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LandstromCruise

First Live Blog! Symphony of the Seas - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Jan 5th-12th

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So I have decided to dip my toes into this live blogging thing.  I have enjoyed reading so many others and learned so much I wanted to try and give back and hopefully do the same.  I will admit up front I am no great writer or photographer, so please don't hold me to an @twangster level, but I will try my best.  

This will be my second cruise.  First was back in March 2018 on Harmony of the Seas.  This cruise was originally going to be a quick get away in November on Brilliance of the Seas for my wife and I for our anniversary.  Dates weren't really working out with our schedules and then in my constant talking about cruising my Aunt and Uncle expressed interest in going.  They have never been on a cruise so in trying to decide the best first cruise for them it brought us to Symphony of the Seas.  They will be bringing their 15yo daughter and her friend along with.  My wife and I are leaving the kids at home and getting away for some much needed time together.  

Itinerary:

We will be flying from Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale this evening.  My sister is going to pick us up from the airport and drive us down to Miami.  Staying at Hyatt Centric Brickell Miami.  

Day 1 - Miami

Day 2 - Sea Day

Day 3 - Sea Day

Day 4 - St Kitts  Snuba underwater adventure excursion booked

Day 5 - St Thomas  Tree Limin Extreme Zip Line excursion booked

Day 6 - Sea Day  All access ship tour booked

Day 7 - Nassau  Blue Lagoon Island Segway excursion booked

This cruise was booked about 30 days ago so as soon as we booked all shows, dinner, etc were booked.  We plan to see each of the shows while on board.  I think I am most looking forward to Hiro since on Harmony they cancelled all the water shows when we went.  They did perform one during the day while we were in port and while it was still impressive, seeing it during the day and missing all the lighting had it lacking some.  We have mytime dining and have booked reservations each night for 7:30pm.  No specialty dining booked at this time.  

I have a few hours of work to do this morning before heading to the airport, so I guess since I can't sleep I might as well get up and get started on that.  Hope you all enjoy the blog, and please feel free to ask any questions.  I will try and update at least once daily and source out any pictures or answers to questions you have.  

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Hope you have a great time! Looking forward to following along.

3 hours ago, LandstromCruise said:

I will admit up front I am no great writer or photographer, so please don't hold me to an @twangster level, but I will try my best.

I think the key to a great live blog is sharing as many photos as you can.  They say a photo is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to these live blogs, I think we are as interested in seeing what's happening as reading about it. So feel free to lean on photos to tell your story!

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I think your decision to do the All Access Tour on Symphony is genius.  What a GREAT ship to see all of the "inner workings".  It is pricey, but I think it's worth it.  We loved the one we did on Radiance a number of years ago. We actually got to go to the Captain's quarters but it was a special, one-time deal.  LOTS of pix from that, please !

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38 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I think your decision to do the All Access Tour on Symphony is genius.  What a GREAT ship to see all of the "inner workings".  It is pricey, but I think it's worth it.  We loved the one we did on Radiance a number of years ago. We actually got to go to the Captain's quarters but it was a special, one-time deal.  LOTS of pix from that, please !

Will do on the pictures. Yeah I am really excited to do this. I wanted to on Harmony and ended up not doing it, so not going to pass it up this time. 

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After a few hours of work this morning, picked up the wife and hit the road to head to Chicago. It was about a 2 hour drive, but no traffic this afternoon so pretty smooth. I wanted to arrive early to the airport since we had to check bags. I was expecting it to take awhile, but got bags checked and through security all in about 5 minutes!  Now to sit at the airport for 1.5 hours to wait for boarding time. Symphony, here I come! 

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16 minutes ago, LandstromCruise said:

After a few hours of work this morning, picked up the wife and hit the road to head to Chicago. It was about a 2 hour drive, but no traffic this afternoon so pretty smooth. I wanted to arrive early to the airport since we had to check bags. I was expecting it to take awhile, but got bags checked and through security all in about 5 minutes!  Now to sit at the airport for 1.5 hours to wait for boarding time. Symphony, here I come! 

Weather is good today!  Are you flying out of midway or O’Hare?  Jane

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Just now, mom2mybugs said:

Weather is good today!  Are you flying out of midway or O’Hare?  Jane

Midway. Flying Southwest to Ft Lauderdale and then either getting an Uber to Miami or my sister is going to pick us up and take us. Don’t get in until about 9pm so not doing anything exciting in Miami tonight. 

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Just now, LandstromCruise said:

Midway. Flying Southwest to Ft Lauderdale and then either getting an Uber to Miami or my sister is going to pick us up and take us. Don’t get in until about 9pm so not doing anything exciting in Miami tonight. 

I really like flying southwest but we are just northwest of ohare so the drive down is a pain.  Safe travels! Jane

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It’s cruise day!!  Didn’t get much sleep last night. Got to the hotel around 11:45 and was just too excited for today. This is my first time in Miami and wish I had been able to come in earlier in the day to enjoy it more. We stayed at the Hyatt Centric Brickell.  This hotel is gorgeous. I get a Hyatt employee discount so was able to book the room for $119 for the night. For the quality of the room it was a steal. Here are some photos. 

