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zdad59

Super summer week on Symphony - my trip report.

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Posted (edited)
On ‎7‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 11:04 AM, zdad59 said:

IT's CRUISE DAY !!    

Our customary 1st drink !

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I want to cruise with you guys!!  You all look like so much fun!!

 

May I ask (for research) what type of drink is that and what's in it?

 

Hope you enjoyed your trip as much as we did...

Edited by tcmagnum

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23 minutes ago, tcmagnum said:

 

May I ask (for research) what type of drink is that and what's in it?

 


I'm sure your question is ENTIRELY for academic purposes only.... 😎

(And I agree, the OP sounds like a lot of fun to cruise with!)

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21 hours ago, brillohead said:


That is HORRIBLE advice.

You can't initiate a chargeback on your credit card just because you didn't get what you wanted when you wanted it.  

Now, if they took his money for the flight and then refused to fly him anywhere, that would warrant a chargeback.  But just because you had "some stress" over a delayed flight does NOT mean you get all your money back.

What the heck is wrong with people these days????

 

Totally agree....and this is why it's good advice to fly in at least one day before, in case of a flight cancellation:) Mmmmmm, our American flight was 6.5 hours delayed in May, which meant we had an overnight flight (the worst) and rec'ed NOTHING from AA. It's just how it is when your fly, whether it's safety, weather or mechanics, we aren't in control of the airlines decisions.

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6 minutes ago, ptf2009 said:

Totally agree....and this is why it's good advice to fly in at least one day before, in case of a flight cancellation:) Mmmmmm, our American flight was 6.5 hours delayed in May, which meant we had an overnight flight (the worst) and rec'ed NOTHING from AA. It's just how it is when your fly, whether it's safety, weather or mechanics, we aren't in control of the airlines decisions.


Exactly.  

I had an AA flight that got pushed back, pushed back, pushed back, and then cancelled.  They wanted to put me on a flight the next day, arriving in FLL at 1:30 on the day of the cruise.  

That's a big NOPE from me!  

Instead, I had them put me on a flight to Tampa (landed around midnight), then I rented a car and drove across the state overnight.  

It cost me extra and I didn't get to sleep, but I DID get there in time for my cruise!
 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, tcmagnum said:

 

I want to cruise with you guys!!  You all look like so much fun!!

 

May I ask (for research) what type of drink is that and what's in it?

 

Hope you enjoyed your trip as much as we did...

 

It's a Blue Hawaiian.   A Pina Colada with Blue Curacao  in it.

 

And you are correct.....we're a lot of fun.    Join our football gang in February on Celebrity Summit.   You'll have a great time.

Edited by zdad59

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On 7/21/2019 at 11:04 AM, zdad59 said:

IT's CRUISE DAY !!    A great day 1...once we got there !

 

We got up early, eager to leave the Motel 6 section of the Bahia Mar.   We met my niece and her hubby for an UBER XL ride to Terminal A in Miami.    The UBER XL fare was $87....~$22ea for door to door service.   Our ride was an Infiniti QX60, a very comfortable ride for the 4 of us and all our luggage.   The ride down was uneventful.   We did hit heavy traffic as we neared Miami but our driver got off 95 early and went thru downtown and actually got us there before others that left at the same time.    As we got to the terminal around 10:30 though, the one design flaw of Terminal A reared its head.   The loop to get into the terminal is a driving nightmare.   Many people disembarking that are trying to get transportation,  crew trying to get out for the day, and people trying to get to the ship all meet at one choke point.   Took our driver a good 15 minutes to go a short distance to get us to a place we could get us and our luggage out.  

 

Once out of the UBER good things started.     A porter met us immediately and took our luggage.   We were able to walk straight into the terminal and up the escalator.   Took less than 2 minutes to get thru check in and security screening.   Terminal A (excluding the drive in loop) is perfectly designed for these big ships.   Been thru twice now and its been easy peasy both times.   We did have about a 15 minute wait until the ship was ready to board, but once open we were right on and headed to the Solarium Bar.

 

At the Solarium Bar we met my new best friend for the week...Samuel the Bartender.     He was a more senior bartender, wearing a white shite and epaulets.    He made our traditional first drink, a Blue Hawaiian, exactly how we like it.  YUMMY.    Once we had our first drink, we went into the Solarium Bistro for a very nice lunch.   Quiet, tasty, and not the Windjammer.    After lunch we took a stroll until our rooms were ready at 1.

