top of page
rick-jamison-9CJTrF-HnlU-unsplash small.jpg


Independent Travel Advisors   |
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • TikTok

Symphony of the Seas Dining Review

A food review of the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas. Use the chapters in the video to jump to specific restaurants.

We spent one week on our very first Oasis Class ship and were really looking forward to the dining experiences like Hooked, Wonderland and Chops Grille. But how does the food stack up? And more importantly, should you spend any extra money on the dining? Come along on this Symphony of the Seas Food Review to find out.

TRANSCRIPT: (excuse the typos, lots and lots of typos....)

Ooh. I got my old fashioned

full lobster tail,

and I literally got every drop I could out of that bowl.

Oh, you're good.

Well all the food has come out, and it's like a ridiculous amount of food.

Hey, folks, welcome to your food tour of Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas. This is an oasis class ship. One of the largest cruise ships in the world. Lots of food to eat. So let's get right to it.

One of the add ons you can do with Royal Caribbean is to add The Key.

And one of the things you get to do is have lunch when you first come on board. So we are in the main dining room. So our friend Stephanie always gets the shrimp cocktail when she comes out and Royal Caribbean or whatever we have to do, get the shrimp cocktail.

I can't even even remember the last time I had a shrimp cocktail on a cruise. It's been a while. Cheers. That's really good. Good taste. Good shot. I think the shrimp can use a little more flavor, like, maybe a little bit more salt or something like that, but. And I really good sauce. So the entrees have come out, I have a cheeseburger and I got mac and cheese on the side.

Rebecca got a pan seared branzino.

Grilled. Grilled, branzino excuse me, grilled branzino, which she said is pretty good, but she's absolutely loving the spinach that's actually underneath it as well. And then she got a side of mashed potatoes and let's see, here's our burger. Oh, I'm tossing bacon everywhere. But there you go. You got it. The medium with the bacon and some other stuff in here and some cheese on the rare side of a medium.

But that's okay. I'll take it. Burgers? Not bad. It's not the best burger in the world. The main thing we're doing to keep lunch, you know, we're not fighting the crowd. Jump in the buffet. We got a nice quiet. We're in the main dining room tonight. Quiet. We're being served really nice. So, I mean, the burger is it could use more seasoning, probably use more salt and more flavor in the meat itself.

But it's not bad. I'm not complaining. I'm not complaining. Now, let's try that mac and cheese. It looks beautiful anyway, right? I like a really good mac and cheese. Let's see what we've got. Thank. Not bad. I wish it was hotter. Definitely cooled off now from sitting in there. I mean, it's not the best mac and cheese in the world.

I probably would have gone with potatoes next time instead of the. Oh, Rebecca handing me potatoes right now. Here is the potatoes. Let's see, we're going to find out. Should I have ordered potatoes? I don't know. The jury says, yeah, the potatoes are better than mac and cheese. So wrapping up our key lunch, I mean, it was a it was a decent meal.

Wasn't the best meal we've ever had on cruise, but a decent meal. The big thing was we didn't have to deal with the buffet. We didn't have to deal with hordes of people. We've had a nice, relaxing lunch and we got to meet some wonderful people who were serving us our hey folks.

So for our very first night on the Symphony of the Seas, we are going to eat at Hooked Seafood.

And this is a specialty restaurant, so that means it as an extra charge. Now, we bought into a three dinner package. You know, you can buy packages in advance and basically you pay one price and then you can go to three restaurants of your choice on board. Now, the one thing about that, you cannot pre-book your dinners. You have to wait till you get on board.

But because we went literally as soon as we got on board, we went directly to the dining captain. We had no problem getting any of our dinners. So for me tonight, I hope it was super easy. They've got drunken mussels, steamed, mottled in garlic, white wine or tomato sauce. Serve with Chris speaking in bright and early. It's going to be my appetizer.

And then the royal Seafood Platter, lightly battered de fried cod softshell, crab, tiger, prawn, scallop and black mussels served with a creamy remoulade and Cajun fries. Oh, that's what I'm going with tonight. And, my God, you just brought out some really warm sheet bread. I smell garlic everywhere. He's got butter slathered all around and I'm not like a biscuit like Rebecca, who said nothing is.

Give me ten of these. I'm done. I'm in. My drunken mussels came out number one at messy I'm here do it smells amazing this is just going to be super messy. I can tell there's like a I'm not like a cream on the shell, so, I mean, it's just going to be messy. Oh, we go. Oh, that's good.

