Life is so fun sailing the sea! We took our oldest daughter to Miami and boarded the largest cruise ship in the world: Symphony of the Seas from Royal Caribbean! This beautiful new ship did a transatlantic sailing from Europe to the United States to its new home in Miami.
We’ve been on many cruises, nearly 1 every year. And simply put, Royal Caribbean has always been our favorite. Hands down, their cruises excel in every way from the activities and onboard entertainment, restaurants and buffets, staff friendliness, to the neat cabin designs. We celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary earlier this year by flying to Puerto Rico and taking an Eastern Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. So when Royal Caribbean invited our family for Miami’s inaugural sailing, we couldn’t have been any more thrilled to say yes!
Why Not Take the Whole Family?
We’ve been craving the idea of spending more one-on-one time with each of our children. They generally play so well together. Aaron and I are working really hard to simplify our lives so that we can spend as much time as possible home together as a family. And so, the idea of taking that to a whole new level by vacationing with 1 babe at a time, giving them our complete attention allowing us to really learn more about who they are becoming just felt so right. She was still a 1 year old when we brought the newborn twins home from the hospital. The idea of taking Savannah, who has always taken the backseat to her 3 younger siblings, on the vacation seemed to be the perfect fit!
MIAMI- The Palms Hotel & Spa
We flew in early to play on the beach for 2 days before our cruise. We drove straight from the airport to The Palms Hotel & Spa. It was lovely as ever! The Palms made the top on Miami’s Best Resort Awards and with all of the gorgeous landscaping, pools, beach access, and our stunning room, we could see why! We pulled up to the hotel and Savannah LOVED all the florals. She gets it honest from her mama (wink wink). We slipped right into our swimsuits and hit the pools and beach. We ordered a few meals from the outside bar since it had been a while since we grabbed food. Savannah made us play hard in the sand and waves! Afterwards, we went back up to our room to shower up and enjoy the sunset. The room was fairly high up with windows exploding from floor to ceiling. It felt magical to see so much beauty as the sun disappeared into the ocean with a rainbow of colors slipping away with the light.
We took a lyft to a top-rated pizza shop, walked along a hoppin’ main street and snagged some yummy ice-cream before we headed back to the hotel. The night life is real in Miami. But snuggling back in our hotel room felt more like us, with a surprise stuffed animal for Savannah and some dranky dranks and dessert plates for Aaron and I. What a day!? We slept in and grabbed breakfast in the hotel’s delicious buffet. They had everything we could’ve wanted! Down to the individual servings of Nutella, lol! Saying that Savannah is OBSESSED with bacon is quite the understatement. It’s even more odd because I’ve literally never made it for her! So, when she lifted open the metal basket that has pounds upon pounds of bacon spilling from it, she screamed. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or feel embarrassed, but hey, it was her vacation too! During breakfast, I later saw her dipping the bacon into the Nutella. She’s definitely our child! After we finished up our meal, we played some more in the resort and then packed our bags to catch the cruise.
SYMPHONY OF THE SEAS
The wonderful thing about cruises is that you can check in weeks in advance! Whether you’ve never cruised before or if you’ve been cruising for years, everything you’ll need to know about the ship and ports will be on the Royal Caribbean website. This makes preparing for the cruise a breeze! We could sign waivers, book shows and restaurants, and sign up for excursions all before we boarded the boat. And for those of us who love to procrastinate, we can also book everything on the ship. Easy peasy! The ship is SO large, I highly recommend checking out the website to view all that it has to offer so you’ll know what all you want to experience on the cruise. Checking in through security was seamless and easy! It’s so much easier than boarding a plane. I was surprised with how quickly we got on to the boat. To our surprise, Savannah showed a bit of anxiety before boarding. She had a silly idea that the ship would surely get tipped over and she’d be eaten by sharks LOL. Poor girl! I wrapped her up tight in my arms and assured her we would not tip over. There’s certainly no icebergs in the Bahamas. After getting on the ship, all her fears quickly dissipated once she spotted the ice-cream machines placed strategically all over the place. Bless you, endless cruise buffets.
