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A Cruise Expert's Review of Symphony of the Seas

31st July 2018

Updated March 2019

We love sending our staff out on various cruises and ship visits so that they can continue to hone their expertise and pass on knowledge to our customers. This being said, we felt it absolutely necessary to send a few of our guys out on what is now (at the time of writing!) the world’s largest cruise ship; Symphony of the Seas. Find out what cruise specialist Chelsea thought of this incredible ship.

 

 

There are many, many awe-struck moments that you will feel onboard Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. But then, this is what they do best.

When you arrive you are hit instantly by her sheer size. She dwarfs all other ships in port and dominates the view. Many people are a little worried about the 5,518 passenger capacity onboard, but they really don’t need to be. Most of the time, you don’t even realise you are sailing, never mind on a cruise ship!

The ship is so vast that you don’t feel swamped by other passengers at all, and instead, you simply feel relaxed. The only time you might see the majority of the other passengers is in the theatre, which spans over two decks towards the front of the ship. I was lucky enough to watch Hairspray here, and was taken aback by the staging, the lights, and the whole performance. It really does rival the West End!

Inside the ship, you feel as though you are in a huge shopping centre. It’s filled with entertainment, restaurants, shops, and bars. Each ‘neighbourhood’ is truly amazing in a different way;

 

  • Central Park with its trees and plants really makes you feel like you’re having a coffee in a park
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  • The Boardwalk boasts the Aqua Theatre and sports bars
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  • The Royal Promenade is the heart of the ship, and where you will find the majority of shops and bars
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    Not to mention all the other amenities onboard the ship; waterslides, the Abyss, the Pools, FlowRider, the zip-line, rock-climbing walls, laser tag - is it possible there’s too much to do?

    The cabin we had was a Balcony cabin overlooking the Boardwalk. It was perfect for two people and had a sofa area by the balcony. We had a great view of the Aqua Theatre, but this did also mean we could hear the Aqua Theatre Show when our door was open. If the door is shut, you hear next to no noise at all which is great for the evenings.

    As great as our accommodation was, I would, in fact, recommend an Oceanview Balcony cabin on this ship. Aside from these cabins, you can only see the ocean beyond the Aqua Theatre and from the windows in the main restaurant - it isn’t visible elsewhere on the ship. By staying in an Oceanview Balcony, you would know you were holidaying on a cruise ship after all!

     

     

    A cruise isn’t a cruise if you don’t mention the food. The Main Restaurant on Symphony of the Seas is beautiful, and the standard of the food you just cannot fault. The Windjammer is everything you expect and caters for every fancy. The speciality restaurants that you see on other Royal Caribbean ships are also present; Jamie’s Italian, Izumi, and Chop’s Grille for example. As with some of the other large ships in the fleet, 150 Central Park and Wonderland are also both onboard. My only regret is not being able to try Wonderland’s ‘Imaginative dining’ - I would advise anyone to book a table here in advance through your Cruise Personaliser, so as not to miss out.

    As for the staff, we couldn’t fault any of them. They always - always - went above and beyond as usual.

    Take a closer look at life onboard Symphony of the Seas, or if you’re already sold, browse through our range of Symphony of the Seas cruises.


    A Big Thank You! Interview with Voyages to Antiquity Competition Winner

    17th July 2018

    Catch Up With Voyages To Antiquity Competition Winner, Martin Myers.

    In cooperation with Voyages to Antiquity, Iglu Cruise hosted a competition with the prize of a fantastic cruise for two on board Aegean Odyssey from Bordeaux to London. To win the competition we asked Iglu Cruise fans to say why they wanted to sail with Voyages to Antiquity in one sentence. Over a thousand cruise fans responded but it was Martin Myers who was lucky enough to win the fiercely close competition. His winning answer was “Intimate ship, included excursions and tips, overnights in port and informal dining- What's not to like!?” Martin’s winning response may express everything that makes Voyages to Antiquity a cruiser’s favourite, but he hasn’t finished having his say. Here, we catch up with him after his dream prize cruise with Voyages to Antiquity and see just how he got on.

    guests onboard agean odyssey

    How did you find Aegean Odyssey?

    We then boarded Aegean Odyssey again a seamless process and were escorted to our cabin where our luggage was already present, we then began to notice that within a few short hours that all the staff were not only incredibly friendly and professional but already knew our names without need for introduction, this blew us away and added another level to an already very high standard of hospitality.

    How was your accommodation on Aegean Odyssey?

