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This was an extended family cruise...2 sets of grandparents, 2 late teens, and DH and myself.  We've been on all Oasis class ships and Anthem.  DH and I cruised twice on Anthem this year, and while they were fun cruises, we had decided to focus more on land based vacations if not going on an extended family trip.  Quality of food, entertainment, repetitiveness, etc just had us feeling that we would not do cruises for the 2 of us.  Did a land based vacation earlier in the summer, and that sort of confirmed that if not on an extended family cruise, we would do land based resorts.

 

Well, let's say that one week on the Symphony has us totally hooked again!!!  It was one of the best vacation we have ever had!  None of us wanted to get off--felt like our first cruise experiences of wow again!!  It wasn't one little single thing we could pin point, but in all it was such a fabulous vacation!  Our last 2 cruises on Anthem (January and April) did seem off---particularly the April one so that may have been a big player, but we all agreed this was way better than our Harmony cruise last summer.

 

Rooms--we typically have had a mix of interior, ocean balcony, Central Park balcony rooms.  We decided on Central Park interior view rooms this year and LOVED them!  The window seat is a great perk, loved being on 9th floor!  If it were a cruise just with DH, all things being equal we'd choose an ocean balcony, but we loved the CP view rooms.  Tree outside our window was perfect!

 

MDR--ate all but one dinner, most breakfasts, and one sea day lunch.  Had traditional dining.  We have always had amazing service with traditional dining, but last few cruises meals really were feeling more and more like bad wedding food.  This was a totally different experience.  Same menus, but food presentation and quality and were significantly better.  Definitely in line with resort style restaurants--just a huge improvement.

 

Hooked--had one dinner and one lunch.  We are from New England and loved the restaurant!  A perfect blend of casual style with terrific food and service.  The oysters were amazing, crab cake one of the best we've had--pretty much all crab, no filler.  Chowder was wonderful and not like typical NE Chowder, which we liked for the change, but it is a meal in itself!  Stuffed lobster was amazing, surf and turf steak was cooked to order, but the standout was the Sole Meuniere, which is hard to find these days--amazing presentation and flavor!  Desserts were some of the best we've had in any restaurant (coconut cream pie and lemon tart).  

 

Hooked Bar--fun place to go after dinner.  LOVED their St Peter's Spritzer

 

Playmakers--WONDERFUL addition to Boardwalk area.  That whole area finally makes sense--Sugar Beach, Johnny Rockets, Arcade, Playmakers, Carousel--make a cohesive area that makes sense and we saw tons more people there at night than ever before.  Drinks were great and pub food fun and tasty.

 

Jamies--I could take or leave pasta, but it is DH's favorite!  Went for lunch and it was very good.  They don't have a special drinks menu like on Anthem, but we were able to get Limoncello.

 

Solarium Bistro--LOVE the new design.  It feels like a "real" stand alone restaurant rather than an afterthought.  Had breakfast a few times and lunch once.  

 

Entertainment---Mike the Cruise Director and Hannah the Entertainment Director (she was on our January Anthem) were outstanding.  Would literally go to a lecture on how to watch paint dry if they hosted--they are that good!  Wish they could have been a bit more visible or done a bit more because they were so much fun.  Timing of events was also very good---there seemed to be something "big" each night so that we didn't feel like we had to rush one night and have nothing another night.

 

Dazzles--band was MUCH better than last few Oasis class cruises.  Actually didn't miss Music Hall tribute bands bc the Dazzles band was very good and varied music night to night.  A reggae band was on for one or 2 nights doing an amazing Bob Marley tribute as well.

 

80's show--MUCH better than Harmony---so much fun!

 

Music in Central Park--really nice when walking thru or stopping at Vintages for a drink

 

Voom--we had a 4 device regular package (no stream) shared among 6 of us.  No streaming at all possible.  Just kicked someone off when device limit was reached--no one really logged out.  Only issue was when texting on ship--you might be logging out the person you were trying to text!  No backdoor with ship's wifi--could only text when logged on with wifi pw

 

Crew--just seemed so much happier than last few ones.  EVERY single person we saw was pleasant and smiling.  One person manning the breads at MDR breakfast remembered me from our Anthem cruise and asked where DH was??!!!  

 

Solarium--liked the new set up.  And really no chair hogs for the first 2 sea days (didn't go on last one).  Even at 11am there were a fair number of seats available!

