Jump to content
Royal Caribbean Blog

Symphony review quick & dirty


Recommended Posts

My family & I got off the Symphony this morning and it was a great cruise. I put together a few thoughts that I observed/encountered on the voyage. Im sure others on the sailing will reply w/ their own opinions but here are mine:

Dining: We did speciality dining 5 of 7 nights at (hooked, Jamie’s, Izumi, chops, wonderland). The speciality dining experience was a perfect 10! Specifically the lobster mac & cheese and crab cake at Hooked and the 16oz ribeye at Chops! Our service was perfect and further backs up the reasoning as to why we normally only choose the speciality dining options. We made a huge mistake eating at the MDR on two nights (mainly to dine with my extended family on thanksgiving). The food was horrible (like cold slop). The MDR service was even slower then normal and the staff was in a state of confusion with just about everyone complaining about how disgusting their Thanksgiving turkey dinner was. My parents were both on the transatlantic the week prior to our sailing and mentioned how excellent the food was and how on point the wait staff was. Both my parents agreed that the food & service was really bad Thanksgiving week. Not sure what happened but since I’m not an MDR fan to begin with, we’re not going back to dine on future cruises. 

 

Ship overall (activities, vibe, service, amenities):

Symphony was everything we love (and continue to love) about sailing Oasis class. The crew overall seemed happy to assist with questions and their attitudes were positive. The shows were spectacular especially Hiru the water show which my kids just watched in amazement. The tightrope walkers were pretty awesome too! 

My kids had an absolute blast in the designated children’s pool area. The water slides and water toys are top notch and the life guard staff was on point. I myself enjoyed the adult water slides and found them really thrilling (especially after a few beers). The kids couldn’t stay away from the 2 ice cream machines on the pool deck! 

 

Ports (my opinion):

Roatan: Wipe it off the RC map. Not a place I would take my two young children.

Cozumel: Mr Sanchos = AWESOME! Kids stayed on the boat with my parents.

Costa Maya: After walking down the never ending pier we enjoyed a really great day at the large resort pool. The buckets of beer were flowing, the music was good and we all had a blast! I highly recommend a day at the pool in Costa Maya.

 

Nassau: IMHO the place is a garbage dump w/ the exception of the day pass to British Colonial Hilton. We had a beautiful day at the beach and our server was excellent. The food was really good and the resort food and beverage credit is a nice plus. It was cool getting a good view of the ships in port from the private beach (we even saw the new NCL Bliss come in. 

 

Terminal A (embark, debark):

Getting on the ship was seamless and quick! We pulled our car into the attached parking garage and the porter took our luggage. We parked and 15 minutes later we were on the boardwalk getting a hotdog for lunch!

Leaving Symphony this am was equally as quick and efficient with 1 exception. We wanted to have a full day at home so we got off at 6:30am as soon as the ship was cleared. Clearing customs was as simple as a retina scan and we were outside the terminal. This is where things bottlenecked. With only (4) elevators into the parking garage a large line formed even at 6:30am. We couldn’t take the stairs because we had 4 bags and a stroller (not an option). That’s really my only issue with the experience but it only delayed us about 15 min. By 7:30am I was home in Fort Lauderdale staring at the new Celebrity Edge in port! 

 

We enjoyed Symphony and can’t wait to sail her again soon!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the review. Not doing Symphony for another year so got a long wait. Personally I haven’t ever had any issues with MDR food but I’m pretty flexible with free food for the price paid for the cruise. Also food opinions can be very subjective. I suspect though that it the food really was that bad, it might be due to a brand new crew perhaps or it could be due to it being a holiday cruise. Perhaps there was a lot of more stress or something attached to it. Not sure what goes on with holiday cruises as I’ve never done one due to the higher price. But again food can be very subjective to individual different tastes and expectations etc. and it is a new ship. 

 

But glad to hear that you still enjoyed it. Personally I would love to try more of the specialty dining onboard but unfortunately the specialty restaurants, with the exception of Jaime’s, aren’t vegetarian friendly which is disappointing as I always travel with a vegetarian. 

 

Thanks 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tony, even though we were on NAV, our cruise experience with The Thanksgiving meal was the same as yours.  Absolutely inedible.  Dan NEVER complains about food.  He will basically eat anything and be happy about it but even he wouldn’t eat it.  There wasn’t one decent bite. Including the nasty pumpkin pie.  Truly dreadful. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Hmm...makes me wonder how about NYE dinner on Indy coming up. We did not want to do specialty because both Chops and Giovanni's are double the price ($79pp) for that evening.

I think you should be OK with the NYE.

Thanksgiving  dinner can always be problematic when you need to serve many people at once, turkey mostly will be dry. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Traveler said:

I think you should be OK with the NYE.

