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Last minute Symphony is music to my ears


Karahvacatimes
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The “Symphony squad” kept asking me to join them on this sailing as we had last years canceled on us.  I kept saying I couldn’t as my oldest sons favorite holiday is Halloween.  There is no way I could leave the kiddos over Halloween!

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We had also just gotten off Oasis on Oct 17th which was an epic family trip!!

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We sailed on a staff assisted cruise with Autism on the Seas as all three of our children are on the autism spectrum.   It was beyond fantastic in so many ways! 

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A wonderful opportunity came my way after that cruise.  My husband was onboard with the opportunity, and there I was, 9 days out, booking Symphony!   

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The fun part was being able to tell the Symphony Squad I would in fact be sailing with them!  I asked a good friend (who also sailed with us on Oasis) to join me as well.  

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So this live blog will be about my second sailing on Symphony, reuniting with cruise friends, and Autism on the Seas as this is another staff assisted cruise for them.  I will be documenting their week onboard.  Here on the live blog there will be snippets of the program but feel free to contact me on here if you have any questions.  I’m more than happy to help! 

https://autismontheseas.com/

And if you don’t know who is part of the Symphony squad, you’ll find out soon enough…. 

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It's EMBARKATION day!!

Our check in time wasn't until 2:30 (downside of booking 9 days before you set sail).  We were able to take our time which if you know me, is not easy!  

Its always exciting to wake up and see your ship welcoming you to CRUISE DAY!!

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We stayed at the Hilton Miami Downtown.  It is about a 15min uber to the port with very nice views of both downtown and Dodge Island where the cruise terminals are.

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The Symphony Squad headed out a couple hours before us as their check in time was noon.  (It pays to be Pinnacle, or with one LOL) 

My friend Kathy has never been to Miami so I took her down to Bayside Marketplace (about a 5 minute uber ride).  Its an open mall with shops and restaurants along the waterfront.  We ended up at the Bacon Bitch for some breakfast.  If you are looking for some Miami Vibes, head on over!  I wouldn't recommend for children as its loud and vulgarities are thrown around quite often during your visit.  
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Finally we were off to the terminal.  We arrived around 2;15.  Royal was directing you to lines based on your check in time.  It was 25min from the time we stepped into our line to being onboard.  This process includes checking vaccination cards and negative test results at the entrance to the terminal, checking in with your set sail pass, ID, and vaccination card, and finally going through security.  Tip--if you are bringing water onboard, the porters are not accepting it with a luggage tag as checked luggage and you will need to carry it onboard with you.  

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Symphony is such a beautiful ship, currently the largest cruise ship on the high sea and we will be showing some areas and artwork that are specific to her as she is one of four Oasis Class ships (about to be one in five when Wonder of the Seas is complete and sailing in March, 2022). 

Muster Drill is almost all electronic at this point where you watch the videos on your Royal app and then just check in to your station onboard.  They show you how to use your lifejacket at that point but in reality, they just want you to know where to go in case of an emergency.

We do have Ultimate dining on this sailing and our first dinner was with the Symphony Squad at Izumi Hibachi. 

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It was one of our friends anniversary as well.  Such a great time with old and new cruise friends? 

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Food was amazing and I realized part way through the meal that we had the same chef on my last sailing on Symphony back in 2019.  It is so fun to see crew you have sailed with in the past!

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Sailaway was after dinner.  I personally love a night sailaway!  We stood on the port side bridge wing to enjoy the beauty of Miami at night. 
 

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We wrapped up our night at the showing of Hairspray!  I was quite impressed with the production and actors of this play!

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Tomorrow is a sea day on our way to St Marteen!  

 

 

Edited by Karahvacatimes
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It was a pretty packed, beautiful day at sea.  It’s also Halloween!

