24 years ago, I was working at a supermarket when I met Cindy. She was just as short and silly as I was and I knew instantly that we would be best friends. She’s that person that I can always count on and regardless of how much time passes in our busy lives, we can always pick up right where we left off. Although we are now married and have kids, not much else has changed. We are still goofy and we are still taking these ridiculous muscle pictures every chance we get (I’m not sure how that started but I’m so glad we did). So when Royal Caribbean® asked me to preview their new ship, Symphony of the Seas, on my birthday, I couldn’t imagine going with anyone else. It was the perfect excuse for a much needed bestie Mom getaway and it turned out to be even better than we could have imagined.
Perfect Balance of Adult and Kid Fun.
It was over 30 years since I had gone on a cruise, so I had no idea what to expect. As soon as we stepped onto that ship, I knew that we were going to have a blast. First of all, the ship is massive. It’s actually the biggest ship in the world! Symphony of the Seas offers more than 20 restaurants, the tallest slide at sea, waterslides, two surf simulators, a waterscape for kids and toddlers, an escape room, a mini-golf course, a nine-deck-high zip line, two 43 feet high rock-climbing walls, laser tag, a full-size basketball court, table tennis, 19 pools, a robot that serves drinks and so much more. Royal Caribbean hasn’t missed a single thing.
And even though this was a Mom Getaway, we couldn’t help but take note at all of the things our kids would love. Symphony of the Seas offers the best balance of adult and kid fun! We’re already planning our first bestie family cruise in one of their gorgeous suites.
We spent the first day exploring the ship. So much walking. While I loved every part of it, one of my favorite areas was The Boardwalk. The Boardwalk took me back to my childhood, when my Grandpa used to take me to our local boardwalk on the beach. Featuring Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, a carousel and Sugar Beach, a candy and ice cream shop, it’s such a fun area.
At night, we headed to the AquaTheater to watch HiRO, which combines acrobatics, dance, diving and gymnastics in one incredible show. It was packed with great music and a variety of ooh and aah moments. If you’ve never seen a group dance on water, it’s pretty incredible and apparently no two shows are alike.
Is It Time to Eat?
Cindy’s mission was to eat her way through the ship. It’s one of the reasons that I love her. She had dessert for dinner one night and enjoyed every bite. We had a number of meals at Windjammer Marketplace which offered just about anything you could imagine, all situated in convenient stations. Everything was delicious and if we had more hours in the day, we probably would have tried everything.
They have just about every type of food you could want on Symphony of the Seas, from tacos to lobster. They even have a soft serve ice cream station by the pool, where you can grab a cone whenever you want one. Pretty sweet!
Looking for Thrills?
While I’m not brave enough, Cindy took on the zip line TWICE! She loved it and never hesitated. I took on the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea. Imagine a 13 second roller coaster, in the dark. It was SO MUCH FUN! It starts on the top deck and drops you off at The Boardwalk (deck 6). There were people of all sizes and ages on it and everyone loved it.
If there’s one thing that Cindy was looking forward to, even more than the food, it was Hairspray! While she had seen the show multiple times (and knew all the words to every song), I had only seen the movies. The show was incredible, packed with laughs, controversy and so much talent. The entire show was perfect, from beginning to the end, which resulted in a well deserved, standing ovation.
Everyone was phenomenal but Tressa Thomas, who plays Motormouth Maybelle, really brought down the house with her voice. It’s almost as though the whole room stopped. The combination of her range and the subject she was singing about (especially with what’s going on in our country right now), gave me the chills. Amazing.
The Ultimate Family Suite.
Close your eyes and imagine the perfect family suite. Now throw in a Royal Genie who customizes the entire space and experience for you. The Ultimate Family Suite on Symphony of the Seas didn’t disappoint. With only one suite like this on board, bragging rights are at stake for the most exclusive family experience at sea. The Ultimate Family Suite is a two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite offers more than enough room for the whole family – and friends – to come together and catch up on “me time.” Imagination brings this suite to life with swoon-worthy features, whimsical color schemes and jaw-dropping wows.
I don’t even know where to begin. A dining table that turns into an air hockey table. A cinema room, complete with every gaming system you could want, a popcorn maker and a huge screen. A slide from the kids room, upstairs, straight into the living room area. A hot tub and playground on the balcony. A his and hers shower. A lego wall. It’s a dream. Starting at around $25k for the week, it’s definitely on the pricey side. My kids would never leave the room and by the look on Cindy’s face when she came down the slide, she probably wouldn’t either.
Just Plain Fun for All Ages.
Everywhere you turn, there are bright colors that make you feel like a kid again, no matter what your age. Last year, Royal Caribbean welcomed guests from 6 months to 106. There is something for everyone on Symphony of the Seas.
The Solarium, a space for 16+ is the perfect place to get away and relax when you have the kids with you. You can drop them off at Adventure Island and grab a bite in the Solarium Bistro.
We also checked out the Casino Royal. We each took in $20. Cindy walked out with an extra $65 and I walked out with $16. Not bad and lots of fun (minus the cigarette smoke that filled the air).
Cindy and I had the pleasure of testing out the escape room, Escape the Rubicon. Neither of us had ever tried one and we both came out of it wanting to go to another. It’s actually so much fun to go into the room with a group of strangers and work together to solve the puzzles. While we missed it by just a few seconds, we had a blast!
The Executives and Staff.
I got the opportunity to sit down with Royal Caribbean’s President and CEO, Michael Bayley, Captain Rob Hempstead and Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Mark Tamis to learn more about the ship and the Ultimate Family Suite. What was clear to me, in our time with them was how much they love the company and what they do. Their enthusiasm is contagious. One thing that was clear was the importance of choosing the right staff. And they really have done a phenomenal job.
From on-boarding to leaving on that final day, everything was so organized. There was always someone smiling and offering assistance. It’s a pleasure to see a company that really invests in their staff. You can tell it’s a fun company to work for.
There is not one thing I would change about our getaway. If you’re planning a cruise with your bestie, your partner or your family, Symphony of the Seas should be at the top of your list.
We are hoping to return in May 2019, when they will reveal the newly renovated exclusive Island, CocoCay. From what we saw in the previews, it’s going to be the perfect combination of thrill and chill including the tallest waterslide in North America, a helium balloon that reaches 450 feet, a swim-up bar in the Bahamas’ largest freshwater pool and the only private overwater cabanas in the Bahamas. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?
Have you been on a Royal Caribbean cruise yet? Comment below and let me know!
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