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Cruise Blog

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.


    Cruise Ship Visits

    3rd May 2016

    Updated August 2018

    Deciding where you want to go is one thing, but choosing your cruise ship is another factor that could require some deliberation. With so many different cruise lines to choose from these days, people who have never cruised before can find it confusing and even those who regularly cruise are sometimes afraid to try something different.

     

     

    For this reason, we arrange for our customers to have an opportunity to experience a day onboard a cruise ship. The day gives you a chance to look around the ship and all its facilities before making a decision. Accompanied by our cruise experts and a representative of the cruise line, you will be shown everything from entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, fitness centres, spas, lounges, and cabins (if available).

    Once you have had a chance to see the ships’ facilities, we will take you to the main dining room where you will have the opportunity to sample the onboard cuisine with a delicious three-course meal with wine followed by coffee.

    Take a look at some of our staff ship day visits below.

    Cunard's Queen Victoria - Toby, IT Team Leader

    "The ship itself is simply amazing. The facilities unbeatable; you can unwind in the Britannia Club or the onboard Spa (or my favourite the Gin Bar), or, (as an avid reader) I found a two-story library onboard with over 6000 books - unbelievable."

     

     

    Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Silhouette - Winfred, Email Specialist

    "When visiting Celebrity Silhouette I felt incredibly spoiled to experience the extensive range of special privileges onboard. These included seeing the different suite categories and various upgrades available, the speciality dining, the VIP lounge, and even the personal butler service 24/7. It was also fantastic to visit the different restaurant options available, such as the restaurant Luminae which is exclusive to Suite Class guests. Michael's Club was also another great private area for Suite Class guests, it was so intimate and inviting. Anyone who wishes to cruise with Celebrity Cruises won't be disappointed - their services make everyone feel special."

    Carnival Cruises, Carnival Horizon - Joe, Video Content Executive

    "I was lucky enough to go on a brand new Carnival Cruises ship – Horizon – which was an incredible experience for me, especially because at the time I was quite new to the cruising industry. It was a real eye opener and really helped me to appreciate all the fantastic opportunities there are when it comes to cruise holidays."

    Princess Cruises, Royal Princess - Andrew, Email Marketing Assistant

    "I think ship visits are an incredible chance to try before you buy, with a guided tour, learning about the ship and sitting down to enjoy a meal onboard in one of the most popular restaurants on the ship! If you don’t know whether a cruise line or ship is for, you experiencing the ship for a day is an offer too good to refuse.

     

     

    As for the Royal Princess, the ship is beautiful with so many things to do onboard from table tennis and golf to movies under the stars and a kids club. I was delighted with the standard of the ship; it was so clean and the interior decorated to the highest quality - and the food was delicious!"

    P&O Cruises, P&O Azura - Mark, Sales Consultant

    "It was great to see a cruise ship and it was useful to look at all the different cabins, restaurants, shops and facilities that are available to guests.

    We had an amazing sample taster at the Epicurean restaurant. On the menu was Smoked Salmon followed by the most amazing Iberico ham. Both were served at the side of the table and then at the end, we had Crepe Suzette, prepared and flambéed at the table, all with fantastic wine. We then visited the Sindhu restaurant to try a sample menu of famous Indian dishes which were amazing.

     

     

    All the staff were very friendly and helpful. Seeing and sampling onboard means you can pass on very useful and reliable information to future guests."

     

    MSC Cruises, MSC Magnifica - Sabrina, Customer Care Executive

    I think ship visits are essential to someone who is looking to book a cruise, as they can really get a ‘feel’ of the ship once onboard. I find that when you see something in the flesh and experience the atmosphere and sounds of the ship, it helps you decide if it's right for you – this is especially helpful for first-time cruisers. Cruising can sometimes be an expensive holiday option, so by visiting the ship first, you can make sure it's worth it for you and your family. Having the option to view the cabins – especially different grades - can help to make the decision about what to book in the future, whether it be with the same cruise operator or another.

    All in all a great opportunity to try before you buy.

     

    If like many people you prefer to try before you buy, please note that places do get booked very quickly, so if you would like to come to one of our visits, we suggest you book early. We have availability on our guided ship tours from just £25 pp.

    To book, call our concierge team on 020 8254 3534 or email concierge-cruise@iglu.com. Find out more about other ship visits and cruise events.




    We explore Disney Magic

    11th August 2015

    Last week we were lucky enough to explore the enchanting atmosphere onboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic before she set sail for the sunny Mediterranean.

    With a picturesque backdrop of the white cliffs of Dover behind us we boarded Disney Magic with a flurry of excitement and intrigue wondering what Disney delights we were about to encounter.

