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Symphony of the Seas Guide & Review

In:
24 Jun 2022
By: 
Haley Mills

Symphony of the Seas is among the largest cruise ships in the world, but she's worth sailing on for more than just her size. In the years since her launch in 2018, she quickly became one of the favorites of Royal Caribbean cruisers.

Filled to the brim with dining options and activity choices, there really is something for everyone on Symphony of the Seas. The ship is as much the destination as the ports she visits, and is a perfect ship for new cruisers or those looking for lots to do on board. 

We’ve put together a guide to help you plan your trip, from dining, to activities, to boarding accommodations. Check out the sections below to get started on your Symphony of the Seas cruise!

Symphony of the Seas overview

As the fourth Oasis Class ship in Royal’s fleet, the company had lots of practice in building their mega ships by the time Symphony of the Seas debuted in 2018.

When she debuted, Symphony of the Seas became the largest cruise ship in the world after taking the title away from sister Harmony of the Seas (she has since been eclipsed Wonder of the Seas).

Symphony is certainly massive, but Royal Caribbean’s practice of dividing Oasis Class into neighborhoods really sets these ships apart in the way of crowd control. Even with 6,680 passengers on board, and 2,200 crew, she is designed to never feel that way.

Instead, Symphony feels like a floating city, surprisingly easy to navigate. Passengers meander through the park and promenade, quickly finding their favorite spots. 

The Seven Neighborhoods on Symphony of the Seas:

1. Boardwalk - Think Coney Island of yesteryear meets the sports pubs of today. One side has Johnny Rockets, and the other has Playmakers. Best of both worlds!

2. Pool and Sports Zone - An outdoor wonderland full of water & sun, sports courts, and even adventure activities!

3. Central Park - A peaceful, romantic path through the center of the ship with specialty dining, shopping, and live music.

4. Royal Promenade - The main vein where everything happens! Bars, food, shops, music, parades and tons of people watching!

5. Entertainment Place - What do you want to do tonight? Broadway shows, ice skating, comedy acts, and more!

6. Youth Zone - The perfect place for your littles. Kids from babies to teens have their own clubs here.

7. Vitality Spa & Fitness - Peaceful spa and treatment rooms, as well as large gym facilities are available for those who prefer to maintain their bodies while on vacation.

Each neighborhood has been built with a special theme, which creates landmarks for easy navigation. It also helps with crowd control, as different people flock to different neighborhoods at different times of day. But, even in each section, there’s something for everyone all over the ship.

Symphony of the Seas Dining and Restaurants

Objectively one of the best things about being on an Oasis Class ship is the vast array of dining choices. Whether you stay with complimentary dining, or opt for specialty restaurants, you really could eat at a different place for every single meal on your trip!

Royal Caribbean has plenty of complimentary dining options aboard, which means there is no upcharge to eat from a variety of places on Symphony of the Seas. You could choose anything from hot dogs and pizza, to international cuisine, to steak and lobster!

If you’re worried about spending additional costs while on board, there’s no reason to worry about the quality or diversity of the food.

 

Symphony also houses plenty of specialty dining options - restaurants which do include an upcharge, but which provide fare that you cannot get at other places on the ship. Many cruisers opt for these unique dining experiences as an added bonus to their vacation.

We suggest trying at least one of these restaurants while on board, but it certainly is an option and not required. Think of it as “going out to eat,” or a special occasion dinner. Many cruisers choose to do this for Formal Night, or for a birthday or anniversary. 

Symphony’s Dining Options include:

Complementary:

  1. Main Dining Room
  2. Windjammer Cafe
  3. Solarium Bistro (Breakfast & Lunch)
  4. Coastal Kitchen (Suites Only)
  5. Park Cafe
  6. Cafe Promenade
  7. Sorrentos
  8. Dog House
  9. El Loco Fresh
  10. Vitality Cafe
  11. Room Service (Some Up Charges May Apply)

Specialty:

  1. Chops Grille
  2. Jamie’s Italian
  3. Wonderland
  4. Izumi
  5. Hooked Seafood
  6. 150 Central Park
  7. Vintages Wine Bar
  8. Solarium Bistro (Dinner)
  9. Playmakers
  10. Johnny Rockets
  11. Starbucks

The most popular spots on board are definitely Windjammer and Park Cafe, plus the Main Dining Room for dinner. We highly recommend Chops Grille, 150 Central Park, and Izumi, if you are looking for great Specialty Dining on board.

Things to do on Symphony of the Seas

If you are looking for a vacation where you have limitless options of things to do, sailing on an Oasis Class ship is the best way to go.

Symphony of the Seas is the ultimate vacation, with Broadway shows, water slides, onboard sports, and more! You will never be without something to do during your sailing. 

