8 Night Italian cruise
Barcelona, Palma De Mallorca, Provence (Marseille), Florence/Pisa, Civitavecchia, Naples, Barcelona
Our twelfth cruise together
Symphony of the Seas this was our twelfth cruise together and we chose to sail on Symphony as she was the newest ship to the Royal Caribbean fleet making her the largest cruise ship in the world. Originally our cruise was supposed to be the maiden voyage and with us being one of the many first holiday makers to sail on her but unfortunately the ship was built quicker than they expected and they released the ship earlier so this was her third sailing around the Spanish and Italian shores.
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Royal Caribbean – Symphony of the Seas Our twelth cruise was on April 2018 which we sailed from Barcelona and visited Palma De Mallorca, Provence, Florence/Pisa, Rome and and Naples. @royalcaribbeanuk #royalcaribbean #royalcaribbeansymphonyoftheseas #symphonyoftheseas #sailing #sea #ocean #cruise #ship #couple #travel #2018 #spring2018 #meditterean #cruising #traveller #barcelona #europe #spain #italy #blogger #wow #new #inagrualcruise #largestshipintheworld #royalmemories #cruisecriticregram
N-12715 – Boardwalk Balcony on deck 12.
Royal King Size bed, balcony overlooking boardwalk, TV, telephone, minibar, bathroom with shower, vanity area and a hair-dryer.
This cabin overlooked the boardwalk so we could see Johnny Rockets, Playmakers, Carousel and the Aqua arena. The cabin was very spacious in fact it’s the largest cabin we have ever had.
As we were on deck 12 and we had rooms situated above us and below us made this cabin quite quiet however when the Aqua shows were on the music did creep into the room as the double glazing on the balcony doors were not thick enough to stop the noise from travelling.
Our cruise adventure log
On this cruise we stopped at a few Spanish cities and Italian ports. However we have sailed to most of these ports before so we mainly stayed on the ship to enjoy all the facilities and activities that the ship offered as it’s the newest and biggest cruise ship of the seas.
Day 0 – Barcelona
We decided to fly out a day early to visit Barcelona’s Park Guell as this was one part of Barcelona we both have been wanting to visit for a long time.
Firstly though whilst waiting at Gatwick airport we decided to have some breakfast at our favourite restaurant Jamie’s Italian. For some reason we always end up been given a table near the entrance. As usual though the service was good even though the restaurant is always busy and very buzzing and the food was delicious.
When we arrived in Barcelona we got a cab to the Hilton Hotel in where we staying for the night and dropped off our luggage. We then headed directly to Park Quell to make the afternoon of it.
Park Guell is considered as one of the most largest impressive public parks in the world and was designed by the famous architect Antonio Gaudi. Gaudi. He designed the park as part of a residential complex. Within the park you will discover a friendly mosaic dragon, a long winding mosaic bench and a market hall. Even though the park itself and the buildings were unusual it was not as big as what I initially thought it would be. Plus it is very hilly and has lots of stairs so be warned if you are not fit or even if you are disabled then give Park Quell a miss. However saying this I did love the park and I am pleased that I saw the famous dragon and the famous long winding bench as was certainly different and impressive.
After walking up and down hills and stairs we decided to grab a cab and head back to Hilton hotel. When we arrived back thankfully our room was now done. We stayed in one of the sky rooms so we had a good view. The bedroom and bathroom were very spacious and very clean.
In the evening we decided to have dinner at the Hilton so Jason had a burger and I had Monkfish with prawns. The meals were tasty enough but instead of eating in the main restaurant area as the hotel had not much custom that day they decided not to open the restaurant but serve people in a side lounge restaurant instead in the reception area which was a bit odd.
Day 1 – boarding the ship at Barcelona
After a goods night sleep at the Hilton Hotel as the double glazing kept all the noise out from the outside and we heard no one walking pass our room we packed up and checked out to head onto Barcelona port to board the largest cruise ship in the world Symphony of the Seas.
Upon approaching the port we could see her from a distance and she looked ever so stunning and impressive. What a beauty she was.
Upon arrival at the port area as we are both Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor members we had a fast track queuing area. However it did not make much difference as we still had an hour to wait until we could board.
