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World's largest cruise ship restarts sailings today

In:
14 Aug 2021

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas restarts cruises today after being shutdown due to the global health crisis.

Symphony may not be the first cruise ship to restart, but she is the largest cruise ship in the world, which is a significant milestone for the cruise industry.

Royal Caribbean has been slowly and methodically restarting its ships with a wealth of new health protocols and policies in place to protect guests, crew members, and the communities each of its ships visits.

All of the crew members will be fully vaccinated on Symphony of the Seas, and any unvaccinated guests (mainly children, according to the cruise line) will be subject to additional testing requirements and specific health protocols. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the ship to restart operations following a simulated voyage earlier this month, when the crew demonstrated the new protocols meet the agency's needs.

All passengers onboard, vaccinated or not, will need to take a Covid test before the cruise, and wear face masks in public areas onboard unless in a designated vaccinated-only zone.

While Symphony has a capacity of over 5,400 passengers, the ship will sail with significantly less guests while Royal Caribbean gets more ships back into service and evaluates its health protocols. While the exact number of passengers for the first sailing is not yet know, other Royal Caribbean ships have been sailing with just around 1,000 passengers at the most onboard.

Symphony of the Seas will depart today from PortMiami and embark on a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise that visits Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan.

Symphony is not the first Oasis Class cruise ship to restart. Sister ship Allure of the Seas was able to start up first earlier this month.  The two other Oasis Class ships will resume operations shortly as well.

Harmony of the Seas will depart Barcelona on Sunday, while Oasis of the Seas will resume operations from Cape Liberty in early September.

Some of the protocols for unvaccinated guests include being limited from accessing certain venues onboard, as well as being required to get travel insurance for sailings beginning in August.

Two Royal Caribbean cruise ships will begin simulated cruises today

In:
01 Aug 2021

Two more Royal Caribbean ships will begin their test cruises today, including the world's largest cruise ship.

Independence of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas will both begin their simulated voyages so that they can get permission from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to sail with paying passengers.

So far four other Royal Caribbean ships have done test cruises, and one other is underway right now.

Symphony of the Seas will sail from PortMiami on Sunday, and is the second Oasis Class cruise ship to start a test cruise.

Symphony will sail a 3-night cruise that visits Perfect Day at CocoCay before returning to Miami.

Meanwhile, Independence of the Seas will begin her test cruise from Galveston, Texas.

If all goes well, both ships could restart operations with paying passengers later this month.

The CDC requires these test cruises with unpaid volunteers to demonstrate new health protocols can keep guests and crew members safe onboard from the spread of Covid-19. 

On other Royal Caribbean ships that have restarted operations, the new protocols have worked extremely well at isolating and limiting the spread of the virus among passengers.  The handful of cases across different sailings have been few and quickly dealt with.

This approach to safe cruising has been a mantra for Royal Caribbean, which has long sought to make cruising "safer than main street", according to Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain.

In his most recent video update, Mr. Fain talked about the importance of making cruises safer than other aspects of life, "We wanted to be not only just as safe as the places, we wanted to be safer."

"We established a goal of being safer on board than a ship on Main Street. We've shown that an ambitious goal can be achieved based on hard work and an unemotional review of the facts and the science."

Simulated voyages test out many facets of the cruise experience, including a new approach to embarkation and disembarkation, medical evacuation procedures and procedures for transferring symptomatic passengers and crew to isolation rooms set up on board the ships.

Other onboard protocols include restricting certain venues to vaccinated passengers only, changes to dining onboard, and modifications to the entertainment lineup and seating.

Royal Caribbean is electing to conduct test sailings instead of mandating 95% of its passengers be fully vaccinated because the cruise line feels very strongly about allowing children to sail, whom are not eligible to be vaccinated.

Cruise ships that sail from the U.S. and can guarantee at least 95% of its passengers are vaccinated do not have to conduct test sailings and can go right to revenue sailings.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley recently explained his cruise line's restart plans are different than other lines because of their commitment to families, "In a normal year the majority of our guests are families. At any time throughout the year we carry approx 10 percent plus of our guests who are kids 12 and under and they of course travel with their family."