Thanksgiving  dinner can always be problematic when you need to serve many people at once, turkey mostly will be dry. 

I’ve done NYE on Indy in MDR and I remember it being decent. Nothing can match the sh*t show we just experienced on Symphony! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually can say that MDR food was really bad now a day.  Only on Lobsters night on Anthem OTS during Thanksgiving sailing that decent for us. We dined in Solarium Bistro 5 nights out of 8 nights. If we will sail on Anthem again and not booking UDP then we will stick with Solarium Bistro. We went to Windjammer to get the food after a horrible Thanksgiving's meal in the Dining room. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

In our case, we only ate at the MDR 2 nights of our 5, one of those being the Turkey night. The other night we were there, the dinner was fine.  Dan made the mistake of ordering the apple pie a la mode (I hate raisins so I never order it).  It was very unappetizing-looking; obviously had been frozen and he didn't eat it but everything else was tolerable.  So maybe the other 3 nights were ok...I just don't know as we ate at specialty restaurants those other nights.  We had our disappointments with 2 of those meals as well.  Night #1 was the infamous trip to Sabor where we discovered that they have taken Queso Fundido off the menu (oh, the humanity !!) and the night we went to Chops we found out that it was one of the Chops where Red Velvet Cake has been jettisoned.  So all-in-all, we had a very disappointing cruise from the gastronomic angle.  The only truly satisfying meal we had was at Izumi.  Go figure.

Since I re-read your post, jurrjurr, I see that you are actually asking about the other dishes offered on Thanksgiving, besides the turkey.  Honestly, I cannot say since we only got the turkey and ham (both of which were horrible).  Perhaps the other choices were better.  Ours was pure slop.

Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, jurrjurr said:

Was it only the turkey dinner that was bad?  What about the other dishes (beef, chicken, fish, etc)?  I'm not a big turkey fan to begin with.  Just wondering if the entire MDR dinner service was a complete mess on Thanksgiving.

I ordered 2 appetizers Chill soup and shrimp cocktail. The soup is runny dilute and no taste.  Entree ordered a seafood and mash. The fried fish had no taste 2 scallops and 2 shrimps were over battered and rubbery not sure about other things on the plate because I stopped eating at that point. I stopped after I ate 1 bite of each thing. Desert, I do not remember what it called. I think pear and crisp Chocolate something like that. It was no taste like creamy green jello with a chocolate piece.

My husband ordered pasta and it came with pasta noodle and the marinas sauce. It tasted ok but not enough sauce and nothing else on the plate except noodle and tiny sauce.

My FIL and MIL ordered the same appetizers and same entrees as me and they experience the same. They ordered the pumpkin pie and they said not taste like pumpkin pie. Taste peanut on their pies. 

This was on Anthem OTS. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jurrjurr said:

Was it only the turkey dinner that was bad?  What about the other dishes (beef, chicken, fish, etc)?  I'm not a big turkey fan to begin with.  Just wondering if the entire MDR dinner service was a complete mess on Thanksgiving.

I can say with certainty that the entire menu was pig slop. Most of my family ordered the turkey and it was no bueno. Others ordered the prime rib as well as the spaghetti w/ meat sauce. The spaghetti came with cold French fries (odd and seems like it was off a children’s menu) and the prime rib was cold as well and marinating in a bath of blood. Thankfully we only did 2 of 7 nights but my parents did 5 of 7 and deemed it consistently nasty (note: my parents complain about nothing so it was REALLY bad). 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am surprised to hear about these miserable MDR experiences.  I am pretty easy going with regards to restaurant food, and I have been to many fine dining establishments all over the country, and in comparison I have never really had an issue with MDR food.  Over my handful of RC cruises I have done most of the specialties on as well, never had any issues with those either.  You are making me question Matt's reviews, because in his live blog for Symphony, he had Thanksgiving dinner in the MDR, and he didn't mention any issues.  

I guess if I ever do a Thanksgiving cruise, I will avoid the MDR entirely!    

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, JBC said:

I am surprised to hear about these miserable MDR experiences.  I am pretty easy going with regards to restaurant food, and I have been to many fine dining establishments all over the country, and in comparison I have never really had an issue with MDR food.  Over my handful of RC cruises I have done most of the specialties on as well, never had any issues with those either.  You are making me question Matt's reviews, because in his live blog for Symphony, he had Thanksgiving dinner in the MDR, and he didn't mention any issues.  

I guess if I ever do a Thanksgiving cruise, I will avoid the MDR entirely!    

