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Neaxan

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  1. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from lovecruising!!! in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Day 6
    Time for something new was the theme of the day. So we went to Johnny Rockets for breakfast. There was a line to be seated but it moved quickly. Unfortunately, service (or more likely the galley) wasn’t nearly as quick. It took ages to get our food (The Works, Patty ‘n Eggs, Omelet), but at least it was really good! Due to the slow service, we were too late for morning trivia and just went to pop choir practice. We had to change our reservation for Escape the Rubicon as it clashed with the guest show. There weren’t many slots available so we had to compromise – guess we’ll have to be quick for the CC minigolf tournament.
     
    The morning was spent with minigolf practice (I’m terrible at it), people watching at the flowrider and some arcade games. We might spend our arcade credit on shooting monsters, but we’ll give mario kart a try first ☺️ Lunch was in El Loco Fresh as thankfully it was operational today. I’d stick to the nachos and tacos if I were you. Quesadillas and burritos are prepared by staff and not the greatest taste. You can build your own tacos and nachos. With the superb weather today hubby finally went on the zipline and even on the Ultimate Abyss. Funny enough, he went down really fast – guess I’m doing it wrong. Today’s visit to Playmakers was during Ultimate Abyss opening hours. No idea how Twangster copes with the sound effects, they’re really annoying.
     
    At 4 pm we had our final round of progressive trivia. Guess it was also our last trivia alltogether, hubby is pretty taken aback that it has nothing to do with knowledge, many people just remember the questions and answers from other vacations. Not convinced? Well, final question was in what country you can find the Caledonian Canal. The answer sheet said Portugal and quite a few of the groups put down that answer. Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no connection between Portugal and the Caledonian Canal – it’s in Scotland. Caledonian should be a hint, as it’s Latin for Scotland. Funny enough, even after showing proof of this, the Portugal answer got 2 points, 0 for Scotland. We’re fine losing because we didn’t know enough, but that’s a bit too much stubborn stupidity for us. Guess it’s true, us Germans are very pedantic. On the plus side: more time freed up for using the drink package ?
     
    After that debacle, we went rock climbing, a first time for hubby. We didn’t do very well but it was much fun. Guess I lost all my grip in the last 10 years ? With that, it was time for dinner at 150 Central Park. This was the restaurant we were looking forward to the least because the menu didn’t really appeal to us. But the lenghts you go to in the name of research… as always, this speciality restaurant will get ist own post. Entertainment of the evening was another headliner show – Gary Williams – a rat pack style singer. While he has a great voice, the songs got old about halfway through. Mo5aic was our favourite guest artist so far, we’re looking forward to more production shows.


    Post-entertainment was something we should’ve done ages ago! Having some cocktails at Wonderland Bar – how could we have missed that place? The „Down the Rabbit Hole“ is my new go-to cocktail and hubby was also quite impressed. Not so much with his first choice, the Smoke Rings – great in presentation but not really his cup of tea. To make things even better, we love the bartender, Sorin from Romania. He’s as much car crazy as we are so you always have something to talk about.


    Before bed we headed up to the pool deck to check the pools – Beach and Sports were filled so I finally see some laps in my future. On our way to the cabin we made a quick detour to Sorrento’s (see, the pizza really isn’t that bad) and the 50s/60s party. There weren’t that many people out and about, but we liked the music. Sadly, we were just too tired to stay. Came home to a towel animal, we’d hazard a guess that it’s a swan, but we wouldn’t bet on it ?






    Side notes:
    11k steps
    The app is annoying me again. The last few days hubby couldn’t see the menus in it, no I can’t either.
    We had no idea how busy you can be on a TA. I haven’t had any time to prepare for my next exam in December – this is completely unintentional of course ?
    The amount of maintenance going on is quite surprising for a ship that hasn’t been in operation for even a year. The perfect storm is still closed for maintenance (rumored to be operend from Nov 6th onwards), one entrance to Central Park has been closed for days, pools also needed maintenance…
    Royal needs to improve on icecream. Tried soft ice today – not worth the calories to us. That was the only time I really missed being on TUI Cruises – they offer real icecream with no surcharge.
    We’re still staying true to the no-elevator-rule – here’s some of my favourite „stairs art“ as proof.



  2. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from lovecruising!!! in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Day 5
    Today we again took it upon ourselves to climb the stairs to Windjammer for breakfast. We found seats quite easily – only thing missing was the English Bacon ? Fortunately a staff member overheard hubby telling me that were was turkey bacon instead of English bacon – so he just got some English bacon fixed for us! Wow, that’s dedication and a service level we really don’t have in Germany. Robert, our cabin steward, was also exceptional this morning. As we kept the cabin on don’t disturb after the mayhem we left when preparing for Halloween, we didn’t get a towel animal. So instead of yesterday evening, we got our elephant this morning.

    The rest of the morning was filled with our usual programme – morning trivia (didn’t win) and pop choir practice. Then it was up the stairs again, this time for some table tennis. We planned to have lunch in El Loco Fresh, but for whatever reason it was closed. So we decided to get some Hot Dogs. I went down the fast (well not really that fast) route – Ultimate Abyss – hubby had to take the stairs because he had the camera with him. We skipped 1pm trivia – let’s face it, we would’ve been quite useless at Game of Thrones trivia. Instead, we did the Royal Heist Puzzle Break in a multinational team (Brits, Belgians, Dutchmen and us). Fortunately, everyone was fluent in English so no language barriers here. I can proudly report that we managed to name the guilty party with about 4.5 minutes to spare. That meant 3rd place for us, although there were no prizes anyway. At least it was good practice for Escape the Rubicon and so much fun! Quite the contrary to progressive trivia, which really isn’t much fun. Riddles, tribands and dingbats are especially difficult when English isn’t your mothertongue and the theme of US-based questions did continue a bit. Pity we had to skip the pub crawl to attend this, but we couldn’t let down our team members. At least it was already part 2 of 3 – we won’t do the second progressive trivia.

    After trivia we managed to get in some laps on the running track. It’s much warmer now and less wet as the waves really improved over night. Dinner was at Chops Grille – this will be its own post. Had some interesting discussions with hubby while at dinner. When Oasis 5 comes out, we want to do the TA on her (if she moves to the US) – Matt, shouldn’t that be the 2021 group cruise ?? Post-cruise plan is Orlando with Disney and Universal (and whatever else we can manage there) – in 3 years we should easily be thin enough to do all the attractions. The other topic we discussed: we thought about skipping our reservation for the headliner show (Hector is Magic) and try to see 1977 again as we were SO impressed. Unfortunately, we kept our reservation and went there. The magician wasn’t really bad or anything, we just didn’t enjoy it too much. Not our cup of tea – we’ll know next time. We had some drinks at Schooner but called it an early night as Symphony was like a ghost town – probably the Halloween aftermath ?





