Cruise ships all have a variety of things to do onboard, some significantly more than others. Symphony of the Seas and others of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class have way more to do than most. There are of course the usual cruise ship amenities with plenty of food, bars, pools, hot tubs, and things to entertain yourself with like cornhole, shuffleboard, and other games, but on these ships there is so much more.
Besides the usual pools and hot tubs, water sports include three waterslides, two flowriders, and a kid’s splash area with little kid-sized waterslide – not to mention an Aquatheater at the stern where they put on quite the show.
No matter what a person is into doing on a ship they can probably find it on Symphony of the Seas. They have all the usual trivia, exercise classes, bingo, and that sort of thing. There’s a basketball court, ping pong tables, mini golf, arcades, and kid’s clubs.
There’s also less common things like rock climbing walls, ice skating rink, 10-deck dry slides, and the flowriders. These were not all open all day during our sailing, just when they had crew manning them, and the skating rink didn’t have any public sessions where passengers could skate like the last Royal ship I was on did. The crew seemed to move from one venue to another, closing one thing to open the next. Since the ship had significantly less than half the number of passengers it can hold there were probably less crew available to man those sorts of things than there would be when the ship sails full. Things were rarely ever crowded though so that was nice.
The gym had lots of elliptical trainers and treadmills, something that some ships never seem to have enough of. There were always some available anytime we went into the gym. That may not be the case if the ship was full though. The gym was not fully enclosed and sometimes had the unwanted scent of cigarette smoke wafting in from the casino – definitely not something anyone wants to breathe in while they are trying to workout. Adding doors to both gym and casino would help, but probably not likely to happen.
This ship had the best outside promenade deck ever. Besides going all the way around, it was actually set up like a track. It had a starting point and then markers along the way to tell you how far you had gone if you started at the marked start. It also had signs saying how many laps equaled various distances. There were some funny and some encouraging signs along the way with individual signs on the sides and various things painted in a series up above. On the one cruise where I left my running shoes at home figuring I wouldn’t need to run since the ship had plenty of active things to do, the promenade was so nice for running I really wished I’d brought them.
Symphony of the Seas even has a zip line. It’s just one short zip reminiscent of the easy sort of training one they sometimes have for people to give it a try at the beginning of a zip line course, but it is on a ship with limited space for such things. After I gave it a go one of the crew people working there asked what I thought of it. I said that my sisters would probably be more impressed as they’d never done one before, but I found the fact that they had one on a ship at all pretty awesome. He said they were trying to work up a way to make a better one. Sure enough, the sisters were both quite impressed since neither has ever done an actual zipline course. Barbara even had the foresight to ask if she could have another go rather than taking her equipment off as expected and since it wasn’t crowded they let her. Just as she was getting ready for that second go a photographer showed up so she even got a photo, something I did not take of anyone since we couldn’t take cameras or anything with us on the zipline so I didn’t have anything to take photos with at the time.
As previously mentioned, like most cruise ships Symphony of the Seas has a casino.
There’s even make-it-yourself music in the form of piano stairs. If there is more than one person on the stairway the song plays at normal speed, but if you are the only one you can make it speed up or slow down by the speed in which you go up and down the stairs. The stairs aren’t actually piano keys, but they have sensors so they know to make music when anyone is there. Besides things to do on your own there’s also entertainment to watch with a variety of shows and music in various places around the ship. There’s not just theater shows, though the ship does have them. There’s also ice-skating shows, and a water show in the Aquatheater at the back of the ship. The Aquatheater also has movie screens.
For people who buy a photo package or just like having their picture taken to see if any turn out well, there were always several places to have photos taken in the evenings. This was most popular on formal nights where lines could get long at the most popular stations, but there were more stations than on other nights so shorter lines were often available elsewhere. On this ship the photos are all digitally displayed in kiosks where you look up your own to see how they turned out, so no bunches of photos printed out that just end up in the garbage if people don’t buy them.
Looking at the artwork around the ship can also be entertaining. A lot of cruise ship art makes a person wonder who chooses it, what they were thinking when they did, and why anyone would want to display a lot of the pieces. Even the artwork for sale can be fun to look at. Some of it is nice, but a lot is often odd paintings. Many of the same ones are available on multiple ships. Art auctions can be entertaining with a good auctioneer or incredibly boring with a bad one.
Lying around in deck chairs is always popular on cruise ships, and Symphony has plenty of those. At least there were plenty on our cruise with the ship at around a third of its passenger capacity. There are chairs in both shady and sunny areas on outside decks, and even a few at the water’s edge in the beach pool. There’s also lots of loungers in the more indoor location of the adults-only solarium, which has glass all around and above. The solarium also has hot tubs, its own towel station, a bar, and a bistro.
You can stroll through a garden in Central Park or ride on a carousel on the Boardwalk. Of course there are shops – in more than one location rather than just the usual row of them most ships have. There’s also more than the usual amount of bars and a bigger variety of food places than smaller ships have too. If anyone gets bored on this ship it’s their own fault because there are so many different things to do you just have to go do them.