A good morning starts with a latte and what better place to pick one up but the Diamond lounge 

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This morning I was able to meet with the Autism of the Seas staff at breakfast.  They have reserved seating in the Windjammer buffet.  The staff is there to assist during certain times for breakfast and lunch.  If families choose to dine at a different time, this space is always reserved for them throughout the day.
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On most mornings of the cruise they have staff assisted pool time which usually lasts about an hour and a half.  The staff is there to be with your child or adult with special needs in the pool, hot tub, and the splash pad area on the ship.  Parents can join in on the fun or relax in a lounger with a morning mimosa during this time.  They only ask that an adult from your party is somewhere on the pool deck in case of an emergency.  The kids and staff enjoy this time so much and you can see it in their interactions!

 

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Parents enjoying time with their neurotypical child while staff enjoys time with his brother.

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We met up with some of the Symphony squad for a little Johnny Rockets for lunch.  The milkshakes are pretty good and we took the apple pie to go!

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I enjoyed my first diamond drink of the day around 1:00....Lava flow with Kraken Rum.  You aren't a true INSIDER if you don't have at least one (a day) on your cruise 😂

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I haven't found out what the final numbers are on our sailing yet but our friend Paul did find out the Crown and Anchor passangers onboard.  

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It certainly is not dead around the pool deck or the Promenade and does seem a bit busier that Oasis was a couple weeks ago.  We are back to waiting for elevators and in lines for certain things.  No complaints here, just observations.  There are capacity limits in the elevators and in the pools and hot tubs but those numbers are a little higher than what we experienced on Oasis.  

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Here are your first few photos of some art around this beautiful ship!  My daughter will LOVE the lollipop when we take her onboard!

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Not only was tonight formal night but also Halloween and we saw some pretty great costumes on kids and adults alike.  They had a lot of activities throughout the day that were Halloween themed.  We saw families doing a scavenger hunt throughout the ship where they received bags of candy at each stop.  F334BEF6-73C8-4571-A04B-BB334F88E686.thumb.jpeg.016a8ac73adecfdb7c610b3d2748e3b5.jpeg
 

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We ate at my personal favorite restaurant onboard any Oasis Class ship and that is 150 Central Park.  The beef tenderloin and fried cheesecake are absolutely fantastic. It was phenomenal as always and was nice to enjoy with friends.

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Our night activities included enjoying a drink at the Trellis bar in Central Park, watching the Houston Astros win to head to game 6 back in Houston (GO ASTROS!!!), and meeting back up with the Wilsons at the Schooner bar for some late night piano bar fun and some Lemon Drops on the rocks.

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And if anyone was wondering….my kids had a great Halloween trick or treating with Dusty and our babysitter back home ❤️❤️
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Tomorrow we have a pretty full day planned with Autism on the Seas for our second sea day!

 

 

 

 

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Good morning from our second day at sea.  This sailing has three sea days which I personally love on a seven night sailing.  I love taking a little time to go to the aft (back) of the ship to see and listen to the wake as we cruise along.  
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I was able to do just that as I headed up to meet up with Christine, the group leader, and the rest of the group sailing with Autism on the Seas.  Another fantastic service they provide onboard is dedicated time at various activities onboard.  This means that at a certain time on a certain day, Royal sets aside time at a venue where just the Autism on the Seas group is at that venue or activity.  A lot of people with autism have a challenging time waiting in long lines or in crowds especially with a lot of external stimuli in the environment.  This also gives the child or adult with special needs that extra time to process any directions and sometimes overcome their own fears.  

We started on the rock wall this morning.  AOTS staff is there to assist the individuals to gear up and then the Royal sports crew assists them with the activity itself.  I have always been impressed with the sports crews here on Royal.  They are not only patient and helpful but they are great cheerleaders as well!  The family did great and it is always fun to see and be apart of.

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We headed over to the Abyss after the rock wall.  The Abyss is a dry slide on the aft of the ship.  Two riders can go at the same time and race down 10 stories to the bottom.  This can be a bit daunting to some, especially those who have a fear of heights.  When you walk up the stairs you are greeted with an amazing view of both the wake out the back and unfortunately for some, the floor is glass so you can see down... There was a little hesitancy from a couple riders but everyone made it down with some encouragement and care.

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What a FUN morning!!