    Side notes:
    11k steps
    Pools still drained in the morning – rumor has it they were filled in the afternoon – will check tomorrow
     
  3. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from lovecruising!!! in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Day 3
    Today is our last port before the crossing – Malaga. Due to the abysmal weather, we aren’t venturing out. It’s just not worth catching a cold with still more than 3 weeks of vacation in front of us. We’ve already got a trip to Spain on our list, we’ll visit Malaga then. We estimated many people would be on excursions today, so we thought we might give Windjammer a try for breakfast. Brilliant idea, now I’m really sold on Royal Caribbean – they have English bacon! Best breakfast item in the world.
     
    While trying to flee from the rain by using the corridors to get from aft to fore, we noticed a lot of halloween decorations on cabin doors. Kind of strange to us, but we really love it. Really looking forward to Halloween with so many Americans – it’s not a big thing in Germany. By the way, I’ve kept my promise – Schooner Bar is my new blogging spot to facilitate hubby’s use of the drinking package. Not that it would be necessary, a quick calculation showed we’d already made up for half of what we paid by the end of day 3. Even if drink fatigue starts some time in the future, we’ll have made the packages pay already (and I’m certain drink fatigue won’t be an issue for hubby ?).
     
    After our depressing first try with trivia on day 1(Michael Jackson music quiz – we hadn’t planned on participating but were late finishing our drinks in Boleros and just thought why the h*** not), we gave visual trivia national flags a go. Luckily we teamed up with a couple from Belgium and got 13 out of 15 right –we didn’t even come close to winning. Apparently some people know the flags by heart, including Tonga and Aruba. This was followed by an impromptu surprise trivia – scored 3 out of 15 – no worries, best score was 8 or something. On to the pub quiz where we scored 14 out of 21. At least we’ve learned to take the provided answers with a grain of salt, we’re still not able to prove some of them no matter how much research we do. Guess the use of unsourced wikipedia articles is at an all time high with the cruise director’s team ? Trivia isn’t really a thing on German ships but we like it – even though we sometimes have to resort to leo.org for translation purposes. Doesn’t help much to write down the German answer if the team checking your sheet doesn’t speak the language ?
     
    As trivia makes hungry (it’s a sport after all), we headed to Park Café for a light lunch. We really love this venue, especially the create your own salad option and the Kummelweck. With all the heavy rain it was easy to get a seat and you had no lines at all. On to the next trivia in Schooner Bar – unfortunately just the two of us as the venue was packed and we couldn’t find our teammates. I don’t recall our score but short answer is we didn’t win. Schooner still was packed afterwards so we moved to Playmakers for more games of Connect 4 and some IPA. The goal is to try out each IPA available – current favourite is Stone IPA. Fast forward to dinner which was at Jamie’s and will be discussed in its own post.
     
    Spoiler alert: dinner again was quite big portions, so we decided to walk some of it off on the running track. Looks like our torture devices handle walking on a moving ship completely differently. We both use Garmin vivoactive3 for torture devices (aka fitness watches) – still hubby’s device recorded not only his movements but also added the ship’s movement – while mine did subtract part of the ship’s movement! Quite unfair if you ask me… looks as if Royal isn’t the only company with a questionable IT department.

     
    Highlight of the evening was 1977, our first Royal production show. And wow, we were so amazed. As Twangster already said, it’s difficult to give it the credit it deserves in words or pictures. The drones were so cool, especially from a technical standpoint. Brilliant costumes and stage design and impressive ice skaters if you factor in the movement of the ship. The show might be lacking a storyline, but we didn’t mind one bit!






    That's a quick change!







     
    The end of the show coincided with our passage through the strait of Gibraltar so off we went all the way to the aft on the running track. We were quite surprised that nobody seemed to care but well, each to their own. It was quite a sentimental moment to me as it marks the moment I’m leaving Europe for the first time (if you don’t count one day in Agadir, Morocco on a shore excursion). With that it was time for bed.
    Spain/GIbraltar

    Morocco


    Not sure if it wanted to catch a ride or chase us away?

     
    Side note:
    13k steps
    Hubby might have spotted the elusive Twangster bot – we’ll have to wait for his day 3 blog post to be sure. We didn’t want to disturb a few hundred people by shouting across the venue for confirmation ?
    PS: Was finally so annoyed with the way this board handles uploaded images that I switched to using imgur. At least I can now decide on the correct order of things.
  4. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from Skigoofy in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Right back at you, it was so cool finally meeting you. Hope we'll meet again on other cruises!
    As for the top tier bunch, it did annoy us quite a bit. Were not used to being treated as second class passengers, and sadly you got that feeling on more than one occasion on this cruise. We prefer TUI's approach to this one where loyal cruisers are rewarded without taking anything from the experience of other guests. Examples include bridge tours, free champagne, free speciality choclate, free laundry... TUI does have a designated venue for guests staying in suites and that is fine by us, as it doesn't impact our stay in any way. But taking away a third of the available seats in all entertainment venues and closing numerous venues at times does get on your nerves. We'd still sail with Royal but we made sure Royal got this feedback.
    I'm now sitting next to the aft pool on Caribbean Princess and enjoying a nice view of the ocean (something that's hard to come by on Symphony). So it's finally time to do the blog posts that fell victim to too much to do and not enough time - and some post cruise land sickness. I'll also do a summary of what we liked and disliked on our first Royal cruise. As for comparing our Royal and Princess experiences, I'm thinking of doing it once I'm back home ? 
  5. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from Guy Gadwa in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Day 10:
    This day was off to an early start, therefore we had breakfast in our beloved Park Cafe. Why the early start, you might ask – the All Access Ship tour, of course! At 119 $ each, we had a YOLO moment when booking this. Hey, when will I be ever able to get a behind the scenes tour on the biggest cruise ship in the world? Our tour guide for the morning was Charly from Shore Excursions, who gave us some insight into crew life on Symphony. First stop of the tour was the engine control room where we were lucky to meet the chief engineer. I don’t want to bore you with a multitude of numbers so here’s the highlights: of 6 generators for the engines, Symphony uses 4 on a transatlantic sailing compared to only 3 when on normal Caribbean itineraries. Symphony has enough fuel to immediately return from Miami to Barcelona without refueling – but we’d lack food and drinks ?