Yeah, almost like there's, like, a garlic chowder on them or something. Oh, freaking good. Oh, but oh a nice creamy. Oh, hi, ma'am. Now for the appetizer, Rebecca went with the spicy cliche, and she said, when they say spicy, they mean spicy, and they do make a mild version as well. But if you're the kind of person who's going to on the fence about spicy like me, I can take a little heat, but not a lot.

But she said the spicy caviar is as advertised, as spicy and very good drunken mussels could be the best thing I think I've ever eaten on a cruise ship. It's not very full. The super messy mussels are done and now we have this gorgeous chopped salad with shrimp and they served it with a beautiful, lemony dressing garlic.

She's got the menu. Very cool

Mm mm. Really fresh. Really good night dressing. Very light compliment. The shrimp are beautifully. The lemon mustard vinaigrette is amazing. Go the fresh and tossed salad with some shrimp on it winner. Their main course is out. Rebecca's got the captain's platter, which is essentially broiled and grilled fish and lobster tail. And she's saying, wow, everything is really, really good.

I basically got the fried version of the same thing, except I've got some mussels and I've got some scallop and I got fish and a few other things too. She didn't get she'd get a lobster tail, fish, shrimp, and then for the side, we went with the lobster mac and cheese. I mean, come on, lobster, mac and cheese.

You got to do it. Some Cajun fries I'm into. Maybe fresh vegetables. So that is our main course. All right, go see everything I got, like a fried shrimp here. It's super hot. Everything came out, like, ridiculously hot for sure. Rebecca gave me a piece of the grilled fish here that's outstanding. That is really, really good. Now, I've got a different crab.

I got a little fried softshell crab.

There you are. I mean, this kind of reminds me, you know, when I was a kid. Yeah, they're going to date me. We to have Howard Johnson, you know, he had that big fried fish platter. Now, this is better than that. It kind of reminds me of that being a kid and having that big fish platter when we went to Howard Johnson.

And if I were to do that again, I'd probably go with that grilled platter Rebecca had a little nicer, a little bit more flavor. I mean, I think this is probably a little bit better for the kids, the fried butter. But as an adult, you would probably like the the grilled and broiled more to think, oh, my God, lobster, mac and cheese.

And I mean, that's not the best mac and cheese, but not bad at all. Better than the mac and cheese that I had at the key lunch, for sure. And then we got some Cajun fries. Got a really good Cajun fries. Yeah, those are really good. They got a little they got a little kick to a grilled shrimp from Rebecca.

Really good. Yeah. So we are going to throw in the white flag on dessert. I'm so sorry. I know you guys want me to probably try some sort of a dessert here, but we are hopeful. But if I was getting dessert, they have a lovely lemon tart on there. That looks amazing that what I would have gone with.

So if you come here and you're able to get to dessert, I would recommend the lemon tart. But overall, a good meal hooked was very enjoyable. Again, I would probably not go with the main course being the fried fish. I would probably either go with what Rebecca did with the broiled fish, or they have a 2 pound Maine lobster tail on the menu too.

I'd probably go with that the next time. I just had a hankering for fried fish and figure what the heck, I'll go for it again. The lobster mac and cheese would. Okay. The big winner as far as the side with the Cajun fries. Oh, my God. They were really, really good. So if you are on Symphony of the Seas and you like seafood, I think you would enjoy Hooked Seafood.

A great little lunch bar, especially if you don't want to deal with the big crowds, the big buffet, Park Cafe here in Central Park.

It's included in your cruise fare. And they have a make your own salad. Now, the the crew member is actually going to make the salad for you.

You just tell them what you want. I got a little salad here which are mixed greens. I've got chickpeas, peas, corn, got some junior, I got some chicken. Little rugelach. And I asked them to put the Caesar dressing on it. Really short line quiet out here. Well, you hear the band playing up top, but it's quite lovely out here and we didn't have to fight.

So Park Cafe in Central Park. This is included in your cruise fare. Come on down and enjoy a nice salad without dealing with all the crowds. Pop in the buffet.

Okay. Tonight's dinner is going to be at Izumi.

Now, the Izumi here on Symphony of the Seasons in two parts, a sushi side, which is where we're sitting. And then you got the Teppanyaki side, which is over there. Okay, so for dinner tonight, we actually switched it out a little bit. We asked her if we could do two small plates and two large plate and skip the dessert. Just because we've had so much dessert this week, we just wanted to enjoy a little bit more sushi.

They are allowing us to do that. So I went with the shrimp and pork one can chew. That should be just a nice little starter. Bay shrimp firecracker spring rolls and those are my two small plates. And then for the large plate I went with a sear tuna to turkey roll shrimp tempura here tuna, avocado, scallions and garlic Punjab sauce.

