Symphony of the Seas

Video: Directing a Showstopping Lineup on the World's Largest Cruise Ship

In:
18Oct2018

With full-scale stage, ice, aerial and aqua productions on board Symphony of the Seas, high-tech and high-energy entertainment is at every turn. But what does it take to make it all come to life? Producing a lineup of shows befitting of the world's largest cruise ship takes plenty of time, dedication and rehearsal. From the AquaTheater, showcasing jaw-dropping stunts by acrobats and high divers against a backdrop of stunning projections, to a cast of 48 drones joining their human counterparts for ice shows in Studio B, watch as the team puts on the finishing touches to ensure that each show is ready for opening night.

Royal Caribbean partners with GRAMMY Museum to offer students chance to perform at Symphony of the Seas naming ceremony

In:
15Oct2018

Royal Caribbean is is partnering with the GRAMMY Museum® – the official foundation of the Recording Academy™ – to fund music education programs in underserved high schools within the Miami-Dade County Public School District. Twenty local schools will receive grants from Royal Caribbean through the GRAMMY Museum® Signature Schools program, and the chance to perform at Symphony’s naming ceremony.

The 20 schools were selected for maintaining thriving music programs with only limited resources. As the first Signature Schools program dedicated to Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Royal Caribbean and the GRAMMY Museum is taking music education beyond the classroom to inspire the next generation of performers with firsthand, career-building experiences.  

Each school will be honored during an exclusive tour behind the scenes at the Royal Caribbean Entertainment Studios on Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay campus, complete with hands-on introductions to what a career in music and entertainment could look like. Students will spend a day at the 132,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, which features a 300-seat theater, a 20,000-square-foot, costume-making facility, 14 dance studios, 15 vocal rehearsal rooms, an audio recording studio, two aerial training studios, and more. Further spotlighting the arts and flourishing talent in South Florida, one student ensemble will be invited to perform on a global stage at the official naming ceremony of Symphony of the Seas on Nov. 15 at Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A.

GRAMMY Museum Signature Schools Honorees:

  • American Senior High School
  • Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts
  • Booker T. Washington Senior High School
  • G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School
  • Hialeah Gardens Senior High School
  • Hialeah Senior High School
  • Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School
  • Miami Carol City Senior High School
  • Miami Central Senior High School
  • Miami Coral Park Senior High School
  • Miami Edison Senior High School
  • Miami Jackson Senior High School
  • Miami Norland Senior High School
  • Miami Northwestern Senior High School
  • Miami Southridge Senior High School
  • Miami Springs Senior High School
  • North Miami Beach Senior High School
  • South Dade Senior High School
  • Southwest Miami Senior High School
  • Westland Hialeah Senior High School   

“There is a reason behind choosing the name Symphony of the Seas; it’s because music, entertainment and family are woven throughout every aspect of the onboard experience of our guests’,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We have great pride in being a Miami-based company for nearly 50 years. Welcoming Symphony to our hometown is a special occasion, and it is important for us that we celebrate her arrival by giving back to our community in a meaningful way. In working with the GRAMMY Museum, we are helping inspire these incredible, young performers to continue pursuing their passion and show them the variety of career opportunities that exist.”

10 free activities on Symphony of the Seas

In:
08Oct2018

Symphony of the Seas offers guests a lot of fun activities and things to do onboard that will keep your family busy throughout your Royal Caribbean cruise.  In fact, the cruise line includes a lot of entertainment in your cruise fare, which means there is no additional cost to enjoy them.

Among the many choices, we picked out our top ten things to do on Symphony of the Seas that have no additional cost.  

1. Hairspray

Did you know the hit Broadway show, "Hairspray" is included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare?

Hairspray is set in Baltimore in 1962 where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair, only has one passion – to dance. After winning a spot on the local TV dance program “The Corny Collins Show”, she is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. As a trendsetter in dance and fashion she goes up against the program’s reigning princess, wins the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin and plays a major role in the integration of the television show. Welcome to the 60’s!

