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Symphony of the Seas Review: Our Expert Gives Her Verdict

Our travel expert and cruise aficionado, Sharon, paid a visit to the Symphony of the Seas. This spectacular liner hails from Royal Caribbean, one of our most popular cruise holiday options. We just had to share what she thought!

While you’re here, see our Royal Caribbean cruise deals here, or check out our dedicated cruise page.

All Aboard the Symphony!

Our verdict – Royal have really listened to their guests with the launch of Symphony. The layout is so simple to navigate – no twisting corridors – no heading in the wrong direction (remember this ship is longer than the Empire State building) no getting lost as all similar activities are linked together in the 7 neighbourhoods. The staff are professional, well seasoned employees with considerable experience on previous ships. The numerous facilities and activities on board are geared for those looking for a lively experience with something happening all the time! Thanks to the range of staterooms on offer Symphony is perfect for groups and families with young and teenage children.

Symphony of the Seas | Cruise Holidays

Overview

Wow and wow! Describes my recent experience on Royal Caribbean’s newest addition to the fleet – “Symphony of the Seas” based in the Med this summer and then moving to the Caribbean in the winter.

This Oasis Class ship follows in the footsteps of Oasis, Allure, and Harmony of the Seas – The largest cruise ships in the world carrying more than 6,000 passengers at full capacity and probably the line’s most popular ship class. With 7 distinct neighbourhoods, a variety of speciality restaurants and numerous exciting attractions the Oasis Class has the most on offer for those adrenaline junkies seeking activity and a variety of things of things to do all day every day!

My standouts were Central Park, the Aqua Nation show and simply the well-designed layout and decor throughout.  

Accommodation

Symphony accommodates 6,680 guests – with a huge selection of staterooms ranging from top of the range family suites, grand suites together with numerous other suites/lofts with floor to ceiling windows and lots of space. For those multi generational travellers RCL have a giant stateroom accommodating 14 guests.

For the more traditional client there are balcony cabins with inward facing views overlooking central park or the boardwalk or the more typical outward facing ocean views. The more price conscious inside cabins with the real time virtual windows are really effective. The view changes with the outside light and, as it’s real time projection you get honest views as you pull into ports from the high tech camera positioned outside the ship in a prime location.

Staterooms are well furnished with restful colour schemes and provide plenty of storage for all your bits, plenty of plugs for charging things! Enjoy flat screen TVs and lovely comfy beds, and an ample relaxing large sofa (which converts if required). For families there are good sized staterooms with bunk beds tucked in an alcove with a privacy curtain – kids will love these! Bathrooms are surprisingly spacious, with good storage and a nice low light at night-time to prevent toe stubbing! 

The ultimate family suite (1 on board only) with its own slide, giant balcony with Jacuzzi, double height ceilings, fantastic private quarters, kids area and Lego wall, air hockey and a popcorn machine is an absolute dream for families with deep pockets and is already solidly booked out! Villa suites/Owner suites/Star lofts and Grand Suites give you an idea of some of the range on offer.

The Neighbourhoods

My favourite has to be Central Park – with its 12,000 trees and carefully selected plants are real joy to behold. This neighbourhood is open to the elements and with 7 decks rising on either side overlooking the space it keeps it serene, sheltered and protected. A winding walkway flanked both sides with designer shops – Bvlgari, Cartier and a range of speciality restaurants such as Chops/105 Central Park, Jamie’s Italian and Vintage Wine Bar. A really lovely space at sea and fantastic for people watching.

The pool and sports zone

High activity takes place in this area of the ship with the massive and terrifying Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea at 46 metres which plunges 10 storeys, the trio of twisting water slides called The Perfect Storm, 2 FlowRiders, a zipline, mini golf and 2 x 220 foot rock climbing walls. Phew!... Then there is the basketball/sports court, Splashaway Bay for kids and 23 other pool options and loads of sundecks.

Boardwalk

Open to the elements at the opposite end to Central Park with a colourful fairground carrousel, other fun family games and a range of casual cafes and restaurants a real outdoor and vibrant buzz. Playmakers Bar is new and has 30 TV screens streaming sporting events every day. You’ll love Sugar Beach crammed full of sweets and homemade ice creams and goodies and 1950’s Johnny Rockets for burgers.