When we boarded we could not drop off our bags until 1pm as all state rooms were still being done so we decided to start taking advantage of the drinks package we had and sit down and take in the sounds of some Caribbean music which was being played up on deck by a live band.
We then had a wonder around the ship and found the famous car on the Promenade but this time it was squashed into a bubble. I am not sure if I liked the car like this even though arty and different.
There were so many other different pieces of art/sculptures like this mirrored sculpture which is situated in Boardwalk.
There was even this odd very shiny red candy lolly outside the Attic. Yummy pity it was not real.
On our wonders we also came across a stand where you could purchase WOW bands to use throughout your cruise for $4.95 each. You might think why would you need a WOW band when you have a seapass card but they are handy as if you go swimming you can’t take your card with you in the water but you can swim with a WOW band on. There are four colours to choose from black, yellow, blue and white.
We have stayed in the Boardwalk Balcony cabin before on Oasis of the Seas but this time the room seemed a lot bigger and so did the balcony.
Plus like with any cruise there was a daily planner on the side table listing all activities that you can participate in throughout the day.
This was Saturdays daily planner.
After unpacking I headed straight to the Carousel which I noticed which was now open when I peered over the balcony.
Here is me on all the animals which were on the carousel which I rode over the week completing them all. My personal favourites were the tiger and frog.
Which animal would you ride first?
After having a ride on a few of the animals we decided to grab a hot dog which was right next to the carousel. The hot dogs were delicious.
We then went to have a tour of the spa area ‘Vitality’ and enter a raffle to win spa treatment but we did not win. However we did pay to use the sauna area for the whole week as we both love a steam room.
Next stop was for me to brave the Abyss. With the fish looking scary enough as it was once appearing into the dark mouth of the Abyss I was then having double thoughts in if to take the leap but thankfully I did. So after slipping my feet into the bag and holding the strap of the bag with my arms I plunged down into the Abyss mouth. There was darkness, lights, noise, bumps, many twists and turns making this slide even more scary but I done it and it was scary but accelerating and fun but I was not brave enough to tempt to take the leap again. Jason did not attempt at all. Be warned though if you do take the leap keep your arms in over your body all the time and keep hold of the strap of the bag as people have hurt and bruised themselves on this ride.
Will you be brave enough to take the plunge?
After that scary ride it was time for me to go and have a drink at the Bionic Bar where you can choose a cocktail from the menu or even create your own by selecting the drink you want added and stirred or shaken together by the robots. Very fun to watch, plus only a selection of the non-alcoholic cocktails are free, other premium cocktails started from around $12.00 (depending if you have a drinks package or not).
After I went and hit the Lazer Quest game. Jason sat this one out. I opted to be an alien and fight robots. Even though the robots thrashed us aliens I was the top fighting alien out of my team of aliens.
After the fight me and Jason decided to dine at our first speciality dining restaurant from our 5 night dining package at Jamie’s Italian. The food was exactly the same as what you can order in the UK restaurants and even tasted the same so it was a real treat. I loved the raspberry pavlova.
It was now time to watch Hairspray at the theatre so on with my purple wig and it was time to party.
The wig can be found on the Boardwalk and if you pout your head into it you will be able to listen to music whilst looking so cool.
If you could colour your hair what would you colour it to?
Hairspray the Musical lived up to it’s expectations. It was truly like a West End performance in fact it was better than the one which I saw in London many years back. All the actors were outstanding singers and dancers and made this colourful heart stopping show an exciting and entertaining one. Me and Jason in fact think this is probably one of the best shows Royal Caribbean has ever put on and we have seen quite a few from Grease to We Will Rock You.
With so much fun already just on the first day it was time to turn in for the night.
Day 2 – Palma De Mallorca
Upon waking up this morning we could see from the wayfinder digital board what the temperature was outside as well as other information. Today was a pleasant 66F.
We decided to eat at the Windjammer today and we came across this happy waiter who throughout the cruise changed into a different disguise or should I say hat. He was funny and full of happiness which in turn made everyone else happy.
We decided not to get off today at Palma de Mallorca as we have visited their before. However if you visit Palma de Mallorca it is famous for it’s historic food market place called Mercat de Santa Catalina which has been established there since 1249.
