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Symphony LIVE with Joe - B2B around the Med!


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I've been waiting for a while. Sometimes, I wondered if I would ever get there. Watching everything about the Symphony launching while I was stuck doing a lot of work that I hate and working through the difficulties of life in miserable Scottish weather. Finally, it is nearly here. 10 days until I board the Symphony of the Seas!!!!!!

I am Joe. I have enjoyed following Royal Caribbean Blog for a while now and have been posting on the forum for around a year now. This is my first time doing a LIVE blog, having been inspired by CruiseLifeRick when he did his CC LIVE thread on Symphony's inaugural in April. I am also going LIVE on CC, but ultimately would love to share my adventures with the RC Blog as well, especially as many of you are US based and may wish to hear about either the Med or Symphony herself when she arrives to Miami in November.

I come to you from Glasgow, Scotland, a city well known for it's friendliness:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpnUurJvGWs (disclaimer: Don't watch if you have no sense of humor, take things too literally or hate any use of strong language). :4_joy:

This will be my 13th & 14th cruise; my 6th & 7th Oasis Class cruise and 2nd B2B. This will also be my 5th & 6th cruise around the Med and my 4th & 5th from Barcelona. There will be one first - my first time on Symphony! Having sailed all 3 sister ships, I am very excited to see everything new that Symphony will have to offer. I am hoping to try both Playmakers (wings!) and El Loco Fresh which are new dining venues on SY. Please give any other suggestions of things to try. All welcome.

I'll be back with more soon!

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I've been waiting for a while. Sometimes, I wondered if I would ever get there. Watching everything about the Symphony launching while I was stuck doing a lot of work that I hate and working through t

Matt says: "Please no. The servers can't take it". 

In all my years of following live blogs, I have never, here or anywhere else, come across a disruption such as this, in someone's live blog.  A live blog is one's personal account of their vacation. 

Following! Another chance to see the Med from stateside!

What's your itinerary like on each leg? Based on your cruise history recap, sounds like each leg starts in Barcelona; are you seeing the same ports each time or is there a bit of variation? Or is this trip less about the ports for you, and you just want a full two weeks to enjoy the ship as your destination?

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Just now, JLMoran said:

Following! Another chance to see the Med from stateside!

What's your itinerary like on each leg? Based on your cruise history recap, sounds like each leg starts in Barcelona; are you seeing the same ports each time or is there a bit of variation? Or is this trip less about the ports for you, and you just want a full two weeks to enjoy the ship as your destination?

Same itinerary both weeks: Barcelona, Palma, Marseilles, La Spezia, Civitavecchia, Naples, Sea Day and repeat. I've done it before on Allure and Harmony. On Allure, we got off everywhere except Civ (where we already got off on Indy and Serenade). On Harmony, I only got off at Naples and spent the rest of the week onboard. Serenade was the other one from BCN, but was a 12 nighter, so a different itinerary.

For this one, I plan to get off at Naples both times (love the pizza and plenty to do), possibly once at La Spezia (nice town, Cinque Terre nearby) and at least once at Marseilles to practice my semi-fluent French. Also getting off at Barcelona :4_joy:. Not planning to get off at Palma (been there, done that) or Civitavecchia (Rome is too far away and not a fan of Civ itself). I'm on for 2 weeks, so plenty of time to enjoy the ship. Not too fussed about the ports. 

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CREW:
I've heard that a number of the crew from Harmony have moved to Symphony. I'm hoping that they will still be there and that I will see some familiar faces from last year.
The Captain is scheduled to be Captain Rob Hempstead from the USA. I've heard a lot of fantastic things about him and cannot wait to sail with him. I am also excited at having a Captain with an accent that I can completely understand.
The Cruise Director is scheduled to be Michele Scarpato from Italy. I am quite passionate about the CD role myself and always love to see what they have to offer. On my Harmony B2B last year, we had 2 CD's across the 2 weeks, one was fantastic and the other was not. I'm hoping that Michele is great. The Activities Manager will be Margot Van Erck who I have also heard great things about. Also keeping fingers crossed that it is a good CD Staff.
Please tell me about any other great crew members on SY.

ITINERARY:
I will be on a 6.30am flight from Edinburgh to Barcelona on Friday 29th. Spending 2 days there and then embarking SY on July 1st. We will be in port with the Vision of the Seas on July 1st as well. Always great to see another Royal ship in port. Hopefully I won't be too forgetful and don't board Vision instead.

