Symphony Of the Seas Review

Filed under: Reviews, SHIP REVIEWS

Written by: Kelly Aleman

Kelly is a travel agent with the Moms at Sea Travel Team. If you would like to book your next sailing with her, please submit our inquiry form or email us at!

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My family and a neighbor’s family sailed on Symphony of the Seas on May 28, 2022. This 7–day Eastern Caribbean cruise departing from Miami turned into an 8–day cruise because of Tropical Storm Alex. We had a fantastic trip and can’t wait until our next Royal Caribbean cruise!


My family: Me, Hubby, and boys – ages 6 & 1.5 

We are very seasoned cruisers and cruise quite frequently, usually several times per year. Three of the four of of us did the Royal Caribbean recommended Emed proctored COVID tests (we are all vaccinated). The toddler doesn’t require any COVID test before or during cruise as he is under 2 years old.

Our neighbor’s family: Mom, Dad, 13 (girl), 4 (boy) 

The adults had cruised a few times before but this was their kids’ first cruise.

Getting to the Ship

We flew down the morning of the cruise through Air2Sea from Atlanta on Delta. We brought our own car seat with us. We checked this car seat (in a car seat bag) at the curb for free with Delta and checked it at the curb with the porters in Miami. We used a car service both to and from the airport both at home in Atlanta and in Miami.We used Larry’s Limos in Miami and were very pleased with them. Having our own car seat was quite convenient. 


My family had two connecting Boardwalk Balconies on Deck 9 (9311 & 9313). Our neighbors were directly across from us (across via the boardwalk), so it was fun yelling over to them while on the balcony.

The location of the room was great for us, and I wouldn’t hesitate to book this deck or room type again. Incidentally, we have several more Boardwalk Balconies booked on future cruises! We enjoy Boardwalk Balconies as we can people watch on the balcony while the toddler is napping. We could not see the aqua show HIRO from our room too well, but in other boardwalk balconies we’ve had previously, we had a better view of the AquaTheater. For those concerned, the noise in our room was basically nonexistent – of course, when the balcony door was closed.

Symphony Connecting Boardwalk

A view of our connecting rooms from the hallway!


  • CocoCay – We absolutely love CocoCay and specifically Splashaway Bay. My husband got off at 8 AM to get us seats at Splashaway Bay. The rest of us joined around 9 AM. The Splashaway Bay area was full by about 9:30 AM., and we were the only ship in port that day. So get there even earlier if you’ve got competition (i.e. another ship is in port). We enjoyed our time at Splashaway Bay and Oasis Lagoon (both are complimentary areas at CocoCay). Unfortunately, it started thundering around 11am, and the lifeguards had to to get everyone out of the pool and beaches. The thundering continued, so we ended up heading back to the ship after enjoying some tasty lunch at Skipper’s Grill. We love Cococay so we’re bummed to miss out on a full day, but will be back next month on Harmony of the Seas!

  • St Thomas – We booked the Magen’s Bay 4 hour shore excursion through Royal Caribbean. Overall, it was a good excursion but it definitely felt rushed. We had two hours at Magen’s Bay. Something I do not remember from years ago at Magen’s Bay was the chair rental setup. To get umbrellas, lounge chairs, and floats you have to wait in a line in the retail store to rent those items. The line was quite long when we arrived at Magen’s Bay. The husbands stood in the line to rent the items while the moms and the kids got ready to go in the water. The line took about 30 minutes. You also have to set everything up yourself. You then have to go back in line about 30 minutes before you’re supposed to leave to get your deposit back on all your rental items. Yikes! We found this just a little hectic with kids. I personally would rather pay a little more and have everything already set up on the beach from the beginning and not wait in lines. Magen’s Bay is gorgeous and glad we all did it. But we plan explore other areas of beautiful St. Thomas our next few cruises we will be there (July 2022, December 2022, and May 2023)

Floating in St Thomas

  • St Maarten – WOW. This was our absolute FAVORITE day (we all agreed)! We went to Great Bay Beach around 9am. Great Bay Beach is a short $7 per person water taxi ride from the port area to the downtown, shopping, and beach area. There are vendors along the sidewalk when you get off the water taxi that will tell you how much their chairs & umbrellas are. The chairs and umbrellas are already set up, and you do not have to do anything. We paid $15 for two chairs and one umbrella (keep in mind these vendors can fluctuate on their pricing). We also had our own server the entire day who was able to get us food and drinks from his restaurant as well as access their restrooms and Wi-Fi. I even got to enjoy a very relaxing massage on the beach, with a cocktail in hand, while my husband watched the kids in the water. (Now that is a vacation for Mom right?!) The weather was perfect. Everything about that day was perfect, and I would 100% do it all over again EXACTLY the same!

