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Symphony OTS Live! - Transatlantic Oct. 28, 2018 "Coming to America"


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Day -4

A year or so ago I had been thinking about Symphony and when I might be able to sail her.  Prices, as expected for her first year were elevated over her sisters.  That is until I came across the transatlantic sailing which at the time was priced close to many seven night Caribbean sailings on her.  Twelve nights on what would become the largest cruise ship in the world for the price of seven?  

I was on Anthem when the light bulb went on and I booked it in a YOLO moment that only the drink package can induce.  

Itinerary is pretty light as ports go:

Day 1 - Embark in Barcelona, Spain

Day 2 - Sea Day

Day 3 - Malaga, Spain

Days 4 - 11 - Sea Day

Day 12 - Port Canaveral

Day 13 - Debark, Miami

No excursions booked or planned.  The ship is the destination.

I'll be sailing in a Boardwalk balcony cabin almost as far aft as you can go on deck 8 right above Playmakers.  My step count for this cruise should indeed also be elevated.  

I'm sailing solo as I often do since friends and family just can't keep up.  I won't be alone exactly as there will be a decent contingency from the RCPeriscopers.live community sailing with me.  Voom and satellite coverage permitting, there should be ample scopes from this sailing.

A business commitment is keeping me stateside until Friday when I'll fly overnight to Barcelona arriving Saturday morning for a Sunday embarkation.  Not ideal but I've got to pay for this cruising addiction somehow.  

Since I'll be in the cruise capital of the world when we disembark in Miami I couldn't let that opportunity go without jumping on another ship so I'll be sliding up the coast to Fort Lauderdale to board Serenade the day we arrive in Miami.  That is a factor in my packing strategy since I'm not flying home between cruises.  

Speaking of packing, I should probably start,  later today, ...or maybe tomorrow.  

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I haven't really addressed our cruise director on this sailing - Bobby Brown. I have to say a CD doesn't make or break a cruise for me.  I like some more than others but it's not a deal breaker f

Day 2 - Sea Day Moving South and West as we somewhat hug the coast of Spain.  Windy today, top decks closed.  The ship is handling great, minimal movement. After staying up into the wee hour

With that our tribe begins to appear unified and equal. Each is wearing a common tribal outfit. I've seen all of the aqua theater shows and this is my favorite.

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Day -3

With a burst of motivation last night I got most of my packing done.  Now if I can just get through my work activities I can focus on what's really important.  I'm going on a cruise!!!

Symphony will be the fourth Oasis class for me having already sailed on her other three sisters.  This will be the first time I've sailed Oasis class without access to Sky Class benefits.  Sailing solo I just couldn't justify the cost.  

I booked entertainment the day it opened and secured all of my desired times.

Having booked this cruise while on another cruise at the NextCruise desk I have some On Board Credit or OBC to use. 

I had a 4 night dining package but later cancelled it thinking I'd rather do that when sailing on her again with family in the future.  I may do one or two specialty dinners as the mood suits me if they are available.  I'm usually fine with the MDR or even the Windjammer for dinner so I may just go without any specialty dinners.

Flush with OBC I've booked a new offering, the Thermal Spa pass.  It's been available for purchase onboard for a while but being able to purchase this before the cruise is somewhat new and Royal is working through some growing pains rolling this out.  When purchased onboard the pass provides access to the Thermal Spa facilities during open hours.  In the Cruise Planner I was required to pick a specific time of day.  A phone call to Royal confirmed this was my time of day to use the spa for each day of the cruise.  If this wasn't a transatlantic with many sea days in a row that sort of time of day reservation wouldn't work for me.  I'm hoping that is just a glitch as they roll this out to the Cruise Planner and it will actually allow me access the thermal spa anytime during open hours.  I'll find out on Sunday!

I had acquired the drink package during a sale at a very good price but later cancelled it.  Twelve nights is a long time to drink day after day after day.  On my most recent cruise, a 13 night sailing, I didn't have the drink package and even my daily Diamond Happy Hour drinks started to venture into drink fatigue zone after so many days.  Consequently I'm joining #TeamNoDX on this sailing.

My OBC also covered my Voom plan which was just $11.99 per day for Surf and Stream.  As a long time Voom consumer that's a pretty good rate.

My remaining OBC will be my drink package offset with Diamond Happy Hour drinks.

The Delta app on my phone just let me know it's time to check in.  Finally!

After waiting so long, it's finally here.

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So have you pre-purchased Voom or are you going to use your D+ discount and buy it once onboard ?  I know you did a whole bot-calculus amortization with cost averaging and depreciation on the various options of Voom purchasing but it was way over my mortal head so I can't remember if the 12+ days worked out cheaper to do the pre-purchase or onboard purchase.  Please don't repost that link.  It makes my brain cells scream. (which isn't real hard to do, BTW).

😁

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Just now, WAAAYTOOO said:

So have you pre-purchased Voom or are you going to use your D+ discount and buy it once onboard ? 

I've already bought Voom.  At $11.99 per day for 12 days it's cheaper than buying a full voyage plan onboard, even with a D+ onboard discount. 

When I have pre-purchased Voom, I'll sometimes use my D+ discount to 'buy' a day of Surf just to test Surf and have a second device connected that day.  

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Just learned that Royal is including a transfer from Symphony to Mariner and Serenade for guests doing a side-to-side.  I was just going to use Lyft and figured it would be ~$40-$50 so if this works out it should be pretty easy to move to Serenade after the TA.

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Day -2

I've made it to New York!  One more flight!  

Uneventful trip to JFK, I watched two movies on the flight from Denver.  I'm sitting Delta's Skyclub writing this.  They used to be called 'Crown Room' but having flown a bunch back in those days I used to call them the 'Crowd Room'.  The terminal 4 Skyclub is living up to that legacy.    

Curious how our weather will be on this crossing.  It is what it is.  On a recent cruise down the U.S. East coast I didn't lose the jacket until we were almost off the Florida coast.  

My flight is delayed an hour.  Just received noticed my bag was loaded on the Barcelona flight.  That's always a welcome sign.  

Forecast is rain tomorrow.  I would have liked to stay longer and explore Barcelona but my schedule didn't cooperate.

The ship is the destination.

 

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On 10/25/2018 at 10:06 PM, twangster said:

Just learned that Royal is including a transfer from Symphony to Mariner and Serenade for guests doing a side-to-side.  I was just going to use Lyft and figured it would be ~$40-$50 so if this works out it should be pretty easy to move to Serenade after the TA.

Are you going to blog Serenade as well?

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