 

Ours was an ocean view balcony room on deck 14 aft.   14672.    A nice room, bed near the balcony.    We felt there wasn't as much storage as on Allure and Harmony, but it was fine.   We would find later that the cabin location wasn't the best.    Deck 14 is just below the pool deck and out room was right under the ice cream machine just outside El Loco Fresh.   Late at night it was mostly quiet but until the kids on board settled down you could hear feet running around.

 

Dinner was in the Main Dining Room.    We met our waiter Raj, and Assistant Waiter Janita.    In the end, they were probably the best serving team we've ever had.   Attentive, they worked very well together, and they were quite pleasant.   Later in the thread, I'll give a run down of hits and misses in the food category.    Mostly hits, with a miss or two.   Overall, we were pleased with the food quality and service.

 

After dinner, we made our way to the theater for our first show.....Hairspray.   Mama and I love Hairspray, having seen it on Broadway and watching it frequently on DVD at home.   Lets just say...…..THIS WAS THE BEST LIVE VERSION OF HAIRSPRAY WE HAVE EVER SEEN.     The musicality, the staging, the dancing...everything was just top notch.   There was even a mid show standing ovation after one epic song (if you know the show, you know which song).    Just not enough words to say how good this show was.  Later I'll discuss an impromptu backstage tour we got because of my nieces connections.

 

After a nightcap, we called it a night.   Great first day.

 

NEXT:   A couple of relaxing days at sea.

 

The Promenade all dressed up to welcome us

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Samuel, the bartender.   A great mate.

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Our customary 1st drink !

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Sailing away

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Mama enjoying the view from the fly bridge.

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Hairspray Main Stage

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A close up from our behind the scenes tour.

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On 7/21/2019 at 1:53 PM, 37645 said:

 

Thanks for the review. Blue Hawaiians are  one of my favorites 🙂 

What is a Blue Hawaiian?  It looks really good!

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11 minutes ago, OCVTSGIRL said:

What is a Blue Hawaiian?  It looks really good!

 

It is essentially a Pina colada with blue curacao  added. Very tasty. Not on their official menu but they are good. 

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Posted (edited)

DAY 5....A lazy St. Thomas day,   Day 6 at sea and the FLIGHT show, and my food review. 

 

On day 5 we docked at St. Thomas.   Had been there before and we didn't want to do an island tour, and we didn't want another beach day with Nevis behind us and CoCo Cay ahead of us.   So we slept in late, went to the gym (can't believe I did that) and a quick stroll down the main drag in Charlotte Amalie.   We stopped at our go to jeweler the, House of Rajah.   I usually buy a watch each cruise but nothing struck my fancy.   Mama bought a nice (and thank you...inexpensive) necklace.    We had no show in the evening, so after dinner, we hit the Solarium Bar for a drink.   Mama called it an early night and I went and played cards for a bit.     Frankly, I love one lazy day like this each cruise.

 

Day 6 was a sea day.   It was also formal night #2.   The matriarch chose a tropical night.   I killed it.   Even had teens high fiving me and telling me I "looked fresh".   Quite proud of my outfit.   After dinner we went to the show, FLIGHT.    It was good, but I've seen better shows on RCL ships.   Planet Earth on Allure comes to mind.   Enjoyable but the music didn't really mesh with the story well, and the going backward in time seemed odd to us.

 

And now my food review.     I usually do hits and misses.  We are primarily MDR folk, so the only specialty restaurant in the review is Chops.    So here it goes....

 

HITS

  • The bone in Rib Eye at Chops.   Done medium.    Maybe the best piece of cow I've ever eaten.    And this is after a poor performance by Chops the last time we tried it.
  • The Poblano Pepper soup.    The best thing they have in the MDR.
  • The Vidalia onion tart.   I had three !
  • The beef carpaccio in both the MDR and Chops.    SO TASTY !!!!
  • The beef medallions in the MDR
  • The hot dogs for lunch at the solarium bistro.    Really tasty.   Not there every day, so be on the look out.
  • The Maryland Crab Cake appetizer in the MDR.   We used to live in Baltimore and Mama is a crab cake snob.    She gave it the highest review.
  • The lasagna entrée in the MDR.    It was a miss in February, but this time it was very good.
  • The lamb chops in the MDR.    Mama had them in both the MDR and Chops and said the ones in the MDR were head and shoulders better than the ones in Chops.
  • My orange sherbet for dessert each night.    It's not on the menu, but I got a little note to the MDR the week before sailing and they had it ready for me each night.    YUMMY

