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What ships to try after Symphony?


Joe01
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I am starting to run out of ideas for future cruises. I will be on Symphony in 20 days for a 2 week B2B (can't wait! :1_grinning:), however beyond that, I am wondering what ships to consider for next year.

I've been on Oasis, Allure and Harmony. Love that class and look forward to sailing the new world's largest ship. However, beyond that, I don't want to sail the same class of ship every year.

Past ships are: Jewel, Independence, Enchantment, Explorer, Serenade, Oasis, Allure, Anthem, Harmony. Pretty much all of Royal's classes of ships. I have always liked larger ships (except Anthem). I feel that it is possibly time to do another small ship, but I do feel a bit hesitant about it in case I end up getting bored. I am also eager to do a new itinerary. My initial thought was Alaska, but the options are Ovation and Radiance. 

Any other big ship fans that can think of a good cruise? Liberty from Texas is looking possible.

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3 minutes ago, Matt said:

Try Freedom class next.  It's a fabulous class of ships and still plenty large.

I was just typing this.   Freedom is a nice combo of small and big.   I haven't tried oasis class yet,  but we were never bored on freedom!  I think Alaska or Europe would be so port/viewing heavy that you could try a smaller ship because you wouldn't be busy just "doing" the ship.   I think radiance class for Alaska with all its windows would be amazing!   Jane

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13 minutes ago, Matt said:

Try Freedom class next.  It's a fabulous class of ships and still plenty large.

Indy is my ideal ship. She looks phenomenal with the upgrades but my group won't sail from Southampton (I have no problem with it). Freedom hasn't had much of a refurb yet, but Liberty from Texas looks interesting.

It's been years since I last sailed that class. I did Anthem for a mid-size ship experience but it wasn't what I expected.

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11 minutes ago, Joe01 said:

 

It's been years since I last sailed that class. I did Anthem for a mid-size ship experience but it wasn't what I expected.

What was different about it?  I'm sure I will try oasis class before quantum, but I'm curious.  Jane

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Just now, mom2mybugs said:

What was different about it?  I'm sure I will try oasis class before quantum, but I'm curious.  Jane

It does not feel like a Royal Caribbean ship. Very different design, lacked a lot of amenities that I liked on other ships, too much reservations, overcrowded etc. I don't regret trying the Anthem to see what Quantum Class had to offer, but wouldn't do it again.

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Just now, coneyraven said:

I'm rather surprised that you consider Anthem to be "Mid-Sized" ---- To me, Mid-Size would be a Voyager Class ship, like Mariner or Navigator.

Explorer felt larger than Anthem. Probably down to ship design.

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Just now, Joe01 said:

Explorer felt larger than Anthem. Probably down to ship design.

I can see how that might be.  Crowds did not move well on Anthem in my experience.  And many areas felt narrow.  I'll be able to compare when I sail Mariner in August.  It's been 16 years since I've sailed a Voyager class ship.

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24 minutes ago, Joe01 said:

I did Anthem for a mid-size ship experience but it wasn't what I expected.

Considering Anthem is bigger than Freedom, and Freedom is considered on the larger end of "mid-size", I'm not surprised it wasn't what you expected! ?

Add me to the list of those recommending Freedom class as the next to try. Even FotS herself, despite not being refurbished yet, as she is now sailing the port-intensive Southern Caribbean route; that should keep you busy enough that the lack of refurbs shouldn't be an issue. Plus we really liked our CD, and I know that's a factor for you (although he may well be on a new ship by the time you would sail her). Plenty of recent info and pics from her on the live blog I did back at the end of March through the first week of April.

If you did an Alaskan itinerary, I'd definitely take the Radiance or Vision Voyager class option as it will get you into the smaller channels and other areas that Ovation just won't be able to reach due to her size.

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5 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

I second the Freedom class idea.  As a die hard Oasis class fan, if I had to choose something other than those four, and not Quantum class, I would do Freedom class.