"Because of the kids we have been sailing at around 90 percent vaccinated and so we would not be able to operate at the CDC 95 / 95 and so like Disney Cruises or MSC all family brands we chose this path."

Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval to start test sailings on Allure and Symphony of the Seas

In:
03 Jun 2021

Two of the world's largest cruise ships have gotten approval to start test cruises.

Royal Caribbean confirmed on Thursday Allure of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas have received permission from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to start test cruises.

These two ships the second and third Royal Caribbean International ship to get approval for test cruises, following Freedom of the Seas.

Both ships are the first Oasis Class ships to get test cruise approval, and are the largest ships to date with approval from the CDC to conduct simulated voyages.

Read moreHere's how to sign up to be a volunteer for a Royal Caribbean test cruise

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley confirmed the news on Facebook, along with sail dates.

Allure of the Seas will start her testr cruises from Port Canaveral on July 27 to July 29.

Symphony of the Seas will conduct her test sailings from PortMiami on August 1 through August 3.

Read moreEverything you need to know about Royal Caribbean test cruises

"Yippee," Mr. Bayley added with the news. "Just got approval from the CDC for our simulated sailings."

Royal Caribbean issued a statement confirming what Mr. Bayley posted, "We are encouraged to see our ongoing work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to progress on all fronts. Allure and Symphony of the Seas, two of the world’s largest cruise ships, are the latest in Royal Caribbean International’s fleet to be approved for simulation cruises. The ships will follow Freedom of the Seas and embark on their simulation sailings on July 27 and August 1, respectively. "

Simulated voyages (also known as test cruises) are when cruise lines can operate ships with volunteer passengers in order to prove their new protocols work.

These are not cruises you can book, but rather, are limited voyages where a cruise line invites certain unpaid volunteers to help go through all the necessary steps and procedures to ensure cruise ships can be run safely.

Each cruise ship needs to be approved by the CDC in order to conduct test cruises.

During these test cruises, Royal Caribbean will go through a variety of scenarios to prove to the CDC that the ship can conduct sailings in a safe manner. Specifically, the new protocols aimed at preventing Covid-19 from getting onboard the ship are at the heart of these dry runs.

Each ship must conduct at least one simulated cruise, and each voyage must be between 2-7 days in length with a least one overnight stay, including through embarkation, disembarkation, and post-disembarkation testing.

According to the CDC, passengers and crew must meet standards during the simulated voyage for hand hygiene, use of face masks, and social distancing for passengers and crew, as well as ship sanitation.

Royal Caribbean must modify meal service and entertainment venues to facilitate social distancing during the simulated voyage.

Four Royal Caribbean cruise ships will get dry dock work in Spain

In:
05 Apr 2021

Cadiz, Spain will be a hot spot for Royal Caribbean cruise ships very soon.

The Navantia shipyards announced four ships are scheduled to get dry dock work there, beginning with Harmony of the Seas.

Cruise ships must undergo routine work every few years (usually five) in order to keep the ship properly maintained, as well as up to date with being seaworthy.

Harmony of the Seas just arrived in Cadiz on Monday to undergo technical work on her propellers, stabilizers and bottom valves, as well as give the ship some paint work. In fact, the shipyard estimates they will need about 8,000 liters of paint for the work.

Captain Johnny Faevelen posted photos on Twitter of Harmony's arrival at the yard.

The work on Harmony of the Seas is expected to last about a month.

The Navantia shipyards said Jewel of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas will follow in May 2021, followed by Liberty of the Seas in July 2021.  

In addition, Jewel of the Seas will get some work done prior to her summer season sailing from Cyprus to the Greek Isles.

The work done across the four ships will take about 500,000 hours and create 1,230 jobs at the shipyard.

Will these cruise ships get any upgrades or new features?

When a cruise ship goes into dry dock, that is usually a good opportunity for Royal Caribbean to add new features and things to do onboard, but not this time around.

The work being done on all four ships is limited to a technical dry dock, which means just maintenance work.

Royal Caribbean postponed previously scheduled upgrades for Libeerty of the Seas (and many other ships) once the cruise industry shutdown in March 2020.  The inability to cruise has created a lot of financial hardship for the company, and they have cut back on spending where they can.

In addition, Jewel of the Seas was never going to be Amplified.

