First Cruise with RC
Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
We stayed in Barcelona for one night and met up with the ship the next day, it was only a 5 minute trip in a taxi to the port.
This was the first cruise with Royal Caribbean line, and I have to say on the whole I wasn't disappointed.
From the moment you embark to the moment you disembark, you are treated to first class service.
We checked in about 2pm and we were only 10 minutes checking in and getting our cabin keys, the check-in staff were lovely. The cabin was ready as soon as we arrived.
The crew are friendly, welcoming and always there with a helping hand. The room was more than adequate and we were looked after by a wonderful stateroom attendant, Patu.
If I had one issue it was the fact that everything is in US dollars (we were not advised prior to departure) also the only thing to let this cruise down was the entertainment, mediocre springs to mind, not of a standard I would expect from such a big company.
Food was plentiful More
and always well presented and the choice was good, you would have to be very picky not to find something you liked. Again the staff in the dining room were excellent especially Mary who looked after us the whole trip.
The drinks were rather pricey, on average a beer was $8 and a cocktail was $10 going up to $12 depending which one you had.
Cruising days - again the entertainment was barely there, unless you liked listening to lectures or attending the casino or art auctions, there wasn't much variety of things going on.
We tend to like to explore on our own, which in a way was good as the excursions could be a little pricey, $54-over $100 depending on the excursion.
If you look around in the ports you can fine cheap transport to get you about if needed, we saw as much as the excursions passengers for a fraction of the price, in most ports. Less
Read more Serenade of the Seas cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Serenade of the Seas Review >>
Port and Shore Excursions
We docked at Piraeus,excursions were available to the sites.
We were able to get a shuttle bus to the Acropolis, it was a hop-on/off bus and cost 10 euros each.
We saw a lot of the city, which if I'm honest is a little run down and shabby looking in parts, it has a great history and if you have the time to see all the sights is well worth going ashore for.
We had to take tenders, as the ship could not dock.
We went ashore on our own, and took the little train, which costs 10 euros each round trip, you are taken around Cannes and given a little history of the city. Money well spent.
It was extremely hot on the day and walking around would have been a struggle, the shops are a bit of an UPHILL TREK! so be warned, you will need plenty of energy and comfy shoes.
If you decide to stay on the front, there is a beach and plenty of cafes to get somthing to eat and drink.
We docked in Livorno for this port to Florence and Pisa.
We went on a boat trip in Livorno it was lovely, it lasts around 30-40 mins and gives you a little insight into the city, it was extremely hot, but we were lucky enough to get one of the offered umbrellas to sit under.
We then took a coach (10 euros each) to Pisa, a wonderful experience. If you are fit enough you can try the climb to the top of the tower :).
There were a lot of market stalls there so we picked up some souvenirs at good prices. Have a look at them all as some will give you discounts to get the sale.
There is a small cafe on the corner before you enter through the gates to the tower, we had burger, sandwich and 2 drinks and it only cost 18 euros total.
First time to Turkey and I have to say a good starting point.
The town is old world meets new and if you venture into the Bazaars you will have a day to remember, Haggle away!!they love a good haggle :)
The locals were very friendly and loved talking to us. We got some really good bargains and met some really nice people.
We had a drink in one of the cafes and were only charged 2 euros per glass of coke.
Do be weary of the Silver jewelry....some of it is not! The Jewelery can be expensive as can the leather goods. Shop around!
We docked at Salerno, again we had to take a shuttle bus into town as you can not walk on the dock.
It was extremely hot, so we didn't do much exploring, had a walk around and then went back to the ship.
There were some stalls set up on the pier, so we were able to buy some gifts, they had local pastry's, wine, oils and the usual souvenirs, which were reasonably priced.
We docked at Civitavecchia, and walked up through the promenade, to a small market, were bargains can be found (haggle for the best price).
There were shops and cafes are close together and it was very nice to sit and watch the world go by in one of the cafes.
The ship did offer trips to Rome.
We had to take a tender over to the dock.
Then you have a choice....either walk up the winding 600 and odd steps, take the cable car or take a donkey ride.
Which ever way you decide to get to the town, wear comfy shoes because if you want to see anything you are in for a walk, up and down steep roads (many without sidewalks), some can be very slippy as they are old cobbles and marble.
There are shops but again you will need to walk to find them.
We had a pleasant trip, did some shopping and experienced the cable car! hold on tight :)