Slight hijack here...I know you love the oasis class.   I am dying to try 150 and wonderland on harmony.  Do you feel it's worth the extra money to sail harmony vs oasis?  And does allure have anything special that would justify more (or do you just need to look at itinerary to decide oasis vs allure?) Jane

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6 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

 I can see how that might be.  Crowds did not move well on Anthem in my experience.  And many areas felt narrow.  I'll be able to compare when I sail Mariner in August.  It's been 16 years since I've sailed a Voyager class ship.

Couldn't have said it better myself! The reason why AN is so big is because she is tall, but those extra decks only consist of additional staterooms. Actually a very narrow ship. Voyager Class doesn't suffer from overcrowding much.

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6 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

 Considering Anthem is bigger than Freedom, and Freedom is considered on the larger end of "mid-size", I'm not surprised it wasn't what you expected! ?

Add me to the list of those recommending Freedom class as the next to try. Even FotS herself, despite not being refurbished yet, as she is now sailing the port-intensive Southern Caribbean route; that should keep you busy enough that the lack of refurbs shouldn't be an issue. Plus we really liked our CD, and I know that's a factor for you (although he may well be on a new ship by the time you would sail her). Plenty of recent info and pics from her on the live blog I did back at the end of March through the first week of April.

 If you did an Alaskan itinerary, I'd definitely take the Radiance or Vision Voyager class option as it will get you into the smaller channels and other areas that Ovation just won't be able to reach due to her size.

My worry with FR is that she may be looking a bit tired. From videos I've seen, that looks to be the case. Did you think that? BTW - CD's change usually after 2 or 3 contracts on one ship.

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4 minutes ago, mom2mybugs said:

Slight hijack here...I know you love the oasis class.   I am dying to try 150 and wonderland on harmony.  Do you feel it's worth the extra money to sail harmony vs oasis?  And does allure have anything special that would justify more (or do you just need to look at itinerary to decide oasis vs allure?) Jane

I 100% think that everyone should try Wonderland at least once.  I would go again (for fun), but hubby says once is enough and I'm ok with that too.  It is a totally different dining experience.  You have to go with an open mind.  

If the slides and Wonderland is important to you, then I would say try Harmony.  If not, they are all equally as good.  I did not find much noticeable differences between Oasis or Allure so I would go with whichever is cheaper.  However, if you plan to sail Oasis in 2019, then keep in mind that she will be going through a major revitalization in the fall of that year so who knows what they might add (wonderland?).  That is why I booked our spring 2020 sailing on her.  To check it out.  Hope that doesn't confuse you more.?

Edit:  One disadvantage for Allure is that she might be looking tired in another year or so.  She is due for revitalization in 2020 so they might not do much to her until then.  Recent reports had Mariner looking very tired prior to this dry dock.

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Just now, Lovetocruise2002 said:

 Hope that doesn't confuse you more.

Thank you!   I'm in dream planning right now lol... with over 400 days til my greek/med cruise on vision, I really can't look ay another cruise till prob spring 2020.  At that point,  I'm thinking it would be time to try a big ahip!  I don't really care about the slides but I am dying to try wonderland.   I am not sure if I will try the big ship more than once (freedom was so much cheaper its hard for me to justify the cost) so I think I should bite the bullet and try harmony... but I could roll the dice on the oasis refurb lol!  So many choices,  so little money lol!  Thanks!   Jane 

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2 minutes ago, Joe01 said:

My worry with FR is that she may be looking a bit tired. From videos I've seen, that looks to be the case. Did you think that?

You're asking the wrong guy -- FR was my first cruise ever, on any line, and I was just too awestruck with the sheer size and number of venues and things happening onboard to really notice if the overall decor looked old.

I will also admit to being a bit of a fan of vintage styling, and not a fan of modern decor trends like lots of shiny metal on the chairs and tables. So I very much liked the styling of places like Vintages or the Bull & Bear Pub, with their old-style tables and chairs and darker lighting, and even the MDR with its classic decor and table settings. I'm going to be very curious to see how I like the feel of Anthem, which I gather in at least some venues is a lot more contemporary decor in style.

