Moms at Sea Member Review: The Milburn Family, Symphony of the Seas, 10/13-10/20, 2019

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The Milburn Family

Cozumel, Costa Maya, Roatan

by Tiffany Milburn, Member of Moms at Sea

Pre Cruise

Royal Caribbean Miami terminal parking: 

We drove and parked in the royal garage for convenience. It is $22 a day, $156 total for a 7 night cruise. The roads leading into the parking garage can be a little confusing and signage is not great. When you are approaching the royal parking garage stay in the LEFT lane to enter the garage. If you go to the right you’ll have to circle around and go back. Keep all your luggage with you, there are porters inside the garage to take your luggage. No need to go drop off luggage and then go back and park anymore! They will stop you in the garage, unload your luggage and then you continue on to park. Parking is very easy, just look for the green light above parking spots to indicate an empty spot. 

Royal Terminal A:

The new terminal is beautiful and spacious. Several security lines so it doesn’t take forever to get through. If you’ve done all your paperwork through the app or online your process will be even faster to board. From entering the terminal to being on the ship took our group of 7 (3 adults and 4 kids) less than 30 minutes.



Ship cabin : ocean balcony 10718

The cabin had a great amount of storage space and plenty of hangers. Two full length closets, drawers and shelves. No coffee table taking up floor space which was nice. Under the bed has plenty of space for luggage, car seat, folded stroller etc… The couches on this ship can NOT be turned around to make a bed for toddlers. On one side of the bed there was one single power outlet and at the desk area there were two usb outlets as well as regular power outlets. The fridge really is more of a cooler than a fridge, but it did keep a few drinks cool. The chairs on our balcony were very comfortable and are adjustable to 3 different positions which made for great relaxing! We also bring a travel hammock and hang it on the balcony for the ultimate relaxing at sea The bed was definitely on the firm side, but the bedding was very soft and comfortable. Bathroom made good use of space and the shower was slightly bigger than other ships we’ve been on. The shower did have a mildew smell, but we bring a container of sanitizing wipes with us and I did a quick wipe down which helped. The bathroom also has a nice soft nightlight on anytime the light switch is off which was great for nights. We were towards the back of the ship and in our cabin was nice and quiet, but on the balcony during events that were going on in aqua theater we could definitely hear the music and bass thumping. The balcony rail was high enough that we had no worries about our toddler and the sliding door had a lock up high that can be locked from inside that kids won’t be able to reach. Another change we noticed on symphony was that all the cabin doors open out instead of into the room, which is definitely nice with balcony rooms so the door doesn’t slam from cross breeze.

Ship Shows:

  • Flight – This show was great, even the kids enjoyed it. Sitting in the middle section rows 7-11 gives the best view especially at the end of the show!!

  • 1977 – This ice show was AMAZING! Be sure to be there at the beginning because it was super neat. The ice skaters were great and the lighting effects were fun. We sat in the front row and it does get chilly so bring a sweatshirt or little blanket for the kids.

  • Hairspray- my teenager went and saw this show and said it was really good. A bit long for younger kids, so plan accordingly if you have young kids!

Ship activities:

Puzzle break room ($19.99 per person, 12+ only) – We’ve done several puzzle rooms and this one was really good. It is on the more difficult side, but myself and my teens enjoyed it a lot. There are up to 10 people per session so if you don’t like doing these things with strangers sit it out. Try to make your reservation before you sail to get the time you want. I would definitely recommend this activity.

Laser tag- This was not available to book in the cruise planner prior to boarding and by the time we got on and realized it was by reservation only every open time for the entire week was full and none of us were able to play. It was really disappointing so if you want to do this make sure to reserve it as soon as you get on the ship.

Abyss slide- The line was never long and the slide was really fun. It is fast, narrow and complete blackout inside at times. You are required to have shoulders and thighs covered. So no going down in bathing suits, dresses, skirt etc… you can have any shoes on since you sit on a mat with feet covered.

Ice skating- The open ice skating times were very few and the sessions pretty short considering the time it takes to get ice skates on and listen to rules. You must have pants for ice skating.

Carousel- Absolutely loved the carousel especially since it’s free! Never had to wait more than 5 minutes to get on. Shoes must be worn and for kids below a certain height an adult has to ride and hold onto them. This has set daily hours as well, mostly evening and night.

Water slides- Kids loved them. Sea days had longer lines, but not awful.