I was definitely ready for some lunch once we had finished the morning activities. .  Having the Ultimate dining package is well worth it!  It includes all specialty dining and it includes lunch so off to Playmakers we went!  These pork sliders and onion rings are worth every bite, hungry or not!

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This afternoon it was time to ICE SKATE!!  No, I didn't partake but watched the staff and families try for either the first time or in some cases first time in a LONG time. This took place in Studio B and again, was only for the Autism of the Seas group for an hour.  The staff gets right in there and I was able to capture some pretty cool pics of the families, staff, and individuals.  

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Parents chatting while the kids are skating with the AOTS staff

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Sunsets are always a must see at sea...tonight we were at dinner when it was setting so I had to settle for it setting behind one of the infinity hot tubs. Still made for a prety neat shot.

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Dinner was at Hooked tonight.  Hooked, as it implies, is a seafood restaurant.  They have quite the variety to choose from.  It definitely gives off a Cape Cod or Maine vibe with the classic nautical feel.  As you can see by the photos, they do offer steak.  If you don't care for seafood but want to dine with your friends or family, they will accommodate you with a Turf & Turf option where you can get two filet mignons or a filet and chicken.  

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Tonights activities included two of my all time favorites!!!  Adult comedy and the Silent Disco.  

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Comedian Landry

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Comedians Landry and Gary Caouette had us and the entire audience in stitches for the entire show!  Might see them again on this sailing.

If you are unfamiliar with the silent disco, its where everyone is given a set of headphones with two channels you can switch between.  They are playing different songs.  There is no music playing other than what is in your headset.  Everyone sings and dances to whatever they are hearing.  It is an absolute blast!

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Tonight I will leave you with a piece of interactive art onboard.  The "Dryer-Wig" is located in the boardwalk neighborhood onboard.  You put the wig on and there is music playing inside.  We danced and sang along getting in a few laughs.  

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We are excited for our first port day tomorrow in St. Maarten tomorrow.  Come back to see how we chose to spend our day on the island.

 

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On 11/2/2021 at 11:57 PM, Karahvacatimes said:

Comedians Landry and Gary Caouette had us and the entire audience in stitches for the entire show!  Might see them again on this sailing.

 

We were on last week's sailing and they had a special 18+ show on the last night in the royal theater that was soooo much better (in our opinion) than the adult show we saw in the attic.  Definitely go if they have that this week!

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On 11/4/2021 at 11:37 AM, Jacqui said:

We were on last week's sailing and they had a special 18+ show on the last night in the royal theater that was soooo much better (in our opinion) than the adult show we saw in the attic.  Definitely go if they have that this week!

We did end up going to the final show on the last night.  You are right, it was also a fantastic show!

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On 10/30/2021 at 6:04 AM, Karahvacatimes said:


The “Symphony squad” kept asking me to join them on this sailing as we had last years canceled on us.  I kept saying I couldn’t as my oldest sons favorite holiday is Halloween.  There is no way I could leave the kiddos over Halloween!

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We had also just gotten off Oasis on Oct 17th which was an epic family trip!!

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We sailed on a staff assisted cruise with Autism on the Seas as all three of our children are on the autism spectrum.   It was beyond fantastic in so many ways! 

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A wonderful opportunity came my way after that cruise.  My husband was onboard with the opportunity, and there I was, 9 days out, booking Symphony!   

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The fun part was being able to tell the Symphony Squad I would in fact be sailing with them!  I asked a good friend (who also sailed with us on Oasis) to join me as well.  

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So this live blog will be about my second sailing on Symphony, reuniting with cruise friends, and Autism on the Seas as this is another staff assisted cruise for them.  I will be documenting their week onboard.  Here on the live blog there will be snippets of the program but feel free to contact me on here if you have any questions.  I’m more than happy to help! 

https://autismontheseas.com/

And if you don’t know who is part of the Symphony squad, you’ll find out soon enough…. 

We will be taking our 7th AOTS staffed cruise on Symphony at the end of next week!  Amazing TA and organization for those of us who need this kind of assistance!

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