    The cabin was spacious, light and well-appointed with a good sized bathroom. This was the first time we had sailed on a small ship and both myself and Lee were not at all phased by this, in fact quite the reverse as we had everything on board required. As we toured the ship in more detail during our sea day it became apparent that the standard of maintenance, cleanliness and decor both inside and outside were second to none, along with some well thought-out rooms such as the Library, Observation Lounge and Lido Deck where the Tea & Coffee station was a great addition.

     

    agean odyssey cabin

     

    What entertainment was there on Aegean Odyssey?

    We were invited on one evening to pre-dinner drinks followed by dinner with Voyages to Antiquity’s General Manager Mr John Kain. At first, we weren’t sure exactly what his role was but the charming Charlene at the reception desk nicely educated us. Some fellow passengers were also invited and the evening was a great success, of note too was the friendliness of the other passengers and the camaraderie that was fostered whilst out on excursions and dining. The lectures on board were well presented. In particular, the one given by Mr John Hughes about the Eden Project was excellent as we are both keen gardeners and John's knowledge of plants was extensive.

    How was Aegean Odyssey’s food and service?

    The meals in both the Terrace Grill and Marco Polo Restaurant were faultless from start to finish. This was not only in terms of choice and quality, but in innovative menus featuring new ingredients and styles of cooking. This all lead to a sense of care being taken not only in preparation but in delivery as well. We also enjoyed the wines which were served with dinner and the level of service in both areas was outstanding with nothing being too much trouble as all the waiting staff were brilliant. Special mention has to go to Maureen in the Terrace Grill and Charleston Lounge and to our cabin steward Melody who made sure we were well looked-after.

     

    agean odyssey food

     

    How were Voyages to Antiquity’s excursions and tours?

    On the second day after breakfast although the weather was not kind we did enjoy our visit to some of Bordeaux’s famous vineyards. We had a very informative tour of the town and saw beautiful countryside. Here, we were able to see the vines, caves and the processing area where the wine was made along with a tasting in a very pleasant setting.

    The port of Falmouth gave us an opportunity to see St Michael's Mount which has long been on our bucketlist and in Dartmouth we were able to visit Agatha Christie’s holiday home Greenway again. This was some where we had been meaning to see, however, the icing on the cake was that in Dartmouth we were able to meet up with my mother and brother who live locally. We spent some quality time with them quayside in glorious Devon weather. The sail-away from Dartmouth was unforgettable as it seemed the entire town had come to the banks of the River Dart to wave us goodbye.

    Would you recommend a cruise on Aegean Odyssey with Voyages to Antiquity?

    Yes! Our time on the trip was fantastic from start to finish, all the arrangements were seamless and the quality and location of the hotel in Bordeaux could not have been better as the visit coincided not only with the tall ships being moored along the banks of the River Garonne but also the annual wine festival all directly outside the Hôtel Mercure Bordeaux Cité Mondiale Centre Ville, where we also enjoyed spectacular views of the city from the 7th floor breakfast restaurant.

     

    agean odyssey lounge

     

    What was your highlight with Voyages to Antiquity?

    I could go on and on as on as we felt like we had won the lottery! But, we’d have to say the ship was by far the highlight of our stay. Our time onboard Aegean Odyssey was unforgettable for so many reasons and we would like to thank all those at Iglu Cruise who made this possible.

    Want a similar experience to Martin with Voyage to Antiquity?

    If you like the sound of Martin’s fantastic experience, you can check out all Voyages to Antiquities’ latest and greatest deals onboard MV Aegean Odyssey and find the perfect cruise for you.

    Plus, be sure to keep an eye on our Iglu Cruise competitions page, where you'll find information about all current competitions and past winners.


    The Day I Switched On Fun!

    3rd September 2013

    Updated May 2019

     

    One of our most experienced Cruise Advisors Sally had the opportunity to get onboard Carnival Cruise Line's amazing ship, Carnival Legend. Find out all about her experience, and see whether or not this could be the cruise line for you and yours.

    Carnival Anticipation…

    It has always been my goal to experience every single cruise line out there, and with a list not too far from complete, I was delighted at the invitation to see Carnival Legend so I could tick off Carnival Cruise Lines! The opportunity came while the ship was docked in Dover, and when the morning of my visit came, I packed my camera, donned my 'fun' hat and boarded the southbound train.

