Big is too little a word to describe the newest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet. Gargantuan is more appropriate. Symphony of the Seas stole the title of largest ship in the world (from its sister Harmony of the Seas) when it made its inaugural cruise from Barcelona in late March. And like all of the cruise line’s Oasis-Class ships, this one offers an oversized adventure at sea: 2,759 staterooms accommodating 5,518 passengers (up to 6,680 at full capacity), a crew of 2,200 (from more than 150 countries), seven distinct “neighborhoods” and a nonstop lineup of onboard entertainment, activities and thrills. There’s so much to see and do — including dining at 20 restaurants (two of them new concepts), sipping at every type of bar imaginable, and splashing in two dozen pools and hot tubs — that enjoying it all during a week-long cruise can be a challenge. Here’s what’s new and what continues to captivate onboard Symphony of the Seas, as well as the itineraries that will take you to islands in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
New Features on Symphony of the Seas
The ship debuted two new dining concepts, a sports bar, a candy shop, two fun new interactive games, a pair of great shows and an over-the-top family suite.
This airy specialty restaurant on Deck 16 overlooking the adults-only Solarium will cost you $39 per person, but you’ll enjoy hearty New England-style seafood specialties served in generous portions. Appetizer choices include fresh raw oysters, creamy clam chowder and a classic crab cake, while entrees include lobster, surf ‘n turf, mixed fried fish and a “messy sandwich” that lived up to its name. Save room for the massive blueberry cobbler or a huge slice of Boston Cream Pie.
El Loco Fresh
Offering chips and guacamole, tacos (soft or hard with fillings of beef, pork, chicken, rice and beans), burritos (beef or chicken) and cheesy quesadillas, this made-to-order eatery near the Deck 15 Sports Court will appeal to salsa-craving carb lovers — and it’s complimentary. What it lacks in finesse and originality (there’s a Chipotle vibe) it makes up for in ease, although you will wait in line.
Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
For fans who don’t want to miss the action while at sea, this new bar that sprawls along one side of The Boardwalk on Deck 6 serves up sporting events on 31 big-screen TVs along with 20 arcade games and half-time favorites like wings and burgers and beer, wine and craft cocktails. It all costs extra — but you can always grab a free German bratwurst or Coney Island Dog from the nearby Boardwalk Dog House.
Glow-in-the-Dark Laser Tag and Escape the Rubicon
You can only enjoy the hot sun for so long, right? The addition of this action-packed, glow-in-the-dark laser tag game in Studio B on Deck 4 immerses two teams of eight players in an intergalactic Battle for Planet Z. Or if escape rooms are your thing, this one is set in the Rubicon submarine — and the clock is ticking.
The Ultimate Family Suite
Perhaps the ultimate splurge at sea for families who love to play, this duplex two bedroom on deck 17 features big-screen TVs and gadgets galore, vibrant décor (think Pee Wee’s Playhouse meets Legoland), a large balcony with a bar and hot tub, and a slide from the kids’ bedroom to the living room below. It accommodates up to eight (the kids’ room sleeps four and there’s a sofa bed in the living room) and will set you back $30,000 or more for a week-long cruise (but that includes unlimited beverages, including alcohol, as well as specialty dining privileges).
Hairspray and Flight
Baltimore’s Tracy Turnblad and her dance-loving cohorts will have you singing to the score of the feel-good Broadway musical Hairspray, while Flight (taking off May 27, 2018) carries you on a journey through time and space.
This candy and ice cream store, located on The Boardwalk on Deck 6, has plenty to satisfy those with a sweet tooth — but it will cost you extra.
Oasis-Class Passenger Favorites
Popular amenities from the three other Oasis-Class ships are also aboard Symphony of the Seas.
Watch as acrobatic divers twist, turn and tumble from a pair of 10-meter Olympic diving boards during AquaNation performances on Deck 6.
The Perfect Storm and The Ultimate Abyss
Choose your adrenaline rush: wet and wild or high and dry. For the former, head for The Perfect Storm, a trio of waterslides on Deck 15, and for the latter, prepare to lunge 10 stories down the hypnotically lit and twisted tubes of the Ultimate Abyss on Deck 17.
Specialty Dining Options
Wonderland (imaginative cuisine with a side order of Mad Hatter crazy), Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver (simple, fresh and flavorful pastas and classic dishes), Chops Grille (steaks and seafood), and 150 Central Park (refined contemporary dining) are all aboard as well; all require a reservation and an added charge of $39-$59 per person.
Where You Can Sail on Symphony of the Seas
The ship is cruising the Mediterranean through October, and after a transatlantic voyage, will sail year-round to the Caribbean from Miami. Here are Symphony of the Seas itineraries that visit multiple islands.
7-Night Western Mediterranean Cruise: This itinerary, sailing from Barcelona or Rome and available until October 2018, calls on five ports, including the islands of Mallorca and Capri (from Naples).
7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Head to Miami to board Symphony of the Seas and visit St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Nassau; alternately, the ship calls on St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Labadee, Haiti. Beginning in 2019, some itineraries will call on the line’s newly re-imagined Bahamian private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.
7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise: Visit Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; and Nassau, Bahamas on one itinerary; in 2019, some Western Caribbean cruises will also call on Perfect Day at CocoCay.