2. Laser Tag

At special laser tag sessions, Royal Caribbean transforms Studio B into a glow-in-the-dark arena that invites everyone to see if they can conquer the, "Battle for Planet Z".

Guests can don special laser tag vests, grab a laser tag gun and head into the arena for a fast-paced team-game that rewards the group that works well together and coordinates their efforts.  Just like laser tag on land, Battle for Planet Z is a high-energy race with bragging rights for the rest of the cruise on the line!

3. Zip line

On Symphony of the Seas, you can zip line 9 decks above the Boardwalk on a path that measures 82 feet from start to finish.

Passengers must be at least 52" tall to participate and weigh a maximum of 275 pound, also must at least weigh 75 pounds.

The zip line is free and guests must sign a waiver.

4. Ultimate Abyss

Guests wanting a thrill will be sure to checkout the Ultimate Abyss slide on Symphony of the Seas.  

The Ultimate Abyss is more than 150 feet above sea level and offers side-by-side slides that send guests down 10 decks at a rate of 9 miles per hour. Launching onto the ride from a glass platform, guests can take one last look at the Boardwalk 10 decks below before climbing onto a customized mat and taking the plunge into the depths of the daunting slides.

Rides on the Ultimate Abyss are included with your cruise fare, so you will have plenty of opportunity to scream down the slide, over and over again.

5. AquaTheater shows

The AquaTheater is arguably one of the top entertainment venues on any Royal Caribbean ship, because it offers some of the very best shows the cruise has developed.

Onboard Symphony of the Seas, guests can enjoy performances of "AquaNation", which features something Royal Caribbean calls "4D harnessing" for its aerialists, who can move  up and down, side to side and forward and back into the audience space. Another AquaTheater show, "HiRo" is coming soon to Symphony of the Seas and Royal Caribbean promises it will raise the bar for aqua shows with more high flying feats, unexpected stunts and extraordinary acrobatics than ever before.  HiRO pushes the limits of a theatrical production at sea with cutting-edge technology and choreography and. No two shows are the same, making it worth seeing twice. 

The AquaTheater on Symphony of the Seas features two 10-meter high platforms and the hydraulic-floored pool, the largest and deepest freshwater pool at sea, below serves as podiums for high-diving, hair-raising aerobatics that AquaTheater audiences have come to love.

6. Ice skating at sea

While on Symphony of the Seas, you can don a pair of ice skates and try ice skating at sea.  Regardless of your previous ice skating experiences (or lack thereof), anyone can put on a pair of skates and join in.  Free skates are offered throughout the cruise along with special time for advanced skaters.  

Skates and safety equipment are provided for free, although passengers may bring their own skates.  Passengers must wear long pants and must sign a waiver to participate.

Be sure to catch the complimentary ice show in Studio B, 1977, too!

7. Water slides

There is no question guests of all ages find water slides a favorite cruise ship activity, and Symphony of the Seas offers three slides to enjoy over and over again.  

The Perfect Storm trio of water slides offer two racer slides and a champagne bowl slide that are included in your cruise fare.  As you slide down any of the slides, you will twist and turn three decks into a splashy finish.

8. Splashaway Bay

Got kids? If so, expect them to want to spend a lot of time at Symphony of the Seas's aquatic adventure park known as Splashaway Bay.

Splashway Bay has plenty of splashing, with fountains, buckets, sprays and even slides for kids to enjoy to their heart's content.  Splashaway Bay was built to be a focal point of the pool area, and offer yet another improvement on what the cruise line has been known for in the past.

Like all the pool deck fun, Splashaway Bay has no cost to use, and is certain to be a very popular spot with your kids.

9. A ride on the carousel

In the Boardwalk neighborhood, guests young and old can enjoy a ride on a classic carousel that is sure to bring a smile to anyone's face. The carousel on Symphony of the Seas is hand-crafted and especially designed by Carousel Works for Royal Caribbean and is one-of-a-kind.

Inspired by turn-of-the-century carousels that were found in the northeastern United States, Symphony of the Seas' carousel is a classic attraction that is as beautiful in design as it is enjoyable to ride.

