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  1. 11 cruises canceled, 4 devastated kids, 2 very sad adults, way too much future cruise credit.... 8 cruises scheduled, 4 excited kids, 2 very happy, yet leery adults, only 34 days to go until Star Class on Symphony!!!! Wow! Cruising is back!!! I am so excited that we can finally say that. I was one of those people saying "surely, cruising will have started back by ...," but as one cruise after the next was canceled, I started to wonder if we would ever return to sea. I went from reading daily live blogs and watching youtube cruise vlogs all the time to rarely doing it. My closet of vacation attire went from a "cruise closet" to a "Club Med closet." Then, I saw that a ship was set to sail and then another, and the next thing you know I began to think, "Wow, this might actually happen!" Initially, I was worried about what it would be like sailing since my kids are too young to be vaccinated (even though my husband and I are fully vaccinated). I worried about us being treated like second class citizens, and most of all I worried about how this would make the kids feel. Some of you, can even attest to my facebook post where I voiced my concerns about this. After, contemplating this for awhile, my husband and I decided to talk to our two older kids about this, and they still wanted to go. At that point, we said "This is OUR cruise, and we are going to go and enjoy ourselves and not let anyone ruin that for us! As this initial fear subsided, the excitement finally began to fully kick in. Cruise Vlogs and Blogs are back on the menu, and we even bought a new cruise wardrobe for the kids, but before I get too much further into this blog, I should probably stop and introduce my family and tell you a little about us and our booking. Family: Tiffany, Steven (he will be co-blogging with me), Christian/CJ (11 year old boy), Sophia (9 year old girl), Nyssa/Prissy (3 year old girl), and Katarina/Kat/Kitty (2 year old girl) Ship: Symphony of the Seas Sail Date: September 11, 2021-September 18, 2021 Cabin Type: 2 Bedroom Aquatheater Suite Itinerary: Miami, Florida; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, ST. Thomas; Perfect Day at CocoCay; Miami, Florida I look forward to catching up with those who have followed my other blogs and also getting to know some new faces. We have cruised star class before, so I will try to cover any changes since cruising has returned. I will also let you know what it is like sailing with kids too young to be vaccinated.
  2. Yap , I will give it a try although almost forgotten how to write a cruise blog. First why did I choose this name ? I guess it's quite obvious no one really knows what will happen during this crazy times so it's hard to plan. What we are planning is to be as flexible as we can and have lots of plan B/C/D and even E if needed mainly to try and have fun with whatever will be. Regarding the name , I wanted to call it "cruise to the unknown" but that unfortunately already taken here (remember the days people were cruising and written blogs about it ?). Why started now ? Two weeks looked like a good time to start and beside while writing this first post I am seating at one of my favorites beach near my home and what is better place to start writing a cruise blog if not here ? What is the plan , in high level 1. Try avoiding cathing COVID-19 in the next few weeks . Take a c19 test 3 days before the cruise. 2. Fly to Orlando (cheaper ticket than Miami) 3 Visit Universal park 4 Drive to Miami and get on Symphony. Convincing the check in people to accept our vaccination paper (the vaccine card here is a pdf file which we need to print but it contains all the information RCL asking for) . Both of us already got the third Pfizer booster shot this week so I hope no issues. 5. Do our first B2B , first time in grand suite. 6. Fly to the West coast to meet some family ( stopping in Vegas for few days) 7. Fly back home More information to follow , for now going to seat back relax and enjoy the breeze and sunset here
  3. Hello all, We are back. About 18 months ago we disembarked the Empress in Miami with lots of rumors about this new virus and now, fittingly, we are back in Miami to start it all up again. We are super stoked as this sailing on Symphony was booked almost three years ago and a couple shifts. I love these blogs as I learn about all different experiences so I thought I would try to flag those interested in some of our unique things about what we do while sailing. (such as being plant based and taking a careful approach to what we do on the inside spaces) Hope to be informative and also learn from the one or two other blogs going on during the same cruise. Will share more soon and feel free to ask any questions.
  4. Hi all, my wife and I are boarding the Symphony of the Seas in September and she's curious how the spa services are run currently. Is the spa open for both vaccinated and unvaccinated cruisers? Are masks fully required for both employees and customers inside the spa and while during services? Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.
