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  1. The term "foodie" is tossed around a lot, and I never thought of myself as one unless it means someone who likes to eat a lot of good food then heck yea I am a "foodie." Do I know the science of food, recipes, and what ingredients are in a dish just by tasting it? Of course not, but put a spread in front of me that looks like I am going to be in a food coma in under an hour and I am going to tell the world about it. As a born and raised New Englander, I have dined in some pretty fantastic restaurants in Boston Massachusetts, New York City, Portland Maine, and Providence Rhode Island all of which are very well known to have some of the best food in the country so my expectations are always very high regardless of where I am. Being an avid cruiser since 2000, I have experienced the complementary food being incredible to horrible, and back to incredible so there is some fluctuation in the complimentary dining. Where I have only experienced absolutely fantastic food and service consistently? The specialty dining experiences offered. It is not a secret that specialty dining is becoming very popular amongst the cruise lines and the more time goes on, the more options we have. That being said, sailing aboard the world's largest cruise ship gives you plenty of specialty dining options. Let's take an overall look at the specialty dining currently offered onboard Symphony of the Seas. Specialty dining onboard Symphony: Hooked Seafood, Playmakers Sports bar & Arcade, Izumi, Johnny Rockets, Wonderland, 150 Central Park, Chops Grille, Jamie's Italian, and Coastal Kitchen (for Suite Guest only). Unfortunately, I was not able to get to every restaurant but picked the ones I was most curious about, Jamie's Italian, Wonderland, and Playmakers! Jamie's Italian: From British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver comes Jamie's Italian. Found on multiple Royal Caribbean ships across the fleet and coming to more, Jamie's Italian caught my attention on numerous Royal Caribbean Ships, but I was finally able to enjoy this venue onboard the beautiful Symphony of the Seas. Located amongst 12,000 live plans in Central Park on deck eight, Jamie's is tucked away directly across from Park Cafe, so dining alfresco is limited but available. I was lucky enough to have the chef bring out some of the best dishes, because why not ask the guy in charge. Located amongst 12,000 live plans in Central Park on deck eight, Jamie's is tucked away directly across from Park Cafe, so dining alfresco is limited but available. I was lucky enough to have the chef bring out some of the best dishes, because why not ask the guy in charge. We started with the "Classic Meat Plank," and the "Crispy Squid." The plank came with Fennel salami, pistachio mortadella, San Daniele prosciutto & schiacciata piccante with mini buffalo mozzarella, pecorino & chilli jam, pickles, olives. & rainbow slaw. The mini buffalo mozzarella, being my favorite type of cheese, was the first thing on my fork and the flavor of the topping of an Italian fig brought a sweetness that made me realize buffalo mozzarella can be even better than it already is. The crispy squid (calamari) was fried to perfection and had a light crunch to it paired with a garlicky mayo dipping sauce. Next, the Bruschettas, one "Tomato," and one "Avocado and Crab." The tomato bruschetta with roasted cherry tomatoes, whipped ricotta cheese, basil, and olive oil was the perfect amount of a sweet creamy crunch that just drove my taste buds to a level I never thought possible. The avocado and fresh crab bruschetta with apples, yogurt, and chili was the perfect blend of the sweetness from the crab, the thickness of the avocado and crunchiness from the apples but surprisingly not spicy even with the chili. Now onto pasta and lucky for me the chef must have known that I am a seafood lover because he chose the "Prawn Linguine." The linguini with garlicky prawns, fennel tomatoes, chili and topped with peppery arugula dressed with olive oil. Without question one of the best pasta dishes, I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy with the perfect blend of garlic, sweet tomato sauce, and pepper. The main course, "Lamb Chops Scottadito." Now I am not typically a lamb fan but my mind has been changed. These artisan, free-range lamb chops are cooked to a perfect medium-rare that just melts in your mouth paired with agrodolce peppers and balsamic basil pesto, that is enough to make anyone into a fan of lamb! Now, last and best, "Jamie's Dessert Plank." Yes, a dessert plank because why have just one when you can have a plank. This amazing plank comes with four different amazing homemade desserts, an "Epic Chocolate Brownie," "Raspberry Pavlova," "Amalfi Lemon Meringue Cheesecake," and "Tiramisu." The brownie is made with 70% dark chocolate and topped with caramelized amaretto popcorn and chocolate syrup. Next, the Raspberry Pavlova, a raspberry meringue cookie topped with honeycomb and raspberry syrup, proved to me that I need to have pavlovas in my life daily. The Amalfi Lemon Meringue Cheesecake was the biggest explosion of flavors I have ever experience from a dessert, and I teared up a little after tasting this. Finally, Tiramisu but this is not just any tiramisu, this is a Jamie Oliver tiramisu, so let's take ladyfingers throw them away and then replace them with sponge cake and then realize everything you know about Italian desserts should be changed! Jamie's Italian is open daily for lunch ($25.00) and dinner ($34.99), lunch and price can vary per cruise. If this specialty experience is not on your list of restaurants to try on your cruise well click here to add it to your calendar on cruise planner, you'll thank me later! Jamie's is currently available onboard Symphony, Harmony, Navigator, Mariner, Quantum, Anthem, Ovation, and coming soon to Spectrum Stayed Tuned for parts two and three of "Specialty Dining onboard Symphony" next up, Playmakers! Check out Symphony of the Seas on our Member Portal!
