Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
danp2482

18 months in the making! Symphony of the Seas 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Review!

Recommended Posts

We can’t wait for our sailing on The Symphony in July!

 We have two cabins, not connecting, and I’m wondering how we would be able to access each other’s cabins? Can we get a Wow band for this?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, perfect match said:

We were on this cruise with you. We loved our time on Symphony! I’m looking forward to re-living our cruise through your eyes!

Oh really!? We had a great time! The ship was beautiful and the entertainment was amazing too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, eileen226 said:

Great review.

We sailed Symphony in February.  We love Oasis class ships and felt this one really hit it out of the park!

Couldn't agree more! They're always outdoing themselves! Can't imagine what they will do next!

 

7 hours ago, Jax129 said:

I'm really enjoying your review. I've yet to sail Oasis class but I think that's going to change soon

Thanks for following along! You really have to give Oasis class a try! The ships are amazing, the class isn't for everyone but we love them!

 

5 hours ago, gatour said:

Nice review.  We will be on her in couple of weeks.

 

Interesting about the outlets on both sides of the bed.  On the Harmony there was one on only one side of the bed.  Can't remember about Oasis and Allure as they were pre CPAP cruises

Thanks for reading! Yes each side of bed had an outlet and a switch for a wall mounted reading light.

 

 

5 hours ago, vacationlover_mn said:

We sailed on Symphony in Feb 🙂. Loving your review!

Thanks for joining!

 

 

4 hours ago, kontraxed said:

We'll be on the Symphony in 12 days! Really enjoying your review!

Thank you for following along! Oh! I am jealous, although I'm not sure if my stomach or liver would agree! I hope this helps pass the time leading up to your sail away!

 

3 hours ago, Marbel69 said:

loving your review thus far ...

Thanks for reading and following along!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, exercisemama said:

We can’t wait for our sailing on The Symphony in July!

 We have two cabins, not connecting, and I’m wondering how we would be able to access each other’s cabins? Can we get a Wow band for this?

Thanks!

I'm not sure if this is possible. We didn't get wow bands but as far as I know, the wow band acts just like your sea pass card and I don't know if they're open more than the door of the room your listed in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review! Because of you, we'll be heading to Loco Fresh on Embarkation Day!

We'll be there on Saturday!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, danp2482 said:

I'm not sure if this is possible. We didn't get wow bands but as far as I know, the wow band acts just like your sea pass card and I don't know if they're open more than the door of the room your listed in.

 

3 hours ago, klfhngr said:

Great review! Because of you, we'll be heading to Loco Fresh on Embarkation Day!

We'll be there on Saturday!

Thanks for the quick response!! Darn! I was hoping that my boys could stay together.  Do you know how old you have to be to stay without an adult or can you be 18, since they consider 18 to be adult for everything else?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2:

 

Sea Day!!

 

Before I begin day 2, I forgot to mention something about SOS and sea passes. On previous crusies, we’ve always headed down to guest services and had a hole punched in our sea passes. We then attached the card to a wristlet that way we had a way to carry it other than our pocket or a lanyard which we’re not fans of. When we went to GS, the told us they no longer punch cards. On SOS the Sea Pass is an RFID card which will open the tap lock on your door. (no more sliding the card in) In fact, there are no magnetic stripes or barcodes on the car either. When you charge something, the crew member will tap the care to an RFID scanner (think magic bands if you’ve ever been to Disney) The reason GS gave was that the hole punch would mess up the RFID but I sure the whole card is not one big chip. Nichole’s working theory was that they’re trying to push you to buy a WOW band.  We did see a work around though, one couple had their cards in a plastic sleeve that would attach to a lanyard and then attached it to a wristlet instead. Since everything was tap activated, they didn’t have to take the card out to use it and it worked great.

 

OK…that was more detailed then I thought it would be! On to day 2!

 

We woke up around 7am…I know, I know we were on vacation. We saw this as sleeping in as Lilly usually has us up at 6 anyway! Actually I’m not sure if my internal clock ever changed because I’m pretty sure 6-7 was wake up time every day of the trip!

 

We headed to the Spa and Gym for a quick workout, after all we knew what we’d be doing the rest of the day…(eating and drinking) so we figured we’d start with a workout. We actually try to work out any day we’re not going into port.

 

The gym on the SOS is located within the spa area and is identical to the one on Allure and I assume HOS and OOS as well. Tons of cardio equipment, weights, Indoor Cycle room for classes, Yoga room and access to the running track on deck 5. We did a quick cardio and then headed out.