Splash away bay- It was nice to have a splash area, but the height requirement for the little slides is pretty tall and leaves for some sad kids. My 4 year old has done tons of water slides, but she couldn’t even do the two main slides in splashaway bay. This is another area where a lot of parents were nonexistent and kids not very well behaved. There was a lot of line cutting and pushing of little kids. Please watch your kids, help them understand lines/waiting and remind them to be curtious to others ️

Pools- On sea days the pools were packed and chairs not easy to find. A lot of people would still go put towels out and expect it to save their chair for the entire day.

Putt putt- super cute and fun putt putt course on deck 15. It was great at night with the lights on the deck and the sun not shining down.

Family science lab- This was one of our only complaints/disappointments. We went to family science lab for “volcanos”. Planner listed this as a 45 minute activity for kids and parents. We arrived early and stood in line. We went in and got seats and each spot had a paper with the volcano directions. The staff started the demonstration at the front of the room. Most kids couldn’t even see, but we figured it was ok because they were just showing an example and we’d all be able to do one in a minute. They finished the demo at the front of the room and then said “thanks for coming, enjoy your day”. Literally everyone in the room was puzzled and didn’t know what was going on. All this activity actually ended up being was the crew making a volcano and everyone getting to bring the little

Paper with instructions home to do it yourself. This had kids in tears and parents frustrated that we stood in line for 20-30 minutes only to be in the lab for 10 minutes max and not even doing anything. It was extremely disappointing and I would not recommend wasting your time on that “activity”.

Open play room- This space was never super crowded and my 4 year old loved it. It was a great play space to let her run and play. Just be aware that most parents are in there watching their kids, but there are always some who don’t pay attention 😉 Please be the ones watching your kids!

Kids Club- we had 4 kids with us. The two in teens club had a great week. They do recommend anyone 12-17 go to the teen club meet and greet on the first night, because they do seem to “group up” quickly and kids that tried to make friends a few days in had a harder time. The 4 year old went in once on day two and refused to go back. The 11 year old tried twice and said the kids were misbehaving so much he didn’t want to go again. The very first night one child in the 9-11 group got kicked out for the entire week for behavior and the 11 year old is very rule oriented and doesn’t like when kids misbehave and don’t listen to the adults so it set a bad tone for kids club for him.

Flow rider- Kids had fun trying the surf rider, but the wait was pretty long. For ages 12 and under an adult has sign the waiver and stay at the flow rider with them. Over 12 the parent can sign a waiver and they get a wrist band so they can do it without a parent there.

Zip line- There is a minimum weight limit so our 11 year old couldn’t do it and he was the one who really wanted to try it. The lines were never super long, but it does take longer to get geared up than it takes to zip across.

Ship dining:

Main dining room- Exceptional service and food. We did my time dining and set our reservations for 5:30. We never had a wait longer than 3-5 minutes. Our waiter, Yury, was the best waiter we’ve ever had on a cruise. Our drinks were never empty, our food was always hot and exactly as ordered and by day three he already what we liked and didn’t like! The food was delicious every night. We only ate in the main dining room for dinners. Out of all the cruises we’ve been on this was the best mdr experience.

Windjammer- We only ate here a few times, but the kids went for breakfast daily. Food was good, selection was decent and the service of staff was again amazing!

Room service- we ordered the free breakfast to our room every morning. They would call when it was on its way which was nice. The food was good, except towards the end of the week we received some moldy fruit.

El Loco- The food here was outstanding. Lines were long at peak times and finding a table was difficult during those peak times, but definitely worth it. The only little flaw was that at the condiment bar they did not have plates or bowls to put your salsa, sour cream, etc… into. I, along with other passengers, got a coffee mug from the drink station to put it into and the only rude crew member we encountered during the entire trip was Lady who worked the drink and condiment bar area. She yelled and argued with us and other guests. So a little tip would be to ask for an empty bowl when you are getting your food in the buffet line so that you don’t get yelled at 😉

Sorentos- Pizza was soooo good. We stopped here a few times. One night the toddler was asleep and we even ordered a full pizza up to our cabin through the app. There was NOT the $7.95 room service charge for the food order through the app. The pizza arrived within 10 minutes, hot and delicious. The app also showed us the progress of our order so we knew when they were heading up.

