When I thought about setting out to review our recent cruise Onboard Symphony of the Seas I thought it would be easy. I was wrong! after a week onboard the inaugural maiden voyage cruise out of Barcelona I soon figured out that there was so much to do and so little time. Symphony of the Seas is a Royal Caribbean ship that at one point was the largest ship in the world. It’s still on minutely smaller and is one of the most impressive ships to grace the ocean. But what is it like to sail on Symphony of the seas? Lets find out.
What is it like to be onboard Symphony of the seas? A review and tips for the largest Royal Caribbean cruise ship 2023
So to find out where to eat, where to dance, sing and play on Symphony of the Seas read this review! One of the largest oasis class ships from Royal Caribbean is an‘s and adults playground alike. It is so coll you can even stay on board in some ports so as not to miss out on this magnificent ship.
Our particular itinerary was fantastic! Palma Majorca, Marseille France, Pisa, Rome and Naples! it is so lovely to be able to visit a different port every day!
Symphony of the Seas cruise ship facts
- The Symphony of the seas was built in St Nazaire in France and its official maiden voyage was on the 7th of April 2018. The ship cost to build was approximately $1.35 billion. Before this the latest ship from Royal Caribbean International the symphony had trial voyages and press trips to show itself to the world.
- This Royal Caribbean ship is part of the Oasis class of ship and weighs 228.081 gross tons, is 1,188 feet long and 215,5 feet wide. It is a dizzying 215.5 feet high and its cruising speed is 22 knots.
- With 2,759 staterooms it can carry a whopping 5,518 guests at double occupancy. It simply is huge! with seven neighbourhoods and outdoor park and even a carousel.
- The ship features numerous attractions and amenities, including a zip line, rock-climbing wall, ice skating rink, water park, 10-story slide, mini-golf course, flowrider surf simulator, and Broadway-style shows.
- Symphony of the Seas has a total of 22 restaurants, including a Mexican cantina, a seafood bar, a Japanese teppanyaki grill, an themed wonderland restaurant and a classic American diner.
- The ship has a total of 18 decks of guest accommodations, including interior staterooms, ocean-view staterooms, balcony staterooms, and suites.
- There are There are 188 suites on Symphony of the Seas! There are 11 different types of suites that include Junior Suites, Grand Suites, crown loft suites and even Ultimate Family Suite
- The ship’s central atrium has two open air sides! One side is the Boardwalk which features a full size carousel, shops, and restaurants with a 10 story slide. The other side is a full open air park area called Central Park with restaurants, bars and shops.
- Symphony of the Seas is powered by four ABB Azipod propulsion units, which give the ship a maximum speed of 22.6 knots (41.9 km/h or 26 mph).
- The ship’s home port as of 2023 is in Miami, Florida, and it sails primarily in the Caribbean, with itineraries that include stops in places such as the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Mexico. It also spends time in the Mediterranean sailing out of Barcelona.
- Symphony of the Seas is part of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class of ships, which also includes Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and Harmony of the Seas and of course Wonder of the seas.
Take a look at whats inside a Grand suite on Oasis class ships
This Grand Suite is on Symphony of the Seas
Stepping onboard the Symphony of the Seas for the first time! and exploring the seven Neighbourhoods of Symphony of the Seas
From the moment we stepped on board the buzz was obvious, the excitement the glitz and the glamour. You enter Symphony of the Seas straight on to the Promenade.
We were all grinning from ear to ear. We walked straight up the ramp after a breeze-full check-in to a glittery promenade. Everywhere you looked was a member of Royal Caribbean’s staff with a tray of sparking champagne or buck fizz waiting for you.
With champagne glass in hand we wandered open mouthed along the promenade not sure where to look first. It has always been this way with me from the minute I hear hear ding dong of my sea-pass checking me in I am hooked.
The Symphony of the Seas was our 9th cruise and our first one in 5 years. Due to Our sons child theatre commitments we were unable to book any holidays but fear not we are back. What a fantastic way to come back to cruising with Royal Caribbean on the maiden voyage of Symphony of the Seas.