We instead after breakfast made use of the sauna in the spa area before then heading out on deck to take advantage of the pools and ride the waterslides.
Firstly though time to grab a towel I think I’ll take this elephant.
There are a number of swimming pools and Jacuzzi’s to choose from all being as good good as each other but my personal favourite area is the Solarium where only people who are aged 16 and over can enter and relax in. The whole atmosphere within this area is tranquil and they not only have plenty of lidos but also there large double size lounger type beds and basket lounge beds where couples can lie together. As you can imagine these are very popular and so everyone always makes a beeline for them so if you want one of them then I recommend going down to the Solarium early to secure yourself one.
In the main pool area there is also a kids swimming area with plenty of water guns and fun things to do within it like the bucket of doom which once filled will pour out over all the children giving them a big soak so as you may of gathered me and Jason just had to do this as we are big kids.
For adults there are three watersides to choose from. The yellow being slower than the other two, the blue one being very fast and dark and the other having a large ‘Champagne’ bowl which you drop down into and swirl around in before exiting into another flume shooting you out.
I only did the yellow and bowl type slides and avoided the blue one as Jason done the blue one and said it is pitch black and very twisty and as I don’t like darkness I decided to give it a miss. The other slides though where fun and a bit too fast for my liking.
After having some fun in the pool area and relaxing the Solarium on the double lido bed it was time for a golf tournament. So whilst waiting to play we took a seat in the van and waited. We did not win the tournament unfortunately.
After playing and being a sore looser I then came across this scuba diver with a icecream I just had to have a lick of his icecream. For a real free icecream though you can always grab one from the many Sprinklers machines dotted out on deck which you can opt for Vanilla, Chocolate or a combo of both.
We then headed on down to Boardwalk to grab some lunch. In this area there is a climbing area. I think it was designed initially for kids but the instructions did state if you suffer with a bad back or pregnant etc then don’t climb it so then it made me think actually adults can also climb this so I just had to especially considering I can’t climb the rock climbing wall as I have not got the strength in my arms to climb a wall. I made it to the top.
Afterwards we then went to eat at Johnny Rockets which is an American burger chain. When we firstly got our food it was cold as had been sitting on the pass for over 5 minutes so we sent it back and got a new burger and chips cooked which then was so much better and hot.
Note though there is usually a charge to dine at Johnny Rockets but it you are staying in a balcony in the Boardwalk area then you get one meal free at lunchtime to dine there. If you stay in a balcony overlooking Central Park you will get one free lunch at Jamie’s Italian.
Whilst eating at Johnny Rockets we saw some filming being done for Royal Caribbean’s latest upcoming commercial for their website being shot. We then noticed them again on a few odd occasions throughout the week. Here are some photos of them filming.
I will add a link here to the commercial once on-line.
Later in the afternoon we had an invite to a special Crown and Anchor VIP event. So we both went back to get washed and dressed and then headed on down the event where we got to hear a speech by Captain Rick and some other important members on board the cruise such as Bruce from London whom is the main head chef who oversees everything on board Symphony of the Seas.
We then popped into the Sugar Beach shop and saw an array of sweets to choose from at a cost though. They even had Jelly Belly’s.
After wondering the ship and taking it all in it was now time to get dressed for and tonight was formal night so on with a cocktail dress for me and a Tux for Jason. Formal nights usually happen on the second day and second to last day of any seven night cruise.
Afterwards we went and saw 1977 ice skating show. The story brings guests to London on the eve of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee when her Crown Jewels are stolen in the heist of the century. It was sensational and full of action, excitement, jumps, spins and headbangers.
Afterwards I did adventure into Casino Royale but alas I could not gamble as the stakes to play roulette or Blackjack was too high unfortunately. So alas I done no gambling on this cruise.
As this was the second night the house keeping cleaners now can make towel animals from guests and my first towel animal was a stingray.
Day 3 – Provence (Marseilles), France
Today waking up in Marseilles we find out by the wayfinder board that today is starting out with a reasonable temperature of 61F.
Firstly time for breakfast. Today we went and ate in the Solarium restaurant for breakfast where there is much healthier options to choose from compared to the Windjammer. I chose some cooked cold vegetables and parma ham this morning. Jason had cereal.
