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4 Weeks on Symphony Review- Passenger Count, Royal Up, Crew, Safety Precautions


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We just got off 4 weeks on Symphony, weeks 2~5 of Symphony's restart (More on that later).

First, I wanted to talk about passenger count and the odds of a Royal Up bid.

Our cruise passenger count would drop daily as better counts were out.

Aug 21st the first count was around 1,500 and eventually whittled down to 1,127. Rumor was 125 were turned away for insufficient or improper documentation as adjustments were made.

Aug 29th we heard about 1,700 and eventually Coco Cay was told to prepare for only 1,414.

Sept 4th, the holiday week, they still had 2,100 reservations on the books. Ended up with a number around 1,725 +/-50

Sept 11th we had the largest number of B2B at 93. It was moved from Boleros to the Schooner Bar. Last number I heard, but seemed high compared to Sept 4th, was 1,750 +/- 100.

Things are very fluid right now. It is hard to plan for an exact number, as some people are waiting till the last minute to cancel, likely in hopes of better protocols. 
But to cruise with those numbers is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Royal Up was crazy. People would Royal Up from Interior to Balcony, Balcony to Grand Suite, Grand Suite to Royal Loft (Aug 29th).
People we interacted with won Royal Up to the Ultimate Family Suite (About 8 passengers with only paying the Bid for the first 2 passengers), Deck 8 Aqua 2-Bd with the largest balcony (1 occupant), Crown Lofts were going like penny candy in a candy store, Owner's Suite were available, and naturally those Royal Ups created a backfill for Grand Suite, Junior Suite, Balcony and Ocean View. Right now, if you are cruising on the Symphony, have an interior stateroom, and give a reasonable Royal Up bid there is a lot of backfill above you sitting empty.
We received Royal Up all 3 weeks we bid up from Grand Suite (Aug 29th we did not bid, rather stayed with Star Class Aqua 2-Bd).

Below is meant as nothing more than reading the past x numbers on the roulette wheel sign to increase your odds of winning.

Therefore, I am not giving the exact $$ number, which likely would not work right now anyway, but my Aug 21st and Sept 4th bids were notably less than $500. (Remember, the bid $$ is per person for up to the first 2 passengers).

Aug 21 Grand Suite to Crown Loft.

Aug 29th - We did not bid up from Star Class Aqua 2-Bd, but I know the winning Grand Suite to Royal Loft Royal Up bid was notably less than $3,000 per/person.

Sep 4th Grand Suite to Owner's Suite Deck 12 240 (Which has a mildly annoying post in the several yards into the middle of the entrance to the room).

Sep 11th Grand Suite to Star Class Aqua 2-Bd Deck 10 734 for notably less than $1,700 per/person.

Again, the passenger counts were very low, and those numbers may not be more than a guideline right now, especially since they are now more public.
You may get it for a lesser bid, or you may bid a little more and still not get it.

The objective is to encourage you to sign up for Royal Up if you have not done so, and to BID FOLKS!

Closing thoughts:

Professional Photographer, Ajuraj (pronounced Achoo, like a sneeze is acceptable) and Aakash are fantastic! Though his studio shots are excellent, Ajuraj is willing to break away from the normal studio style photos. I saw him shoot one couple at CBC getting low for a continuation of the pool into the ocean at the infinity pool. It is worth a sitting. Some examples below.

Sunil is a great Royal Genie. At various times we had interaction with the entire Royal Genie staff. Even the newest Genie was great and willing to serve from my interaction with him and one passenger where that is who was his Royal Genie.

Hairspray, Mark Preston, and Jeff Tracta were great entertainment. When comedian Landry said he would bring on the headliner for the Family Comedy Show, the lady behind us appropriately said, "Headliner, I thought he was the headliner," because he was that good.

The entire staff is so eager to serve. We made many friends over 4 weeks. Priya in Guest Services, Flavia in Next Cruise, if we could have packed waitress May at Hooked Restaurant in our luggage we would have, Victor, Praveen and many of the photo staff for special night and port pictures produced great shots in our photo package, Made and Alina on the Rising Tide Bar, Sachin and Mark in Chops, Radu and Boodhoo in Jamie's, Justin and Decan have the Coastal Kitchen and seating running like a well oiled machine, same with the Johnny Rockets crew who occasionally come out and put on a performance on Boardwalk, Rebeka at Sugar Beach is sweeter than the sugar behind the door, even Maria in housekeeping whose task was to keep the fwd Promenade stairs by the big lollipop cleaned down to the entertainment on Deck 4 was super friendly and excited to see passengers she recognized.

If possible, I would list so many great crew members, but let me list those who were not great--ready--NOBODY!

On a sad note, the Mad Hatter of so many years retired (24 years) at the end of the Aug 21st cruise. There is a replacement, but it will take some time to get the character down, according to those that went starting Aug 29th.

Safety precautions were great. In San Juan, Channel 13 interviewed myself and several passengers about safety concerns.
Safety Concerns? I told them I was more concerned during my air transportation than on the ship, and my daughter is a flight attendant.