As a result, the work being done on these ships will be limited to just "under the hood" type work, in order to ensure the ships can sail for another five years without problems.

Top 25 free things you can do on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class cruise ships

In:
25 Nov 2020

There is nothing like Royal Caribbean's biggest and most expansive cruise ships, the Oasis Class ships.

There are four Oasis Class ships currently (with Wonder of the Seas joining the fleet in 2022), and they each offer so much for guests to do on vacation.

If you have a cruise booked on one of these incredible cruise ships, here is a list of must-dos that will not cost you anything extra!

Watch a Broadway show

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

Every Oasis Class ship has a full length Broadway show onboard that you can see over and over again.

Performances are found in the Royal Theater and unlike seeing a musical in Times Square or at home, there is no extra cost to them.

  • Oasis of the Seas: Cats
  • Allure of the Seas: Mamma Mia
  • Harmony of the Seas: Grease
  • Symphony of the Seas: Hairspray

Play Laser Tag

Ships available: Symphony, Oasis.

At special laser tag sessions, Royal Caribbean transforms Studio B into a glow-in-the-dark arena that invites everyone to see if they can conquer the, "Battle for Planet Z".

Guests can put on  special laser tag vests, grab a laser tag gun and head into the arena for a fast-paced team-game that rewards the group that works well together and coordinates their efforts.  Just like laser tag on land, Battle for Planet Z is a high-energy race with bragging rights for the rest of the cruise on the line!

Zip line

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

Every Oasis Class ship has a zip line over the Boardwalk neighborhood where you can traverse the 82 foot long distance while looking down on passengers below.

The zip line is set up nine decks above the sea, and it is an exhilarating ride across.  It is also a very quick ride, so if you have never done a zip line before, this is a great primer.

Note that guests have to weigh more than 75 pounds, but less than 275 pounds, as well as be at least 52" tall.

Ultimate Abyss

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis

If you are looking for a great family friendly thrill, check out the Ultimate Abyss slide.

The Ultimate Abyss is a dry slide (no water, you ride down on a mat) and will take you more than 150 feet above sea level as you twist and turn down 10 decks at about 9 miles per hour.

It looks scarier than it is, and worth giving a try.

Watch an AquaTheater show

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

One of the classic experiences available only on an Oasis Class ship is the AquaTheater shows.

Known for a combination of theatrics, dance, and high dives, the shows in the AquaTheater are set in an open air amphitheater at the aft of the cruise ship and have become a very popular show to see.

Between the acrobatics, high dives, and music, there is a lot to enjoy during these half hour performances.

Be sure to get tickets (no cost) in advance via the Cruise Planner site because seating is very limited.

Ice skating

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

It may sound odd that you can go ice skating on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean, but you can do just that on an Oasis Class ship.

Throughout the cruise, open skate sessions are held in Studio B, where you can rent a pair of skates and safety equipment for no additional cost and take to the ice.

Passengers must wear long pants and must sign a waiver to participate.

Plunge down a water slide

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis.

Water slides are bound to put a smile on just about anyone because it is such a fun cruise ship activity.

The Perfect Storm trio of water slides offer two racer slides and a champagne bowl slide that are included in your cruise fare.  As you slide down any of the slides, you will twist and turn three decks into a splashy finish.

Check out the art

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

Every Royal Caribbean ship features a large and varied art collection onboard that you can see throughout your cruise.

Located in hallways, stair cases and everywhere inbetween, each Oasis Class ship has an extensive art collection that you can peruse on your own.  This is a great sea day activity for the whole family, and each ship has a different theme to the art onboard.

Splashaway Bay

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis (Allure of the Seas has H2O Zone, which is somewhat similar)

While older kids and adults may enjoy going down the water slides, younger kids will absolutely love Splashaway Bay aqua park.

Kids will find fountains, buckets, sprays and even slides that will leave them as drenched as enamoured with all the fun.

It is a great spot for kids to cool off, and there is even a Splash Pad for toddlers use.

Ride the carousel

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

Your Oasis Class cruise is not complete without enjoying a ride on the carousel in the Boardwalk neighborhood.