10. Mini-golf

Miniature golf has been a timeless family activity, and on Symphony of the Seas you can put your putting skills to test.

You can play on the green as often as you like, while enjoying some beautiful views of the ocean that surrounds you.  No reservations are required, just show up and grab a putter and ball.  Be sure to try out night time mini golf one evening to mix things up.

Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor Society wants your vote for which artwork to put in the Diamond Lounge on Symphony of the Seas

In:
27Sep2018

Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society is inviting cruisers to vote on their favorite photograph to display in the Diamond Lounge on Symphony of the Seas.

Cruisers can log onto Facebook to vote among the nine entries on the Crown and Anchor Society Facebook page.

Video: 9 Coolest Art Pieces on the Symphony of the Seas

In:
25Sep2018

Symphony of the Seas takes art to a new level with innovative pieces that combine creativity and engineering to create immersive pieces that will excite the imagination. With over 3,000 pieces of art on board, there is plenty to explore.

7 ways Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas is different from other Oasis-class ships

In:
19Sep2018

Symphony of the Seas may be the fourth Oasis Class cruise ship, but she is not without her own innovations and first-of-a-kind experiences.  

In the past, subsequent sister cruise ships in a class were often very similar to the ships that came before, but Royal Caribbean added a lot of new activities and offerings on Symphony of the Seas to provide guests plenty of incentive to try her out.  Here is our list of the top seven ways Symphony of the Seas is different from Oasis, Harmony or Allure of the Seas.

1. Solarium Big Wonder (art installation)

Photo by Cruise Life Rick

The artwork on any Royal Caribbean ship will be a major differentiator from other vessels, but we think the Solarium art installation was so significant, it merited mentioning on its own.

A one-of-a-kind work of art comprised of thousands of dichroic acrylic elements is the first to be featured in the Solarium, spanning an area of 2,594 square feet and flooding the pool beneath with natural light. The poolside palm trees bathed in this contrast of light and shadow make it a must-see (and Instagramed) site to see.

2. No Sabor on Boardwalk

Symphony of the Seas is the first Oasis Class ship not to feature Sabor on the Boardwalk, or anywhere on the ship.

Royal Caribbean opted to rethink its Boardwalk neighborhood a bit and introduced the Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.  It spans the entire length of one side of the Boardwalk neighborhood, and is home to sports watching, arcade games and tasty food.

3. Sugar Beach Candy shop

Much like Playmakers, Sugar Beach is a brand new candy and ice cream shop that is not on any other Royal Caribbean ship.  The concept was to offer sweet treats for adults and kids alike.  

Rather than just being "another candy shop", Sugar Beach features colorful candy-packed walls with ice cream and tons of toppings.  In addition, it is home to some baking events onboard.

4. Ultimate Family Suite

Symphony of the Seas introduced the Ultimate Family Suite stateroom, which is less of a stateroom and more of a family-inspired castle at sea.

The two-level room has some incredible features, such as an exclusive slide from the kid’s only bedroom down to the living room below; a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, an air-hockey table and hidden nooks for chilling. There is also a separate 3D movie theater-style TV room, complete with popcorn machine and a library of video games across multiple gaming systems. If all that was not enough, there is also a 212 square foot wrap-around balcony and a full-size whirlpool for fantastic views.

5. New restaurants

Dining is at the heart of what Royal Caribbean offers on its ships these days, and Symphony of the Seas ushered in a few new restaurant concepts for guests to enjoy.

While Sabor is not on Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean does offer a new Mexican restaurant in El Loco Fresh that serves up fresh and fast Mexican favorites.

In the Solarium, guests can try fresh seafood and a robust raw bar at Hooked Seafood restaurant.

6. Laser tag at sea

From the cruise line that brought you the FlowRider, rock climbing wall and Ripcord by iFly, comes glow-in-the-dark laser tag.

Located in Studio B, Battle for Planet Z offers friends and family the chance to battle for laser tag dominance in this new glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience, complete with state-of-the-art technology and special effects.