F8D18778-650D-4B6C-A3D8-D64B9AF317E9.thumb.jpeg.c948fed1253c57e3cd0c30044a984e56.jpeg3E472C89-1779-4A4D-ABC2-4D3241445239.thumb.jpeg.e910562d338d296e04b37aa899d7c0d1.jpeg059D8E1A-3E29-46F3-9919-542D9526668B.thumb.jpeg.e8f117ddef294f1614f287ffc1c5bb86.jpeg1BDEBC80-96CD-49F4-B5A8-EB9FAF7688FD.thumb.jpeg.713280fea6af4156c995202be6aa92cd.jpegB314ED3A-F013-43A8-8745-3D58354C5834.thumb.jpeg.21e42a79e3b2f6c5ab3c1f3c8f8dceb4.jpegF8931D08-DAA7-4034-A9E7-96A33A810E80.thumb.jpeg.1cab1e2404da6167b41b3a566b416b8b.jpegFE854805-CBDE-4512-8044-F539A72B1FB1.thumb.jpeg.6314e2bcca825b17e297abee52ac97d9.jpegEF3152A3-DB3B-4E87-AAC7-F069546E1931.thumb.jpeg.3836e861acbb1b6fae0921922a0c5809.jpeg5411B9B8-6FB6-4041-8933-2ED84C772A36.thumb.jpeg.6d484cdf14f456661d46f1d3d116124b.jpegADBA3D6C-DFCB-4D03-B76F-842F2C1BB414.thumb.jpeg.6fd7e54a983786e91f0601ff807368ea.jpeg2FFD0245-B676-4CC6-B384-FDCF882A0A49.thumb.jpeg.161edb75934fd0461d489bbd23b04174.jpegD78B7B40-34D5-4E1D-86B5-331B73B2F676.thumb.jpeg.7f2ce411f5514d6392224d3c3eeb722b.jpeg5AF98751-E031-428A-B230-7D1959870189.thumb.jpeg.e43f3c939c90f37c8084175dbd92353a.jpegA5162073-557F-4670-BCF9-87DD592E65FD.thumb.jpeg.a90db0eca0c9ffc21bf749c82c90b480.jpeg41BA0261-8B2A-475C-9574-A8CA15275FB4.thumb.jpeg.49f9bfa4b8503eafea394de5d1e98d67.jpegA6333BC1-BDE3-4215-B9C8-E11C8B697118.thumb.jpeg.c75c63a043e1fe5efdb2a5b868359088.jpegAnd here off in the distance you can see Symphony!  Sorry kind of blurry: 

7401F50F-7E95-4784-B8E3-10E9B5C9CE02.thumb.jpeg.16a4b8250604352b992afe014530bf96.jpegTime to get ready and go get some breakfast. My sister is coming down from Ft Lauderdale to meet us. 

5CDB43AD-3E6A-41BC-B7C6-38DCA8BC7836.png

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3 hours ago, LandstromCruise said:

We stayed at the Hyatt Centric Brickell.  This hotel is gorgeous. I get a Hyatt employee discount so was able to book the room for $119

Wow!  That is a great rate for that property!  I have looked several times at that one now and it's usually$300+/night.  Thanks for showing the view of the ship from that hotel.  I've always wondered if you could see the ship from there.  We stayed at the Intercontinental Miami in July and we've booked it again for this July because I loved the Bay view.  But Hyatt Miami Brickell has been on my radar too.  Good info!  Have a great cruise!!

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45 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Wow!  That is a great rate for that property!  I have looked several times at that one now and it's usually$300+/night.  Thanks for showing the view of the ship from that hotel.  I've always wondered if you could see the ship from there.  We stayed at the Intercontinental Miami in July and we've booked it again for this July because I loved the Bay view.  But Hyatt Miami Brickell has been on my radar too.  Good info!  Have a great cruise!!

@Lovetocruise2002 let me know when you are looking to book and I can get you the friends and family code. My family that came with used that and paid $149. 

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Day 1

Took an Uber from the hotel to the cruise port at 9:45. As many people have noted the new Terminal A is pretty efficient. We dropped our luggage to the porter, headed up the escalators and got checked in. Check in process took maybe 5 minutes. Any easy walk through security and we were seated waiting to board by 10:15. Boarding started a little later than when we were on Harmony last year. The seating area was getting pretty crowded and about 11:30 they called for Diamond Plus to board. We are gold so had to wait our turn, but it went pretty quickly. 

F862D029-3C0D-4C52-BC95-173C03CD64E1.thumb.jpeg.085cf2d6b568aa1b4a0d4341e2bed615.jpegF6F592DA-729C-4675-9B68-1EEDAA4A6D95.thumb.jpeg.db282c15454430670f7ff9c277fe324a.jpegFB38C2FD-7232-4DE3-9658-8FCD0D309545.thumb.jpeg.accca8b8470fa2d83fda115ddde7b7e9.jpeg

Once on board made a quick stop at Boleros to change out our Wow Bands and our first time travel partners purchased some for them. 