And then I went with a big snow crab and salmon dynamite roll of snow crab, salmon, cream cheese, cucumber, avocado, spicy mayo, garlic chili, oil, champagne sauce and daikon sprouts. So that is my four items that I will be getting tonight. Now, Rebecca went with the crispy rice, spicy tuna and the seaweed cami salad. Those are her two small plates.

And then for the large plate, Rebecca went with the Izumi Rou photo maki roll like the assorted tempura fried sashimi. It's basically champagne and energy sources, cream cheese, guacamole, salad and ginger dressing. That sounds insane. And then you got the Yaki Gouda, which is stir fried udon and vegetables topped with your choice of grilled chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu.

Would you go with. Sure. She went with the shrimp. So that's what the eight dishes that we will be getting tonight, we passed on dessert and we're going to get two small plates, two large plates each. Small plates have come out. I've got my shrimp and one ton soup right here. I've got my shrimp firecracker roll things over here.

And Rebecca has her sea honey salad. I love one time too, but like a really good one time to play it for liking it. Very nice. Way back. Let's go with that one time here. Now that is really, really good. Pork and shrimp mixed together really, really good. And the shrimp firecracker spring rolls. That looks really nice. I've got some dipping sauce.

When I look at the menu again, it's really different. Not exactly what I expected.

So we've got shrimp, crab meat, sambal chili and cream cheese all inside this. And you bite into it thinking you're going to be biting into a shrimp, but you're actually biting into like a little mixture of things in there that is very unique to Rebecca saying that the seaweed salad is very light and refreshing. I'm not a big fan of seaweed, but if you like seaweed, like seaweed salad, as you said, it's very good, very light and refreshing.

Right. All the food has come out and it's like a ridiculous amount of food. We didn't realize the rolls are going to be this big. Maybe we would have just gone with the one less roll than we have out here. But we've got the big snow, crab and salmon dynamite rolls sitting right here in front of me. I've got the seared tuna to Kentucky Raw sitting next to that Rebecca's crispy rice.

Spicy tuna was only supposed to be four pieces. They brought out eight or nine big crazy one of the izumi rou photo maki roll. This is a crazy one there. And then right in front of Rebecca, she's got the yucky udon. There's a crazy amount of food people. I think you could probably do three rolls for two people.

We have four rolls out here. But the server did say that she can give it plastic containers. We do have a cooler in our room so we could take it back to the room and keep it in a cooler. Why not until tomorrow? And then you have it at some point tomorrow, maybe for breakfast.

All right, this is the snow crab one. Oh, yeah. I take a different heat. I had some heat sneaking up on me there, but it's spicy and they're not kidding. So I have to admit that baked snow, crab and salmon, dynamite, I actually can't eat any more of that.

It is like burning on the back of my throat. So when they say spicy in here, they mean spicy. Rebecca is going to enjoy it very, very much. This is now the seared tuna tataki. Right? Right. Seared tuna turkey. Roll out. Very nice. The presentation is amazing. I mean, this is like, know any high end sushi joint that you would go to on land?

For sure. They've done a beautiful job of presentation. Crispy rice, spicy tuna. Now again, Spicy Tuna. I have no idea if I'm going to be in trouble or not. I don't.

A pretty good look. My least favorite of the ones I've tried so far. Even though the crab burned my mouth. I love the flavor, but I just can't. I can't do any more of it. Holy moly, this thing is huge. And how do you eat this? Just massive. This is part of the Izumi photo. I'm a whatever. My God, this thing is massive.

I'm going to do it with my fingers just so I can take a bite of it. All right, that's my favorite. I think that's my favorite. I think the second favorite is the one that I'm gonna burn my mouth off. And that was really, really flavorful. I just can't eat any more of it for really, like, the seared tuna tataki.

Roll that really, really good when the crispy right there. Rebecca that's actually my least favorite but it's still good but the the zoom me room photo photo mark Tony you roll you really good Oh he's good because we're two people eating here two rolls maybe three are all you need and you don't need four. So that's pretty much it from Izumi.

No dessert for us. We did four plates each. My recommendation, if you're coming here is go on a cart, get a small plate each and then get one large play each. I'm willing to bet for most of you that's going to be enough food. You might end up saving a little money, or you may end up spending about the same amount.

But then you won't have leftovers to take. They will give you the leftovers. Then you go ahead and throw into your fridge if you had leftovers here. But for to three, I'll tell you what is a great value at $35 each. We got a ton of food here, but if you'd like sushi, I would definitely give Izumi a try here on the symphony of the seas. We very much enjoyed it.