7. Lots of new entertainment

Royal Caribbean did not just "copy and paste" its entertainment line-up from other Oasis-class ships for Symphony of the Seas.  A number of brand new productions are available on Symphony of the Seas that are shown throughout the ship and a brand-new experience for all guests.

  • Hairspray: Big hair, big dreams and all the right moves — you can’t stop the beat in this Tony Award-winning Broadway hit.
  • Flight: An uplifting historical satire on the evolution of air travel that ends with homage to the famed Wright Brothers.
  • 1977: This spectacular adventure on ice follows a time traveling, dimension-jumping hero as he is called upon in London to recover Her Majesty's Crown Jewels in time for the famous Silver Jubilee.
  • HiRo: A mind-blowing show that combines cutting-edge technology, future-forward choreography, unexpected stunts and highly innovative, physically extraordinary acrobatics.

Royal Caribbean wants your Bionic Bar drink recipe

In:
25Aug2018

Royal Caribbean is looking for the best Bionic Bar drink recipe to add to its drink menu on Symphony of the Seas.

The Bionic Bar is a pair of robots that were engineered in Italy to be able to muddle, stir, shake and strain all types of drinks; the cocktail combinations are endless, with 30 spirits and 21 mixers from which to choose. 

Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Society sent the open invitation to all past cruisers to share with the cruise line their drink recipe submission, and encourages as much creativity as possible. You will have the opportunity to name the drink too.

Guests can fill out the Bionic Bar Recipe Contest form and see if their favorite concoction makes the cut as the next new cocktail.

The robot bartenders can produce two drinks per minute and can make up to 1,000 each day. Guests create an order—whether a custom request or standard menu item—on a specially programed tablet or with staff. They can keep track of their order on the digital screen next to the bar, and once it’s ready, the bartenders will release their drink with a simple tap of their SeaPass card or WOWband.

Why you should be excited about Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas arrival in the United States

In:
16Aug2018

In just about three months, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas will be arriving at her new home port of PortMiami, Florida, and it will mark her debut in the United States.

Symphony of the Seas is not only the largest cruise ship in the world, but also marks a significant moment for many Royal Caribbean fans because this brand new cruise ship offers so many enticing options.

In anticipation of Symphony of the Seas' arrival, we are counting down the top reasons you ought to be excited to welcome Symphony of the Seas "home".

New terminal

Coinciding with Symphony of the Seas' arrival will be the opening of a brand new cruise terminal at PortMiami, colloquially known as, "The Crown of Miami".

The new state-of-the-art terminal at PortMiami will be home to Allure of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas. Terminal A will house an angular glass center and a parking garage with about 1,000 parking spaces at the northeastern side of the port, designed by England-based global architecture firm Broadway Malyan. 

The 170,000-square-foot terminal is nicknamed the ‘Crown of Miami’ because of its distinct shape. The design evokes the points of the symbolic headgear when viewed from the water; the ‘M’ of Miami when viewed from the east or western approaches; and a sense of waves rising or ships passing when viewed from the terminal side. 

New dining venues

I really love the specialty restaurants Royal Caribbean offers, especially on its newer ships.  When a new restaurant concept is added, it definitely gets our attention and Symphony of the Seas has a couple of new additions.

Hooked is Royal Caribbean's new seafood restaurant that features fresh seafood and a robust raw bar complete with oysters shucked to order. While other restaurants have had seafood items on their menus, having a dedicated restaurant to offer these type of dishes is a welcome addition.

Hooked is described as, "This is the ultimate catch if you’re angling for the freshest seafood. It’s a real taste of New England in a casual atmosphere — and it’s a brand-new addition on our newest ship, Symphony of the Seas. Introducing Hooked Seafood — taste bud-tempting fare to satisfy every seafood craving, including raw bar favorites, a variety of crab claws and a selection of just-shucked East Coast oysters. Plus enjoy classic apps, clam chowder, lobster and fresh caught local fish. It’s reel fresh, real good."