Up until maybe 5-7 years ago we ate 6 out of 7 nights average in the MDR and I don’t recall any major issues with the food at all. I’m curious about Matt’s reviews as well! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, JBC said:

I am surprised to hear about these miserable MDR experiences.  I am pretty easy going with regards to restaurant food, and I have been to many fine dining establishments all over the country, and in comparison I have never really had an issue with MDR food.  Over my handful of RC cruises I have done most of the specialties on as well, never had any issues with those either.  You are making me question Matt's reviews, because in his live blog for Symphony, he had Thanksgiving dinner in the MDR, and he didn't mention any issues.  

I guess if I ever do a Thanksgiving cruise, I will avoid the MDR entirely!    

You can look at my cruise history, I went to many cruises. Maybe not many like other people here but this Thanksgiving dinner was the worst. I had never dined on specialties restaurants. All of the cruises I took I ate in MDR and occasionally Windjammer. I am not a picky eater either and love MDR foods that why I love to cruise. However. these past few years the food quality in the MDR decline. I used to think that so hard to pick the food because it is so many good choices on MDR but now is opposite. I not sure this is a strategy to get people to buy their food or not. Anyway, this trip with Anthem we managed to find the place we love to eat " Solarium Bistro". 

FYI: I do not complain about the whole cruise experience on Anthem OTS, just gave an honest review with the MDR food on Thanksgiving's day. Actually, this trip was the most fun trip we have ever had.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We ate in the MDR two nights of this cruise, not Thanksgiving though.  We found the service to be fast and the food to be the typical MDR experience.  We elected to go to the WJ on Thanksgiving, We wanted to partake in the group cruise toast and then grab a quick dinner.  It sounds like it was better than your MDR experience. 

The specialty restaurants were top notch for sure.  We did Chops, Wonderland and 150 Central Park for dinner, all excellent and Jamie's for lunch, also excellent.

I thought one of the amazing additions to the ship was Playmakers.  We didn't have any food from there but the atmosphere for the games was incredible.

As far as ports, we enjoyed Roatan.  We did a private tour from Victor Boddan and had a tour as well as my daughter and her fiance did ziplining. In Costa Maya we went to Maya Chan which was really my favorite stop of the cruise because 1) Tequilla, 2) Great food, 3) Amazing service & 4) Great company. In Cozumel we did Paradise Beach.  We had a great time at the beach with food and drinks for about half of what an all inclusive would have cost. In Nassau we stayed on the ship preferring to enjoy the half full ship.

The other amazing part of this cruise was the entertainment, the shows are great, although we missed getting to see Flight.

Sorry to hijack you mini-review with my mini-review.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, WhiteSoxFan said:

We ate in the MDR two nights of this cruise, not Thanksgiving though.  We found the service to be fast and the food to be the typical MDR experience.  We elected to go to the WJ on Thanksgiving, We wanted to partake in the group cruise toast and then grab a quick dinner.  It sounds like it was better than your MDR experience. 

The specialty restaurants were top notch for sure.  We did Chops, Wonderland and 150 Central Park for dinner, all excellent and Jamie's for lunch, also excellent.

I thought one of the amazing additions to the ship was Playmakers.  We didn't have any food from there but the atmosphere for the games was incredible.

As far as ports, we enjoyed Roatan.  We did a private tour from Victor Boddan and had a tour as well as my daughter and her fiance did ziplining. In Costa Maya we went to Maya Chan which was really my favorite stop of the cruise because 1) Tequilla, 2) Great food, 3) Amazing service & 4) Great company. In Cozumel we did Paradise Beach.  We had a great time at the beach with food and drinks for about half of what an all inclusive would have cost. In Nassau we stayed on the ship preferring to enjoy the half full ship.

The other amazing part of this cruise was the entertainment, the shows are great, although we missed getting to see Flight.

Sorry to hijack you mini-review with my mini-review.

You should have gone to Hooked it was fantastic! That was a great cruise and we had amazing weather. Looking forward to Thanksgiving on Allure next year with stops in the new and improved coco cay, st Thomas, st Martin!

Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, tonyfsu21 said:

You should have gone to Hooked it was fantastic! That was a great cruise and we had amazing weather. Looking forward to Thanksgiving on Allure next year with stops in the new and improved coco cay, st Thomas, st Martin!

I agree that the weather was amazing.  Especially compared to the forecast.  @Matt & @AnnetteJackson dialed up some good weather.  😉

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to say that this year the Thanksgiving dinner on Allure as very good (I've had some really bad MDR Thanksgiving dinners on other cruise lines) .  I had the turkey and it was not dry at all and even the stuffing was pretty good (I really don't like stuffing).  My sister had the ham which looked good and she had no complaints.  The pecan pie was good too.   The only meal I sent back in the MDR was the rack of lamb.  I asked for it rare and they killed it.  They brought me a huge plate of jumbo garlic prawns (at least 15 of them) instead which were wonderful.

20181123_011514043_iOS.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...