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


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My AC Hotel Soms room:

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Power ports by the deck area:

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It's a very nice room by North American standards and there are two guest elevators. The staff have been very friendly.   

I didn't take a lot of picture while walking around since it was raining.  I was surprised to see palm trees here:

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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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3 hours ago, GoodSmith said:

Are you going to blog Serenade as well?

Update... probably not.  I've got a lot of 'balls in the air' including finding a new home to host my pictures.  That's still being worked out and it's all I can do to generate this one, but given that its the newest and largest ship, so be it. 

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Day 1

IT'S CRUISE DAY!!!

I'm proud of myself... I actually slept last night.  That was probably on account of not really sleeping on the flight over from NYC the night before.  

This morning I checked out the €15 hotel breakfast and decided to walk 2 minutes down the street to a local restaurant even though it was raining lightly. €6 for a cooked to order breakfast and real coffee.  When it was time to pay in my best gringo accent I asked for the check but probably told my waiter "I can count sheep if it pleases you".

Weather radar has us about to see heavy rain before it goes back to a light rain, then possibly a break in rain around noon before more rain right starting around 2:30pm.  Hopefully that will move through and be gone around sail away.  

I'm all packed and ready to go.  Symphony has arrived from Civitavecchia and she awaits us! 

With it's time to go!

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Day 1, continued...

I looked in the Uber app, €20 to the port but they needed my passport information due to Spanish regulations.  I wasn't comfortable giving Uber my passport details which isn't required when using a taxi so I asked the front deck at my hotel to call me a cab,  €37 to the port.

A first look at the lovely lady.

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Today we were using terminal B and there was a good stream of traffic going to the three ships in port.

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Raining lightly as I made my way to the luggage drop.

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After dropping my bag there was the typical security screening.  I had printed my SetSail pass but wanted to see if I could make it all the way just using my phone and the Royal app. 

Expedited check in was pretty fast.  They had several short lines marked for expedited cruisers.  Each had an agent with a handheld scanner waiting for us.   They scanned my SetSail pass on my phone and then they scanned my passport.  "Okay, you are all checked in".  It took about 20 seconds.  Sweet!

The ship was boarding so off I went through some shops in the terminal including one where you could buy wine.  As I turned the corner where they once again wanted to see my SetSail before proceeding the app cycled as if it was refreshing and logging me back in.  After several seconds holding up the line of people behind me that app gave up and displayed this:

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The ship time was wrong and while I was logged in, it couldn't find me any more.  The "View SetSail Pass" button did nothing.  I had taken a screen shot of my SetSail pass on my phone but it was faster to grab the printed copy from my pocket now that there were 20 or 30 people angrily staring in my direction.   Royal IT strikes again.  Lesson learned, always print it, do not rely on Royal's technology.

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Up the escalator where we were led outside to get our first look.  Like her sisters she is big!

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With a place to step aside I found the screen shot of my SetSail pass and got it ready.  I wanted to make sure I could use my phone to board.  No issues with a screen shot of the app's SetSail pass.

Finally!  On board.

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I visited the spa to check on a cruise planner purchase I had made, the Thermal Spa pass.  It is fairly recent that this has become available for pre-purchase and I wanted to validate how it worked.  In the cruise planner I was required to select a time of day, I chose 2:30pm.  I was hoping that wasn't the only time I could use it but I wanted to check.  The staff at the spa confirmed I could use it at any time during open hours.  I then did a quick tour of the spa.

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The spa waiting room.

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An add on service, private couples aroma bath.

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They mentioned to come back once I had my SeaPass card to have a sticker placed on it indicating my spa pass.

Avoiding the Windjammer on boarding day I then headed to Park cafe for a Kümmelweck.

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Soon after I found some friends and we sat in Central Park enjoying our first beverage as we waited for cabins to become ready.

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At 1pm an announcement let us know our cabins were ready.

Cabin 8327.  

Boardwalk balcony, port side, second boardwalk balcony from the aft.

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Standard Oasis class bathroom.

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Balcony:

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The view aft is fairly obstructed.

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After taking these pictures and checking out my cabin I ventured into the hall and discovered my bag just down the hall.  Luggage delivery was pretty quick.

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With my suitcase unpacked and clothes sprayed down with wrinkle release it was time to explore the ship!

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A look down at the terminal from the ship.

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Solarium:

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The solarium pool.

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I needed to take care of something inside so I made my way back down to the Promenade.

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I went to Boleros to see if I could trade in a previous Wow band.  My old one had a muster station printed on it.  On Anthem they would not allow me to trade in my Wow band and required me to purchase a new one because the muster station from Harmony was different than my Anthem muster station. 

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I was pleased to discover that Symphony accepted my old "Muster Station E2" Wow band and gave me a new one that has no muster station on it.   No charge.

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Next stop was the boardwalk where some friends had found Playmakers.  I'll wait for a nicer day to take pictures.  With 4:30pm approaching last call was announced as they began to close bars with muster approaching.  My G4 must was conveniently located in the Aqua theater.

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The rain had stopped.  Clouds were starting to break up.  Typical "assembly drill".  Watch the same 'Spy" safety video, crew displayed how to put on a life vest and the Captain released us.    

Muster station letters are different than Harmony.  

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With muster complete it was time to prepare for sail away.  My friends had suggested to meet in the Solarium so that's where I headed.

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The sun was beginning to set.

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We had to wait for a departing cargo ship to make her exit.

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With a blast of the ship's whistle we were away from the pier.

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With the bow thrusters fully engaged the Solarium pool rippled from the vibrations.

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Darkness was rapidly moving upon us.

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We slowly backed out of the harbor.

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We then turned and with that our cruise had begun.

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Comedy club reservation.

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Host was great.  There were two comedians tonight.  The second comedian was on Harmony in September.  Have you ever started to read a book and a couple pages in it seems really familiar?  Then you realize you've read it already.   It turns out the second comedian used a lot of the same material he used on Harmony.  Oh well, that's the way it goes.

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