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LIVEish, 7 Days on Symphony (11/17/2018 or 17/11/2018 better yet November 17, 2018)


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Sorry to report folks but your eyes aren't playing tricks. Starting tomorrow I'll be coming to you somewhat live from on board the Symphony of the Seas.

This has been a cruise with right around 620 days of waiting. Booked the night reports had started to leak out that Symphony booking had opened up. Little did I know at the time of booking it would be a very short wait to learn this sailing would be part of something much bigger, an official Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise.

Itinerary is somewhat port heavy, but still has time to relax.

Day 1 - Miami

Day 2 - Sea Day

Day 3 - Roatan

Day 4 - Costa Maya

Day 5 - Cozumel

Day 6 - Sea Day

Day 7 - Nassau

Day 8 - Eviction in Miami


For those that are new to reading my LIVEish. Check out my previous one to get an idea of what fine quality work I produce: 


Finally, I'll leave this image for fun...


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Well, we finally made it down to Miami.  Had two standing reservations with Enterprise for a minivan this morning. Got to Enterprise and no minivans.  Had to wait a little bit for one to be brought in.  Did a little trunk Tetris with the luggage and made the 7-hour drive to Miami.  Uneventful other than traffic..but expected cuz Miami and before a big travel holiday..blah blah blah.

Our hotel is the Hampton Inn and Suites Brickell.  Great location if you are flying as it's about 2 blocks from the Metrorail from the airport.  It is downtown Miami so of course not optimal if you're driving because you have to pay to park..so we checked in, ditched the luggage and drove out to the airport to drop off the rental.

$14 Lyft or $2.25 Metrorail...hmmmm tough choice there.  Now, I don't live in a big city so public transportation is a novelty and I embrace it whenever I can.   Rode the 'Rail back and then hit up the gastropub next to the Hampton.

Now our hotel rate came with coupons for drinks at two bars.  One was this gastropub called Batch.  We hit it up and I got their house Black Barrell draft.  It tasted like KY Bourbon Stout but much, much lighter.  We order some eats..and they made mac and cheese out of gnocchi.  This was amazing comfort food and totally worth the hipster we serve grain bowls and avocado toast prices.  The wings were alao good and the Brussels sprouts were also a hit.

Annnnnd..ladies drink free sangria and well drinks from 10pm-1am.  Whaaaaaaat?  So remember that if you stay downtown Miami on Friday night..Batch in Brickell..look them up!  Currently waiting on my free sangria in plastic cups to take it back to the hotel.

Another bonus... @CGTLH paid the dinner tab...haha, sucker.

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I know, I know been neglecting things.

Some Windjammer info (sorry no picts)

Stations in the back were Mongolian, pasta, crepes, and Indian. Didn't catch the dessert selections, do recall a huge pile of fruits. In the main section, seemed like the standard fare.

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Well, this has been beyond a relaxing sea day.


Breakfast delivered 

Top Tier event  (wasn't paying attention to stats)

Hooked for Lunch

Exclusive Welcome Aboard Reception for cruisers book with MEI

Starbucks Run

Pub Crawl

Group "Come as you are" formal night photo

Dinner in Wonderland 


Pub time

Pizza time

LIVEish post

Before bed procrastination

-No time to fit in a basic WJ recon


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On 11/17/2018 at 9:29 AM, CGTLH said:

Made it and waiting to board, Genie is chillin' with us.

@CGTLH I will be going out of the new terminal in January on Allure with Star Class, did you just go to the Suite boarding area that others have mentioned or is there a special place just for Star Class? Also did you leave you luggage with the porters I'm assuming at street level? I have seen some post where people said the luggage got mixed up, but that was when Star Class first came out. Thanks.

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55 minutes ago, tiny260 said:

@CGTLH I will be going out of the new terminal in January on Allure with Star Class, did you just go to the Suite boarding area that others have mentioned or is there a special place just for Star Class? Also did you leave you luggage with the porters I'm assuming at street level? I have seen some post where people said the luggage got mixed up, but that was when Star Class first came out. Thanks.

