Symphony of the Seas: A Budget-Conscious Cabin Guide

by  Laura Motta | Updated on Feb 7, 2020
Ultimate Family Suite on Symphony of the Seas
Ultimate Family Suite on Symphony of the Seas / SBW-Photo

The largest cruise ship in the world comes crammed with amenities and activities — plus an equally large array of cabin types. From cheap-and-cheerful interior cabins to enormous, amenity filled suites, there are rooms here to suit any budget. Though we haven’t covered them all here, we’ve created a guide that can help you make sense of the madness — complete with pricing information and what to expect when you book a cruise on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas.

Symphony of the Seas / Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

For People Watching

Cabin: Boardwalk View With Balcony

What You Get for Your Money: Symphony of the Seas and its Oasis Class sister ships are unique in that they all have balcony cabins that overlook the interior of the ship. The ship’s long central courtyard makes this possible, and these cabins are great if you love staying in the heart of the action. (Think of it like a resort room that faces the pool or other parts of the property instead of the sea.) Use your balcony to read a book, have a beverage, or just watch your fellow passengers go about their day.

Who Should Book This: Cruisers who love being in the heart of it all, and who are energized by crowds, music, and lights will enjoy this. As you can image, these can also be good cabins for teens and tweens.

Who Shouldn’t: If you need quiet and seclusion, these cabins provide anything but.

Pricing Analysis: These cabins tend to be priced lower than typical Ocean View with Balcony cabins on the exterior of the ship, and are a good way to snag some outdoor space — with furniture — at a good price. Expect them to cost about $50-$100 less, depending on availability.

Central Park onboard Symphony of the Seas / Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

For Feeling the Wind in Your Hair

Cabin: Ocean View With Balcony

What You Get for Your Money: This cabin is a cruise ship classic, and its offerings are straightforward: just enough room for two guests, and of course, the furnished balcony that gives you an up-front view of the open ocean. A cruise ship balcony is a particularly nice place to enjoy breakfast or take a break from the ship’s many activities.

Who Should Book This: Cruisers craving sea views and excellent value in equal measure can’t go wrong here.

Who Shouldn’t: If you’re perfectly happy to enjoy the ocean from the ship’s many public spaces, there may not be a need to splurge for your own slice of it.

Pricing Analysis: This type of cabin is popular — especially on a ship like Symphony of the Seas. We found rates for seven-night Caribbean cruises for $1,200 and up (depending on the season).  

Symphony of the Seas waterslide / Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

For Savings, and a Sense of Bringing the Outdoors In

Cabin: Interior With Virtual Balcony

What You Get for Your Money: This type of cabin is all the rage, with several cruise lines offering “virtual” ocean views in recent years. This essentially means you’re staying in an interior cabin without windows, but a floor-to-ceiling LED screen in the room gives you a sense of the what’s happening outdoors. The screen has audio and is connected to live views outside the ship, so you’ll have the same view as everyone else.

Who Should Book This: If you’re looking to save money but crave the light and orientation of an exterior cabin, this can be a good option.

Who Shouldn’t: If you need the sea air — in addition to sea views — in your cabin, you may want to upgrade to a balcony. On the flip side, if you’re just looking for a low-priced cabin option and don’t really need the virtual balcony, you’ll easily find interior staterooms for less.

Pricing Analysis: These cabins tend to be some of the most affordable on the ship, but they’re also the most desirable amongst all of the interior cabins. (Keep in mind that this ship also offers windowless interior cabins without the virtual balcony feature. These tend to be the lowest-priced options on board, period.) Expect to pay about $50-$150 more for these cabins than for an entry-level interior cabin without the virtual balcony, and always check pricing carefully. Sometimes you’ll find that ocean view rooms (with an exterior porthole but no balcony) are less expensive than virtual ocean view rooms.

Symphony of the Seas / Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

For a Little Light Without a Lot of Expense

Cabin: Central Park View or Promenade View Interior

What You Get for Your Money: This cabin option gives you a literal window onto the ship’s central public spaces — either the green, garden-like Central Park or the bustling, boardwalk-like Promenade. It’s essentially like the interior balcony cabins described above, but with a window instead of a furnished balcony. Think of it as a step up from an interior cabin — the interior answer to an exterior porthole cabin.

Who Should Book This: If you’re looking to upgrade from a basic interior cabin, this can be a nice step up without spending a lot of additional money.

Who Shouldn’t: On this ship, the interior spaces are where the action happens, but also where it tends to be noisy and bright.

Pricing Analysis: These cabins, though an upsell from a basic interior cabin, offer good value in that they sometimes cost less than one of the “virtual” balcony rooms. Expect them to cost about $50-$75 less than virtual balcony cabins, and about $100 more than the most affordable cabins on the ship. 

Symphony of the Seas / Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

For Affordable Sea Views

Cabin: Ocean View

What You Get for Your Money: If your budget can’t quite support a balcony cabin but you still want a literal portal to what’s happening outside the ship, an ocean view cabin can be a good option. This room typically sleeps two and has a port hole — it doesn’t open — so you can enjoy ocean views. Some cruise agents and web sites refer to these as “outside” cabins.