Here are some examples:
The day before the cruise, even though I answered several emails, I received a call from Royal to verify I was vax'ed and would be providing proof.
Don't have the negative test paperwork, you don't get on. Ever see that at a hotel? At the airport?
Vax'ed have a colored wristband, Unvax'ed do not, so anyone can instantly tell if the person next to you has been vax'ed or not. Ever see that at the grocery store? Shopping Mall? (Let's hope that never comes to land. No Scarlet Letters or wristbands, but because of the media, I can understand it on the ship).
Even though Vax'ed and UnVax'ed are separated by Decks in the MDR, there is still table spacing distancing. Maybe some land restaurants have that, but do they include the proper docs to verify?
At the Casino, when anyone gets up, they wipe the area down fast.
The crew is tested once or twice a week, perhaps depending on the amount of interaction with passengers. We had Zero Positives during our cruises.
6 or your group in an elevator.
Okay, a comment here about elevator limits, folks. Use common sense. If 6 unvax'ed strangers can get in the larger capacity elevators, is it really unsafe if a group of 6 and 2 vax'ed get in the elevator? Many times, as long as no one objected, 6 or more of us invited vax'ed (we would see their wristbands) in the elevator if they wished.
In 4 weeks, I only had one group of six friends, panicky adamant about the sign saying only 6. I mean over the top panicky. If a 7th got on, especially not one of their 6 group, they would all surely die before the end of the cruise. That was okay. I understand how the media has overplayed the safety concerns aboard ships. In that scenario I wasn't concerned about CoVid-19 variants. I was concerned about forgetting all my years successfully writing procedures and protocols to meet general Federal Aviation Build Guidelines.

Anyway, on and on the precautions are in play.

In 4 weeks B2B you see so much that many shorter time passenger miss. In this case, I was impressed.






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35 minutes ago, GatorCruiser said:

is this the mad hatter you are referring to that retired ? He was great if so EC5885FE-F77B-462E-8FDA-C51B692B41DD.thumb.jpeg.81687daf8c3d97fcd428c05837c95fe9.jpeg

Inshan Mohammed, absolutely. The mannerisms, the conversation, he was a fantastic as the Mad Hatter.
I even tried pouting on the steps of Wonderland in an attempt to get him to stay.



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1 hour ago, Matt said:

4 cruises in a row? I'm impressed.

GIF by The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper

@Matt, thank you.

Because we were in a row on the restart cruises weeks 2, 3, 4, & 5 our ability to get to know the crew was awesome.
Our Genie said more than 80% of the crew recognized us and most of the rest knew about us.

We would be walking places and hear a new voice call out, "Mr Jack, Mrs Sue," or "Austin Powers" or "Jack and Rose."
They knew my wife's name is Sue, but they fondly called her Rose.
When we heard our names and turn around, there was always a new face smiling, and/or waving, dancing, or a combination.

By the middle of week 3 I understood the term "Sea Legs."
The crew laughed when I asked them if it was normal to discover you had muscles in new places, and they ache.
Several told me they brought their ointments and such when they were called back.

However, your ship, after ship, after ship with reviews, blog reports, and videos in a short time after the restart is more impressive.
I was watching and reading them, and waiting for new ones multiple times a day before the cruise.
A couple of times during the cruise I dropped in on for a short watch of your live reports while you were cruising.
First thing I did when I got home was to go over your reviews.

Thank you so much for this site, your work, and 'Everyone' on this Blog that helped me be well-prepared for the B4B cruise.
Yes, @WAAAYTOOO, @twangster, @AshleyDillo, @cruisellama, @LovetoCruise87, and so many others it would make this a long post.
All of you prepared the wife and I very well for the B4B.

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12 hours ago, Chadster said:

Thank you so much for your review; I'm not going to be on Symphony, but I'm considering 28 days aboard Anthem, and it's good to get a peek at what things are like over that time! Getting to know the crew sounds wonderful, too. 

Getting to know the crew is fascinating. If the 28-days on Anthem includes B2Bs, be sure to mention to the crew the first week you will be on for 4 weeks. That makes you stand out a little extra to them, and they remember to welcome you back each time. It seemed to speed up the process.


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Thank you for your Symphony review.   Very helpful as we are sailing on Symphony this Saturday!   Hopefully capacity will still be less than 50%.

We did a minimum Royal Up bid from a JS to a Star class suite but not optimistic we'll get it.  JS will be fine.   Our first time on an Oasis class ship and excited beyond description and happy to be cruising again. 


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3 hours ago, Va4fam said:

Thank you for your Symphony review.   Very helpful as we are sailing on Symphony this Saturday!   Hopefully capacity will still be less than 50%.

We did a minimum Royal Up bid from a JS to a Star class suite but not optimistic we'll get it.  JS will be fine.   Our first time on an Oasis class ship and excited beyond description and happy to be cruising again. 


Symphony was totally sick, you’ll love it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just got back from our Symphony cruise........AMAZING!!!

Never got an official capacity number but several crew told us that there were between 2000-2200 passengers for our cruise.  Except for terminal check in, never felt crowded all week.   

Our cabin attendant told us that he had 9 rooms last week, 12 during our cruise, and scheduled for 15 cabins this week.


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