  2. I know we have been gone for a second but we are back and starting off with a blog that is bound to answer your questions! Symphony of the Seas VS Harmony of the Seas! The largest passenger ships in the world, Symphony of the Seas (2018) and Harmony of the Seas (2016), just so happen to be sister ships operated by Royal Caribbean International. "They can't be that different" is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of sister ships, right? I am here to tell you that YES they can be that different! Some differences are noticeable and some not so much, but I notice the smallest details, so I am here to help you choose the best ship for your cruise experience! Let's start with the big picture and the fast facts of these queens of the ocean! Symphony GRT: 228,081 Length: 1,188 Feet Width: 215.5 Feet Capacity(Max): 8,880 Harmony GRT: 226,963 Length: 1,188 Feet Width: 215.5 feet Capacity (Max): 8,887 As you can see from the fast facts above these ships, seem practically identical except the Symphony being about 1,100 tons larger giving her the title of largest in the world! The differences are in the details! The most noticeable differences: Completely reimagined Solarium and Boardwalk onboard Symphony. Solarium: Symphony boasts a completely reinvented solarium that is unrecognizable from her Oasis class sisters. On Harmony of the Seas, we saw an additional floor added to the solarium on deck 14 which expanded the adults only area to three decks but no pool at all :(. Forget everything you know about the solarium and discover the sprawling two-story adults only area with a pool, multiple whirlpools, a waterfall fountain, larger bar with complementary Solarium Bistro, and new specialty restaurant Hooked Seafood with floor to ceiling windows boasting panoramic views. Not to worry Royal Caribbean brought back the glass ceiling on the solarium, so no more looking at ripped plastic as we do on Harmony! One major thing to note is, you cannot access the solarium from deck 16! Boardwalk: One of my favorite places on board any ship, the Boardwalk. Introduced in 2009 onboard Oasis of the Seas, the Boardwalk is designed after the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk and features a carousel, shops, restaurants, and to top it off the Aqua Theater. Fast forward nearly ten years the Boardwalk has been reimagined! Onboard Symphony, Starbucks and the logo store have been moved back to the promenade and "Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade" spans the entire port side of the Boardwalk with "Sugar Beach" taking the place of "Sundials" and "Design District" on the starboard side. The place to be on the boardwalk on Symphony? Definitely Playmakers! El Loco Fresh: Taking the place of Mini Bites, El Loco Fresh is located on deck 15 starboard aft before getting to the pool and sports deck! Here you will find Tacos, Burritos, Nachos, and a salsa bar! This is an excellent place for a quick bite in between Flowrider sessions. With ample seating which stretches around to overlook the boardwalk, you might just find your secret spot to watch the Aqua Show! Hooked Seafood: Royal Caribbean's newest restaurant addition, Hooked Seafood takes your taste buds to New England and it's glorious seafood! It is no secret that New England has incredible seafood and has been a major player in the fishing community for hundreds of years. It's time to enjoy the best seafood in the best place possible, the middle of the ocean! Semi Noticeable Differences: Windjammer: Arguably the busiest venue onboard any Royal Caribbean ship, the Windjammer, has some subtle changes to accommodate large quantities of guests. Larger hand wash stations are offered at both entrances making it much quicker getting you to the food faster! The only other noticeable change in this venue was the removal of the bar making room for significant additional seating, but not to worry there are plenty of bars on the way, so if you need a drink you will find one! Park Cafe The best place to go to avoid the craziness of the Windjammer, Park Cafe is located in Central Park on deck eight. Park Cafe onboard Symphony has about 25% more seating than Harmony, making it far easier to enjoy breakfast or lunch and of course, al fresco dining is offered! Unboxed: Located on Deck 15 aft, just under the Windjammer, Unboxed has taken the place of the small silly store that is barely open onboard the Harmony, Oasis, and Allure. Here you will find Vending machines where you can buy anything from baby diapers, band-aids, and sunblock to Ray Ban Sunglasses and iPads. Yes, this is closed while in Port. Starbucks: Making its way back to the promenade, Starbucks has a chic new look located at the far forward of the Promenade. Offering a full menu and the ability to use your Starbucks card to pay but not to redeem points. The Logo Store: My favorite store on the ship, the Logo Store, has a new home next to Cafe Promenade in the circular space which currently houses "Kate Spade" onboard Harmony. The store is small so get your ship model at the beginning of the week and avoid the crowds. Overall, Symphony brings back design elements we missed onboard Harmony and brings an entirely new concept to some areas. I can say from experience the Symphony handles crowds much better, merely the flow of guests was much better than I experienced onboard Harmony. Both Symphony and Harmony are incredible ships, rivaled by no other but Symphony gives us a look into future Royal Caribbean ships and proves how fast Royal Caribbean responds and adapts to guests wants and suggestions! Please comment any questions you have, share this with all the future Symphony cruises and lastly follow our Instagram because this Saturday, February 9 we are back onboard Symphony! Learn More about Symphony of the seas and so much more by clicking to visit Cruise Ship Crayz