You can blame my mother for this. She is an avid antique collector and the home I grew up in was all Missionary and Shaker style furniture, old wood slab tables polished to a fine gloss, and knick-knacks (a lot of which I liked, a lot that I didn't) scattered everywhere and giving the home a lot of character. I guess I've come to appreciate that over what I consider the more-sterile look of modern design.

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Just now, mom2mybugs said:

Thank you!   I'm in dream planning right now lol... with over 400 days til my greek/med cruise on vision, I really can't look ay another cruise till prob spring 2020.  At that point,  I'm thinking it would be time to try a big ahip!  I don't really care about the slides but I am dying to try wonderland.   I am not sure if I will try the big ship more than once (freedom was so much cheaper its hard for me to justify the cost) so I think I should bite the bullet and try harmony... but I could roll the dice on the oasis refurb lol!  So many choices,  so little money lol!  Thanks!   Jane 

If that is the case, I would definitely look very closely at the price difference between Harmony and Oasis.  Oasis will likely get the slides (if she doesn't then I lost the gamble and my kids are not going to be happy) and there was a plan before to add Wonderland to Oasis in the last dry dock (but they never did).  It even showed up on some of the deck plans.  Anyway, wait to see what details get released about the Oasis refurb, and see what is cheaper.  If it's Oasis, I would do that.  Maybe they will add Wonderland?  Not sure if @Matt has any other info on the Oasis revitalization?  And Harmony will be in Port Canaveral by then so not sure if that affects your decision making.  

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Just now, JLMoran said:

I will also admit to being a bit of a fan of vintage styling, and not a fan of modern decor trends like lots of shiny metal on the chairs and tables.

This makes me laugh!  You would probably hate Seaside then.  Mirrors, chrome, and metal all over the place.

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Since you have sailed all the classes, and you're open to it, I would pick Empress...she is a tiny ship, but Boleros and Schooner Bar are huge. The coffee bar is incredible if you like Cuban coffee. She is a different experience from all the other classes. I like big ships too, but Empress is something special.

If you don't want to go tiny, I would pick Independence or Mariner since they were recently refurbished. Based on your list, I tend to lean toward Mariner since you have not sailed her before.

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9 minutes ago, DunkelBierJay said:

Since you have sailed all the classes, and you're open to it, I would pick Empress...she is a tiny ship, but Boleros and Schooner Bar are huge. The coffee bar is incredible if you like Cuban coffee. She is a different experience from all the other classes. I like big ships too, but Empress is something special.

If you don't want to go tiny, I would pick Independence or Mariner since they were recently refurbished. Based on your list, I tend to lean toward Mariner since you have not sailed her before.

Empress is way too small for me. I would maybe try Majesty, but not Empress.

I would sail Mariner, but coming from the UK, it isn't very practical to fly out for a 3/4 day cruise to CocoCay and Nassau.

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12 minutes ago, Joe01 said:

Empress is way too small for me. I would maybe try Majesty, but not Empress.

I would sail Mariner, but coming from the UK, it isn't very practical to fly out for a 3/4 day cruise to CocoCay and Nassau.

Totally get that...knowing more about what you're looking for, I would mix it up with a back-to-back possibly on different ships and different ports since it is easy to transfer between Miami and Fort Lauderdale and even Port Canaveral if you drive.

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Adventure was recently refurbished including her cabins.  New water slides and Izumi.  During the summer she is in the NYC area which is convenient from the UK.  For the winter she heads to Florida.  With up to 3,800 guests she is mid size by RCI standards but extra large by other cruise line standards (about the size of Carnival's newest ships). 

Indy is in Florida for the winters but mostly shorter stuff.  There is one 7 night on her in 2019 to the Caribbean. 

Adventure has some interesting itineraries such as 12 night Southern Caribbean as well as 6 or 8 night Caribbean cruises.  She also sails from Quebec once or twice once and she does interesting itineraries from Bayonne in the summer.