Here is the trip in a nutshell:
June 29th - Edinburgh to Barcelona & afternoon in Barcelona
June 30th - Full day in Barcelona
July 1st - Embark Symphony (not Vision :4_joy:)
July 2nd - Palma
July 3rd - Marseilles
July 4th - La Spezia
July 5th - Civitavecchia
July 6th - Naples
July 7th - Sea Day
July 8th - Barcelona Turnaround day
July 9th - Palma
July 10th - Marseilles
July 11th - La Spezia
July 12th - Civitavecchia
July 13th - Naples
July 14th - Sea Day
July 15th - Disembark/Fly to Edinburgh and then back to Glasgow

For this one, I plan to get off at Naples both times (love the pizza and plenty to do), possibly once at La Spezia (nice town, Cinque Terre nearby) and at least once at Marseilles to practice my semi-fluent French. Also getting off at Barcelona . Not planning to get off at Palma (been there, done that) or Civitavecchia (Rome is too far away and not a fan of Civ itself). I'm on for 2 weeks, so plenty of time to enjoy the ship. Honestly doing this cruise for the ship and not the ports.

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10 minutes ago, Joe01 said:

The Cruise Director is scheduled to be Michele Scarpato from Italy. I am quite passionate about the CD role myself and always love to see what they have to offer. On my Harmony B2B last year, we had 2 CD's across the 2 weeks, one was fantastic and the other was not. I'm hoping that Michele is great.

@Joe01 after meeting Michele:

giphy.gif

😉

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21 minutes ago, hayley_bopp said:

Following - we're from Coventry, England and were thinking of doing Symphony this summer out of Barcelona but couldn't stretch to a B2B and the husband wasn't happy to 'only' do 7 days so we've settled for 2 weeks on Indy instead. Can't  wait to see what you think of Symphony. 

I can't wait either! Very excited. Would also love to see the refurbed Indy at some point as well.

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9 minutes ago, hayley_bopp said:

 I'm planning on doing a live(ish) blog so you can check it out vicariously through me!

Excellent. When will you be there?

BTW - Speaking of Cruise Director's, Joff will be there. One of my two favorites.

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28 minutes ago, hayley_bopp said:

I'm planning on doing a live(ish) blog so you can check it out vicariously through me!

 

22 minutes ago, Joe01 said:

Excellent. When will you be there?

BTW - Speaking of Cruise Director's, Joff will be there. One of my two favorites.

And she's scoping too!  Follow her on Periscope 😉

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Thanks for doing a live blog.  I will be doing the 12 day med/greek isles on vision next year which is a VERY long way off.  I will live vicariously through you.  We are going to Europe for the first time this summer (first viking river cruise in france) andrea the med next year, but looking at oasis or harmony for 2020, so i will enjoy your ship comment a's well!  Jane

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2 hours ago, mom2mybugs said:

 We are going to Europe for the first time this summer (first viking river cruise in France)

I'd be interested in hearing about your experience. We really like the look of river cruising but are slightly concerned about being the youngest on-board (we're both in our 30s)

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13 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

What kind of stateroom have you got? 

Would be interested to hear if you feel 'detached ' from the sea. I've often heard that about Oasis class ships. I'd like to try one for the amenities,  but I like feeling connected to the sea. 

Inside stateroom. Perfectly sufficient. Balconies and Suites are nice, but can't justify the price difference.

Having done OA, AL and HM, I didn't really feel detached from the sea. There are still some viewing opportunities and the ship has so much to offer that you don't feel detached from anything.

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6 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

We really like the look of river cruising but are slightly concerned about being the youngest on-board (we're both in our 30s)

Apart from possibly a few grandchildren you'll likely be half of the normal river cruiser age 😂 At least on the Rhine, Moselle or Danube cruises - not sure about the French ones. Personally, I've never done a river cruise but we regularly stumble across them when we do short trips by motorhome in the summer.

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6 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

I'd be interested in hearing about your experience. We really like the look of river cruising but are slightly concerned about being the youngest on-board (we're both in our 30s)

My husband will have his 50th bday on the ship and we expect to be on the young side.  It is interesting to see that all the advertising is pushing younger.  We are beyond excited...doing the Paris and the heart of Normandy so seeing Vernon (giverny), Rouen and Normandy.  We ended up being able to meet friends in paris so now I wish we were doing a different itinerary.  However for us Viking and this round trip cruise was a good basic way to get our feet wet so to speak with River cruising.  I expect it to be very very different than ocean cruising but I will post a very off topic thread here ( sorry Joe to hijack here!). Jane

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47 minutes ago, Joe01 said:

I'll be onboard this time in 7 days! :1_grinning:

Does anyone have any tips on how to provide photos on the live blog? Secondly, does Periscope cost when abroad?

I'm sure there photo people will answer the first...I still haven't figured out how to compress mine very well.  Periscope only costs for the wifi/data you use as far as I can tell.  They actual app use doesn't cost any more than here.  Jane

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