Just wanted to share my personal review of our Jr. Suite on Symphony (16-636). We originally had booked an ocean-view balcony but won an upgrade to the Jr. Suite from Royal Up. I regretted having made a bid for one, especially after having won, but we lucked out a bit and apparently 636 has a slightly larger balcony than the other Jr.s which was nice, and the location was great!
On to the review!
Note; This is just my personal opinion and it will sound very nit picky, but I did love the room and would like to provide as much detail as possible. Also worth mentioning I've never cruised before and having nothing to compare against.
Location (and noise):
This was a terrific spot as far as being away from the "action" and constant foot traffic. We had our share of yelling from people passing by early in the morning on shore days and of course running, but I feel it was pretty minimal overall. We could only hear music from the pool area when out on the deck, and even then it seemed like it was only during sail-away parties.
No noise otherwise and it would have been easy to fall asleep out there. For the first few days though the room to the upper right of us (Grand Suite? Huge balcony..) had a kid doing laps back and forth early in the morning which our neighbors also mentioned in passing. That thankfully didn't last long.
Privacy was great for 90% of the balcony, but due to the shape (somewhat slanted), if you were to stand on at balcony edge itself, you and everyone else were in sight, including neighbors to both sides. Not a big deal but awkward when I made direct eye contact to a neighbor once ?
What might be some of the more appreciable things of this particular balcony is that there are no cameras pointed at it unless you stand AT the edge, and even better was that the ship speakers were located on the balconies to the sides of us!
You're gonna need to walk a fair distance to any elevators/stairs, though it's great if you dine in the MDR as the nearest "lobby" drops you right at the MDR entrance (and a few other venues). A few comment specifically for room 16636: If anyone ever books it on Symphony, I will warn you that the left window trim has a horrible popping sound under the riveted trim when in higher winds (25+ kt wind, and/or 10+ ft swells). It was jarring at first, but even for me being a light sleeper I got used to it. I didn't bother with maintenance call given it was under the riveted part.
The other comment is either our cabin attendant hated us, or our room was the most convenient, but her cart and bags were always flanking our door. At one point the cart handle was actually in front of the door.. I swear we didn't do anything to upset her, at least that we're aware of! It wasn't a big enough issue to ask her to move them, but it was a bit interesting.
Bedroom: The room size was great for two of us. Plenty of room to move around and not bump shoulders at all.
The closet had the perfect amount of space for both of us, though trying to do anything (change, find clothes to wear, pack/unpack) in there with more than 1 person is difficult but doable. There are three luggage racks but I unloaded my suitcase on the ground. They seemed like they were screwed into the paneling only and like they'd rip out under any sort of heavier (30lb+) load. I'm sure it was fine, but I didn't want to even risk it.
The TV is located in front of the couch in the little lounge area, but pulls out and points perfectly at the TV for short spurts (an hour long TV show episode before bed, for example), but anything longer starts to hurt the neck as you need to either lay/tilt yourself on your side to see from the bed, or turn your head. Ideally you'd be doing things other than watching TV in bed (sleeping...!) but if it was a long day and you just needed to relax, it's a so-so setup.
The TV has HDMi ports accessible on the right side, but you'll need a tiny hand to get the cable plugged in. I tried doing it with the TV pulled out as well, but the bracing blocks off most access to those ports. One other thing is that the remote didn't allow us to change the input to HDMI 1. I had to use the TV power button to navigate (press once to bring up menu, press briefly until the selection is on Input Select, then HOLD the button until input changes). The input resets after power-off so this needs to be done every time you want to use HDMI 1!
The lounging couch was great - very comfortable but still firm enough you didn't just sink into an abyss, and setup in such a way that you can lay around inside looking out the windows and enjoy the sights.
The AC did a pretty decent job cooling down the room. We had it cranked to max coldness, but rarely found that to be too cold. We're from CO though, maybe that's a contributing factor ?
There is a very small table in the "lounging" area, but it's not conducive for meals. In fact, there's no good surfaces for meals beyond one person. Room service was tricky - we had items on the desk and the coffee table even though it was just 1 tray and a 2nd plate. It means no area to eat together unless you want a plate in your lap.
I did really appreciate that the giant mirror opposite the bed is lit - for me to apply sunscreen, the wife for makeup.
The bed itself was fairly comfortable, but the mattress topper did seem to move around a bit. Easy enough to fix but on occasion I'd wake up to a bundle of it sticking into me from my tossing & turning. The bed was the two twins pushed together with the "bridge" in the middle. It wasn't noticeable at all until at some point we managed to push them slightly apart. Easy fix, though. Bathroom: The bathroom was a good size, but the shower/tub combo was honestly terrible. The combo has the front half enclosed in a glass "door", but the rear half completely exposed. If you keep the water flow low it's not much of an issue, but anything up to the button limiter and beyond guarantees you're going to have a puddle on the floor without a towel down. Not a deal breaker for never picking the room again, but a nuisance for sure. The BIGGEST issue I had with the tub/shower is that it's too damn narrow! It was a constant battle with stepping on the drain cap or getting my feet just right to the sides so I wasn't closing the drain and not standing on the tub's slopes. My wife got so fed up with it she eventually pulled the drain cap out altogether! We're pretty tiny (5'8 and 5'4), so it's not like bigfoot is trying to shower..
The shower is big enough for two people (tested, verified), but you're going to get water everywhere and really only one person can be in the stream at once. We tried every orientation of standing and risked death multiple times to verify it's a no-go.
There doesn't appear to be any sort of vent/fan either, so expect a lot of steam (which I've read here is great for releasing wrinkles but I wasn't so lucky!) One downside to that is your mirror will absolutely be fogged - it's not heated.
The walls between bathrooms seem pretty thin. At one point I could clearly hear my neighbor talking to his wife. It didn't sound like he was yelling, but maybe he was. You can ABSOLUTELY hear any conversations in the hallways. I heard my cabin attendant all day, every day when she was in the halls.
Oh, and the toilets are interesting. I can only describe them as airplane toilets when flushing. So, any late night/early morning trips can be startling..?
The L'octane bathroom amenities are nice, but I didn't get the room for them. They felt/smelled no better or worse than most 4/5 star hotel amenities and were restocked any time we were low (while leaving the near empty bottle to avoid needless waste) Parting thoughts:
Overall, it's a nice room. Would I have paid what I actually did after the upgrade? No, probably not. There wasn't enough "wow" for me to justify the cost difference, even with the larger balcony and the closet. We didn't use the extra balcony space (there's still only 2 chairs and a small table), and while hanging our clothes up was nice, they were already wrinkled from the suitcases so without doing laundry, it wasn't a huge boon for us. If I had to nail a price on it and assumed an ocean view (standard size) balcony was going for $1800, I'd cap myself at 2-2100 for this room. Since this was our first cruise, we did NOT try Coastal Kitchen, so I'm leaving that out of my price/thoughts as it would be unfair. We wanted to stick with the MDR as a level-set of expectations for dining, outside of the one complimentary specialty dining we had a voucher for (used at Hooked).
I'm curious what others who have been in the room think! Also, if there's any specifics you might have, let me know and I'll either add them, or reply!