Special place at street level. Not sure if the garage would have anything.

If you are being dropped off go past the initial drop off area. Right outside the door to the terminal is a small podium with the Star Class banner. Nothing is at the curb.

What ever you do, DO NOT give the normal Porters your luggage. Either bring your bags to the podium or have someone play bag guard until the Star Class porter comes.

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Concur on this.  Do NOT surrender your luggage to anyone -even if they have a Star Class banner on their cart.  Take your luggage with you to the Star Class check-in area.  We have had delays in getting our luggage on every SC cruise so far even when we eat the Genie cooridate it so not sure what the correct way to do it is but I know the regular porters are not the correct ones. Next time I am going to insist that the luggage porter accompany us.

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One of my bags disappeared even though it was with all the rest of my group's luggage.  It was eventually located down the hall on embarkation day with other luggage.  None of the luggage was by the right room either.

Bonus was we got a random Pinnacle's luggage delivered to our room instead. Not a Star Class or even our floor.  No clue how that happened.

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So the Costa Maya recap...

Off the ship, tram to downtown area.

Explored some then took a cab back.

Had lunch onboard

Got off again to browse more of the shops in the port area.

Dinner (150 Central Park)

Show (Stand up Comedy)

Killed time prior to the 80's Street Party

80's Street Party

Next thing I knew, it was 2 am.

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Some disembarkation thoughts...

Star Class luggage had to be put out by 7am departure morning.

Star Class/Suite Guest escort ends upstairs by an elevator. Not sure about availability of any stairs or escalator. Luggage was right near by when exiting the hallway where the elevator is.

Wheelchair assistance has to be taken over by a port agent.

No dedicated lines for porters or suite guests.

Facial scan takes about 30 seconds.

Zones 7-10 are a nightmare of people congestion, these would be exiting towards the right. Also towards the right is the table for contraband pickup.

Overall everything thing was smooth until exiting the terminal.

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Star Class Thoughts 

This time around things really shined. Other than one major problem (that was corrected) I was very pleased.

The night Chops was ordered for balcony dining I was told the venue was closed for a sellout private function with a fixed menu. Only requirement was the order needed to be put in and finalized that afternoon.

Ask and things will magically appear: Never had the opportunity to try the shrimp cocktail or grilled shrimp at Hooked. Request was made one evening for delivery after a show and they were waiting back in the room. I'll add Hooked's grilled shrimp are great.

This cruise was also used as an early celebration for my parents anniversary. The Genie had the pastry team make a custom cake from a picture she provided. Had to say it was a great cake. The Genie did show me a picture provided to the pastry team. While the cake wasn't an exact match, the idea was there.20181123_111213-1008x567.thumb.jpg.a1e62d0e465c327999b614916417fc42.jpg

Also the last night I had to say the level of unexpected service and guest dedication provided by our Genie was without words. The amount of time she spent just basically standing around and talking was just unexpected and very grateful.

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Room Thoughts

Stayed in 8734, Two Bedroom Aqua Theater Suite.

Bedrooms themselves were not huge but adequate. Second bedroom would be a tight fit with four adults. Some design issues aswell with the second bedroom. Example access to the closest can be blocked by the door for the bedroom. Master bedroom didn't seem to have any obvious design flaws.

Living room was grand in size, maybe too big. Had a small round table that could sit four. Outside of the seating at the table the room had two chairs and a sleeper couch. Plenty of counter space under the TV and under the counter was the fridge and two cabinets with shelves. The room did have a design flaw, one cabinet under the counter could be fully opened due to a pole in close proximity. Fridge did a respectful job at keeping beverages cold and cooling down new ones. No noise issues from the rock wall. Keep on mind this is the primary rock wall used.

Balcony can be nothing but described as unique and large. Wraps around the room with no area being too narrow. Table with seating for six with plenty of space. Two loungers on the Aqua Theater side, two chairs with foot stools outside the Master bedroom. Counter right near the rock wall. Great viewing platform for the aqua shows.

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