Having sailed Freedom in November,  Indy in December (pre dry dock) and Liberty in February I didn't get an out dated vibe from any of them.  I was expecting Indy to look like she needed a dry dock but she didn't. 

Liberty is certainty a viable option.

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42 minutes ago, twangster said:

Adventure was recently refurbished including her cabins.  New water slides and Izumi.  During the summer she is in the NYC area which is convenient from the UK.  For the winter she heads to Florida.  With up to 3,800 guests she is mid size by RCI standards but extra large by other cruise line standards (about the size of Carnival's newest ships). 

Indy is in Florida for the winters but mostly shorter stuff.  There is one 7 night on her in 2019 to the Caribbean. 

Adventure has some interesting itineraries such as 12 night Southern Caribbean as well as 6 or 8 night Caribbean cruises.  She also sails from Quebec once or twice once and she does interesting itineraries from Bayonne in the summer.

Having sailed Freedom in November,  Indy in December (pre dry dock) and Liberty in February I didn't get an out dated vibe from any of them.  I was expecting Indy to look like she needed a dry dock but she didn't. 

 Liberty is certainty a viable option.

Adventure is on my list, although I have been to New York a lot and one of my least favorite CD's is said to be going there next year, so will avoid that ship for 2019.

I am mostly looking at cruises in July, with maybe the occasional chance at an October cruise if we find a good deal and timings. That means that I would stick with Indy in Europe rather than Florida. My group won't sail from Southampton to the Med so if I was to do a UK based cruise, it would likely be Explorer to Scandinavia, but she will be getting tired as well (she looked it in 2012).

I didn't think that Liberty would feel out of date, but having seen some photos of Freedom, she is starting to look her age. I would happily sail her from San Juan after her Amplified drydock. 

It's been a while since I sailed Voyager or Freedom Class, so appreciate your insight. I actually want to give smaller ships another chance, but worry of getting bored.

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Next week a bunch of us will be on the Explorer to Alaska for the Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise, June 22-29.  Keep an eye on this site for @Matt's blogs and my own in the live blog section.  Plenty of periscopes as well I imagine.  

I find it impossible to get bored on any ship, any itinerary, even small ships. 

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Just now, twangster said:

Next week a bunch of us will be on the Explorer to Alaska for the Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise, June 22-29.  Keep an eye on this site for @Matt's blogs and my own in the live blog section.  Plenty of periscopes as well I imagine.  

I find it impossible to get bored on any ship, any itinerary, even small ships. 

Now that is one that I really want to take. Alaska is one that I hope to do soon, but wish Explorer was coming back next year. Radiance may just feel too small and Anthem wasn't my cup of tea so Ovation would be much the same.

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16 minutes ago, Joe01 said:

It's been a while since I sailed Voyager or Freedom Class, so appreciate your insight. I actually want to give smaller ships another chance, but worry of getting bored.

This is exactly what I am feeling with my Mariner booking. I'll be able to analyze it more in August. 

8 minutes ago, twangster said:

 I find it impossible to get bored on any ship, any itinerary, even small ships. 

This is what I am banking on as I have heard many of you say how much you still enjoy the smaller ships. 

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2 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

This is exactly what I am feeling with my Mariner booking. I'll be able to analyze it more in August. 

I did enjoy Explorer and Independence before. Anthem was totally different and the design made it feel small, particularly in comparison to the Oasis Class design. It's the Vision and Radiance Class that I am more dubious about. If I end up on one of them again (which I probably will), it needs to have the best CD, AM and Staff in the business as I will try to spend my time at their activities.

Mariner has had so many upgrades that I doubt you will be bored. It's a short cruise as well.

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5 minutes ago, twangster said:

On a 3/4 night cruise there is enough time to be bored ?

There is so much going on that it is impossible to be bored on a 3 or 4 day cruise. It would be impossible to do one on an Oasis Class.