Who Should Book This: This in-between option is a good one if you don’t want the isolation of an interior cabin but you either don’t have the budget for a balcony cabin, or you simply don’t need or want a private balcony.

Who Shouldn’t: If you’re planning to spend any amount of time relaxing in your cabin, it might be a better option to splurge for the higher balcony category. Though the cabin’s porthole offers plenty of light, it’s not really comparable to the balcony experience.

Pricing Analysis: Always carefully compare the prices of ocean view and balcony cabins. There are fewer ocean view cabins on Symphony than balcony cabins, which means they tend to fill more quickly. As they start to sell out, their pricing goes up — and sometimes it can go higher than balcony cabins.

Symphony of the Seas / Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

For A Smart Splurge

Cabin: Junior Suite

What You Get for Your Money: This entry-level suite offers separate living room and bedroom spaces, a bathroom big enough to accommodate a small dance party, a larger balcony than you’d find in most standard balcony cabins, and a sense of comfort that feels luxurious but not over-the-top. Graduating to the suite level also means that you’ll start to gain access to some additional complimentary perks. The rule of thumb on this: The higher the suite category, the better and more inclusive the amenities. Booking the junior suite gets you complimentary dining at Coastal Kitchen, a specialty restaurant exclusively for suite guests; upgraded bath amenities; comfy robes; and pillow-top mattresses in your room.

Who Should Book This: If you’ve enjoyed balcony cabins in the past and you’re ready to to level-up to a more comfortable and spacious experience without having to spend a fortune, this is a good choice.

Who Shouldn’t: If you’re thinking that you can squeeze a family into this cabin, think again. These cabins are spacious, but they only accommodate two. Read on for more information on the types of cabins that are good for three or more passengers.

Pricing Analysis: Though not the most expensive cabin on the ship, you’ll definitely pay a premium to upgrade to the suite level — even if it’s to a modestly-named Junior Suite. Take the price of a regular balcony cabin and double it; that’s about what you can expect to pay, at the low end, for a cabin in this category.

Symphony of the Seas - laser tag / Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

For The Ultimate Special Occasion

Cabin: Crown Loft Suite

What You Get for Your Money: There are many different kinds of suites on Symphony of the Seas. You’ll find rooms with names like Sky Loft Suite, Grand Panoramic Suite, Villa Suite, and Owner’s Loft Suite. The Crown Loft Suite, which is situated on two levels, sleeps four, and has two bathrooms, is one of our favorites. Though decidedly pricey, this suite comes with a slew of perks, including free wifi, concierge service, access to a sun deck and lounge that are exclusively for high-level suite guests, plus access to the beach club on shore at Royal Caribbean’s private destination at Labadee.

Who Should Book This: If you’re in search of space, a beautifully designed cabin, plus access to some of the most exclusive spaces on the ship, this suite is a good choice.

Who Shouldn’t: We think everyone, if they can afford it, would enjoy this suite. But if you won’t use the included amenities and plan to spend most of your time outside your cabin, you can certainly save by choosing a lower cabin category.

Pricing Analysis: You can expect, on the low end, to pay about $4,000 per person (and up). 

Symphony of the Seas - Aqua Theater / Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

For the Family That Has It All

Cabin: Ultimate Family Suite

What You Get for Your Money: There’s only one at sea (for the moment), and you can only find it on this ship. The Ultimate Family Suite is decked out with amenities like a two-story twisty slide, Lego wall, game tables, a hot tub, and an enormous balcony that overlooks the ship’s action. The idea here was to create an ultra-exclusive space for a family to relax and spend quality time together. Our favorite part of this suite is the colorful decor, which includes brightly patterned wallpaper and eye-popping colors.

Who Should Book This: If you’re looking to give your family a truly unforgettable trip and you value privacy, exclusivity, and the right to do a lot of post-vacation bragging, this is for you.

Who Shouldn’t: We can’t think of anyone who doesn’t love a twisty slide.

Pricing Analysis: This cabin is exclusive, and it’s priced accordingly. In slower periods, this cabin goes for $44,000 for a 7-night itinerary; it goes up to $80,000 during busy times.

Symphony of the Seas - Ultimate Family Suite / Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Words to Look for When Booking Your Cabin

Accessible: These cabins offer more space and can accommodate a wheelchair.

Aquatheater Suite: These jaw-dropping suites, available in several sizes, have wraparound balconies and overlook one of the ship’s main entertainments — the Aquatheater. From here, in addition to enjoying luxurious digs, you can watch the evening show — complete with dramatic lights and costumes — from the comfort of your cabin.

Spacious or Ultra Spacious: You’ll find cabins with this description at several levels, notably at the balcony level, and at the ocean view (port hole) level. These mostly non-suite cabins are designed for larger families, and usually accommodate a minimum of five and a maximum of six people. They often have a master bed plus bunks and a pull-out sofa. Note that there are only a few of these cabins on the ship and they fill quickly, so you’ll likely need to plan well ahead to snag one.

With Large Balcony: Standard balcony cabins have a 50-square-foot balcony; this language denotes a cabin with a larger balcony — usually 80 square feet. Note that in this case, the stateroom itself is not any larger than the standard.

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