I just got back from a test cruise with Royal Caribbean and I am here to share everything about the trip! This post will be broken into two sections- main review of the 2 night cruise to CocoCay, and overview of major changes due to covid.
PART 1: Trip Overview
I sailed out of Port Miami on August 1st. I arrived at mycheck-in window, 2pm, went through customs and security, where I then boarded the Symphony of The Seas. I was welcomed with highly energetic and excited staff as soon as I walked into the terminal, and and of course ALL through the ship! After checking my Royal Caribbean App, I went straight to my room to drop off my luggage. I had a BEAUTIFUL VIEW from my 14th Deck Oceanview Balcony cabin. This room is designed to accommodate 2 guests. Here’s a link to tour my room!
Did you know that Symphony of the Seas is the largest cruise ship to date ? I was very excited to finally get to see this ship! We were not set to depart until 6pm, so I had a few hours to get accustomed to the decks. I had yet to have lunch so I went straight to Windjammer’s, their breakfast and lunch buffet. I picked my table to be by the window with a great view of the boardwalk and activities. I was still kind of in shock with just how large this ship was. I’ve done plenty of trainings on the different ships, and I watched Carlos and Alexa PenaVega’s Vlog from the inaugural sailing (Did you know a Spy Kid and Big Time Rush singer are their God Parents of the ship? Well now you know!). But, shew, it sure is grand!
After dining, I went to venture out on each area: Pool Deck, Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, Central Park, and the Entertainment Place. I then went back to my room to look over the Royal Caribbean App to check out the activities for the night, and reserve my table at the Main Dining Hall for dinner. I was also able to look at the activities lined up for Day 2 at CocoCay and reserve anything I wanted. While doing that, Carnival’s ship, Horizon, made their way past my balcony on their way out of the port! That was exciting to see! Shortly after, it was our turn to head out at 6pm. I made my way back to the pool deck to watch as we sailed out!
I had a packed evening on night one. First, I went to the main dining hall for a very elegant dinner. The wait staff greeted each guest with applause and they kept dinner flowing in a timely manner. Afterwards, I went back to the room to sit on the balcony to enjoy the view of the calm waters. Then, I headed to Boleras to listen to music at their Latin Party. Afterwards, it was time to head to the Ice Skating Rink for the show 1977! This show was pretty interesting and fun! Before closing out the night, I went to the Park Promenade for one last treat, and then headed to bed.
The next morning, I woke up and headed to the balcony to see that we were just arriving to our Perfect Day at CocoCay. We were due to be able to get off the ship at 8:30am, and it was just 7am. I headed to the Vitality Fitness Center for a short workout, and then headed back to Windjammers to eat breakfast. While leaving, I made a video of Piano Staircase at Windjammers. Somehow the video went viral on TikTok, check it out here. From here, it was time to get a swimsuit on because the Perfect Day at CocoCay song (Lovely Day by Bill Withers) started playing over the intercom which means we are allowed off the ship! This was my very first time at Perfect Day at CocoCay! I could not hop off the ship any quicker and head to the tram to get a tour of the island! There’s SO many activities to do on this island that appeals to kids, families, and adults only. Some activities cost extra, suchs as Thrill Water Park, renting beach and over water Cabanas, Helium Balloon ride, water sports, and certain food locations. However, there’s PLENTY to do without spending a dime. Due to health issues, I cannot participate in any thrilling water activities. I stuck to Chill Island and the Oasis Lagoon once I toured the island. I did rent a floating mat to float in the ocean, and I loved that! There’s wifi across most of the island, so I was able to facetime my family while laying out in the ocean. I ate chicken tacos at Skippers Grill. This is one of the two complimentary dining locations on the island. I ate dessert later in the day from Chill Grill, the other complimentary location. Watch my tour of CocoCay here!
Once I was done with the water, I went back to the ship to get cleaned up and a change of clothes. The ship was still in full force, so I took the time to grab a free ice cream from the pool deck and then take a ride the the Ultimate Abyss (their 10 story slide). The Abyss plumits you 10 stories down to deck 6 at the boardwalk. From here, I ventured to ride the carousel and checkout the arcade. I headed back to CocoCay to take in the sand and views for the last couple hours left. At 6pm our ship headed out. Instead of having dinner at the main dining hall tonight, I decided I would just eat at Sorrentos, a complimentary pizza buffet. The food was delicious, as all of the food was the entire sailing! Later, I headed to the Aqua Theater to watch a rehearsal of their show. I loved how they incorporated so many times of art into the show… swimming, diving, dancing, ariel, and more. They will be ready for the full show in time for the first “official” sail! Afterwards I grabbed one last snack before heading to my room. Dismissal the next morning was a little different that normal. I went to Windjammers to get breakfast, then at 7:30am I took my luggage myself to head out of the ship and grab my Lyft to the airport.
I highly recommend this 2 night trip for someone wanting a quick getaway, or an addition to a trip to Florida. It’s very affordable when you take into account that the private island itself is inclusive in the cost of the trip. You can also visit Perfect Day at CocoCay through longer sailings that make a stop here as one of their ports!
Part 2: COVID Restrictions
Let’s talk about what’s different now than pre-covid 2020. **The information I’m about to write about might be invalid as this situation is fluid. Please check with your Sandcastle Wishes Travel Agent to see if anything has changed since 8/7/21**
First, everyone must wear a mask while indoors. You’ll be asked to sanitize your hands almost anytime you leave and enter different areas. They will try to keep you spaced out with your traveling party while at shows. You may or may not have to travel with your luggage, versus dropping it off at the terminal and it arriving to your room. After my sailing, they made it a requirement that everyone, vaccinated or not, must get a PCR test prior to sailing, regardless on how long or short your trip might be. Check out my video of traveling post-covid here.
If you are not vaccinated, you must pay for extra travel insurance to be able to sail. You are also only welcomed to certain areas of the ship at certain times or locations. For example, if you want to go to the gym, there’s only certain hours that you’re allowed in. You’ll also likely be sent to a “non vaccinated” area to eat. They can tell people apart with the wristbands that vaccinated guest must wear. I personally wouldn’t recommend traveling on a cruise non-vaccinated due to the restrictions and added cost of insurance. However, as mentioned, this could all be changed by the time that you’re reading this! Please speak to one of our agents to find out what’s happening now!