  5. Hi all, boarding the Symphony of the Seas in September. I'm curious if my fellow Flowboarding enthusiasts can share what it has been like at the FlowRiders onboard with the current sailing capacity. I'd imagine the lines are shorter, but looking at the Daily Planners it also seems like the FlowRider operating hours seem to be less than usual? Also this will be the first time I have to air travel with my flowboard, any tips on safe transport? I bought some pipe insulation from Home Depot and wrapped them around the edge of the board, then covered the front and the back with some foam sheets and shoved it into a longboard bag. Hopefully that's enough to prevent any damage. Can't wait to hit the FlowRider again, fell in love with it ever since I tried it for the first time on the Allure of the Seas in 2012. Sucks I only get to flowboard when I go on a cruise since there aren't any places on land with a FlowRider that's within a reasonable driving radius for me. I'd love to hear about your Flowboarding stories too if you got them!
  6. NOT QUITE YET... ....is this going to be a Live Blog. I am NOT looking to set the new World Land Speed Record for starting the earliest Live Blog. It will turn into a live blog MUCH later when we get closer to sail date. I just wanted to announce to the world that the long anticipated 8 night Symphony itinerary for 21 - 29 August 2021 has finally shown up on the website !!!! I've been stalking this cruise for months. They announced the itinerary - Labadee, Aruba and Curacao - months ago, but never opened it for booking until today. I quickly snagged one of the Deck 8 Aqua Theater Suites because I could not afford (or didn't want) any of the other Star Class rooms that were left. Believe it or not, some of the SC rooms were already gone by the time I got there !! The aft-facing Star Loft was there but I don't really want that one. I have NO interest in that awful Ultimate Family thing and the Royal Loft is WAAAY out of my price range on this cruise (and so was the Ultimate Family thing, to be fair). So let the fun begin. I BELIEVE that this will be the first Oasis class ship to go to Aruba and Curacao. I could be wrong about that. For sure it will be the first time Symphony has been there. This will also be my first cruise on Symphony and I'm very excited. 3 ports in 8 days is my idea of heaven. Interest, anyone ?
  7. Hi everyone! We are very much looking forward to this sailing! 3rd rescheduled cruise and we absolutely LOVE symphony! Anyone else joining us?
  8. I tried to utilize my current FCC certificates in their entirety for my future sailings. I have a "chunky one" left over (about $2,500.00) and then I believe an additional one that will have about maybe $160.00 or so when I step off the sailing I assigned the majority of that FCC to. My time is pretty much maxed out as far as sailing goes with sailings in 2021. In order not to lose any of the credits do I have to go ahead and book two additional sailings by 12/21 for sailing by 04/22? Do you think maybe that date would be pushed out a bit? I offered my family to take the hit and do a sailing alone so as not to disturb what they have going on LOL but I received a resounding very loud NO! darn darn darn.... Thanks everyone, any thoughts would be appreciated maybe I missed something!
  9. This is my first blog, so I'm completely open to suggestions, tips, requests, and questions. The Sailing: Feb. 29, 2020 - Symphony of the Seas - Western Caribbean & Perfect Day - 7 nights Pre-Cruise Stay: Fly to Miami 1 day before. Stay in Kimpton EPIC hotel, which is newly renovated. We plan to take an Uber/Lyft to the Terminal and arrive there at 10:00 AM. https://www.epichotel.com/renovation/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Brand-Hotel Name_EXT&utm_term=kimpton epic miami&adpos={adpos}&creative=374937215719&device=c&matchtype=e&network=g&gclid=Cj0KCQiAiNnuBRD3ARIsAM8KmlszTemJmHwA0k6GpJvERc3ssH6xnCvyig28ZUmyS3lmrwpFrHMf4JoaAhgsEALw_wcB Cruise Purchases: Unlimited Dining Package - All-Access Ship Tour - VOOM (included in Sky-Class) Itinerary: Day 1 - Miami Day 2 - Cruising Day 3 - Roatan, Honduras - No excursions Day 4 - Costa Maya, Mexico - Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Day 5 - Cozumel, Mexico - A Journey Through Mexico's Past & Present (cancelled by RC) Day 6 - Cruising Day 7 - Cococay - Thrill Waterpark Cabana - Up, Up, And Away Helium Balloon Day 8 - Miami Cabin: Crown Loft Suite (1720) Sky Class Please let me know if I forgot anything, and feel free to ask questions. ?
  10. Hi all. It's Melissa here. I am going to try and do something that I have always wanted to do...A Live Blog of our Symphony of the Seas cruise. Let me first introduce myself. If you watch Below Deck on Bravo then you will understand that I am the primary! AHHHHHH. I love being in charge...lol. Joining me will be my wonderful husband, Axel (6) and Emily (3), my parents, my grandmother, and rounding out my motley crew is my brother. You can probably tell by the name of my blog that we are a family that loves Disney. But a close second would be Royal Caribbean. We will be lavishly living it up in the Villa Suite on November 30, 2019. I know what you are thinking...why start a blog so early? I guess I am just too dang excited not to get my thoughts down. My hope that you all enjoy yourself while reading this, and it may help future cruisers.
