Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world. She measures 1,188 ft long and 215.5 ft wide, has 18 total decks, and has a gross tonnage of 228,081. Without a doubt, Symphony of the Seas is an immense ship, home to virtually anything you can think of, including countless dining and shopping locations as well as attractions. She’s practically a floating city, and I can guarantee that you’ll find something new to discover every day of your cruise. What truly makes Symphony of the Seas stand out from other cruise ships, however, is her revolutionary features and exciting experiences that make for bold adventures. Symphony of the Seas has many deck-defying experiences, but there are four key features that are truly epic.
Central Park is one of seven distinct neighborhoods on Symphony of the Seas, having received the name because of its central location on the ship. The Central Park concept was first introduced on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, the sister ship of Symphony of the Seas. Consisting of more than 20,000 real plants, a bar, several restaurants, nature sounds, and live music, the ship’s Central Park neighborhood truly is a masterpiece. Plus, because the park features real plants, the ship has a landscape specialist with a team of horticulturalists to maintain it.
Personally, Central Park is my favorite area on the ship. The serene atmosphere and lush gardens make it the perfect escape from the rather crowded pool deck and other loud areas. During my past cruises aboard Symphony of the Seas and one of her sister ships, I enjoyed eating an evening meal and snack at the Park Cafe’s outdoor seating area. Park Cafe is a complimentary casual dining location that serves sandwiches, salads, cookies, a variety of desserts, and more. Central Park also features fern-covered trellises, which make for a great area to unwind at night during live musical performances. Central Park is so well designed, you often forget that you’re on a cruise ship sailing the ocean.
Situated at the aft of Symphony of the Seas is the Boardwalk neighborhood, an area themed to the seaside esplanades that have entertained families for ages, such as New York City’s Coney Island. Just like Central Park, the Boardwalk is another game-changing feature for a cruise ship. The ship’s Boardwalk does a phenomenal job of recreating a typical land boardwalk by incorporating wood-style flooring, a hot dog dining location, a candy store, arcade games, a Zoltar fortune teller machine, and a carousel, which serves as the focal point of the neighborhood. Symphony of the Seas is one of just four ships to feature a carousel at sea; the other ships include Symphony’s sisters.
Symphony of the Seas’ Boardwalk truly brings the atmosphere of an actual boardwalk to a cruise ship, complete with an ocean view facing the rear of the ship. Going for a ride on the handcrafted carousel, grabbing a hot dog, and strolling through the neighborhood truly helps you get the full boardwalk experience. The neighborhood really comes alive at night as the elegant lights shine bright, creating a sensational atmosphere for grabbing a drink at the sports bar or enjoying a meal at Johnny Rockets.
The Perfect Storm water slides
Cruise lines are trying to cater more to families, and in order to do so, attractions that appeal to younger age groups, such as water slides, have been added to many of Royal Caribbean cruise ships. Symphony of the Seas features three water slides—Typhoon, Cyclone, and Supercell—collectively called The Perfect Storm (shown in the above image), and they each offer high levels of thrills with distinct experiences.
If you’re with a partner, Typhoon and Cyclone (the yellow and blue slides) serve as a race through twists and turns as you rush to the finish line. The major difference between the two is that the yellow slide offers a near-pitch-black experience; whereas, the blue slide incorporates a short section of clear tubing that provides an overlook of Central Park and more visibility afterward. Supercell (the green and yellow slide) also utilizes clear tubing at the start in addition to an array of color effects and a massive bowl that dips you into a pool below. The Perfect Storm lives up to its name. After experiencing these slides for yourself, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Ultimate Abyss is Symphony of the Seas’ highlight attraction. It towers 150 feet above sea level at the aft of the ship, making it the tallest slide at sea. Enter the mouth of the anglerfish and prepare to peer into the darkness. When at the boarding platform, the glass floor provides a stellar look down at the Boardwalk neighborhood as well as a phenomenal view of the ocean. The attraction itself combines sound effects and lighting effects to create a multi-sensory thrill as you race down 216 feet of tunnels with a 27-degree incline, one 450-degree spiral, and two 360-degree spirals and experience a maximum g-force of 1.46. This isn’t your ordinary slide; it’s an epic attraction that offers big-time thrills and takes adventure to new heights. Are you brave enough?