Every evening in your cabin, you’ll receive a Cruise Compass. The Cruise Compass is your onboard schedule to what is happening on the ship the next day and where to find it.

We highly recommend you peruse this guide and pick out a few things to try:  classes, water activities, shows. Some you will need to book ahead of time, some you can just show up and experience. All are a fantastic time!

Shows

Royal Caribbean spares no expense on their entertainment, and they really shine in this area compared to other cruise lines. Nowhere else at sea can you see a full Broadway experience, Aqua Theater acrobatics, an Ice Show, and a Royal Caribbean musical, all on one ship!

In case you didn’t think that was enough, there’s also usually a comedy act, as well as multiple live musical bands playing in different venues all throughout the week.

Symphony of the Seas hosts Hairspray! in it’s Royal Theatre, an ode to the music and culture of the 60s. This is no shortened version, either. You will see the full play, complete with intermission! Also in the Royal Theater, you can catch a Flight, where you can “Dare to Dream.” Flight is Royal’s original musical, with some really cool 3-D effects and automation.

Make sure to also check out the Ice Show 1977, in Studio B. You’ll join a time-traveling hero as he saves the Queen’s jewels. Watching an ice show on land is always fun, but imagine the talent it takes to do the same tricks on a moving ship, and in a smaller space! 

Entertainment | Royal Caribbean Blog

One of the really unique experiences that you will see on Oasis Class ships is their Aquatheater shows. HiRO, at the back of Symphony of the Seas, should absolutely make your itinerary. Watch teams of high divers and acrobats perform outstanding and unbelievable stunts before your very eyes! 

You might be wondering:  If these shows are so grand, how much extra do they cost? That’s the kicker! They are completely complementary, and part of your cruise fare! There is no additional fee to see these wonderful performers on their respective stages, so now is your chance to check them out. 

It is important to know that if you sail on an Oasis Class ship, you can pre-book entertainment via the Cruise Planner site. Some of the shows have the option to book reservations in advance via Royal Caribbean's site. There is no cost to do this, and we recommend booking any entertainment you can in advance to avoid lines at show time.

Pools

7 ways Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas is different from other Oasis-class ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

The Pool and Sports Zone is the area of the ship with plenty of outdoor space and a good variety of pools and swimming options. Symphony of the Seas has 5 separate pool areas. All pools are located on Deck 15 and are salt water.

  • Solarium: Adults only (age 16 and over) area with two cantilevered whirlpool hot tubs, which extend 12 feet from either side of the ship.
    • There is a central pool in Symphony’s Solarium, added after much feedback from Harmony of the Seas. This circular pool is made for standing or sitting, quiet socialization–not actual swimming.
  • Main Pool: Unthemed pool across from the Beach Pool for additional swimming.
  • Sports pool: area for playing pool games such as synchronized swimming and volleyball. The sports pools area may have designated times for swimming laps.
  • Beach pool: Themed area that is supposed to look like a beach
  • Splashaway Bay: interactive kids aqua park, where kids of all ages can enjoy colorful water slides, water cannons, fountains, pools and whirlpools.

For parents with young children that are still wearing diapers, there is a designated baby and infant splash pool, designed specially for them.  Children wearing diapers are not allowed in any other pools.

Unless otherwise posted, there will always be pool and whirlpool hot tubs open 24 hours a day. Pools will be closed occasionally when they need to be cleaned as well if weather or sea conditions make the pools unsafe for swimming.

Generally speaking, there are usually a lot of events happening in or around the pools during the day.  You can expect to find live music played by the pool quite often, with the bands playing reggae, classic rock and even contemporary hits.  For fans of live music, sitting by the pool and enjoying music is perfect.

Everything about Royal Caribbean's Solarium | Royal Caribbean Blog

Poolside activities will be listed in your Cruise Compass. The exact activities vary from sailing to sailing, but here are some common offerings

  • Belly flop competition
  • World's sexiest man competition
  • Scuba classes
  • Fitness classes
  • Poolside bingo
  • Dance classes
  • Poolside movies

When going up to the pools, be sure to stop by the towel station to pick up as many towels you may need during your time there.  Complimentary pool towels are provided for guests near the main pool and can be returned when convenient.

Water Slides

Royal Caribbean water slides: Everything you need to know | Royal Caribbean Blog

Symphony of the Seas offers guests three multi-story water slides to enjoy.  Known as The Perfect Storm, these slides are comprised of two racer slides and one champagne bowl slide. The slides descend three decks through a series of twists and turns over the ship’s tree-lined Central Park neighborhood 10 decks below.

There is no additional cost to use the water slides.

The two racer water slides intertwine and offer a fast-paced plunge down.  Since these are racer slides, you can see if you can beat the person in the other slide to the bottom.