We then headed up to the sports deck, took a quick look around and headed to the windjammer around noon. Windjammer was pretty busy, but we were able to get seats without any issues. Sorry I totally forgot to get pictures here, but will do so later. 

After lunch we decided to just walk around and tour the ship a little. 

E50290D7-F7DA-4365-8911-E5FCE1A55C3F.thumb.jpeg.f921a285a53db0123eb2b45e1ad97d5b.jpegED056929-CD22-4498-806A-C078EE098673.thumb.jpeg.2549c20a7477d06202e7564329c9ae7e.jpeg1667F73E-2A5C-4F7E-9902-7E768B3E0024.thumb.jpeg.215db639123b98d5151c17dbd4709138.jpegI will upload more photos later. Have to get them from my wife’s phone. She’s better at remembering to take pictures than I am. 

Rooms we ready right at 1pm. My family has an Oceanview Balcony on deck 12 Starboard side. Their luggage was at the room when they arrived. My wife an I booked an interior guarnateee. We are on the 9th floor with a Central Park view. Our luggage didn’t show up until just before Muster at 3:30. 

After muster it was up to the sail away party. Had a couple Carnival ships pass us as they left before us, and then shortly after 4:30 it was our turn. 

5DB8A9C0-D4CD-466E-AC28-F5B51DE906E7.thumb.jpeg.12bdbd9dde60059d22042fc57d577ae2.jpegF6F00EC9-5351-4A5F-8B98-4A58D55204C3.thumb.jpeg.706332d5222eb0c5e4cd729b60869154.jpeg28B86220-DBE1-4CCD-97FD-94FD0C44B87D.thumb.jpeg.4d2799519db7905d7ad3963a0fd1b593.jpegE11D216A-B483-4532-B3BF-890DD984C5B6.thumb.jpeg.6d6607434c023040a3779ba55e36ba9c.jpeg4571DAE0-1A3A-4DE1-B44B-61B22B338359.thumb.jpeg.f270a82071033ef0fa4343041fb0da91.jpegAfter sail away my cousin and her friend wanted to try out the flowrider. It was fun watching them wipe out several times, but they seemed to have a good time. 

9E7A92F9-E8CF-4959-ADAD-22329EBBEAEC.thumb.jpeg.f39b53ddf1f942effd9f6d5ebdc5b5fe.jpegNext up was get ready for dinner. We had 7:30 reservations in the MDR with MTD. Here was tonight’s menu:

0C56A5F8-0E68-494B-A5FB-54574CD87BE0.thumb.jpeg.f582b2803e4eb8a92b60c330152b44e5.jpegI went with the French onion soup for appetizer. Sorry it looked so amazing when I got it that I just dug right in and forgot the picture. Don’t worry, I will be getting it again and remember to take one. Main course I went with the Prime Rib. Sorry I’m not super adventurous with food so it might be a lot of the same. Again I forgot the picture. I promise I will get better at taking them as this blog goes along. And for dessert it was the cheesecake. I don’t know why but I remember to take a picture of it however it isn’t uploading so I will add it later. Everything tasted amazing, but service was Really slow  We had several tables around us that got their later than us and were done way before us.  We weren’t in any hurry so it wasn’t a big deal, it was just much slower than we experienced on Harmony last year  

After dinner we did late night comedy.  We felt both comedians were pretty funny.  After that we strolled up on the top deck just to take everything in.  Had several other ships at sea pretty close to us. The internet must be struggling now though as I can’t get any other picture to load.  We then watched the balloon drop at midnight, made a quick stop in Schooner bar for a few songs and then it was time to crash.  Time now to get ready for breakfast and see what today brings.  Plan to try and catch the Bears game this afternoon, but otherwise just see what comes up.  I will upload more photos later, and if there is anything you want to see let me know.  

 

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Had a few issues this morning trying to post the post above. I thought I lost it and was going to put one together real quick here before bed, but then it showed up and let me post. Will post some more photos and details of day 2 tomorrow, but was a fun day at sea. Did some rock climbing, relaxed on sun deck, watched sexiest man alive, watched the Bears blow their playoffs, got all dressed up for formal night, and watched hairspray. My All Access Ship Tour was moved to tomorrow morning so have to get up early for that. More on day 2 tomorrow. Good night. 

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So, lesson learned. If cruising with first time cruisers and also wanting to get a little relaxation in for yourself, don’t try a live blog. Instead this will end up as a liveish blog. Sorry for not keeping up, but just had so much going on. Have tons of photos and will be going through over the next few days and putting a day by day blog together. 

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14 minutes ago, LandstromCruise said:

So, lesson learned. If cruising with first time cruisers and also wanting to get a little relaxation in for yourself, don’t try a live blog.

Yup! Been there, done that. 😅

Dont sweat it. We’ll all be here when you find the time. Just focus on enjoying the trip and having a great time with everyone. 

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