    Our next stop was the MDR galley on deck 5, where we got all information from one of the sous chefs. The MDR has 3 galleys (one on each MDR deck) – deck 5 is mainly responsible for soups, sauces, salads, cold plates and breakfast room service. The sheer amount of food that has to be prepared here is really impressive. Royal uses a computer system to predict the amount of dishes they’ll need for each seating – interesting to see this in use.



    Down from deck 5 it was back into the bowels of the ship, taking the I-95 to provisions. On I-95, we saw the crew activities board. I’m really quite angry about the amount of money the crew have to pay for internet – in my opinion, it should be free of charge for them as it’s the only way to stay in contact with their family at home. And Royal should be aware that a happy crew makes for happy cruisers!  But on to a more lighthearted topic – provisions: Symphony’s provisions master took care of all our questions. As we still got a few days left, the walk in refrigerators were well stocked - nobody can starve on a cruise ship. For the European season, Symphony had to restock in Barcelona and Civitavecchia on each sailing – not because of the longer advance booking periods but because all goods arrive on (wooden) EU pallets and have to be reloaded on the steel pallets that Royal uses! That’s why Symphony only needs restocking once a week (in Miami) for Caribbean cruises – it just takes less time. Our time with the provisions master also answered another question: how does Symphony dock in Miami? Always on the starboard side, as they can use 2 doors for loading instead of only one when docking portside. Unfortunately, this means that Symphony will always turn in the basin when entering the port – so in the middle of the night most likely.



    From provisions, we ventured even further down the ship. The laundry is as far down as you can get on Symphony (assuming you don’t want to take a swim in the fuel tanks). The laundry master explained his department to us and also showed us the use of some of the machines. You can even stumble upon Captain Rob in the laundry ? Most interesting information: crew’s uniforms are cleaned free of charge, but they have to wash their private clothes themselves.


    Our last stop on this tour was the bridge, where we met one of the First Officers – and Captain Rob again. It's amazing how approachable and chatty the Captain is – what a nice experience. Best thing about the bridge is the unobstructed forward view, but all the instruments on the bridge wing were also quite interesting. We were even lucky to have not one but two ships in our safety corridor when on the bridge – in the middle of nowhere in the Atlantic! The route is completely at the Captain’s discretion so we took a southern route on this crossing for better weather. Even though the southern route is longer than the northern route, it’s more fuel efficient due to winds and drift.


    #


    After this illuminating tour, we went to the MDR for an early lunch. We were seated with Americans, Brits and a couple from Taiwan. This mix made for some very interesting political discussions. (Hey, I thought you don’t small talk about politics and religion?!) Fortunately, we don’t mind political discussions as we like to hear opinions from all sides. In fact, we’ve redpilled quite a few fellow cruisers on the topic of Germany on this crossing ? As for the food, can’t remember the exact names (and forgot to look them up before disembarkation ?). Hubby had the Greek Salad, Chicken Sandwich and Chocolate Cake, I had the Tortilla Salad, Steak Sandwich and Apple Pie.






    The next event of the day was the Guest Talent Show. The choir's This is Me was the first act, the song was enhanced by a choreography from the progressive dance class. Other than that, it was mostly musical acts. We were quite surprised about the confidence of some of the participants but a few acts were REALLY impressive. The best act was a guy singing New York by Frank Sinatra – in fact this guy was on par with headliner Gary Williams. No surprise he won progressive karaoke.

    As we’d had an early lunch and were planning a late dinner, we had a 2nd lunch at Playmakers – again Base Loaded Potato Skins but this time accompanied by Pulled Pork Sliders. From there it was on to Laser Tag. Sadly a session only is 10 minutes, but considering the long lines it’s understandable. Due to the de-icing of Studio B there were only 4 sessions on this 12 night cruise - the first two on one of the first sea days, session 3 on day 10 during formal night dinner and session 4 during sailaway from Port Canaveral. We had other plans for the first two sessions and didn't want to miss sailaway so we chose the lesser evil. Our team didn’t win but at least we were the team’s top players.
    Day 10 was the 2nd and last formal night, so we went to the cabin to change into more formal wear (so not playing laser tag in dress and heels!) and then get some pictures taken on Royal Promenade. Dinner in the MDR consisted of the Mediterranean Tapas Plate for starters, Seafood Linguini and Broiled Lobster Tail for entrees and Chocolate Profiteroles and the Artisan Cheese Plate for dessert. Feel free to guess who ordered what ? Verdict on the food: to us it feels as though MDR food is better on Formal Nights – so a good reason to dress up. When leaving the MDR we were advised to come back the next day for dessert (we have a reservation in Izumi and the dessert isn’t really our cup of tea). After a few drinks at the pub we went to bed.





    Side notes:
    10.3 k steps – most of them on the tour ?
    If anyone wondered, yes, drink fatigue is a thing. Well, for me – not for hubby. Food fatigue is also getting real, guess we’ll have a breather in Miami.
    Can't really call this a towel animal, can I? ?

     
  6. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    They have a cocktail called Down the Rabbithole at the Wonderland bar and it comes with your choice of a red or a blue pill so I thought it would fit right in ?
  7. Haha
    Neaxan got a reaction from CruisinUngs in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    They have a cocktail called Down the Rabbithole at the Wonderland bar and it comes with your choice of a red or a blue pill so I thought it would fit right in ?
  8. Haha
    Neaxan got a reaction from JLMoran in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    They have a cocktail called Down the Rabbithole at the Wonderland bar and it comes with your choice of a red or a blue pill so I thought it would fit right in ?
  9. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from FlowBro Ty in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Day 10:
    This day was off to an early start, therefore we had breakfast in our beloved Park Cafe. Why the early start, you might ask – the All Access Ship tour, of course! At 119 $ each, we had a YOLO moment when booking this. Hey, when will I be ever able to get a behind the scenes tour on the biggest cruise ship in the world? Our tour guide for the morning was Charly from Shore Excursions, who gave us some insight into crew life on Symphony. First stop of the tour was the engine control room where we were lucky to meet the chief engineer. I don’t want to bore you with a multitude of numbers so here’s the highlights: of 6 generators for the engines, Symphony uses 4 on a transatlantic sailing compared to only 3 when on normal Caribbean itineraries. Symphony has enough fuel to immediately return from Miami to Barcelona without refueling – but we’d lack food and drinks ?