Hey, folks, did you know there are two different kinds of Starbucks coffee shops?

On many Royal Caribbean ships, one that included when your drinks package and one that is not. Now, if you see a Starbucks store, it's usually in the Grand Promenade with the big Starbucks sign on top of it. That is an official Starbucks store, not part of Royal Caribbean.

So you will have to pay for your coffee exactly as you do on land. But if you go to a Royal Caribbean coffee shop such as the Cafe Promenade or the Vitality Spa here on Symphony of the Seas, you can get the same Starbucks coffee included with your drink package espresso, cappuccino, latte, cafe, mocha, many of your standard drinks will be available at those shops for free.

So unless you want those like really specialty holiday drinks or whatever that they make from Starbucks, you don't necessarily have to pay for it. If you go to a Royal Caribbean based coffee shops.

Hey, folks, Walter back on the Symphony of the Seas, and we really had no plan tonight, so Playmakers it is.

I have been seeing that tower of onion rings. Everybody has the tower of onion rings. And our dear friend Stephanie is like, Yeah, got to have the wings. So I'm doing 12 wings. We're doing the Tower of Onion Rings or Mecca Getting Hollow, Being your barber and you're getting the impossible burger. So tonight playmaker Ooh I got my old fashioned she said they make a really good old fashioned So let's see.

Actually, that's a good old fashioned. I like this old fashioned more than the one I got upstairs in. Where? Where we the pub. Yeah. I like this old fashioned more than the one we got up in the pub. If you're looking for a good old fashioned come on down here playmaker. She was not lying. They do make a good old fashioned.

Our bartender had brought out some sauces for us to enjoy with the poppers and the wings. We got blue cheese, we get them ranch, we got some ketchup, and then we got a hot sauce. This is like a the milder of the sausage. I think I ate for the Little League because I am not a hot, spicy kind of guy.

But I got a Little League. Minor league, a major league for the hot sauces. Hey, guess what has arrived taller than I am, the famous onion ring tower. And then we've got some horseradish sauce that goes with it. I can feel the heat emanating off of this thing. It is hot right now, okay? It's like seriously hot. If I bite into it now, I'm going to hurt myself.

But yeah, I'm really hot, really good. Yum. I mean, this is pretty pub food. Have a little fun while you're on the symphony. Received the bar is very active in front of us right now. But look, we have the 12 onion ring at the bar when you drink. I don't even know what the hell I'm saying, but we have the hot wings, though, Stephanie.

I ordered because of you, you're always raving about these wings, so I hope they're good. I know they're going to be good. Stephanie and I like the same thing so the minimum you can order is at 12. Rebecca does not even need to log. Probably these are going to be for me. I've actually I'm going to eat it without the idea, without the blue cheese version.

Oh, they're good. Waiting for the really good wings, either good or far pub wing did a really good rank. I got the Little League thought perfect for me. You got a little bit of heat to it. Just touch your hand in your coat. Really? Well, because Stephanie and everybody who raves around the wing here right now, we do have the horseradish shot.

This is this is horseradish shot. You want this with the onion rings? For sure. It goes you accidentally get a couple of a ranch at the same time. You add toward the horseradish, Oh, you're much better with the horseradish. I'm having a good time to night. See how the steak fries are. Are. You're pretty good. I could use a little more salt, which we can always add here to the table.

They're pretty good. But you get them jalapeno poppers to try that out. Oh, what do I try it with? Ranch. All right. Came with a sweet chili sauce. We're going to try it that way.

It's not the best. I mean, you've had a pretty good, you know. Make it to the endearing. Kind of bland, but then we get I'm dunking it in the horseradish. It's like everything here can use a little bit more salt, little bit more seasoning, except the wing.

The wings are really, really good, and the onion rings could use them maybe a little bit more salt, a little bit more seasoning. How is the impossible burger? Rebecca got the impossible burger and Rebecca said, There's a very nice sauce underneath the impossible burger. She said, It's actually quite good and they forgot to put the cheese on it.

So they brought the melted cheese out for her. I was able to get it on there for her. So you're on the symphony of seas. You're looking for some pub food. You're looking for some really good chicken wings. Come on down. And playmakers here on the boardwalk.

Hey, folks, tonight, dinner on the Symphony of the Seas is going to be Chops Grille.

