Symphony of the Seas was launched in 2018 as Royal Caribbean's newest version of its series of "the biggest cruise ships the world."
Royal Caribbean has held the title for many years, since it launched Oasis of the Seas, the stunning mega-ship that forever changed the game for mass-market cruising. Symphony of the Seas is the cruise line's innovative evolution of its Oasis Class, which also includes Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas.
I sailed on Symphony of the Seas for a one-week cruise out of Miami to the Caribbean, with stops at St. Maarten, San Juan and Royal Caribbean's private island destination Perfect Day at CocoCay.
Here are 21 of the best things about Symphony of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship.
This is the venue for the acrobatic water show and platform-diving spectacle set at the back of the ship on Deck 6 in the Boardwalk neighborhood. We watched a dazzling and energetic show called "Hiro" during our cruise. Other activities also take place here, including live music at nights. We enjoyed the rock show by popular cover band Phoenix.
The outdoor space includes restaurants, the aforementioned AquaTheater and even a carousel that will transport you back to the carnivals of your youth. The Ultimate Abyss ride that starts on Deck 16 slides all the way down 10 decks to empty out on the Boardwalk. You also have access to the ship's two rock-climbing walls from here.
Playmaker's Sports Bar and Arcade, Johnny Rocket's diner, Dog House hot dog stand, Sugar Beach candy store and a carousel ride are also located in this neighborhood.
This is a revolutionary outdoor space found midship on Deck 8. The neighborhood is filled with thousands of live plants as well as dining venues like Jamieâs Italian, Vintages wine bar, Chops Grille and Park Cafe.
The heart of the ship, most passengers will pass through this neighborhood frequently throughout the day, whether to enjoy live music, a parade or shopping at the boutiques. The lively Copper and Kettle British-style pub and Boleros lounge are great places for music, dancing and drinks. And you can find a quick bite at Sorrento's pizza shop or Cafe Promenade. Coffee drinkers flock to the big Starbucks located here.
This super-fast dry slide is over in about 20 seconds as you race from Deck 16 down to Deck 6 on the Boardwalk. It's a blast.
Symphony of the Seas Full Ship Tour (click video)
Large portions of a great variety of Italian favorites, this specialty restaurant (cover charge) located in the Central Park neighborhood is open for lunches and dinners. The bread, pastas, charcuterie and decadent brownie are our recommendations.
This specialty dining option stands out because it so interesting. The venue, vibe and sense of whimsy that surrounds your meal make it an event. It's worth a try for a romantic meal, even if you had never before considered molecular gastronomy your kind of thing.
Playmaker's Sport Bar on the Boardwalk features dozens of TVs showing all the games. Plus, the menu offers craft beers and great pub grub (the burger is fantastic) and desserts. There are table games throughout the space and an arcade next door.
The ship has a short zipline course that gives you a thrilling ride across the top of the open Boardwalk.
This is easily the best cruise line private island for families and travelers looking for lots of activities to mix in with a beach day. Perfect Day at CocoCay features 13 waterslides, restaurants, bars, live music, beaches, zipline course, the Up Up and Away helium balloon ride, beach club, cabanas, overwater bungalows and sports activities and excursions.
Puzzle Break Escape Room
Symphony of the Seas offered the Escape the Rubicon game on our sailing. For this game, you collaborate with other players to solve puzzles during the 60-minute time frame in order to escape a submarine in distress.
The Perfect Storm attraction on the ship is a set of waterslides. There is a pair of side-by-side racer slides and a large Champagne bowl-style slide that swirls you more gently through the course. Both offering a thrilling way to cool off in the Caribbean.
A Royal Caribbean favorite, Symphony of the Seas features a pair of FlowRider surfing simulators at the back of the ship on Deck 16. You can boogie board or surf on these wave generators.
This fun musical is a centerpiece of the entertainment program on the ship. The show, which was a Tony-award winning musical on Broadway, takes place in the Royale Theater and requires reservations.
Ice Skating Rink
Studio B is the venue for several live shows and other events, including the skating show "1977." The venue is hosts open skating times for passengers to strap on the skates for a few turns around the ice.
This adults-only covered pool and lounge area is a great option for those looking to avoid the intense sun or ample crowds at the main lido deck pool areas.
The huge cantilevered tubs on each side of the ship on Deck 15 offer nice spots for a soak, usually with plenty of space in these out-of-the-way locations. The hot tubs also feature large flat-screen TVs showing sports programming.
Symphony of the Seas offers two climbing walls at the back of the Boardwalk on Deck 6. Climb to the top and you get impressive views out to sea.
We saw teens and others flock to the large sport court each day to join in pickup basketball games or scheduled times for events like soccer or pickleball.
This was a favorite spot for a fast-casual breakfast or lunch or quick healthy snack anytime. The eatery offers Mexican fare, and it is the lone spot on the ship near the buffet to get a made-to-order omelet. Breakfasts also feature fresh fruit like berries, kiwi and pineapple, as well as breakfast burritos and delicious muffins.
The gym on Symphony of the Seas is favorite of mine because it offers nearly everything you can find in the standard commercial land-based gym. I got in a daily workout here and had regular runs on the nearly half-mile long dedicated walking/jogging track on Deck 5 that encircles the ship.
Symphony of the Seas is quite a bit larger that the ships that I typically find most enjoyable. It carries in excess of 6,000 passengers. But there also are a number of places to easily escape the crowds, and this ship is ideal for group travel with friends and family, perhaps if you are all together to celebrate a birthday or other special event. Families traveling with kids also will be happy for all the activities that can keep the group happy.
Thanks for reading,