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

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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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10 hours ago, RatedPG said:

Arrrggghh ... beating myself up again for not doing more research before booking.  I'll be going on my Thanksgiving/Birthday cruise on November 19 on the Serenade.  I could have joined the group cruise on the Symphony.  Group Cruise on the Symphony? WHAAAA 😮   I just learned about that I too was on the Serenade in Sept next time though !


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Day 3 - Malaga

After a visit to the Thermal Spa I had this great idea to walk down along the pier and get some pictures of the ship.  As I stepped off the ship and on to the gangway the skies opened up and the rain came down.  

Normally with a fish eye lens I can capture most ships at this range.  Not so with the largest cruise ship in the world.


I had to at least check out the terminal.


There are a series of shops including duty free liquor and wine.


I didn't feel like taking another shower today so I headed back to the ship. This would be as close as I came to Malaga on this day.


There was a 40' truck with supplies that were being transferred to the ship.  St. Francis and Decoy wine among other supplies.  I think we'll be fine making it across.


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Since I had my fish eye lens on I was wondering how a round scrunched up car in the shape a sphere would look with a fish eye at close range.  It pretty much looks like it does in person.


Time for lunch and with Sorrento's right there...


Barbecue Chicken on the menu today.  This was actually pretty good on Adventure recently.  

I found Symphony's variation a little too cheesy for my liking.


I thought I might as well take some more ships photos instead of walking in the rain.

MDR Entrance





I ran into some friend's and one drink led to another, so...

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With sail away approaching I realized I needed to get ready for my Hairspray reservation so I ventured up to the Solarium bridge wings to see what I might be able to see of Malaga.  The rain had almost stopped so I snapped the best photos of Malaga that I would get on this visit.  





A local fishing boat was returning to port.  They must have been tossing the remainder of their bait because the birds loved this boat.


With that I ventured down to the theater to line up for Hairspray.  I had a specific part of the theater in mind and I would need to be near the front of the line when they opened the doors.

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Day 3 - Hairspray

Let me start by saying I'm not into musicals.  In the past if I were asked to go to a musical I would rank it right there with "Go to the hair salon with me" or "Help me pick out a dress".  When Hairspray was first announced for Symphony of the Seas I paid it little attention because I had somewhat already decided to pass.

Since that time I have be able to go on a number of back stage entertainment tours on various Royal ships.  On those I learned a lot of technical details and the level of effort that Royal Caribbean puts into its shows.   When Symphony first started sailing earlier this, Hairspray was getting pretty great reviews.  Consequently I settled on taking in this show, after all, we have 12 nights on this sailing so why not?

I'll let the pictures tell the story.






























The music was good, the vocals were strong and the cast did a great job.  I never found it dragging or felt the need to come up with an excuse to leave.  It was a great performance and I highly recommend it, even for the non-musical types. 

If you've sailed Harmony and you couldn't find an excuse to book Symphony this just may be it.

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8 minutes ago, Matt said:

What lens did you use for the Hairspray photos? I always struggle with show photos in terms of getting not fuzzy photos and especially lighting.

Wide angle shots from my RX100M6 combined with a 70-300mm zoom on my A7III. 

The trick is setting a high enough shutter speed while not pushing the ISO too far.  With it's low noise profile the A7III does at great job for this use case.

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Thanks @Matt for asking that question and @twangster for the answer.  I have been wondering the same with the fabulous photos of both the ice show and musical.  Can you go any further into the deep dark proprietary details on what ISO / Shutter combo you used on some of the shots?

Also a quick thanks for the live blog in general.  Wonderful work as always!

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8 minutes ago, mvannie said:

Thanks @Matt for asking that question and @twangster for the answer.  I have been wondering the same with the fabulous photos of both the ice show and musical.  Can you go any further into the deep dark proprietary details on what ISO / Shutter combo you used on some of the shots?

Also a quick thanks for the live blog in general.  Wonderful work as always!

A shutter speed of 1/250th for a show like Hairspray minimize blur as the cast moves. 

I leave my ISO on auto so depending on lighting it will vary shot to shot.  A film concept, ISO values increase with sensitivity.  The problem is so does grain and noise.  In full outdoor lighting 100 ISO yields very little grain or noise.  In the dark, at 6,400 ISO there is more noise with a digital camera.  Since I shoot in RAW I have to remove that noise in Lightroom.  Newer cameras have a better ISO noise profile so you can push the limits well past where you could with older digital cameras and the result is the photos you see.  A number are shot at ISO 6,400 the cap I have set for my camera.  It can go higher but I find 6,400 provides good results that are easy to fix in post.

I also shoot in burst mode, taking many pictures very quickly.  Later I can step through them like frames in a video and find the best facial expressions.

To be even better full manual would work best but given that I am on a cruise there is often some drinking involved so partial automation usually gets me in the right neighborhood so I can fix it later which is the main benefit of shooting in RAW.

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I had a 6pm My Time reservation that I skipped so I could see Hairspray.  I went to the My Time non-reservation line since it was well past my reservation at this point.  At 8:15pm through 8:35pm I had moved about 20'.  Still 20' from the hostess stand I gave up and went to the Windjammer for dinner.  It too was busy but typical for an Oasis class Windjammer.

The rock of Gibraltar and our pass through the Straits was approaching.  I didn't want to be sitting in a dining room even if I could only see distant lights on shore.

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Here is our position as we approached the Strait of Gibraltar:



I tried to venture up top but found the upper decks closed due to high winds so I headed to deck 5, the running track.


That pyramid looking object is the rock of Gibraltar. 


At this point we were in the Strait of Gibraltar and you could see lights on both sides.

Africa on the port side:


Spain and the rock of Gibraltar on the starboard side:


Walking a few steps, Africa on the port side:


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Just now, J_Keeble said:

will it be like this going forward?

I had to come up with something quick for this voyage due to changes on the blog and viewing photos from other sources.  As I sat in Barcelona looking for a place I could store photos and have them available for access where ever I pick, the one I chose was an old default.  

Storing content is often a picky subject, I regret IMGUR is blocked by your work place.  Not sure what I'll do going forward.

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3 hours ago, monctonguy said:

damn..none of these pics open for me......in Explorer or Chrome.....strange....all the other live blogs do and previous blogs by  @twangster have for me....and I have tried on 2 different computers now.....


Disappointed..I KNOW I am missing out on some great pics!:37_disappointed:

Weird. Photos load just fine for me.

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Thanks alot for the video! I love captain Rob and love these presentations. I know uploading that video from the ship must have taken ages but very much appreciated sharing it with us.

Also I had no problem viewing the photos and they are great as usual!

Let us know how rough the sea is after you ventured into the Atlantic.

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