 

Pool Decks--Chair Hog City!!!!  2nd sea day at 9:30 literally almost every chair at beach pool had a blue towel--with no owner or even a flip flop in sight!  We saw like 4 random single chairs, and since we were only looking for 2, DH went to an attendant.  They called on radio and actually said "It's ridiculous here--every seat has a blue towel but no people in sight". Then rearranged a row and brought 2 chairs together for us.  Never saw any attendant removing or monitoring the blue towels.

 

Think that about covers it.  We really loved our cruise and felt like we didn't have enough time to do all we wanted--which was new from past cruises.  Think the entertainment was paced well so that we had something to do until about 10:30 every night before we went wandering for smaller things like Schooner or Pub.  Just a really great vacation and can't wait to go back.

 

Happy to try to answer any specific questions as well.

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Thanks for your review! We were on Symphony ❤️🛳 at the end of April and we loved her, too! 

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Going on symphony September 7th. Besides the the ice show, & hiro & the two other shows, was there any other entertainment?

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Thx for the details on Hooked, that's my target venue for one of 3 night pkg.  Thinking about Wonderland, if it's available and Park 150 which we loved on Allure.  28 days and counting!!!!!!!!

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What is the 80’s show?  I love all things 80’s and want to make sure we don’t miss it:)

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We'll be boarding the Symphony in four weeks.  Do you know if the cruise director and entertainment director will still be on board?  It sounds like the music on your cruise was good; I hope the same bands are there for us.  On the Oasis and Allure we enjoyed Boleros and the jazz club, but found that the times overlapped.  Did you find seats to listen to the music at these two venues?  

 

Did you use the app to check in and for the schedule of events?  Others have posted that the app information is not always accurate.  Thanks for your great review.

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Thanks for the review. Will be on Symphony in a couple of weeks. We have the UDP and will be at Hooked for at least 2 dinnners and a couple of lunches. DH was thrilled when they added the Sole to the menu. It is his absolute favorite so it’s great to hear that it is a winner. Know what you mean about certain cruises ending up being just meh. Looking forward to a really great one on Symphony. 

 

Mary Ann

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11 hours ago, mommao729 said:

Going on symphony September 7th. Besides the the ice show, & hiro & the two other shows, was there any other entertainment?

The only other one you can make a reservation for is the adult comedy show in the attic.  It is the same show the entire cruise, so just pick the one that is best for your schedule.  It was very good.  Then they do an additional ice show and an adult comedy in the Royal Theater towards the end of the cruise but no reservations are needed for those.  That 2nd adult comedy show was a little different and fun to attend.  Enjoy!

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45 minutes ago, happymanitee said:

What is the 80’s show?  I love all things 80’s and want to make sure we don’t miss it:)

I think it was on the 2nd sea day--it will be posted.  It is just like the 70's parties that the Oasis and Allure had (still have? haven't been on those in awhile).  It's on the Promenade around 10:30pm or so.  They played great music--had dancers.  Again, I think having Mike and Hannah sort of run it made it as much fun as it was.

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1 hour ago, welovetahiti said:

We'll be boarding the Symphony in four weeks.  Do you know if the cruise director and entertainment director will still be on board?  It sounds like the music on your cruise was good; I hope the same bands are there for us.  On the Oasis and Allure we enjoyed Boleros and the jazz club, but found that the times overlapped.  Did you find seats to listen to the music at these two venues?  

 

Did you use the app to check in and for the schedule of events?  Others have posted that the app information is not always accurate.  Thanks for your great review.

I would think they'd still be there, but don't know---think there is a list of CD's somewhere on the site.  We did not do the jazz club--that is one of the places we ran out of time to enjoy!  Boleros was always very busy and we never found a place to sit.  We would go on the late side so maybe if you went early you could get a spot--people seemed to stay there for quite awhile rather than going in and out like in Schooner or the Pub.  App worked very well.  Whenever we checked it, it did correspond to the actual events but I guess that could be hit or miss.  It did not always have some of the smaller events--Belly Flop competition, etc.  Our reservations for shows were shown accurately in the app and we used it for our set sail pass and it worked perfectly--for drinks before we checked into our room as well.

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17 hours ago, brookmill18 said:

Pool Decks--Chair Hog City!!!!  

My family and I just completed a Symphony cruise (July 27 to Aug 3 sailing).  We had a wonderful time. The ship is fantastic. The only problem was the chair hogs.  I'm not sure what the solution is but it is a significant problem.  All chairs are filled with towels but no people for hours.  A set of 4 chairs by the pool we were at only contained towels from 9 am to 5 pm.  At 5 pm they showed up to pick their towels.  It is so rude.

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