5 Symphony of the Seas Tips You CAN'T Ignore

royal caribbean symphony of the seas
Don't miss out on our top tips for this gigantic ship! - Photo by Royal Caribbean International

So you’ve booked a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s massive Symphony of the Seas, or you’re weighing your options and it’s one of the top contenders. There’s no doubt you’ll want to be prepared with some recommendations for what to do on this award-winning ship before you step on board. For that, you’ve come to the right place. Here are five Symphony of the Seas tips straight from our members who have sailed.

1. For a relaxing spot to enjoy the ocean, hang out at deck 5 aft.

symphony of the seas deck five aft
Deck 5 aft - Photo by Royal Caribbean International

Symphony is a BIG cruise ship... the largest one in the world, actually. Because it’s so massive, it handles the amount of people onboard with ease, but that doesn’t mean that most areas aren’t still busy. Multiple members made a point to recommend the outdoor space at deck 5 aft. It’s actually where the ship’s jogging track is, but there are loungers adjacent to it that make for a peaceful place to watch the ship’s wake. And since nothing exciting is going on back there, most passengers never even pass by that spot. 

"Check out sunsets at the back of Deck 5. Some loungers right by the running track are usually quiet." - mucky (read review)

"On deck 5, there are lounge chairs towards the rear of the ship . . . a great quiet place to relax and read if you want to be away from the hustle & bustle of the main pool deck areas." - Bnkr954 (read review)

"Check out the back of the ship on deck 5! That was our favorite spot!" - Ossum (read review)

"If you are looking for a more relaxing cruise, spend some time in the Solarium. We also loved the back of the ship on Deck 5. There are chairs located there where you can look out the back of the ship. It is really relaxing and enjoyable." - akmbalplace (read review)



2. Eat at Park Café or Solarium Bistro for a quieter meal with fewer crowds — they’re both free and included.

solarium bistro symphony of the seas royal caribbean
Solarium Bistro - Photo by Royal Caribbean International

Symphony of the Seas has some excellent dining options that are included in the cruise fare, and we aren’t just talking about the buffet or main dining rooms! Among other options are the Park Café and Solarium Bistro, which we — along with our members — highly recommend! Park Café is located in the ship’s New York City-inspired Central Park neighborhood, which is full of lush foliage, restaurants, and bars. It offers quick and easy fare like salads, soups, and sandwiches. Symphony’s light-filled Solarium houses the Solarium Bistro, a small buffet venue with an emphasis on fresh, healthy eating. If you crave the variety that a buffet offers but don’t want to deal with the crowds at the Windjammer, head here.

"If you're hungry when you board, head to Central Park. The Park Central Cafe is overlooked by many on embarkation day. Good place to have a quiet lunch." - cruisellama

"Try breakfast or lunch at Solarium Bistro (no kids) or Park Cafe." - magpiekruse (read review)

"It can get crowded at meal times, I would suggest eating off popular times and or booking reservations. We also loved eating at the park cafe for lunches." - kellzcruz (read review)

"If you want a quiet dinner head to the Solarium." - TimothyReg (read review)

"Park Cafe is a good place to avoid the crowd for breakfast." - SYRBob (read review)

"The Park Cafe is the best place to eat for breakfast and lunch if you want to avoid the buffets and unhealthy choices. It is never crowded." - hayleyj1 (read review)


3. The ship has so many features and activities, you probably won’t get to do everything you want during one cruise. Book back to back voyages if possible!

symphony of the seas royal caribbean rock wall ultimate abyss
The Ultimate Abyss slide and a rock climbing wall - Photo by Royal Caribbean International

The massive Oasis class ships have been around since Oasis of the Seas made its grand debut in 2009. And it was then that many cruisers realized.. there are some ships where you literally cannot do everything onboard during one sailing. This couldn’t be more true of the newest ship to that class, which is jam-packed full of slides, pools, a zip line, sports courts, restaurants, bars, theaters, and more. To make the most of the ship while also giving yourself some time to, you know, sleep and eat, lots of reviewers suggested booking back to back cruises if you are able. That way you’ll have lots more time to enjoy the ship, and may even be more likely to stay onboard during a port stop you explored during the first voyage, but don’t need to visit again immediately. This is a big bonus because port days will almost make you feel like you have the ship to yourself.

"If not sailed on an oasis class before, you will need more than one week." - crabbie (read review)

"Take a longer cruise!!! 4 nights wasn't enough time to do everything the ship had to offer." - RobinsonPhilly (read review)

"I might book a back to back cruise, too much to see and do in one week." - cruisaholic33 (read review)

"Take a longer cruise to fully enjoy the ship." - Jeancruise (read review)

"A back to back cruise would be beneficial, we missed out on a lot of what the ship has to offer because we ran out of time! You can't begin to understand how massive this ship truly is!" - melton9709 (read review)

"Book for two weeks, one is not enough." - rpowell47 (read review)


4. Book shows in advance or right when you board the ship; they fill up very quickly.

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The 'Flight: Dare to Dream' show - Photo by Royal Caribbean International

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the mega-ship trend, it’s the necessity of reserving things in advance. This is an unfortunate side effect of enjoying bigger ships with lots more options, but we can’t see how there would be a feasible way around it. Any main stage theater or AquaTheater shows you want to see, along with special activities, dining, WiFi packages, drink packages, and even shore excursions should be booked in advance if possible. And if you can’t book something in advance, do so as soon as you board the ship. At double capacity, Symphony of the Seas holds over 5,500 passengers, meaning on many sailings there will be even more people onboard because double capacity just assumes two guests to each cabin (but most cabins can hold more). That’s the amount of people who will be figuring out how to spend each day, so you should believe our members when they say that entertainment and dining reservations fill up quickly. 

