Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Abby Narishkin: I'm Abby. Sophie-Claire Hoeller: And I'm Sophie. Abby: We're both seasoned travelers, but neither of us has ever been on a cruise. Sophie: Does a booze cruise count? Abby: [laughing] I don't think that counts. Sophie: So, no. Abby: But we decided we would try the world's largest cruise ship, then review it. Sophie: We chose a seven-day cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas. Abby: It has amenities like zip lines, robot bartenders, waterslides and, of course, a lot of places to eat. Sophie: Starting in Miami, our cruise stopped in St. Martin, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. Abby: All the good stuff for our first cruise. While we're on board, we're gonna be ranking the cruise on four criteria: convenience, accommodation, amenities and food. Sophie: All to see if we'll ever set foot on a cruise again. Abby: I think I'm most worried about the food. I'm a huge foodie, and I've heard that there's a lot of food but not necessarily, like, the best quality. Sophie: Crowds, people, I don't usually like to go to all-inclusive resorts or anywhere where I think there's gonna be a lot of other people when I'm on vacation. Abby: I'm a harsh critic, but I'm ready to have my mind changed, so. Sophie: We are ready. Abby: Let's go on this cruise. Sophie: Let's go! Abby: We made it! Sophie: Hi. Abby: A lot of stuff. So, we just arrived in Miami. It's wonderfully hot. We're so pumped. Our friend is gonna pick us up from the airport, but as we were walking through baggage claim, we saw that there's an airport transfer that Royal Caribbean provides. Wish we had known about that, but we got a ride, so we'll see you at the port. We are currently waiting in traffic to get onto the ship. And I don't even know how long it's gonna take. Sophie: Thankfully, it lasted only 10 minutes, so we were a little early for our 12:30 boarding time. Abby: That whole feeling overwhelmed by crowds is already setting in, and we haven't even stepped foot out of the car yet. Sophie, we made it! Sophie: Organized chaos is the best way to describe the terminal. Abby: You can check your bags and crew members will drop them off at your room, but we carried our bags straight on. Sophie: Inside the terminal, it's a party. Abby: While we can't show you the security, I promise you it's easy to get through. You just need your passport and your mobile ticket. Sophie: Insider tip: Make sure you get the app. It makes boarding so much faster. The entire ship is cashless, so you charge any additional expenses to your room key and pay the balance at the end. Abby: If you forget something, there are vending machines with toiletries, medicine, and technology, but it's pretty pricey. I paid $6.25 for a toothbrush. After we got our keys, we went downstairs for the safety talk. With everyone in the theaters, the crowds were huge. The elevators were also really crowded, so we mostly just used the stairs. But usually we weren't that annoyed with the number of people. Sophie: They did a really good job of spreading everybody out. The ship's broken down into what they call neighborhoods, and everybody seems to, like, find a neighborhood they like and sort of stay there. Abby: But even though the ship's big, the signage does a really good job of helping you figure out where you're going. There are touch-screen maps on every floor, and Royal Caribbean is testing out an app to help with navigating the ship. Sophie: One note on convenience: the water situation. Water fountains were sort of few and far between, and while you could go to a bar and ask for a cup of water, you couldn't get a bottle of water unless you had a water package. Abby: I ended up just filling up my personal water bottle in the sink in my bathroom. Sophie: Which, we checked; that is drinkable. Because the ship is traveling through different time zones, it stays on Miami time the entire week. So when you're on an island, stick to ship time. Otherwise, you might miss the ship. Abby: And they're not waiting for you. We learned that. [laughing] Sophie: Really surprising to me how easy it was to get on and off the ship, both in Miami when we were boarding and disembarking, but also just when we're going to port and getting back from ports. I'm gonna give it a four, and the only reason I'm taking a point off is 'cause I'm lazy, and the ship is really big. Like, there were points in the day where I was like, "I really want a taco, but it's really far, and I'm just gonna eat in the restaurant that's by my room." Abby: I'm gonna give convenience a three. It was easy to get on and off the ship, but you could end up spending a lot of extra money if you weren't careful, and you ended up having to, like, fight for the amenities 'cause there were so many people and there was a lot of lines. Honestly, I feel like one of the biggest things about cruises that people are worried about are the size of the rooms, and this is much bigger than I thought it would be. Sophie: Each of our rooms had