    Our next stop was the MDR galley on deck 5, where we got all information from one of the sous chefs. The MDR has 3 galleys (one on each MDR deck) – deck 5 is mainly responsible for soups, sauces, salads, cold plates and breakfast room service. The sheer amount of food that has to be prepared here is really impressive. Royal uses a computer system to predict the amount of dishes they’ll need for each seating – interesting to see this in use.



    Down from deck 5 it was back into the bowels of the ship, taking the I-95 to provisions. On I-95, we saw the crew activities board. I’m really quite angry about the amount of money the crew have to pay for internet – in my opinion, it should be free of charge for them as it’s the only way to stay in contact with their family at home. And Royal should be aware that a happy crew makes for happy cruisers!  But on to a more lighthearted topic – provisions: Symphony’s provisions master took care of all our questions. As we still got a few days left, the walk in refrigerators were well stocked - nobody can starve on a cruise ship. For the European season, Symphony had to restock in Barcelona and Civitavecchia on each sailing – not because of the longer advance booking periods but because all goods arrive on (wooden) EU pallets and have to be reloaded on the steel pallets that Royal uses! That’s why Symphony only needs restocking once a week (in Miami) for Caribbean cruises – it just takes less time. Our time with the provisions master also answered another question: how does Symphony dock in Miami? Always on the starboard side, as they can use 2 doors for loading instead of only one when docking portside. Unfortunately, this means that Symphony will always turn in the basin when entering the port – so in the middle of the night most likely.



    From provisions, we ventured even further down the ship. The laundry is as far down as you can get on Symphony (assuming you don’t want to take a swim in the fuel tanks). The laundry master explained his department to us and also showed us the use of some of the machines. You can even stumble upon Captain Rob in the laundry ? Most interesting information: crew’s uniforms are cleaned free of charge, but they have to wash their private clothes themselves.


    Our last stop on this tour was the bridge, where we met one of the First Officers – and Captain Rob again. It's amazing how approachable and chatty the Captain is – what a nice experience. Best thing about the bridge is the unobstructed forward view, but all the instruments on the bridge wing were also quite interesting. We were even lucky to have not one but two ships in our safety corridor when on the bridge – in the middle of nowhere in the Atlantic! The route is completely at the Captain’s discretion so we took a southern route on this crossing for better weather. Even though the southern route is longer than the northern route, it’s more fuel efficient due to winds and drift.


    #


    After this illuminating tour, we went to the MDR for an early lunch. We were seated with Americans, Brits and a couple from Taiwan. This mix made for some very interesting political discussions. (Hey, I thought you don’t small talk about politics and religion?!) Fortunately, we don’t mind political discussions as we like to hear opinions from all sides. In fact, we’ve redpilled quite a few fellow cruisers on the topic of Germany on this crossing ? As for the food, can’t remember the exact names (and forgot to look them up before disembarkation ?). Hubby had the Greek Salad, Chicken Sandwich and Chocolate Cake, I had the Tortilla Salad, Steak Sandwich and Apple Pie.






    The next event of the day was the Guest Talent Show. The choir's This is Me was the first act, the song was enhanced by a choreography from the progressive dance class. Other than that, it was mostly musical acts. We were quite surprised about the confidence of some of the participants but a few acts were REALLY impressive. The best act was a guy singing New York by Frank Sinatra – in fact this guy was on par with headliner Gary Williams. No surprise he won progressive karaoke.

    As we’d had an early lunch and were planning a late dinner, we had a 2nd lunch at Playmakers – again Base Loaded Potato Skins but this time accompanied by Pulled Pork Sliders. From there it was on to Laser Tag. Sadly a session only is 10 minutes, but considering the long lines it’s understandable. Due to the de-icing of Studio B there were only 4 sessions on this 12 night cruise - the first two on one of the first sea days, session 3 on day 10 during formal night dinner and session 4 during sailaway from Port Canaveral. We had other plans for the first two sessions and didn't want to miss sailaway so we chose the lesser evil. Our team didn’t win but at least we were the team’s top players.
    Day 10 was the 2nd and last formal night, so we went to the cabin to change into more formal wear (so not playing laser tag in dress and heels!) and then get some pictures taken on Royal Promenade. Dinner in the MDR consisted of the Mediterranean Tapas Plate for starters, Seafood Linguini and Broiled Lobster Tail for entrees and Chocolate Profiteroles and the Artisan Cheese Plate for dessert. Feel free to guess who ordered what ? Verdict on the food: to us it feels as though MDR food is better on Formal Nights – so a good reason to dress up. When leaving the MDR we were advised to come back the next day for dessert (we have a reservation in Izumi and the dessert isn’t really our cup of tea). After a few drinks at the pub we went to bed.





    Side notes:
    10.3 k steps – most of them on the tour ?
    If anyone wondered, yes, drink fatigue is a thing. Well, for me – not for hubby. Food fatigue is also getting real, guess we’ll have a breather in Miami.
    Can't really call this a towel animal, can I? ?

     
  10. Haha
    Neaxan reacted to JLMoran in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    LOL! I think that's the first time I've seen "redpilled" used in any context outside The Matrix or a certain men's activism group.
  11. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from Lovetocruise2002 in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Day 10:
    This day was off to an early start, therefore we had breakfast in our beloved Park Cafe. Why the early start, you might ask – the All Access Ship tour, of course! At 119 $ each, we had a YOLO moment when booking this. Hey, when will I be ever able to get a behind the scenes tour on the biggest cruise ship in the world? Our tour guide for the morning was Charly from Shore Excursions, who gave us some insight into crew life on Symphony. First stop of the tour was the engine control room where we were lucky to meet the chief engineer. I don’t want to bore you with a multitude of numbers so here’s the highlights: of 6 generators for the engines, Symphony uses 4 on a transatlantic sailing compared to only 3 when on normal Caribbean itineraries. Symphony has enough fuel to immediately return from Miami to Barcelona without refueling – but we’d lack food and drinks ?


    Our next stop was the MDR galley on deck 5, where we got all information from one of the sous chefs. The MDR has 3 galleys (one on each MDR deck) – deck 5 is mainly responsible for soups, sauces, salads, cold plates and breakfast room service. The sheer amount of food that has to be prepared here is really impressive. Royal uses a computer system to predict the amount of dishes they’ll need for each seating – interesting to see this in use.