 

Just like Allure, assuming HOS and OOS is the same, there is a Juice Bar just inside the spa entrance. It also offered some healthy snacks like fresh granola bars, small muffins, small breakfast finger sandwiches. It is also a location where you can get fruit and veggie juices, fruit smoothies with or without protein powders and for the SOS the only place you can get fresh squeezed orange juice, unless I missed it somewhere else. We visited the juice bar every morning whether we worked out or not. There are a bunch of different juice combinations on the menu or you can make your own.

 

The first day we were there, we met Levy. He was always in a good mood and joking around with everyone. This particular morning, there was another passenger there giving him a hard time because he wanted a mimosa but there is no alcohol at the Vitality Cafe. The guy kept going and to be honest, I couldn’t tell if he was already drunk (it was 8:00am keep in mind) or just being difficult. I’m standing next to the guy thinking. Dude, there are like 25 places to get a mimosa on this thing, this isn’t one. Levy just kept smiling and laughing though. He was a riot.

 

Oh on other thing about Vitality Cafe, there is a special coffee maker there where they can do specialized coffees. We didn’t see too many people taking advantage of that though.

 

We then went down to the Cafe Promenade for cappuccino.

 

IMG_0186.thumb.jpeg.5a15a6fd4a16579205e9c254f8e73a43.jpeg

 

No! not starbucks! I said Cafe Promenade!

 

IMG_0188.thumb.jpeg.b3bafd60b2877d077fee3a1f25a72b7f.jpeg

 

I honestly think this was like one of two complaints I thought of. The only places to get specialty coffee was Cafe Promenade or Vitality Cafe. Well there is starbucks too. On Allure there was specialty coffee at Park Cafe and I know Mariner had specialty coffee just outside WJ. If you wanted specialty coffee you needed to go all the way down to 5 or 6.  I know there is regular coffee brewed in PC and WJ heck even at El Loco fresh but my experience with it was that it was bad.  I am definitely not a coffee snob. My coworkers make some pretty rough coffee and I still drink it but the few times I had the regular coffee on SOS it was pretty bad. Ok enough negativity about the coffee!

 

We then headed to the WJ for breakfast. I was hoping for a different experience than the night before. Unfortunately, the same type of deal. Good food but the flow to the place is so chopped up! In Boston we have some pretty aggressive drivers, no one uses turn signals, people cut each other off, etc… My experience with the WJ was very similar. I managed to get through it though and breakfast was good!

 

We headed to a place where we would be spending a good amount of time this week. The solarium!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, klfhngr said:

Great review! Because of you, we'll be heading to Loco Fresh on Embarkation Day!

We'll be there on Saturday!

 

Good choice! It was always on point! Have a great cruise!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, danp2482 said:

Oh really!? We had a great time! The ship was beautiful and the entertainment was amazing too!

 

I completely agree with you! We had an awesome time, thought the ship was beautiful, and the entertainment excellent! I want to go back!

 

One thing I did not like - and there was very little I did not like - was the sales pitches I got while going into and out of the gym. Spa treatments, foot analysis, acupuncture, you name it! Fortunately, they didn’t bother me while I was working out. I really enjoyed the variety of machines available.

 

Thanks for helping me through my post cruise depression! ☀️

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Loving this review, especially since I'll be on Symphony in September.  I'll have an interior cabin but I'm going on Oasis next March where I'll have a CP balcony.  Thanks for your detailed description of those cabins (and everything else!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, watson61 said:

Loving this review, especially since I'll be on Symphony in September.  I'll have an interior cabin but I'm going on Oasis next March where I'll have a CP balcony.  Thanks for your detailed description of those cabins (and everything else!).

 

NP! Thanks for flooring along! We came very close to booking an Oasis sailing next spring! She'll be great after she gets amped next year!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 continued:

 

Nichole asked me if my last picture of the promenade was stock footage! Nope. Straight out of my iPhone. Thats how nice the ship looks!

 

We headed to the solarium after breakfast. As we walked through the main pool deck, things were busy! To be expected being the first sea day and all. We did notice quite a bit of wind too! Temps were fine but it was windy.  In fact, pretty much every day had 20-30 knot gusts.  When we got into the solarium, it was also busy but not slammed. One thing I noticed right away, it was quiet in there. Some friends we made later in the cruise and I were discussing that it was so quiet that it almost seems like it is missing some music. Nothing crazy but maybe some chill house or something just to get a good vibe in there. Others may say they like the quiet so to each their own. The lack of music didn’t bother us, we just noticed it might add to the space.