a queen-size bed, a lot of storage space, a mini fridge, and an en suite bathroom. WiFi was not included in the cruise ticket, and it cost $30 per day for two devices, which you had to switch between. Abby: Don't use your cellphone thinking that you can have normal data charges. I got charged over $100 for cruise data, and I didn't even have my data on for that long. I also have an ocean-view balcony room, so I have this gorgeous view of Miami. If you get to choose, pick the ones on the outside, 'cause the view is beautiful and it's, like, kind of enclosed so you feel like you have your own little spot and you get the ocean when you wake up in the morning. Sophie: That was my favorite part. Just sitting on my balcony drinking a coffee. The ocean. Abby: Finally, plan for gratuity fees. There's nothing you can do about them, so don't be surprised when you see them on your bill. For us, it was a $15 daily charge. Sophie: Accommodation: five. I mean, my room was really spacious. Clearly, there was thought put behind it. Abby: Our accommodations, we got lucky 'cause we did get balconies, but I would give it a five. Sophie: I mean, it's the world's largest cruise ship, but that was actually the biggest surprise for me too. I was just like, "How many restaurants and bars and activities actually fit on this ship?" Abby: Day three! We are about to go do some really fun things, like the zip line and the Ultimate Abyss, the slide that goes from the 16th deck all the way to the sixth where you can race your friends. So, a lot of fun things in store today, and I'm really pumped! Let's go. Abby: So, I met people on board that only go on Royal Caribbean ships that have a surfer machine. Sophie: Do you remember the guy who said, "If it don't flow, I don't go"? Abby: Oh, yeah, I remember him! He was really good at the flow-riding machine. Sophie: So good! Abby: Almost as good as you. You were amazing. I failed, fell on my face every single time I tried. So, we're at the pool, enjoying the day. It's really weird how small the pools are. For having 6,000 people on this ship, they're pretty tiny. Sophie: So, there were a lot of little pools, but because of how the ship was designed, with the park, central park in the middle, there wasn't one big pool. So, to me, the little pools just got really crowded. But the waterslides were great. Abby: Then there were the performances, like the aqua shows, the musicals, and ice skating. Sophie: We're here in the Royal Theater about to watch their Broadway-level, multimillion-dollar production called "Flight." ♪ Dare to dream ♪ ♪ Dare to fly ♪ Abby: What'd you think of the show? Sophie: It was good. It was Broadway level. There's also an escape room, rock climbing, bars, a basketball court, a Starbucks, an outdoor park, sushi-making classes, and a gym. Abby: Sorry for sounding like I'm dying. I just got finished with a run, but here is the gym. Here's the track that runs the entire perimeter of the ship. Look at that! It goes all the way down. Amenities I think I'm gonna give a five. I was so impressed with just the diversity of options to keep you busy. Rock climbing all the way to cupcake-making classes. There was something for every kind of person at every point in the day. Sophie: I'm also gonna give it a five. I will say, I was super overwhelmed by just how many things there were to do and see, but you'll never get bored. Sophie: We love to eat, and I think we were both a little concerned about the food situation, especially for a week. Abby: There are 23 dining options on Symphony, serving up everything from tacos to mushroom-shaped desserts to lobster rolls. And some of the restaurants, like the buffets and main dining, are included in the ticket. So, this is everything that's included. You get a New York strip, some lobster tail. And there's Sophie. Sophie: But the 12 specialty restaurants cost extra, up to $50 a person, so, of course, we had to try all the food we possibly could on board to give you a full review. I think I'm gonna give food a low four or a high three. So, for the food, the specialty food was amazing. Like, really, the truffle pasta. Like, we ate like kings. But I thought that the food that was included, the buffet, the main dining, that, to me, was, like, pretty standard fare. Wasn't super into that. Abby: I think I'm gonna give food a five, actually. Because if you are willing to shell out a little bit of extra money, I mean, the food is delicious, and I was surprised that there were some dishes on there that I actually was, like, thinking about after we'd finished the meals. Sophie: Forgot about the tacos, forgot about the pizza. That was included, and those were both really, really good. Abby: Really delicious. Can you eat tacos for an entire week straight? Sophie: I can. Abby: Well, I mean, I can. So. [laughing] Sophie: OK, I'm gonna give it a four. You're right. Abby: I moved ya. We officially made it seven days. How're you feeling? Sophie: Feeling good. Tired. Abby: The food was amazing, and I loved the water sports on board.