It all started with Vacation Days I put down in the books to take off work in January of 2022. The days were for September around Labor Day. This epic 12 day vacation wasn’t planned until just 2 weeks before we left. I booked the cruise on August 19th, exactly 14 days before we left on September 2nd.
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I was originally looking at doing a Bermuda cruise with Royal Caribbean aboard the Mariner of the Seas. At the last minute, I changed my mind due to the Bermudan Covid Restrictions. Requiring advance application for permission to set foot on the Atlantic island nation.
I didn’t want to risk being denied, and not having enough time to reapply with only 2 weeks until departure. Therefore I settled upon a Caribbean cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas.
The main difference being where we had to catch the ship from. We would have caught the Mariner of the Seas at Port Canaveral in Florida, which was closer to us. Being only a 700 mile Road Trip, vs where we actually caught the Symphony of the Seas at the Port of Miami. Which was a 900 mile Road Trip for us.
Hitting The Highway
We decided to make a 2 day road trip out of our trip to Miami. Covering well over half the distance of the trip on the first day clocking in about 700 miles, and a 10 hour drive on day 1.
Leaving ourselves roughly a 3 hour 30 minute drive, and about 225 miles to the Port of Miami. From where we decided to call it a night on the first leg of our road trip in Kissimmee Florida on day 1.
The first night we decided to stay at the Palazzo Lakeside Hotel in Kissimmee Florida.
Hotel With A Water View
After getting an early 6a.m start the next morning. The hotel supplied us with a complimentary breakfast. They also had a beautiful dining area with outdoor, rooftop seating overlooking Lake Cecile. Which of course we most definitely dined at, especially with my Love For Water Views.
After breakfast we hit the highway for the remaining 3 hour 30 min drive South to the Port of Miami. We had a 2p.m Check in time at our cruise terminal with Royal Caribbean. Our cruise ship was scheduled to have a 4:30p.m departure.
Being as this was a holiday weekend, with Labor Day just 2 days away. When we arrived at Terminal A, known as the Crown of Miami Terminal. There wasn’t a parking spot available in any of the lower levels of the parking deck.
We ended up having to park all the way at the top of the parking deck, on level 7 rooftop.
One thing we learned the hard way. Is that the Elevator on Level 7 going down to Terminal A is broken, and there’s no out of order sign on it. Which we, and many other passengers figured out after waiting on the Elevator for a significant amount of time.
We had to walk back down through the parking deck to the Level 6 Elevators, luggages in tow. Just to find a working elevator to the Check In Terminal.
What was even more impressive, is the Royal Caribbean cruise terminal workers were moving things along quickly. Soon as the elevator doors open. The luggage drop was immediately to your right. With a team of workers collecting luggage’s.
Then you headed to the left to get in the Check In Line. Which at first glance appeared worrying as it snaked outside the terminal, and back off down the sidewalk.
Surprisingly, they were moving things along as fast as they possibly could. From the time we parked, to the time we checked in, and cleared the Cruise TSA Security Checkpoint.
We were able to board the Ship in just 55 minutes from the time we left the car. Part of that time was waiting on a broken Elevator on the 7th Level Parking Deck.
Let’s see any International Airport Terminal beat that Cruise Terminal record on a Holiday Weekend in a major city. Anyone who’s ever flown, especially during Covid, knows that 55 minutes for an International Departure would be astronomical. I’ve yet to get through security, and board my flight in that amount of time at an Airport.
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class Ship Symphony of the Seas is currently the 2nd largest cruise ship on the planet. Holding the title as largest cruise ship on the planet for 4 years. From March of 2018, to January of 2022 when it was dethroned by another Royal Caribbean Oasis Class Ship Wonder of the Seas.
Symphony of the Seas is 18 Decks high, with the last deck being used for maintenance personnel only. Coming in at 238’ feet tall, 215’ feet wide, 1,184’ feet long, and weighing well over 510,000,000 pounds (228,081 GT).
Capable of carrying well over 7000 people, over 2700 staterooms. Not to mention my personal favorite, a Central Park on the 8th Deck with over 20,700 live tropical plants. Symphony is a true water cruising beast!
After touring our room, and checking out the amenities, and room service menus. We were off to explore the rest of the ship, and find a late lunch. Not having ate since the hotel breakfast in Kissimmee Florida earlier in the day. We were ready for some food.
After leaving Central Park on Deck 8. We explored the Boardwalk on Deck 6 at the stern, or aft of the ship. Where we located lunch for the day at a restaurant called Johnny Rockets.
After lunch we headed back to our room, to put the rest of our luggage up, and enjoy the view. Looking over Miami and Biscayne Bay, whiles we were still at port.
Explorer of the Seas
After watching the Explorer of the Seas leave port, we were eager for our own cruise to get underway. Royal Caribbean assigns a specific Dinnertime, and Dining Room to each stateroom.
As it was nearing our 5:30p.m assigned dinner time, we headed back down to Deck 5 to shops, and jewelry displays at the Royal Promenade until our dinnertime.
Dinner is Served!
Once 5:30p.m arrived, we headed to our assigned main dining room on Deck 5. Soon as you enter the main dining room, the staff were waiting to greet you, and escort you to your assigned table.
Out To Sea
After dinner we decided to resume our exploration of the ship. As we were eating, our ship officially set sail. We were finally on our way out to sea.
The End of an Epic Day
If you enjoyed this Travel Blog post, be sure to check back for the next leg of our epic journey across the sea!
The Roving Gypsy®
Thanks for reading my Travel Blog. I hope you enjoyed my narrative of our Road Trip, across Florida to catch one of the largest Cruise Ships in the world. Like what you read, and want more, or have a suggestion for me? Follow, Share, and Comment to let me know.