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Lovetocruise2002

“Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19

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📸: 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…

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Who’s Going?

Finally, no kids!  It’s just Hubby and I on this sailing.

Flight

Our plan is to fly from DTW to FLL the day before.  Flights to FLL were almost $200 lower per person compared to flying to MIA.  Even with the Uber/Lyft cost factored in, we still save by heading to FLL.

Pre-Cruise Stay

Those who know me can probably take a guess.  If I’m staying in Miami…

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I love the Intercontinental Miami!  There’s no other choice. 

They have one of the best club lounges around.  That is one of the things I love most about this hotel other than the location.  Complimentary Happy Hour drinks, appetizers, and breakfast are included.  Combine that with spectacular bay views, Bayfront park next door, and Bayside Marketplace within walking distance, this property is one of our favourites.  The only thing missing is our beloved La Bamba.

Itinerary

This 7 night sailing takes us to St. Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee.  The plan for this cruise is 100% pure relaxation and the ship is our destination.  We plan to visit “That Yoda Guy” in St. Maarten and we may not venture off the ship much aside from that.  Without our kids, we don’t need to plan as much.  With this being our first time on Symphony, we just want the opportunity to explore the ship itself.

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Cabin

There is a story here…

As noted earlier, this sailing was expensive!  Newest ship, summer sailing, just bad news all around for the bank account.  We initially booked a Junior Suite with the plan to upgrade to a GS if the prices dropped below “ridiculous” level.  Upon booking, the cost of the JS was more than we paid for a GS on Harmony in 2017. 

Before continuing, let me put in the disclaimer here that this cruise was booked in November 2017, before experiencing Star Class.

After grabbing this booking, I noticed over time that the opportunities for people staying in a JS to get into Coastal Kitchen consistently was not promising, especially on Oasis class ships.  Being #TeamCK, this was not sitting well with me at all.  However, prices over time jumped from ridiculous to beyond ridiculous so there was no way I was going to get into Sky Class.  To complicate things further, we booked the Anthem GC for the same month and that sailing was not much cheaper.

Fast forward to March 2019, while sailing Harmony (in Star Class), our Genie arranged for a Next Cruise rep to meet with us in our suite.  With the upgrade for Symphony constantly on my mind, I asked her to price out a GS for us…just for fun.  Due to a slight price drop, $300 OBC from Next Cruise, some TA deals, some wheeling and dealing on my part with Hubby during a dinner at Chops, and a Hubby who spoils me constantly, we said YOLO once again and cancelled our original JS booking and re-booked with the GS.  We had to cancel the original to get the $300 OBC but it was fine because the original was a refundable deposit. 

After returning home and feeling the star class blues, we began reflecting on our sailing in a loft suite.  There were several conclusions that we drew.  One was that it was such a unique experience, two was that we fell in love with being in that location.  Translation…I was hooked!  Where do we go from there? 

I gently hinted to Hubby that it is cruise #17 for us, we are celebrating our 17th anniversary, why not just top off the celebration and go back to Deck 17?!!!  That was the only logical conclusion for me! 

The answer from Hubby was, “How much?”  Followed by, “No way, I just let you book us into Sky Class and we just paid final payment for two cruises in July.” 

True to my Stubborn Canadian Scorpio nature, I monitored the price constantly.  About 60 days prior to sailing, the L1 dropped in price significantly.  The difference to upgrade was about $800.  Forget RoyalUp!  At $400pp, Hubby agreed, and the theme of this cruise is No. 17 all the way!

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Pre-Cruise thoughts

-          Really looking forward to sailing Symphony, not just because it’s OA class but because all the entertainment will be new for us.

-          This is our first time in an L1 (Ocean facing Crown Loft Suite).  It will be interesting to compare the width of the cabin to the Star Loft.  The configuration should be essentially the same.

-          Because of major food fatigue from our Star Class sailing, we decided to cancel our UDP this cruise so it will be Coastal Kitchen for most meals.  Hubby is determined to do WJ recon…

-          Once again, in the spirit of a live blog, please do not hesitate to ask any questions.  I will do my best to find out whatever I can for you.

-          When responding to a post with a series of pictures, please do not include the pictures in your reply.  It just makes for easier scrolling.

-          Lastly, I will do my best to bring the cruise to you LIVE through Periscope – you can follow me @LoveToCruise2002.

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Suite Concierge email...came in a whole 9 days out.  That is record breaking early for Sky Class (from our past experience anyway).  Typically this email has come in around 4-5 days out.

Random observation from this email is that it now states that Beachfront and Over the Water cabanas are for Star Class only.  Meaning Sky can only reserve Standard cabanas on Barefoot Beach unless something opens up once on board.  I never noticed this wording before on other sailings.  Not sure how long this has been happening.

Concierge Email SY.pdf

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2 minutes ago, Guy Gadwa said:

Following.  Happy Anniversary!!! 🥂

Thank you!

2 minutes ago, CruisinUpinLife said:

Congratulations and way to be persistent and determined! 

Growing up as the oldest child in the family as trained me well 😄

Thanks for following along!

1 minute ago, Boston Babe said:

Looking forward to following hopefully from Grandeur!  Our 25th is today!!  Happy Anniversary and have a fabulous time!!

Happy Anniversary to you and Jack!!  Funny how all teachers have anniversaries around now.  You, @mom2mybugs, us, wonder if @Sweety does as well?

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Interesting letter.  I have never received a Concierge letter that long !!

I noticed that 3 separate times the letter indicates that certain amenities are for suite guests only, NEVER mentioning Pinnacles at all.  I find that very misleading.  I am not one of those [non-suite paying Pinnacle] haters from over at CC but I do find it interesting that the Concierge does not include the fact that Pinnacles ARE absolutely welcome in the Suite Lounge, Coastal Kitchen, Barefoot Beach and the reserved seating areas.
 