Starbucks- I got my coffee here daily because most of the coffee on the ship was pretty bitter. Several other guests also had the same complaint about the free coffee. The prices aren’t much higher than a Starbucks on land, but they do automatically charge the 18% gratuity no matter how you pay. You CAN use your Starbucks app to pay, but you can not redeem your rewards from the app. I get a grande drink and at home it is $5.18, on ship it was $7.06.

Perfect Day at CocoCay:

Beach bed:

We rented a chill island beach bed and paid $199 for it. We booked it about 2 months before we sailed and they did sell out completely. The bed was assigned to us and listed on our excursion ticket left in our stateroom. We received bed 82 and it was great! The bed is large and comfortable. 4 large bottles of water in a cooler, two floating beach mats and towels were included with the beach bed. The curtains can be moved around to which ever side you need to block the sun. We brought our own snorkel masks with us and the best snorkel area was right by our beach bed. Snorkel vests are required by RCL to snorkel and are free of charge at the snorkel hut. TIPS for beach bed: Bring clips to hold the curtains closed, don’t check out towels from the ship, bring a small battery powered fan.

CocoCay splash areas:

The free water area for kids was nice, but they do not allow life vests, puddle jumpers or any sort of swim vest on the water slides and the kids have to lay down on their back. For my 4 year old she did not like that and after one time down the slide refused to go again. The pirate ship water area however was a favorite. They have a few “dry” slides in the pirate ship that the kids loved.

Getting around CocoCay:

Definitely utilize the tram provided to get you from and to the ship, no point in wasting energy walking when the trams are always running and free. They have multiple stops around the island so you don’t even have to walk all the way to the beach or lagoon.

Beach chairs at CocoCay:

Free beach chairs and umbrellas were all along the beaches and there were always open chairs (not always the best locations, but always an open chair).

Food and drink at CocoCay:

The free food was ok, just your basic buffet and it opens at 11:30. We had lunch and ice cream at the buffet both times we were on the island. There were free drink machines in the buffet area with water and two fruit juices. The lava flow drink was delicious!

Coco Cay shopping:

The straw market shipping experience was slightly frustrating and overpriced. There are cute little huts all in the village for shopping. They are NOT owned or run by royal Caribbean, each one is independently owned. Royal Caribbean will tell you all you need to bring off the ship is your cruise card, which is true for getting on/off the ship and buying food/drinks. Here’s where it gets a little more complicated… You can use your ship card to make purchases at the straw market up until 3 hours before the ships departure, but you can not use your wow band for purchases at all in the straw market. You can use cash and credit cards at any time, but once they stop accepting sea pass cards you can use cash, visa or MC at some shops and only cash at others. This is not mentioned while on board, in the cruise planner or even on signs at the shops. A lot of guests were getting frustrated and upset with this and the employees in most of the shops were extremely rude. So if you plan on getting any souvenirs from the straw market make sure to buy them early if you want to use your sea pass or have cash with you. The prices are also a bit crazy. A 6oz can of spray sunblock was $25, lotion sunblock was $15-$20, a sweatshirt was $55, a puka shell necklace was $15, tiny wooden dolphin was $10.



Part of our group were on the Mayan ruins and chocolate tasting excursion through royal Caribbean. The rest of us took a taxi to Nochi Cocom. Nochi Cocom was wonderful. Short 15 minute taxi ride that was $17, pleasant staff upon arrival and a very relaxing atmosphere. We did the all inclusive so it included unlimited drinks and a lunch for each person. The alcoholic drinks were tasty (but very weak), but they are unlimited so that didn’t matter. The lunch was phenomenal. I had steak fajitas and they were honestly the best ones I’ve ever had. They rent floating beach mats for $10 or large unicorn floats for $20 for the whole day. There is also a pool and hot tub, trampoline for kids, little shop and on site massage. I had a 60 minute massage and while it wasn’t the best ever it was nice. The massages are inside a small room that is air conditioned which was a bonus! They only allow 130 guests per day so it is never crowded or hard to get beach chairs in the sun or shade. The other plus to this private beach club was no one walking around asking you to buy things every 2 seconds. It was just a relaxing, peaceful beach day. At the end of your day you just tell your server you’re ready for a taxi and they call one for you and let you know when it arrives. Overall a great day.

Costa Maya

Port called off because of winds. The ship tried to put the gangways out for 30 minutes and were unable to safely so we had to call off the port sadly.


It was stormy so we cancelled our planned excursion and just walked around the port area shops and then got back on the boat. If you get a chance go to the Caribbean fish therapy and get your feet eaten by fish, it’s actually very relaxing!