    Down from deck 5 it was back into the bowels of the ship, taking the I-95 to provisions. On I-95, we saw the crew activities board. I’m really quite angry about the amount of money the crew have to pay for internet – in my opinion, it should be free of charge for them as it’s the only way to stay in contact with their family at home. And Royal should be aware that a happy crew makes for happy cruisers!  But on to a more lighthearted topic – provisions: Symphony’s provisions master took care of all our questions. As we still got a few days left, the walk in refrigerators were well stocked - nobody can starve on a cruise ship. For the European season, Symphony had to restock in Barcelona and Civitavecchia on each sailing – not because of the longer advance booking periods but because all goods arrive on (wooden) EU pallets and have to be reloaded on the steel pallets that Royal uses! That’s why Symphony only needs restocking once a week (in Miami) for Caribbean cruises – it just takes less time. Our time with the provisions master also answered another question: how does Symphony dock in Miami? Always on the starboard side, as they can use 2 doors for loading instead of only one when docking portside. Unfortunately, this means that Symphony will always turn in the basin when entering the port – so in the middle of the night most likely.



    From provisions, we ventured even further down the ship. The laundry is as far down as you can get on Symphony (assuming you don’t want to take a swim in the fuel tanks). The laundry master explained his department to us and also showed us the use of some of the machines. You can even stumble upon Captain Rob in the laundry ? Most interesting information: crew’s uniforms are cleaned free of charge, but they have to wash their private clothes themselves.


    Our last stop on this tour was the bridge, where we met one of the First Officers – and Captain Rob again. It's amazing how approachable and chatty the Captain is – what a nice experience. Best thing about the bridge is the unobstructed forward view, but all the instruments on the bridge wing were also quite interesting. We were even lucky to have not one but two ships in our safety corridor when on the bridge – in the middle of nowhere in the Atlantic! The route is completely at the Captain’s discretion so we took a southern route on this crossing for better weather. Even though the southern route is longer than the northern route, it’s more fuel efficient due to winds and drift.


    #


    After this illuminating tour, we went to the MDR for an early lunch. We were seated with Americans, Brits and a couple from Taiwan. This mix made for some very interesting political discussions. (Hey, I thought you don’t small talk about politics and religion?!) Fortunately, we don’t mind political discussions as we like to hear opinions from all sides. In fact, we’ve redpilled quite a few fellow cruisers on the topic of Germany on this crossing ? As for the food, can’t remember the exact names (and forgot to look them up before disembarkation ?). Hubby had the Greek Salad, Chicken Sandwich and Chocolate Cake, I had the Tortilla Salad, Steak Sandwich and Apple Pie.






    The next event of the day was the Guest Talent Show. The choir's This is Me was the first act, the song was enhanced by a choreography from the progressive dance class. Other than that, it was mostly musical acts. We were quite surprised about the confidence of some of the participants but a few acts were REALLY impressive. The best act was a guy singing New York by Frank Sinatra – in fact this guy was on par with headliner Gary Williams. No surprise he won progressive karaoke.

    As we’d had an early lunch and were planning a late dinner, we had a 2nd lunch at Playmakers – again Base Loaded Potato Skins but this time accompanied by Pulled Pork Sliders. From there it was on to Laser Tag. Sadly a session only is 10 minutes, but considering the long lines it’s understandable. Due to the de-icing of Studio B there were only 4 sessions on this 12 night cruise - the first two on one of the first sea days, session 3 on day 10 during formal night dinner and session 4 during sailaway from Port Canaveral. We had other plans for the first two sessions and didn't want to miss sailaway so we chose the lesser evil. Our team didn’t win but at least we were the team’s top players.
    Day 10 was the 2nd and last formal night, so we went to the cabin to change into more formal wear (so not playing laser tag in dress and heels!) and then get some pictures taken on Royal Promenade. Dinner in the MDR consisted of the Mediterranean Tapas Plate for starters, Seafood Linguini and Broiled Lobster Tail for entrees and Chocolate Profiteroles and the Artisan Cheese Plate for dessert. Feel free to guess who ordered what ? Verdict on the food: to us it feels as though MDR food is better on Formal Nights – so a good reason to dress up. When leaving the MDR we were advised to come back the next day for dessert (we have a reservation in Izumi and the dessert isn’t really our cup of tea). After a few drinks at the pub we went to bed.





    Side notes:
    10.3 k steps – most of them on the tour ?
    If anyone wondered, yes, drink fatigue is a thing. Well, for me – not for hubby. Food fatigue is also getting real, guess we’ll have a breather in Miami.
    Can't really call this a towel animal, can I? ?

     
  12. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from GoodSmith in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Wonderland:
    Wonderland was our most anticipated restaurant – spoiler alert: rightly so. To fully enjoy Wonderland, you have to appreciate the concept and be a bit of an adventurous eater. We loved the whole atmosphere of the place – it’s a real trip down the rabbit hole with everything including the waiter’s uniforms or the Mad Hatter’s conversations fitting in. We even found a little Alice ?





    As we were planning to get the most of this experience, we ignored the menu even though painting your own menu was a nice touch. We let our waiter Sorina chose our courses as we only had good experiences with following our waiter’s recommendations.



    For starters, we got the whole ride: Citrus Seas, Crispy Crab Cones, Mad Hatter‘s Purple Potted Shrimp, Liquid Lobster, The Chicken & the Egg. We loved all of them! When forced to pick a favourite, I’d go with the Citrus Seas even though the Liquid Lobster was the most surprising taste.






    For entrees, Sorina hadn’t forgotten that hubby isn’t that much into fish as a main course. So we got Snap, Crackle & Pork and The Rib ‚I‘ Luscious Short Rib (aka Chocolate Brownie ?). Personally, I prefered the latter as the pork is quite greasy. Hubby did enjoy the pork so it might just be my pet hate talking. I can thoroughly recommend the short rib – I liked it even better than 150 CP’s main course!


    For dessert, we were in for a surprise! As I’d hoped, we got The World – it’s not only a visual treat, it’s also absolutely delicious. Our second dessert was the Forbidden Apple, also very good but just not as perfect as The World. On the other hand, the Forbidden Apple was decorated for an anniversary that we still don’t know about ? Guess it was a mix up in the kitchen as neither me nor hubby had informed Royal about an anniversary. Instead of worrying, we just went with the flow and got nine times Happy Anniversary from Sorina and the Mad Hatter. We’ve been married 9 years now, it’s only we married in August, not in November. Who would voluntarily marry in the German winter season?


