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Symphony of the Seas 9/11/21 The balcony, vegan, mask wearing edition


Irieman
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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.  ✅

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Just about ready to start to the port from Southwest Florida. Spent so many years worried about flights from Maine, it just seems to easy to get up a drive to the port from home. We did change our our count down sign this morning!

As for plant based eating, having the menus of all the restaurants on the app is a great help.  Even the main dinning specific vegan menu for each day is included. 

Next stop, the ship!

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Hello from Symphony on day two!  Day one was simple amazing to be back sailing and the staff is on their A plus game! 

First, I have to admit it felt a bit strange. As mentioned we have been hyper careful during the pandemic and there were more crowds and lines then we have been around since we left Empress in January 2020.  It was organized but expect lines outside as people form different lines based on your time slot.  Yes, even at 12:30, the 2pm timeslots was a hundred or so deep. Still, there isn't another place I am aware of that every single adult you and that deserves  pasa by is vaccinated and recently tested. That does give a sense of peace in the boarding process.

Now, it was actually a bit emotional walking on the ship with the crew being overly enthusiastic. Not only for us but that these folks have their jobs back.

The Maine dining room has the third floor spread out as it is for all vaccinated and not so social distancing is followed. The fourth floor is for vaccinated only and is it set up as normal.  We decided to scope out a table for two that was by itself and asked for that one and we slid in right after early dining period. 

Dinner was a culinary vegan  treat and I will post that later!!

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12 minutes ago, Marlena said:

Did you notice earlier times opening up a few weeks before your sailing? Like did a 12 pop up when before it started at 1 pm?

Yes, first a random 12:30 popped up about two weeks out then a host of additional times about a week out. I also saw that if the half hour line was processed sooner than the next time slot then they let them start early. So the first in line at 1pm slot started the check in process at about 12:45.  

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Now on to the food...

This is the third sailing with a Vegan menu and the service and food has been amazing on Majesty but lacking so much on Empress that we went with completely plant based alternatives set up with the head chef. Part of the issue was such slow food delivery on the first two nights.

So, we didn't know what to expect but had high hopes.  As mentioned we were well taken care of with a table for two well spaced from other tables. The waiter greeted us and then also the head waiter who already knew our dietary preferences and assisted us the vegan choices on "this ship" was part of the line and served as fast as any food... It was faster and the head waiter assisted in getting the food to our table. I will screenshot the menu but I couldn't fit the appetizers. I had the falafel, then butternut soup, and the asparagus main course. All were 100% delicious! 

During the appetizers the head of the dining room and the head of room service stopped at our table to follow up on our concerns about the food and the table location.  They wanted to make sure we were happy and wanted to let us know they would use room service to deliver the vegan meals if we felt unsafe.  We said we felt just fine. 

In one single meal, this is why we will always be loyal to Royal!

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Today was a very full day by our standards.  It included:

Sunrise coffee and tea from the balcony - Our first thermal spa session ever -Breakfast in central park - A manicure for her and a run on the deck 5 track for me - Laying out on the sun deck with a trip to the Windjammer for take out back to the loungers. (Vegan alert that the WJ always has made to order veggie burgers so just ask) - A drink in the Solarium -Reading on our balcony -A formal night meal right off the vegan menu and a relaxing after dinner walk around the ship. 

What I love about cruising is that on any given ship there are many ways to total happiness. That's the amazing part of the experience. From inside rooms to Sky suites, from gamblers to art actions. To spa and workouts to belly flop contests. 

I am happy to share our slice of Symphony this week and let me know if you have any questions.  

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We give it B+ which is great since we were not sure about it at all.

For those who don't know, it's  access to a relaxation room with heated stone seats, a steam room, suana and fancy showers with rain forest features.  You can go any time and any day from 9 to 9. 

It's truly a sanctuary of calm. We spent about an hour there yesterday and there were only two other people.  Although RC says they limit the numbers, I am concerned that it may feel overbooked so I will let you know how other visits go.

The current B+ right now is more about how much we will use it for the price. If we go less than three times then it's probably a B. If we find the time and desire to go more often then it will be bumped up to an A.  

We have our second couples massage this evening with the hot stone treatment. The sail away massage was an A++ 😃

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Marlena said:

For check in was it a zoo of people waiting hours before their time? Or did they have separate lines for each time slot.

There was a separate line for each checking period. The issue that by 12:45 there were hundreds of people in each the 1:30 and 2pm lines.  I personally did not feel like it was a zoo but there were a lot of people just waiting.  RC was clear about not showing up early so I can't blame them.  The issue is that people want to be first in their time slot so it's worth it to them to "camp" out.  

Once moving forward, the process is slower with a full document check at the door, then the health check and screening and then security.  For us, after security, it was a final vaccine card check and we were on!!

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On 9/13/2021 at 7:36 AM, Irieman said:

We have our second couples massage this evening with the hot stone treatment. The sail away massage was an A++ 😃

 

 

How do you handle the sales pitch at the end of the massage? That just ruins it for us. It was easier on Disney Cruises to tell the Spa up front that we didn't want a sales pitch at the end. But RC is a little more determined. Did you find the therapists pushy at the end with the products, or do you have a way to turn them down quickly?

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5 hours ago, Luv2Travel said:

How do you handle the sales pitch at the end of the massage? That just ruins it for us. It was easier on Disney Cruises to tell the Spa up front that we didn't want a sales pitch at the end. But RC is a little more determined. Did you find the therapists pushy at the end with the products, or do you have a way to turn them down quickly?

If I may answer that, I think they got the message from all the people that complain about it and it looks like the did some major reduction with the sales pitch but maybe it's just my impression.

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