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tfabriz99

The ins and outs of Symphony of the Seas

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First of all this ship is incredible! We literally just got off the ship and loved it. So much so that we've already booked another trip next year. That being said, there are some down sides. Let's go over the pros and cons of each.  #1 ( Pro ) The shows were spectacular! Book them early and often. I say often because you should book several of the same show in case you can't make one. ( Con ) There's SO much to do on the ship that we missed several shows because we wanted to catch a different show. ( again..book several in case you miss) Not really a con I know...the shows were amazing! #2 Embarkation/ Debarkation ( Pro) Embarkation was seamless and effortless with the online check in. We literally walked right on to the ship. ( Con ) Debarkation was a mess. We chose to use the "express" debarkation. ( take your own luggage). We were at the designated area 30 minutes before the gangway opened and still stood in a very long line that filled a dining room. We recommend heading down at least an hour early. # 3 ( Pro ) Beverage package. If you drink more than 6 drinks a day it's totally worth it. Keep in mind that even people who are "not big drinkers" WILL have tasty, fruity cocktails while on the ship. We met several people who didn't but the package because of that and were dismayed at their bill after they couldn't help but sample the beverages. They're extremely expensive without the package. ( Con ) Not really a con with this one:) # 4 ( Pro ) There is a smoking section on upper deck and Casino. ( Con ) They have both smoking sections located in high traffic areas that bother the non-smokers. The smokers need one bar or venue ( inside) that they can go too without bothering other guests as Carnival does. And by the amount of people in the smoking area I'd say it's worth a look Royal! # 5 Last but not least. The dining package. Stay far away from this money grab. We purchased the dining package anticipating eating in a different venue every night and saving a few bucks. The problem is that with the dining package you can't make reservations until you board the ship. No worries. We were on board by 1pm. We went directly to Hooked to book our venues for the week. Unfortunately, most of the time slots in ALL the restaurants were already booked! Most openings left were for 9 or 930 pm. A little late for dinner. ( for us anyway) Apparently those without the package and were paying ala carte were able to book online months ahead. So..they're paying full price and are seated. We paid for a package that we couldn't use. Royal double dipped. Not cool Royal. But we did find out through necessity is that they're included dining options are just as good as they're specialty restaurants! The buffets and included venues were MORE than enough for us. AND as an added bonus, you can eat whenever YOU want instead of trying to work around a reservation. Because of events on the ship and shore excursions we actually missed 2 of the reservations we WERE able to book. So..totally NOT getting dinner package again. So minor notes. Our room steward was not really on his game. He never vacuumed once. But I don't find this indicative of the room staff as we did see other room attendants working very hard...just not ours...lol  Bottom line folks...this cruise and ship were incredible and I would HIGHLY recommend it! The only con to this ship is that once you're on it, no other cruise ship will compare! They've GOT you!

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Great feedback. We were on Symphony recently too and loved it.  Wondering though how you booked a show multiple times?  Thought you are only allowed once per show.

Sorry you had such issues with being able to make dinner reservations at the specialty places.  You paid a lot, that's just not right. Very aggrevating,.

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Honestly I was just suggesting the multiple bookings. I didn't realize they wouldn't allow it. Back to the drawing board I guess. lol There's always the option of standing in line hoping to get in but honestly we felt that would be horrible waste of time with so many other things going on.

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I would have asked for a refund on the dining package if all they had were reservations at 9pm or later.

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16 minutes ago, tfabriz99 said:

Honestly I was just suggesting the multiple bookings. I didn't realize they wouldn't allow it. Back to the drawing board I guess. lol There's always the option of standing in line hoping to get in but honestly we felt that would be horrible waste of time with so many other things going on.

My daughter loved Flight so much that we went a second time on standby.  The wait wasn't bad and as the Royal Theatre was quite large, we had no issue getting in.  But I understand your point too.  So much to do!

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On Debarkation they have lines on both ends of the ship. We wait until the line starts moving (could see it from above) then went down, and got in line and right out the door. Probably 15 minutes cabin to customs.

 

The only problem for us was that line for the elevator to the parking garage, It had to be 100+ long. UGH. We parked on three so we decided to carry our luggage up the stairs. (Whew out of breath, I'm not in the greatest shape) Next time we will park on two with the intent to walk up after. 

Edited by Mikew0805

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8 minutes ago, LuCruise said:

My daughter loved Flight so much that we went a second time on standby.  The wait wasn't bad and as the Royal Theatre was quite large, we had no issue getting in.  But I understand your point too.  So much to do!

Flight was SO good! Actually between Hairspray & Flight, I do not think I have seen or heard better performers on a cruise ship. Their voices were amazing. 

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I’ve got the ultimate dining package multiple times for multiple different cruises over the past year and never experienced what was mentioned above. We were always able to get a table and reservation at different venues throughout the week at fair times. I’m hoping you inquired at more than just Hooked when you first boarded at 1. 