Inspired by turn-of-the-century carousels, Royal Caribbean commissioned hand crafted carousels to be made for all of its cruise ships.  These are beautiful rides that are equally as fun to ride as they are to enjoy their beauty.

There is also an ADA-accessible chariot, which means everyone can enjoy it.

Be sure to ride at night as well to enjoy how beautiful the carousel looks when lit up.

Mini-golf

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

You must challenge the family to at least one round of putt-putt while on any Oasis Class ship.

You can play on the green as often as you like, while enjoying some beautiful views of the ocean that surrounds you.  No reservations are required, just show up and grab a putter and ball. 

Like the carousel, be sure to try out night time mini golf one evening to mix things up.

Drop the kids off at camp

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

Adventure Ocean is Royal Caribbean's award winning supervised (and complimentary) children's programming at sea and it is the perfect escape for kids.

Kids will love the array of fun activities onboard and parents will enjoy some time apart from the kiddos!

Flowrider

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

Every Oasis Class ship features two Flowrider surf simulators, where you can challenge yourself to master the art of riding a surfboard.

This is a free activity, so all you have to do is show up and wait your turn in line. 

In addition, Royal Caribbean offers private and group lessons for a nominal fee, if you feel the need to learn quicker.

Even if you have no interest in surfing, there is seating available to watch others give it a try.

See an ice show

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

Royal Caribbean puts on some must-see shows in Studio B on its ships every sailing.

Each ship offers a different ice show, and they tell a lovely story while showing off some incredible feats of ice skating.  Many of the skaters are former Olympic and national skating competitors.

Enjoy a snack at El Loco Fresh

Ships available: Symphony, Oasis.

If you consider yourself a lover of Mexican food, be sure to grab a few bites at El Loco Fresh.

The grab-and-go Mexican quick service restaurant is conveniently located on the pool deck, and you will have your choice of tacos, burritos and quesadillas. 

There is also a large salsa station where you can add all sorts of toppings to your chips!

Enjoy a walk through Central Park

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

An iconic part of any Oasis Class ship is Central Park.

Located in the heart of the ship on deck 8, this is an open air park that features living plants, shrubs and trees, and is a quieter district of an otherwise busy cruise ship.

At night, the park features live music performances, as well as beautiful lighting.  

Central Park is also where you will find specialty restaurants you can dine at for lunch or dinner (extra cost) or Park Cafe (complimentary) for meals and snacks throughout the day.

Free breakfast at Johnny Rockets

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

One of my favorite Oasis Class secrets is you can enjoy a complimentary breakfast at Johnny Rockets.

All Oasis-class ships offer this option, but many guests are unaware that breakfast is served here, nor that it is included with your cruise fare (Johnny Rockets has a cover charge for lunch and dinner).

The Johnny Rockets breakfast menu is a traditional American breakfast, with pancakes, omelettes, French toast and the like.  

Johnny Rockets tends to be not very crowded for breakfast, because many guests are unaware of this option, and it also has a large seating capacity (indoor and outdoor seating options).

Sing karaoke

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

Whether at the Open Air Club or Spotlight Karaoke (Oasis), you will find a fan-favorite activity on any cruise ship: karaoke.

Guests can pick a song from a library of choices and then take the stage to show off their vocal range (or maybe lack thereof).

Enjoy a parade

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

On the Royal Promenade, you can take in a parade during your cruise.  

Royal Caribbean's entertainment staff perform a parade during the cruise that feature colorful and larger-than-life costumes that are a fun diversion from the usual activities.

Be sure to arrive early, as seating is limited along the Royal Promenade path.

Find the Small Wonders

Ships available: Oasis, Allure.

Hidden all over Oasis and Allure of the Seas is a series of art displays known as "Small Wonders", where you will find 42 natural wonders positioned all over the ship.

When you find one, there will be something that looks like a periscope or telescope that if you peer into, you will find these tiny three dimensional pieces of art.

This is a fun activity for kids or adults to try to find them all and it is one of those hidden gems many guests simply overlook.

Hint: if you give up and cannot find them all, Guest Services can provide you with a list of them all to help!

Virtual reality games

Ships available: Oasis, Symphony.

Royal Caribbean's smart phone app is free to use onboard the ship, and features a few virtual reality games that you can play in the Boardwalk neighborhood.

