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  • Abby Narishkin: I'm Abby.

  • Sophie-Claire Hoeller: And I'm Sophie.

  • Abby: We're both seasoned travelers,

  • but neither of us has ever been on a cruise.

  • Sophie: Does a booze cruise count?

  • Abby: [laughing] I don't think that counts.

  • Sophie: So, no.

  • Abby: But we decided we would try

  • the world's largest cruise ship, then review it.

  • Sophie: We chose a seven-day cruise aboard

  • Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas.

  • Abby: It has amenities like zip lines, robot bartenders,

  • waterslides and, of course, a lot of places to eat.

  • Sophie: Starting in Miami, our cruise stopped

  • in St. Martin, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas.

  • Abby: All the good stuff for our first cruise.

  • While we're on board, we're gonna be ranking the cruise

  • on four criteria:

  • convenience, accommodation,

  • amenities and food.

  • Sophie: All to see if we'll ever set foot

  • on a cruise again.

  • Abby: I think I'm most worried about the food.

  • I'm a huge foodie, and I've heard that there's a lot of food

  • but not necessarily, like, the best quality.

  • Sophie: Crowds, people, I don't usually like to go

  • to all-inclusive resorts or anywhere where I think

  • there's gonna be a lot of other people when I'm on vacation.

  • Abby: I'm a harsh critic, but I'm ready

  • to have my mind changed, so.

  • Sophie: We are ready.

  • Abby: Let's go on this cruise.

  • Sophie: Let's go!

  • Abby: We made it!

  • Sophie: Hi.

  • Abby: A lot of stuff.

  • So, we just arrived in Miami.

  • It's wonderfully hot.

  • We're so pumped.

  • Our friend is gonna pick us up from the airport,

  • but as we were walking through baggage claim,

  • we saw that there's an airport transfer

  • that Royal Caribbean provides.

  • Wish we had known about that, but we got a ride,

  • so we'll see you at the port.

  • We are currently waiting in traffic to get onto the ship.

  • And I don't even know how long it's gonna take.

  • Sophie: Thankfully, it lasted only 10 minutes,

  • so we were a little early for our 12:30 boarding time.

  • Abby: That whole feeling overwhelmed by crowds

  • is already setting in, and we haven't even

  • stepped foot out of the car yet.

  • Sophie, we made it!

  • Sophie: Organized chaos is the best way

  • to describe the terminal.

  • Abby: You can check your bags

  • and crew members will drop them off at your room,

  • but we carried our bags straight on.

  • Sophie: Inside the terminal, it's a party.

  • Abby: While we can't show you the security,

  • I promise you it's easy to get through.

  • You just need your passport and your mobile ticket.

  • Sophie: Insider tip: Make sure you get the app.

  • It makes boarding so much faster.

  • The entire ship is cashless,

  • so you charge any additional expenses to your room key

  • and pay the balance at the end.

  • Abby: If you forget something, there are vending machines

  • with toiletries, medicine, and technology,

  • but it's pretty pricey.

  • I paid $6.25 for a toothbrush.

  • After we got our keys, we went downstairs

  • for the safety talk.

  • With everyone in the theaters, the crowds were huge.

  • The elevators were also really crowded,

  • so we mostly just used the stairs.

  • But usually we weren't that annoyed

  • with the number of people.

  • Sophie: They did a really good job

  • of spreading everybody out.

  • The ship's broken down into what they call neighborhoods,

  • and everybody seems to, like, find a neighborhood they like

  • and sort of stay there.

  • Abby: But even though the ship's big,

  • the signage does a really good job

  • of helping you figure out where you're going.

  • There are touch-screen maps on every floor,

  • and Royal Caribbean is testing out an app

  • to help with navigating the ship.

  • Sophie: One note on convenience: the water situation.

  • Water fountains were sort of few and far between,

  • and while you could go to a bar and ask for a cup of water,

  • you couldn't get a bottle of water

  • unless you had a water package.

  • Abby: I ended up just filling up my personal water bottle

  • in the sink in my bathroom.

  • Sophie: Which, we checked; that is drinkable.

  • Because the ship is traveling through different time zones,

  • it stays on Miami time the entire week.

  • So when you're on an island, stick to ship time.

  • Otherwise, you might miss the ship.

  • Abby: And they're not waiting for you.

  • We learned that. [laughing]

  • Sophie: Really surprising to me how easy it was

  • to get on and off the ship, both in Miami

  • when we were boarding and disembarking,

  • but also just when we're going to port

  • and getting back from ports.

  • I'm gonna give it a four,

  • and the only reason I'm taking a point off is

  • 'cause I'm lazy, and the ship is really big.

  • Like, there were points in the day

  • where I was like, "I really want a taco,

  • but it's really far, and I'm just gonna eat

  • in the restaurant that's by my room."

  • Abby: I'm gonna give convenience a three.

  • It was easy to get on and off the ship,

  • but you could end up spending a lot of extra money

  • if you weren't careful,

  • and you ended up having to, like, fight for the amenities

  • 'cause there were so many people

  • and there was a lot of lines.

  • Honestly, I feel like one of the biggest things

  • about cruises that people are worried about

  • are the size of the rooms, and this is

  • much bigger than I thought it would be.

