My wife and I cruised on the Symphony of the Seas in January 2019 to the Western Caribbean. This was our 27th cruise overall, 11th on Royal, 4th on their mega ships. We are in our 60’s and usually cruise to a more interesting location as we’ve cruised the Caribbean too much. However, she attended a conference on this cruise so we had no choice on location or timing. Overall it was a good cruise but not great which is why I gave it 4 stars. There were two main issues:
First, the weather was poor which is expected this time of year and not the cruise lines fault. Be aware of Caribbean cruises in mid-Dec to mid-Feb as you are likely to encounter rain and strong winds. Departing Miami we had rough seas for a couple days, got rained out at Roatan (most excursions cnx), okay weather in Costa Maya, windy in Cozumel, and very windy at Coco Cay so most activities there were cnx.
Second, we felt Royal is eliminating or reducing items that were free before and now make you pay extra for the same thing. Also known as “nickel & diming you to death!” This first occurred on boarding where we looked forward to a peaceful lunch in the dining room to avoid the crowds at the buffet, only to find that the only dining room lunch available was for “Key members” who paid an extra fee of $25 per day for perks including lunch on first day and reserved seating at shows, etc – which takes away seating from us little people. Then we found the Windjammer buffet stopped at 9:15pm every night, normally it’s 10 or 11pm, so you have to go to their very limited Café Promenade or pizza place OR order room service at $7 plus fee if you want a snack late at night. In room TV is now extremely limited with a few channels with obscure tv shows or very old movies as they want you to buy the On Demand pay movies. Final expense we didn’t appreciate was the specialty restaurants now are $50ish per person. We ate at Chops and it was fine but not as good as we’ve had and certainly not worth $53!
We were in a balcony cabin on deck 11 forward. The cabin seemed larger than previous mega ships, definitely longer as we had a king bed and a full size couch. They’ve added storage and two separate wardrobes with hangers, very nice. Plenty of electric plugs. The shower is also larger. Our room steward was very good and gave us extra towels, soap bars, and shampoo as needed.
Rainy, stormy so excursions cancelled
Very windy so alot of water excursions cancelled for waves.
Extremely windy, almost all excursions cancelled except water park. Good buffet though when you weren't getting sand blasted.