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  1. My SemiLive Blog Wowzah! Only 3 more days until we are on a plane to Barcelona! Hard to believe, this past year has flown by so fast. So, let's get down to the nitty gritty and get this show on the road! (props to people who get that reference) Our Cruising History I am sailing with my mother and father who have both cruised 2 and 3 times, respectively. This will be our third family cruise together (which have all been on Royal), and our second time on an Oasis Class ship. We are all from Texas and excited to get away from the 100+°F summer heat as well! The last time we were on a cruise was in summer of 2016, so we are all excited to get back on the magnificent Royal ships. My mother enjoys the sun and pool, so we may be spending our down-time at the beaches in Barcelona, or the sports deck pool. This is also a partial celebration for my mother's birthday as well! Why Symphony? While being on Symphony for the inaugural season made this cruise very appealing, the itinerary in the Mediterranean (more on that later) for this cruise sealed the deal for all of us. None of us have ever been in the med for pleasure or sight seeing, and we have previously always cruised in the Caribbean, which after awhile gets to look like the same places and beaches. Hence, the idea to sail in Europe was born. All of us are excited to see the tourist traps sights, including the Vatican and Colosseum, which we will see on the excursions while in port. The Itinerary We are lucky enough to be doing a B2B Cruise and spend 4 days before the cruise in Barcelona! I plan to do a lighter blog on the first few days while in Barcelona, and do a mini-review on the flight and hotel. For this trip, we didn't book any non-Royal Caribbean shore excursions, due to the convenience and close time windows with the all-aboard call. Feel free to skip ahead to the next section (The Cabin), this is a lengthy one. This is the full itinerary of the trip, including the days before and hours after. July 24th Flight to Miami on American - Includes a wonderful 1h and 20min layover in MIA Flight to Barcelona - Arrive in Barcelona the next day July 25th Hotel check-in at the Hotel Arts Barcelona July 29th - Cruise Day! 6:00pm Departure from port! 6:30pm Chops Grille 8:30pm Hairspray - Broadway Show. Will be my first time seeing it live, and not on NBC's live show! July 30th - Palma de Mallorca, Spain 8:00am Arrival 9:20am Palma City Sights - RCL Shore Excursion 4:00pm Departure 8:00pm 1977 - Ice Show We also plan to eat at the Coastal Kitchen (more about that later) July 31st - Marseilles (Provence), France 9:00am Arrival 9:15am Panoramic Marseilles & Aix - RCL 6:00pm Departure 8:00pm Jamie's Italian - We have only tried Giovani's Italian on Allure, so it will be interesting to see the differences between the two Italian restaurants. August 1st - La Spezia (Florence/Piza), Italy 8:30am Arrival 8:35am Florence & Pisa - Cities Tour RCL 8:30pm Departure 9:00pm HiRO - AquaTheater Show We didn't plan any dinner reservations, as we may decide to eat in the MDR, Costal Kitchen or eat out in the city! August 2nd - Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 7:00am Arrival 8:00am Exclusive: Best of Rome - City Tour RCL 8:00pm Departure We didn't plan any dinner reservations, as we may decide to eat in the MDR, Costal Kitchen or eat out in the city! August 3rd - Naples (Capi), Italy 7:00am Arrival 8:00am Amalfi Coast & Pompeii by Land and Sea - RCL 8:00pm Departure August 4th - Cruising 5:00pm Flight - RCL Theater Show 6:30pm Wonderland - The rabbit hole calls us from home.... August 5th - Deja Vu! 6:15pm Izumi: Hibachi - On our last cruise while on Allure, we really enjoyed the food and show that the hibachi offers, and hope that we see some new tricks from the chefs. August 6th 8:40pm Drach Caves - RCL Excursion August 7th 9:30am Biking in Provence - RCL. Have to burn the calories somewhere! August 8th We have no excursion booked and plan to explore on our own and enjoy the ship! August 9th We have no excursion booked and plan to explore on our own and enjoy the ship! August 10th 8:30am Capri on your Own - RCL. This should hopefully give us some freedom while touring Capri! August 12th - Where the PCD sets in... 5:00am Departure Flight to Charlotte for a