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5 hours ago, twangster said:

Next week a bunch of us will be on the Explorer to Alaska for the Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise, June 22-29.  Keep an eye on this site for @Matt's blogs and my own in the live blog section.  Plenty of periscopes as well I imagine.  

Shall be very interested in that for two reasons - one, I'm sailing on Explorer in the South Pacific in March next year, so am super keen to see what she looks like! And two, coming from a dry-as-a-bone desert country in Australia, Alaska with all that pristine water and ice fascinates me!

It'll probably end up on my cruise bucket list ... just as well I'm working to cruise! ?

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36 minutes ago, June May said:

Shall be very interested in that for two reasons - one, I'm sailing on Explorer in the South Pacific in March next year, so am super keen to see what she looks like! And two, coming from a dry-as-a-bone desert country in Australia, Alaska with all that pristine water and ice fascinates me!

It'll probably end up on my cruise bucket list ... just as well I'm working to cruise! ?

@Pippa_OceanTime (aka Pippa Madden) from OceanTime.com.au was just on her not long ago out of Sydney.  She did some periscoping from Explorer.  You can find Pippa on Facebook and Twitter as well.

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15 hours ago, twangster said:

Personally I love Radiance class.  I had a great cruise on Serenade a few months ago and have bookings on all of the sister ships.  The size is part of that appeal.  Very easy ship to get around taking the stairs but that glass elevator bank would be awesome in Alaska, plus helipad access. 

We will be on the Radiance in exactly 30 days and I can't wait.  They say that with the smaller ship we can get closer to the coast line and Hubbard's Glacier so for me I feel like the views are part of the experience for Alaska.  Also, four people of our eight have never cruised before so I'm sure the Radiance will seem huge to them.

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9 minutes ago, whitsmom said:

We will be on the Radiance in exactly 30 days and I can't wait.  They say that with the smaller ship we can get closer to the coast line and Hubbard's Glacier so for me I feel like the views are part of the experience for Alaska.  Also, four people of our eight have never cruised before so I'm sure the Radiance will seem huge to them.

Jewel was my first cruise. Possibly on the small side now, but back in 2009, it was a decent ship for a first timer. 

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In all honesty for us it is all about the itinerary. Oasis  at the moment is the biggest ship we have been on.  It was a bit insane as we have never seen so many electric scooters on a ship as we did on that cruise.  Over the years in conversation with numerous ships employees they mostly prefer the smaller class ships.  The food and service on them we have found is actually a lot better as well. Bigger is better for the added things to do.  I love all of those added to dos.  Booking a Harmony cruise without telling Mrs.  but will eventually inform her.  She is not a fan of bigger ships as I am.  But once on board and seeing a show and Wonderland and so on and so forth  she will be hooked I know.  Three years ago we were on a cruise and she stated we need a break for one year.  Ha ha.   She not me has us  booked  or taken 5 cruises since  and is looking at 2 more and just last night asked when future dates will be available.  To all:   HAPPY CRUISING !!!!

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I agree with @fonemanbob on the itinerary as I especially try to visit one new city or country while I am either on a land-based vacation or cruise. I have three cruises booked between now and December 2019 (June 2019 Mediterranean cruise is with a different cruise line), but looking at Bermuda, Baja Mexico, Alaska or Southern Caribbean for my 2020 cruise.

For me, the ship is secondary to the itinerary and price, I am a cheap cruiser LOL. 

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3 hours ago, accio7 said:

I agree with @fonemanbob on the itinerary as I especially try to visit one new city or country while I am either on a land-based vacation or cruise. I have three cruises booked between now and December 2019 (June 2019 Mediterranean cruise is with a different cruise line), but looking at Bermuda, Baja Mexico, Alaska or Southern Caribbean for my 2020 cruise.

For me, the ship is secondary to the itinerary and price, I am a cheap cruiser LOL. 

In as much we are loyal to Royal we did Princes to Alaska and they were incredible. We did the land package and then the cruise. All based on various reviews.  

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