    Back to the topic: we loved the whole Wonderland experience, it is easily our favourite restaurant onboard! In fact, we enjoyed this kind of imaginative and adventurous cuisine so much, that we’ll take the leap and try some fusion cuisine at home. If you only want to try one speciality dining venue – I’d chose this one as it offers the most different experience. We’ll definetly be back on another ship!
  13. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from JLMoran in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Day 10:
    This day was off to an early start, therefore we had breakfast in our beloved Park Cafe. Why the early start, you might ask – the All Access Ship tour, of course! At 119 $ each, we had a YOLO moment when booking this. Hey, when will I be ever able to get a behind the scenes tour on the biggest cruise ship in the world? Our tour guide for the morning was Charly from Shore Excursions, who gave us some insight into crew life on Symphony. First stop of the tour was the engine control room where we were lucky to meet the chief engineer. I don’t want to bore you with a multitude of numbers so here’s the highlights: of 6 generators for the engines, Symphony uses 4 on a transatlantic sailing compared to only 3 when on normal Caribbean itineraries. Symphony has enough fuel to immediately return from Miami to Barcelona without refueling – but we’d lack food and drinks ?


    Our next stop was the MDR galley on deck 5, where we got all information from one of the sous chefs. The MDR has 3 galleys (one on each MDR deck) – deck 5 is mainly responsible for soups, sauces, salads, cold plates and breakfast room service. The sheer amount of food that has to be prepared here is really impressive. Royal uses a computer system to predict the amount of dishes they’ll need for each seating – interesting to see this in use.



    Down from deck 5 it was back into the bowels of the ship, taking the I-95 to provisions. On I-95, we saw the crew activities board. I’m really quite angry about the amount of money the crew have to pay for internet – in my opinion, it should be free of charge for them as it’s the only way to stay in contact with their family at home. And Royal should be aware that a happy crew makes for happy cruisers!  But on to a more lighthearted topic – provisions: Symphony’s provisions master took care of all our questions. As we still got a few days left, the walk in refrigerators were well stocked - nobody can starve on a cruise ship. For the European season, Symphony had to restock in Barcelona and Civitavecchia on each sailing – not because of the longer advance booking periods but because all goods arrive on (wooden) EU pallets and have to be reloaded on the steel pallets that Royal uses! That’s why Symphony only needs restocking once a week (in Miami) for Caribbean cruises – it just takes less time. Our time with the provisions master also answered another question: how does Symphony dock in Miami? Always on the starboard side, as they can use 2 doors for loading instead of only one when docking portside. Unfortunately, this means that Symphony will always turn in the basin when entering the port – so in the middle of the night most likely.



    From provisions, we ventured even further down the ship. The laundry is as far down as you can get on Symphony (assuming you don’t want to take a swim in the fuel tanks). The laundry master explained his department to us and also showed us the use of some of the machines. You can even stumble upon Captain Rob in the laundry ? Most interesting information: crew’s uniforms are cleaned free of charge, but they have to wash their private clothes themselves.


    Our last stop on this tour was the bridge, where we met one of the First Officers – and Captain Rob again. It's amazing how approachable and chatty the Captain is – what a nice experience. Best thing about the bridge is the unobstructed forward view, but all the instruments on the bridge wing were also quite interesting. We were even lucky to have not one but two ships in our safety corridor when on the bridge – in the middle of nowhere in the Atlantic! The route is completely at the Captain’s discretion so we took a southern route on this crossing for better weather. Even though the southern route is longer than the northern route, it’s more fuel efficient due to winds and drift.


    #


    After this illuminating tour, we went to the MDR for an early lunch. We were seated with Americans, Brits and a couple from Taiwan. This mix made for some very interesting political discussions. (Hey, I thought you don’t small talk about politics and religion?!) Fortunately, we don’t mind political discussions as we like to hear opinions from all sides. In fact, we’ve redpilled quite a few fellow cruisers on the topic of Germany on this crossing ? As for the food, can’t remember the exact names (and forgot to look them up before disembarkation ?). Hubby had the Greek Salad, Chicken Sandwich and Chocolate Cake, I had the Tortilla Salad, Steak Sandwich and Apple Pie.






    The next event of the day was the Guest Talent Show. The choir's This is Me was the first act, the song was enhanced by a choreography from the progressive dance class. Other than that, it was mostly musical acts. We were quite surprised about the confidence of some of the participants but a few acts were REALLY impressive. The best act was a guy singing New York by Frank Sinatra – in fact this guy was on par with headliner Gary Williams. No surprise he won progressive karaoke.

    As we’d had an early lunch and were planning a late dinner, we had a 2nd lunch at Playmakers – again Base Loaded Potato Skins but this time accompanied by Pulled Pork Sliders. From there it was on to Laser Tag. Sadly a session only is 10 minutes, but considering the long lines it’s understandable. Due to the de-icing of Studio B there were only 4 sessions on this 12 night cruise - the first two on one of the first sea days, session 3 on day 10 during formal night dinner and session 4 during sailaway from Port Canaveral. We had other plans for the first two sessions and didn't want to miss sailaway so we chose the lesser evil. Our team didn’t win but at least we were the team’s top players.
    Day 10 was the 2nd and last formal night, so we went to the cabin to change into more formal wear (so not playing laser tag in dress and heels!) and then get some pictures taken on Royal Promenade. Dinner in the MDR consisted of the Mediterranean Tapas Plate for starters, Seafood Linguini and Broiled Lobster Tail for entrees and Chocolate Profiteroles and the Artisan Cheese Plate for dessert. Feel free to guess who ordered what ? Verdict on the food: to us it feels as though MDR food is better on Formal Nights – so a good reason to dress up. When leaving the MDR we were advised to come back the next day for dessert (we have a reservation in Izumi and the dessert isn’t really our cup of tea). After a few drinks at the pub we went to bed.





    Side notes:
    10.3 k steps – most of them on the tour ?
    If anyone wondered, yes, drink fatigue is a thing. Well, for me – not for hubby. Food fatigue is also getting real, guess we’ll have a breather in Miami.
    Can't really call this a towel animal, can I? ?