 

When you enter the solarium, there are doors on left & right leading from deck 15 which is the main pool deck. The solarium wraps around the front of the ship. It features loungers and daybeds. There is a bar in the middle on deck 15 and a pool just in front of the bar. The pool is flanked by a hot tub on each side about 10 feet away from the pool. There is a stairway on the right side of the pool that leads down to deck 14 of the solarium which offers more chairs and more day beds. I make note of the 2 levels because even though the solarium is surrounded by glass, the upper level roof glass has ventilation that allow it to catch some wind. If you are down on the lower deck, no wind and it gets hot when the sun comes out. In fact Nichole used the words, I feel like I’m on the surface of the sun.

 

Here is a shot of the solarium pool. The colorful sculpture just above is where the solarium bar is.

 

IMG_0249.thumb.jpeg.2e9e6e5f556f31116732466bdbbed85f.jpeg

 

We headed into the solarium and went down to the 14th deck.  We were lucky and found a few loungers in the front row, directly in the front of the solarium. We were right next to a day bed that looked amazing, we wanted one so bad! We watched it change hands 3 or 4 times that day but timing never seemed to work out! We were either not paying attention, at the bar or something else! No worries though! We ended up snagging one later in the week which I will discus later!

 

With our spots established, we decided to grab a drink from the bar. This is where we meet our favorite bartenders from the cruise. Roman (Lead Bartender), Harry, Krystoff and William. When you hang out a bar on a cruise ship and there is a great, entertaining bar team that all gets a long and keeps you laughing its worth getting to know them! These guys were great and took great care of us all week!

 

Drink in hand, we headed back to our chairs.

 

Ahhh….vacation! Excuse the foot picture. I promise, no more of those!

 

Drink.thumb.jpg.40a4aae00b9da56696702ab1d36627ee.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

I forgot to mention, the solarium also has the king of the world wings (where we went for sail away) they offer a beautiful view but are very windy!

 

P4290213.thumb.JPG.333c2888045440d6c88bdb23b00cb251.JPG

 

P4290211.thumb.JPG.a3536e41b88bd71fd07d52f698d7e2b2.JPG

 

 

 

We alternated between our chairs, the pool and the bar for the morning and around lunch time decided to head to El Loco Fresh. It was close (deck 15) and we knew it was good so why not. Yup…still good. We headed back to the solarium but then realized the sexiest man competition was starting on the main pool deck.

 

We loved seeing these cruise staples like, belly flop, sexy man, etc… We’ve witnessed some hilarious stuff while watching them. This one was no exception. Definitely worth the watch.  I will say, the flow of the activities schedule and offerings seemed a bit off this cruise. I didn’t realize it until the end of the cruise but we usually like to break up the pool time with an occasional trivia or one of the competitions on the pool deck but this cruise really only had 3 main pool events and we ended up missing belly flop because it was at 11:30am. Usually that kind of stuff is like 2-4pm. As for trivia and what not, there were only a few during the day. All others seemed to be at like 6:30 or 7:30 which is right around dinner time. Not a big deal but different than we’re used to and it made me realize, we spent a significant more amount of time on the pool deck.

 

Speaking of the pool deck, after the sexiest man competition, we headed back to the solarium again for more pool and relax time until it was time to get ready for dinner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

Tonight was the first formal night. As I mentioned, being how we treat each night as a new date night, we participate in both formal nights. The first formal night is usually more of a big deal with the captains gala, pictures with the captain and captains speech. They’re also handing out champagne on the promenade. I’ve also noticed more people get dressed up on formal night 1 than formal night 2.

 

My beautiful date for the night!

 

IMG_0173.thumb.jpeg.6332f2a6915ac084a5e814301e56df89.jpeg

 

 

 

We had dinner at chops scheduled for 7:30 so we were actually getting ready when all of the gala stuff was going on. We did go down to the promenade for a pre dinner drink though. It’s fun to see everyone all dressed up. The promenade was buzzing.  We jumped on the rising tide, grabbed a martini and people watched for a bit.

 

 

We headed to chops and were greeted by the host who showed us to our table.  I was shocked to see tons of open tables. The place seemed empty. We met our waiter who was very friendly and attentive. The restaurant space was fancy (think high end steakhouse) and the ambiance was nice for the most part.  There was an older couple next to us that seemed a bit grumpy. We heard a few grumpy comments and one of them sent a steak back when it was cooked to his liking. Not usually a big deal but he made a scene. We just laughed it all off and tried not to let it ruin our dinner.

 

For appetizers, Nichole had the lobster bisque which she said was good! I had the grilled bacon which was good as well. My piece was a bit fatty but it didn’t ruin it.

