Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas has entered drydock in preparation for the summer Mediterranean season. The ship is being renovated at the shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, which is a convenient choice as the ship’s summer homeport will alternate between Barcelona, Spain and Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy.
Symphony of the Seas Pre-Summer Dry Dock
Symphony of the Seas has begun her 2-week drydock to refresh and refurbish the ship prior to her summer Mediterranean schedule. The ship arrived in Cadiz, Spain on Monday, March 27, 2023, and will remain at the shipyard for more than two weeks.
She is docked alongside Carnival Venezia, which is also undergoing extensive refitting work before relaunching under the “Carnival Fun Italian Style” brand in late May.
Symphony of the Seas is not receiving nearly as much renovation as the former Costa Venezia, but will still be thoroughly refreshed and updated.
This type of dry dock is relatively brief at less than three weeks, and will likely include updates to technical systems and software onboard to keep the ship operating at peak efficiency, as well as hotel and public area upgrades like new flooring where necessary, updated lighting, minor repairs to public areas such as fixing seating or railings, refinishing the open decks, and new coats of paint.
Exterior work may also include underwater hull cleaning to remove foreign bodies such as barnacles, and reapplying special paint to minimize the growth of new organisms. As cruise lines are becoming ever more sensitive to marine environments, minimizing the transportation of foreign plants or animals into new bodies of water is an ecological priority.
Royal Caribbean International has not announced any massive updates for the ship, such as the introduction of completely new venues or removing well-known features, but such surprises are always possible.
Cruise ships are typically renovated with hotel upgrades and fresh public areas every 3-5 years. This keeps the vessels from appearing worn or outdated, especially for returning guests who may have sailed on the vessel in the last few years and could notice even minor deterioration.
Previous Dry Dock Updates
Symphony of the Seas is a relative youngster in the Royal Caribbean fleet, having just debuted as the fourth Oasis-class ship in March 2018.
Yet, she has already undergone one short dry dock, in spring 2021, for technical updates. From May 20 and into June 2021, the ship received routine maintenance as well as hull painting and updates to the propellers, fin stabilizers, and other engineering components.
This work was done while the massive vessel was not in service during the industry-wide shutdown. All cruise ships ceased operations in mid-March 2020, and Symphony of the Seas was out of service for over 17 months before welcoming passengers again in August 2021.
That quick update ensured the ship was at peak operation and ready for guests after having been laid up for so long.
At the time of that drydock, the 228,081-gross-ton cruise ship was the largest passenger vessel in the world, though she would lost that title to her sister ship, Wonder of the Seas, when the new vessel debuted in 2022. The upcoming Icon of the Seas will take over the title when she launches in January 2024.
Summer 2023 Aboard Symphony of the Seas
Symphony of the Seas‘ first cruise after the current dry dock will set sail from Barcelona, Spain on Sunday, April 16. That voyage is a 7-night roundtrip Western Mediterranean cruise visiting Mallorca, Marseille, La Spezia, Rome, and Naples, before returning to Barcelona.
On that first post-dry dock sailing, guests may notice not only the improvements and upgrades, but possibly some ongoing work as finishing touches are finalized onboard.
It is always the goal of a shipyard and cruise line to have all refurbishment complete before a ship welcomes guests again, but sometimes minor details remain to be completed.
Symphony of the Seas will spend the summer offering Mediterranean sailings with embarkations in Barcelona and Civitavecchia (Rome), all with the same popular ports of call. This gives interested cruisers plenty of departure dates to choose from throughout the summer.
The ship will return to Fort Lauderdale in November via a 14-night Transatlantic crossing leaving Barcelona on October 29, 2023.
From her Florida homeport, she will be offering 6- and 8-night Caribbean sailings to a variety of destinations, and in May 2024, Symphony of the Seas will move to New York for a summer of cruises from the Big Apple to The Bahamas.