     
  14. Like
    Neaxan reacted to twangster in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Wonderland menu's can vary ship to ship much like Jamie's Italian varies in subtle ways.
    On Harmony and Symphony Wonderland is a two story space with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the boardwalk.  It's a much nicer, larger and secluded venue. 
    On Anthem it's off the Esplanade with just a sheer curtain separating it.  My Anthem experience was constantly interrupted by sales pitches in the Esplanade.  It's much larger on Oasis class with a distinct and dedicated Wonderland Bar on the second floor with the hostess and waiting area.   
    Anthem is more of a Wonderland-mini.  
  15. Like
    Neaxan reacted to JLMoran in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    I have to say that this wasn't an issue I ran into, thankfully. No real sound bleed to speak of, at least that I noticed. Maybe where we got seated there was more than just the curtain to help us feel more secluded.
    Won't argue that, the pictures make that clear as day.
  16. Like
    Neaxan reacted to JLMoran in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Love your review of Wonderland, @Neaxan! The menu is a little different from the one on Anthem, so I'm wondering if changes are coming to the fleet (maybe in response to more guests than your husband not being big fish fans!). The decor there also looks far nicer and varied than what we saw on Anthem (e.g., bigger variety of chair styles and designs), not to mention that it looks much more brightly lit.
    Can I ask if the room was actually dark and you just used the flash or a longer exposure to get your pictures looking that well-lit, or was the restaurant lighting truly not all that dim? We felt like we were eating in a cave at times, it was so dim in there, and we had noticed they actually raised the lights a little as our meal was coming to an end.
    @twangster or maybe @monorailmedic, either one of you happen to know if Anthem was one of the first ships to have a Wonderland? Just wondering if the difference in decor is due to age, and maybe when Anthem goes in for a dry dock they'll do a small cosmetic upgrade to get it looking more in line with the other restaurants in the fleet.
  17. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from Guy Gadwa in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Wonderland:
    Wonderland was our most anticipated restaurant – spoiler alert: rightly so. To fully enjoy Wonderland, you have to appreciate the concept and be a bit of an adventurous eater. We loved the whole atmosphere of the place – it’s a real trip down the rabbit hole with everything including the waiter’s uniforms or the Mad Hatter’s conversations fitting in. We even found a little Alice ?





    As we were planning to get the most of this experience, we ignored the menu even though painting your own menu was a nice touch. We let our waiter Sorina chose our courses as we only had good experiences with following our waiter’s recommendations.



    For starters, we got the whole ride: Citrus Seas, Crispy Crab Cones, Mad Hatter‘s Purple Potted Shrimp, Liquid Lobster, The Chicken & the Egg. We loved all of them! When forced to pick a favourite, I’d go with the Citrus Seas even though the Liquid Lobster was the most surprising taste.






    For entrees, Sorina hadn’t forgotten that hubby isn’t that much into fish as a main course. So we got Snap, Crackle & Pork and The Rib ‚I‘ Luscious Short Rib (aka Chocolate Brownie ?). Personally, I prefered the latter as the pork is quite greasy. Hubby did enjoy the pork so it might just be my pet hate talking. I can thoroughly recommend the short rib – I liked it even better than 150 CP’s main course!


    For dessert, we were in for a surprise! As I’d hoped, we got The World – it’s not only a visual treat, it’s also absolutely delicious. Our second dessert was the Forbidden Apple, also very good but just not as perfect as The World. On the other hand, the Forbidden Apple was decorated for an anniversary that we still don’t know about ? Guess it was a mix up in the kitchen as neither me nor hubby had informed Royal about an anniversary. Instead of worrying, we just went with the flow and got nine times Happy Anniversary from Sorina and the Mad Hatter. We’ve been married 9 years now, it’s only we married in August, not in November. Who would voluntarily marry in the German winter season?


    Back to the topic: we loved the whole Wonderland experience, it is easily our favourite restaurant onboard! In fact, we enjoyed this kind of imaginative and adventurous cuisine so much, that we’ll take the leap and try some fusion cuisine at home. If you only want to try one speciality dining venue – I’d chose this one as it offers the most different experience. We’ll definetly be back on another ship!
  18. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from Lovetocruise2002 in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Wonderland:
    Wonderland was our most anticipated restaurant – spoiler alert: rightly so. To fully enjoy Wonderland, you have to appreciate the concept and be a bit of an adventurous eater. We loved the whole atmosphere of the place – it’s a real trip down the rabbit hole with everything including the waiter’s uniforms or the Mad Hatter’s conversations fitting in. We even found a little Alice ?





    As we were planning to get the most of this experience, we ignored the menu even though painting your own menu was a nice touch. We let our waiter Sorina chose our courses as we only had good experiences with following our waiter’s recommendations.



    For starters, we got the whole ride: Citrus Seas, Crispy Crab Cones, Mad Hatter‘s Purple Potted Shrimp, Liquid Lobster, The Chicken & the Egg. We loved all of them! When forced to pick a favourite, I’d go with the Citrus Seas even though the Liquid Lobster was the most surprising taste.






    For entrees, Sorina hadn’t forgotten that hubby isn’t that much into fish as a main course. So we got Snap, Crackle & Pork and The Rib ‚I‘ Luscious Short Rib (aka Chocolate Brownie ?). Personally, I prefered the latter as the pork is quite greasy. Hubby did enjoy the pork so it might just be my pet hate talking. I can thoroughly recommend the short rib – I liked it even better than 150 CP’s main course!


    For dessert, we were in for a surprise! As I’d hoped, we got The World – it’s not only a visual treat, it’s also absolutely delicious. Our second dessert was the Forbidden Apple, also very good but just not as perfect as The World. On the other hand, the Forbidden Apple was decorated for an anniversary that we still don’t know about ? Guess it was a mix up in the kitchen as neither me nor hubby had informed Royal about an anniversary. Instead of worrying, we just went with the flow and got nine times Happy Anniversary from Sorina and the Mad Hatter. We’ve been married 9 years now, it’s only we married in August, not in November. Who would voluntarily marry in the German winter season?


    Back to the topic: we loved the whole Wonderland experience, it is easily our favourite restaurant onboard! In fact, we enjoyed this kind of imaginative and adventurous cuisine so much, that we’ll take the leap and try some fusion cuisine at home. If you only want to try one speciality dining venue – I’d chose this one as it offers the most different experience. We’ll definetly be back on another ship!
  19. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from Lovetocruise2002 in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Right back at you, it was so cool finally meeting you. Hope we'll meet again on other cruises!
    As for the top tier bunch, it did annoy us quite a bit. Were not used to being treated as second class passengers, and sadly you got that feeling on more than one occasion on this cruise. We prefer TUI's approach to this one where loyal cruisers are rewarded without taking anything from the experience of other guests. Examples include bridge tours, free champagne, free speciality choclate, free laundry... TUI does have a designated venue for guests staying in suites and that is fine by us, as it doesn't impact our stay in any way. But taking away a third of the available seats in all entertainment venues and closing numerous venues at times does get on your nerves. We'd still sail with Royal but we made sure Royal got this feedback.
    I'm now sitting next to the aft pool on Caribbean Princess and enjoying a nice view of the ocean (something that's hard to come by on Symphony). So it's finally time to do the blog posts that fell victim to too much to do and not enough time - and some post cruise land sickness. I'll also do a summary of what we liked and disliked on our first Royal cruise. As for comparing our Royal and Princess experiences, I'm thinking of doing it once I'm back home ? 
  20. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from JLMoran in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Wonderland:
    Wonderland was our most anticipated restaurant – spoiler alert: rightly so. To fully enjoy Wonderland, you have to appreciate the concept and be a bit of an adventurous eater. We loved the whole atmosphere of the place – it’s a real trip down the rabbit hole with everything including the waiter’s uniforms or the Mad Hatter’s conversations fitting in. We even found a little Alice ?