  • Sophie: Each of our rooms had a queen-size bed,

  • a lot of storage space, a mini fridge,

  • and an en suite bathroom.

  • WiFi was not included in the cruise ticket,

  • and it cost $30 per day for two devices,

  • which you had to switch between.

  • Abby: Don't use your cellphone thinking

  • that you can have normal data charges.

  • I got charged over $100 for cruise data,

  • and I didn't even have my data on for that long.

  • I also have an ocean-view balcony room,

  • so I have this gorgeous view of Miami.

  • If you get to choose, pick the ones on the outside,

  • 'cause the view is beautiful and

  • it's, like, kind of enclosed

  • so you feel like you have your own little spot

  • and you get the ocean when you wake up in the morning.

  • Sophie: That was my favorite part.

  • Just sitting on my balcony drinking a coffee.

  • The ocean.

  • Abby: Finally, plan for gratuity fees.

  • There's nothing you can do about them,

  • so don't be surprised when you see them on your bill.

  • For us, it was a $15 daily charge.

  • Sophie: Accommodation: five.

  • I mean, my room was really spacious.

  • Clearly, there was thought put behind it.

  • Abby: Our accommodations, we got lucky

  • 'cause we did get balconies,

  • but I would give it a five.

  • Sophie: I mean, it's the world's largest cruise ship,

  • but that was actually the biggest surprise for me too.

  • I was just like, "How many restaurants and bars

  • and activities actually fit on this ship?"

  • Abby: Day three! We are about to go do

  • some really fun things,

  • like the zip line and the Ultimate Abyss,

  • the slide that goes from the 16th deck

  • all the way to the sixth

  • where you can race your friends.

  • So, a lot of fun things in store today,

  • and I'm really pumped!

  • Let's go.

  • Abby: So, I met people on board that only go on

  • Royal Caribbean ships that have a surfer machine.

  • Sophie: Do you remember the guy who said,

  • "If it don't flow, I don't go"?

  • Abby: Oh, yeah, I remember him!

  • He was really good at the flow-riding machine.

  • Sophie: So good!

  • Abby: Almost as good as you.

  • You were amazing.

  • I failed, fell on my face every single time I tried.

  • So, we're at the pool, enjoying the day.

  • It's really weird how small the pools are.

  • For having 6,000 people on this ship,

  • they're pretty tiny.

  • Sophie: So, there were a lot of little pools,

  • but because of how the ship was designed,

  • with the park, central park in the middle,

  • there wasn't one big pool.

  • So, to me, the little pools just got really crowded.

  • But the waterslides were great.

  • Abby: Then there were the performances,

  • like the aqua shows, the musicals, and ice skating.

  • Sophie: We're here in the Royal Theater

  • about to watch their Broadway-level,

  • multimillion-dollar production called "Flight."

  • Dare to dream

  • Dare to fly

  • Abby: What'd you think of the show?

  • Sophie: It was good.

  • It was Broadway level.

  • There's also an escape room, rock climbing, bars,

  • a basketball court, a Starbucks, an outdoor park,

  • sushi-making classes, and a gym.

  • Abby: Sorry for sounding like I'm dying.

  • I just got finished with a run, but here is the gym.

  • Here's the track that runs the entire perimeter of the ship.

  • Look at that! It goes all the way down.

  • Amenities I think I'm gonna give a five.

  • I was so impressed with just

  • the diversity of options to keep you busy.

  • Rock climbing all the way to cupcake-making classes.

  • There was something for every kind of person

  • at every point in the day.

  • Sophie: I'm also gonna give it a five.

  • I will say, I was super overwhelmed

  • by just how many things there were to do and see,

  • but you'll never get bored.

  • Sophie: We love to eat, and I think we were both

  • a little concerned about the food situation,

  • especially for a week.

  • Abby: There are 23 dining options on Symphony,

  • serving up everything from tacos

  • to mushroom-shaped desserts to lobster rolls.

  • And some of the restaurants, like the buffets

  • and main dining, are included in the ticket.

  • So, this is everything that's included.

  • You get a New York strip, some lobster tail.

  • And there's Sophie.

  • Sophie: But the 12 specialty restaurants cost extra,

  • up to $50 a person, so, of course,

  • we had to try all the food we possibly could on board

  • to give you a full review.

  • I think I'm gonna give food a low four or a high three.

  • So, for the food, the specialty food was amazing.

  • Like, really, the truffle pasta.

  • Like, we ate like kings.

  • But I thought that the food that was included,

  • the buffet, the main dining,

  • that, to me, was, like, pretty standard fare.

  • Wasn't super into that.

  • Abby: I think I'm gonna give food a five, actually.

  • Because if you are willing to shell out a little bit

  • of extra money, I mean, the food is delicious,

  • and I was surprised that there were some dishes on there

  • that I actually was, like, thinking about

  • after we'd finished the meals.

  • Sophie: Forgot about the tacos, forgot about the pizza.

  • That was included, and those were both really, really good.

  • Abby: Really delicious.

  • Can you eat tacos for an entire week straight?

  • Sophie: I can. Abby: Well, I mean, I can. So.

  • [laughing]

  • Sophie: OK, I'm gonna give it a four. You're right.

  • Abby: I moved ya.

  • We officially made it seven days.

  • How're you feeling?

  • Sophie: Feeling good.

  • Tired.

  • Abby: The food