layover to catch the plane home The Cabin Since there are three of us and we need all the space we can get, we decided to splurge and get a Grand Suite cabin on the seventh floor. This also gives us access to the Costal Kitchen, reserved show seats, and other Sky Class amenities. We even get our own bathtub, which is going to come in handy to soak the muscles after that bike ride! We also get some free Voom Internet @ Sea codes, which is how I will be updating you on all of the social medias! We also won't have to move cabins in-between the cruises; we got lucky on that. Expect cabin tour Periscopes and pictures. Social Media I plan on doing some Periscopes and posting things to my newly founded Flickr page. Periscope - CraftyCat05 - Plan on seeing the Cabin Tour, Embarkation, Docking and Undocking, and other things here. Flickr - CraftyCat05 / https://www.flickr.com/photos/155580610@N05/albums/72157693503806790/with/41744815340/ - Plan on seeing a full album of some of the photos I take here. (I don't change usernames 😆) Miscellaneous We haven't gotten any drink, spa, or specialty dining packages, as we find that we never will get our money's worth out of these. I'm still debating on bringing my Nikon D7000 with me; seems like it won't be a great idea to bring it in port, and my iPhone camera is great for cruising candids. This will be my first time: Live blogging, scoping, and posting images to my gallery. Expect errors, hiccups, and newbie mistakes. (read: be patient, please:)) We loved the Costal Kitchen and it's staff on Allure, and hope the same experience is translated to Symphony. I am a tech nerd, and will also give updates on the new Royal app and the WOW bands (which we will get with our suite). I will be leaving my 26 pound Schnoodle at the Pet Resort in town. He will also be staying in 5 paw accommodations, which include a webcam for us to view him while traveling. Expect me to post pictures of Cruise Compasses and other documents. My laptop "N" key is starting to get sticky, lets hope it doesn't fail while on the cruise. Biggie One: I really hope that I can get some interaction from YOU! Ask any questions you have may have, give me some tips, or just comment on what you see here. wooh! Time to get my fingers soaked... Too much typing!
  2. Hello I currently have booked a 1 bed room aqua theatre suite on Symphony of the seas but I just found out for the same price I can get a grand panoramic suite on Allure of the seas. I would like to experience star class but there are currently available on the date of my sailing. 1. Is there a drastic difference between the symphony of the seas and allure of the seas and which room should I choose.
  3. Starting May 1st, 2016 as most of us know RCCL is starting a new program for guest staying in Suites on Oasis and Quantum Class ships. There are several posts on this forum and Cruise Critic describing what it will include when launched. Matt has discussed what we know at length on his Blog and Podcast as well. This is what I would like this topic to be a place holder for: If you are sailing in a suite on an Oasis or Quantum Class ship in May or June 2016, could you please say when and what class, STAR, SKY, SEA During or after the cruise could you give a brief discription of what the experience was like. If you are sailing SEA or SKY the differences may not be "in your face", but we won't know until launch in May. Now, STAR class is something completely new to RCCL and this is where I am really curious. I am sailing on the Allure June 12th, I will be in STAR class (A1 Aquatheater 2B), I am an uber planner and the grey area that I find myself in makes me nervous. All the newest information from RCCL both online and from the people at C&A tell me "don't pre-reserve, let the Royal Genie do it all." I was told the whole point is to create a stress free and all inclusive vacation experience for the STAR class. I believe them but....being that I am sailing a month after the program starts there is NO actuall feedback yet. Bottom line: If you are sailing in MAY, JUNE or JULY in a suite....use this a placesetter for feedback so everyone can benefit. If you see info on Cruise Critic Forum cut and paste to this one since it is smaller and easier to find information. Thanks
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