We are not avid cruisers but had never been to Europe so we thought a Cruise for our 25th Wedding Anniversary would be a great way to see some highlights of Europe. We saw a great deal at each port we visited and I am glad we selected the itinerary we went on.
If I had to base my opinion solely on the ship itself I would give a very low rating. We had a Junior Suite and were wanting to upgrade to a Grand Suite if one was available once we boarded. Don't get all excited, we had every intention on paying for it. Anyhow, when we checked in we asked about the possibility and they told us we had to ask once we were on board. Okay, not a problem. Once on board, they told us we had to check back later after the muster drill. After the muster drill we were told we had to check back after the sailed. We checked back after we sailed and we were told to check back tomorrow. At that point we unpacked and enjoyed the room that we had which was very nice and roomy.
our cabins were available we went in and were greeted by our steward. My husband asked him a question and he didn't know. He told my husband this was his first time serving the suites and would have to ask someone else. This should have been our first clue that things were not going to be like the other cruises we had taken before. It only went downhill from there with him. Anytime we needed anything we had to ask several times for it. The robes that were supposed to be in the room didn't come until day 3 and that was after my husband had to ask for them all 3 days. We asked for breakfast room service menus several times before getting them, buckets of ice several times before getting it, laundry service bags several times before getting them, it went on and on.
The dining room service was terrible. We were at table 420 and the wait staff was terrible. Several times things were ordered that were never received. People were skipped when ordering dessert, drinks didn't come when asked for. The menu left a lot to be desired as far as selections were concerned. After the first few nights we decided to eat in the Windjammer which was nice because the food was actually hot. We also ate at Portofinios and Chops which were good choices however you have to pay an additional fee for those. As a table we discussed the fact that the dining room selections may have been poor and quality not as good because they are trying to get people to eat in the other places that charge a fee. Just a thought, because the food sure was better. We found out they weren't going to have a lobster night which is traditional on most 7 night plus cruises. They said they didn't have any, however, if you wanted to pay extra they could find one. When we came back to the formal dining room on night 6 or 7, our waitress had commented on how we haven't been there. We told here the food had not been what we have all experienced on past cruises so we decided to eat elsewhere. It was steak night so we asked her to please make sure the food came out hot because the previous nights we had eaten there it had not been. She told the head waiter who went and told the chef. To our dismay the chef came out to the table, making some what of a scene asking if there was a problem at this table. We were so shocked no one could hardly speak. When the food came out, the head waiter made a little bit of a scene by handing the person their food with the lid on it that had made the comment about needing the food to be hot when we get it. Then he asked if this was hot enough for her. Of course people are looking around to see what all the fuss is, which was quit embarrassing.
I never got my Meet and Mingle invitation, however I knew when it had been scheduled. They scheduled it for 4 PM on a day that we were in port and didn't have to be back on ship until 5:30, so nearly everyone missed it. This was unfortunate because it had originally been scheduled for a sea day. I received the handouts from the Meet and Mingle in my room two days after it happened. Go figure.
We had gone by the Stromboli Volcano which was a great sight. However, I later found out that the captain went out of her way by 50 miles so some passengers on board who were visiting one of the officers on board could see the volcano up close. Well thanks for that, based on recent issues with captains going out of there way for people, one would think they would learn their lesson and stay on course.
The highlight on the ship was the piano player in the piano bar. Great guy. We loved doing the sing along at night with him.
The ship itself is a little dated and set to be refurbished towards the end of the year. It really needs it. We were on deck 10 which had an awful smell when you walked down the hall way. Not sure what it was but it was bad. The carpet seams are coming apart in areas, the mirror in our bathroom was discolored around all the edges. I was a little disappointed in some things because we had paid a lot for the junior suite and I felt like it could have been better for the price. The closet in the Junior Suite is fabulous and it was great having a bathtub.
The spa was very nice as were all the ladies working in the spa. I had a couple of massages and got a manicure. Everything was nice.
The bartender in the champagne bar was a sweetheart. She was always so friendly. Can you tell I'm really bad at remembering names. Lame I know.
We didn't do but two excursions through the ship. The Mt. Vesuvius and Pompei was one of them. The excursion said if we have time we will go to a Cameo factory. Well apparently they had time because that is where the excursion went first. It took about 45 minutes time, probably a little more with travel out of the way. It took away from the time we had to clime Mt. Vesuvius and time spent at Pompei which is what we paid to see. The excursions bought outside the ship were much better in this aspect because as a group you could decide what you wanted or didn't want to do.
All in all I am glad we did it, but the service on the ship was terrible and made me realize I may not be back on Royal Caribbean again. Less
Serenade of the Seas Cruises to the Western Mediterranean