Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by Bisbee16: Great itinerary but some service issues
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Great itinerary but some service issues
This was my 14th cruise and my husband's 10th. Embarkation went very smoothly and we were pleasantly surprised to see our luggage arrive more quickly than on any previous cruise. I should say that the luggage we checked in at the dock arrived. Delta/Air France had lost one small suitcase which unfortunately contained a lot of toiletries and our seasickness meds! Thankfully there was a pharmacy located at the dock (that is easy to overlook as it is around the corner from the main shops and the duty free liquor stores). Although the prices were exorbitant we were able to purchase toiletries, and seasickness bands and ginger pills. It made me nervous to embark on a 12 night cruise and not be at least somewhat prepared for rough seas! I have traveled too much to make such a rookie mistake but that was one time learning as our athletic shoes were also in this bag. My husband reported the loss of our bag to Guest Services and they were able to do something Delta/Air France More
couldn't--they found our bag and had it delivered to us in our first port of call, Split, Croatia! Thank you Ana Morales! She even had a bottle of wine delivered to our room as thank you for allowing her to help us!
We enjoyed some of the entertainment such as Las Pampas Gauchos (three very skilled men who play drums and dance). We love the band ZigZag which was omnipresent at parties and in the centrum. They play diverse styles from ballroom dance to popular. The AbbaMax show was fun (an ABBA tribute band)as well as the 50's and 70's parties in the Centrum. In general Royal Caribbean has great entertainment and some of the best production shows we have seen on various cruise lines. The Stage to Screen Show was notable for the vocals and dance numbers. The West Coast show (a Beach Boys tribute)was fun. On the other hand we walked out of some shows that didn't interest us or that seemed subpar. Everyone's opinion of entertainment is different and we did talk to people who enjoyed shows that we didn't. The port lecturer wasn't that helpful and there were no dance lessons offered on sea days, something we have enjoyed on other ships.
One port was not covered in the dropdown list provided for excursion review and that is Ravenna. We took a marvelous tour to San Marino, a postage stamp sized country that is a step back into medieval times. We had a lot of free time here to enjoy a freshly made pasta lunch and to explore one of the towers. This is a wonderful tour that I would rate a 5+.
The quality of dining on this ship was uneven. The Windjammer buffet had a salad bar that was more geared to European tastes than to American tastes. There were very few items that appealed to me on this salad bar and these were poorly stocked and because of the elevation of the shelf on which the containers stood, the containers were difficult to see into. There were also very few vegetables on this buffet either cooked or raw. In general I did not enjoy the lunch buffet but the dinner buffet was better. The SeaView Cafe had a nice selection of made to order food, mostly sandwiches, and was well worth it. The Solarium Cafe was limited to sandwiches and pizza but the quality was also good. We enjoyed the food in the dining room and the service was very good. One surprise was that lobster was never offered in the dining room except if one paid extra for it. Typically on other cruises lobster is available in the dining room on one of the formal nights so this was a "nickel and dime" situation we did not appreciate.
Some crew also seemed to say whatever they thought the passenger wanted to hear with the hope that they wouldn't be around when the passenger found out differently. As this happened over and over on this cruise we thought that this was a real crew training issue and something that definitely needed improvement. On the other hand we did encounter numerous crew who went out of their way to be pleasant and to deliver exceptional service.
Beware that there are no self serve laundry facilities on this ship and that sending laundry out is expensive. Likewise the alcoholic beverages are expensive and Royal Caribbean forbids any carry-on of alcohol. As Princess does allow one bottle of wine to be carried on per passenger we definitely missed this policy on Royal Caribbean.
The Captain's party and the Welcome Back party for repeat passengers were very fun. Disembarkation for the independent passengers was a breeze.
All in all we would sail on this vessel again if the itinerary was desirable but (with notable exceptions) the crew attitudes towards service needs to improve. Less
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Cabin review: Serenade of the Seas 7654
Our stateroom (7654) had an especially large balcony and seemed to have lots of storage. It is aft and in a very quiet area. The downside of this room is that there is a large metal plate below the room level (I believe it holds the lifeboats) so it is not possible to look down directly into the water from the balcony. This plate also softens the sound of the seas and we missed that.