Once in the Boardwalk, look for the various game posters near Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.  Launch the app, select the icon that looks like a circus tent and then point your camera towards the poster.

Watch the ship's wake

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

Looking for somewhere that is shaded and is quiet and a great spot to sit and relax?  

Head to deck 5 and go all the way to the aft of the ship.  You will find chairs that have a great view of the ocean and are usually devoid of other passengers. You can also access this area by going behind the AquaTheater and going down the stairs.

Enjoy a drink on the Rising Tide Bar

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

There is something undeniably cool about a bar that moves between decks, and on Oasis class ships, the Rising Tide bar does just that.

The Rising Tide Bar continuously moves between the Royal Promenade and Central Park, offering some great views while you enjoy your favorite cocktail.

Order a drink and enjoy the view as the bar moves between decks. Be sure to wave to the people around you as you depart.

See a robot make a drink

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis.

The Bionic Bar is as appealing to watch as it is to enjoy a cocktail crafted here. You will find quite often many guests simply watching the robots in action, although there is usually plenty of folks ordering drinks as well.

The idea is simple: guests place orders via tablets and then can watch the robot bartenders start mixing the cocktails. Bionic Bar combines two big trends, robotics and mixology.

The single armed robot will get the ice, mints and lemon and then squeeze and shake them to make your drink. Eventually, there wont be a limit on what the drinks the robots can make. The customization is what Royal Caribbean is aiming for.

Tackle the rock climbing wall

Ships available: Symphony, Harmony, Oasis, Allure.

One of the signature onboard activities that Royal Caribbean has become well-known for is the rock climbing wall. 

Just like the Flowrider, Oasis Class ships have two rock walls that you can try, including different tracks for different experience levels.

 It is usually open most of the day for kids and adults to enjoy.  Royal Caribbean provides all the safety equipment that you will need, including helmets, harnesses and shoes.  You just need to bring a pair of socks.

Climbers need to be at least 6 years old and sign a waiver.  Climbing the rock wall is free and no reservations are required.

Do's & Don'ts of Symphony of the Seas

In:
24 Jun 2020

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world, and with a title like that, there is plenty to see, do, and explore onboard!

Going on a Symphony of the Seas cruise means access to incredible dining, shows, daily activities, and fun destinations to visit.  With so much opportunity, here is what you need to know to maximize your time onboard.

Do the pre-cruise check-in

Before you ever step foot onboard Symphony of the Seas, be sure to complete the online check-in.

Doing online check-in will save you time at the terminal, and greatly speed up the entire process once you arrive for your cruise. After all, it is much more enjoyable to breeze through the terminal and get onboard faster!

The easiest way to check-in for your cruise is to download Royal Caribbean's app and log into your account to get it started.

You can check-in up to 90 days before you sail date, but it must be completed no later than 3 days prior to sailing. It is easy to forget, so be sure to get it done early.

Checking in online is super quick, and will save you time later at the port.

Don't forget to book entertainment before your cruise

Symphony of the Seas has a lot of amazing shows and activities onboard, and you will not be the only person who wants to try to do them all.

On Oasis (and Quantum) Class ships, Royal Caribbean allows guests to prebook shows and activities from the Cruise Planner. These reservations guarantee you a spot at a specific time to see a show or engage in an activity.

Making reservations for shows is complementary, so you have nothing to lose by making a reservation.

There is no set time frame when shows will become available to book, but it is usually closer to your sail date, in the 30-45 day range.  The key is to periodically check the Cruise Planner for when it may appear.

Do eat at the less crowded restaurants

Typically cruisers on a Royal Caribbean ship will head to the Windjammer or main dining room to eat meals, but on Oasis Class ships these venues can easily get crowded.

Instead, you want to dine at the less busy, but still awesome complimentary restaurants.

On embarkation day, hit up El Loco Fresh or Park Cafe.  El Loco Fresh has tacos, burritos, chips and more to enjoy and you can get in an out super quick. Park Cafe has the world-famous Kummelweck roast beef sandwich!

Throughout the cruise, Solarium Bistro is a vastly underrated complimentary restaurant that rarely gets crowds because many people are completely unaware it exists, or what it offers. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Do find the hidden spots

A cruise ship as big as Symphony of the Seas has some great hidden spots, so be sure to note them all before you get onboard.