  11. ?: Royal Caribbean International “Whenever you are with me, life plays a beautiful symphony!” --- Avijeet Das For Hubby and I, there is no better way to spend quality couple time together than to go on a cruise. We started off that way on our honeymoon back in 2002 and we have tried to get away around this time every year to celebrate our anniversary. Symphony was on our radar almost two years ago. Being huge OA class fans and having sailed every Oasis class ship so far, sailing this one was a given. I booked this cruise knowing that this summer would be our first chance to sail it since she spent last summer in Europe. Even upon booking back in the Fall of 2017, prices were crazy for this ship. However, because of fixed vacation times, that is just something that we are used to. How did the title for this blog come about? Other than being fond of cruising and shopping, I also love music. Trained in classical music since I was a little girl, and with a ship named Symphony, I could not resist to draw parallels between this blog title and music. So why Symphony No. 17? Symphonies written by the same composer are often given a generic name that involves a number so that one can identify which piece it is by that composer. Playing on that thought, this is cruise #17 for us, and, as coincidence would have it, it is also our 17th anniversary on this sailing. Notice the theme? In addition, a Symphony is typically written in four movements. So there lies the logic behind the rest of this title. I expect that those will be our four experiences on Symphony this sailing. <Music geek off> Let’s begin…
  12. Is the hibachi part of the UDP? I thought it was an a la carte thing where you get 35$ and pay the extra. However the latest blog here says it isnt included.
  13. Hi everyone! Just wondering what the souvenir cups given with beverage packages are like on symphony of the seas. I've seen some cool looking ones with a chip and also some cheap plastic looking ones. Thanks!
  14. I've talked to two different people recently about height requirements on symphony in splashaway bay and have got 2 different answers. One side said their child couldnt use any slides because she was 41 inches and the requirement was 42. But someone else said the bigger yellow slide was the only one where they enforced a height requirment. Any other info from recent cruisers would be great!
  15. Will be sailing on SOS this August. Have a breathing machine for sleep apnea. Anyone have experience if SOS has distilled water available on board, which I need for the machine, or do I have to bring my own?
  16. I'm interested at what people spent on their deluxe drink package. Cruise planner says 49pp per day but with a note saying its 50 % off the second person. I feel like it was the same without the " deal" so I'm interested what others paid. Note. I'm on the symphony of the seas 7 day eastern carribean
  17. 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/[email protected]/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!
  18. Just wanted to share a video I recently produced during our Eastern Caribbean cruise onboard the Symphony! https://youtu.be/xoHpBLS2TvY
  19. The title to this post should give a hint of what to expect and why I figured this section is a better venue. Ultimately, it is my unlimited attempt at running a dedicated LIVEish about the UDP. The goal really being a running dialogue on how Unlimited the Unlimited Dining Package really is. I'm also open to asking and answering any questions. Just keep in mind this is a snippet on the grand scheme of things, one week on one ship. So keep in mind, past performance is no guarantee of future results. Haven't really developed a dinner plan yet, staying in a Junior Suite so I'm part of #teamCK traditionally the first and last night. Lunch when boarding will be a strong chance at Playmakers. Seeing it was explicitly stated in an email when the package name changed. With three sea days I'll have plenty of traditional lunch location chances. I'll also be invading the Live(ish) @Skid is running:
  20. Anyone sailing on the symohony of the seas on Nov 2nd?????
  21. Sorry to report folks but your eyes aren't playing tricks. Starting tomorrow I'll be coming to you somewhat live from on board the Symphony of the Seas. This has been a cruise with right around 620 days of waiting. Booked the night reports had started to leak out that Symphony booking had opened up. Little did I know at the time of booking it would be a very short wait to learn this sailing would be part of something much bigger, an official Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise. Itinerary is somewhat port heavy, but still has time to relax. Day 1 - Miami Day 2 - Sea Day Day 3 - Roatan Day 4 - Costa Maya Day 5 - Cozumel Day 6 - Sea Day Day 7 - Nassau Day 8 - Eviction in Miami For those that are new to reading my LIVEish. Check out my previous one to get an idea of what fine quality work I produce: Finally, I'll leave this image for fun...