  3. Well, 2018 is racing to a close, and it was an incredible year for the industry. Let's take a look back at some of the incredible new ships that debuted in 2018! New Ships: Every year cruise lines seem to outdo themselves with the incredible ships they debut, and 2018 was one of the most incredible! From the largest ship in the world debut to the most innovative ship of our time. The Largest: Symphony of the Seas, debuted in May of 2018 making her the fourth Oasis-class cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International. At 228,000 GRT, 1,188 feet long, and 215.5 feet wide Symphony of the Seas is the largest passenger ship afloat. In addition to bringing back some Royal Caribbean classics such as the Royal Promenade, Central Park, and the Boardwalk (made famous by her sister, Oasis). Symphony brings some new features including Laser Tag, Playmakers Arcade and Sports Bar, and Sugar Beach. Symphony has earned the "Best new Large Cruise Ship" title by the reader choice awards! Check out the Symphony here! The Most Advanced: Celebrity Edge debuted just weeks ago stunning everyone who sails on her. EDGE is Celebrity Cruises first new ship since 2012, and it was well worth the wait. The Edge is unrecognizable as a Celebrity ship as her design both inside and out is a first for this premium cruise line. From countless new restaurants, a cantilevered elevating bar and restaurant, a 22,000 square foot spa, and new staterooms the EDGE is "A total game changer." Check out the EDGE here! The others: Norwegian Bliss: The largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship to date the Norwegian Bliss is the third in the Breakaway Plus class ships and at 168,000 is one of the largest passenger ships in the world. The Bliss features one of the only go-kart tracks at sea, outdoor laser tag, and multiple full-size water slides. Check out the Bliss here! Carnival Horizon Carnival has stepped up their game. The Carnival Horizon might not be the largest cruise ship ever built, but she is one of the best ships afloat. The Horizon is beautifully laid out, features incredible restaurants, bars, venues, staterooms and has unrivaled service. I can not wait to be back on board. Check out the Horizon here! MSC Seaview: MSC Cruises is making waves in the North American market. MSC Seaside was built specifically for North America, and the reviews are incredible. From her chic exterior design to her dazzling interiors she is allowing the North American market to be more Mediterranean! Check out the Seaview here! Nieuw Statendam: Holland America Line is bringing elegance and innovation together on their newest ship Nieuw Statendam. The largest Holland America ship to date she allows guest to enjoy the classic elegance of an ocean liner and the innovation and excitement of a modern cruise ship! Check out the Nieuw Statendam here! These are just some new ship that we saw hit the ocean this year. 2019 looks to outdo 2018 with ship hitting the ocean such as Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas, Norwegian's Encore, Carnival's Panorama and even more ships being released by MSC Cruises, Princess, and Costa Cruises! Click here to check out all the new cruise ships coming in 2019!
  4. Symphony of the Seas—OASIS CLASS #4 OASIS | ALLURE | HARMONY | OASIS #5 Is Royal Caribbean's fourth Oasis class ship named Symphony of the Seas? IN: Fourth Oasis-class ship http://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2017/01/18/royal-caribbeans-fourth-oasis-class-ship-named-symphony-of-the-seas It looks like the name of Royal Caribbean's fourth Oasis class cruise ship may have been leaked by a partner company that works with the cruise line. FlowRider touted the work it is doing with its largest client, Royal Caribbean, and repeatedly referred to the fourth Oasis class ship as Symphony of the Seas. The blog post mentions the new ship in reference to the fact it will have a FlowRider onboard, "But what does all of this have to do with music? Well, Symphony of the Seas®, that’s what. This is what RCCL will call their fourth OASIS Class cruise ship and it’s due to be commissioned later this year! Translation: we are super busy building #17 and 18 on the beautiful Ms. Symphony. With even more in the pipeline, can we ask for a better advertisement for repeat business? For customer AND consumer satisfaction? And if it is “good to great” enough for RCCL, shouldn’t it be for you?" Royal Caribbean has not officially announced the name of its fourth Oasis class ship yet. Oasis 4 is under construction in STX France and will join Royal Caribbean's fleet in spring 2018. Credit for spotting this news goes to Harmony of the Seas Facebook group first.
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