This is the new American Steakhouse. And this is a fixed price dinner, which means that it is just a set price. Whatever you want to eat, you just go ahead and enjoy it. And this is located out in Central Park. It is absolutely stunning outside right now. You do truly forget that you're on a cruise ship when you are in Central Park, but you've got to hear these sides.

These are so fun. Gruyere cheese, tater tots, creamed spinach, grilled jumbo asparagus, mac and cheese. Yukon gold, mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, truffled French fries and salted baked potato. I get some really fun sides here, so kind of like our key lunch, which was in the main dining room. We get these lovely bread. This is an onion bread and this is a baguette, both very warm, but they give it a really nice butter.

I made a huge mess on the table with all the powder from the bread. Yeah, I just look really good here. Better than the lunch because it's nice and warm. We went with a Cabernet Sauvignon, and I let the waiter recommend one for me. He said This one is the best. Sorry I missed what it was, but cheers everybody.

Thank for following along on our symphony of a season journey and that is nice. Maybe I should have ordered a bottle now. Chops Grill is a stake house, but it said right on the menu that they will accommodate vegetarian and vegan. So just because you don't eat meat doesn't mean you can't come here and enjoy. They probably have a separate menu that they will bring out, but you simply ask for it and then you can enjoy your dinner with everybody else in your party.

Okay, appetizers are out and I've got the beef carpaccio, which is raw beef. And Rebecca has the crab cake. Has that crab cake. Now, she got the crab cake appetizer. I really did last year. And again, beef carpaccio is essentially Robby with some cheese and arugula. All right. It's exactly what carpaccio should be. Oh, man. We've got a little oil around the side, so even better hit it with the oil.

Now, he brought something that he said was bacon, though. It's a pork belly that he brought out for the table. But, you know, Rebecca doesn't eat meat, so it's all mine. Did you? Oh, wow. That is why I like it when it's so ridiculously tender.

Like, if you were to think, holy crap. I mean, talk about good pork belly. Wow, that is right up there with the musseles in the hook. Seafood, we're really good on to the second quarter. So Rebecca has got the crispy goat cheese salad. I've got the world famous mushroom soup while mushroom soup, the aroma is unreal. I mean, if you like mushroom. Holy cow, that smell good.

First, I'm going to try this little crispy goat cheese dough into crispy goat cheese salad. It's like the little ball of crispy cheese on top of the salad.

Know, and a really good goat cheese to be a fan of goat cheese. I've heard rave reviews about that. Will it live up to the hype? We'll take a break there. Oh, that's ridiculous. Okay. That's a ridiculous mushroom shoot. I mean, I wish Rebecca could have it. They really should do it with vegetables. But that could very well be the best mushroom soup I've ever had in my life.

I literally got every drop I could out of that low. He waiting to see which of these sauces I'm going to get. Now, this is the one you recommend.

Really good, right? One more good. He wanted me to try to try to throw our our Andre Trout. Here is a final dance. Oh, yeah, please. Why not? I love being on a cruise. The servers are so incredibly awesome. So as you can gather our Andre to come out, I've got my lovely filet mignon right here. Perfect size.

He gave me three different sides. And then we've got our truffle fried sauteed mushrooms. We got our gruyere cod, and we got our creamed spinach over there. Rebecca has our lovely spicy shrimp. This filet is absolutely beautiful. I don't know how. Well. Yeah, there you go. You can feel a little better in a light like that. Absolutely beautiful.

I've got a bearnaise. I've got a red wine reduction. I'm not exactly sure what the other one is. Have them, but a little bit of all three sauces on your plate, furiously the back. And you can hear a little bit of her spicy shrimp like shrimp is really good. I think that shrimp is better than those really good shrimp.

Now, we got our side in here, too. We got her trouble right now. They're really soggy. They're not correct me. They're tasty, but they're way undercooked. They need to be cooked more. So we're going to actually going to send the truffle right back at them to cook them. Now we've got sauteed mushrooms and then we got Gruyere cheese topped and got dried.

A mushroom. Oh, yeah. Really good mushroom, by the way, underneath Rebecca. Shrimp and mashed potatoes. Good mashed potatoes. Here we go. Here. Decided the time. It is a good year. Cheese pot. Okay. There, there. The inside looks like Gruyere cheese pot.

Potato is good.

I don't take any cheese at all. Honestly, I don't either. The objective ought to be cheese in it. I don't taste that. It's really good. It's more like a kind of almost like a CORNISH actually.

Potato croquette. Kind of way. Yeah, potato croquette. It kind of reminds me of a connection, though. It is good. There's just not a whole lot of cheese flavor to it at all. Then we've got the green spinach.