My favorite hidden spot on Symphony of the Seas is the chairs on jogging deck on the back of the ship. These chairs offer a great view of the ocean passing by, and are a great place to relax on a sea day.

Refer to this Symphony of the Seas secrets page, so you do not miss any of them.

Do explore the ship early

Since Symphony is so large, you will want to get your bearings early.

The size of the ship does not mean it is difficult to get around.  In fact, Royal Caribbean designed the ship to be easy to navigate, but you should try to get a sense of where everything is as early as you can.

After you get something to eat on embarkation day, it is a good idea to start exploring the ship.  There are seven neighborhoods to Symphony of the Seas, so try to walk around and see where the major areas and activities are located.

A common mistake made by first-timers is they do not realize a certain activity or area was on the ship until it was too late.

Do stay onboard on a port stop

Spoiler alert: You cannot see and do everything on Symphony of the Seas in just one 7-night cruise.

You might consider skipping a port stop at one point and staying onboard to explore the ship instead. Many activities are open on Symphony of the Seas while the ship is docked in a port, and you will find significantly less crowds onboard.

Staying on your ship while in port means very short lines for water slides, the FlowRider, pools and more. It almost feels like you have the ship to yourself! 

More: 10 free activities on Symphony of the Seas

Don't miss the ice skating and AquaTheater shows

I know what you are thinking, "Do I really want to see an ice skating show?" or "What the heck is an aqua show?", but they are must-sees!

Royal Caribbean takes pride in its entertainment, and the shows offered in Studio B and the AquaTheater are top-notch and worthy of being in a Las Vegas hotel.

The performers are highly trained and talented folks from all over the world, that audition for the opportunity to be featured in a Royal Caribbean production.

Symphony of the Seas has a number of great shows to see including:

  • 1977 ice skating show in Studio B
  • Hairspray the full Broadway musical in the Royal Theater
  • HiRO aqua show in the AquaTheater
  • Flight: Dare to Dream introduces cutting-edge 3D flying technology, video and automation in the Royal Theater

Do go to Johnny Rockets for a free breakfast

One of my favorite tips for any Oasis Class ship is to go to Johnny Rockets for breakfast.

Johnny Rockets has a cover charge for lunch and dinner, but it is complimentary for breakfast and serves up the kind of traditional American breakfast items most guests love.

The best reason to dine at Johnny Rockets for breakfast is that it is totally free and rarely crowded. Most guests are unaware it is open for breakfast, nor that it costs nothing.

Do check out the interactive art

Royal Caribbean ships are known for their art collections, and Symphony of the Seas features interactive art that is more than just a painting or sculpture.

  • Paradox Void (Gregor Kregar, New Zealand) – Upon boarding the ship on the Royal Promenade, guests are welcomed by a monumental, kaleidoscopic maze of mirrors and colored lights. This 20-foot-tall, three-ton sculpture is made of 1,200 mirrored stainless-steel triangles and 200 sections of LED light strips. The piece invites travelers to interact with it via seating elements incorporated inside of the actual sculpture.
    *Location: deck 5, forward
  • Sound Shell (Daniel Canogar, Spain) – Inspired by the spiraling shape of a seashell, this LED, interactive sculpture activates when a guest steps into the shell for an intimate, rich audiovisual experience composed of unique soundscapes and soothing light therapy.
    *Location: deck 6, aft
  • Drier-Wig (dEmo, Spain) – One of the best photo-ops on board, the out-of-the-ordinary, motion-activated purple wig emits music when guests step beneath to wear it “on” their heads.
    *Location: deck 6, starboard

Don't be scared to ride the Ultimate Abyss

The Ultimate Abyss is that giant purple slide on the back of the ship that looks like something only daredevils would enjoy, but it is far more tame than you might imagine.

Towering 150 feet above sea level, it is a dry slide that sends guest plummeting down a 100 foot drop, but not all at once.  There are a lot of twists and turns that greatly reduce the speed going down.

Not only is the Ultimate Abyss a lot of fun (and free) to ride, it is not nearly as scary as it looks, so give it a shot!