 

Misses

  • The French onion soup.    If you read my February Allure review, this is a sore spot for us.   I know they have to make it for the masses, but it is so bland.   (Allure review link is below)
  • MDR NY strip steak....made medium.     I found out that medium to the MDR means medium well.    I had it on another night and asked for it medium rare, and it came out fine.    Not a fan of the peppercorn sauce either.
  • The bacon appetizer in Chops.     Sounds good, but it was pretty fatty and the sauce tasted like simple BBQ sauce.     I'd rather seem them offer Millionaire's Bacon.
  • Prime Rib in MDR.    It was OK but you want a piece of prime rib to be memorable.   It wasn't.
  • Potato and leek soup in the MDR.     Like in February it was kind of grainy.

 

Now I call these items misses simply because they just didn't hit the mark for us.   We truly had no bad meals, just an item or two here and there that weren't quite up to snuff.

 

NEXT:    CoCo Cay and saying good bye

 

Feb 2019 Allure review.....  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2635989-hens-on-the-high-seasallure-ots-feb-17/

 

Stylin' and Profilin' on Tropical formal night

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Flight

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Flight   (that's Edna from Hairspray)

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Raj, our MDR waiter, came up to Chops to bring me my daily special dessert !!

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A phenomenal piece of cow !!

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Edited by zdad59

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Love your tropical suit!!  Mind you I can't show hubby, cause he loves to dress up in a fun way. And I have to match him. Lol

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12 hours ago, zdad59 said:

DAY 5....A lazy St. Thomas day,   Day 6 at sea and the FLIGHT show, and my food review. 

 

On day 5 we docked at St. Thomas.   Had been there before and we didn't want to do an island tour, and we didn't want another beach day with Nevis behind us and CoCo Cay ahead of us.   So we slept in late, went to the gym (can't believe I did that) and a quick stroll down the main drag in Charlotte Amalie.   We stopped at our go to jeweler the, House of Rajah.   I usually buy a watch each cruise but nothing struck my fancy.   Mama bought a nice (and thank you...inexpensive) necklace.    We had no show in the evening, so after dinner, we hit the Solarium Bar for a drink.   Mama called it an early night and I went and played cards for a bit.     Frankly, I love one lazy day like this each cruise.

 

Day 6 was a sea day.   It was also formal night #2.   The matriarch chose a tropical night.   I killed it.   Even had teens high fiving me and telling me I "looked fresh".   Quite proud of my outfit.   After dinner we went to the show, FLIGHT.    It was good, but I've seen better shows on RCL ships.   Planet Earth on Allure comes to mind.   Enjoyable but the music didn't really mesh with the story well, and the going backward in time seemed odd to us.

 

And now my food review.     I usually do hits and misses.  We are primarily MDR folk, so the only specialty restaurant in the review is Chops.    So here it goes....

 

HITS

  • The bone in Rib Eye at Chops.   Done medium.    Maybe the best piece of cow I've ever eaten.    And this is after a poor performance by Chops the last time we tried it.
  • The Poblano Pepper soup.    The best thing they have in the MDR.
  • The Vidalia onion tart.   I had three !
  • The beef carpaccio in both the MDR and Chops.    SO TASTY !!!!
  • The beef medallions in the MDR
  • The hot dogs for lunch at the solarium bistro.    Really tasty.   Not there every day, so be on the look out.
  • The Maryland Crab Cake appetizer in the MDR.   We used to live in Baltimore and Mama is a crab cake snob.    She gave it the highest review.
  • The lasagna entrée in the MDR.    It was a miss in February, but this time it was very good.
  • The lamb chops in the MDR.    Mama had them in both the MDR and Chops and said the ones in the MDR were head and shoulders better than the ones in Chops.
  • My orange sherbet for dessert each night.    It's not on the menu, but I got a little note to the MDR the week before sailing and they had it ready for me each night.    YUMMY