While Hooked brings a new sit down experience to Symphony of the Seas, there is also a brand new venue for hanging out and enjoying sports, drinks and games at Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.

As a fan of the various incarnations of pubs on Royal Caribbean ships, Playmakers follows in that tradition of offering great drinks combined with plenty to see, watch and play. Located in the iconic Boardwalk neighborhood, this massive new venue is all about beer, chicken wings, skeeball, sports and hanging out.

Return of Hairspray

Symphony of the Seas will see the first Broadway revival at sea, with the Tony Award-winning show, Hairspray, headlining the main theater .

Hairspray was first offered on Oasis of the Seas and was the first Broadway show to be offered on a cruise ship.  Not only is Hairspray a favorite Broadway show, it features classic Broadway songs and a heartwarming story. 

Hairspray is set in Baltimore in 1962 where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair, only has one passion – to dance. After winning a spot on the local TV dance program “The Corny Collins Show”, she is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. As a trendsetter in dance and fashion she goes up against the program’s reigning princess, wins the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin and plays a major role in the integration of the television show. Welcome to the 60’s!

Lots of WOWs

Building the largest cruise ship in the world is more than just about how large the ship is, because Royal Caribbean has packed Symphony of the Seas with so many exciting activities for the entire family to enjoy.

Symphony of the Seas will offer guests a wide variety of activities, dining options and places to relax.

There is no way to list all of the fun things to do on Symphony of the Seas in just one post, but here are the ones not tmiss:

  • Glow-in-the-dark laser tag
  • Ultimate Abyss slide (10 stories high!)
  • Waterslides
  • Two FlowRider surf simulators
  • Escape room game
  • AquaTheatre shows
  • Solarium Big Wonder art installation

Biggest ship in the world

At the end of the day, Symphony of the Seas' arrival is going to be an exciting moment because she is the largest cruise ship in the world and that alone signifies a big change (no pun intended).

In addition to the key features highlighted in this post, there is lots more to see and do to the point you will have to return a few more times to be able to "do it all."

Royal Caribbean designed its Oasis-class ships to be a floating hub of dining, entertainment and activities, and Symphony of the Seas is included in that mold of amazing cruise ships.

What are you most excited about to experience on Symphony of the Seas? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Royal Caribbean talks Symphony of the Seas, new app progress, big demand in Caribbean and more

In:
02Aug2018

During Royal Caribbean's second quarter 2018 financial call with investors, the company shared some interesting anecdotes, facts, and insight into the ever changing cruising environment.  While most of the information discussed in these earnings calls deal primarily with financial indicators, cruise guests can glean some insight into how Royal Caribbean runs its business.

Symphony of the Seas debut has been spectacular 

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) Chairman and CEO Richard Fain started off the call with investors beaming about the positive response Symphony of the Seas has received in her inaugural season in Europe.  Fain indicated that not only is the ship booked well, but guests are raving about the experience and the high level of service they are experiencing.

"Her performance for a first time ship in a new market. For her to perform so amazingly well when she is the fourth in a series, is a testament to the innovations the team has incorporated and the power of the Royal Caribbean International brand.

This ship has remarkable new wow's, new shows, and new activities, but what truly sets her apart is the careful execution and high level of service which have been pivotal in achieving these record-breaking ratings."

Smart phone update

Of particular interest to Royal Caribbean cruisers is an update was given on the progress being made with the cruise line's new smart phone app and technology innovation, known as Project Excalibur.

Fain offered an update on where the project stands, and seemed bullish on the prospects of rolling the app out to most ships in the fleet by the end of 2019, as well as the progress being made.  There were no specific updates in terms of when certain functionality will be completed, but it did sound like they wanted to get it right the first time, instead of just pushing out an app that may or may not work well.

"The program is on track and the progress is impressive. We have taken a methodical, hands-on approach to this implementation, rolling out new upgrades on a monthly basis or even more frequently. We're finding that this 'softly softly' approach allows us to move more quickly, but also to correct the errors early before they impact a lot of vacations.

