and he asked if he and his sister could explore for a bit.  He really likes the responsibility and independence. So they went off and DH and I went up to the Solarium for a bit.

 

Edited by LuCruise
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On ‎3‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 8:01 AM, ZoeyVictoria said:

 

We also ate at Chops on this cruise and completely agree with your opinion.  On the Brilliance five weeks earlier, the food was fantastic.  On the Symphony it was good, but somewhat bland.  My SO, who normally eats anything, refused to eat the mushroom soup.  The soup and the mac and cheese, in particular, were barely similar to the versions on the Brilliance.  I would try it again, but at lunch rather than dinner.

 

I'll add my concurrence too.   We've tried Chops on two different ship, and weren't impressed both times.   And the OPs comment about the meat not being seasoned was spot on.   Not a bad meal, but not great either.   Best specialty meal we've ever had was at Jamie's Italian on Harmony.   Off the chart.

 

OP.....GREAT review.   Really enjoying it.   We're on Symphony in July, in a spacious Ocean Balcony room, doing the Eastern route (St. Thomas, St. Kitts. Coco Cay).    Just got off Allure Feb 24, doing the same itinerary that you had here.   LOVED West End Beach in Roatan.   More beautiful than the beaches on Maui.

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32 minutes ago, zdad59 said:

 

I'll add my concurrence too.   We've tried Chops on two different ship, and weren't impressed both times.   And the OPs comment about the meat not being seasoned was spot on.   Not a bad meal, but not great either.   Best specialty meal we've ever had was at Jamie's Italian on Harmony.   Off the chart.

 

OP.....GREAT review.   Really enjoying it.   We're on Symphony in July, in a spacious Ocean Balcony room.    Just got off Allure Feb 24, doing the same itinerary that you had here.   LOVED West End Beach in Roatan.   More beautiful than the beaches on Maui.

Too bad about Chops.  It seems to be hit and miss and totally dependent on the ship/chef?  We had such a good meal at Chops on Mariner that Symphony was disappointing in comparison.  Same here...we were really impressed with Jamie's on Symphony.  TBH, this surprised us a bit as it's a regular chain (as we have it back home in Toronto, but have never gone) and everyone talks about Giovanni's being so much better.

 

Nice that you did the same itinerary.  We loved Roatan beaches too, and wow, they even beat Maui.  Enjoy Symphony in July!

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1 hour ago, zdad59 said:

 

I'll add my concurrence too.   We've tried Chops on two different ship, and weren't impressed both times.   And the OPs comment about the meat not being seasoned was spot on.   Not a bad meal, but not great either.   Best specialty meal we've ever had was at Jamie's Italian on Harmony.   Off the chart.

 

 

I think some peoples expectations seem a bit skewed when it comes to Chops. I'll eat dinner and lunch at Chops while on board. I'll enjoy it, for sure. But in no way am I trying to compare it to any high end land based steakhouse that we have in our area. There is no way we would pay to go to Chops if it were on land. Onboard, however, the service and the food are far superior to that of the MDR, so we choose to go there instead. We get the UDP so we have a variety of options other than the MDR, I could't enjoy eating in the same restaurant every night for 7 nights. No way. I just set my expectations to "this meal is going to be way better than the MDR" and I'm always pleased with the meal. I can't wait to try Hooked and Wonderland this upcoming trip. 

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The parade looks interesting.  It looks different than the non-Dreamworks parade on Harmony which I wasn't too impressed with, I may have to the parade a shot on the Symphony in May.

 

The funny thing about mentioning that an advantage of the Dreamworks parade is you know the characters.  I love the Dreamwork parade and the only way I know the characters is through going to Universal Studios theme parks.  🙂

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Day 6 - Formal Night and 4 Shows

 

Tonight was formal night.  I know a lot don't enjoy having to dress up, but I personally like it (DS would say differently - why do I have to dress up on vacation?  And for him, dressing up means slacks, a button down top, and runners).  