 

Misses

  • The French onion soup.    If you read my February Allure review, this is a sore spot for us.   I know they have to make it for the masses, but it is so bland.   (Allure review link is below)
  • MDR NY strip steak....made medium.     I found out that medium to the MDR means medium well.    I had it on another night and asked for it medium rare, and it came out fine.    Not a fan of the peppercorn sauce either.
  • The bacon appetizer in Chops.     Sounds good, but it was pretty fatty and the sauce tasted like simple BBQ sauce.     I'd rather seem them offer Millionaire's Bacon.
  • Prime Rib in MDR.    It was OK but you want a piece of prime rib to be memorable.   It wasn't.
  • Potato and leek soup in the MDR.     Like in February it was kind of grainy.

 

Now I call these items misses simply because they just didn't hit the mark for us.   We truly had no bad meals, just an item or two here and there that weren't quite up to snuff.

 

NEXT:    CoCo Cay and saying good bye

 

Feb 2019 Allure review.....  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2635989-hens-on-the-high-seasallure-ots-feb-17/

 

Stylin' and Profilin' on Tropical formal night

IMG_1960.JPG

 

Flight

IMG_1962.JPG

 

Flight   (that's Edna from Hairspray)

IMG_1968.JPG

 

Raj, our MDR waiter, came up to Chops to bring me my daily special dessert !!

IMG_2129.JPG

 

A phenomenal piece of cow !!

IMG_E1975.JPG

 

 

WOW! That pink jacket is a bold statement. Who says real men can't wear pink😀 Thanks for your review, especially for the MDR as that is where we will be eating in Sept except for one night in Wonderland.

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On 7/21/2019 at 1:59 PM, zdad59 said:
  • Got a great private behind the scenes tour of Hairspray.   My niece knows a guy who knows a guy.   We got the tour by the lead rigger for the show, who by chance grew up in Pittsburgh, my home town.  

 

Hello fellow Pittsburgher!  Loving your review and photos!  80 days to go for us!  Any special tips from one yinzer to another haha?!  We live less than 10 minutes from Kennywood.  Can't wait to read the rest!

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During our last cruise on Harmony Samuel was our favorite bartender too, he makes the most amazing drinks 🍹 Your tropical outfit rocks! You make a wonderful happy couple together. Thanks for a great review. 

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20 hours ago, zdad59 said:

 

 

Day 6 was a sea day.   It was also formal night #2.   The matriarch chose a tropical night.   I killed it. 

 

Stylin' and Profilin' on Tropical formal night

IMG_1960.JPG

 

 

 

I agree - You KILLED tropical night!!  Love it.

 

Can you give me an idea of how you got a message to the MDR about your dessert request?  Just curious.

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20 hours ago, zdad59 said:

 

It's a Blue Hawaiian.   A Pina Colada with Blue Curacao  in it.

 

And you are correct.....we're a lot of fun.    Join our football gang in February on Celebrity Summit.   You'll have a great time.

This will be my sail away drink come February 1!!!

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11 minutes ago, tcmagnum said:

Can you give me an idea of how you got a message to the MDR about your dessert request?  Just curious.

 

You can send an email to  rcldining@rccl.com     They are pretty responsive.

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16 hours ago, zdad59 said:

 

Red up your room, bring gum bands, and don't let the jagoffs make you mad.    And before you leave the cabin for dinner, check to see if "Kennywood's open".

 

Haha!!  Love it.  Do they have Isaly's chipped/chopped ham in the Windjammer?  I'm putting a folding chair in my favorite spot so no one takes it!

 

Seriously though, I'm enjoying your review! 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/21/2019 at 11:04 AM, zdad59 said:

 

Once we had our first drink, we went into the Solarium Bistro for a very nice lunch.   Quiet, tasty, and not the Windjammer.    After lunch we took a stroll until our rooms were ready at 1.

 

Is the Solarium Bistro a buffet? What kind of items do they have? Is it indoors with A/C? We're trying to avoid the chaos of the Windjammer.

Love your review.

Edited by Lorey2007

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7 minutes ago, Lorey2007 said:

Is the Solarium Bistro a buffet? What kind of items do they have? Is it indoors with A/C? We're trying to avoid the chaos of the Windjammer.

Love your review.