     

     

    Fun button – On…

    After a picturesque journey down to the historic port town of Dover I could see Carnival Legend standing proud in the distance, waiting for us to come and explore her. The boarding process was very convenient, and I could see people did not have to wait in long lines. Everyone had their sea cards in no time. After receiving my pass, myself and my colleague walked up the gangway and could already hear the bass of party-style music. This would certainly put anyone in a happy mind set and ready for a week of fun!

    As I stepped onboard the ship I was instantly drawn to the large, striking Atrium. Boasting lit-up elevators, glass spiral staircases and inviting, stylish décor, it was stunning. The Atrium is always an area of a ship that catches your attention first, and I would go as far as to say this was one of the most unique ones I have ever seen.

    So much to see…

    Soon it was time to begin our tour of the ship, and first we head towards the outer decks. Carnival Cruise Line is famous for their signature water slides, and I was eager to see how fun they really looked. Located at the top of the ship, a large twisted water slide stood waiting for overexcited children to jump in. If I had my swim suit I would definitely have had a go!

     

     

    The adult-only retreat area - Serenity - was absolutely idyllic. Decked out with large comfortable lounge-style chairs, plus a private pool, this space offers the ultimate escape. 

    The gym was of a large size, and equipped with lots of different weight and cardio machines. Just behind the gym was the spa area, which was decorated in warm orange colours creating a welcoming and tranquil environment. The menu comprised an extensive range of treatments which could be enjoyed in peaceful rooms and carried out by skilled therapists.

    The indoor pool is perfect for those who prefer a serene and peaceful environment. The comfortable lounge chairs were set out around a large swimming pool and a number of Jacuzzis, and there was an attentive team of waiters offering bar service so you can easily find yourself with your favourite cocktail in hand.

     

     

    From the outer decks we went to see the children and teen areas. Families who go on cruises want their children to have as much fun as they can, and rest assured on Carnival your children will not be disappointed. Zones are split into three groups, 2 to 5 years, 6 to 8 years and 9 to 11 years, and there is so much for them to do. As well as the highly trained, fun staff that take care of them, the children’s areas are inviting and entertaining. The teens area was the perfect hangout for young adults to feel at home while making the most out of time away from mum and dad. The area is equipped with table football, large TV screens and funky seating areas.

    The casino was large and hosted a range of tables and slot machines, offering all sorts of gambling games for fun-filled evenings. Alternatively, adults can explore the various bars and lounges - the choice of which is extensive. It's fair to say there is something for everyone, from lively karaoke venues to the more chilled out lounges. 

    We were also lucky enough to see the various categories of staterooms. They were all a reasonable size and set out immaculately, containing all the amenities you would need in a stateroom. I was particularly impressed with the size of the bathrooms, they appeared larger than the ones I have seen on many other cruise ships.

     

     

    Time to dine…

    Before this trip I had heard mixed reviews about dining with Carnival Cruise Line, so I did not know what to expect.

    The dining room was stunning and boasted vibrant décor that created the feeling of being in a large modern city restaurant. A friendly waiter showed us to our table and we sat down to a perfectly laid spread and enticing menu.

    The salmon we had to start was divine, accompanied with candied tomatoes, grapes and apple. I had never tasted such a unique fish dish. Following this we were delighted with wild mushroom ravioli coated in truffle oil. It is hard to put into words how amazing this tasted. During this meal everyone sitting at my table collectively said how impressed they were with the food. It was then on to our main course which was a fillet mignon, served with sweet potato mash and roast vegetables. I chose to have my beef well done - something I know many people disagree with! - but rest assured it still melted in my mouth and tasted out of this world. I was more than satisfied and about to give the dessert a miss…until they told me it was warm chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice-cream. How could I resist? Again, this tasted perfect.

     

     

    Just as I was finishing my last spoon full, the fun continued in the dining room! In true Carnival-style the dining staff broke out in a dance that all of us were thrilled to watch. It was a great added touch that reminded us of the fun, happy persona that Carnival Criuse Line exude.

    Can I stay...

    It is normal to want to stay onboard after a ship visit, but I really wanted to stay onboard Carnival Legend for a cruise. I was pleasantly surprised by all it had to offer and the variety of public areas that offer a brilliant selection of entertainment for everyone. The food was excellent and gave me only a taste of what else is offered in the dining venues onboard Carnival Legend.

    Carnival Crusie Line advertise a fun, relaxing, and innovative experience and I believe they could not be truer to their word. I will definitely be back onboard for a cruise one day, and I can not express enough what a fantastic time you will have onboard should you choose a cruise onboard Carnival Legend.

     

     


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