The Beginning of an Epic 12 Day Vacation. All Aboard!

The Roving Gypsy’s as we take an in car selfie during our 900 mile Road Trip to Miami to catch our Cruise Ship.

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

A little over 6 hours, and 400 miles into our trip we stopped at the Jefferson County Rest Area in Monticello, Florida to stretch our legs.

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

The view from our rooms balcony looking out over Lake Cecile on our night of arrival.
This view was from our room at the Palazzo Lakeside Hotel looking out over Lake Cecile the next morning at Sunrise.

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.

Rooftop breakfast overlooking Lake Cecile at Sunrise in Kissimmee Florida.

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.

The Arrival

Our first glance at the Cruise ship we were going to be sailing on. When we arrived at the port of Miami.

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.

The view from our parking spot, once we made it to the first available spots.

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.

Check In

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.

Leaving the Port Of Miami, Royal Caribbean Cruise Terminal A on the Pedestrian Skyway Bridge boarding Symphony of the Seas. Looking back out over Biscayne Bay. With the Cruise Ship the MSC Seashore in the background.

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.

All Aboard!

Video of us Boarding Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas on the 5th Deck in the Royal Promenade.

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!

The Stateroom

Symphony of the Seas Room 9310
Our first look at our Oceanview Balcony Stateroom on the 9th Deck of Symphony of the Seas, Room 9310.
Video Tour of our home for the next 8 days, Level 9, Oceanview Balcony Room 9310. Aboard Royal Caribbeans Symphony of the Seas.
Video tour of the Bathroom inside of Symphony of the Seas Stateroom 9310.
Room 9310 Oceanview Balcony
Us being super excited to be aboard the Symphony! We had to get our first balcony selfie, and most definitely not our last 🤣 from the Balcony of Room 9310.

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.

Our first stop of the day was Symphony of the Seas Central Park on the 8th Deck.
Symphony of the Seas Central Park
To answer your question, yes those are real trees 🌳 growing in the background on a Ship!


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.

The food at Johnny Rockets was really good, and prepared fresh. The waiters take really good care of you as well. Constantly checking back to see if you needed anything. We ordered a Tuna Melt, with Onion Rings (Photo Left), and a Grilled Chicken Club, with Fries (Photo Right).

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

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship, Explorer of the Seas.
One of the Royal Caribbean sister ships, Explorer of the Seas as she sets sail September 3rd. Passing by our balcony, heading out to sea.
Video of the Explorer of the Seas as she passed by our Balcony. As we watched from aboard Symphony of the Seas as she spoke to us, using her Foghorn. To the cheers of many passengers.

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.

One of the jewelry, and liquor displays we passed as we explored the Royal Promenade.

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.

They have digital screens on the wall as you enter the main dining area, With digital menus, and a QR Code you can scan to see the menu on your phone. The menu changes daily.
They already had our table prepared, and waiting on us when we arrived. Our assigned table was Table 702.

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.

Just outside the Main Dining Room, and Royal Promenade was an outdoor Walking, and Jogging track. Which completely encircled the ship on Deck 5. We took this video from the Stern of the walking track as we left Miami behind in the distance.
We also discovered the Shuffle Board Game they had to the side of the walking track on the 5th Deck. Which we played almost everyday of the cruise. On that the other side of the track they had a Ping Pong Table as well.
Once we made it up to Deck 15, we discovered an Adults only area of the ship. The Solarium Bar, and Whirlpool Spas were located here. On Level 14 of the Solarium, they had an outdoor walkway over the side of the ship.

With a glass floor over the water, and a great view of the Bow of the ship, and the Helicopter landing pad. It just seemed like the perfect place to recreate the famous “Flying Scene” from the movie Titanic… So we did 😂

Fun Fact: Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas is 5 times the Size of the Titanic!
The End of an Epic Day
Back at our stateroom, we watched the sunset from our Balcony. Enjoying the cool sea breeze aboard the Symphony of the Seas, as we sailed off into the night.

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.

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