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Symphony of the Seas: Big ship fun with a small ship feel

Spain, Spain
10 Kudos
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Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas is (currently) the largest ship in the world. With well over 8,000 passengers and crew on board, that's more than twice the size of many beach towns along the eastern seaboard. And yet, RCCL's ingenious "neighborhood" design helps make this ship manageable and, at times, intimate.

The ship includes:
- A "Boardwalk" with a sports bar, arcade and merry-go-round. It's a great place for families with young kids.
- "Central Park," complete with open-air, park-like setting and upscale restaurants and boutique shopping.
- "Entertainment Place," which features a karaoke bar, the ship's casino and an ice rink that converts to a glow-in-the-dark laser tag park.
- The ship's "pool and sports zone" has rock climbing walls, mini golf, a zip line, "The Abyss" dry slide, 3 water slides, "FlowRider" and multiple pools to suit everyone. (We never had a problem finding a seat at the pool, even at the height of our day at sea!)
- The "Royal Promenade" replaces the "Centrum" of RCCL's smaller ships and is the heartbeat of Symphony. In addition to restaurants and shopping, this is where the on board parties take place (don't miss the balloon drop on your first night). Two bars to make note of: Rising Tide -- which runs like a mobile bar between the 5th and 8th decks and has the friendliest staff on the ship, and Bionic Bar -- which was gimmicky and crowded. Two robot arms prepare your drink for you, if you are willing to wait for your turn.
- "Youth Zone" is the activity area for the under 21 crowd. It's broken down by age and allows parents to enjoy some time alone while the kids are entertained and make new friends. Believe it or not, there's even an escape room!
- "Vitality Spa and Fitness Center" is as expected, although a new healthy cafe has been added from previous iterations.

There's always plenty to do on board and plenty of places to do it. Whether you want a quiet dinner for two or party in the disco, see a water show or spend the evening gambling, Symphony has all of the amenities you're looking for, with a well organized layout that reduces the stress of crowds and waiting in long lines.
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