Do visit the Big Wonder at night

Located in the Solarium on deck 15 forward, the Big Wonder is a beautiful work of art, and the perfect backdrop for a cocktail or two.

While the Solarium Bar is open in the day and evening, be sure stop by after the sun goes down because the entire structure is lit up at night and becomes even more impressive.

It is a great spot for taking photos with the 2,594 square feet structure in the background, or the focus of your photo as you share with friends and family back home.

Don't miss the specialty restaurants

While there is no shortage of great complimentary food on Symphony of the Seas, you really ought to consider a meal or two at one of the specialty restaurants.

Symphony of the Seas is jam-packed with some of the best specialty restaurants across the fleet.

One of my absolute favorite restaurants is Izumi, which features the Hibachi option that never disappoints.  Teppan-style dining is always a hit with families.

Hooked Seafood is another relatively new restaurant for Royal Caribbean, and features a robust raw bar.

Central Park is home to three different signature restaurants: Chops Grille, 150 Central Park & Jamie's Italian.  Each are excellent choices for a night out!

Save these Symphony of the Seas tips!

Did you find these tips helpful? 

Be sure to save these tips for your future reference by bookmarking this page, or you can pin the image below to Pinterest!

 

Royal Caribbean testing onboard food delivery on Symphony of the Seas

In:
15 Oct 2019

Royal Caribbean is testing out a new feature of its smartphone app that allows guests to order food from specialty restaurants via its smart phone app.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Preston shared details of the new app feature, which provided guests the option to order food items from restaurants such as Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Izumi sushi or Johnny Rockets. Food items that do not have a fixed price, such as Johnny Rockets, cost anywhere from $3-$7 and a large pizza from Sorrentos costs $5.

Guests can choose to have the food delivered to their stateroom, or anywhere on the ship. If stateroom is selected, the room number is pre-selected by the app based on the guest's reservation. 

Alternatively, guests can have food delivered to them by selecting what deck they are on, and then drag and dropping a pin on a map to indicate where you are located on that deck. There are some no-delivery zones, like pools, waterslide lines, theaters, and other restaurants. 

Once the food is ordered, the server locates you based on the pinpoint and delivers the food as soon as it is ready. Thanks to Mark for doing "research" for us!

 

Many thanks to Mark and Danna for providing screenshots and "field testing" this new feature!

Symphony of the Seas changes itinerary to avoid Tropical Storm Karen

In:
23 Sep 2019

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas cruise ship has changed itineraries to avoid the path of Tropical Storm Karen.

Guests sailing onboard Symphony of the Seas have been informed of a change in their sailing that will skip scheduled stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten and insyead visit Cozumel and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Thanks to @FmtTony for providing this photo

Symphony of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas have now had their itinerary changed to avoid Tropical Storm Karen.

Tropical Storm Dorian changes itineraries of Allure, Harmony and Symphony of the Seas

In:
25 Aug 2019

Tropical Storm Dorian formed in the Caribbean in the last few days and has caused two Royal Caribbean ships to change itineraries to avoid the projected path of the storm.

Harmony of the Seas has changed from an Eastern Caribbean itinerary to a Western Caribbean itinerary.

Symphony of the Seas has changed her itinerary and is skipping a scheduled stop at St. Maarten, while adding a visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay at the end of the sailing.

Allure of the Seas has changed from an Eastern Caribbean itinerary to a Western Caribbean itinerary.

Photo by Joe Kuehner Jr

We will share any further itinerary updates if/when they occur.

As of Sunday afternoon, Dorian’s tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 35 miles from its center. Forecasters said that Dorian is expected to move generally west-northwestward for the next several days and start impacting some Caribbean islands.

We recommend following Royal Caribbean's Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet for weather updates.

Video: Symphony of the Seas secrets

In:
12 Feb 2019

Hey, friends! We’re back with another RoyalCaribbeanBlog Video to kick off the week, and we are sharing our favorite hidden secrets about Symphony of the Seas!

Symphony of the Seas is incredible, and we scoured the ship to find (and now share) little known secrets… from spots to underwater speakers to unique entertainment, and SO much more. 

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single episode!

If you have cruised on Symphony of the Seas, what is your favorite secret about the ship? Share your ideas in our comments!

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