Vitality at Sea  

A spacious gym that houses all the latest equipment on offer and provides nutritional advice and personal consultations too. Pilates and yoga classes take place daily. Large and tranquil treatment rooms offering massages, seaweed wraps, pedicures, Botox and teeth whitening – all products are from popular spa brand, Elemis. 

Symphony of the Seas | Cruise Holidays

Entertainment Place

Here’s where the evening starts – At Studio B housing the ice skating rink with an absolutely amazing opening using 40 coloured drones, these skaters are top class professionals and conduct jumps and spins with fantastic costume changes and, this is where the Lazer Tag takes place  –the main theatre showing the high end production of Hairspray, the casino hall with multiple machines or to try your luck at the tables, the intimate jazz and blues bar for a relaxed chilled out evening, the comedy club or the Karaoke bar and.... to finish off The Attic for a late night boogie on the largest dance floor at sea. Not to mention the other numerous bars and lounges throughout the ship depending on your mood. 

Aqua Nation

Performed at the aft (back) of the ship in an outdoor amphitheatre this is a show like no other. Synchronised swimmers from the Ukraine start the proceedings, upside down in the water with only shiny red stilettos showing. The high diver’s complicated twists and turns from the 2 x 10 metre diving board into what seems like a tiny pool make you hold your breath, and the balancing tightrope walkers from Australia conduct amazing feats on thin ropes above your heads are jaw dropping. An unmissable event.

Royal Promenade

The greatest 80’s party takes place on the promenade with mad haircuts, neon outfits and fantastic music. This is an unforgettable street party in the centre of the ship. The robotic bartenders will make your cocktails at the Bionic Bar without a human in sight, the Rising Tide bar elevates from deck 5-8 whilst you relax and enjoy a drink. The rest of the promenade is place to stroll, take a pizza, grab a Starbucks, browse through a number of retail shops, and bars. This is a great area for meeting up with people and socialising.

Youth Zone

We know that RCL is the market leader when it comes to its youth programmes for kids of all ages - from 6 months (drop off) to 17 years they jam pack exciting and innovative activities for the younger generation and it’s no different on Symphony of the Seas. The Royal Babies, the Adventure Ocean and Teen Programme all run on Symphony. In addition the new Puzzle Break) is a challenging escape room experience trapped in a submarine and a need to escape against a ticking clock. Solve the puzzles before it’s too late.

Symphony of the Seas | Cruise Holidays

Quick facts –

  • 18 decks high – standing upright at 362 metres
  • Symphony is most like Harmony of the Seas in terms of facilities on board but with extras thrown in.
  • 20 restaurants with over 300m menu options available.
  • The big Broadway show on this ship is Hairspray (Grease, Mamma Mia, Cats on others)
  • Symphony of the Seas weighs more than 17,000 African Elephants!
  • Battle for Planet Z is a new pitch black lazer game for everybody young and old  with glow in the dark intergalactic gear
  • New entertainment planned (not seen on this visit)
  • “Flight” a multi-million-dollar original production starting with a journey to space and then going backwards in time with the finale a dramatic computer controlled aircraft in flight over the audience.
  • “HiRO” – Bringing together some of the world’s best extreme-sport athletes. Expect aerobatics like never before -  jaw dropping, unpredictable and a mind blowing experience that leave you breathless with 20 gifted super-athletes and with no 2 shows being the same
  • Iskate 2.0 – A second ice skating production showcasing the talents of the resident ice skating team to their own music and demonstrating their best moves – basically it’s the ice team showing off!   
  • Extra speciality restaurants – Hooked (New England style seafood) – Sugar Beach (sweets) – El Loco (Mexican)
  • Playmakers sports bar with 30 TV screens streaming numerous sporting events every day and video games etc.
  • New designed boardwalk with fairground carrousel, Johnny Rockets and more... 

Whether you’re a cruise connoisseur, or thinking of going for first time, learn more about Royal Caribbean Cruises on our site.

This blog is powered by Cassidy Travel, one of Ireland’s leading travel agencies. Our team of over 100 expert travel advisors send 1000s of Irish holidaymakers around the world every year. And we love doing it! Visit our website to start planning your next getaway. If you’re Dublin-based, drop into one of our stores. With 33 years of experience we’ve mastered the art of easy booking. Whether it’s a city escape, US adventure or family holiday we’d love to help you plan, book and dream.

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Sharon Harney - 28 January 2020

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