Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas bid Europe adieu and set sail for her new, permanent home in Miami, Florida. Lucky us! American families can now enjoy seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries aboard this incredible ship, which was recently featured on TIME magazine’s “World’s Greatest Places” list. Truly, Symphony of the Seas boasts next level entertainment and experiences that make for an unforgettable family vacation.
Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas
If there is one thing my family can agree on, it’s that we love cruising. Over the past few years, we’ve been skiing, mountain biking, and intercontinental traveling, but cruising remains my kids’ top choice for vacation every time. So, when offered the chance to take a preview cruise on the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas, from Miami to Nassau, The Bahamas, I didn’t hesitate. I knew the kids and I would love it. And, spoiler alert, we did!
Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas is a floating kid paradise. My two youngest children were delighted to be included on the mini-cruise adventure from Miami to Nassau. Two days didn’t allow nearly enough to discover all the ship’s entertainment and experiences, but we sure tried! We rose early and stayed up late — seeing shows, swimming, and climbing all over the ship. All that in between delectable meals and endless free soft serve ice cream! We were happy campers.
Symphony of the Seas: Where to Play
When asked what my 10-year-old son liked best about Symphony of the Seas, he said, “That’s hard. I liked everything. But I especially liked the Abyss.” The Ultimate Abyss — a 10-story slide — is the tallest slide at sea. It’s not for the faint of heart. Riders are given a mat to sit on as they enter the mouth of the Abyss on the top deck of the ship, then zip down a dark, spiraling tube slide to the bottom. My adventurous tween couldn’t get enough.
My five-year-old daughter was most excited by all the water activities. Minutes after boarding Symphony of the Seas, she had changed into her bathing suit and was begging to check out the pools. It was nice and warm in Miami, even in November, so she splashed and played until the sun set. While she and I hung out by the kid pool, my son took off for the larger multistory waterslides: Cyclone, Typhoon and Supercell. He had to try them all at least once before dinner.
Our second day on the ship, the adventures continued. We checked out the FlowRider surf simulators, 40-foot tall rock-climbing walls, zip line (82 feet above an open-air atrium), carousel, basketball court, and even played a round of mini golf. But did this wear out the children? Of course not! They were begging for more.
Symphony of the Seas: What to Watch
One thing that surprised me was that my children asked repeatedly to go to the Adventure Ocean kids clubs. We had stopped by the fun play areas earlier, and they couldn’t wait to go back, without Mom. So, after dinner the first night, we headed over there early enough to catch a blacklight musical puppet show (with bubbles) together as a family. It was very silly; the kids loved it.
Then, I checked both kids in to their clubs: Aquanauts for the five-year-old and Voyagers for the 10-year-old. Adventure Ocean programming is free for all guests until 10 p.m. My kids told me to go away and not hurry back. They were eager to play, craft, and meet some new friends. So, off I went to check out some shows alone!
The kids loved Adventure Ocean so much, they went both nights. That left me enough time to watch the ice-skating show 1977, the musical Hairspray, and HiRO, an acrobatic aqua show with diving, high flying aerialists, and pyrotechnics. It was fun to have a little adult time after a day full of play. And when I went back to pick up the kids? They didn’t want to leave.
Symphony of the Seas: Where to Eat
In between our many adventures, we ate! We dined at fancy restaurants, snacked on slices at Sorrento’s Pizza, tried Mexican street fare from El Loco Fresh by the pool, and had breakfast in Central Park. Symphony of the Seas has seven unique “neighborhoods” and each has its own bistros, bars, and shops to explore.
My favorite spot was Central Park, an open-air space mid-ship with more than 20,000 living plants and trees. My kids loved the Boardwalk, home of the Sugar Beach candy and ice cream shop, face painting, caricature artists, a carousel, arcade, and more.
Symphony of the Seas: Where to Sleep
If you’re like us, you won’t spend much time in your cabin, but you’ll still want one with a view! We loved our balcony stateroom. With two twin beds that pulled apart, plus a couch with trundle bed, there was plenty of room for the three of us. The room also had a nice walk-in closet and decent sized bathroom. It felt more like we were in a hotel than on a ship. But, waking up to the sunrise over the water made it infinitely better.
If you really want to splurge, check out the 1,346-square-foot Ultimate Family Suite that accommodates eight guests across two bedrooms. This luxurious suite boasts a slide from the kids’ only room to the living room below, an air hockey table, a LEGO building wall, a pool table, video games, a popcorn machine, and a full-size whirlpool. Nice!
Symphony of the Seas: Where to Visit
Ready to start daydreaming about your next vacation on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Symphony of the Seas? Visit the website and get planning! Caribbean itineraries are available now, and Symphony of the Seas will soon add visits to the cruise line’s new private island destination in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, opening May 2019. You are in for a treat.
Disclosure: Heidi and her family were invited on a press tour of Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas. We were not compensated for this article. All opinions are our own.