Afterwards we decided to adventure around Provence as we have never been to this port before. This city is home to some outstanding pieces of architecture in particular the Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde.
To get into town we took a shuttle from the ship and it took around 15 minutes before we reached town.
We decided to take in Marseilles via segway with 21 Jump which we booked months back on-line but before our time we had a few hours to spare so whilst walking around we came across this unusual lion on stilts which is found next to Hotel de Ville.
We then came across Petit Train Marseille so we decided to take a ride on it.
We took circuit 1 which took us up to Notre Dame de la Garde along the way we passed Pharo Palace and St Victor’s Abbey.
the whole journey was interesting and the view from Notre Dame de la Garde which is set on Garde Hill (154m) was amazing and the inside of Notre Dame de la Garde was spectacular. I especially loved the ceilings paintings out of gold.
After our journey it was now time for us to jump onto 21 Jump segway in which took us around town and up to Notre Dame de la Garde again which we did not mind as it was an experience going up and down the steep hills on a segway on the road. We were both initially scared in steering a segway up a road and climbing up and down a steep hill but in fact it ended up being rather fun.
21 Jump is now one of our best segway tours we have ever experienced and we have done quite a few.
After such a great day we topped the night off by dining in one of the our best speciality restaurants on board any Royal Caribbean ship and that was at Chops Grill. Chops Grille provides quality, hand cut steaks.
Jason had his favourite of steak and I had my favourite goats cheese salad followed by fish. Then to end any good meal off a good old classic dessert for both of us. Jason had lemon meringue pie and me apple pie, heavenly.
We then went on after and watched Aqua Nation which is a water acrobatics show. It was full of suspense with so many acrobatic stunts and dives. This was certainly one show that we both will never forget and remember for a long time. I loved the two acrobatics/divers that bounced on type ropes what precision and timing they had.
Such a great night and a perfect end to a fantastic day with my towel animal.
Is this a bear what do you think?
Day 4 – Le Spezia
Today we arrived Le Spezia where you can go on numerous excursions to Florence or Pisa. We though as we have been here before we decided to not get off and take advantage of all activities that is available on board.
We went and ate in the main dining area today. Jason opted for an omelette and I had pancakes with a fruit compote which was good however the pancakes were quite luke warm which was a little of a disappointment.
From day two there has been a quiz that has been happening at 10am but this was our first quiz to play on this cruise as the other days we have been busy. To my surprise I bumped into Clare who follows my Facebook site Cruise Ship Crazy and whom I met when I attended Symphony of the Seas pop up in London few months back. I knew she was going to be on-board so I was happy when I got to bump into her. We then met up with her and her friends Louise, Tony and Jeannette for other quiz’s throughout our holiday. Other quiz’s usually happened at 5pm, around 9pm and gameshow type quiz’s at midnight.
We then had some pizza.
We then went and relaxed in the spa area, relaxing on the large loungers in the Solarium and went swimming.
Later in the afternoon I met up with Clare and Louise and went and played a Scavenger hunt. We won but then it was just us three playing as one team against no one else. We won some plastic Royal Caribbean merchandise keyrings.
In the evening we went and ate in the speciality restaurant Hooked which was a fish lovers heaven. The portions were huge but wow the food was so good. I had calamri, tried some cooked oysters, had a fish platter with lobster and a sweet fruit crumble which was divine. Jason had mussels, followed by a 10oz cod and also a fruit crumble. Impressive.
Afterwards we attended an 80’s parade on the Royal Promenade where we saw the cruise director driving around in a kids electronic car, rocked with the entertainment crew and danced along with Pacman and the red ghost.
It was then onto a night of comedy by Jim David. I personally found the other warm up comedian before Jim more funnier but that is only because I did not understand Jim’s American type jokes. Jason however did understand the gags and found him funny.
In the evening me and Jason we went along to the midnight gameshow of Be the Superstar with Clare and Louise. Before the gameshow though there was a karoke session so if you love to sing then you can.
I and Louise both opted to be contestants along with some other ladies in which we competed against a team of men. We had to play silly games like passing a ball from one person to another just using our chins, putting a keyring in between our legs and dropping it in a cup, bursting a balloon against each other, etc. Us girls won, yippee. We was given a spa voucher for 30% off a treatment. I gave my prize to Clare which she used to have a manicure with.