Side note: This was our first time doing St Maarten with the kids, and it was very kid friendly and easy for us. Years ago they used to have inflatables on the water at Great Bay Beach as well as Banana Boat Rides. They did not have any water activities other than jet skis. Not sure if it was because of Covid, times have changed, or if it was just a slow day. We had hoped those items were there, but we still had a fantastic time. Just noting this because I was curious before my trip if those items were there. Again it did not affect our day whatsoever for us, just making a note of it. 

St Maarten

If you’re not sure how to spend your day in port, check out the many options available from Resort for a Day! We highly recommend them!

Sea Days

We are big pool people, so we always ensure we are on the pool deck early. We got chairs every sea day in front of Splashaway Bay. Splashaway Bay did not open until 10am. Other pools did open earlier than that. By about 9am, the Splashaway Bay area was completely full with reserved chairs. Other areas of the pool deck filled up even earlier than 9am.

The open play area in Adventure Ocean opened daily at 9am, and we utilized that often at opening. This is the area where mom or dad (or grandma, grandpa, guardian, etc) stay and watch their kids play. This was a great way for the kids to burn off some energy by letting them run wild. 

The Nursery and Adventure Ocean also opened at 9am. We varied our times in both venues, sometimes mornings, afternoons, evenings. The Nursery did require reservations (as they did pre-covid as well). We were allowed 8 hours per family on embarkation day on our sailing at the Nursery (this does vary per sailing based on how many 6 months-36 months littles they have onboard). After day 3, we were allowed to book more hours. The nursery had availability any time we inquired. The staff in both the Nursery and Adventure Ocean were fantastic. I could not have asked for a better experience with both venues. The Nursery staff was very sweet and understanding of our high maintenance 18 month old. We did get a phone call on our last sea day saying we had to come pick up our 18 month old as he wouldn’t stop crying. I know the staff tried everything they could to settle him down, and I’m honestly surprised he lasted that long.

Luckey Climbers on the Boardwalk are also a great Sea Day activity!

What would I do differently?

  1. I would not fly the morning of the cruise. We NEVER do this, but the way this trip worked out with friends, I got outvoted. We made it to the ship with no delays, however it’s just too hectic on embarkation day. It made it for a long day for all of us, especially with kids. These early sleepers had to go to bed even earlier!

  2. I would use Nursery and Adventure Ocean more. We were busy with our friends the first few days, so we did not utilize it until halfway through the cruise. Once we did it was a really nice break for my husband and I.

  3. We totally forgot to check out toys from the nursery. Rookie move! We ALWAYS do this and yet totally forgot this trip somehow.

What I didn’t bring and WISH I did:

  1. Metal hooks

  2. Door stop – in the connecting rooms on Symphony, the door did not go flat against the wall. So it was opened like 2/3 of the way and we all kept running into it)

  3. Popup hamper

  4. Over the door shoe organizer

  5. A vacation nanny…only half joking (no link available)

Things I brought and I’m so GLAD I did:

  1. My travel medicine bag

  2. Night lights

  3. Umbrella stroller (my husband wanted me to leave it home!)

  4. Collapsible beach toys

  5. Some prepackaged snacks. This was helpful when off the ship as you cannot bring opened items off the ship

  6. Water bottle and milk sip cup for my toddler as well as a small dish soap to wash them in the room every day

Kelly’s famous medicine travel bag

Random Comments

  1. We loved the ship and the service. We have two more cruises booked on Symphony (December 2022 and December 2023), so we are very excited to go back on Symphony!

  2. The bar service was extremely fast and fantastic. The bars can sometimes be quite busy, so we were very impressed with their speed and efficiency. The pool bars specifically were fantastic. We never waited for drinks and my 6 year old loved the virgin cocktails he occasionally ordered.

  3. The food was great all over the ship. We really enjoyed Main Dining Room quality of food as well as in the Windjammer. We did not do any speciality dining this cruise.

  4. My kids favorite free time activities included Piano Stairs, Splashaway Bay, Mini golf, Carousel, Luckey Climber, Ultimate Abyss, and, of course, the Arcade

  5. The Pack n Play was full size on this ship. Last month on Oasis it was a mini Pack n Play.

  6. My husband and I divide and conquer a lot with the kids. He took nap time most days for our toddler, and I would stay at the pool or whatever I was doing with our 6 year old. I would take bedtime every evening, and he got some time to himself in the evening to go to the casino or explore the ship. We also tried giving each other a 30 to 60 minute break in the morning, usually where one of us would have both kids and the other could get a full break. I enjoyed walking around the ship with my latte from Cafe Promenade by myself in the early morning.

We had a fantastic cruise on Symphony, and I highly recommend this ship for families with kids of all ages. We booked Wonder for May 2023 at NextCruise while on board! Yay!