Cruise on Symphony of the Seas

Karen Pugh on 17 April 2018

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Most fun possible at sea! I was lucky enough to sail on Royal Caribbean’s inaugural voyage through the Western Mediterranean on their new mega ship Symphony of the Seas. I’ve been on many trade visits and overnights on cruise ships over the years but this was the first time I decided to go on one for my own holiday. I figured if we (my husband, my son & I) are going to do it we needed to do it big! And the biggest ship in the world it is but it never felt crowded and it never took more than a couple of minutes to get from one place to the other such is the incredible design. Although the ship was booked out and the crowds were large on arrival at port, we flew through check in and security.

On board, we were in awe! The ship itself is so beautiful and full of art whether it be paintings, photography, sculpture and light installations, I was still finding things to pause and look at on the final day.

One thing that surprised us was the quality of the food, although i knew it would be good, I did not expect it to be so good! We mainly ate breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer (the buffet) and the freshness, choice and taste really took me by surprise. As food is a big part of our holidays we also booked the Ultimate Dining Package so we could sample all of the speciality restaurants for dinner and I’m so glad we did. We had some memorable meals from the incredible lobster sushi at Izumi, delicious duck at 150 Central Park, amazing calamari at Hooked, not to mention a 16oz ribeye steak at their flagship Chops Grille cooked to perfection. Everything we ate was excellent and the service was impeccable. One of my favourite experiences was going ‘down the rabbit hole’ at Wonderland restaurant where we let our waiter surprise us. The whole experience is fun. I won’t give too much away but recommend to do it! The Bionic Bar where robotic arms make your drinks was a really fun feature too.

Although we didn’t get to experience it for a significant length of time as we were travelling with a toddler, the adult only Solarium area was a real haven during the time we were there! We instead got to spend time around the splash pools and family hot tubs, sipping cocktails (including fun non alcoholic ones especially made for our little guy by the wonderful barmen at the pool bar).

We barely left the ship for the whole week! Between zip lining, crazy golf, 10 story slide, 3 waterslides, rock climbing walls, 2 theatres and so on there was so much to do. One of the best aspects as a young family was the Adventure Ocean area, which has 4 age appropriate kids clubs and a cinema and a general play area. We were able to leave our little boy in the ‘Royal Tots’ and have a couple of dinners (and a trip to the casino and the amazing spa!) knowing he was in safe hands and having a lot of fun without us. It really made our holiday to have that guilt and worry-free adult time.

One thing that concerned me about cruising was the environmental impact but Royal Caribbean really are at the forefront of innovation in this regard. It’s 25% more energy efficient than the previous ships Allure & Oasis and even little things like no plastic straws on board (and you have to ask for a paper one!). You use few plastic cups plus providing reusable souvenir cups and when you hang your towels not replacing them (which doesn’t seem to work in many hotels despite the signs). And with a zero waste to landfill policy I felt no more guilt than on a land based holiday. Like most people who go on a cruise, we are now total cruise converts and can’t wait to go on our next one! It will definitely be hard to beat the week we just had but I know Royal Caribbean are always looking to surprise people and innovating all the time with fantastic new ships on the way.

Although our trip was family orientated, it really is perfect for a romantic occasion like a honeymoon or anniversary or for a significant birthday with a group of friends with plenty of kid free spaces onboard if you happen to be travelling during school holidays. If you’re looking for incredible food, service, facilities while getting a taster of more than one destination, I can't recommend it enough. Give me a call if you want to explore a cruise holiday, I would be delighted to find the perfect route and ship for you.

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