We continually add features to the app, and we remain on our trajectory of having half the fleet connected by the end of this year and most of the rest by the end of next year.

The most complete version of the app today is on Symphony of the Seas, and in December, that distinction will be taken over by Celebrity Edge.

One interesting milestone is the introduction of frictionless arrival.  We have been rolling this out on a limited basis and expect that it will be operational on a large scale basis on Symphony of the Seas and on Celebrity Edge later this fall.

By the way, we recently trademarked the term 'frictionless', so don't expect to see that being used by any other cruise line."

Higher onboard revenue is up (again)

If you spend time listening to these earnings calls, one trend that continued again this quarter was higher spending by guests, namely in the form of drink packages and other packages that can be purchased online or onboard.

In short, a lot of Royal Caribbean's revenue can be traced back to guests not only booking cruises in droves, but also because they are spending more than ever once onboard.

RCL Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty spoke about onboard spending during his summary of the quarter, "The beat was driven by stronger than anticipated close-in demand, and better than expected onboard revenue spend.

Onboard areas, such as beverage, specialty dining and internet, helped deliver a 5.5% year-over-year increase in onboard revenue."

Mariner of the Seas singlehandidly helped drive up Caribbean demand

If there is one ship not named Symphony of the Seas that has hit a home run for Royal Caribbean, it is definitely Mariner of the Seas.  Mariner of the Seas has the distinction of being a very popular choice with consumers that are looking for short cruises, and has been a boon for the cruise line in terms of being booked well and driving up revenue.

In providing an overview of the Caribbean cruise market, Jason Liberty spoke about the impact Mariner of the Seas has had, "Demand for the Caribbean sailings has been strong, with bookings trending ahead of last year's very storng numbers. Our Caribbean capacity is up in the back half of the year, due mainly due to the addition of the reimagined Mariner of the Seas for the short Caribbean market.

Our strategy behind modernizing the Mariner of the Seas was to offer the best alternative for a short Caribbean getaway as a response to consumer trends. The younger generations are opting for shorter, more frequent vacations and the Mariner of the Seas is very well positioned for this segment with onboard activities, dining options, and entertainment similar to those on Oasis class ships.

Mariner of the Seas is booked very well and we are particularly excited about 2019. While we generally don't expect to recieve many bookings for short Caribbean sailings that are more than six months away, Mariner of the Seas' load factors in the first half of 2019 are closer to those of seven-night products than they are to shorter products."

Lessons learned from 2017 hurricane season

Towards the end of the call, an analyst asked Royal Caribbean's leaders about any lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane season that they can apply to the 2018 hurricane season.  This was an opportunity for Royal Caribbean to talk about the impact the cruise line had on the people affected by the storms, and the positive public relations and humanitarian response that Royal Caribbean saw.

Richard Fain spoke about the lessons learned, "We felt our response last year was really ended up being quite good. Probably built up a fair amount of good will from the way we handled it, and I'm not sure that from a pure financial point of view we learned much that would significantly change the outcome if you had, again, a hurricane that exactly tracked as our ships itinerary and exactly hit the ports of call on the days that they would be most impactful. So we constantly try and learn, and obviously there are always some lessons to be learned, but overall, I think we felt that last year we did pretty well.

I do think though that people should be impressed by how well the destinations responded afterwards. These were horrific events for them, but now people are reporting back and travel agents, which are always an important source of information as well as internet chatter, shows how well they've recovered and I think that may help us a little bit in terms of assuaging the concern that people had that if they went to some of these destinations afterwards they would encounter a bad experience. And that simply hasn't been the case."

Spotted: Interactive luggage departure form on Symphony of the Seas

In:
17Jul2018

Guests sailing on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas now have a new option for letting the cruise line know their luggage prefernces upon departure.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Rich Freudenberg noticed this new interactive luggage departure form on his stateroom television.

Rich noted that when you turn it on, it instantly asks you about your luggage preferences upon departure.  

By taking advantage of this interactive option, it forgoes the need to fill out any forms.

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