We took an elevator straight up to our room. I highly recommend booking a room in the center of the boat so that you can easily access the main dining areas and water activities quickly. We walked into our balcony stateroom overlooking these legendary neighborhoods in Central Park. We looked up to see the mind-blowing water slides. We slipped right into our swimsuits and hit the crazy water slides no less than 573 times!
If you ask Savannah what her favorite part of the cruise was, she’ll have a list for you, but she always mentions this one first… The Ultimate Abyss! It takes you from deck 17 down to 6 in a few seconds of thrilling fun! Any spare seconds we had, we got a request to go ride “the monster slide”. Other awesome activities up on deck that all of us loved: the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, and the kid’s waterpark, Splashaway Bay. This ship had not one, but two separate Flowrider surf simulators (a favorite of hubby), mini-golf, a zip line across the ship, and two rock-climbing walls. Inside, we rode the gorgeous hand-carved carousel over and over, played in the awesome glow-in-the-dark laser tag arena, played some skeeball (Savannah was awesome!), Pacman, and Mariokart in the arcade, and checked out the submarine escape room.
One of the big reasons we love Royal Caribbean is the quality of the nightly shows on board. This ship took that to a new level. There are 3 main theaters: The Royal Theater, Studio B’s ice skating rink, and the absolutely incredible open-air AquaTheater. We watched the aqua show HiRO with thrilling high-diving, aerial dancing, acrobatics and were just blown away. One of the most unique and mind-blowing shows we’ve ever seen. On the last night, we saw the musical Hairspray in the Royal Theater and enjoyed that so much! As good as any broadway show! And much to our surprise, our 6 year old Savannah was in heaven! She loved the animated acting and all the glitz and glam you’d expect from the musical that boasts of “Big Hair, Don’t Care”. Y’all, her favorite part was towards the end, an enormous can of hairspray shot our colorful streamers into the audience. She snagged as many as she could and proudly wore them around her shoulders throughout the evening. We just could not get over the endless activities and entertainment. You literally cannot be bored. Aaron and I felt like we were 10 years old again 😉
The food is good and there’s a whole lot of it! We never had to worry or stress about our snacks, meals, and drinks because there was a diner or cafe on every corner. Cruises are similar to an all-inclusive resort where food is included in your cruise ticket. We enjoyed the buffets, sit-down restaurants and experienced the most attentive and caring service from our hosts. It was obvious to anyone that the waitstaff go above and beyond to ensure everyone is pleased with their meals and is having a good time. We dined in the Windjammer, Solarium, Main Dining, and the amazing taco stand that was FULL of various salsas, picos, and guacamole. Our favorite late night snack included pizza slices at Sorentos. They created a new recipes for their dough and sauce that is BOMB.
Have you ever wondered how the largest cruise ship in the world could feed 6000 passengers and 2,000 crew members every meal and snack?! We had roughly 4000 passengers on our sailing and it didn’t feel crowded one bit! We joined an exciting tour of the kitchens and store rooms. It was so, so cool! The head pastry chef of the Royal Caribbean fleet stopped us to make sure Savannah got a warm cookie right out of the oven.
“Wonderland” is a gourmet restaurant that turns your restaurant visit into a trip to Wonderland with Alice. The interior design and colors, the food presentation & plating of the dishes were incredible! It was a real treat to view such a beautifully detailed experience. The desserts… WOW! A divine chocolate explosion.
We had an incredible week and were so bummed to leave. It’s a good thing we had 3 adorable pairs of tiny cheeks to squeeze and kiss at home! We were so grateful for experiencing this vacation with Savannah, showing her all that we love about seeing the world and in turn, seeing the magic and excitement through the eyes of a child.
Thank you, Royal Caribbean, for providing us with such a wonderful experience and we can’t wait to sail with you again!
Thank you Royal Caribbean + Visit Miami for partnering with me. As always, all opinions are my own.