 

We’ve always set up our reservations for the week once we board at one of the venues. Depending on the ship you may have to go to some of them individually. Throughout the week we’ve even changed reservations from one restaurant to another and still got a table at a fair time. 

 

 

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Was on March 16th sailing.  We pre-purchased the 3 night dining package, but could not pre-reserve times until we got on the ship.  We went directly to 150 Central Park and booked our three nights and times, however they messed up and booked two of our restaurants on the same night.  We only figured this out when the dining times appeared on our app.  We got it fixed but had to get our Chops reservation on a different night than planned, due to their mistake.  My advice is to CONFIRM your reservations at each venue during non-busy times.  Also, if you boarded after 1pm and found the specialty restaurants mostly booked, check back later as that situation is fluid and times will open up.

 

As far as the smoking areas, the deck 15 smoking area is next to the sports pool (port side, aft) and was well attended.  The non-smoking area in the casino is kind of like a no-peeing area in a pool.  It does little good.  My wife (non-smoker) visited the casino briefly, and when she got on the elevator other guest could smell the second hand smoke on her clothes to her embarassment.

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We went for the regular debarkation from our cruise (last minute decision as we had planned to walk off with our bags). Walked from breakfast to our meet room via our cabin to pick up hand luggage about 10 minutes before our designated time. Our number was called as we arrived so walked straight off the ship, no lines at all. Grabbed a porter who located our luggage instantly and we were out the terminal in less than 15 minutes from breakfast! Never even noticed customs!

 

One word of warning, if you change from dinner before putting your cases out, make sure non of your sign & sail cards are in your pockets when you pack your trousers!

My husband packed 2 of our 3 cards! Didn’t notice till the next morning. Guest services quickly replaced them - just when we were hoping we were stuck on the ship!!

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Are we allowed to double book shows? I am actually booking Symphony shows right now.

Another question, are we allowed to bring a bottle of wine/per adult? If so, is there a cork fee? How about soda?

Edited by molole

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3 hours ago, Host Clarea said:

I would have asked for a refund on the dining package if all they had were reservations at 9pm or later.

We did think about doing just that but didn't want to cause a stink. We just chalked it up to a life lesson.

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2 minutes ago, molole said:

Are we allowed to double book shows? I am actually booking Symphony shows right now.

 

Nope.

 

They used to have a Dreamworks character breakfast that was "free" and had no limits on reservations.  Some people were reported to be reserving multiple mornings, just so they could be "flexible", notwithstanding that they were preventing others from making reservations.  So Royal started charging the adults for reservations.

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Same ship, different experience.  Had the BOGO and the 5 night package plus 1 dinner thrown in by the TA.  This was for the 12 night TA and we had no problem getting every restaurant and time we wanted. None were pre reserved and our first package night was night 3.  I do agree Symphony is awesome. 

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7 hours ago, Mikew0805 said:

On Debarkation they have lines on both ends of the ship. We wait until the line starts moving (could see it from above) then went down, and got in line and right out the door. Probably 15 minutes cabin to customs.

 

Great tip!  If we don't do Key again, and who knows what that will include when we book again, I'll be watching for line movement as debarkation is the fastest way for my claustrophobia to trigger with all the crowds and bags!

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7 hours ago, tfabriz99 said:

Debarkation was a mess. We chose to use the "express" debarkation. ( take your own luggage). We were at the designated area 30 minutes before the gangway opened and still stood in a very long line that filled a dining room. We recommend heading down at least an hour early. 

 

 

We were on the same sailing, and I'm posting a long review.  but I wanted to address this.  There are two places to exit the ship.  We saw the line for the one exit, but there was another exit near Sorrento's that NO one was using.  We passed the long line and walked right off.  We walked off the ship at 7:27 and we were in a taxi at 7:35.  

Edited by Grenouille21

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3 hours ago, molole said:

Are we allowed to double book shows? I am actually booking Symphony shows right now.

Another question, are we allowed to bring a bottle of wine/per adult? If so, is there a cork fee? How about soda?

2 bottles per cabin - only cork fee if you bring it to dinner I think.  Soda you can take a case on per cabin (12 pack).

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19 minutes ago, ShillyShally said:

2 bottles per cabin - only cork fee if you bring it to dinner I think.  Soda you can take a case on per cabin (12 pack).

 

Most reviews I have seen say they were not charged a corkage fee in the MDR however the policy states $15

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Just now, blueridgemama said:

 

Most reviews I have seen say they were not charged a corkage fee in the MDR however the policy states $15

Yeah I don't know if I've seen anyone recently say they were charged.  I haven't ever done it so no personal data!

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On 3/28/2019 at 12:56 PM, ShillyShally said:

Yeah I don't know if I've seen anyone recently say they were charged.  I haven't ever done it so no personal data!

Last three or four cruises we have taken wine to dinner several times to share, last cruise on Indy we took bottles of the free champagne that was brought to our cabin at least three times. Have never been charged a corkage fee and wait staff has a ice bucket and champagne glasses to the table within minutes. We tend to get a lot of freebie wine and champagne and always take the cheap stuff to the table to share. 

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