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Royal Caribbean - Symphony of the Seas

I have always been a big fan of cruise vacations.  I love that they allow me to experience many destinations in one trip without having to keep unpacking and packing my luggage.  The ships in the cruise industry are also stepping it up and becoming a destination themselves with many activities onboard to keep everyone entertained.  Royal Caribbean has done just that with its newest Oasis Class ship, and the largest cruise ship at sea, Symphony of the Seas.

I spent Thanksgiving week cruising with my family on Symphony of the Seas on a Western Caribbean itinerary.  The ship stopped at Roatan, Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Royal Caribbean's revitalized private island CocoCay.  Our family has been on this itinerary many times and this time decided to spend out time on the ship, only getting off and walking around the ports in Roatan, Cozumel, and Costa Maya for about 30 minutes before getting back on and enjoying all Symphony of the Seas had to offer while everyone else was off on the island, it was like our own semi-private ship. Fan favorites on the Symphony were the waterslides, flow-rider, Ultimate Abyss, mini-golf, the rock climbing wall, zip lining, and relaxing by the pools.  My kids spent hours up and down the waterslides, their favorite being what they liked to call the toilet bowl slide.

The flow-rider was a huge hit with my son, he tried it for the first time on our second day on the ship and by the end of the week he was a boogie boarding pro. The Ultimate Abyss is the largest slide at sea.  It is a dry slide that you ride down on a mat.  It is not as scary as it looks, so something the whole family can enjoy.

CocoCay is Royal Caribbean's private island located in The Bahamas.  This island is the ultimate upscale family resort boasting soft sand beaches, one of the largest pools I have ever seen, and Thrill Waterpark with the tallest waterslide in North America.  Our family opted to buy the passes in to Thrill Waterpark for the day, and it was worth every penny.  We spent the day riding the waterslides with breaks to relax by the pool.  There is something for everyone here.  However, if partaking in the waterpark I do recommend a long sleeve rash guard as the wind can get quite chilly while walking up the many flights of stairs to the tops of the slide towers.  I also find waterslides to hurt my back when I slide across the seams and a rash guard helps with that.

I often get asked about staterooms on ships.  Yes, they are small, but they are efficient.  I have a family of 5 so our options are large family staterooms or two connecting rooms.  We opt for the two connecting rooms because it gives us about 100 more square feet and a second bathroom.  Often pricing is better with two connecting rooms than the large family staterooms or suites also.  When I first started cruising 25 years ago we would alway stay in an interior stateroom.  Interiors are very cost effective and great for sleeping because they are so dark when the lights are off.  A few years ago we switched to a balcony stateroom and I have to say I won't go back.  I love having the balcony because I'm an early riser so I can get up and sit out on the balcony of our room without disturbing the rest of the family.

With having spent almost 100 nights cruising, and 60 of those on Royal Caribbean, I can say I have the experience in the cruise industry to help you realize the best cruise vacation possible.

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