After me and Jason went to use our two free gold coins that we get for being platinum members and we both won $0.15 each, whoopee.
Then it was back off to sleepy land where I was greeted by this lovely towel frog.
Day 5 – Civitavecchia
Today was going to be a pleasant 70F.
Again as we have done this port before and visited the famous Colosseum we decided to make use of the ships facilities.
Today we got lucky and got one of the basket loungers in which we chilled out on and took advantage of the empty Jacuzzi’s and pool in the adult Solarium area.
I love the pool in the Solarium area even though small as there is a viewing area you could get many snaps of yourself under the water. I felt like a penguin underwater and being gawped at by Jason who took many snaps of me.
Call me Happy Feet.
At one point throughout during my time of relaxing around the pool deck when I visited the ladies toilets I got locked in for 15 minutes as you can imagine I was not happy then.
In the afternoon me and Jason attended the 5pm quiz with Clare and co. and won more keyrings to add to our collection.
After me and Jason then decided to head to eat at Izumi but on the way we bumped into Captain Rick.
Izumi is a speciality restaurant but can not be used as part of your dining package if you have bought one. However for an extra $49 each (choose two different types of meat or fish) this restaurant is an experience in itself with the fun culinary show created by Ryan. The food was also exceptional and plenty of it. I highly recommend.
After getting stuffed with rice, meat and fish we then nipped back to the cabin to get dressed into something a little warmer as we was heading on out tonight to watch Hiro which is Royal Caribbeans newest aqua style show.
Upon entering the cabin I came across this cute platypus.
Hiro is a spectacular aqua show full of action. However I thought this was supposed to be based about enemies making friends in the end but somewhere the story lost it for me when they had an 80’s style scene with a glitter ball and the jumping action from the two men on type ropes above the pool which we saw performed in Aqua Nation. So unfortunately even though there was great stunts, dives and acrobatics in this show the story did not make sense and made me getting a slightly bored near the end.
After chilling outside for approx an hour we then went along to watch Blankety Blank at midnight. Well I say watch by I actually mean participate. The ever so funny Victor was the quiz master tonight.
Louise nominated herself as a contestant and I put myself forward as one of the panellist. It was a funny and very amusing game.
Louise won and won a Royal Caribbean bag which she was chuffed with. A great way to end the night.
Day 6 – Naples
Today the temperature is a nice 64F. Again though as we have visited this port before we stayed on board. Naples though if you did not know is the third-largest city is one of its oldest and most artistic city with so much to do and discover.
We decided to eat breakfast in the Solarium cafe today as it is quieter than the Windjammer and healthier.
I love the mirrored balls amongst the lights on the ceiling.
Afterwards we went to play yet another golf tournament but unfortunately no one else turned up so we won a gold medal automatically.
Then me and Jason went and attended a quiz at 10am with our quiz friends.
Then after we went and had fun in the Solarium pool area.
Magic I have split my body in half
In the afternoon we went and played a game of Lazer Quest. Me and Jason were both on the same team as aliens along with other cruisers. Even though we lost to the Robots I had a much better score than Jason and others in the team.
Then once again another quiz at 5pm then time to get dressed into our formal attire for the night ahead.
Tonight we decided to dine in the main dining area as I love seeing the chefs parade. I would not normally dine in the main dining restaurant as I don’t like the noisy atmosphere and the luke warm food but I love the parade.
As usual though I was disappointed as we was both told certain tables could not be sat at as reserved but those tables never got used until an hour later. I always thought my time dining should be on first come first served so if the table is free surely we should have first pickings. Also there was a number of issues with the waitress and the food was luke warm. However the head waiter apologised and got us both a fillet steak and a bottle of wine which made the time in the dining room a better one.
The parade and speech by Bruce was worth it though.
Afterwards we went and watched the magician Hector. His tricks were truly remarkable.
Later on the in the evening we played the quiz Race the clock which you had 40 seconds to answer within your teams six questions about certain watch’s. Unfortunately did not win.
Afterwards Jason went on back to the cabin to sleep whilst I carried on the evening and met up with Clare and Louise to watch a gameshow called the Perfect Couple which couples had to perform party games.