  22. We have the ultimate dining package on the Symphony group cruise over thanksgiving. I know we have to make our reservations once we’re on board, but was wondering if we’d have better luck making the reservations with the Diamond lounge concierge or at one of the specialty restaurants. We made mock reservations in the cruise planner today and not many times available online.
  23. Hi- My husband and I will be on Symphony in April this year. On our day in Costa Maya, we wanted to go see the Mayan ruins (he has never seen them before, I have). However, I was unsure of which tour to book. I was looking at CHACCHOBEN RUINS & BEACH COMBO just because I think it would be nice to have both. Since I've already seen the ruins, I really don't like the idea of spending ALLLLL day just doing the ruins. Just unsure if this one is really worth it or if anyone has gone of this or other excursions with the ruins that they enjoyed. Thanks in advanced for your help everyone!
  24. Shamelessly promoting my favourite class of ship again. I came across this video tonight and really wanted to share it. @Matt has some great blog posts comparing the 4 ships but this video was so well put together and gives a great comprehensive visual. Whether you are a first timer or you've sailed all 4, it's still worth a look, especially if you are deciding between them as I find many people are. Also, there are some really good shots of the new features on Symphony, including food shots from Playmakers and Hooked. It's 20min long and there is an ad in the middle but have a look. Can't wait for my next Oasis class sailing!
  25. Day -2 Well after few months it is time again for funny spelling mistakes/bad grammar and near real time blog. If everything will be ok and nothing change our flight we will be on the Symphony Of The Seas at this Saturday from Barcelona. So why this ship ? – really should I explain why one wants to go on Symphony ? ? Actually, when the first itineraries were published we already booked a cruise for September time but six weeks ago we decided we need some extra vacation until September, we thought first to travel to Thailand for some land vacation but after checking the April/May weather over therel we dropped this idea. I started to look for April cruises and I preferred something around Europe to shorten the flight time , apparently the only available ship was the SyOTC , so well we decided to volunteer and as @Matt says : do it for the research. For sure I have not canceled the September cruise as I believe it’s going to be two different experiences. Europe April Weather can be still cold and rainy while September weather will be much warmer (in Italy too warm) so we are planning to focus doing internal ship activities and some shore excursions while in September focus on other stuff like the water slides and water activities. Another difference is that for this cruise we booked Ocean view room as I do not think we would use the balcony too much (too cold) while in September we do have a balcony. Here is the itinerary: (this is the third time we are doing the same one with Harmony OTS and Liberty) Day -1 – Barcelona (getting to the hotel and find a nice Tapas restaurant) Day 1 – Barcelona (We have BOGO deal) Day 2 – Palma de Mallorca, we will take the bus to the city see what is new. Day 3 - Marseilles , we took a ship tour around the city , last time we went on a tour to one of the small cities in Provence . Day 4 - Florence/Pisa (La Spezia) – We will stay around la Spezia which is a nice small city , Florence is quite far and we already have a tour booked for the next cruise to visit Florence. I guess we will do some of the shopping there (wine, Balsamic vinegar and yes maybe shoes) Day 5 - Rome (Civitavecchia) – We have a ship tour that will transfer us to Rome , we will have around 6 hour to tour Romr by ourselves , since we already been to Rome (land tours) I think we can find our way. I took the ship transfer to make sure we will be back on time, train and buses can be delayed from time to time. Day 6- Naples (Capri) – We did not plan what to do there yet , we might take the bicycle tour if the weather will be nice or just go off the ship and tour the city (by tour the city I acutely mean go to eat a pizza ? ) . From all the ports of call this one is the closet to the city center, walking distance . So tomorrow early morning we are planning to catch the train to the airport (15 minutes) and start our journey to Barcelona (the flight will be via Rome which is funny consider our itinerary, but it was very cheap comparing to the direct flight, so cheap that it would not make sense to use miles). Drinking – No drinking package this time, we will bring two bottles of wines and we are planning to buy drinks from time to time (it is a very heavy port itinerary and they want 49 $ per day for the package ). Special restaurants – We got the BOGO first two night restaurants , I hope one of them will be Hooked and will try Wonderland (even if we need to add some money) but almost everything will be nice, but must have Hooked at least one time to write a report for the blog. Please feel free to ask questions or ask me to take pictures of certain things on the ship, I will try to bring as much information as I can. My partner finally got her SLR camera back from where we left it last time (long story) so maybe we can have some better pictures (although still it is a basic SLRs). Tomorrow Barcelona Hey , you do not need to buy me ticket , I will be in the suitcase , no one will notice
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