We both had 6oz filets, which were delicious. We shared Mac & cheese as well as grilled asparagus as sides and we both had key lime pie for dessert. The key lime pie was also delicious. In fact probably one of the best desserts I have on a cruise ship.

 

The meal and service was amazing and seeing what the waiter was dealing with next to us, we tried to give extra praise (maybe a bit louder than we should’ve!) Chops is a great experience. We did it on the Independence of the seas and had an equally good experience. We'll do it again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, danp2482 said:

Before I begin day 2, I forgot to mention something about SOS and sea passes. On previous crusies, we’ve always headed down to guest services and had a hole punched in our sea passes. We then attached the card to a wristlet that way we had a way to carry it other than our pocket or a lanyard which we’re not fans of. When we went to GS, the told us they no longer punch cards. On SOS the Sea Pass is an RFID card which will open the tap lock on your door. (no more sliding the card in) In fact, there are no magnetic stripes or barcodes on the car either. When you charge something, the crew member will tap the care to an RFID scanner (think magic bands if you’ve ever been to Disney) The reason GS gave was that the hole punch would mess up the RFID but I sure the whole card is not one big chip. Nichole’s working theory was that they’re trying to push you to buy a WOW band.  We did see a work around though, one couple had their cards in a plastic sleeve that would attach to a lanyard and then attached it to a wristlet instead. Since everything was tap activated, they didn’t have to take the card out to use it and it worked great.

 

It's possible to do, but not that straight forward and not something GS could really do (what they could do though is provide cards with holes already punched so maybe you're onto something with the wow band theory). 

 

If you stand in a dark room and shine a bright LED light held against and through the card (flashlight, or the light on your phone), you can see where the chip and the antenna are.  I tried it on my work key card.  I had to be in a dark room or I couldn't see anything.  If you buy your own hole punch you could find where the wires are and punch it yourself in a safe area.   Worst case you screw up the card and go get a new one 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm on SOS in April 2020 so loving this review. It's getting me super excited! I've been booked and waiting since April 2018!!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, RobinCruiser said:

I'm on SOS in April 2020 so loving this review. It's getting me super excited! I've been booked and waiting since April 2018!!

 

Oh my! I thought I waited a long time! Glad you're enjoying! Thanks for reading!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Continued:

 

We finished dinner and walked through the park. We were headed to Wonderland for after dinner drinks.

 

I love this picture of my cruise crazy lady! Central Park is really nice at night!

 

IMG_0196.thumb.jpeg.eaee157c2a1f59ad7e5efd6908155375.jpeg

 

 

 

Nichole and I are martini people. We like trying different martinis and always try to find a bar that specializes in them when we cruise. Some ships even specifically have a martini bar! Rising tide was good for martinis and knowing that that the martini seminar is held at Wonderland, we figured the mixologists there would be the guys and gals to go see.

 

We got to Wonderland around 9:30. They seat the last dinner at 9 but the bar/lounge is open till 11. I think there was one other couple there.  The decor was nice and fancy. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the place and I am sure its probably busier a bit earlier. We sat at the bar and took a look at the menu which only had their 4 specialty cocktails listed. I ordered one of the specialty drinks. Nichole was still working on the wine from dinner. The bartender was friendly and took my order.  He filled a shaker with ice and then got a very large jug out. I thought wow, that’s a huge jug of cranberry juice. He shook the drink and strained it into a martini glass. I was disappointed…I had high expectations for this bar and got a premixed drink. The martini didn’t even get the garnishes it listed. We had the beverage package so it wasn’t a big deal but if I were paying for it out of pocket, I might have been upset. It was the end of the night so I gave benefit of the doubt. We finished our drinks and were fading fast. We were trying to make it to the silent party at midnight. I had heard good things about the party and we missed it on Mariner so I wanted to try and get it in on SOTS. We just couldn’t make it though and headed to bed! We got back to the room and found this little guy!

 

IMG_0201.thumb.jpeg.3ee11e945cec8f47b733c09600f461a3.jpeg

 

 

Another sea day coming up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 3:

 

Sea Day

 

We woke up for another day at sea. Did I mention the bed was hard!? None the less I was so tired, I slept pretty well. We headed to the spa for the morning workout.  I always feel awkward when going near the spa or even seeing the spa people. I know they’re going to try and book appointments so I try to avoid them but they can be pretty aggressive. They’re always very nice and whatnot and I am very polite as well but I think its a bit much.  I figure people know where the spa is and will book treatments or whatnot if they want. If you have open appointments ad don’t want empty spa rooms, then discount them and let the masses come to you. This not unique to the SOTS, the spa solicitation is on every cruise ship even Disney.