 

The second formal night of course means lobster night so that's always a treat.  Unfortunately, our main waiter was out sick for the night so we had someone else. He was super nice too, but he was over busy as he had to cover his tables plus now our waiter's tables.  I was a bit concerned as DD and I wanted to catch the non-reservable ice skating show called iSkate 2.0, which was showing early at 7pm (dinner was 5:30pm n the MDR).  But we simply mentioned it after he brought our appetizers (as we could tell tonight was slower than usual) and he got us out in plenty of time.

 

DD got a cheeseburger (nothing says formal like a good burger....lol)

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The lobster was quite good, and of course the butter sauce helped. (Then again, I'm sure anything dipped in butter is good).  DH asked for 2 lobster pieces which in hindsight, was smart.

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I missed taking a picture of DS's meal, but it was probably pizza or something he had earlier in the week.

 

Dessert options were Baked Alaska, which DS loved

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Warm Chocolate Lava Cake (which BTW, Chops did a much better job - MDR's version wasn't gooey in the centre and not as rich chocolate taste)

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And DD got the Creme Caramel (don't remember what DH got as missing a picture so probably a repeat - maybe the cheesecake?)

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So we were able to finish dinner by 6:40 pm or so and DD and I headed off to Studio B to catch the ice show called iSkate 2.0 (show #1).  (DS had no interest so he and DH went elsewhere).  DD and I managed to get great seats second row central (guess these two weren't reserved for Star..or were released). The show was good and skaters excellent, but a was your standard Royal ice show.   If you are only going to see one ice skating show, I recommend 1977.

 

Photo of iSkate (sorry as it isn't very clear)

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After the show we returned to the stateroom to meet up with DH and DS.  We saw that Flight was playing tonight again and DD really loved it. So we headed back to see it again on standby (show #2).  There were people in the standby line, but there are lots of seats in the theatre and we had no issue getting in.  This time we sat in the balcony (front row), which gave a different perspective. I agree with DD that Flight is an amazing show.  We both walked out with the songs in our head and a 'wow' feeling.

 

We then returned to the stateroom where DH and DS were relaxing, and then DH and I went off to the Comedy Show (show #3) .  We purchased a drink at The Attic where the show was held.  There were two comedians who were both quite funny.  We snuck out during the second comedian's show as we wanted to grab a seat for The Quest.  We had strategically selected a table near the door so hopefully it wasn't too obvious.  (Who knows...maybe he cracked jokes at us leaving but we were long gone if he did)

 

The Quest (show #4) was playing next door at Studio B so we didn't have far to go.  When we arrived, The Battle of the Sexes was still going on (and ran late, so we probably could have stayed for the end of the comedy show). But Quest followed right afterwards with Simeon the CD running it.  DH and I just watch, but it is funny to see what people don't mind doing.  DH commented that it was much "tamer" than the one he saw on Mariner (as only he went to that one as we didn't leave our kids alone at that point). Still, it's a fun show and many turn out for it so it's popular.

 

 

Edited by LuCruise
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Did you prefer the balcony or your seats in row 8 center for flight?  I have seen recommendations for both . Good to know it is possible to see 4 shows in one night as we are on a 4 night cruise and will need to squeeze in as much as possible each night. Enjoying your review, thanks for taking the time to do it😊

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18 minutes ago, blueridgemama said:

Did you prefer the balcony or your seats in row 8 center for flight?  I have seen recommendations for both . Good to know it is possible to see 4 shows in one night as we are on a 4 night cruise and will need to squeeze in as much as possible each night. Enjoying your review, thanks for taking the time to do it😊

It's definitely a personal preference, but I'm a "front row girl".  I really like to be able to see the actors' expressions.  For example, just yesterday I saw Dear Evan Hansen in Toronto and sitting in front row, I could see the main actor had tears rolling down his face during one of the songs.  You wouldn't have been able to tell sitting further back.  Having said that, the balcony gave a great view too, and you'l see more of the full stage, which is nice when there are lots of dancers on at once.

Thanks for your words.  Glad you're enjoying.

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12 hours ago, LuCruise said:

After the parade, we walked out to the pool deck to see what was going on and to catch The Wettest Link game show, and we noticed how windy it was outside.  The top deck was totally closed off due to the wind.  (Definitely  no Aqua show tonight either). 


