The best way to test a cruise? On fashion editor Linda COnway, who isn’t fond of the sea...
It was all aboard for the inaugural sailing of the biggest ship in the world from Barcelona with Royal Caribbean, and I was equal measures excited and sceptical. From the airport, you’re talking about a 20 minute drive to the dock where you board the ship. You check in through security and join a swiftly moving queue to get your travel information. Once you enter the ship you feel like you’re in a pretty lush shopping centre. Surrounded by cafes, shops and restaurants, we decided to ditch our luggage before having a proper snoop around.
Rooms are organised by deck with stairs and elevators at opposite ends of the ship. With the capability to host 5,518 guests, you’d imagine it’s pretty difficult to get around but it’s all easy to manoeuvre. We stayed in a balcony room that overlooked the ocean, a pretty spectacular way to wake up. Other rooms gaze on to the Boardwalk neighbourhood, full of vibrancy and activities all day. The rooms are comfortable with wardrobe space, your own bathroom with a shower and a nice bed. There are seven distinctive neighbourhoods, from Central Park to an activities area with everything from a basketball court to a zip line to the tallest slide at sea.
What I began to quickly realise is that there was something for guests of all ages. The Symphony Of The Seas is the 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, so this lot sure know a thing or two about how to keep cruise goers content for their stay on board.
The vast space means you can really do anything your heart desires. Fancy a run? Well there’s a running track. Need to get in your lifting session? There’s a well equipped gym available too. In complete holiday mode? Grab yourself a glass of vino (included in the package, BTW) and head to the salon to get a blowdry for the night ahead.
Speaking of the night ahead, we come to my main interest – food. From casual eats to fine dining, it really does allow you to make the choice about the kind of holiday you want to have. My favourite was grabbing a G&T in Jazz On 4 for some music before heading to 150 Central Park for a meal that I’m still talking about (try the cauliflower steak for sure). To finish off the night we watched Hairspray The Musical in a theatre that would rival many on land, a stellar performance.
We spent two nights on the ship and honestly, there was so much more to see and do. What I did learn is that a cruise really isn’t what you’d expect, well not this one anyway! For a girl who likes to be land based, I think I’m converted, I never felt like I was at sea. You’re surrounded by activities and excitement and you wake up in a different city every other day. What’s not to love?
Booking it: For the summer months, Symphony Of The Seas is sailing from Malaga to Barcelona, Spain. Calling on Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France and Florence/Pisa, Rome and
Naples, Italy. From November the ship will be making Miami home, sailing 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages from the state-of-the-art new Terminal A at PortMiami. Prices start from £1776pp for 7 nights all inclusive, excluding flights.
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