I am also very surprised to read that the Over the water cabanas are for SC only.  Never EVER have I heard that before.  Would they actually allow those cabanas to go empty if no SC guests booked them ?  Of course not.  SC have always gotten first option on ALL cabanas but to say that they are exclusive to SC is also very misleading.

Thanks for sharing that letter !

Happy Anniversary and have a WONDERFUL cruise !!!

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10 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

Following along. Have a great time. Hopefully by the time Odyssey comes along or Oasis 5, Symphony will come back to reasonable pricing. I’ve seen times when it’s 30 percent more than Harmony, and it can’t be thirty percent better than Harmony. 

It's really quite crazy.  Even for next summer, SY is still sky high!  And I was looking at end of August/early September prices!

3 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Interesting letter.  I have never received a Concierge letter that long !!

I noticed that 3 separate times the letter indicates that certain amenities are for suite guests only, NEVER mentioning Pinnacles at all.  I find that very misleading.  I am not one of those [non-suite paying Pinnacle] haters from over at CC but I do find it interesting that the Concierge does not include the fact that Pinnacles ARE absolutely welcome in the Suite Lounge, Coastal Kitchen, Barefoot Beach and the reserved seating areas.
 

I am also very surprised to read that the Over the water cabanas are for SC only.  Never EVER have I heard that before.  Would they actually allow those cabanas to go empty if no SC guests booked them ?  Of course not.  SC have always gotten first option on ALL cabanas but to say that they are exclusive to SC is also very misleading.

Thanks for sharing that letter !

Happy Anniversary and have a WONDERFUL cruise !!!

Thanks Raye! 

And yes, I found the email interesting too.  I doubt they would let them go empty.  I just think they hold them all until Star guests get it sorted out.  So as a Sky class guest, you might be able to get one, but it would be at the last minute.

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14 minutes ago, WannaCruise said:

Definitely following along!  Happy 17th anniversary all around.  Excited for you that you are going on Symphony (and not a bad upgrade either!).  You are going to love her!  Beautiful ship, amazing entertainment, great food options, and all the rest from other Oasis class.

I suspect she will become my new favourite ship 😉

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35 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

Definitely following!

Have an awesome time! 😎

Need our fix until we sail on her for the first time APR 2021!

Feel free to ask if you want me to "research" or check on anything for you.  Unless it involves going into the WJ or MDR 😜

28 minutes ago, Chris Reardon said:

I'll be following, as we are sailing on her on November! Enjoy!!

President's cruise?  That will be a great sailing!

26 minutes ago, vancouverdude said:

Have a great trip and happy Anniversary! Looking forward to following along! 

Thanks!

14 minutes ago, DDaley said:

Can't wait to follow along. You guys are suite-loving-husband-and-wife goals! Happy Anniversary! 

Well...to be fair...that might just be me lol. 

Hubby did just tell @Matt two weeks ago that he can stay and eat anywhere. 

But after 17 years, you know, Happy wife=happy life 😄  All jokes aside, we are richly blessed.  I never take it for granted.

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1 hour ago, emsff02 said:

I will be eagerly following along here! 

Happy Anniversary, and have a great trip!! 

Thank you!

53 minutes ago, tiny260 said:

Happy anniversary, will be following along in my deep depression waiting for October to get here (Harmony GS). 

You sound like my kids.  They claim they are in "post cruise depression".  Where on Earth would they learn a phrase like that from?? 😆

28 minutes ago, Joe01 said:

You seem to always cruise in suites - would you ever take an inside cabin? 😂 

Ha! If it was free!

Truth is this...there was a time where we could only dream of suites.  It was not doable whatsoever.  That's why I never take it for granted.  For the time being, suites make sense for us.  We cannot cruise multiple times a year like some can, so the logic of, "I can take that extra money and put in into another cruise" doesn't apply as much.  My job is not flexible with time off.  Also, we (even Hubby) know exactly what we like in cruising.  We are the minority in that we love spending time in our cabin and our balcony.  So the extra space makes sense for us.  Lastly, call it getting old or whatever, but I enjoy the suite perks that keep me away from the crowds.  So for us, it's not totally a waste of money because we value that when cruising.

Would I take an inside cabin?  In the end, any cruise is better than no cruise right?

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13 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Truth is this...there was a time where we could only dream of suites.  It was not doable whatsoever.  That's why I never take it for granted.  For the time being, suites make sense for us.  We cannot cruise multiple times a year like some can, so the logic of, "I can that extra money and put in into another cruise" doesn't apply as much.  My job is not flexible with time off.  Also, we (even Hubby) know exactly what we like in cruising.  We are the minority in that we love spending time in our cabin and our balcony.  So the extra space makes sense for us.  Lastly, call it getting old or whatever, but I enjoy the suite perks that keep me away from the crowds.  So for us, it's not totally a waste of money because we value that when cruising.

Would I take an inside cabin?  In the end, any cruise is better than no cruise right?

This is also us, we migrated from Oceanview to now staying in Suites with the occasional Star class, so it makes sense for us, plus we are not close to a cruise port so we have to figure in airfare.

If I lived close enough to a major cruise port and the wife had the flexibility to cruise whenever my cruise room philosophy might change. 

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2 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Happy Anniversary to you and Jack!!  Funny how all teachers have anniversaries around now.  You, @mom2mybugs, us, wonder if @Sweety does as well?

Another teacher with a summer anniversary here 🙋‍♀️

Happy anniversary to you both. Looking forward to following along. 

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