I recently had a wonderful experience attending the inaugural of this ship, which just happens to be the largest cruise ship in the world. If you want to give your family the experience of a lifetime, this is the ship for you. There is a full menu of shipboard water activities: 3 magnificent water slides, the famous water surfing FlowRider (there are 2 on this ship), pools for every age group including a quiet pool and a covered solarium pool, and hot tubs in every shape and size. Don’t ask anyone to meet you at the hot tub, you’ll be searching for them for hours! Speaking of searching, the Symphony offers and escape room, a glow in the dark puppet show, and lazer tag. You can also go zip lining, or enter The Abyss, which is a slide that one rides on a mat which cascades down many decks in a series of twists and turns. I dare any child of any age to tell you he’s bored while cruising on this fun packed vessel.
There are plenty of family activities as well. The open boardwalk area is home to an open air theater that boasts a truly innovative water show in the evening, featuring acrobats, divers and dancers that defy the laws of gravity. Add to that a superb ice show, and the Royal Caribbean’s own production of Flight, a tribute to all things aerospace. I was literally blown away by the production of Hairspray. Reading the playbill proved that the cast is full of folks who are no strangers to Broadway. Don’t miss it. The adults only comedy show is in an intimate setting in The Attic and does not disappoint.
As you wander through Broadway and Central Park, you will be offered a variety of stores and sidewalk cafes, from candy and ice cream shops to intimate sidewalk cafes and pubs. You can even have your favorite drink made at the Bionic Bar by a duo of robots that at times appear strangely human…a performance in themselves. At the end of the Boardwalk is a carousel, and I saw every age group enjoying the ride. The Rising Tide cocktail lounge is one of a kind: as you sit and sip your martini you will travel up or down 3 decks on the ship. Therefore I also dare an adult of any age to tell you he’s bored on this ship!
There is a huge selection of restaurants on board: In addition to the main dining room which wanders over 3 decks, there is a wide array of specialty restaurants, offering steak, sushi, seafood, and Italian venues. The most intriguing of these is Wonderland…one enters though a magic door and is seated at a table featuring bright colors, a magic menu, and even a rabbit eared chair. Alice would have loved it.
Lastly there are 20 different stateroom types to choose from. The colorful family suite has 2 stories and you can take the stairs… or the slide.. down. A wonderful multilevel hammock chair adorns the private deck. The variety of suites can sleep up to 10, and one features a grand piano. There’s even a unique and economical “virtual balcony” offered for the modest budget. It’s surprisingly realistic and even offers ocean sounds. You can sleep with the balcony open and never worry about climate!
My closing advice is that this is a ship for families of all types. It would be great for multi-generational celebrations, or for a family of 3 or 4 looking for lots of fun onboard. Teenagers, toddlers, parents and grandparents will all find plenty to do. And although there are many Caribbean ports offered with beach activities, you could have a very complete vacation without ever leaving the ship. The Symphony is truly a ship for the ages…all ages, that is.