Memorable Family Cruising in the Eastern Caribbean on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas
In keeping with a cherished family love for cruising, my family rang in 2024 aboard Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas, a crown jewel in the fleet. Our eight-night Eastern Caribbean expedition unveiled breathtaking beaches, adrenaline-pumping adventures, and cultural immersion across St. Martin, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and Haiti. Yet, stealing the spotlight was the towering marvel of Symphony of the Seas, a 17-story floating city accommodating over 6,000 passengers. With its well-appointed staterooms, a diverse range of dining options and quality entertainment, the ship masterfully balances comfort and extraordinary experiences, making our cruise one we’ll remember.
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Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas
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The Floating City - Symphony of the Seas
Symphony of the Seas stands as a true marvel of engineering, its sheer size an awe-inspiring testament that defies imagination until you step aboard. As we explored this colossal vessel, its grandeur unfolded gradually, leaving us astounded even on the final day, as we stumbled upon uncharted areas, pondering how these hidden gems eluded us before.
Royal Caribbean's ingenuity shines through in crafting spaces that are not just vast but distinctly unique. Picture this: from the tranquility of benches in Central Park accompanied by a soulful jazz quartet, a mere deck change transports you to a vibrant boardwalk adorned with carnival games, a carousel and a charming ice cream parlor.
The ship transforms into a playground of limitless possibilities—ice skating, rock climbing, tempting fate at the casino, or embarking on an exhilarating descent down the Ultimate Abyss, a breathtaking nine-deck drop. Deck 15, a hub of activity, unveils a world of wonders—from multiple pools and an extreme kids' splash pad to heart-pounding ziplining, mini golf and a captivating surf simulation experience.
Should the whirlwind of activities leave you yearning for tranquility, escape to the adults-only haven of the Royal Solarium. Picture yourself sipping cocktails in a serene day bed or indulging in lavish spa treatments. Symphony of the Seas is a promise fulfilled – a realm where choices are as abundant as the ocean, ensuring that you'll never find yourself wanting for extraordinary options.
Exploring Symphony of the Seas' Staterooms
Symphony of the Seas showcases a spectrum of stateroom categories, ranging from the understated comforts of entry-level interior-facing and balcony rooms to the opulence of two-story suites, capturing every imaginable nuance in between. During our voyage, my family occupied two exterior balcony staterooms, offering a seamless blend of comfort and ocean views.
While the balcony staterooms, by no means lacking in essentials, may not have struck me as exceptionally unique compared to accommodations on other vessels, they delivered a reassuring sense of familiarity. Within these cozy quarters, I found an artful balance of functionality and storage space, cleverly designed to maximize comfort despite the confined spaces inherent to shipboard living.
It's worth noting, however, that rooms positioned at the front of the ship exhibited a creakiness, particularly noticeable during moments of swifter travel. For those with a discerning ear or sensitivity to such nuances, I recommend considering staterooms positioned toward the aft of the ship for a quieter and more serene experience.
Culinary Critique of Symphony of the Seas
Now, let's talk food on Symphony of the Seas. With a cruise history spanning 12 journeys, including four with Royal Caribbean, my expectations were high. Historically, the main dining room, buffets, and grab-and-go spots have impressed, but this time, the overall food quality fell short, bordering on mediocre. The saving grace? Specialty restaurants, which delivered a standout culinary experience. However, dining here can add up, making unlimited dining packages a wise consideration before setting sail. In essence, unless you're willing to invest in premium dining, if you’re a true food connoisseur the overall experience might leave you wanting more.
Need to Know
Symphony of the Seas: In Summary
Meticulously designed ship with universal appeal
Abundant entertainment and activities for diverse preferences
Perfect balance of at-sea days and captivating port stops
Seamless operations enhancing the overall cruise experience
Occasional crowding in peak areas
Average food experience outside of specialty restaurants
This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel by cruise. In need of further inspiration? Check out Megan Steely’s trip report, Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas: The Best Summer Vacation for Families.
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