"Book your shows immediately upon boarding the ship. We did, and some of them were already booked solid by 1300 hrs on embarkation day!" - CuseCruisers (read review)

"Get reservations early if needed for shows. They fill up quickly. One great thing is at 10 minutes before show all reservations are cancelled if no show. This enabled others to use the seats." - batgft10 (read review)

Make sure to schedule your shows and entertainment in advance through the Cruise Planner well ahead of your sailing...Once your shows are reserved plan on arriving about 30 minutes prior to show time for the best seats. If seating is not a priority you should still plan on arriving 15 minutes prior to the event. - michaelcindy (read review)

"We always book all our shows online in advance, you do not have to attend if you have a conflict but a reservation is good to have to plan your day." - merkdjm (read review)

"Book show in advance, make reservation for my time dinner in advance you can always change your mind when you are onboard." - bentelolsen (read review)

"If you don't like waiting for shows, make your reservations early on the app or online. We did and we were glad we did. Many people were standing waiting for the people with reservations to not show up. Not a fan of standing. When you have a reservation, you breeze right through and get a great seat." - favcruise (read review)


5. If you need peace and quiet in your cabin, don’t book a Boardwalk or Central Park balcony.

zip line boardwalk balconies royal caribbean symphony of the seas
The zip line with Boardwalk balcony cabins in the background - Photo by Royal Caribbean International

The Boardwalk and Central Park neighborhoods on Symphony of the Seas are interior areas on the ship that are actually open-air at the top (and back for Boardwalk). These large spaces have cabins lining both sides, including lots with balconies. They’re a great option if you want fresh air but don’t want to pay the premium for an oceanview balcony, or if you like the idea of gazing down at the hustle and bustle happening on the ship straight from your cabin. However, there are obvious drawbacks: your neighbors across the way can look directly into your cabin, and there can be quite a bit of noise from nearby staterooms and the public areas above and below. Reviewers suggest that if you enjoy your balcony for peace and quiet, book a traditional ocean-facing one. 

"We had an inside balcony which was nice, but there's a lot of activity in the Boardwalk and Central Park areas and it tends to get noisy. I might opt for an outside balcony next time." - mcarchia (read review)

"Don't book a room overlooking the boardwalk if you don't like noise." - modan14 (read review)

"Our boardwalk balcony cabin was near the back of the ship. When the aqua theater was in use it was so noisy we could not stand to be in our cabin." - CHWells (read review)


Other Notable Tips

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Wonderland restaurant - Photo by Royal Caribbean International

"Keep you eyes open for fun pop up events around the ship. We especially loved the surprise of the piano player who was jamming in the elevator one evening. We rode the elevator for several songs. Good times." - Cruiser13735693 (read review)

"If you go to Deck7 and take it to the furthest point toward the bow of the ship, look aft, and you will see a tiny light which is the door which opens to the Aqua Theater. Deck 7 is the only deck with inside hall that spans aft to bow. Ends of the hall also has a small seating area to view show." - cruisellama (read review)

"Make sure you get the wristband for your seapass. It costs an extra $4.99 a band but it was so worth it because you no longer had to carry your card with you around the ship." - Aflacfire (read review)

"Take your time to get to know your way around the ship. Be prepared for crowded elevators at all times of the day/night." - timmysf (read review)

"Make sure to try Wonderland — it's furthest from any of the other options on the ship and was a great experience." - thegymgyrl (read review)

"Sign up for the Thermal Spa Package. Worth every cent. Sauna, Steam Room, and Thermal Beds were quite soothing and then the salt scrub to finish it off. Amazing! I loved the Tangerine and Vanilla and my friend enjoyed the Chocolate Mint." - mshults1981 (read review)

"The Key was good for getting on and off plus it has internet included. The Key was worth at least for internet and lunch the first day." - Yedwardsv (read review)

"Deck 6 was great, close to eateries and gym." - alzbarry (read review)

"Wonderland has a number of very unique cocktails that can be enjoyed as 'happy hour specials' at the restaurant bar. You get the happy hour price (little discount) at that time." - cruisellama

"Consider staying onboard during one of the port days. The best areas of the ship, like the Solarium, are very quiet and peaceful during those days." - jeffp2332 (read review)


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Note: some tips were edited for clarity.

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Are you planning a cruise aboard Symphony of the Seas?

1 Comment

Posted by wedding

we have an upcoming 28th sail date. is this virus scare and port stops affected ? We certainly don't want to be quarantined nor not be able to get off at port stops

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