We had someone (a passenger) telling us that the top deck was closed off the day before BECAUSE THE BOAT WAS ROCKING SO MUCH!  

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Everyone in our group just rolled our eyes.  We hardly felt ANY motion ALL WEEK LONG, and this chick thought we were "rocking soooooo much" that they closed off the upper deck!  


 

7 hours ago, LuCruise said:

The Quest (show #4) was playing next door at Studio B so we didn't have far to go.  When we arrived, The Battle of the Sexes was still going on (and ran late, so we probably could have stayed for the end of the comedy show). But Quest followed right afterwards with Simeon the CD running it.  DH and I just watch, but it is funny to see what people don't mind doing.  DH commented that it was much "tamer" than the one he saw on Mariner (as only he went to that one as we didn't leave our kids alone at that point). Still, it's a fun show and many turn out for it so it's popular.


I agree.  I'm one cruise away from Diamond, and this was by far the tamest and least entertaining Quest I've ever seen.  I was really disappointed, as it was the first time my friend had been to Quest, and he didn't get a chance to see what all the hype is usually about.

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2 hours ago, Ralphinsc said:

LOL! you learn things at the Quest. Wife volunteered me for team captain my last cruise and in the process I learned that I could wear four inch heels and not die. 🤣

Lol....you are one of the brave ones.  Hope your wife doesn't use any pictures against you. 😉

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39 minutes ago, brillohead said:


We had someone (a passenger) telling us that the top deck was closed off the day before BECAUSE THE BOAT WAS ROCKING SO MUCH!  

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Everyone in our group just rolled our eyes.  We hardly felt ANY motion ALL WEEK LONG, and this chick thought we were "rocking soooooo much" that they closed off the upper deck!  


 


I agree.  I'm one cruise away from Diamond, and this was by far the tamest and least entertaining Quest I've ever seen.  I was really disappointed, as it was the first time my friend had been to Quest, and he didn't get a chance to see what all the hype is usually about.

Hi there.  Hope you had a great cruise!  (We were on same roll call).

We did take the stairs from deck 15 and deck 16 when it was open earlier in the day and we did have to hold the rails (and lets just say goodbye to a good hair day).  So we weren't too surprised when we saw the deck was closed later on.  But yeah...considering the wind, the ship help itself really well and really wasn't bad at all.

 

Congrats on almost making Diamond.   DH went to Quest on Mariner and said it was riske.  I went with him to my first Quest on Independence and I was thinking "this isn't so bad" .  And then same with Symphony.  So I'm in the same boat as your friend (no pun intended)

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I wonder if it (the tame Quest) was because there were so many kids on this ship?

Usually they warn that this is NOT a kid-friendly event and to really consider if you want to have kids there -- there was no such warning on this occasion.  They might have figured that since people don't pay attention to the warnings anyway, they'd just do a tamer show?

But yeah, for as much wind as there was, we still didn't feel any ship rocking!

 

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11 minutes ago, brillohead said:

I wonder if it (the tame Quest) was because there were so many kids on this ship?

Usually they warn that this is NOT a kid-friendly event and to really consider if you want to have kids there -- there was no such warning on this occasion.  They might have figured that since people don't pay attention to the warnings anyway, they'd just do a tamer show?

But yeah, for as much wind as there was, we still didn't feel any ship rocking!

 

True...and I did notice a few kids there. Is it the CD or the people participating that make it tame or not?  Guess the challenges can vary so guessing its initiated by the CD?

 

Yeah...these large ships do a great job at calming things. Our DS did get queasy one night, but that was actually early on before the windy day (and then was fine).

 

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Thanks for your review, LuCruise! I followed the live reviews last week, and was disappointed when they ended. Now I feel like I’m back on the ship again -virtually - while waiting for our turn on Symphony. Each of the reviewers I have read have had their own unique perspective on Symphony, and I’m finding new things to add to my list of things to do or see on Symphony from each of you. 

 

Thanks for for taking the time to share with us. I plan to continue following along. 😎

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