Today’s towel animal was a penguin.
Day 7 – At Sea
Today we are at sea and the temperature was a lovely 63F.
First things first like any morning breakfast time. Went and ate in the Solurium cafe and bumped into Gary Thomas one of Royal Caribbeans Executive chefs. I have met him before on Anthem of the Seas. He really is a lovely man.
After grabbing a bite to eat we headed to the Schooner Bar to join the All Access tour rep which we had booked for an all access tour behind the scenes of Symphony of the Seas. On the way we came across the squashed VW car again and thought I would also squash myself into a ball.
Once everyone whom was taking the All Access tour had signed up we then set off starting with The Galley where we saw starters, meats and desserts being made for lunch and dinner service for later today. We learnt how our dish’s are prepared and where the ingredients are stored. We also saw where the recycle waste was sorted and recycled. It was then next down the crew corridor and into the Engine Control Room. After we learnt about the laundry on the ship then followed by the highlight of the tour of the Bridge which is the navigational centre of the ship.
There was so much equipment, operating manuals and reference books. So if you have ever wanted to discover the ins and outs of how a cruise ship operates from food to steering then an All Access tour is highly worth it. The whole tour lasts about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Afterwards we went and grabbed some lunch in the main dining area where there was so much food even a chocolate fountain and carved fruit and ice sculptures.
After getting stuffed with chocolate it was time to swashbuckle with the pirates in the lunchtime parade.
We then went and watched a towel folding display by some of the house keeping staff.
Can you name all the towel animals?
Straight after the towel animal class we played a game put on by Puzzle Break called The Royal Heist. Me and Jason teamed up with a few other holiday makers it was a very fun and challenging puzzle game. After playing this I wished that the Puzzle Break escape room was working as their mini game was fantastic but unfortunately they had technical issues so this is why we could not play the multi million pound escape room.
Straight after playing the Royal Heist we had a game of bingo. Unfortunately I did not win anything but was still fun none the less.
I then took the plunge and decided to do the zip wire however Jason did not. The zip wire was accelerating and fun.
Also today whilst waiting to play the quiz at 5 we discovered whilst we have been sailing the high seas that Kate had a baby boy some days back and named it Louis. How sweet.
As tonight was the last night on Symphony and we had one last night on our 5 night dining package in which we purchased we decided to re-eat at 150 Central Park which serves outstanding food. Not only does it look like Michelin Starred food but much bigger portions the taste is also exceptional. Also got to meet Sam again who we met in the All Access galley tour earlier.
We played one more quiz at 9pm with Clare and co. before saying our good byes as we still had to pack.
Upon returning to the cabin to pack I came across this lovely turtle.
Once packed we then turned in for a early night to catch some zzz’s.
Day 8 – disembarking the ship at Barcelona
Today it was time to disembark Symphony of the Seas. So it is a goodbye to our balcony.
Goodbye to our house keeper Marlon.
Goodbye to Victor who welcomes all holiday makers with a friendly smile and humour every morning at the Windjammer.
One last breakfast this time in the Windjammer. I love this wall of spoons.
A final ride in the van after our breakfast.
A goodbye to the Abyss fish.
Finally a massive goodbye to Symphony of the Seas we will miss you.
Highlights and negatives
- Solarium pool, Jacuzzi and loungers for couples
- Aqua Nation show
- Hairspray the Musical
- All the speciality restaurants
- Notre Dame de la Garde
- Segway with 21 Jump
- The casino wagers to gamble on the Roulette and Black Jack was too high
- Puzzle Break escape room not being open due to technical issues
- Not having inagruel cruise merchandise to win due to shipment not arriving
Pre-book any speciality dining restaurants to secure a table as they can get booked quickly.
Book dining packages, drinks packages and excursions on-line before sailing as you can save quite a lot this way.
Note if you stay in a balcony overlooking Central Park or Broadwalk you get a few free privileges thrown in.
Have you sailed on Symphony of the Seas and what did you think?
NOTE: Royal Caribbean is always updating and improving their ships so I am sure that since my trip it has been updated. Discover the latest about Symphony of the Seas and upcoming itineraries via clicking here.