    The magic was evident in every detail from the minute we stepped onboard. From the music to the décor and even the Mickey Mouse hands above the lift pointing to each floor. The look and feel throughout Disney Magic is a classic Art Deco design whilst the presence of Mickey Mouse and friends can be felt in every detail. Popular films such as Toy Story come to life in the kids zones with a giant Slink slide and life size Hamm.

    Dining onboard is a true delight with concept restaurants and dedicated waiter/waitress teams who move with you between venues each night and memorise your every need. Make sure you try the chocolate souflee in Palo, you'll soon see why it deserves such a legendary status.

    Check out our photos from the day and find out who makes a surprise star appearance.

     

    disney magic

    Disney Magic art

    Disney Magic Animators Palate

    Disney Magic Piano Bar

    Disney Magic stateroom

    Disney Magic Andy's room

    Disney Magic kids zone

    Walt Disney Theatre

    disney magic

     

     

    Browse our Disney Magic cruise deals

    Have you sailed onboard Disney Magic? Tell us about it in the comments below


    Iglu Team Meets Oasis Of The Seas

    17th October 2014

    Updated March 2019

    Oasis of the Seas visited Southampton for the first time back in September 2014. This highly-anticipated day meant that we, of course, had to send a few members of staff along to see the ship and learn first-hand just what Royal Caribbean offer onboard.

     

     

    Since launching in 2009, people from all over the world have travelled to her home port of Fort Lauderdale to see her. It was never speculated she would come to the UK, so after it was announced that she would complete a two-week dry dock in Rotterdam, and then stop in Southampton before her transatlantic back to America, those of us in the UK cruise world were very excited.

    Invitation only...

    The day arrived and we (literally) jumped onto the train bound for Southampton. We'd already heard the news that her anticipated arrival into Southampton didn't disappoint, and thousands of speculators had gathered around the port to see her - with the bonus of free bacon butties on offer! Before the train had even stopped at Southampton, we spotted the iconic Crown and Anchor symbol peering over the top of buildings – giving only an inclination of her size.

    The biggest WOW... 

    Docked in Southampton she looked even larger than we imagined she'd be. As soon as we stepped onboard - feeling more than ready for the day ahead - everyone was in complete awe. There are not enough words to explain how fantastic our day was, from the fun tasks to the exquisite cuisine, everything was absolutely wonderful. We experienced each one of the seven neighbourhoods, indulged in a total of ten different meal courses, and well and truly experienced what it would be like to holiday on this floating masterpiece.

     

     

     

    Find out what the team thought about Oasis of the Seas ...

    Hayley Henderson, Marketing Executive

    My favourite thing about Oasis of the Seas was…

    The carousel on the Boardwalk

    I think guests would love a cruise on Oasis of the Seas because…

    The variety of things for every cruiser, there are many areas to simply relax or a wide range of activities for the more adventurous traveller.

    Describe Oasis of the Seas in one word…

    Revolutionary

    Elaine Ross, Head of Cruise Trading

    My favourite thing about Oasis of the Seas was…

    The Boardwalk. With the ice cream parlour, open-air restaurants, and the candy shop, I felt like I was walking along a real seaside Boardwalk. The Aqua Theatre at the end was a total surprise, I can only imagine how spectacular it would be to watch a show here.

    I think guests would love a cruise on Oasis of the Seas because…

    There is so much to see and do, I could not imagine anyone one being bored onboard.

    Describe Oasis of the Seas in one word…

    Awesome

     

     

    James Turner, Sales Executive

    My favourite thing about Oasis of the Seas was…

    The steak I ate in the American idol Grill. Infact all of the cuisine was first class!

    I think guests would love a cruise on Oasis of the Seas because…

    It genuinely has something for everyone. It takes the concept of cruising to another level – whatever the weather… whatever your age…. whatever your interests, she delivers.

    Describe Oasis of the Seas in one word…

    Unconventional

    Patrick Hill, Sales Executive

    My favourite thing about Oasis of the Seas was…

    The variety of activities that appeared to be going on around the ship. Everywhere I looked there was something going on, from karaoke and dance lessons to an organised get-together.

    I think guests would love a cruise on Oasis of the Seas because…

    She is packed full of great entertainment, fantastic dining options and activities the whole family can enjoy.

    Describe Oasis of the Seas in one word…

    Magnificent

     

     

    Walter Ferrari, Commercial Executive

    My favourite thing about Oasis of the Seas was…

    As a plant enthusiast, Central Park was my favourite. The array of Blue Rain bromeliads, trees and sounds of birds singing was the last thing I would expect on a cruise ship.

    I think guests would love a cruise on Oasis of the Seas because…

    Of the enticing variety of restaurants, fun and adventurous activities, spectacular shows and sensational spa treatments.

    Describe Oasis of the Seas in one word…

    Mesmerising

    Curious to see the ship for yourself? Take a look at our: Oasis of the Seas Deals

     

     


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