The champagne bowl slide swirls riders round prior to the end of the slide.  This slide starts off as a typical water slide, but guests enter a large bowl area, where they can loop around a few times before exiting the slide.

Signature Activities

10 free activities on Symphony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean wanted to wow its guests with the breadth of activities on Harmony of the Seas, which include some options that are exclusive to Royal Caribbean.  Guests will find plenty of traditional cruise activities on Harmony of the Seas, such as trivia, bingo, enrichment classes and more.  Most activities are complementary to enjoy, but a few do carry an extra cost to them.

Here are the best known and most popular activities on Harmony of the Seas

  • The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, is a duo of racing slides where guests spiral down a 92-foot drop in about 13 seconds
  • The zipline crosses the open-air Boardwalk neighborhood at nine decks high
  • Two FlowRider surf simulators
  • Perfect Storm: three waterslides
  • Splashaway Bay aquatic adventure park
  • Escape from Planet Z laser tag
  • Escape room

These activities are available for guests to enjoy for most of the day and posted hours are available each day in the Cruise Compass. There is usually ample opportunity to experience these signature activities once or many times.

Symphony of the Seas staterooms

Category 2J Central Park View Balcony Stateroom on Symphony of the Seas Photo Tour | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean offers many choices of staterooms on Symphony of the Seas, with a blend of traditional cabin categories, as well as a few alternatives.  Each cabin category offers a little something different, so review the below, as each guest should find something they like.  Royal aims to provide accommodations for cruisers of all budget, group size, and preference.

All Royal Caribbean ships staterooms fit into one of four categories:

  • Studio rooms
    • Studio rooms were designed for solo cruisers and come in a few different options.  There are Studio interior rooms or Studio ocean view rooms, and each room is priced without the single supplement fee that ordinarily is assessed to solo travelers.
  • Interior rooms
    •  Interior staterooms feature a virtual balcony using real-time high definition views outside your ship that are streamed directly to the 80-inch LED television. This is a fun way to enhance a room with no natural views, and there is always the option to turn off the sound and/or television itself.
  • Ocean View rooms
    • Oceanview cabins come in a few options.  Some oceanview rooms offer a view of the ocean, whereas other rooms have a porthole or large window that faces inwards and overlooks the Boardwalk, Promenade or Central Park. Larger Oceanview cabins can accommodate six people in comfort.
  • Balcony rooms
    • Symphony of the Seas features balcony rooms that overlook the ocean with a private verandah to enjoy, as well as balcony rooms that overlook either the Boardwalk or Central Park neighborhoods.
  • Suites
    • Royal Caribbean offers the Royal Suite Class on Symphony of the Seas, which is divided up into three categories: Star Class, Sky Class and Sea Class.
    • All suite guests may dine at an exclusive complimentary restaurant just for them, known as Coastal Kitchen. It is available for all meals for Star and Sky Class, and dinner only for Sea Class.
    • Suite guests may enjoy other extras that vary depending on their Royal Suite Class. Additional extras include in-suite dining, special concierge services and a welcome gift. Star Suite upgrades include the Ultimate Beverage Package, specialty dining, coffee-maker, high-end furnishings and more.
  • New Ultimate Family Suite
    • If you’re looking for the most amped accommodation at sea, the exclusive Ultimate Family Suite on Symphony of the Seas fits the bill. Along with the above benefits mentioned for the Royal Suite Class, this room is designed especially for those cruisers with children. Decorated in pop artish color, there are video games and life-size board games, as well as an interior slide between floors. Outside, a netted play area and a jacuzzi complete the fun. This room makes your vacation a true bonding experience for the family!

Prices may vary for these rooms depending on each sailing:  season, number of guests, availability, and other factors can determine the cost of each room type. Royal Caribbean also often runs sales or room deals throughout the year that can be helpful when choosing accommodations. A travel agent can also assist in booking a cabin. 

There is no "wrong" choice when it comes to picking a cabin for your Symphony of the Seas cruise.  Any room you book offers a place to sleep, rest and refresh yourself with plenty of privacy.  Choosing a stateroom for your Royal Caribbean cruise is a personal decision that will depend on a variety of factors, but you should know that each category of room has its advantages.

Cabins on Symphony of the Seas have all the modern conveniences, including mini-bars, safes, phones and large flat-screen TVs. Bathrooms are generally compact yet very functional. The cabins are energy-efficient and equipped with power and USB outlets appreciated by cruisers who want to stay mobile connected.

Speaking of being connected, Symphony of the Seas offers Royal Caribbean's Voom high speed internet, which means you can purchase an internet plan that allows full internet access throughout the ship.

Guests with mobility issues will find that Symphony of the Seas has wheelchair-accessible cabins in many categories that include wider doors, turning space, and furniture built for convenience.

More Symphony of the Seas resources