 

Yes, its is a buffet.    Think of it as a mini Windjammer, without the sea of humanity.   Hot and cold food items.  Always a seafood option.   A dessert table.   Our preferred area to eat over Windjammer.    If you are in a cabin on the forward half of the ship, its a great option for breakfast and lunch.   It can get a little crowded but the workers that greet you are wired to folks in the seating area, always working to have tables ready.    It is indoors and air conditions but it is on deck 15 forward.   Seats nearest the Solarium window can get warm.

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Posted (edited)

DAY 7 and saying goodbye.....

 

Day 7 was our chance to go to Co Co Cay.    We had high expectations, based on RCL's advertising.   For us, it met or exceeded all expectations.    Symphony was the only ship there.   Even with 6000+ guests, it never felt crowded for us.   Well, except for the 15 minutes getting off the ship.   When they announced we were cleared to leave the ship, I think EVERYONE on the ship headed for the gangway.   Elevators were clogged.   The hallways on deck 3 were clogged.   It was pandalerium.   We got off into the crowd on deck 3 but after a couple of minutes we realized we could just go down the stairwell to deck 2 and go straight to the exit.   Turns out all the traffic on deck 3 was funneling onto the on escalator to the gangway area.

 

Once on the dock, its a short walk to the entrance to Perfect Day.    It's really not an expansive place, so getting around isn't that bad.  Oasis Lagoon is the first thing you pass, with the thrill park off to the left.   We walked on and went to the big fresh water pool.    It is very large, as they advertise, with a significant number of loungers available all around it.    Loungers are grouped in 2s and 4s, with each grouping having its own umbrella.    This area is all free of charge.    There are also in-pool loungers off to the left (as you enter) side of the pool.    The pool has a swim up bar, and in-pool tables and seats available for relaxing while you drink.   We found this area a truly wonderful place to relax.     Food is readily available.    We went to the Snack Shack for lunch.   We found the food to be very tasty.    We mixed it up so we could try several different things.   The burgers, chicken sandwich, fries, mozzarella sticks, and funnel cake were all very tasty.   The chill island area also looked very nice.   We walked around there but didn't hang out.    The only downer for CoCo Cay was encountered by our group that went to the thrill park.   The queues for the big water slides were super long...1.5 -2 hour kind of wait long.    They really didn't feel they got any value for what they paid and that it was way too crowded.

 

That evening we had a group "Last Supper" at Chops.   A table for 11 was ready for us at our reservation time.   As noted in my food review, it was quite tasty.   The only downer was a long gap between finishing our main courses and getting dessert.   Still not sure why it took so long.

 

After dinner, Mama and I went to the 2nd ice show, iSkate 2.0.   Like the 2nd ice show on other ships, the performers were a little looser, and the show was therefore a bit more fun.   We thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Sadly, at the end of the evening, we had to pack.   The saddest part of the week.

 

Upon leaving day, we went for a quick breakfast in the main dining room at about 7:45am.    We were tagged as Group 38.   We go the ok to leave the ship at 8:15.     We were off the ship in short order.   As we always do, we grabbed a porter.    He got us thru customs and to the UBER station in 5 minutes.   Our UBER for 2 (and 4 full sized bags) was $37 to FLL.    We were at the airport by 9:30.     Our 1:20 flight was on time and we were back in the oppressive heat of Baltimore and Philadelphia in no time.

 

Well, that does it for my review.    I hope you enjoyed it.    I am available to answer any questions you may have.

 

HAPPY SAILING !!!

 

Mama and our MDR assistant waiter Janita.   She was awesome all week.

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the iSkate show #1

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iSkate #2

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iSkate #3

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The whole gang on Tropical formal nght

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Mama, Papa and niece at CoCo Cay pool

IMG_2131.JPG

Edited by zdad59

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thank you for your feedback and lovely photos.  Cannot wait go on this cruise in Oct.

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zdad, I doff my hat to you, sir!  I love a man who is a confident and sharp dresser!

 

I have so enjoyed your trip report!

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, SteadyBetty said:

zdad, I doff my hat to you, sir!  I love a man who is a confident and sharp dresser!

 

I have so enjoyed your trip report!

 

Thanks......with all the comments here and on the ship, that jacket will become a regular part of my cruise wardrobe.

Edited by zdad59

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