    As we were planning to get the most of this experience, we ignored the menu even though painting your own menu was a nice touch. We let our waiter Sorina chose our courses as we only had good experiences with following our waiter’s recommendations.



    For starters, we got the whole ride: Citrus Seas, Crispy Crab Cones, Mad Hatter‘s Purple Potted Shrimp, Liquid Lobster, The Chicken & the Egg. We loved all of them! When forced to pick a favourite, I’d go with the Citrus Seas even though the Liquid Lobster was the most surprising taste.






    For entrees, Sorina hadn’t forgotten that hubby isn’t that much into fish as a main course. So we got Snap, Crackle & Pork and The Rib ‚I‘ Luscious Short Rib (aka Chocolate Brownie ?). Personally, I prefered the latter as the pork is quite greasy. Hubby did enjoy the pork so it might just be my pet hate talking. I can thoroughly recommend the short rib – I liked it even better than 150 CP’s main course!


    For dessert, we were in for a surprise! As I’d hoped, we got The World – it’s not only a visual treat, it’s also absolutely delicious. Our second dessert was the Forbidden Apple, also very good but just not as perfect as The World. On the other hand, the Forbidden Apple was decorated for an anniversary that we still don’t know about ? Guess it was a mix up in the kitchen as neither me nor hubby had informed Royal about an anniversary. Instead of worrying, we just went with the flow and got nine times Happy Anniversary from Sorina and the Mad Hatter. We’ve been married 9 years now, it’s only we married in August, not in November. Who would voluntarily marry in the German winter season?


    Back to the topic: we loved the whole Wonderland experience, it is easily our favourite restaurant onboard! In fact, we enjoyed this kind of imaginative and adventurous cuisine so much, that we’ll take the leap and try some fusion cuisine at home. If you only want to try one speciality dining venue – I’d chose this one as it offers the most different experience. We’ll definetly be back on another ship!
  21. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from accio7 in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Wonderland:
    Wonderland was our most anticipated restaurant – spoiler alert: rightly so. To fully enjoy Wonderland, you have to appreciate the concept and be a bit of an adventurous eater. We loved the whole atmosphere of the place – it’s a real trip down the rabbit hole with everything including the waiter’s uniforms or the Mad Hatter’s conversations fitting in. We even found a little Alice ?





    As we were planning to get the most of this experience, we ignored the menu even though painting your own menu was a nice touch. We let our waiter Sorina chose our courses as we only had good experiences with following our waiter’s recommendations.



    For starters, we got the whole ride: Citrus Seas, Crispy Crab Cones, Mad Hatter‘s Purple Potted Shrimp, Liquid Lobster, The Chicken & the Egg. We loved all of them! When forced to pick a favourite, I’d go with the Citrus Seas even though the Liquid Lobster was the most surprising taste.






    For entrees, Sorina hadn’t forgotten that hubby isn’t that much into fish as a main course. So we got Snap, Crackle & Pork and The Rib ‚I‘ Luscious Short Rib (aka Chocolate Brownie ?). Personally, I prefered the latter as the pork is quite greasy. Hubby did enjoy the pork so it might just be my pet hate talking. I can thoroughly recommend the short rib – I liked it even better than 150 CP’s main course!


    For dessert, we were in for a surprise! As I’d hoped, we got The World – it’s not only a visual treat, it’s also absolutely delicious. Our second dessert was the Forbidden Apple, also very good but just not as perfect as The World. On the other hand, the Forbidden Apple was decorated for an anniversary that we still don’t know about ? Guess it was a mix up in the kitchen as neither me nor hubby had informed Royal about an anniversary. Instead of worrying, we just went with the flow and got nine times Happy Anniversary from Sorina and the Mad Hatter. We’ve been married 9 years now, it’s only we married in August, not in November. Who would voluntarily marry in the German winter season?


    Back to the topic: we loved the whole Wonderland experience, it is easily our favourite restaurant onboard! In fact, we enjoyed this kind of imaginative and adventurous cuisine so much, that we’ll take the leap and try some fusion cuisine at home. If you only want to try one speciality dining venue – I’d chose this one as it offers the most different experience. We’ll definetly be back on another ship!
  22. Like
    Neaxan got a reaction from JLMoran in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Right back at you, it was so cool finally meeting you. Hope we'll meet again on other cruises!
    As for the top tier bunch, it did annoy us quite a bit. Were not used to being treated as second class passengers, and sadly you got that feeling on more than one occasion on this cruise. We prefer TUI's approach to this one where loyal cruisers are rewarded without taking anything from the experience of other guests. Examples include bridge tours, free champagne, free speciality choclate, free laundry... TUI does have a designated venue for guests staying in suites and that is fine by us, as it doesn't impact our stay in any way. But taking away a third of the available seats in all entertainment venues and closing numerous venues at times does get on your nerves. We'd still sail with Royal but we made sure Royal got this feedback.
    I'm now sitting next to the aft pool on Caribbean Princess and enjoying a nice view of the ocean (something that's hard to come by on Symphony). So it's finally time to do the blog posts that fell victim to too much to do and not enough time - and some post cruise land sickness. I'll also do a summary of what we liked and disliked on our first Royal cruise. As for comparing our Royal and Princess experiences, I'm thinking of doing it once I'm back home ? 
  23. Like
    Neaxan reacted to Sarah in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Thank you for your excellent review
  24. Like
    Neaxan reacted to twangster in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    It was great to meet you both and I hope the top tier numbers didn't impact your experience too much. 
    When I realized how many Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacles would be on board I was concerned the Oasis class experience would be very different for you compared to a normal Oasis class cruise.  Normally for example, the entire center section of the Aqua Theater is NOT reserved for suites and elite like it was on this sailing.  
    It's always nice when multiple people blog from the same cruise because you get a different perspective and the opportunity to see it through a different pair of eyes.  Great job and enjoy your next cruise.  I'd to love to hear the differences between Princess and Royal.     
  25. Like
    Neaxan reacted to CruisinUngs in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    @Neaxan thank you thank you! You were honest and hilarious. Really enjoyed it!
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