I traveled with a group of 12 friends and family. This was my second time on an RCI ship, the first being a 3 day turn around cruise. Overall, this was my 17th cruise and I consider myself cruise savy.
This trip was a 12 day eastern Med cruise with port calls in Barcelona, Cannes, Florence, Rome, Ephesus, Athens, Santorini and Naples. I picked the Serenade because of it's size, not liking the larger ships due to "over population"
Upon arrival at the port, embarking was outstanding. We were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. The next hour was used to walk around the ship and I was pleasantly surprised with how beautiful the ship was. Our cabin was 8th deck balcony, and it too was very nice. I will say that it was a bit smaller than I have had in the past, but it was very accomidating.
Overall, we had a great cruise and good times with friends - especially new CC aquaintences! RCI scheduled a very nice Meet and Mingle and 87 CC members showed up!
Staff, dining room service and cabin steward were excellent - so no complaints from us.
Because this was a european cruise, I expected the food to be somewhat different and it was. I figured when in Rome, do as the Romans, so I was up for trying the different types of foods. But unfortunately, I really didn't enjoy most of the food. I'm not sure if it was my tastebuds or the preparation....but understanding food is subjective - I just went with the flow. But unlike other cruise ships, there was not a lot of variety of places to eat. Each venue had a specific eating time and if you didn't make it, you lost out. No 24 hour pizza! Again, I didn't go hungry, but they just didn't have a large american food variety. No lobster, unless you wanted to pay for it. We did eat one night in Portfino's which was outstanding!
My other gripe was the price of drinks. Upon arrival for a sail away drink, a glass of wine (in a plastic cup) was $11 + tip. I thought the bartender had made a mistake and questioned him, but nope, that was the price. I found all the drinks to be extremely expensive, so we limited our adult beverages on the ship. Fortunately, you could buy a bottle of wine off the ship for about E5.00, so we opted for that instead.
We booked all private excursions for each port and were not disappointed. By doing so, we saved about 50%-70% over the ship excursions - all researched here on CC. All the ports were beautiful and had a great time in each.
We did a few after dinner shows, but because we were going all day, we were tired each nite. The shows were ok, but nohing special. Casino machines were tight, but the little I played I held my own. Because we didn't drink much, we spent little time in the ship lounges....but they were very nice.
But like anything, a cruise is what you make it and overall, we had a great time with great friends - hope we can do it again!
The Seranade of the Seas is a beautiful ship and I would like to try her again in a Carribean setting where maybe the food would be more to my liking.