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First time RC cruise questions on Symphony


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So glad to have found this forum as I was only ever on 1 cruise before, and that was The Disney Cruise over 13 years ago! We are going on the Symphony in May (Western Med) and I have several questions: 1) I thought internet was free in the room, but then I saw that there were packages to buy? 2) I thought that the only free drinks were water, lemonade, juice, coffee/tea, but in the picture they show cans of Coke and Sprite? We don't drink and the package seemed expensive for soda, so now I'm now sure what they provide? 3) We don't want to leave the ship every day (we only have 1 official day at sea); is this ok? Is everything available on the ship like restaurants, etc?

Thanks in advance!!

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  • Matt changed the title to First time RC cruise questions on Symphony
2 minutes ago, amdunlea said:

1) I thought internet was free in the room, but then I saw that there were packages to buy?

Internet access is definitely not free. You have to purchase it, either a package or daily.  Here's more info on it: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2017/02/07/guide-royal-caribbean-voom-wifi-internet-prices-and-tips

3 minutes ago, amdunlea said:

2) I thought that the only free drinks were water, lemonade, juice, coffee/tea, but in the picture they show cans of Coke and Sprite? We don't drink and the package seemed expensive for soda, so now I'm now sure what they provide?

Here's a list of all drinks included: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2015/08/11/first-time-cruisers-what-drinks-are-included-your-royal-caribbean-cruise

If it's not on that list, you have to purchase it.  You can either buy them individually or get a package.  

3 minutes ago, amdunlea said:

3) We don't want to leave the ship every day (we only have 1 official day at sea); is this ok? Is everything available on the ship like restaurants, etc?

Absolutely! There won't be as many activities while ship is in port, but the facilities will all be open and there will be meals available as well.

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3 minutes ago, amdunlea said:

Thanks so much! Is there anywhere on the ship where there is free wi-fi? I thought the drinks package was expensive, but if it includes the likes of Starbucks, maybe it's not too bad...

Up until now, the drink package has not included Starbucks.  But some people have reported that they can use their Starbucks gift cards at the location on board.  I don't know from first hand experience though.  And no free wifi that I know of.  But if anyone would know, it would be @twangster.

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43 minutes ago, Sabrinaklai said:

Up until now, the drink package has not included Starbucks.  But some people have reported that they can use their Starbucks gift cards at the location on board.  I don't know from first hand experience though.  And no free wifi that I know of.  But if anyone would know, it would be @twangster.

I think @Matt already answered but definitely no free internet access.  Symphony Voom (internet) pricing has been pretty good for my Symphony sailing in October.  Well below the normal pre-cruise sale prices.  It will be more expensive once on board so if you are thinking about it, I'd consider buying it soon if the price is below $15.99 in the cruise planner.  You can always cancel it for a refund if you change your mind but once the price goes up it tends to stay up.

The wifi is used for other purposes on some ships, like checking your calendar or on-board cruise compass using an app on your phone that you'll need to download before sailing.  That much is free but that doesn't include internet access.  We believe Symphony will use the new 'Royal' app which you can download now, it's free in the app store but you won't see Symphony listed in the app today.  We expect more announcements about new functionality in the app as the launch date for Symphony approaches.

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In Europe data roaming charges have been removed, if i travel to France or Spain etc i use the package i have in UK with no additional costs. An idea for anyone travelling from outside Europe to the MED or Baltic areas for a cruise would be to purchase a PAYG sim card with a lot of available data when you land in country you are sailing from. May not work on ship but will when on land

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1 hour ago, amdunlea said:

Thanks so much! Is there anywhere on the ship where there is free wi-fi? I thought the drinks package was expensive, but if it includes the likes of Starbucks, maybe it's not too bad...

Just to be clear, the drink package includes premium coffee. This means drinks like lattes, espresso, macchiatos, etc.

On Symphony of the Seas, you can get premium coffee from Cafe Promenade, MDR, or a specialty restaurant.  It does NOT include coffees served from the Starbucks store.

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2 hours ago, Ray said:

In Europe data roaming charges have been removed, if i travel to France or Spain etc i use the package i have in UK with no additional costs. An idea for anyone travelling from outside Europe to the MED or Baltic areas for a cruise would be to purchase a PAYG sim card with a lot of available data when you land in country you are sailing from. May not work on ship but will when on land

Good point but need to make sure your phone is unlocked and/or can take SIM cards.  Not all US phones can.

Many US cell providers have come out with affordable or free international plans for use in port as well.  One carrier, TMobile includes data and text for free in many countries, voice calling is $0.20 per minute.  Both AT&T and Verizon have international options that compared to a few years ago are pretty reasonable.  

As you have stated that doesn't help on the ship away from land but if it is a port intensive cruise it may be enough.

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1 hour ago, amdunlea said:

I have a few more questions (this probably won't stop for awhile!)...Our ship leaves Barcelona at 6:00pm; what is the earliest we can board? It then docks at 5:0am on the final day; what is the latest we can disembark?

Boarding times at the start of any cruise are usually dependent on when local authorities clear the ship as they account for all incoming passengers on the cruise before yours.  That makes it a variable boarding time unlike an airplane which tends to have a set boarding time.  

For the same reason upon arrival on the last day they need to clear the ship and prepare to board to next set of guests.  They need everyone out of their cabins and off the ship as quickly as possible.  For a 5am arrival they'll likely want everyone out of their cabins around 7am and off the ship by 9-10am.   

Symphony will eventually use new technology including facial recognition and their mobile app for faster terminal check in.  This is the first ship in the fleet to use the new tech.  I've seen it suggested this will be available in Barcelona at launch but with all new technology they may have a kinks to work out so we'll have to see this actually gets implemented and adjusted over the first months.

Once the ship begins it's scheduled sailings in April we will all have a better idea of what to expect for boarding and disembarking times.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Has anyone been able to make entertainment reservations on Symphony? We are cruising 21 June 2018, and even though specialty dining has practically filled up, there still aren’t entertainment options available. Other forums I was told you shouldn’t make dining reservations before entertainment. 😕

Edited by jillnorman
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6 hours ago, jillnorman said:

Has anyone been able to make entertainment reservations on Symphony? We are cruising 21 June 2018, and even though specialty dining has practically filled up, there still aren’t entertainment options available. Other forums I was told you shouldn’t make dining reservations before entertainment. 😕

Currently there's no entertainment reservations for Symphonys TA. I think you can still book your dining and try to move it around your entertainment schedule later. As I understand it all shows run more than once per sailing so if you check your cruise planner regularly you should be able to work it all out. If something really doesn't add up you could still try to solve it on board.

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