The Promenade on the largest ship in the world
The promenade on deck five is your central go to place, here you will find guest relations, shops, bars and snack restaurants.
Our first point of call after pointing our the pub and the cafe was the Bionic bar. You simply have to try this robotic bar whilst onboard. Two separate robots make cocktails pouring shots from the ceiling and shaking not remotely resembling Tom cruise. None the less they make cocktails! They know exactly what to put in to your Cosmo including the fresh lime! Absolute genius! You can even order non alcoholic if you wish.
Deck 5 is a hive of excitement, bustling with bars and restaurants I loved it here. The Rising tide bar is situated on this deck outside the promenade cafe. It travels up to Central Park and back down again all day on rotation. One moment you are sipping cocktails amongst the trees the next listening to music on the bustling promenade.
The Boardwalk has to be one of the most impressive places on a ship I had ever seen. A huge open promenade complete with a full size carousel. The Playmaker bar sits perfectly in this adventure area serving beers, cocktails and showing the latest sports on the TV. You can also Grab a board game here and battle out with an opponent to the likes of connect 4.
The Boardwalk on Symphony is a complete fun zone and is full of activities and just like a children’s playground.
The Rockwall can be found on the Boardwalk along with arcade games, a climbing area for kids and the exit to the abyss slide.
What food is there on the Boardwalk ?
You can grab a hotdog in The Dog House (this is included and closes at 7pm) Get your sugar craving in Sugar Beach or Step back in time and sing along with the staff in Johnny rockets. Jonny Rockets is an authentic American style restaurant where you can grab food such as a smokehouse burger for an extra charge.
Central Park on the worlds biggest cruise ship
Whichever way you choose to get to central either by sipping a cocktail in the tide bar or a ride in the lifts you won’t be disappointed. I love Central Park with its real trees plants and shrubs, its a lovely place to make you feel close to nature.
The park has its own outside bar called the trellis bar and lots of seating areas. Our favourite bar Vintages is here along with the tasty Park Cafe and Dazzles the nightclub.
Vintage wine bar is one of my favourite places. Wines and beverages up to $13 can be bought here on your drinks package or you can pay the extra. It is relaxed and calm with knowledgeable sommeliers to help you you choose the perfect wine.
There are also 3 speciality restaurants on deck 8 Jamie’s Italian, Chops Grille and 150 Central Park which makes them feel very special.
The Entertainment place, What shows are there Onboard Symphony of the Seas?
There is so much entertainment on this Vessel and you will be hard pushed to do it all. Whatever you choose will be 1st class and top broadway quality.
On deck 4 you will find a bit of nightlife. The Royal theatre where the hit broadway musical Hairspray is on and Studio B ice rink where you can watch 1977.
1977 was a funky take on the year with spectacular effects ( including drones ) lights and perfect performances.
In the Attic you will watch Comedy shows attend discos and lots more, if that’s not not thing then catch some live Jazz in Jazz on 4.
Then there is the Aqua theatre on the back of the ship under the stars where you can see some amazing performances with lights water and circus feats.
Pool and Sports area, What activities are there Onboard Symphony of the Seas?
Onboard Symphony of the Seas there is fun wherever you look.
Onboard activities are exciting and adventurous. You Zip line your way across Central Park, climb the rock climbing wall or surf the Flowrider. There are activities in the bars such as quizzes, you can learn to dance or even taste a wine flight.
You will be constantly entertained with many mini adventures onboard. There are numerous pools a spa area and hot tubs dotted everywhere across the boat. The Abyss is a 10 story dry slide which transports you from the top deck to the Boardwalk in a flash!
We found lots to do including , air hockey table, chess, crazy Golf and even laser tag! There is ice skating at certain times of the day and also a Casino if you wish to have a flutter.
Vitality Spa and fitness Center
For the gym lovers amongst you the Vitality Soa and fitness area is a must. I really could not believe the size of it.
