Not a ship - its a floating resort!

Symphony of the Seas Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 18
Helpful Votes: 129

Overall rating:

4.4 out of 5
Symphony of the Seas

7 Night Western Mediterranean (Barcelona Roundtrip)

Sail date: July 01, 2018

Ship: Symphony of the Seas

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 7248

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

Symphony is a great floating resort (more than a cruise ship)! Beautifully designed and constructed ship, but the overall experience is becoming less "inclusive". Lots of add-ons required to buy-into inclusiveness. We cruise for an "all inclusive" experience. RCL is inching to more al la carte experience, which is what you can get on a "land" vacation. The day is past where there is exquisite cuisine and service in the main dining room, the better meals and service are in the specialty restaurants. And even those have common presentations that are on parity with on-shore restaurants. If the experience offered an "all inclusive" high end experience - then I would rate a 10. We've booked Jr. Suites (now Sea Class) on our 3 cruises, but the perks that go with that level are very low when comparing to Celebrity or your competition. Sea Class isn't considered a full suite, so Country Kitchen is restricted to dinner (and you have to knock on the door for access), Although authorized dinner reservations, you can't get in the door without meekly knocking. As the doors are all electronically controlled, access could be enabled during authorized dining periods. Carousel was broken for the entire cruise. Some hand washing stations were inoperable in Windjammer and Solarium Bistro. Food is average except for the special restaurants. Service definitely better in specialty restaurants.

Embarkation

3 out of 5
Awkward - we used on-line check in and uploaded photos as required. Got to the terminal counter and they verified passports and card and told us to board, but did not give us sea passes. We were told to use the paper passes we print out at home. Entered the ship and the boarding agent took a new picture of my wife replacing the one we uploaded and was previously reviewed by the terminal agent. Most bothered by not having sea passes. We withheld buying any drinks until we had the cards in hand (which left at our cabin door).

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Wonderland gets a 5+. 150 Park Central - 4.5 (great service but food same as a on-land nice restaurant - lacks imagination), Country Kitchen 4 (Superb service, common menu items), MDR (service staff overwhelmed , not enough staff so service suffers, food quality pretty good, not spectacular- 3.5, Solarium BIstro - 4, Windjammer 3 (seems to be more compact - less offerings, issue with getting hot food.) Service is best at the specialty restaurants, but food is pretty much equivalent to the MDR. Wonderland was out of the box stuff - we enjoy that. High quality cuisine was observed in Wonderland, common else where.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
Floating resort - if you get board, its your fault. So much to do, not enough time to do it. Boardwalk is great, but the Carousel was broken the entire cruise. The best! - the ship's strength.

Entertainment

5 out of 5

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Cabin attendant 5+, Dining staff in specialty restaurants 5, Other dining staff 4, others 4.5.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Design is a 5+! Handwashing stations were installed in some dining venues, but several faucets were not working. Soap and sanitizers often empty. Were not keeping up with the higher use restrooms. Some got pretty bad.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5

Ship tip

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.

Ports of call

Barcelona, Spain

5 out of 5
Great city, much available close to the port.

Palma De Mallorca, Balearic Islands

5 out of 5
Wish we had more time. Did a tour - learned enough to want to come back

Marseille (Provence), France

3 out of 5
Long drive from port. Not a friendly city. Lots of history, but hard to get around.

La Spezia, Italy

5 out of 5
Friendly city - easy to get around. Took excursion to Tuscany for wine tasting. Found it more enjoyable than a US winery tour

Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy

4 out of 5
Historically a 5+ and most educational, but its tough to get around and really crowded. Not Rome's fault, can't fix the roads without damaging the historical properties.

Naples, Italy

5 out of 5
Beautiful city. We toured the Amolfy Coast, Serento, and Pompei - stunning scenery and amazing historical tour.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
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