 

We finished our workouts, stopped by and grabbed a juice from Levy and headed down to the Cafe Promenade for coffee.

 

We grabbed our coffees and headed to park cafe for breakfast. I loved this place on Allure and loved it on Symphony as well. It was missing fresh squeezed juice and specialty coffee as I mentioned before.  If you don’t know, Park Cafe offers some lighter options for breakfast. Oatmeal, Pastries, some breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, bagels, breads and what not.  It was never busy and always plenty of seating. Just like Allure, this became my breakfast go to. We finished up, headed to the room to get cleaned up for more pool time.

 

We got up to the solarium and today it was really packed. We were running a bit later than the day before so that’s probably why. We had a hard time finding seats on the lower level and almost ended up on the upper deck in the wind tunnel.  We lucked out and found a few chairs but they were not prime real-estate like the day before.  There were a lot of chair hogs this day. We noticed towels that didn’t move for hours. I also noticed staff doing their best to police it though. They were even taking towels, chair clips and belongings to the towel station to be claimed later.

 

We took in the solarium bistro for lunch. Nice selection of food, some healthier choices as well but without the craziness of the WJ. There was a custom pasta station and the chef there was awesome. He made me a delicious made to order pasta dish. I ended up going back for a second plate. As we walked out, there was a line out the door. The word must have been out about this place.

 

We headed back to the solarium and met up with our friendly bartenders Roman, Henry, Krystoff and William.  Roman was certainly our go to guy! We grabbed a few drinks and headed into the pool. It was hot and the pool was packed! The crowd was feeling good with lots of people being social and having a good time. We met a couple that we ended up hanging out with more on the cruise. As I mentioned before, there wasn’t much going on as far as activities went so we just spent a long day at the pool, day drinking and hanging out with our new friends.

 

We headed back to the room to get ready for dinner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 3 Continued:

 

Dinner tonight was in the main dining room. We had MTD but had a reservation for 7. When we got down to deck 4, we were hit with the smell of smoke from the casino. Unfortunately it lofted outside of the casino and right into the hallway in front of the main dining room. It was unfortunate because it seemed like they could control the smoke from one half of the casino to the other but not from coming out of the casino. Wasn’t terrible and you definitely only noticed it in that one spot on deck 4.

 

We got seated and met our servers for the night. They were a good team and we enjoyed them. The service was attentive and fast. I can’t remember my appetizer but I had the tuna for dinner which was good and the chocolate soufflé which was just ok.  Nichole had baked potato soup which she enjoyed, Jerk chicken which we both really liked and also had the soufflé which again was just ok.  We finished dinner and said goodnight to our servers. They were very friendly and asked for us to request them if we’d like.

 

With dinner done, we decided we would head out on the ship, grab some drinks and take in the nights entertainment.  We started at the schooner bar. We enjoy the schooner bar on every royal ship we’ve been on. The atmosphere is good, the drinks are great and its usually a place where you can get to know some of the bartenders. We like to befriend the bartenders, not so they’ll have a heavy pour or anything but its more fun to sit at the bar if you’re getting to know them. When you know them a little, you can ask them to be creative and most of them love it. After making the same drink after drink, I’m sure they don’t mind the change.  It was at schooner that we met Gilbert. Really nice guy, hard worker and took great care of us whenever we were in there.

 

One thing we noted was that we didn’t love the piano player in schooner this cruise. Our other Royal cruises have always had a great piano man. The piano man wasn’t bad or not skilled, he just didn’t seem to have the same flair as all the others.  Didn’t keep us from going there or anything.

 

We finished our drinks and headed of to On Air for the blankety blank game show!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Dixie1337 said:

 

It's possible to do, but not that straight forward and not something GS could really do (what they could do though is provide cards with holes already punched so maybe you're onto something with the wow band theory). 

 

If you stand in a dark room and shine a bright LED light held against and through the card (flashlight, or the light on your phone), you can see where the chip and the antenna are.  I tried it on my work key card.  I had to be in a dark room or I couldn't see anything.  If you buy your own hole punch you could find where the wires are and punch it yourself in a safe area.   Worst case you screw up the card and go get a new one 😉

On Ovation the card stock already has a hole punched in it. 

 

Also, this stock of cards seems to be different than previous RFID cards as the antenna wire is much further in from the edges making hole punching safer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm enjoying your review. Thanks for sharing! Also, my name is Nichole, too - with an H! I assume your wife has spent her life spelling her first name, just as I have. I very rarely run into people with the same spelling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there any place to get a hamburger/pizza beside the buffet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...