There was more gym equipment than I have ever seen and it spanned the whole breath of the ship. The running track is amazing as is situated on deck 5. You can gain access to this via the gym right after you have had your healthy boost of vitamins from your fresh smoothy in the vitality Cafe.
The Two Bedroom Grand Suite onboard the oasis class ship
Booking a cruise can be a minefield and there is so much choice on the ship. Cabins onboard the Symphony of the Seas vary and there is a lot of choice. You really can not go wrong with virtual balconies, balconies over the sea, park or boardwalk you are really spoilt for choice.
We stayed in a Grand Suite this time as our two boys are teenagers. We figured that out first cruise in a while should be something special and with our 15 year wedding anniversary it was just that.
The two bedroom grand suite was perfect for us and also gave us access to the Concierge lounge and the Coastal Kitchen which a separate restaurant specifically for suite guests.
The adventure ocean club is the space designed for the kids onboard.
The kids onboard Symphony of the Seas with without a doubt have the time of their lives. We have never doubted this each time we have cruised. The adventure Ocean staff are well equipped fun and actually more exciting than us parents would ever be.
Lets explore the fun side of the ship, what is there for teenagers onboard?
There is so much for Teens to do onboard and they were so excited. Our first day was a let explore the ship, let find everynook and cranny and have fun. We headed straight up stairs to the the Abyss as the kids had been so excited to try this.
After a short tutorial everyone jumped in a sack and raced down 10 stories to the boardwalk. With flashing lights and music it was an effortless yet exhilarating ride to the sports bar for us!
We were lucky enough to have our cases outside our room very early on day one. Normally cases will be delivered by 6pm ready for oi to change in to evening attire.
Lets get formal, What is formal night like onboard the Symphony?
The attire on the boat is casual there is no need to worry about what you wear. I however love a dress so for me I like to dress up every night but you really do not have to. Formal night is a suggestion and to be honest I wished more people took it up, it is really fun to get dressed up looking smart especially whilst away.
If you do decide to dress up do not forget to get one of the onboard photographers to take a picture of you. It will make the perfect memory for you to take home. Picture This studio is situated on deck 6 or accessed from deck 5. All over the ship are opportunities to have your photo taken, you can purchase a package to take those pictures home with you forever.
We purchased the package as 6 photo package which came on a usb stick at approximately $100.
What is the food like on onboard Symphony of the Seas?
The food onboard the Symphony is amazing and so varied. The three main dining rooms are huge and serve a good choice of starter main and dessert. These table service restaurants are either a 6pm, 9pm or a My Time sitting. With My time you get to choose daily which time you wish to eat. You can request your dinner service at the time of booking your Royal Caribbean holiday.
If you choose not to sit down for dinner your can pop along to windjammers where you will spoilt for choice. Windjammers serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is informal with a huge choice of food.
There are many restaurants onboard which are a small extra charge. We ate this time in Wonderland restaurant which is just what it says on the tin! Wonderland! Quirky, fun upside down and topsy turvy with food that is exciting and fun.
Do I need a drinks package Onboard Symphony of the Seas?
This is a question often asked and pondered over. The deluxe drinks package onboard is approximately £39 ($65) There is also a package and a soda package. We personally always get a drinks package.
If we wanted a glass of freshly squeezed orange for breakfast or a special coffee these can be added too. With most cocktails being $13 and glasses of wine around $10 it is not long before you have covered your daily spend.
By the time we bought 2 alcoholic drinks packages, I deluxe non alcohol and one soda package we had an extra $400 dollars added to account in gratuity and tax’s for the week. Make sure to book pre cruise. We opt out of prepay gratuity too and tip who serve us. I would say normally it is worth getting the package as most cocktails are $13. Which is the limit per drink on Symphony.
Phew I am exhausted and I am sure I have missed something. The beauty is simply the sheer amount to do or simply not to do. There are some fantastic itineraries on the Symphony but you will also find that the Oasis class ships offer very similar in the way of activities and what to do onboard.
I hope you enjoyed whats Onboard Symphony of the Seas, we loved our trip and can not wait to go back.